Nicholas L. Padilla

Photo of Nicholas L. Padilla
Nicholas L. Padilla
Pronouns: he/him/his
Assistant Professor
3521 Wood Hall, Mail Stop 5424
Mailing address: 
Department of Geography, Environment, and Tourism
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5424 USA
  • Ph.D. Geography, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 2017
  • M.S. Geography, Texas State University-San Marcos, 2009
  • B.A. Political Science and Spanish, St. Norbert College, 2006
Teaching interests: 
  • Latin America
  • Human geography
  • Political ecology
Research interests: 
  • Indigenous peoples and decolonial thinking/praxis
  • Political ecology
  • Political economy


Dr. Padilla is a broadly-trained environmental geographer who researches at the intersections of political ecology, political economy, and indigenous peoples in Latin America. In Colombia, his research explores the politics of indigenous and peasant education and economic activism through ethnographic fieldwork. His dissertation project examined the spaces of decolonial thinking and praxis among indigenous and rural actors in Cauca, Colombia, who have coalesced in order to further their ‘own’ educational model, re-introduce social relations in rural economies, and account for and incorporate nature in economic practices.

Dr. Padilla also carries out research on the scholarship of teaching and learning and geographic pedagogy. He 




Dr. Padilla's advises graduate students whose research spans the 

  • Qualitative methods - surveys, interviews, mental mapping, ethnography, 
  • Environmental -