Dr. John North: Fifty years at UWaterloo

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Today’s Daily Bulletin includes a piece on tonight’s annual reception welcoming new members of the UWaterloo community, where longstanding employees of our institution will also be recognized. This includes English’s Dr. John North, who has been in our department for fifty years now. At UWaterloo, Dr. North has won teaching awards, led the faculty association, and more. Notably, as the Bulletin tells us, “His own company, North Waterloo Academic Press, has published volumes by many scholars, as well as his own 69-volume Waterloo Directory of English Newspapers and Periodicals 1800-1900, reviewed as ‘the fourth great Humanities reference work of Great Britain, after Johnson’s English Dictionary, the Dictionary of National Biography and the Oxford English Dictionary.’” You can read the article for more information, or watch this video.


Award for Dr. Ashley Mehlenbacher


The spring awards announcements continue with news that Dr. Ashley Mehlenbacher has won the 2018 Distinguished Alumni Award from the Communication, Rhetoric, & Digital Media program at North Carolina State University. Congratulations!

How to prevent (or survive) a goose attack

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In case you were unaware of it, Goosewatch is an actual thing at UWaterloo. Nesting geese are mapped by campus volunteers–maybe you?–and the updated map is made available online. The purpose: providing information on how to get across campus without disturbing geese who are protecting their nests. As the site advises you: don’t act hostile or show fear. If the goose acts aggressively, calmly and slowly back away. Maintain direct eye contact and keep your chest and face pointed at the goose. If you should be messaging a friend and unwittingly stumble into a nest, back away quietly. And if you happen to shout in surprise, and the goose flies towards your face, “duck or move away at a 90 degree angle to the direction of the flight still facing the attacking goose” (Ohio Geese Control). Though if it gets that close, I think we’d all advise covering your eyes.

So far, none of this year’s geese have reached the national media, as with Hagey Hall’s 2015 Branta canadensis, nicknamed “Spawn of Satan.”

Image credit: Imgur

Students Win Awards

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The 2017-18 English awards ceremony was held on Friday, March 23, 2018. Please join us in celebrating this year’s winners. At the same time, as someone commented at the awards ceremony this year, we always celebrate the award winners, but there are also so many wonderful UWaterloo students who should be acknowledged, who enrich our classrooms and our halls but aren’t named here. So congratulations to all!


Melissa Koehler accepting the Rhetoric and Digital Design Award from Dr. Dorothy Hadfield.

Undergraduate Awards

Academic Awards

Rhetoric and Digital Design Award: Melissa Koehler 
Rhetoric and Professional Writing Award: Oriana Confente
Andrew James Dugan Prize in Rhetoric and Professional Writing: Scott Metzger
Award in American Literature and Culture: Oriana Confente
Canadian Literature Prize: Aaron Cornies
Walter R. Martin English 251 Award: Julianna Suderman
Andrew James Dugan Prize in Literature: Robyn Peers
Diaspora and Transnational Studies Prize: Jacob Asma
The Hibbard Prize for Shakespeare Studies: Christine Frim


Of significant note is the new Diaspora and Transnational Studies Prize, funded by recent graduate and frequent award winner, Sarah Kannan (pictured above with Dr. Kate Lawson, Chair of English). We are very grateful for Sarah’s generosity.

Grade Average Awards

Second Year Spring: Trenton McNulty
Second Year Fall: Julianna Suderman
Third Year: Xin Niu Zhang
Fourth Year: Robyn Peers

Writing Awards

English Society Creative Writing Award for Poetry: Joanna Cleary
English Society Creative Writing Award for Prose: Hang Ren
Albert Shaw Poetry Prize: Rhys Desmond


Hang Ren receiving the English Society Creative Writing Award for Prose from Dr. Ken Graham.

Graduate Awards

Academic Awards

Beltz Essay Prize, MA: Rosemary Kay
Beltz Essay Prize, PhD: Lindsay Meaning
Rhetoric Essay Prize, MA: Andrew Myles
Rhetoric Essay Prize, PhD: Chris Giannakopoulos
Graduate Professional Communication Award: Devon Moriarty
Gladys Srivastava Graduate Award: Evelyn Deshane
W.K. Thomas Graduate Scholarship: Rebecca Anderson, Jason Lajoie, Jessica Van de Kemp


Jonathan Baltrusaitis and Megan Honsberger, Grade Average Award winners.

Grade Average Awards

MA: Megan Honsberger, Jonathan Baltrusaitis
PhD: Lindsay Meaning
David Nimmo English Graduate Scholarship: Evelyn Deshane
Jack Gray Fellowship: Ian Gibson

PhD candidate Ian Gibson receiving an award from Dr. Clive Forrester, who co-organized the event with Dr. Andrea Jonahs.

Co-op Awards

Quarry Integrated Communication Co-op English Award: Anne Cullen Keidann
Undergraduate Co-op Work Report Award: Ariel Fullerton
Graduate Co-op Work Report Award: Thomas Mantynen

Teaching and Professionalization Awards

Independent Graduate Instructor Award for Excellence in Teaching: Jessica Van de Kemp
TA Award for Excellence in Teaching: Jason Lajoie
Lea Vogel-Nimmo Graduate Professionalization Scholarship: Renée Belliveau


Renée Belliveau accepting the Lea Vogel-Nimmo Graduate Professionalization Scholarship from Dr. Marcel O’Gorman.  Renée is using the funding to attend the American Literature Association’s 2018 conference, where she will be presenting a paper titled “‘Facts, Authentic Narratives, Letters, &c.’: William Still’s Recirculation of Nineteenth-Century Print Culture.”

Writing Awards

Graduate Creative Writing Award Prose: Michael Domonchuk
Graduate Creative Writing Award Poetry: Masa Torbica

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Past and present faculty and students were in attendance. Pictured above: Dr. Warren Ober.

Visit our photo gallery of the event.

See also our list of our past award winners.

Faculty in the news

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This could become a regular feature: faculty in the news. Perhaps you want to know why Dr. Aimeé Morrison told The Record that you have no secrets? Or what Dr. Marcel O’Gorman had to say in The Globe and Mail about a post-Google evangelist? Maybe you are interested in what standards a university should advance, in which case you might want to read what Dr. Kate Lawson had to say in The Record.

Award for Drs. Klassen and Wriglesworth

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Congratulations to Dr. Norm Klassen and Dr. Chad Wriglesworth of English for their receipt of a Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance teaching award. According to OUSA:

“They are co-recipients of this award for their collaborative approach to timely conversations in a recent co-taught special topics course. Dr. Klassen is a Chaucer scholar and Dr. Wriglesworth studies modern American literature, but both explore a centuries-old tradition called the “sacramental imagination.” Students in their course encountered this tradition through writers, thinkers and artists from every era, all of whom consider how literature and language shape and express the beauty and mystery of human existence. Drs. Klassen and Wriglesworth took turns lecturing, regularly pausing for discussion and adjusting their class plans accordingly. They used technology, art and class trips to help students engage deeply with the material, leading students say that class felt more like a living room than a classroom. This dialogical approach isn’t innovative as much as it is restorative. By encouraging conversation about deep topics like life, love, beauty and meaning, and our ability to creatively shape these things, these two instructors are returning to the heart of the humanities and passionately affirming the role of humanistic inquiry in University education. At a time when concern for student mental health is at an all-time high, the personal and authentic nature of the meaningful discussions that these instructors facilitate is refreshing, and according to more than one student, life-changing. There’s no greater praise an instructor can receive than that.”

The course was taught at St. Jerome’s. Congratulations again!

Award for Dr. Heather Smyth


We’d like to congratulate Dr. Heather Smyth, a 2018 recipient of the Arts Excellence in Teaching Award. Some of you may have had Dr. Smyth as a professor; others may know her through her extensive service work, as a past undergraduate chair of English, as part of the United Nation’s HeForShe initiative, or as Associate Chair of Arts First (you can read her recent report on ArtsFirst here). It’s an impressive roster, demonstrating Dr. Smyth’s dedication to students and student experience. Congratulations again!