Dr. Finney began his career as assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and pediatrics at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He joined the faculty of Virginia Tech in 1987, where he advanced through the ranks to professor of psychology and served as chair of the Psychology Department from 1996 to 2006. His extensive scholarly contributions to the field of clinical child psychology include more than 80 journal publications and book chapters, two terms as associate editor for the Journal of Pediatric Psychology, and numerous grant reviews for the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Research Council of Canada. An elected Fellow of the American Psychological Association, Finney has provided professional service and outreach to child psychology clinics, PreK-12 schools, planning commissions, and medical centers. He has been principal investigator or co- principal investigator on more than $2.5 million in grants related to child health issues.
Finney has had an impact on the lives of numerous Virginia Tech undergraduate and graduate students, serving as chair of more than 30 doctoral dissertations, master's theses, and undergraduate honors theses. He is a past recipient of a Certificate of Teaching Excellence and has served as academic advisor to psychology majors. In his most recent appointment as associate dean for administrative and faculty affairs in the College of Science, Finney led many notable activities, including facilitating cluster hires and delivering workshops related to faculty recruitment, evaluation, and retention to department heads and academic leaders. Finney's commitment to the university is reflected his numerous appointments to university commissions and committees. He continues to chair the Committee on Assessment and Research after the Tragedy and serves as member of the Academic Assessment Advisory Group, Enterprise Systems Committee, and the Commission on Faculty Affairs. Most recently, he was asked to chair a joint search committee for recruitment of basic science faculty members for the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Research Institute. He has made many outstanding contributions to Virginia Tech's work on diversity as an active member of the AdvanceVT leadership team, chair of the AdvanceVT Department Climate Committee, member of the College of Science Diversity Committee, and member of the McNair Program and VT Prep Advisory Boards.
A native of Mullens, West Virginia, Finney has bachelor's and master's degrees in psychology from West Virginia University, and a master's degree in human development and Ph.D. in developmental and child psychology from the University of Kansas.