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Notable Faculty

Capella's School of Education faculty members are active and experienced in their professions, and nearly all members hold a doctoral degree. From P–12 teachers, administrators, and higher education faculty to leadership, curriculum designers, and grant writers, our faculty hold top academic credentials in the areas they teach and many are published authors. Noteworthy contributions include sitting on the Executive Board for the National Association of Community and Technical Colleges, directing an Ojibwe Language and Culture Education program, and creating a middle college high school of 240 students on a college campus.

Feranda Williamson, EdD


Feranda Williamson was appointed dean of Capella's School of Education in 2012, having previously served as the dean of Capella's School of Undergraduate Studies. Prior to joining Capella in 2005, Dr. Williamson held leadership positions at Malcolm X College, one of the City Colleges of Chicago. From 1998 to 2004, she served as the college's dean of continuing education and from 2004 to 2005, as dean of career programs. During her time there, she was an Outstanding Education Administrator award recipient from the 7th Congressional District. She previously was employed by Robert Morris College from 1981–1998, first as a member of the business faculty and then as associate dean/program director. Since 1994, Dr. Williamson has also served as president/CEO of the ECC Music Workshop/Chicago Mass Choir, an award‐winning, Grammy‐nominated gospel choir. Dr. Williamson received her BS in Education from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois; her MA in Adult Education from Roosevelt University in Chicago; and her EdD in Higher Education from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale.

Nan Thornton, PhD


Dr. Thornton holds a PhD in Educational Psychology with specialization in Learning and Instructional Technology from Arizona State University, and an MS in Speech and Hearing with a specialization in Education of the Hearing Impaired from Washington University in St. Louis. Dr. Thornton has worked in the field of instructional design and technology for more than 20 years. Her professional experience includes teaching graduate courses in instructional technology and e-learning design at Bloomsburg University in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania; working with university faculty at the University of Nebraska at Kearney to implement e-learning components; designing and delivering classroom training for Allen Interactions; and managing teams working on the custom design and development of e-learning projects for corporate clients at Allen Interactions. Dr. Thornton's research interests focus on the psychology of learning and instruction, including instructional strategies that influence retention and transfer, problem-based learning, and cognitive processing of complex information.