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College of Education and Human Development - George Mason University

Joy Banks
PhD, University of Connecticut
Associate Professor
ARIE Faculty Member, Office of Inclusive Excellence
Helen A. Kellar Institute for Human disAbilities
Special Education
Special Education: General Curriculum

Contact Information

Send email to Joy Banks

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George Mason University
Fairfax Campus
Finley Building
4400 University Dr.
MS 1F2
Fairfax, VA 22030


Prior to coming to George Mason University, Joy served as the Department Chair for the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at Howard University and as Associate Dean for Research and Development at Bowie State University. Joy served as a faculty member at North Carolina Central University and Catholic University of America. Joy is committed to exploring the intersection of race and disability and how societal norms contribute to the marginalization of adolescents and young adults identified with disabilities. For two decades, Joy has taught courses and provided international lectures on the topic of race, disability, and reading development. She has developed multiple faculty-led study abroad programs for undergraduate and graduate students in Mexico, Kenya, Cuba, and Colombia. For eight years she served as a lecturer with the Brothers of Charity (a Catholic Charity Organization) in Belgium. Joy obtained a Ph.D. in Special Education from the University of Connecticut, a M.Ed. in Language, Literacy, and Learning Disabilities from the University of Michigan, and a B.S. in Hearing Impaired Education and World History from Eastern Michigan University.

Research Interests

Diversity in Higher Education 

Intersection of Race and Disability in Higher Education

Family Engagement in Schools and Communities for Multiply Marginalized Families of Children and Adults with Dis/abilities 

Recent Publications

Banks, J., Smith, P., & Neal, D. (2022). Identity politics: Exploring DisCrit’s potential to empower activism and collective resistance. In S. Annamma, B. Ferri, & D. Connor (Eds.) DisCrit Expanded: Inquires, Reverberations, & Ruptures. Teacher College Press: New York, NY.

Banks, J., Shockley, K., & Wilkerson, C. (2021). Ain’t I got a right to the tree of life: Examining special education through an African centered lens. Philosophical Inquires in Education.

Banks, J. (2019). Are we ready? Faculty perceptions of students with learning disabilities at a Historically Black University. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, 12(4), 297-306.

Banks, J., & Gibson, S. (2019).  Exploring the master narrative: Racial Knowledge and Understanding of Language and Literacy Pedagogy for Special Education Teacher Candidates. Reading and Writing Quarterly, 35(1), 30-41.

Banks, J. (2018). Invisible Man: The significance of context when examining race, gender and disability. Disability & Society, 33(6), 894-908.

Banks, J. (2017). These people are never going to stop labeling me: Educational experiences of African American male students with learning disabilities. Equity & Excellence in Education, 50(1), 96-107.

Courses Taught This Semester