The MSEd in Differentiated Instruction (Special Education) at St. Bonaventure University is a unique degree is designed for general or special education teachers in all developmental areas who wish to meet the needs of students in increasingly diverse classrooms.


Differentiated Instruction Special EducationThis unique degree is designed for general or special education teachers in all developmental areas who wish to meet the needs of students in increasingly diverse classrooms.

Coursework and field experiences are designed to build skills in meeting the needs of students with very diverse backgrounds and skill levels. The Differentiated Instruction – Students with Disabilities Master’s program provides teachers with extended research-based knowledge in the areas of assessment, differentiated instructional strategies, behavioral strategies, collaborative teamwork, assistive technology, and other inclusive education issues.

This program was developed in response to the increasing demand for teachers who have the skills to meet the needs of students with a wide range of exceptionalities in diverse classrooms. Exceptionalities include those students with significant learning, behavioral or communication difficulties as well as those who may be identified as gifted and/or talented.

This MSED meets the criteria for, and may be used in partial fulfillment of, the requirements for professional (permanent) teacher certification in New York, and also meets the coursework requirement for the gifted education extension and students with disabilities certification.

Students with disabilities certification may be obtained in one of three developmental areas, Birth – grade 2, grades 1-6, or 7-12 generalist. Graduate students who currently hold an existing Students with Disabilities Certification MAY obtain an additional certification in a different developmental area. 

For more information about this and other Differentiated Instruction programs, please contact Dr. René Garrison, program director. (see below)


You may register for an internship once you have completed 18 credit hours in your master's program.  The application should be filed by mid-semester of the semester prior to your internship in order to allow time for the placement to be arranged.  Please make an appointment with the department chair to discuss your  application.  The chairperson's signature is required before the Office of Field Services will act on your application.  It is important to note that you will have one semester from your starting date in which to complete your 50 clock hours.  During that interval you will be observed at least two times by the university supervisor. 

Please email Dr. Rene' E. Garrison with any questions about Differentiated Instruction Internships.

Contact Information
If you wish to apply to this program, please contact the Graduate Admissions Office at St. Bonaventure University at (716) 375-2021 or for graduate admission materials.

For more information regarding the degree in differentiated instruction, please contact
Dr. Rene' Garrison, Director 
Plassmann Hall B06, St. Bonaventure University
St. Bonaventure, NY 14778
(716) 375-4078


News, Publications & Research

More News

Fisher, Anne-Claire

Titles/Responsibilities Associate Professor
Academic School
School of Education
Academic Department Differentiated Instruction
Contact Information Office Phone: (716) 375-4033
Office Location/Hours Plassmann Hall, B44
Courses Taught
  • DIFF 504. Communication and Collaboration Skills for Standards-Based Inclusive Education.
    • Course syllabus 
    • Assignment guidelines 
  • DIFF 506. Language, Literacy, and Communications for Students with Exceptionalities
    • Course syllabus  
  • DIFF 512. Advanced Behavioral Strategies 
    • Course syllabus  
  • SPED 340. Classroom and Behavioral Management 
    • Course syllabus 
    • Assignment guidelines 
  • SPED 430. Assessment and Assistive Technology for Children with Exceptionalities 
    • Course syllabus 
    • Assignment guidelines
Academic Degrees
  • Ed.D, Special Education Administration and Leadership, University of Arizona, 2009
  • M.A., Severe and Profound and Multiple Disabilities, University of Arizona, 1998
  • M.A., Francophone Literature, University of Arizona, 1986
  • B.A., English, Université des Sciences Humaines, Strasbourg, France, 1981
Other Education
Professional Background
  • Brawdy, P; & Fisher, AC. “Putting critical pedagogy into practice: The challenges and opportunities of a racially-diverse student teaching placement,” submitted to the American Education Research Association (AERA), Vancouver, BC. 4/12.
  • Brawdy, P; Fisher, AC.; Hlavaty, K.; Kush, S; Schaaf A.; & Vester, K; (2011). “Borderland Praxis and teacher education.” National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME), Chicago, IL.)
  • Fisher, AC.; McIntyre, D.; Palmquist, A.; & Schmick, K. (2011) “University-agency collaboration: Creating the space for parents to educate teachers.” Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), Rochester, NY.
  • Brawdy, P.; & Fisher, AC. (2011). “The Experiential Impact of History: Grounding our Pedagogy in the Landscape of Carlisle.” American Education Research Association (AERA), New Orleans, LA.
  • Brawdy, P.; Fisher, AC.; Thompson, C.; Schroeder, A.; Peterson, L.; & DiBattista, M. (2010) “Considering Culturally-Responsive Praxis in Student Teaching: The Development of a Pilot Capstone Course”. National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME) conference, Las Vegas, Nevada.
  •  Fisher, AC., Brawdy, P. & Thompson, C. (2011), Considering Culturally-Responsive Praxis in Student Teaching: The Development of a Pilot Capstone Course. National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME). Las Vegas, NV, November 5, 2010
  • Fisher, AC. & Plummer, C. (2009), Conflict Between Parent And Professional As The Path To Building Inclusive Schools. TASH. Pittsburgh, PA.
  • Lawrence-Brown et al., (2009), Critical Perspectives in Inclusive Teacher Preparation: Part II. TASH. Pittsburg, PA
  • Fisher, A.C. (2008). Understand Conflict Between Professionals and Parents in Special Education. New York State School Counselor Association. 5(1), 18-32
  • Fisher, A.C. (2007). Creating a Discourse of Difference.Education, Citizenship, and Social Justice, (2007) 2, 159-192.
Teaching Philosophy

I model what I teach. I believe that building a close community of learners is the necessary setting for high student achievement.


Key to hooking students into learning is the ability to genuinely engage them personally, getting to know their interests and motivations. The path to this end as the teacher is to balance a demand for rigor and in-depth content knowledge, with an opportunity for mastery and the ability to practice until the knowledge is attained.


I practice personal transparency along with humor. I believe we all bring something to the table and I will learn from my students along the way.


Technology is infused in my teaching and embedded into all of my classes. It helps simplify, clarify, reiterate expectations (syllabi, assignment guidelines, class power points), expand on the topic (additional websites and resources, current research), assess (online quizzes), and provides students with immediate feedback on their efforts.


My passion for education and what I teach helps me to engage others into listening a while longer. I encourage discussion and questions and do not shy from discussing current educational issues. The ideal of the practitioner/scholar is one that I aspire to emulate. Simultaneously I believe we must equip our students with the ability to make sound decisions and think critically, as the population they serve is changing rapidly.


To this end we must help them reach beyond practice and skill building to grasp the importance of theoretical work found in current research dealing with complex issues (Dewey, 1904). Additionally preparing them for the research to practice gap and dysfunction currently found in the field will help retain them in the field.


Schools embody society’s multiple facets and our educational system is experiencing much turbulence. In this age of increased accountability it is important to preserve the ideal of social justice, understanding that schools and the teachers can become the conduit for transformation (Aronowitz & Giroux, 1987).


Ethics and heart are vital components of the teacher toolkit, and a cooperative, fully inclusive, and democratic classroom is at the core of the change. Since the students we serve in public schools will only increase in diversity (ability, color, culture, language, resources) it is important to help future teachers recognize their own culture and biases, as well as fuel their desire to better meet the needs of students of difference.


I am always interested in challenging students to question and research areas they might be interested in, encouraging their affiliation to professional organizations. I have been instrumental in starting a new chapter of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) on campus, and have co-presented with students at state and national conferences at least three times (CEC -11, NAME-10/11).


I feel a sense of urgency in my role as a teacher-educator. We desperately need more talented teachers able to respond and challenge the needs of the students they serve as during these tumultuous times.


Contrary to popular belief, teaching is not for the faint of heart.

Current Research Interests/Projects
  • Critical, multicultural, and transformative pedagogy and its effect on pre-service teachers
  • Disproportionality in special education
  • Working with parents of children with exceptionalities
Other Interests/Community Involvement

In 2011, Dr. Fisher was presented an award from the Mental Health Association of Cattaraugus County for work done during the course of classes focused on cross-systems collaboration and working with parents of children with exceptionalities. St. Bonaventure students in the graduate Differentiated Instruction program interned with parents with the mission of identifying specific problems they might have with schools and then helping to resolve them. 



  • Co-chair of the Yankelovich endowed fellowship program: a committee whose purpose is to develop current and future leaders dedicated to the transformation of society based on the Franciscan ideals of peace, justice, reconciliation and service
  • Faculty senate curriculum committee
  • Adhoc professional development committee focused on bringing about greater teaching and mentoring expertise to faculty at large
  • Community Based Learning Grant (CBL) to enhance a graduate class (DIFF 550) focused on working with families of children with exceptionalities by collaborating with a local agency that provides supports to families of children with exceptionalities (S2010)
  • Community Based Learning Grant (CBL) focused on an undergraduate capstone class to assist us to revisit the Carlisle Indian Boarding School in spring 2011 in collaboration with the Salamanca School District students and faculty (S2010)
  • Lenna Visiting Professor Scholarship, which helped me bring Norman Kunc, renowned disability rights activist and inclusion proponent, to St. Bonaventure campus for two weeks in October 2010
Website Links Complete vita