Danielle Cowley

Graduate & Continuing Studies


  • PhD: Special Education, Syracuse University, 2013
  • CAS: Disability Studies, Syracuse University, 2010
  • MS: Sport Psychology, Ithaca College, 2004
  • BS: Counseling Psychology & Physical Education Morningside College, 2002
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Dr. Danielle Cowley is an Associate Professor of Education who specializes in inclusive education, disability studies, and literacy. She currently serves as the Program Director for AU's MSEd in Literacy and the newly minted MSEd in Inclusive Special Education. Her primary teaching responsibilities include graduate courses in the areas of inclusive and comprehensive literacy instruction, children's literature, best practices for inclusion, humanistic behavior supports, and research design. Dr. Cowley’s research interests include inclusive education, disability studies in education, urban school reform, gender in schooling, comprehensive literacy instruction for students with significant disability labels, and inclusive education in the Global South. Over the past three years, she has presented seven guest lectures and addresses to the University of Cape Town in Cape Town, South Africa in collaboration with the Including Disability in Education in Africa Research Unit.

Dr. Cowley has published several book chapters and in journals such as PowerPlay: A Journal of Educational Justice, the Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies, and Race Ethnicity and Education and has presented her research at numerous national and regional conferences. One of her most recent publications "Understanding Disability Studies in Education" (co-authored with Dr. Judith McKenzie) explored DSE as a framework for understanding disability in educational contexts, while arguing for inclusive education as a means of promoting equity and social justice for learners with disabilities. Dr. Cowley was the recipient of the 2014 AERA-sponsored Disability Studies in Education Outstanding Dissertation Award for her research with adolescent girls with disabilities. In 2019 she was the recipient of the College of Education Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award from the University of Northern Iowa. Outside of academia, Dr. Cowley enjoys exploring the Finger Lakes and Allegheny Mountains with her husband and two young boys.

Courses Taught

  • EDUC 603 Competency in the Teaching of Literacy
  • EDUC 605 Literacy in the Content Areas
  • EDUC 613 Literature for Children
  • EDUC 670 Literacy Seminar and Field Experience
  • EDUC 695 Master's Research
  • SPED 541 Inclusion and Students with Autism
  • SPED 542 Collaboration and Advocacy with Schools and Families
  • SPED 564 Environmental Design and Humanistic Supports

Research, Publications, & Presentations

Research & Publications

  • From shared governance to shared leadership: Our COVID response to faculty evaluation, support, and advancement Burnight, J., Cowley, D., Hawbaker, B. W., Mattingly, J., Pease, P., Petersen, A., & Vallentine, J. Teacher-Scholar: The Journal of the State Comprehensive University 2022
  • Global conversations: Recovery and detection of global south multiply-marginalized bodies. Iqtadar, S., Hernandez-Saca, D., Ellison, B., & Cowley, D. Race, Ethnicity, and Education 2021
  • Understanding disability studies in education. Cowley, D., & McKenzie, J. In J. McKenzie, K. Nseibo, C. Samuels & A. Karisa (Eds.), Disability studies in inclusive education. 2023
  • Teaching in the in-between: Opportunities for and resistance to inclusive reform. Petersen, A., Cowley, D., Gallagher, D., & Iqtadar, S. Lexington Press In Hernandez-Saca, D., Voulgarides, C. M., Pearson, H. (Eds.). Understanding the Boundaries between Disability Studies and Special Education through Consilience, Self-Study, and Radical Love. 2022
  • Respect for the ghost, justice for the living: A sociological haunting 30 years in the making. Brill In L. Ware & E. Nusbaum (Eds.), From critical special education to disability studies in education: Lous Heshusius, the strong poet. 2020

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