Regena Fails Nelson

Photo of Regena Fails Nelson
Regena Fails Nelson
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers
Professor, Early Childhood
(269) 387-3437
4121 Sangren Hall, Mail Stop 5276
Mailing address: 
Department of Teaching, Learning and Educational Studies
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5276 USA
  • Ph.D., University of Michigan
  • B.S., University of Chicago-Loyola

Dr. Regena F. Nelson is a professor in early childhood education with over 25 years of research, teaching, and consulting experience in the field. She is the Director of the Urban Teacher Residency Program which is funded by a 5-million-dollar Teaching Quality Partnership grant from the U.S. Department of Education to increase teachers of color in Benton Harbor Area Schools and Kalamazoo Public Schools. The program is preparing culturally competent and trauma-informed urban educators. Dr. Nelson has also secured over 2 million dollars in grant funding to provide support services to student-parents at Western Michigan University. As the director of the Center for Community Engagement, she connects students with community organizations for volunteers and internship opportunities. She has worked on numerous research studies on school readiness, authentic assessment, culturally appropriate practices, and mentoring. Her work has been published in Early Childhood Research Quarterly, Journal of Research on Childhood Education, Early Childhood Education Journal, Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education, and Multicultural Perspectives.  Dr. Nelson has served on regional, state and national boards of several early childhood organizations affiliated with the National Association for the Education of Young Children and the National Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators.  Dr. Nelson was a curriculum consultant for early childhood programs throughout Michigan and the Kamehameha preschool program in Hawaii.  She also serves as a board member on KC Ready 4s and YWCA and is a past board member for Kalamazoo Nature Center and Child Care Resources.