Dian Mawene

Assistant Professor
Office: Hamilton Smith Hall, Room 324, 95 Main Street, Durham, NH 03824

Dian Mawene (She/her) is an assistant professor of special education. Dian earned her Ph.D. in Special Education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research interest is at the intersections of race, class, space, and disability. Dian works with students, parents, and community members to understand the local context of racial disproportionality in education opportunities and outcomes such as in special education identifications and school disciplinary practices. Dian also delves into understanding structural factors such as public policies and school de/segregation politics that shape the educational opportunities of students, especially students of color. Her aim is to create a learning environment and transform the school system towards being more culturally responsive to the diverse needs of students of color from historically marginalized backgrounds. Dian’s research is transdisciplinary in nature combining perspectives from special education, disability studies, education policy, and critical geography. Currently, she is working on examining how students of color and of low-income backgrounds including those with disabilities are spatially othered. Dian has also developed systemic transformation with local school stakeholders to create a culturally responsive school discipline system. An emerging new line of study she is interested in is establishing teacher-preparation programs towards having justice-oriented teaching forces.


  • Ph.D., University of Wisconsin - Madison
  • M.S., University of Wisconsin - Madison
  • B.Ed., Satya Wacana Christian Univers

Research Interests

  • Disability justice
  • Disability studies
  • Educational equity
  • Issues and policy regarding the preparation, recruitment, and retention of special education personnel
  • Promoting inclusive education and advancing leadership for individuals with disabilities and their families
  • Special Education
  • Urban Education

Courses Taught

  • EDUC 650: Disability Inclusion & Schools
  • EDUC 856: Support Fam Inv Exceptionality

Selected Publications

Mawene, D., Bal, A., Dodge, S., & Mayer-Jochimsen, M. (2022). Culturally Responsive Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports for all Youth. In Multicultural Special Education for Inclusive Classrooms Intersectional Teaching and Learning (pp. 57-75). Routledge.

Ko, D., Bal, A., Bear, A. B., Orie, L., & Mawene, D. (2022). Indigenous learning lab as prefigurative political action to dismantle settler-colonial system of exclusion. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF INCLUSIVE EDUCATION. doi:10.1080/13603116.2022.2119488

Afacan, K., Bal, A., Artiles, A. J., Cakir, H. I., Ko, D., Mawene, D., & Kim, H. (2021). Inclusive knowledge production at an elementary school through family-school-university partnerships: A formative intervention study. Learning, Culture and Social Interaction, 31, 100569. doi:10.1016/j.lcsi.2021.100569

Ko, D., Mawene, D., Roberts, K., & Hong, J. J. (2021). A Systematic Review of Boundary-Crossing Partnerships in Designing Equity-Oriented Special Education Services for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students With Disabilities. Remedial and Special Education, 42(6), 412-425. doi:10.1177/0741932520983474

Bal, A., Waitoller, F. R., Mawene, D., & Gorham, A. (2021). Culture, context, and disability: A systematic literature review of cultural-historical activity theory-based studies on the teaching and learning of students with disabilities. Review of Education, Pedagogy, and Cultural Studies, 43(4), 293-337. doi:10.1080/10714413.2020.1829312

Mawene, D., & Bal, A. (n.d.). Spatial othering: Examining residential areas, school attendance zones, and school discipline in an urbanizing school district. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 28, 91. doi:10.14507/epaa.28.4676

Bal, A., Schrader, E. M., Afacan, K., & Mawene, D. (2016). Using Learning Labs for Culturally Responsive Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports. Intervention in School and Clinic, 52(2), 122-128. doi:10.1177/1053451216636057

Bal, A., Mawene, D., Schrader, E., & Pelton, S. (2014). Practitioner brief: using data maps to understand risks and opportunities to transform school from the ground-up.. Madison, WI: Madison: Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction..