Christine R. Finnan

Chair and Professor

Address: 19 St Phillip Street, Room 101
Phone: 843.953.4826

Dr. Finnan is a native Californian who moved to South Carolina in 1993. She began her involvement at the College of Charleston as a satellite center director of a national school reform model, the Accelerated Schools Project, while serving as a faculty member in the Teacher Education Department. In 2008 she assumed a joint appointment in the Teacher Education Department and the Sociology and Anthropology Department. In 2019 she took over as Chair of Sociology and Anthropology. She is married and has two grown daughters, Holly and Leslie. 



Ph.D. Stanford University. Education (Anthropology Minor). Dissertation: The Development of Occupational Identity Among Vietnamese Refugees

M.A. University of Texas, Austin. Anthropology (Folklore).

B.A. University of California, Berkeley. Folklore (Anthropology)

Research Interests

Schooling tribal children in India

School and classroom culture

Influences on teacher perceptions of students

Childhood in cross-cultural perspective

Cultural sustainability

Courses Taught

2000 - 2019


ANTH 201: Cultural Anthropology

ANTH 205: Language and Culture

ANTH 319: Special Topics: Cultural and Social Context of Education

ANTH 319: Special Topics: Anthropology of Childhood

ANTH 319: Special Topics: Comparative Childhoods: India and US (study abroad)

ANTH 319: Special Topics: Schooling and Cultural and Linguistic Sustainability in Tribal India (study abroad)

ANTH 319: Special Topics: Cultural Sustainability and Social Justice in Schools

ANTH 491: Research Methods

HONS 282: Special Topics: Language and Culture

HONS 382: Hope and Humility (with Dr. Jen Wright)

Teacher Education

EDEE 327: Learner Development in the Context of Learning

EDEE 374: Introduction to Elementary Education: Balancing Students and Curriculum

EDEE 382: Application of Curriculum: Grades 2-6

EDEE 455: Elementary Grades Clinical Practice

EDEE 457: Early Childhood Clinical Practice

EDEE 695: Field Experience III in Elementary Education

EDEE 604: Teacher as Researcher in Early Childhood Education

EDEE 700: Thesis

MTLA 601: Class, Race and Gender

MTLA 602: Policies and Issues in Contemporary Education

MTLA 607: Teachers as Advocates for Children and Youth

MTLA 702: Research and Development Project

MTLA 706: Special Topics: Advocacy for Schooling Promoting Cultural and Linguistic Sustainability (study abroad)

SOCY 359: Special Topics: Cultural and Social Context of Education

Educational Leadership (University of South Carolina)

EDRM 740R: Introduction to Qualitative Research in Education

Honors and Awards

Excel Teaching Award -- Honors College 2019

Fulbright Nehru Senior Research Scholar 2014

Nominatation for Distinguished Researcher Award, College of Charleston 2009

Nominatation for Distinguished Researcher Award, College of Charleston 2004

Inquiry Award (with Julie D. Swanson), Accelerated Schools SIG, American Educational Research Association, 2001

Inquiry Award (with Ed StJohn, Simeon Sloveck, Jane McCarthy), Accelerated Schools SIG, American Educational Research Association, 1996

Canfield Fellowship, Stanford University, 1977

Elected to membership in Phi Beta Kappa, Univeristy of California, Berkeley 1973


2000 - 2018

Finnan, C. (2018) In search of education’s promise: Indian tribal children leaving home for the hope of a better future. In R. Pramanik, U. Skoda, & L Guzy (Eds.) Vulnerability, marginalization and culture. New Delhi: Concept Publishing.

Finnan, C. (2016) Residential schooling brings opportunity to India's poorest children. Sapiens. October 12.

Finnan, C., Sahoo, S., Pramanik, R. (2016). Living in the present while imagining the future: How school and its promises shape conceptions of childhood for indigenous tribal students in India. Global Studies of Childhood. DOI: 10.1177/2043610616671070

Finnan, C. (2015). Getting on the mat: Teachers and students engaging in yoga together. Childhood Education 91:6, 463-468, DOI: 10.1080/00094056.2015.1114803.

Finnan, C. (2015). Not a waste of time: Scheduling non-academic learning into the school day. The Urban Review. 47:26–44 DOI 10.1007/s11256-014-0286-5.

Finnan, C. (2016). Formal schooling and Indian tribal children. In D. K. Behera (Ed.) Contemporary society: Tribal studies (volume X). New Delhi: Concept Publishing Company.

Finnan, C. (2013). Perceptions of Self and Other in the Elementary Classroom:From George Spindler’s “Roger Harker Story” to Today’s Classrooms. Anthropology and Education Quarterly 44(1), 94-103

Finnan, C., Webber, K.,& McPartland, C. (2011). We Are Family: Providing a Second Chance for Over-Age Students. Uhrmacher, B. & Bunn, K.,   Eds. Beyond the One Room School. Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense Publishers.

Finnan, C. & Kombe, D. (2011). Accelerating Struggling Students Learning Through Identity Re-Development. Middle School Journal 43 (1), 4-12.

Finnan, C. (2010). A Focus on Upper Elementary Teacher Preparation: Developmentally Appropriate Practice and the Standards Shaping Our Programs. Southeastern Regional Association of Teacher Education, 19 (1).

Finnan, C. (2009). Supporting and nurturing students and teachers in grades 3-6. Phi Delta Kappan, 90 (6), 400-403.

Finnan, C. (2009). Origins of Middle Childhood Generalist Certification and Issues in Teacher Professionalism: An Interview with David R. Mandel and Suzanne M. Wilson. Phi Delta Kappan, 90 (6), 422-425.

Finnan, C. (2009).  The Upper Elementary Years: Ensuring Success in Grades 3-6. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Van Sickle, M. L., & Finnan, C. R. (2009). Educated Opinions: What’s Next in Education Reform? (p. 3) Arlington, VA: National Science Teachers Association.

Finnan, C. (2008). Supporting our upper elementary teachers. Palmetto Administrator, 22.  15-18.

Finnan, C., & Chasin, G. (2007). Accelerating the learning of low-achieving students: The transformation of a dropout. Phi Delta Kappan, 88(8), 625-629.

Finnan, C. (2006). Enacting curriculum and teaching theory in contexts of countervailing thought: The cases of John Dewey and Accelerated Schools. Curriculum and Teaching Dialogue, 8(1 & 2), 83-98.

Finnan, C. (2006). The United States: The Accelerated Schools Project  In J. C. Lee & M. Williams, Eds. School Improvement: International Perspectives. New York: Nova Science Publishers, Inc.

Finnan, C., & Levin, H. M. (2006). Accelerated Schools and the obstacles to school reform In M. Constas & R. Sternberg, Eds. Translating Educational Theory and Research into Practice (127-150). Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Finnan, C. R.& Swanson, J. D., (2005). Changing school culture: Rutledge Elementary as an accelerated school In W. T. Pink & G. W. Noblit, Eds. Cultural Matters: Lessons Learned from Field Studies of Several Leading School Reform Initatives (35-62). Cresskill: Hampton Press.

Powell, S. D. & Finnan, C. (2005). Accelerated Schools PLUS. In Anfara, V. A., Andrews, G. & Mertens, S. B. (Eds.) The encyclopedia of middle grades education. Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing Inc.

Finnan, C., Schnepel, K.C. & Anderson, L.W. (Fall 2003) Powerful learning environments: The critical link between school and classroom cultures. Journal of Education for Students Placed At Risk (9)4: 391-418.

Byrd, S. P. & Finnan, C. (Fall 2003). Promising and proven: Lessons on initiating and sustaining school reform. Journal of Staff Development (24) 4:48-52.

Finnan, C. & Meza, J. (2003). Can a leader change the culture and embed reform? The Accelerated Schools Project in Memphis. In J. Murphy & A. Datnow, Eds. Leadership for school reform: Lessons from comprehensive school reform designs. Thousand Oakes, CA: Corwin Press.

Swanson, J. D. & Finnan C. (2002) Accelerated learning for all students. Reading & Writing Quarterly: Overcoming Learning Difficulties.

Finnan, C. (2000) Commentary on “Village school in Sri Lanka.” Anthropology and Education Quarterly 31(1): 117-118.

Finnan, C. & Levin, H. M. (2000) Changing school cultures. In H. Altrichter & J. Elliott, Eds. Images of educational change. Pp. 86-98. Buckingham, England: Open University Press.

Finnan, C. & Swanson, J. D. (2000) Accelerating the learning of all students: Cultivating culture change in schools, classrooms and individuals. Boulder CO: Westview Press.