New Faculty Focus: Meet Ashley White

During the course of the academic year, we’ll be sharing out Q&As completed by our newest faculty members in an effort to introduce them to our campus and School of Education communities.

Name: Ashley L. White

Title, including department and school: Assistant Professor, Department of Rehabilitation Psychology and Special Education

Hometown: Tampa, Florida

Ashley WhiteEducational/professional background: Public school teacher, 16 years (special education / inclusion / fifth grade / preschool); Joseph P. Kennedy Fellow, 2019-2020 (Committee on Education and Labor – Bobby Scott)

Previous position: Human services practitioner, Florida Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support Project (FLPBIS)

How did you get into your field of research? Teaching children classified as “EBD” (emotional and behavioral disorder) — (They weren’t.)

What attracted you to UW–Madison? Their eagerness and demonstrative intent to broaden their department to include specific research and practice related to policy/issues and solutions related to BISOC (Black, Indigenous, students of color) and special education.

What was your first visit to campus like? Cold.

What’s one thing you hope students who take a class with you will come away with? Make your own agenda and stick with it … if this agenda is in the best interest of all students. Not everyone will understand but that is okay.

Is there a way your field of study can help the world endure and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic that has affected the health, finances, and lifestyle of so many? Yes. The idea of “learning loss” is all the rage these days. My research can help to reframe this discussion in a way that highlights student and family abilities as opposed to their deficits. Additionally, my research related to Black/African American student-athletes with disabilities at Division I football programs at predominantly white institutions of higher education will inform the way that student-athletes are conceived and treated post-COVID.

Do you feel your work relates in any way to the Wisconsin Idea? If so, please describe how. If education does not extend beyond the classroom, it is useless. Through my research, I can enhance my knowledge and therefore my advocacy for students both in and out of the classroom. All students leave the classroom, so I hope to frame all of my research in a way that benefits students as they transition to every stage of life.

What’s something interesting about your area of expertise you can share that will make us sound smarter during video chats (and eventually parties)? Sometimes the most significant disabilities are the ones you cannot see.

Hobbies/other interests: Dance – reading – spending time with Monti.