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Leia K. Cain, PhD

Assistant Professor


Leia K. Cain, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Evaluation, Statistics, and Methodology and Coordinator of the Qualitative Research Methods in Education graduate certificate . Dr. Cain primarily uses creatively-driven qualitative methodological approaches in her research (e.g.,  Arts Based Research, Narrative Inquiry), which is informed by theorists such as Gloria Anzaldúa, bell hooks, and Patricia Hill Collins. Her scholarship is divided into two lines of inquiry: (1) methodological and ethical reasoning in research and (2) examining the lived experiences of LGBTQIA+ individuals throughout higher education spaces. Her work has been featured in peer reviewed journals such as Departures in Critical Qualitative Research, the International Journal of Qualitative Studies in EducationDisability & Society, and the Journal of Career Development. In addition to publishing in highly respected qualitative journals, Dr. Cain works alongside various campus partners to create and implement pathways for LGBTQIA+ students, faculty, and staff to succeed and thrive within post-secondary academic institutions. She has presented her work across the United States, Japan, and Trinidad and Tobago, and maintains active engagement with AERA, AEA, and ICQI.


  • Ethical Reasoning
  • Methodological Practices with Marginalized Populations
  • Researcher Ontological and Epistemological Commitment 
  • LGBTQ+ Students, Faculty, and Staff Experiences in Higher Education


  • PhD, Educational Foundations and Inquiry, University of South Carolina
  • Graduate Certificate, Women's and Gender Studies, University of South Carolina
  • MEd, Educational Research and Measurement, University of South Carolina
  • BA, Sociology, East Carolina University
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