Education: BA, Calvin College; PhD, University of Illinois
Specialties: American literature, expository writing
April Middeljans grew up in the southwest suburbs of Chicago, where driving aggressively is both a matter of survival and a point of pride, as opposed to Seattle, where drivers politely yield to everybody, even if doing so means ignoring traffic signs and the rules of the road commonly accepted by the rest of America.
Dr. Middeljans comes from a long line of Dutch Calvinists in the Christian Reformed tradition, which encouraged her to strive for perfectionism and also to recognize that she is totally depraved. This paradox has occasionally been counterproductive, though it does tend to keep her organized. She did her undergraduate studies at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where she met her future husband, a Canadian son of Dutch immigrants. Some might say these choices smack of cultural programming, but Dr. Middeljans likes to think that her interests in art, music, literature, and philosophy have kept her from being too inbred.
A deep love for the liberal arts have kept Dr. Middeljans’s research and teaching interests broad, but she is particularly interested in issues of technology, gender, and ethnicity in American literature. Her dissertation at the University of Illinois explored representations of the telephone in American literature and culture. However, she carries a cell phone only for emergencies, and usually forgets to turn it on.
Dr. Middeljans has been teaching at Seattle Pacific University since 2006. She encourages her students to call her “Dr. M.,” but the self-designated nickname has never caught on. She watches quite a bit of television in a purported attempt to stay “relevant” to her students, but they don’t have time to watch and rarely catch her allusions. So she will need to find some other excuse.