University of Portland

Vail Fletcher PhD

Communication Studies, Professor

Vail Fletcher PhD



Buckley Center 235

Title IX Responsible Employee

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Courtney "Vail" Fletcher, PhD (2009, University of New Mexico), is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Portland and currently teaches courses related to Interpersonal and Intergroup Communication, Gender and International Development, Conflict and the Environment, and Social Media and Culture. Her research broadly focuses on the intersections of culture, conflict, and identity. She recently completed an Imagining America grant-funded project that explored the re-creation and disruption of identity among youth in a post-genocidal Rwanda that was hosted at the United Nations Headquarters in New York (2014), while her dissertation explored cross-cultural differences in the romantic conflict styles of individuals in Uganda and Ethiopia. After traveling and teaching a course in Tanzania on Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Conflict (2015), she is currently examining the role of ecotourism and the touristic gaze in the context of post/neo-colonialism in East Africa. Vail is also investigating campus diversity and the effectiveness of online and mediated social discourses in/as expressions of digital citizenship.

Dr. Fletcher has taught at California State Polytechnic University, the University of New Mexico, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and West Virginia University. In 2013, she held a visiting professorship at New York University. She is a trained mediator and relationship consultant and her most recent journal articles have been published in the Journal of International and Intercultural Communication (2014), the Western Journal of Communication (2013), the Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement (2014), and Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Communication (2015). Vail was awarded the 2014 Outstanding Edited Book Award from the National Communication Association for her book, “Understanding Occupy from Wall Street to Portland: Applied Studies in Communication Theory,” published by Lexington Press. She enjoys employing Crystallization methods such as digital storytelling in her research and teaching and recently completed a 35-minute documentary about Nicaragua’s troubled relationship with United States’ and the role that capitalism and neo-liberalism has played in the country’s struggle to develop. She lives on an island farm in Portland, Oregon, with her Redbone Coonhound, two cats, a trove of chickens, ducks, and rabbits, tea-drinking partner, and son, Huckleberry.          


  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of New Mexico Albuquerque
  • Master of Arts, West Virginia University Morgantown
  • Bachelor of Arts, Canisius College