Peggy Thelen

While Dr. Peggy Thelen wanted to be a teacher since she was a young girl, she did not take a direct route to the classroom. As an undergraduate, she earned a degree in Business Administration. After working in the business field for many years, she went back to college to earn a bachelor of science in Elementary Education.

Eventually, Thelen earned a master of arts degree in Elementary Administration. After substitute teaching in elementary and middle school classrooms, and teaching preschool for many years, Thelen earned a doctorate from Michigan State University in Family and Child Ecology. 

Dr. Thelen teaches human growth and development, directs and teaches courses in the Early Childhood Education Program, and supervises early childhood student teachers. Research and educational interests include early childhood education, notably literacy development, and human growth and development across the lifespan.

Dr. Thelen believes that it is important to incorporate service learning into the education experience. Several of her courses include a service learning component, which gives education students experiences with families and agencies in local communities.

“There is no substitute for working with real children, parents, schools and agencies. These experiences enhance preservice teacher learning beyond classroom and book learning.”


Professor of Education



Educational Background

  • Ph.D., Family and Child Ecology, Michigan State University (2004)
  • M. A., Elementary Administration, Central Michigan University (1998)
  • B. S., Elementary Education, Central Michigan University (1990)
  • B. S., Business Administration, Central Michigan University (1980)



My career at Alma began in