Challenging Future Poets and Writers
“I’m constantly challenged by these brilliant, gifted, driven students, and in turn I try to challenge them.”
Professor of Creative Writing
A Professor’s Passion
Rob Griffith, professor of creative writing, spent some years working in the corporate world, but never lost sight of his passion. “While I enjoyed my work in the computer industry, I longed to get back to literature, writing, and the humanities,” he explained. After working as an editor, technical writer, and sales manager for a subcontractor of Lockheed Martin, the Department of Energy, and the Tennessee Valley Authority, he decided to drop everything and go back to graduate school. “It was probably the best decision I’ve ever made.” His decision would certainly benefit students at the University of Evansville.
An Outstanding Professor In and Out of the Classroom
Griffith is a popular professor at UE, teaching courses in literature, poetry composition, and copy editing. His prowess in the classroom earned him the 2005 Outstanding Teacher of the Year award and the Sydney and Sadelle Berger Outstanding Scholar Award in 2011.
Griffith also directs the Harlaxton Summer Writing Program and the University of Evansville Press, providing educational opportunities and internships that give UE students an edge when pursuing employment or graduate school. “What we offer our undergraduates is much more akin to a graduate program in creative writing than it is to the typical BA in creative writing,” he said, adding that UE’s focus on writing as art and as a profession is another unique benefit found here. “We try to prepare students for the kinds of editing, publishing, teaching, and other jobs they might undertake while working on their novels or books of poetry.”
The Creative Side of UE
“We recruit some of the best undergraduate poets, fiction writers, and nonfiction writers from all across the country, and that quality shows in the classroom,” Griffith said. “I’m constantly challenged by these brilliant, gifted, driven students, and in turn I try to challenge them.”
Living and working in the creative environment afforded by UE has suited Griffith well. He is the author of four books of poetry. The Moon from Every Window (David Robert Books, 2011), was nominated for the 2013 Poets’ Prize; and his previous book, A Matinee in Plato’s Cave, was the winner of the 2009 Best Book of Indiana Award. His work has also appeared in PN Review, Poetry, The North American Review, Poems & Plays, The Oxford American, and many others.
An Enhanced Educational Experience
Having earned both his undergraduate and graduate degrees from big state schools, Griffith says UE stands out because of its “intimate, cross-disciplinary focus,” which brings people from all backgrounds to enhance the educational experience. “The fact that the people who I not only work with but socialize with are in history, biology, mathematics, philosophy, and other disciplines is emblematic of the kind of broad thinking that is fostered at a school like UE.”
Small class sizes and personal interaction with high quality faculty members are rare in large state schools. But these qualities can be found readily at the University of Evansville, a great benefit that Griffith says students experience without a second thought. “I get to work with students in and outside the classroom, and I get to know them quite well by the time they graduate,” he said. “I think that this intimacy is good not just for a student’s education but also for his or her professional development.”