Dr. Joseph Levitan is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Integrated Studies in Education at McGill University. His research interests include leadership and policy for social justice in education, collaborative education development with Indigenous communities, educational theory, responsive educational leadership, and intersectional analysis of culture, identity, and learning.
Dr. Levitan is an educational anthropologist who uses ethnography, collaborative inquiry, phenomenology, and other qualitative, mixed, and comparative methods to understand educational phenomena. He completed graduate studies at Columbia University Teachers College (MA) and the Pennsylvania State University (PhD), where he was awarded a U.S. Department of Education Funded Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship. He has performed research in Latin America, the United States, and Southeast Asia.
Prior to joining the McGill Faculty, Dr. Levitan worked as an educational leader and researcher in the U.S. and Latin America for seven years. He co-founded and serves as the Director of Education and Operations at the Sacred Valley Project, a non-governmental organization dedicated to ensuring that Indigenous youth in the Peruvian Andes have access to high-quality and culturally grounded educational opportunities.
His current projects include developing and researching a collaborative and culturally grounded learning institution with Indigenous (Quechua) communities in the Peruvian Andes. Utilizing participatory action research methods to report on and evaluate the development of this new learning institute co-created with Quechua colleagues, this action research project is also a teaching and learning opportunity for McGill students interested in international development, education, and culture.
Ph.D. Educational Leadership & Comparative and International Education (dual title)
The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA
M.A. International Educational Development & Social Justice, Peace Education
Columbia University Teachers College, New York, NY
B.A. Philosophy (high honors)
Brandeis University, Waltham, MA
Organizational Leadership, Collaborative Inquiry, International Development, NGOs, Anthropology of Education, Ethnography, Social Justice in Education, Educational Philosophy/Theory, Indigenous Education, Identity, Embodied Leadership and Reflective/Reflexive Practices, Social-Emotional Learning, and Intersectional Analysis of Culture, Identity, and Learning
EDEM 610, Leadership in Action
EDEC 675, Special Topics in Educational Leadership
EDEM 606, Educational Leadership Issues
- Identity development for first generation students in secondary and post-secondary schools
- School innovation in Quebec: NEXT Schools
- Collaborative ways to develop high-quality, culturally grounded education and its effect on learning and social-emotional outcomes in the Peruvian Andes
- Leaders' reflexive practices and their influence on relational dynamics in multicultural spaces
- Ecological understandings of culture, identity and personal growth
Developing a community-grounded and community-driven education center in the Peruvian Andes, Centro Educativo Pallata Ayllu
NEXT Schools: School innovation for 21st century learning in Quebec
Identity development and education: Experiences of first generation students in secondary schools and universities
Levitan, J. (2018). The danger of a single theory: Understanding students’ voices and social justice in the Peruvian Andes. Teachers College Record, 120(2). TCRecord.org
Mahfouz, J., Levitan, J., Schussler, D., Broderick, T., Dvorakova, K., Argusti, M., Greenberg, M. (2018). Ensuring College Student Success through Mindfulness-Based Classes: Just BREATHE. College Student Affairs Journal.
Broderick, P., Frank, J., Berrena, E., Schusler, D., Kohler, K., Mitra, J., Khan, L., Levitan, J., Mahfouz, J., Chields, L., Greenberg, M. (2018). Evaluating the quality of mindfulness instruction delivered in school settings: Development and validation of a teacher quality observational rating scale. Mindfulness. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-018-0944-x
Levitan, J., Carr-Chellman, D., Carr-Chellman, A. (2017). Accidental Ethnography (AccE): A method for practitioner-based education research. Action Research. doi/abs/10.1177/1476750317709078
Smith, W., Fraiser, P., Chykina, O., Ikoma, S., Levitan, J., Mahfouz, J., & Jing, L., (Aug, 2016). What makes a global citizen? The importance of education in a globally integrated world. Globalization, Societies, and Education. doi/10.1080/14767724.2016.1222896
Mansur, N. N., Kryst, E. J., Levitan, J., Zhang, M., Jing, S., & Lee, S. (Feb. 2016). Child labor and education: New perspectives and approaches. Comparative Education Review. 60(1) 204-211. doi/full/10.1086/684937
Levitan, J. (Accepted) The legacy of postmodernism in popular thought and the emergence of “Inter/trans relational” -isms in educational theory. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 50th Anniversary Special Issue. https://doi.org/10.1080/00131857.2018.1461412
Levitan, J., & Carr-Chellman, D. (Under review). Learning, Selfhood, and Pragmatic Identity Theory.
Levitan, J., Mahfouz, M., Schussler, D. (Under review). Becoming self-aware through dialogue: Pragmatic identity analysis as a qualitative methodology.
Peer-Reviewed Book Chapters
Levitan, J. (In press). Reflexivity in Collaborative Student Voice Research: A Case Study on positionality and process when working with Quechua (Indigenous) Young Women in the Peruvian Andes. In Berson, I. (Ed.) Participatory Methodologies to Elevate Children's Voice and Agency. Information Age Publishing
Levitan, J., Schussler, D., Mahfouz, J., Frank, J., Kohler, K., Broderick, P., Mitra, J., Oh, Y., Berrena, E., Greenberg, M. (2018). Evaluating student cognitive and social-emotional growth during a high school mindfulness course using mixed-method design. SAGE Research Methods.
Levitan, J., & Post, D. (2017). Indigenous student outcomes and education policies in Peru and Ecuador. In Cortina, R. (Ed.), Indigenous Education Policy, Equity, and Intercultural Understanding in Latin America. Palgrave Macmillan.
Levitan, J. (2015). More than access: Overcoming barriers to girls’ secondary education in the Peruvian Andes. In Baily & Stacki (Eds.), Educating Adolescent Girls Around the Globe: Challenges and Opportunities. London: Routledge Research.
Public Access Articles
Levitan, J. (2016). “What the U.S. election results can tell us about research methods.” The American Journal of Education Forum.
Refereed Conference Papers
Levitan, J. (2018). Co-creating education with Indigenous (Quechua) communities: A phenomenological study in democratic leadership and listening in the Peruvian Andes. Paper to be presented at the Canadian Society for the Study of Education (CSSE) annual conference, Regina, SK
Harvey, B. Starr, L. Levitan, J. (2018). Educational leadership program development:
Taking educational leadership beyond the school. Paper to be presented at the Canadian Society for the Study of Education (CSSE) annual conference, Regina, SK
Levitan J. Carr-Chellman, D., Carr-Chellman, A. (2018). Accidental Ethnography: Reflective Educational Praxis Research. Paper to be presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), New York, NY.
Levitan, J., Johnson, K., Murphy, E., (2018). Social-emotional learning in international travel for high schoolers: A 2-year study. Paper to be presented at the annual Comparative and International Education Society Conference, Mexico City, Mexico. Session Chair
Johnson, K., Levitan, J., (2018). Understanding social-emotional learning in a traveling high school through self- and peer-assessment strategies. Paper to be presented at the annual Comparative and International Education Society Conference, Mexico City, Mexico.
Levitan, J. (2017). Community Voice in Educational Decision Making: Quechua Parents' and Students' Conceptions of Educational Opportunity. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), San Antonio, TX.
Johnson, K. M., & Levitan, J. (2017). “We had to check our dignity at the door”: Social-Emotional Learning in For-Profit International Travel. Paper presented at the American Educational Research Association Annual Conference, San Antonio, TX.
Johnson, K. M., & Levitan, J. (2017). Getting the Whole Picture: Data Triangulation and Evidence Comparison in International Education Learning Assessment. Paper presented at the Comparative and International Education Society Annual Conference, Atlanta, GA.
Levitan, J. (2016). Complexity in Culturally Responsive Leadership: Uncovering Varied Learning Values in the Peruvian Andes. Paper presented at the 30th Annual Convention of the University Council for Educational Administration, Detroit, MI.
Levitan, J. (2016). Entendiendo la voz de los participantes en contextos de diversidad: Implicancias para política pública y teoría. V Seminario Nacional de Estudios Peruanos Educativos, Arequipa, Peru.
Levitan, J., Mahfouz, J., Schussler, D. L., Barkauskas, N., & Greenberg, M. T. (2016). Learning to Just Breathe: How Teachers Come to Understand their Roles and Teacher Identities When Facilitating Mindfulness-Based Health Classes. Paper presented at the 2016 AERA Annual Meeting, Washington, DC.
Carr-Chellman, D., & Levitan, J. (2016). Adult Learning and Pragmatic Identity Theory. Paper presented at the 57th Annual Adult Education Research Conference (AERC) at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte.
Levitan, J. (2016). Education and Identity in the Peruvian Andes: A Comparison of Values Surrounding Secondary School. Paper presented at the 60th annual Comparative and International Education Society Conference, Vancouver, Canada.
Levitan, J. (2015). What Education Means for Quechua Girls in the Peruvian Andes: A Study in Student Voice and Educational Leadership. Paper presented at the 29th Annual Convention of the University Council for Educational Administration, Manchester Grand Hyatt, San Diego, CA.
Levitan, J. (2015). The Ethical Implications of Qualitative vs. Quantitative Teacher Evaluation: A Case Study in Educational Leadership. Paper presented at the Rock Ethics Institute Moral Literacy Colloquium, The Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA.
Post, D., & Levitan, J. (2014). Indigenous Language and Academic Achievement in Peru, Colombia, and Ecuador: A Comparative Study. Paper presented at the Comparative and International Education Society Annual Conference, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Invited Presentations and Seminars
Carr-Chellman, D., Levitan, J., & Carr-Chellman, A. (2014). Accidental Ethnography: An Analysis of a Novel Research Method. Paper presented at Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO.
Levitan, J. (2013). Motivations, Contexts, and Backgrounds: Contemporary Contemplative Practices. Invited Lecture in Seminar on Approaches to Mindfulness Practices at Columbia University, New York, NY. (Honorarium)
Levitan, J. (2012). Mindfulness in the Classroom: Reflections. Invited Lecture on Mindfulness and Education, Columbia University Teachers College, New York, NY. (Honorarium)
Levitan, J. (2011). Peace Education in the Classroom: Pedagogical Strategies. Invited Training Presentation, Association Montessori International, Cleveland, OH.
Levitan, J. (2011). Developing Indigenous Women’s Education in Peru and The Sacred Valley Project. Maria R. Volpe Fellowship Presentation, Columbia University Teachers College, New York, NY.
2016-2017: Wayne C. and Elsie Kolter Hoy Scholarship in Education and The College of Education Alumni Distinguished Graduate Student Scholarship, Penn State University
2015-2016: U.S. Department of Education-Funded Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellow, Penn Sate University
2013-2015: Penn State Dean’s Graduate Assistantship, Penn State University
2011: George W. Perkins Memorial Scholarship, Columbia Teachers College
2010: Maria R. Volpe Fellowship, Columbia Teachers College
Co-founder and director of education and operations at the Sacred Valley Project, a Peruvian-US based non-profit dedicated to ensuring Quechua (Indigenous) students have access to high quality, culturally grounded education.