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Headshot photo of Dr. Patricia Higgins, Ed Psych Online

Patricia Higgins, PhD

Program Coordinator for EdPsych Online


Prior to becoming an educational psychology educator, Patricia had a twenty-year professional career in international education in diverse higher education settings. Her strong commitment to facilitating student success, especially for students from underrepresented or marginalized populations, and advocating for equity in educational settings remains a driving force in her professional journey. After living in different cities around the world, she is happy to call East Tennessee home. She likes to spend any spare time with her husband Matthew and their dog and cat in her pollinator garden.


  • Refugee and Immigrant Adult Learner Access and Opportunities in Higher Education
  • International Student Persistence in U.S. Higher Education
  • Facilitating Inclusive Learning Environments for Diverse Populations
  • Student-Centered Teaching & Support Strategies
  • Curriculum and Program Planning for Multicultural and Multilingual Adult Learners
  • Intersectionality, Critical Theory, and Transformative Learning in Adult Learning


  • PhD, Educational Psychology, University of Tennessee, December 2019
  • Graduate Certificate, Qualitative Research Methods in Education, University of Tennessee, December 2019
  • English Language Teaching Leadership Management Certificate, TESOL, June 2019
  • MS  University of Tennessee, Educational Psychology,  August 2017
  • BA  Eckerd College, December 2001

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Awards and Recognitions

  • Outstanding Graduate Student Award,  UTK 2019             
  • Friends of Educational Psychology and Counseling Research Grant, UTK 2019
  • Travis Hawk Fellowship, UTK       2018-2019
  • Letters Collegium Award of Honor, Eckerd College, 2001


Higgins, P. (2023). “I don’t even recognize myself anymore”: An autoethnography of workplace bullying in higher education. Power and Education

Higgins, P. J., & Misawa, M. (2021). A narrative study of refugee adult learners’ experiences in Southeastern U.S. community college. Community College Journal of Research and Practice. DOI: 10.1080/10668926.2021.1910596

Submitted, In Review

Higgins, P. J., & Misawa, M. (2022). A narrative inquiry on the experiences of adult refugee learners navigating U.S. higher education: Bird in a cage. In review.

Works in Progress

Higgins, P. J., & Misawa, M. (2023). A narrative inquiry on the diverse experiences of adult refugee learners in community colleges in the Southeastern Region of the United States.

Higgins, P.J., & Misawa, M. (2023). Bridging the gap: Creating safe and inclusive research environments for vulnerable populations through narrative inquiry.

Misawa, M., & Higgins, P.J. (2023). Changing spaces and changing positionality: The transformative process of professionalization.

Misawa, M., & Higgins, P.J. (2023). Teaching ethics to adults: How do we learn and transfer knowledge about ethical beliefs and practices. 

Headshot photo of Dr. Patricia Higgins, Ed Psych Online

Contact Information

  • 517 Bailey Education Building; 1126 Volunteer Blvd.; Knoxville, TN 37996
  • Phone: 865-974-8642
  • E-mail: