Professor Vivian recognized for Faculty Excellence

Every year, Alma College acknowledges several faculty members for their outstanding work as teachers and scholars.  This year, English’s own Dr. Robert Vivian was one of two faculty who were selected for the Barlow Award for Faculty Excellence.

Our students know a great deal about Dr. Vivian’s classes, classes that consistently challenge them to think differently about literature and to stretch themselves as creative writers.   They may know a lot less about just how much writing their professor does on top of all that teaching.  An essayist, playwright, novelist, and more, he has had over 20 of his plays produced, 4 novels, 2 collections of essays, and countless other pieces published in literary journals and magazines.  

More recently, Dr. Vivian has invented a new essay form — the dervish essay.  This essay form grew out of his exposure to Turkish literature while on a faculty exchange with Ondokuz Mayis University in Samsun, Turkey, located on the Black Sea. In particular, this recent work is inspired by the work of the Persian Sufi poet Rumi (or Mevlana, as he’s called in Turkey).  He is currently working on a collection of dervish essays called You Should Wake A Flower.

Dr. Vivian joins his fellow Barlow Winners in English, Dr. Chen (2012), Dr. Palmer (1992), and Dr. Bender (1998), and emeritus faculty, Dr. Ute Stargardt (2007).


Story published on May 15, 2014