Michelle Vital

Assistant Professor of International Higher Education

faculty Louise Michelle Vital

Dr. Vital is a core faculty member in the International Higher Education program at Lesley University. Concurrent with her doctorate degree Dr. Vital earned a graduate certificate in international development and specialized in Latin American and Caribbean studies. She writes, “my positionality as a first-generation American and daughter of Haitian immigrants has largely shaped how I view and understand the world and has proved instrumental in the academic and professional decisions I have made thus far.”

Dr. Vital’s research interests include global student access, persistence, and success in higher education; the role of higher education in society; critical reflexive practice in academia, and scholar/practitioner preparation for international engagement. She seeks to unpack challenges in marginalized communities and discover how higher education can be used as a tool for addressing those challenges. Additionally, she endeavors to learn more about others and the cultural influences that underpin their lived experiences. Thus, in her teaching practice she emphasizes the increasing interconnectedness of our global community and asks students to consider their place and role in society. She encourages students to adopt critical reflective practices to understand what influences their decisions in practice and research and asks them to contemplate their positions in a new setting to minimize their impact to the environment and those they encounter.

Dr. Vital is the Vice President for Academic Partnerships Development for the USA chapter of Le Groupe de Réflexion et d’Action pour une Haïti Nouvelle (GRAHN). Additionally, she is the Senior Instructional Advisor for The Global Citizens’ Initiative online course Fundamentals of Global Citizen Leadership for international development professionals across the globe. Dr. Vital is a reviewer for the International Journal of Doctoral Studies and the Journal for the Study of Postsecondary and Tertiary Education and is a member of the American Educational Research Association, Association for the Study of Higher Education, and the Comparative and International Education Society.


Journal Articles

Yao, C. W. & Vital, L. M. (2018). Reflexivity in international contexts: Implications for U.S. doctoral students international research preparation. International Journal of Doctoral Studies, 13, p. 193-201. 

Vital, L. M. (2017). Looking ahead post disaster: What Latin American and Caribbean higher education can learn from Haiti. Revista de Educación Superior en América Latina, 3, 3-5.

Patterson, S. M., Lane, T. B., & Vital, L.M. (2017). Black doctoral women: Exploring barriers and facilitators of success in graduate education. Academic Perspectives in Higher Education. 

Yao, C. W. & Vital, L. M. (2016). “I don’t think I’m prepared”: Perceptions of U.S. higher education doctoral students on international research preparation. Journal for the Study of Postsecondary and Tertiary EducationI, 197-214. 

Book Chapter

Vital, L. M. & Yao, C. W. (2018). Future directions for internationalization in higher education: Ecological considerations for doctoral research training. In D. Proctor & L. E. Rumbley (Eds.), The Future Agenda for Internationalization in Higher Education: Next Generation Insights into Research, Policy, and Practice. New York and London: Routledge.


Other Articles

Vital, L. M. (2017). Challenges, success, and opportunities for Haitian higher education. In A.

A. Woldegiyorgis, L. E. Rumbley, & H. de Wit (Eds), CIHE Perspectives No. 6. Year in Review, 2016-2017. Boston, MA: Boston College Center for International Higher Education, 47-49. 

Vital, L. M. (Winter, 2008). What’s in a name? End Note. The Simmons Magazine-CAS Edition. 

Renn, K. A., Rehling, J. B. & Vital, L.M. (2005, August). Using an online immersion to teach and learn about student affairs and technology. StudentAffairs.Com



Wilson, E., Turner Johnson, A., Vital, L. M., Pacheco, I. F. & Aslami, H.  (2017, July 12). Higher education in crisis and conflict: Implications for policy and partnerships [webcast] for USAID Education in Crisis & Conflict Network. https://www.eccnetwork.net/events/higher-education-crisis-and-conflict-webcast-discuss-implications-policy-and-partnerships

Vital, L. M. (2017, April 20). Rebuilding higher education post disaster. In The role of higher education in fragile contexts [blog post] for USAID Education in Crisis & Conflict Network. Retrieved from https://www.eccnetwork.net/learning/role-higher-education-fragile-contexts

Celestin, M. (producer). Vital, L. M. (invited guest). (2015, September 27). Talk! With Marie [Online radio] Episode “Talk with Marie Presents Louise Michelle Vital, Ph.D. & HELP Case Study” Retrieved from http://www.blogtalkradio.com/talkwithmarie

McPhee, M. M. (producer). Vital, L. M. (expert in residence). (2015, July 5). Wining with Doctoral Students [Audio podcast], Episode “New PhD Smell.”


PhD,  Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education, Michigan State University
MA, Student Affairs Administration, Michigan State University
BA, Sociology, Simmons University

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