Dr. Karla Britton, Dean of School of Arts & Humanities
Ph.D., Harvard, History of Architecture
M.A., Columbia University, Composition. Literature
B.A., University of Colorado, History
Degrees: Ph.D. Harvard University, Architecture and Urban Planning; MA Columbia University, Comparative Literature; BA University of Colorado, Boulder, Intellectual History. Taught: Yale School of Architecture, 2003-2018; Columbia University School of Architecture & Planning (New York/Paris Program), 1996-2003; University of New Mexico, summers 2015-18. New to Diné College for 2018-19.My enthusiasm for teaching art history at Diné College is inspired by my work with students whose energies and visions bring them to a pursuit of art and design. It is grounded in my research and writing on regional identities, art and architectural culture, and sacred buildings and landscapes. I believe that the study and practice of art and architecture offers a more capacious vision of the multiple worlds we inhabit, and helps us to see and understand ourselves more clearly.Art History
The interdisciplinary nature of the study of art history at Diné College stresses the relationships of art and design with the lived experiences of the Diné people today in their cultural, political, spiritual, and social milieus. Supported by a collaborative dialogue with practitioners of a variety of artistic media, as well as faculty from other academic disciplines, the art history curriculum offers a comprehensive approach to the theory and practice of the arts broadly conceived. Within a context of collective research, students (especially in their senior year) interact with their peers and faculty to nurture individual research projects.
Students engage in both coursework and independent study as part of survey courses which present a general introduction to the histories, geographies and significant figures of Native American art in North America. In addition, broad survey courses in World Art present a valuable counterpoint and background for the department’s primary focus on Diné arts and architecture. Advanced 400 level seminars focus on Contemporary American Indian Masters and engage in debates regarding the culture of native arts since 1968, including issues of colonialism, the concept of home and homeland, displacement, political sovereignty, gender, and the environment.
–Investigate the role of the artist as a communicator for society and culture
–Explore the relationship between technology, cultural values, and a sense of place
–Reflect on the role of curiosity, appreciation, and different ways of perceiving
–Embrace the interrelatedness of spiritual, performance, and artistic practices
–Develop an understanding of art and architecture expanded beyond the usual boundaries
–Evaluate the effect of commercialization and the Native American art market
Debra Robinson, Instructor
M.S., Ohio University, Journalism
M.A., Ohio University, Applied Linguistics/TESOL
B.F.A., Ohio University, Theater
Debra Robinson holds two master degrees from Ohio University, one in Applied Linguistics/TEFL and the other in Journalism. She was an NEH scholar at the Gaines Institute, University of Louisianna, Lafayette, Lousianna, and at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities co-hosted by the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia. She was also a Harvard Teaching Fellow in the summer ESL program. In addition to her extensive teaching experience, Ms. Robinson is published as a features-writers in Portugal and the US. Her academic research appears in “Purgatory Between Kentucky and Canada: African Americans in Ohio,” (Chapter 3), Cambridge Scholars Publishing , Newcastle U.K., She also authored an illustrated volume of poetry, “Giovanni’s Gift and Other Memories of Portugal.
Nonabah Sam, Adjunct Faculty
University of New Mexico
Nonabah Brooke Sam is born into the Bit’ahnii (Folded Arms Clan) and born of German and Dutch decent. Her maternal grandfathers are of the Nii’naho’banii (Grey Streak Face Clan) and her paternal grandfather is of the Ts-tsu-geh Owingeeh (Tesuque Pueblo People).Nonabah serves as adjunct faculty in the School of Fine Arts, teaching Museum Internship. She joined Diné College in January 2012, serving as the college’s Museum Curator for the Ned Hatathli Museum. She received formal museum training, from the Institute of American Indian Arts, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Museum Studies. In 2011, she earned her Master of Arts from the University of New Mexico in Language, Literacy and Sociocultural Studies, with a concentration in American Indian Education.
Shaina A. Nez, Senior Lecturer
Ph.D. student, Arizona State University, Justice Studies
M.F.A., Institute of American Indian Arts, Creative Nonfiction
B.A., Fort Lewis College, English-Writing
Shaina A. Nez is Táchii’nii born for Áshįįhi. She serves Diné College as a Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing and English. She is a doctoral scholar in Justice Studies with the School of Social Transformation and Social Inquiry at Arizona State University. She earned her MFA in Creative Nonfiction from the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Her creative work has appeared in The Massachusetts Review, Yellow Medicine Review, Chapter House Magazine, Nonwhite and Woman: 131 Micro Essays on Being in the World (Woodhall Press), Between Pleasure and Pain: An Authentic Voices Anthology (Sunday Dinner Publishing), and The Languages of Our Love: An Indigenous Love and Sex Anthology (Abalone Mountain Press). Nez is an alum of Tin House, VONA (Voices of Our Nation Arts Foundation), and a recipient of the 2021 Open Door Career Advancement Grants for Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) women writers. She is a two-time Blanchard Pre-Dissertation fellowship recipient with the American Indian College Fund (AICF) for 2022 and 2023.
Don Whitesinger, Associate Professor
M.A.T., Rhode Island School of Design
B.A., Arizona State University, Studio Arts
A.A., Institute of American Indian Arts, 2/D Art
My art epitomizes my strength, control, and personality. As a contemporary abstract artist, I spontaneously create art for the sake of art. My work represents both the energy and life of my endeavors at Canyon de Chelly near Wild Cherry Canyon on the Navajo Nation. I think of the past of the Diné people and the modern art movements in the art world. I try to encourage students to think about the relationship of art, ecology, and their community. Art awareness of interdisciplinary connections, action oriented, and hopefully based on Diné social values. Living Art, tasting art, doing art is my life. I just have the credentials to teach Art. Art is your inner creative thought, that breath of life, that feeling that has not been seen, the search of essences and to make something tangible so to have a real presence.It’s that grasp for that feeling of self worth. The scent of wet sage the earth moisture after she- rain has passed.
Irvin Morris, Instructor
A.B.D., State University of New York-Buffalo, American Studies/Native American Studies
M.F.A., Cornell University, Creative Writing/Fiction
B.A., University of California-Santa Cruz, Literature/Creative Writing
A.F.A., Institute of American Indian Arts, Creative Writing
Matthew Bollinger, Assistant Professor
M.F.A., San Francisco Art Institute, Master of Architecture, University of New Mexico
B.A., Fine Arts, University of New Mexico
Orlando White, Instructor
M.F.A., Brown University, Literary Arts
B.F.A., Institute of American Indian Arts, Creating Writing
A.S., College of Eastern Utah, Liberal Arts
Dr. Alysa Landry, Instructor
Ph.D., Gratz College, Holocaust and Genocide
M.F.A., Chatham University, Creative Writing
M.A., Emerson College, Journalism
B.A., Brigham Young University, Journalism
Tuba City Campus
Dr. Janel Hinrichsen, Professor
Ph.D., University of Kansas, Education
M.A., University of Kansas, Education
B.A., University of Kansas, English
(928) 283-5113 x7522 email@example.com
For the past 15+ years, I have had the opportunity to learn from medicine people, neighbors, colleagues, students, and other everyday people about the Diné philosophy for living a good life. Specifically from a College perspective, the tenets emphasize the importance of the process or steps in gaining knowledge about oneself and the world around them.But, what does this actually look like in the everyday professional life? For me, it is not so much about what we say, but more about what we do. While it is important to articulate clearly and reflect on what we believe and how we express it in voice or writing, it is our actions over time that reveal the most. I have taught and been an administrator as a part of the Center for Diné Teacher Education. I worked with others to achieve the first independently HLC-approved bachelor degree. I currently teach composition courses, and do administrative work to support English writing and the College as a whole. Over the years, I have successfully brought in more than $5 million through grants. I have served as Chair of the English department, and many committees and task forces (Curriculum, Distance Education, General Education, HLC, etc.) I stepped up when asked to be Interim Vice-President of Academics for a year. In AY1920, I am Chair of Distance Education Committee while teaching a full faculty load (5 courses), and developing a degree program in Professional Writing.