History and Political Science
Dr. Robinson joined Olivet’s faculty in 2019. His research specialties include the Enlightenment in Europe, 18th Century England and Early English Methodism. His teaching focus centers on European History, with focuses in cultural history, the history of ideas and the history of Christianity. He is the faculty advisor for Phi Alpha Theta (History Honor Society) and the History League (student interest club).
At the University of Rochester, he was awarded the 2017-2018 Arts, Sciences and Engineering Outstanding Dissertation Award: Commendation in the Humanities for his dissertation Body and Soul of the Enlightenment: John Wesley, Methodism, and the Age of Reason. He was also awarded the 2018 Edward Curtis Peck Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Teaching; and the 2017-2018, Dean’s Dissertation Completion Fellowship. In the fall of 2018, he received the Western Colorado University's Professional Activity Fund Award. Dr. Robinson is currently working on the publication of his dissertation.
He has presented research at the following conferences and workshops:
• “The Methodist Mouth: Enthusiastic Tongues and Reasonable Speech in 18th Century English Methodism.” Midwest Conference on British Studies, Loyola University, Chicago. September 28, 2019.
• “Sermonizing the Great Tyne Flood of 1771: Responding to Disaster with vested Interest.” Conference on Sermon Studies: Sermon: Space, Place, and Context. Montreal, October 13, 2018.
• “Theaters of the Flesh: John Wesley’s Enlightenment Sermons.”’ Conference on Sermon Studies: Sermon and Performance. Marshall University, October 20, 2017.
• “The Post Family Papers and Digital Humanities.” 2015 Rochester Reform Trail NEH Landmarks of American History Workshops for School Teachers. Department of Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation, University of Rochester. July 22 & 29, 2015.
• “The Contradictions of Calybute Downing: Scripture and Political Malleability in 17th Century England,” 2014 New York State Association of European Historians Conference, SUNY Geneseo, October 4, 2014.
• “The Post Family, Spiritualism, and Digital Research.” 2014 Rochester Reform Trail NEH Landmarks of American History Workshops for School Teachers. Department of Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation, University of Rochester. July 23 & 30, 2014.
Dr. Robinson’s professional memberships include the North American Conference on British Studies and the American Society for Eighteenth Century Studies.
He enjoys hiking, backpacking and swimming in the Great Lakes.
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; 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.