Meet the Instructors

The instructors for our courses include current and retired Wesleyan faculty members who live in the Middletown area, alumni/ae,  and local professionals—artists, clergy, curators, scholars, scientists, writers, and other experts—who have no formal affiliation with Wesleyan but are pleased to share their knowledge, experience, and perspectives with our students.

  • Christine Cummings

    Co-Founder, President, Rehabilitator, Re-nesting Crew, Rescuer, Educator, Event Coordinator, First Responder

    A Place Called Hope

    Christine Cummings has been working for the rights and care of all animals since her early childhood. As a young adult, she worked on the forefront of Animal Rights in Washington, DC. She also worked as an Animal Technician during her attendance at the University of Maryland for Art Education and Studio Art. Upon graduation, she decided to open her own business geared towards the care and grooming of dogs and cats. To work in a setting without animals seemed un-natural. Christine was inspired to become a licensed Wildlife Rehabilitator in 2005 after attending an Intro to Wildlife Rehabilitation Course co-taught by Grace Krick. Since 98% of the injuries seen at rehab centers are related to conflicts with humans, Christine was compelled to rescue and rehabilitate wild animals to give back to the community. Because Birds of Prey are a shared passion between both Christine and her husband Todd, APCH was born. Together they operate and maintain the Center and work hard to continue its growth to accommodate the numerous birds in need. With this educational platform her teaching background has finally evolved as one of the primary missions of APCH is to educate the public about ways to lessen conflicts one may encounter with wildlife in one’s very own backyard. Christine is the primary caretaker of both the resident and rehabilitation patients on site.

  • Melinda Daetsch

    Suzuki & Traditional Violin and Viola; HCD Dept. Head: Chamber Music; Music Skills Specialist: Viola Instrumental Studies


    Melinda Daetsch holds a Master of Music degree in viola performance from The Juilliard School. While at Juilliard her quartet received acclaim from The New York Times for their performance of Arnold Schoenberg's seldom heard work Ode to Napoleon on the FOCUS! Festival of Contemporary Music. Daetsch has also studied chamber music with Felix Galamir, Paul Docktor, Raphael Hillyer, and Glen Dicterow. Her primary viola teachers were Karen Ritscher and Karen Tuttle. She also holds a BA with honors in comparative religion from Harvard University. During her four years at Harvard, she worked closely with composer and chamber music coach Leon Kirchner and taught 28 young Suzuki students in a program supported through the Massachusetts council of the Arts for low-income families.

    An avid performer, Daetsch has performed at numerous festivals such as the Yehudi Menuhin International Festival (Switz), Assisi Performing Arts (Italy), The Banff Centre for the Arts (Canada), the Rutger's SummerFest, the Strawberry Creek Festival (California), and the Luzerne Music Center (NY). She serves as the Principal violist for the Music at Penn's Woods Festival at Penn State University where she has also been the Penns Woods chamber music series coordinator and has been a frequent chamber music collaborator with members of the Philadelphia Orchestra at "Music from Gretna" and at the Luzerne Music Center where she was on the faculty for a decade.

  • Richard Friswell

    Co-Director, Wesleyan Wasch Center Seminars

    Richard Friswell is a cultural historian who lectures widely on topics related to Modernism and the modern era in world history.  Underpinning his cultural-historical approach to art history is the notion that the art, literature, and social history of nations are interrelated.  His recent publications include Balancing Act: Postcards from the Edge of Risk and Reward (2017) and Hudson River Chronicles: In Search of the Splendid & Sublime on America's 'First' River (2019).  His historical novel, Merchants of Deceit: American Fortune & the China Trade (Fall 2021) deals with the experiences of the Middletown merchant Samuel Russell in Canton, China.

  • Peter Glass


    Peter Glass is a professional photographer specializing in commercial, corporate, and editorial photography. For over 25 years, he has serviced clients both locally, nationally, and internationally. These have included large corporations, small businesses, advertising agencies, and a variety of magazines.
    Peter’s other specialty is stock photography. His images are in continual use for book covers, brochures, magazines, and websites. Stock photography agencies in the United States, Germany, Spain, Canada, and England represent his photographs. A portfolio of his stock images can be seen at

    For the past dozen years, Peter has been designing and teaching photography classes and seminars through his Peter Glass Photography Workshops. These are aimed at local towns, colleges, art centers, and libraries.

    ​His Meetup group, with almost four thousand members, offers an assortment of photography classes and local shooting treks.

  • Rhea Higgins

    Adjunct Professor of Art History, University of Hartford

    Rhea Padis Higgins taught for many years in the art history department in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Hartford. She holds a BA from Smith College and an MAT from Harvard. From 1986 to 2002 she also taught at Wesleyan in Graduate Liberal Studies. Her particular area of expertise is 19th-century European painting, with an emphasis on post-Impressionist artists, but her knowledge of art ranges from classical antiquity to the present.

  • Sari Rosenblatt

    Sari Rosenblatt has published stories in the Iowa Review and has won individual short story awards from Glimmer Train, New Millennium Writings, Ms Magazine, and Nimrod International Journal of Poetry and Prose. She holds an MFA from The Iowa Writers' Workshop and teaches fiction writing at the Educational Center for the Arts in New Haven, Connecticut. She lives in Middletown, Connecticut.
  • Alfred Turco

    Professor of English, Emeritus

    Wesleyan University

    Al Turco taught in the eclectic English department at Wesleyan from 1967-2009 where he specialized in drama – Shakespeare (of course); selected playwrights of the early modern period (Ibsen, Strindberg, Shaw, O’Neill). His interests also include Scandinavian literature in translation ( Knut Hamsun), Wagnerian opera (The RING), late and post-Victorian novel (e.g., Hardy, Conrad). Turco's interests include an emphasis on literary classics as the practice of philosophy by another name, as carriers of cultural cross-currents, and as works of art in their own right.