Meet the Division: Michael Colvin!

Welcome back to the second entry of our Meet the Division series!

As Fall semester is well underway, we wanted to highlight one of our department Chairs, as many of you may have him in class this semester.


Professor Colvin is the Chair of the English and World Literatures Department. Michael’s research interests include late twentieth-century Latin American narrative, Portuguese literature and culture produced under fascist dictatorships, and narratives of personal trauma. He is the author of three books: Las últimas obras de José Donoso: Juegos, roles y rituales en la subversión del poder (Madrid: Pliegos, 2001), The Reconstruction of Lisbon: Severa’s Legacy and the Fado’s Rewriting of Urban History (Lewisburg, US: Bucknell University Press, 2008), and Fado and the Urban Poor in Portuguese Cinema of the 1930s and 1940s (Suffolk, UK: Tamesis, 2016). Dr. Colvin’s current book project focuses on subjective analyses of linguistic and visual encoding of terror in nightmares and creative acts.

Dr. Colvin and his dog Boa
  1. What is your favorite course/subject to teach here at Marymount? Why does this course interest you the most?
    • My favorite course is SPAN 315, Hispanic Civilization. I love to teach this course because we examine a variety of texts in many regions over thirteen centuries, and I get to meet students from all over the College. I teach the course almost every semester, and it’s always exciting to teach, and I am always learning from that class.
  2. What pedagogical approaches do you use when teaching? Why do you believe that this method is the most effective in engaging students?
    • I like to layer the material I assign, so that students can return to new concepts from different perspectives until they can make sense of the material in relation to the greater goals of the course. I also go to class with an obsessive interest in my course material, so that helps to keep the students engaged in what I am engaged in.
  3. Why did you choose your individual career and/or field of study?
    • I chose my field of study -Latin American Literature, because I wanted to do graduate work only in Spanish and Portuguese, and because I loved to learn languages through reading, talking to people, watching films, and listening to music. I started teaching Spanish language labs as an undergraduate student, and on the side, I taught English as a second language at an Atlantic City casino. In graduate school at Temple University, I had the opportunity to teach In Spanish and Portuguese as part of my assistantship, and that is when I chose my profession.
  4. What is your favorite activity to do when you are not teaching?
    • When I am not working, I make large collages, mostly landscapes. I also sing classical music in the bass section of a chorus, so I like to sing every day.
  5. Do you own any pets? If so, how many? If not, why?
    • My pet is my dog Boa. He is 10.5 years old. I cook his meals twice a day.
  6. What is advice would you give to Marymount students in today’s uncertain and rapidly evolving world?
    • I have found that by creating a structured schedule for work and non-work, and by setting achievable goals in both areas, I reduce my own feelings of helplessness. I also go outside ten times a day to walk my dog, and I leave my phone at home when I do that.

A gentle reminder for us all: go outside. Grab a cardigan. Take a warm beverage. Enjoy the newly returned crispness.

Thanks for reading.

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