Christine Ashby

Christine Ashby
Professor; Director, Center on Disability and Inclusion
Phone: 315.443.8689
Address: 330 Huntington Hall
Academic Program Area Focus: Childhood Education, Disability Studies, Inclusive Special Education

Christine (Christy) Ashby is a professor of inclusive special education and disability studies and the director of the Center on Disability and Inclusion, a research center that promotes the inclusion of people with disabilities in all aspects of school and society—both locally and globally. She has also served as coordinator of undergraduate and graduate programs leading to certification in childhood and special education. Since joining the School of Education faculty in 2007, her teaching and research has focused on inclusive education, communicative diversity, disability studies and inclusive teacher preparation, with specific emphasis on the experiences of autistic and neurodivergent students. Her work seeks to disrupt dominant notions of disability as deficiency and underscores the importance of centering the voices of disabled people in research and practice.

Professor Ashby’s teaching and research focus on inclusive education broadly, with specific emphasis on supports for students with labels of autism and other developmental disabilities, communicative diversity, disability studies, and clinically rich teacher preparation. Her work seeks to disrupt dominant notions of disability as deficiency and underscores the importance of considering the lived experiences of individuals with disabilities and creating contexts for competence in inclusive schools and communities.

Ashby’s work has been published in journals including the Equity and Excellence in Education, International Journal of Inclusive Education, Disability and Society, Teacher Education and Special Education, and Intellectual and Developmental Disability. Her co-edited book, Enacting Change from Within: Disability Studies Meets Teaching and Teacher Education explores how disability studies can inform the practical work of teachers. She is also the co-editor of Excelsior: Leadership in Teaching and Learning. Current collaborative projects with the Syracuse City School District focus on issues of equity related to special education service provision and access to fine arts, athletics and accelerated classes for students across a variety of demographic factors.

Ashby earned an undergraduate degree from the State University of New York College at Geneseo and a master’s in special education, certificate of advanced study in disability studies and Ph.D. in special education from Syracuse University. She was an inclusive special education teacher before beginning her university career. Ashby is co-chair of the Disability Access and Inclusion Council, served as co-chair of the Public Impact Working Group for the Academic Strategic Plan and was a member of the Academic Affairs Committee of the Senate from 2018 to 2023. She was also selected as a member of the inaugural Women in Leadership cohort. She is currently faculty representative to the Syracuse University Board of Trustees.



  • Ph.D. Special Education - Syracuse University (2008)
  • C.A.S. Disability Studies - Syracuse University (2007)
  • M.S. Special Education - Syracuse University (2001)
  • B.S. Special and Elementary Education - SUNY Geneseo (1995)

Research & Scholarship

Research Focus:

Inclusive education and teacher preparation, Autism and communication, and Disability Studies




  • Excellence in Graduate Education Teaching Recognition Award, 2015
  • Teaching Recognition Award sponsored by the Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professors, 2013
  • Joan N. Burstyn Endowed Fund for Research in Education Award for Collaborative Research Syracuse University, School of Education, 2013 & 2014
  • Teacher Education & Special Education Outstanding Article, 2011
  • 2009 Dissertation Award for the Disability Studies in Education Special Interest Group of the American Education Research Association

Courses Taught

  • EDU/ DSP 203 - Introduction to Inclusive Schooling
  • SPE 434 - Collaborative Teaching for Inclusive Education 
  • SPE/ DSP 644 - Significant Disabilities: Shifts in Paradigms and Practices 
  • SPE 724: Professional Practices in Inclusive Special Education
  • SPE/ DSP 700 - Narrating Competence: An Exploration of the Discourse of Autism 
  • EDU 465/665- Literacy, Inclusion and Diversity in Italy