Dr Richard Middleton-KaplanI am WWCC’s Dean of Arts & Sciences and three programs that have workforce and transfer pathways: Criminal Justice, Early Childhood & Parenting Education, and Human & Social Services.

I was born and raised in Los Angeles. In every generation, my family history and identity intertwine with the skilled workforce tradition: one grandfather and an uncle were upholsterers; my other grandfather was a tailor; my late father of beloved memory learned TV Repair on the G.I. Bill; my only brother went to locksmithing school and is Locksmith Coordinator for North America at Honda; and my stepson is a thriving graduate of WWCC’s CDL program working as a truck driver in Spokane. As a grandson of Eastern European immigrants and son of first-generation U.S. parents, I became a first-generation college student, earning my B.A. Summa Cum Laude in English at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1983, including a junior year abroad at the University of York in England, followed by my Ph.D. at UCLA in 1993.

In 1991-92, I came to Walla Walla for a one-year position in English at Whitman College. From 1993 to 2002, I worked at Coffey Communications in Walla Walla, ending as senior staff editor. In 2002, I accepted a position in the English Dept. at Harper College in the Chicago area. There I developed courses about literature of the Holocaust, of war, of peace and nonviolence, and of forgiveness. In 2011, I returned to the University of York as a visiting scholar at the Centre for Applied Human Rights, where I created and taught a course on human rights and literature. In 2013, I was appointed Harper College’s first Distinguished Chair for Teaching Excellence and I co-founded and led Harper’s faculty professional development center.

In 2015, I returned joyfully to Walla Walla to take my current position as dean at WWCC. I led our college-wide learning outcomes effort and have been trained as an accreditation evaluator and Accreditation Liaison Officer. While fulfilling my duties as dean, I continue writing and speaking publicly about literature, human rights, Holocaust studies, nonviolent conflict resolution, and peace studies; my work appears in five scholarly journals and six book chapters. I teach Quest classes on peacebuilding and Russian literature. I have also immersed myself in volunteering with Walla Walla’s civic, community service, cultural, and social justice organizations and activities including Commitment to Community (C2C of BMAC), the Walla Walla Immigrant Rights Coalition, interfaith community events, and the Walla Walla Symphony.