Louise Michelle Vital, PhD

Teaching Philosophy


I believe in learning for learning's sake, increasing understanding and interpretation, and acquiring and enhancing skills. 

I also understand that students arrive to new academic settings representing a variety of teaching and learning experiences. It is my desire that when students encounter the learning space I create, I foster their curiosity, promote their exploration of new ideas, and encourage their risk-taking in the pursuit of knowledge.

Teaching Approach

As an educator with a sociology background, I observe and understand how our cultural contexts influence how we live and shape our lives within a global community. With this foundation, my teaching and scholarship provides me the opportunity to engage learners as they critically think about and investigate questions, seek to gain clarity on phenomena, and endeavor to increase their understanding of a new concept.

I am committed to fostering an atmosphere, be it in-person or virtual, that is tolerant of diverse opinions so that critical discourse can occur. As such, I envision my teaching role as a facilitator in the classroom, which allows for the co-construction of knowledge such that students and I, the instructor, come to a shared understanding of the material. Through a combination of lecture, discussion, and experiential learning activities, I emphasize meaningful contribution to conversations, ask learners to raise new insights and pose thoughtful questions in their written and verbal work, introduce materials to reinforce or challenge ideas, and encourage interrogation of concepts until meaning has been reached.

My work is situated in a social justice context and undergirding my philosophy of teaching is the importance of understanding one’s self, prior to interaction with others. Thus, I incorporate conversations on positionality and critical reflexivity in my classroom to best help students reposition “the other” and realize the impact they have on the spaces and the people they encounter, both in research and in practice.

Academic Appointments

Assistant Professor

Lesley University
International Higher Education and Intercultural Relations, Graduate School of Arts and Social Sciences | August 2018-present

  • GINTC 6100 Identity and Belonging in a Categorized World

  • GINTC 6109 Global Perspectives on International Higher Education

  • GINTC 7107 Applied Research in Professional Practice

Affiliate Faculty

Oregon State University
Adult & Higher Education Leadership Doctoral Program, College of Education | 2018-present

  • AHE 645 (online): Ethical Practice in Higher Education (summer 2018)

Part Time Faculty

Northeastern University
Global Studies and International Relations Master's Program, College of Professional Studies | September 2017– June 2018

  • GST 7983 (online): Special Topics: Higher Education and Development (winter 2018)

  • GST 6840 (online): The Business of International Education (winter 2018)

  • GST 6109 (online): Basic Field Research Methods (winter, spring 2018)

  • GST 6810 (online): International Higher Education (fall 2017)

  • GST 6506 (online & on-ground): Regional Studies: Latin America (fall 2017)

Visiting Scholar

Center for International Higher Education
Boston College | September 2016–May 2017

Graduate Student Advising and Mentoring

  • Dissertation Committee Member

    • Lesley University

    • University of Massachusetts Boston

  • Dissertation/Dissertation Proposal Coach and Editor (individual students)

    • Colombia University

    • Michigan State University

    • North Carolina State University

    • Regis College

    • University of Massachusetts Boston

    • University of New Orleans

    • University of South Florida

    • Walden University

    • Wayne State University

  • Master’s Thesis Coach and Editor (individual students)

    • Cambridge College

Invited Lectures

Brandeis University
“Context matters: People, places, language, and culture”
ED 264A Foundations of Education | July 2019

University of Nebraska–Lincoln
“Messy and personal and not always sterile: Incorporating critical reflexivity in research”
EDAD 900: Proseminar in Educational Leadership and Higher Education | November 2018

Brandeis University
“Positionality, reflexivity, & the impact of your practice”
ED 264A Foundations of Education | July 2018

Oakland University
“Critical reflexivity and positionality in education research”
ED 9010: Research Methodology – Qualitative Methods & Analysis | November 2017

University of Nebraska–Lincoln
“Beginning with self, engaging with the 'other': Preparation for educational research”
EDAD 900: Proseminar in Educational Leadership and Higher Education | November 2017

Michigan State University
“Preparing for and engaging in international research: Alumni perspectives”
Brown Bag Lunch Series, Office of International Studies in Education | November 2017

Brandeis University
“Culturally response practice: Incorporating reflexivity and positionality in the classroom”
ED 264A Foundations of Education | July 2017

Boston College
“International Research Training: Perceptions of Doctoral Students in the Field of Higher Education”
Center for International Higher Education | May 2017

Boston College
“Regional Perspectives on Higher Education: A Closer Look at Haiti”
ELHE 7801: Regional Perspectives on Higher Education in Asia and Latin America | April 2017

University of South Florida
“Innovation in higher education: Student services in fragile environments”
EDF 6938: Organization and Administration in Higher Education and Student Affairs | March 2017

Boston College
“Researcher reflexivity and positionality: Considerations for international field research and engagement”
ELHE 7903: Field experience in international higher education | February 2017

University of Nebraska–Lincoln
“The ground on which you stand: Reflexivity, positionality, and (re)positioning the other”
EDAD 995 Section 706: Proseminar in Educational Leadership and Higher Education | December 2016

University of South Florida
“Global perspectives of postsecondary education: Higher education attainment in Haiti”
EDH 6051: Higher Education in America | February 2016

Professional Course

Senior Instructional Advisor and Course Manager – The Global Citizens’ Initiative
Fundamentals of Global Citizen Leadership (online course) | Fall 2015, 2016, 2017

Core topics: Environmental sustainability, Gender equality, Good governance, Human rights, Peace and justice, Poverty reduction.

Undergraduate Courses

Language Fellow – Haitian Creole/Kreyol Ayisyen, Cultures and Languages Across the Curriculum (CLAC) Program
Residential College in the Arts & Humanities, Michigan State University | Fall 2014, Spring 2014 & 2015

Instructor – Simmons College
First-Year Experience (FYE) Seminar | Fall 2005–Spring 2010

Instructor – College of Education, Michigan State University
EAD 315: Student Leadership Training | Fall 2004, Spring 2005


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