Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery; none but ourselves can free our minds.
— Bob Marley
Elizabeth Drame, Ph.D.

Elizabeth Drame, Ph.D.

Since my first experience with doing service learning with a group of adults with Downs syndrome as a 17 year old high school senior, I have worked with and on behalf individuals with special needs. It is deeply personal advocacy work, as I constantly am pushed to confront how conceptions of ability serve to disable and marginalize others. It is also very rewarding, as each relationship I develop with someone not considered worthy because they do not meet standards of beauty or normality, inspires me to become a better me.

Professional Background: I am a Professor in the department of Exceptional Education at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. I serve as the department chair and program coordinator of the Autism Spectrum Disorders Certificate Program at UWM. I received my Ph.D. in Learning Disabilities/Communication Sciences and Disorders from Northwestern University in 2000. I served as a U.S. Fulbright Senior Research Fellow in the African Regional Research Program from 2011-2012 and served on the Board of Directors of the Council for Exceptional Children from 2006-2011. I teach courses in the behavioral supports, assessment of students with disabilities, curriculum accommodations, autism spectrum disorders, action research and collaborative strategies. Prior to my teacher preparation work in non-profit organizations and universities, I worked as a special education teacher in Chicago Public Schools and Milwaukee Public Schools. My research centers on educational outcomes for students with disabilities in inclusive schools, social justice and equity issues in special education, and teacher quality.

Areas of consulting expertise: Special Education Supports and Services; Culturally Responsive Teaching and Competency; Behavioral Supports; Autism Spectrum Disorders; Program Design and Evaluation; Participatory action research; Qualitative and Quantitative Research.

Sample publications, awards, or accomplishments:

Drame, E. and Irby, D. (eds.) (2016). Black Participatory Research: Power, Identity, and the Struggle for Justice in Education. Palgrave-MacMillan: New York, NY. (Book)

Drame, E. R. & Irby, D. J. (2015). Positionality and racialization in a PAR project: Reflections and insight from a school reform collaboration. The Qualitative Report, 20(8), 1164-1181. (Journal article).

Drame, E. R. & Kamphoff, K. (2014). Perceptions of disability and access to inclusive education in West Africa: A comparative case study in Dakar, Senegal. International Journal of Special Education, 29(3), 1-14. (Journal article)

Johnson-Burel, D., Drame, E. R. & Frattura, E. (2014). Participatory research in support of quality public education in New Orleans. Educational Action Research, 22 (3), 288-305. (Journal article)

Pugach, M.C., Johnson, L. J., Drame, E. R., & Williamson, P., (2012), Collaborative Practitioners, Collaborative Schools. Denver, CO: Love Publishing (Book).



No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.
— Nelson Mandela