David Armand named ULS Outstanding Faculty of the Year

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SLU Public Information

David Armand has received the ULS Outstanding Faculty of the Year award due to his dedication and passion for teaching English literature, as well as his influence outside the classroom as an author.

David Armand, an English instructor, writer-in-residence and university alumnus, was honored with the 2020 University of Louisiana System Outstanding Faculty Member of the Year award.

Aside from teaching, Armand is a novelist and associate editor for Louisiana Literature Press. He has been honored with multiple awards, including the George Garrett Fiction Prize and the 2016 St.Tammany Parish President’s Literary Artist of the Year Award.

Armand explained his journey from being a student of the university to now teaching various English courses.

“I’m from Folsom, which is not very far from here, and I decided to go to college at Southeastern,” stated Armand. “I attended for both my undergrad and graduate degrees in English, with a concentration in creative writing. I started teaching here in 2007, so it’s crazy to think I’ve been at Southeastern for half of my life.”

His passion for reading and writing stemmed from an early age and became a hobby that he grew to enjoy.

“I just always loved to read and so did my mother,” recalled Armand. “She used to always read to me when I was little. I think for me it was kind of just like this natural thing to enjoy reading so much, and that made me want to start writing my own.”

 

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Like many students, Armand shared how he faced the struggle of declaring a major before deciding to pursue a degree in English.

“When I first came here I was a business major, and my grandpa wanted me to be an architect, but I wasn’t really into that,” shared Armand. “It was after taking an American Literature class that made me realize how much I just love this, and so I changed to English. Everybody said, ‘What are you gonna do with that English degree?’ and I just thought, ‘If I love what I’m doing, I’ll find a way.’”

With a new novel coming out this year and a short memoir in the works, Armand discussed his experience as an author.

“I have always felt kind of lucky because I started the whole process of writing, working on poetry, and then I started writing short stories, which turned into writing novels,” said Armand. “I say I’m lucky because I was able to find a publisher for my first novel kind of fast, when some people try for years. After that, I felt very motivated to keep writing and publishing more.”

Armand shared his philosophy as an educator.

“The advice I tell my students is to write what you know,” discussed Armand. “I grew up in the country around some rough people, and I just started writing about that and creating stories. When students do the same thing, writing about their lives even though it’s fiction, you can always distinguish the authenticity because it comes from a place of feeling that they know.”

Out of eight universities that were considered for the ULS Outstanding Faculty of the Year Award, Armand explained what that honor of being chosen has meant to him.

“The award was pretty shocking, being the third year given out, and the past recipients had been teaching for a lot longer than I have, so I never expected to get it,” said Armand. “It makes me feel happy that it shows how much I care about my students.”

Armand hopes to lead as an example for other students at the university.

“My goal is to inspire people,” said Armand. “Nobody in my family went to college, so I want to be able to encourage my students that your dreams can be real and they can come true.”

 

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