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College of Education

Faculty and Staff

Christina W. Yao, Ph.D.

Title: Associate Professor and Educational Leadership Ph.D. Program Coordinator
Department: Leadership, Learning Design, and Inquiry
College of Education
Phone: 803-777-4269
Office: Wardlaw 307
Christina W. Yao, Ph.D.


  • Ph.D., Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education, Michigan State University
  • M.Ed., Higher Education Administration, Loyola University Chicago
  • B.A., Journalism, Marquette University


Christina W. Yao, Ph.D., is a qualitative researcher who primarily studies undergraduate and graduate student engagement and learning in higher education. She operationalizes her research focus through three connected topical areas: international and comparative education, teaching and learning, and graduate education. Some current projects include a collaborative study on transnational pressures on teaching and learning in Vietnam, the college transition process for international students of Color, and graduate students’ international scholar-practitioner development. Yao is involved in the leadership of several professional organizations, including the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) and the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES). She also serves on the editorial board for several journals, including the Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, Journal of College Student Development, and Journal of International Students.

Selected Publications

Yao, C.W. (2021, July 1). Who do we want to be as a global knowledge community? International Educator.

Yao, C.W., Collins, C., & Bush, T., Briscoe, K.L., & Dang, N.L.T. (2021). English as a “double barrier”: English medium instruction and student learning at Vietnamese transnational universities. Higher Education Research and Development.

Yao, C.W. (2021). Global positional competition and interest convergence: Student mobility as a commodity for U.S. academic imperialism. In J.J. Lee’s (Ed.), Critical International Higher Education and Power: How US Internationalization is Not Neutral. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.

George Mwangi, C.M., & Yao, C.W. (2020). U.S. higher education internationalization through an equity driven lens: An analysis of concepts, history, and research. In M. B. Paulsen & L. W. Perna (Eds) Higher Education: Handbook of Theory and Research (Vol. 35). New York: Springer.

Yao, C.W., George Mwangi, C.A., & Malaney Brown, V.K. (2019). Exploring the intersections of transnationalism and Critical Race Theory. Race, Ethnicity, and Education, 22(1), 38-58.

Selected Presentations

Pillay, T., Soudien, C., Tamtik, M., Trilokekar, R., Viczko, M., & Yao, C.W. (2021, May). Confronting Privilege in Internationalization of Higher Education during COVID-19: What have we learned?. Invited panelist to the Canadian Society for the Study of Higher Education and Comparative and International Education Society of Canada/Société Canadienne d’Education Comparée et International Conference.

George Mwangi, C.A., Yao, C.W., Morrison, J., Whatley, M., Viggiano, T., Blanco, G. (2021, April).
Approaches to Equity-driven Internationalization Scholarship in Higher Education. Symposium session presented at the American Educational Research Association Annual Conference.

Yao, C.W. (2019, April). English Mediated Instruction in Vietnam: Higher Education and Social Transformations. Invited presenter to the Provost’s Global Forum, “Why School? International Perspectives on Education and Social Transformation,” at the University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA.

Research Areas of Expertise

  • International higher education
  • Student transitions and engagement in higher education
  • Teaching and learning in higher education
  • Critical qualitative methods

Special Awards

  • Spencer Foundation Small Research Grants Program Awardee, April 2021
  • 2021 Excellence in International Research Award, Global Dimensions of Student Development, College Student Educators International (ACPA), March 2021
  • Best Article Award, CIES Study Abroad & International Students SIG, March 2020
  • Loyola University Chicago School of Education Distinguished Alumni Award, November 2018

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.