When he joined Olivet's faculty in 1993, Dr. Van Heemst was the first political scientist hired in the history of Olivet. He developed the program, which focuses on the four major areas of political science: American government, political theory, international relations and comparative politics. In 2016, he became chair of the Department of History and Political Science.
Relating with students is one of his passions. He sponsors the student clubs Capitol Hill Gang, the Academy, and International Justice Mission; and also Pi Sigma Alpha, the political science honor society.
In a 10-year period, he authored five books, which include Empowering the Poor: Why Justice Requires School Choice,Herman Dooyeweerd and Eric Voegelin: A Comparative Study, Hope in Troubled Times: A New Vision for Confronting Global Crises, and Splashing in Puddles: How to Be a Father to Your Daughter, and College: What's the Point? Embracing the Mystery of the Kingdom in a Postmodern World.
In 2013, he received Olivet's Samuel L. Mayhugh Award for Scholarly Excellence. His other awards include the Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence and the Second Mile Award. He is a member of the American Political Science Association.
In his free time, DVH (as he's known on campus) enjoys long distance running; playing tennis; reading; and spending time with his wife, April, their twin daughters, Maggie and Ellie, and triplet daughters, Elizabeth, Annika and Jessica.
Having grown up on the East Coast, he's a huge New York Yankees and Brooklyn Nets fan.