Nicola Findley

Dr. Findley loves to teach – and has always loved to teach! After completing an undergraduate education degree in Bristol, England, that included a study abroad semester at the University of Illinois in Champaign, Dr. Findley spent many years teaching at the elementary and middle school levels in the Chicago area. Her experiences included teaching in public and independent schools, with pre-school through eighth graders, working in regular classrooms as well as a special education room. However, most of her experience was in alternative schools where she developed school-wide curricula and taught in multiage classrooms. She enjoys drawing on all these different experiences to help prospective teachers question assumptions about schooling practices.

She has particularly enjoyed leading spring term classes that have explored alternative educational philosophies and approaches, visiting charter, magnet, Montessori, Waldorf, and free schools around Michigan. In spring 2014, she extended this by taking a group of students to London to explore schooling and classrooms in England.

Dr. Findley’s research interests have built on these teaching experiences with publications on student learning from integrated curriculum, out-of-school experiences, and service learning. More recently, she has explored the different perceptions of teaching and learning held by teachers in a variety of school contexts and the expectations brought by prospective teachers as they begin their preparation and as they enter the field.

Dr. Findley teaches classes that introduce various approaches to teaching, perspectives on the link between school and society, and current and historical issues and trends in education. She also teaches elementary language arts and social studies methods classes. She loves the opportunity to work with Alma College students from getting to know them in their first year to celebrating with them as they complete student teaching and go out to their own classrooms.





Educational Background

  • Ph.D. Curriculum, Teaching, and Educational Policy. Michigan State University. 2000.
  • B.Ed. with honors. Bristol University, U.K. 1979.

I am...

I am a teacher. I love getting to know what students think and how they think; hearing them talk about their work with children; and helping them become the best teachers that they can be.



My career at Alma began in


Signature course(s):

Educational Foundations courses: EDC 101 Introduction to Education; EDC 400 Issues and Contexts

Recent presentations:

Findley, Nicola. “Teaching is (like)…”: Discussing images of teaching from prospective teachers and other contexts and stakeholders. Presentation at Lilly Conference Series on College and University Teaching and Learning, Traverse City, MI, Saturday, October 17, 2015.