July 14, 2020
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The National Endowment for Humanities Distinguished Teaching Professorship has been awarded to Sergei Lobanov-Rostovsky, professor of English and associate editor of the Kenyon Review, for a three-year term beginning in July of this year. Lobanov-Rostovsky’s proposal envisions an interdisciplinary approach to writing, highlighting science writing as a model for writing programs across the curriculum.
“Some of my most exciting students have been interested in both English and sciences. They straddle Middle Path, bringing together the best ideas in the humanities and the sciences,” Lobanov-Rostovsky said. “Science writing is a field where Kenyon has a chance to pave the way, building on our strength as a college known for its excellence in both writing and science. It’s also a skill in high demand. Writing that’s clear and exciting about complex scientific ideas opens up all kinds of career possibilities for our students.”
The professorship honors a member of Kenyon’s faculty who has displayed excellence in teaching and has developed a compelling vision of how the professorship would enhance the broad study of humanities at the College.
“Lobanov-Rostovsky is an exemplary teacher,” Provost Joseph Klesner said. “He is ideally suited to this honor because he has the training, experience and proven track record, having published thoughtfully about writing and having directed writing programs.
“I am particularly excited about the ways in which he promises to move forward initiatives in writing across the curriculum,” Klesner said.
Lobanov-Rostovsky has begun working with science faculty to create a lecture series that will bring in prominent science writers from outside of Kenyon. “How do the best science writers make complex ideas clear and exciting to readers? We hope to explore what makes science writing a literary art,” said Lobanov-Rostovsky, who also plans to launch a science writing workshop for students, taught in collaboration with a member of Kenyon’s science faculty.
The professorship, which is funded by an endowment created by a grant from the NEH and gifts from friends of Kenyon, also will support the creation of an online guided writing program to open up more sophisticated conversations about student writing. Lobanov-Rostovsky also will guest edit a special issue of the Kenyon Review devoted to the literature of science planned for fall of 2016.
The position is selected from proposals and interviews with interested professors by a committee of faculty—including past NEH Professor Wendy Singer, the Roy T. Wortman Professor of History, current co-recipient Katharine Hedeen, associate professor of Spanish, Associate Provost Brad Hartlaub and Professor of Music Dane Heuchemer.