English Language and Literature Newsletter

Photo of fall lake with title English Language and Literature Newsletter 2018.

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Photo of Shelley Hulan.A Word from the Chair

It has been a year of big changes for the Department of English Language and Literature:

Academic staffing: In the spring, we bid farewell to longtime colleagues Murray and Kathy MacArthur. Murray chaired the Department from 1997 to 2004, a lively period of transition during which numerous faculty retired thanks to the government’s SERP (Special Early Retirement) program, and several more were hired, redefining the department for years to come. Kathy taught many popular courses for the Department, including Children’s Literature. The authors and artists she invited to speak to her classes on Arthurian legend were well-known highlights. We are sincerely grateful to Murray and Kathy for their years of service to the Department and wish them a happy retirement full of travel.

This summer we welcomed an unprecedented number of new colleagues. Our two new Associate Professors, Jennifer Clary-Lemon and Brad Mehlenbacher, joined us from the University of Winnipeg and North Carolina State University respectively. They bring with them a wide range of scholarship in rhetoric, writing, and technologies of communication; Dr. Clary-Lemon directed the Writing Centre at the U of Winnipeg and explores (among other things) the making of scientific knowledge, and Dr. Mehlenbacher investigates the relationship between new technologies and ways of learning. Assistant Professor Heather Love hails from the University of South Dakota. She researches transatlantic modernism and has a strong interest in humanities education in multiple disciplines, including engineering and medicine. Megan Selinger (University of Western Ontario) and Carter Neal (Indiana University) bring expertise in technical communication to their posts as Definite-Term Lecturers. Dr. Neal also adds to the Department’s complement in American Studies, and Dr. Selinger to early modern drama.

And… one more colleague will join us this December! Dr. Lai-Tze Fan moves back to this side of the pond from Lingnan University in Hong Kong. She focuses on digital media and rhetoric.

Administrative moves: We are fortunate to have a new Support Services Coordinator, Maha Eid, who took up her position in the Department in early July. She joins our three administrative staff: Margaret Ulbrick, Administrative Assistant; Tina Davidson, Graduate Program Coordinator; and Jenny Conroy, Administrative Coordinator and Advisor, Undergraduate Studies. We are equally fortunate to have two new Associate Chairs: Dr. Victoria Lamont (Undergraduate) and Dr. Heather Smyth (University Communication Outcomes Initiatives). Dr. Smyth does double duty as the Director of Arts First, the Faculty’s UCOI program.

After ably chairing the Department for the past three years, Dr. Kate Lawson left the post at the end of June. Dr. Lawson led the Department through the recent external review of its academic programs, as well as the growth of the faculty complement to address the campus-wide University Communication Outcomes Initiative, in which many members of English Language and Literature are actively involved as designers, inter-faculty liaisons, and instructors. Thank you Kate for seeing the Department through a tumultuous but happy period of expansion.

Creative Writing is coming: The Arts Faculty’s Undergraduate Affairs Group has approved a new Creative Writing Specialization. With a start date of Fall 2019 and assuming Senate approval, this four-course specialization will be open to all English majors.

Communication in the Sciences: Following the past few years’ successful introduction of new courses in professional communication for the Math Faculty and for some Engineering departments, English Language and Literature has collaborated with the Faculty of Science and the Department of Communication Arts to design new Science communication courses. These courses—all 16 sections of them—have rolled out in September (with more in January) thanks to the considerable efforts of staff, new faculty, graduate course instructors, and last but not least, our UCOI Associate Chair.

External Review: Assessors for the external review of the Department’s degree programs (conducted once every seven years) visited campus this past winter. They submitted their report in late February, praising the diversity of the Department’s undergraduate degree and specialization options, the “rich experiential learning” offered in its graduate program, and the high levels of collegiality and cooperation in the Department as a whole.

Shelley Hulan,
Chair, English Language and Literature


Recognizing Dedicated Service to the English Department

Dr. John North Celebrates 50 Years at the English Department

Photo of John North.

Dr. Murray McArthur Retires After 32 Years

Photo of Murray McArthur.

English Faculty and Graduate Students Share Their Research at Congress 2018

A large contingent of grad students and faculty from UWaterloo English presented at Congress 2018 in Regina. To see who attended and what they presented on, view our list of participants!

Grad students and faculty at Congress 2018.

Photo of grad students eating lunch at Congress 2018.

English Language and Literature Welcomes New Faculty and Staff


Alumni News

 Whenever You're Ready

Book by Emma Vossen.

Awards and Grants

  • Dr. Frankie Condon received the Ontario University Student Alliance Award for Teaching Excellence.
  • Dr. Norm Klassen and Dr. Chad Wriglesworth (St. Jerome’s University) were co-awarded the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance Teaching Award.
  • Dr. Norm Klassen (St. Jerome’s University) was awarded a Federation of Students Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award.
  • Dr. Victoria Lamont and Meghan Riley (PhD candidate) received a LITE Grant for their project titled “Changing Bodies, Changing Minds: Utilizing Speculative Fiction to Teach Intersectional and Postcolonial Theories.”
  • Michael MacDonald won the 2018 Robert Harding and Lois Claxton Humanities and Social Sciences Award.  
  • Dr. Ashley Mehlenbacher received a SSHRC Insight Grant for her "Networked Expertise" project. She also won the 2018 Distinguished Alumni Award from the Communication, Rhetoric, & Digital Media Program at North Carolina State University and received Honorable Mention for the Nell Ann Pickett Award from the Association of Teachers of Technical Writing.
  • Dr. Vinh Nguyen (Renison University College) received the 2017 Polanyi Prize for Literature.
  • Dr. Winfried Siemerling received a SSHRC Grant for his research project “Call and Responsibility: The Transformative Reception Aesthetics of Black Canadian Literature, Film, and Music.” 
  • Dr. Heather Smyth received the 2018 Arts Excellence in Teaching Award.
  • Dr. Chad Wriglesworth (St. Jerome’s University) was awarded a Federation of Students Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award.
  • PhD students Rebecca Anderson and Devon Moriarty each received SSHRC grants.
  • PhD Student Monique Kampherm won the RhetCanada 2018 Graduate Student Prize.


Our faculty members have been busy...

 From the Wounded Banks of the Tigris

Dr. Lamees Al Ethari published a chapbook of poetry titled From the Wounded Banks of the Tigris, and individual works in The New Quarterly and About Place Journal.

Logo for Canadian Journal fo Discourse and Writing/Redaction.Dr. Frankie Condon published “The Languages We May Be: Affiliative Relations and the Work of the Canadian Writing Centre” in The Canadian Journal for Studies in Discourse and Writing/Rédactologie, and a review essay, “C’est Impossible/impossible n’est pas français” in the Writing Center Journal.
 Beastly BlakeDr. Tristanne Connolly (St. Jerome University) co-edited an essay collection titled Beastly Blake.
Routledge Handbook of Digital Writing and RhetoricDr. Marcel O’Gorman contributed two book chapters: "Writing with a Soldering Iron" in The Routledge Handbook of Digital Writing and Rhetoric and "The Making of a Digital Humanities Neo-Luddite" in Making Things and Drawing Boundaries: Experiments in the Digital Humanities. He also published articles in The Atlantic (“The Case for Locking Up Your Smartphone”), in The Record (“In Defence of Uselessness”), and the Globe and Mail (“The Reckoning: Silicon Valley Confronts Its Digital Sins”).

 Jannie Day!Carrie Snyder published a children’s book titled Jammie Day!

 Perfect Singing FlamingoClaire Tacon (St. Jerome’s University) published a novel titled In Search of the Perfect Singing Flamingo.
 The Art of DyingDr. Sarah Tolmie published a poetry collection titled The Art of Dying and a story in Year’s Best Weird Fiction,Vol.4.
 Routledge Reader of African American RhetoricDr. Vershawn Young (Cross-Appointed) co-edited two books: The Routledge Reader of African American Rhetoric and Neo-Passing: Performing Identity after Jim Crow .

In Remembrance

With sadness we announce the passing of former faculty members Dr. Joseph Gold and Dr. Neil C. Hultin.