Meet our Faculty

Paul Willeto, Dean, Professor of Art
Ed.D., University of New Mexico

Degrees: Ed.D University of New Mexico, M.F.A University of Michigan Teaching Areas: General Humanities, Education and Fine Arts
Years at DC: 1981 to Present: Faculty, Department Chair, Dean of Instruction, and Branch Director Contact:

Personal Interests/ Pursuits: Music/or Musician/ Drawing/ Literature on Red Power Political Activism Personal Website:



Robert Barraclough, Instructor
Ed.D., West Virginia University

R. Matthew Bollinger, Assistant Professor


Karla Britton, Professor of Art History
Ph.D., Harvard, History of Architecture

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.

Learning Goals:

–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


Emily Green, Instructor
M.A., Old Dominion University


Velma Hale, Instructor
M.A., Northern Arizona University


Alysa Landry, Assistant Professor
Emerson College and Chatham University; Ph.D. student at Gratz College


Irvin Morris, Professor of English


Debra Robinson, Instructor
M.A., Ohio University

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.


Matthew Jake Skeet, Assistant Professor

Degrees: M.F.A. Creative Writing – Poetry, Institute of American Indian Arts; B.A. English, University of New Mexico; B.A. Native American Studies, University of New Mexico.

Jake Skeets, born Matthew Jake Skeets, was born in Gallup, New Mexico and raised in Vanderwagen, New Mexico. He is Tsi’naajínii, born for Tábąąhá; his maternal grandparents are the Táchii’nii and his paternal grandparents are the Tódík’ózhí.. His debut collection, Eyes Bottle Dark with a Mouthful of Flowers, was selected by Kathy Fagan as a winner for the 2018 National Poetry Series for Milkweed Editions. He is also the winner of the 2018 “Discovery”/Boston Review Poetry Prize. He currently teaches composition, literature, and poetry at Diné College in Tsaile.

Of his work in poetry, Skeets remarks:

“I thank my high school junior year English teacher, Ms. Chee, for providing me a packet of poems by Native American poets. For the first time in my life, I was able to see myself represented in books and poetry. Becoming a poet became my goal.

The Navajo Nation has a unique history of poetry and storytelling. Words and the beauty of language are engrained in our life and thought ways. So many noted writers have gone through Diné College, like Leslie Marmon Silko. Today, Diné College has talented writers and poets as faculty. I picture Diné College as a central space for literary arts that can help build our Nation through literacy, empowerment, and healing. Writing is a process where Sa’ah Naaghái Bik’eh Hozho is embedded in its framework; it’s an organic energy that thrives in each of us.

My debut collection of work continued the examination of Gallup, New Mexico as a bordertown. I specifically look at language, field, sound, and geography within my poetry.”


Orlando White, Instructor
M.F.A., Brown University


Sheila White, Assistant Professor
M.A., Northern Arizona University


Don Whitesinger, Associate Professor
M.A.T., Rhode Island School of Design

Degrees: MAT- Rhode Island
School of Design Bachelors of Art (Studio Art)- ASU AA 2/D ART (Painting and Photography)- IAIA

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.




Haesong Kwon: Instructor
Ph.D., Oklahoma State University

Degrees: Ph.D., Oklahoma State University

Haesong Kwon teaches courses in composition, literature, film and creative Writing. He is the author of The People’s Field (Southeast Missouri State University Press).


Anna Walters, Instructor
M.F.A., Goddard College

Tuba City

Janel at water edge

Janel Hinrichsen, Professor of English
Ph.D., University of Kansas
928-283-5113 x7522

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.


Jesse T. Maloney, Instructor