Teaching and Learning

Photo of English faculty and students  at tables.

Teaching is central to our department, and our faculty features enthusiastic, inspiring, and award-winning instructors. Here you'll find teaching-related information about some of our faculty. Visit the "Considering uWaterloo English?" undergraduate or graduate pages to see what our students have to say about their programs, the Faculty Profiles page for a complete listing of faculty, and the English Course List for information on our offerings.

For further information about our undergraduate programs, contact Victoria Lamont, the English Undergraduate Chair, or Jenny Conroy, the English Undergraduate Coordinator. For more information on our graduate programs, contact Jennifer Clary-Lemon, the English Graduate Chair, or Agata Jagielska, the Graduate Coordinator.


Randy Harris, University of Waterloo Award for Excellence in Graduate Supervision, 2019

Photo of Randy Harris,.

One of the many people who wrote in support of Dr. Harris's award stated, “Professor Harris is the rare supervisor who is brilliant, but able to let the student develop their own ideas. He is able to point to the possible path but lets the student blaze it on their own. I have tried to model my own supervisory skills on Prof. Harris’s methodology.”

Heather Smyth, Faculty of Arts Excellence in Teaching Award, 2018

Photo of Heather Smyth.

In addition to being an exceptional instructor, Dr. Smyth's dedication to students and student experience  has been demonstrated through her roles as undergraduate chair of English, as campus advocate for UWaterloo's HeForShe initiative, and as former Associate Chair of the Arts First program.

Frankie Condon, Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance Teaching Excellence Award, 2017

Photo of Frankie Condon. 

The OUSA wrote that Dr. Condon gives her students an extended “sense of their own agency and responsibility as scholars, rhetoricians, and writers.” She encourages students to critically examine the impact of writing and rhetoric in the forging of human relations and interactions. "Her compassion for her students, innovative teaching methods, and passion for teaching make Dr. Condon an amazing teacher."

Michael MacDonald
Distinguished Teaching 
Award, 2015.

Photo of Michael MacDonald

Students wrote that Dr. MacDonald surpassed student expectations as a result of his remarkable ability to “communicate content seamlessly through his ability with speech.” Teaching material that can be viewed as ancient is a challenge; Dr. MacDonald breaks down the concepts and assists students in grasping them. He ensures students have an understanding of what is expected, and structures his courses so that students are able to remain focused and on-track. 

John North, Distinguished Teaching Award, 2003

Photo of John North

Students find that Dr. North is incredibly passionate about the material he teaches and about the teaching of that material. He uses numerous analogies to illustrate the concepts in the texts and fosters the students' appreciation of many writers. One student summarized his teaching by saying “He brings to the classroom, not only the wisdom and knowledge required of a professor, but also a personal touch that makes a drastic difference from the student's perspective.”

Houman Mehrabian, Amit and Meena Chakma Award for Exceptional Teaching by a Student, 2017

Photo of Houman Mehrabian.

Houman Mehrabian, a PhD student in English Language and Literature, is recognized for his dedication to learning and teaching. One undergraduate student explained that “his teaching went [far beyond] and always incorporated [a] set of knowledge from other respected fields, such as philosophy and politics.” Another student wrote that “he enjoys what he is teaching and manages to allow that to flow over to his students. He is highly knowledgeable in what he is teaching and makes courses enjoyable. He’s a great influence.” 

Tommy Mayberry, Amit and Meena Chakma Award for Exceptional Teaching by a Student, 2015

Photo of Thomas Mayberry

Tommy Mayberry, a PhD student in English Language and Literature, is recognized by his students as being a positive, supportive, and “desirable marker, teacher and mentor”. Tommy’s passion for teaching and learning has a great influence on many who cross his path. As one of his students states, “Tommy has a certain spark or passion about him – an energy in his aura that inspires students”. 

Faculty Teaching Statements

Ken Graham

Photograph of Ken Graham

“I regard literature as a conversation we can join, and I encourage students to see the classroom as an extension of that conversation.” 

Aimée Morrison

Photo of Aimée Morrison.

“My classes focus on helping students frame and defend their ideas about media culture, by debating and using evidence.”

Dorothy Hadfield

Photo of Dorothy Hadfield

"I teach online to reach out to students wherever they are."

Randy Harris

Photo of Randy Harris

“Learning is directional play, with lots of involvement and lots of exploration; teaching supplies the direction.” 

Sarah Tolmie

Photo of Sarah Tolmie

“Teach the best to bring out the best.”

Vinh Nguyen

Phone of Vinh Nguyen.

"Through the analysis of literature, I help students make sense of social, political, cultural, and historical processes."

Heather Smyth

Photo of Heather Smyth

“I ask my students to think about who they are, why they are learning this, and what it means that they're learning it here.”

Andrew McMurry

Photo of Andrew McMurry

“Students who take courses with me often discover they are pretty good autodidacts.”