Headshot of Louise Michelle Vital

Louise Michelle Vital

Senior Lecturer

Dr. Louise Michelle Vital is a senior lecturer in the Higher Education Administration program at Boston University Wheelock College of Education & Human Development. Her research and practice center on a country and regional focus on Haiti and the Caribbean, student experiences in higher education, community/university partnerships, practitioner–scholar preparation, and critical reflexive practice in academia.

Dr. Vital has over 20 years of experience in a variety of educational contexts, including TRiO programs, youth development, migrant student services, and student affairs. Before coming to BU Wheelock, Dr. Vital was an associate professor at Lesley University, where she was the director of the international higher education master’s program and cofounder/director of the Lesley University Institute for English Language Programs beyond Borders.

Along with the institute codirector, Dr. Vital partnered with l’Institut des sciences, des technologies et des études avancées d’Haïti to offer an English course for their graduate students, collaborated with the Authentic Caribbean Foundation and local embassies and ministries of education in the Bahamas, Grenada, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines to offer weeklong workshops on “teaching for neurodiversity” for about 600 K-12 educators, and created an English course for Haitian immigrant parents in partnership with Brockton Public Schools.

As a “first-gen/first-gen” (American, college student) Dr. Vital’s teaching, research, scholarship, and service are driven by key suppositions and questions, including how inequalities in power and privilege exist in society. She asks: what are the consequences of these realities, and what is their impact on educational experiences?

Recent News


PhD, Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education, Michigan State University

MA, Student Affairs Administration, Michigan State University

BA, Sociology, Simmons College

RS 600 Introduction to Research


Vital, L. M., Lane, T. B., Perez, E., & Patterson-Stephens, S. (2023). Professors behaving badly: Exploring sabotaging behaviors that impact Black women doctoral student persistence. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education.

Vital, L. M. & Yao, C. W. (2021). De-constructing the academic hood: Reflexive considerations for doctoral researcher socialization for international research. Journal of International Students, 11(S1), 68–85. https://www.ojed.org/index.php/jis/article/view/3844

Vital, L. M. (2021). Higher education and career development expectations of emerging adults: A focus on university students and graduates in Haiti. African Journal of Career Development, 3(1), a30. https://ajcd.africa/index.php/ajcd/article/view/30

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. https://www.informingscience.org/Publications/4005

Patterson, S. M., Lane, T. B., & Vital, L.M. (2017). Black doctoral women: Exploring barriers and facilitators of success in graduate education. Higher Education Politics and Economics, 3(1), 157–180. https://www.ojed.org/index.php/hepe/article/view/15

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. https://rcientificas.uninorte.edu.co/index.php/esal/article/view/10516/0

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 Education, I, 197-214. https://www.informingscience.org/Publications/3489

Book Chapters

Vital, L. M. & Hoffshire, M. (2023). “Not a thing that we talk about”: Recommendations for supporting and engaging LGBQ+ identified Caribbean heritage students. In S. Patterson Stephens & T. Bertrand Jones (Eds.) Advancing Inclusive Excellence in Higher Education: Practical Approaches to Promoting Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging. (pp. 243 - 264). Information Age Publishing.

Lane, B. T., Perez, E. N., Patterson-Stephens, S., & Vital, L. M. (2023). Research as a site of resistance: A phenomenological study of Black women in U.S. doctoral education. In E. S. W. Farmer (Ed.) The Black Student’s Pathway to Graduate Study and Beyond: The Making of a Scholar (pp. 79-96). Information Age Publishing.

Vital, L. M. (2020). Understanding self to engage with the ‘other’: Pedagogical approaches to teaching about identity and belonging in graduate education. In T. S. Jenkins (Ed). Reshaping graduate education through innovation and collaborative learning (pp. 147-166). IGI Global.

Hoffshire, M. & Vital, L. M. (2019). “It’s the intersections that get sticky”: Navigating ethnic and sexual orientation identities. In J. C. Garvey, et al. (Eds.) Case studies for student development theory: Advancing social justice & inclusion in higher education. New York and London: Routledge.

Alvarado-Young, K. & Vital, L. M. (2019). When keepin' it real goes wrong: #PCpolice. In M. Benjamin & J. Jessup-Anger (Eds.) Maybe I should. . . Case studies on ethics for student affairs professionals, 2nd edition (pp. 36-38). Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.

Boehme, L. & Vital, L. M. (2019). Student organizations and due process: A settled issue? In M. Benjamin & J. Jessup-Anger (Eds.) Maybe I should. . . Case studies on ethics for student affairs professionals, 2nd edition (pp. 173-175). Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.

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 (pp. 147-166). New York and London: Routledge.


Vital, L. M. & Neilsen, J. C. (June 2023). Obstacles to vessels: Considering pathways to change higher education’s system to promoter of social progress. Cultural Studies Association Conference, Fairfax, VA.

Vital, L. M. & Thorpe, M. (March 2023). Towards inclusive practice in global education: Integrating a DEI and global lens in practitioner preparation. Inclusive Learning Institute, Diversity Abroad.

Vital, L. M. (February 2023). Practitioner preparation for addressing race and racism in higher education praxis: Implications for graduate education (conceptual paper presentation). Comparative and International Education Society Annual Meeting, Washington, DC.

Vital, L. M. (chair & discussant), Denga, B., Yao, C., Zewolde, S., George Mwangi, C. (February 2023). Addressing race & racism in global higher education through research, teaching, and praxis (panel presentation). Comparative and International Education Society Annual Meeting, Washington, DC.

Vital, L. M. & Gooden, A. (October 2022). Multi-pronged global partnership: University, Government, and Non-profit Organization Caribbean Institute. NAFSA Regional XI Conference, Nashua, NH.

Chhabra, M. & Vital, L. M. (October 2022). Racial and colonial reckoning in higher education: A global social justice imperative (research paper presentation); Roundtable: The essence of 'best practice' in career guidance and counselling: Global perspectives, shared realities. UNESCO UniTwin Congress, Wroclaw, Poland.

Davis, A. (lecturer) & Vital, L. M. (moderator) (May 2022). Sonnabend Lecture with guest speaker Dr. Angela Davis. Lesley University. https://lesley.edu/news/persisting-in-the-fight-for-justice

Vital, L. M., Thorpe, M., Graham, L., & Groh, S. (October 2021). Developing scholar-practitioner identity in international higher education through teaching apprenticeships. NAFSA All Region Summit.

Vital, L. M. & Gooden, A. (June 2021). Teaching and learning English for academic purposes: Pedagogical approaches for culturally responsive online environments. Teaching Culturally and Linguistically Diverse International Student in Open or Online Learning Environments Research Symposium, University of Windsor.

Molina, D., Shaw Bonds, M., Moyen E., Vital, L. M., Cuellar, M., Taylor, L. (November 2020). Crisis insight and opportunity: Emergent interdisciplinary research at the intersection of higher education and COVID-19 (symposium presentation). Association for the Study of Higher Education annual conference.

Vital, L.M., Sinclair, S., Yao, C. W. (April 2019). Beyond study abroad: Developing global citizenship in graduate education through internationalization at home (paper accepted). Comparative and International Education Society Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA.

Vital, L. M. & Hoffshire, M. (March 2019). “It frustrates me” Caribbean heritage students navigating sexual identity formation (research paper presentation). Annual conference of ACPA-College Student Educators International, Boston, MA

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]. USAID Education in Crisis & Conflict Network. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=slVOo9ad18M