Congratulations to Dr. Catherine Clements!

In May 2024, Dr. Catherine (Kate) Clements successfully defended a dissertation titled, “Virtual Exchanges as an Emancipatory Practice.” Family members, colleagues, faculty, and both current and former classmates joined together virtually to support Kate’s research presentation.

Abstract: Virtual exchange (VE) is the practice of pairing geographically-dispersed learners in online exchange ((Dooly & Vinagre, 2022; O’Dowd & Lewis, 2018; Vinagre, 2017). It supports myriad educational goals including language study, intercultural communicative competence, and teacher training. My two-paper dissertation is an exploration of its emancipatory possibilities both in theory and in practice. It analyzes VE through the lens of feminist pedagogy, and also investigates its use for pre-service language teacher education.


The first paper explores the alignment of feminist pedagogy, which is a multifaceted and diverse topic (Palmieri & MacLean, 2022), and VE. It reviews scholarship on VE from 2019 to 2023 and examines the benefits and drawbacks of VE for language learning, international education, and teacher education, emphasizing its capacity to empower learners, foster community, and amplify diverse voices, while questioning the issue of unequal access to both VE and educational technology. The second paper investigates the perceptions of pre-service instructors in a Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) practicum and their multilingual partners who engaged in virtual and in-person tutoring partnerships. Using the Experiential Learning Cycle framework (Kolb & Kolb, 2022) as a guide, the experiences of participants were analyzed to reveal the characteristics, challenges, and affordances of both modalities as a way to learn to teach and to learn an additional language. Ultimately, this dissertation highlights the importance of incorporating VE and educational technology education into teacher training programs, and suggests avenues for future research and practice in this field.