Melissa Whatley, PhD

Dr. Melissa Whatley is assistant professor of international and global education at SIT Graduate Institute. Her research applies quantitative and mixed-methods approaches to improve our understanding of policies and practices that impact access and equity in U.S. international education, particularly in the community college context. She teaches courses on quantitative research methods, theoretical foundations of comparative and international education, and program planning and design in SIT’s master’s and doctoral programs in international and global education. She is author of An Introduction to Quantitative Analysis for International Educators, forthcoming with Springer. Her research has been featured in journals such as the Journal of Higher Education, Research in Higher Education, the Journal of Studies in International Education, and Higher Education. She is associate editor for the Journal of International Students and Research and Scholarship Network Leader for NAFSA: Association of International Educators.

Graduate Courses Taught

Advanced Concepts in International Education 1 & 2
Theoretical Foundations 1 (EdD)
Theory, Practice, and Policy of International Education
Reflective Practice
Research Methods 3: Introduction to Statistical Methods
Research Methods 4: Advanced Qualitative and Quantitative Data Analysis
International Education Program Planning and Design

Select Publications

Whatley, M., & Fischer, H. (in press, 2022). The international student experience at US community colleges at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Journal of International Students

Whatley, M., & LaVenture, S. (in press, 2022). Expanding opportunity: International education at North Carolina community colleges. New Directions for Community Colleges

Whatley, M. (In press, 2022). Community college international education and the COVID-19 pandemic: Observations from a study abroad program. In J. Ostrow Michel (Ed.), Higher Education amid the COVID-19 Pandemic: Supporting Teaching and Learning through Turbulent Times. Rutgers University Press

Whatley, M., & Castiello-Gutiérrez, S. (2021). Balancing finances, politics, and public health: International student enrollment and reopening plans at US higher education institutions amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Higher Education (available online ahead of print)

Whatley, M., & González Canché, M.S. (2021). A robust estimation of the relationship between study abroad and academic outcomes among community college students. Research in Higher Education (available online ahead of print)

Whatley, M., & Stich, A. (2021). Pushing the integration envelope: A network analysis of study abroad website content. Journal of Mixed Methods Research (available online ahead of print)

Worsham, R., DeSantis, A.L., Whatley, M., Johnson, K.R., & Jaeger, A.J. (2021). Early effects of North Carolina’s Comprehensive Articulation Agreement on excess credit accumulation among community college transfer students. Research in Higher Education (available online ahead of print)

Worsham, R., Whatley, M., & Loss, J. (2021). Opportunity for all? The differential impacts of one state’s revised comprehensive articulation agreement by race/ethnicity. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 29(28), 1-44

Whatley, M., & Stich, A.E. (2021). From exclusive to inclusive: A mixed-methods investigation of study abroad participation and practices. The Journal of Higher Education, 92(1), 140-167

Whatley, M. (2021). Community college study abroad: An event history analysis. Community College Review, 49(2), 107-130

Whatley, M., Landon, A.C., Tarrant, M.A., & Rubin, D. (2020). Program design and the development of students’ global perspectives in short-term study abroad. Journal of Studies in International Education (available online ahead of print)

Whatley, M., & Raby, R. L. (2020). Understanding Inclusion and Equity in Community College Education Abroad. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 32(1), 80-103

Whatley, M. (2020). Institutional stratification in study abroad participation and experiences: Exploring the role of research institution attendance. In S. Kommers & K. Bista (Eds.), Inequalities in study abroad and student mobility: Navigating challenges and future directions (pp. 95-110). Routledge

Whatley, M. (2019). Study abroad participation: An unintended consequence of state merit aid programs? Research in Higher Education, 60(7), 905-930

Whatley, M. (2019). Clearing the hurdle: The relationship between institutional profiles and community college study abroad. In G. Malveaux & R.L. Raby (Eds.), Study abroad opportunities for community college students and strategies for global learning (pp. 90-106). IGI Global Publishers

Portes, P.R., González Canché, M.S., Boada, D., & Whatley, M. (2018). Early evaluation findings from the instructional conversation study: Culturally responsive teaching outcomes for diverse learners in elementary school. American Educational Research Journal, 55(3), 488-531

Whatley, M. (2018). Toward an understanding of peer influence on undergraduate study abroad participation: A pilot study. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 30(3), 51-71

Linford, B., Zahler, S., & Whatley, M. (2018). Acquisition, study abroad, and individual differences: The case of subject pronoun variation in L2 Spanish. Study Abroad Research in Second Language Acquisition and International Education, 3(2), 243-274

Whatley, M. (2017). Financing study abroad: An exploration of the influence of financial factors on undergraduate study abroad patterns. Journal of Studies in International Education, 21(5), 431-449

Current Grants

Exploring Access and Outcomes of Virtual International Exchange at North Carolina Community Colleges. Funded by the Stevens Initiative

Global Scholars Program Assessment. Funded by the Carolina Asia Center

A Quasi-experimental Study of Student Outcomes from Global Learning Opportunities. Funded by the Comparative and International Education Society Study Abroad and International Students Special Interest Group and the American College Personnel Association Foundation


  • PhD, Higher Education, University of Georgia
  • MA, Romance Languages, University of Georgia
  • BA, Spanish, University of Georgia
  • BA, Romance Languages, University of Georgia
  • BA, Linguistics, University of Georgia
Melissa Whatley, PhD

SIT Graduate Institute

Assistant Professor

Doctorate in Global Education

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Assistant Professor

MA in International Education

More from this program >