Dr. Jane Finn

Susan M. and Glenn G. Cherup Professor of Education
Profile photo of Dr. Jane Finn


Jane Finn’s primary role is to instruct teacher candidates who want to major in special education. She teaches Research in Education Practice, The Exceptional Child and other courses.

Jane involves students in her own research, and frequently works on an independent study basis with students who are conducting research of their own. Since 2007 she has mentored more than more than 65 education majors, working individually or in teams, as they conducted more than 30 research projects on topics that ranged from the effectiveness of after-school programs to how best to prepare volunteers to assist with horse riding therapy programs for students who have disabilities. Dozens of her students have presented their findings at conferences of the National Council for Undergraduate Researchers.

She is currently collaborating with her department colleagues Dr. Vicki-Lynn Holmes and Dr. Libbey Horton on research about teaching Common Core math at the high school level to students with disabilities.

Earlier in her career, Jane was a high school teacher and counselor for 11 years, focusing largely on special education and counseling at the high school level. She also served as a special education consultant to several West Michigan schools. She joined the Hope faculty in 2004 and became chair of the Department of Education in 2019. She is a member of the Michigan Transition Services Association, and of chapters of the Council for Exceptional Children at Hope College and at the state, national and international levels.

Areas of Interest

Jane’s current research focus is post-school outcomes for individuals who have mild to moderate disabilities (including learning disabilities, emotional impairments, mild intellectual impairments, ADHD/ADD and autism spectrum disorders). Her goals are to contribute to the development of evidence-based practices and to communicate new best practices to all stakeholders in order to improve future post-school outcomes for students with disabilities. She also has conducted research about reading strategies in various content areas.


  • Ed.D., education studies and special education, Western Michigan University, 2005
  • M.A., elementary and secondary counseling and private counseling, Western Michigan University, 1989
  • B.A., special education, Hope College, 1986

Selected Recent Grants

  • “Behavior Management Competencies for Beginning Special Education Teachers,” Hope College Frost Center student-faculty grant, 2016
  • “Response to Intervention (RTI) at the Secondary Education Level: A Collaborative Project between Special and General Education Colleagues,” Great Lakes College Association New Direction grant, 2013–2014
  • Studies of initial perceptions of and improvements to Friendship House, a shared living site for individuals with mild to moderate disabilities (associated with Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Michigan), Eugene and Mary Heideman Fund grants, 2008–2012
  • “Writing in the Special Education Major,” Teagle Foundation grant, 2011
  • “Michigan Merit Curriculum and Children with Disabilities,” Hope College Frost Center student-faculty grant, 2009–2011

Selected Recent Publications and Presentations

  • “Trauma and Identifying Students with Emotional Impairments: Findings from the Field,” with V. Holmes et al., presentation to the Michigan Council for Exceptional Children, 2019
  • “Foundations to Algebraic Mastery,” with V. Holmes, K. Spence, I. McGee, and L. Horton, World Journal of Educational Research, 2018
  • “Amazing Ways to Support Autism: Hot Off the Press, The Best Way to Serve People with Special Needs,” Autism Parenting, 2018
  • “The Inclusion House: Where Pastors Learn to Minister to Individuals with Disabilities,” with A. Utting, Journal of Research on Christian Education, 2017
  • “A Meta-Analysis of Reading Interventions for English Learners (ELs) with Disabilities and ELs at Risk for Disabilities,” with L. Horton and V. Holmes, presentation to the American Educational Research Association annual meeting, 2017
  • Now I Can Understand Algebra!, with V. Holmes, K. Spence, J. Finn and I. McGee, Linus Publications, 2016

View additional published work by Jane Finn at Digital Commons.

Outside the College

Jane is married to Douglas (a Hope College graduate!) and has three adult children. She enjoys her time in nature by walking in the woods and is trying to work up to jogging. She enjoys volunteering at Young Life camp and church work crews.

Profile photo of Dr. Jane Finn
Dr. Jane Finn

Phone Number616.395.7739

VanZoeren Hall Room 280 41 Graves Place Holland, MI 49423-3617
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