Congratulations to PhD students Rebecca Anderson and Devon Moriarty, who have both received awards from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) to fund their dissertation research. The awards are on the national level. Rebecca and Devon are also very active in the graduate student society (SAGE) serving as President and Vice-President, respectively. SSHRC.
In faculty news, Drs. Dorothy Hadfield, Linda Warley, and Aimée Morrison have won outstanding performance awards from the University of Waterloo. Congratulations to all!
UWaterloo English PhD candidate Tommy Mayberry is having a bumper April. First, he accepted a position as an Educational Developer, on the Educational Development team at the University of Guelph. And he has won an Innovation in Education Award, from The University of Pittsburgh’s Advisory Council on Instructional Excellence (ACIE) for “The Science Library Project.” Tommy shares the award with Dr. Sarah Ruffell , an Assistant Professor of Biology in the Division of Biological and Health Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh – Bradford, and a Waterloo alumna (PhD in Biology, 2017) as well as graduate of our Certificate in University Teaching (CUT) program at CTE.
A description of the project:
To emphasize the importance of public outreach and science communication within STEM, and to foster in students a greater appreciative understanding of the scientific content within their courses, the Science Library Project has students creating children’s books about key course content. At the end of this project, the student writer-publishers are able to display their critical and creative work as they collaborate with local teachers in a networked conversation about science and multimodal communication. This innovative pedagogical approach to assessment is important both inside and outside of the Sciences because it participates in High Impact Practice (HIP) pedagogy to have students invest a significant amount of time and effort over an extended period of time as they participate in frequent, timely, and constructive feedback and, most importantly, have the opportunity to discover the relevance of their learning through real-world applications in the public demonstration of their book projects. The Science Library Project activates written and visual communication modes to motivate Science learners to engage with course concepts in deeper and creative ways.
Images reproduced from student work with permission. Sarah and Tommy both are sharing this work as a poster presentation at our UWTL conference on campus today–stop by to learn more!
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!
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!
Waterloo English Undergraduate Research
By Paula de Villavicencio
University of Waterloo English undergraduate student Tyler Black secured a spot in the first round competition of the Association for Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Design of Communication (ACM SIGDOC) Student Research Competition. The competition will take place this summer at the association’s annual conference, held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Microsoft-supported event provides up to 500 dollars (US) to assist with travel costs for students selected to participate. Black’s research investigates several post-secondary courses that incorporate cross-disciplinary material, and the manner in which the course instructors communicate not only the core disciplinary content, but also cross-disciplinary lessons.
Black’s interest in cross-disciplinary technical communication stems from their own educational and work experience. Having worked as a technical communicator, and completed studies first in Physics and then in English, Black has a range of experience to help frame these pedagogical questions. Black also developed their research skills during several research assistantships as part of a Fall 2017 co-op term. Black worked on three different University of Waterloo projects: Dr. Ashley Rose Mehlenbacher’s Networked Expertise project; with the Games Institute’s Virtual Reality group (work Black has been involved with as a research assistant will be presented at the upcoming Lake Ontario Visionary Establishment 2018 Conference), and with Dr. Randy Harris’s Computational Rhetoric group (work Black has been involved with as a research assistant will be presented at the upcoming CMNA 2018 Conference and the IACS 2018 Conference).
As a continuing research assistant with the Networked Expertise project in the Waterloo Science and Technical Communication Group (@WatSciComm on Twitter), Black recognized their own research interests in terms of post-secondary education and training. “Being at the University of Waterloo itself has really allowed me to work in such an interdisciplinary field, and has given me a place to do this amount of research at an undergrad level,” commented Black. “Being part of the WatSciComm team has also aided me in my research, not just because of the amazing resources, but also the great team I’ve worked with.” Black was granted ethics approval for their study of cross-disciplinary classrooms, allowing them to publish the results, the culmination of which will not only be presented at the 2018 ACM SIGDOC student research competition, but will also form the basis for Black’s Undergraduate Honours Essay.
Black will be continuing their education at the University of Waterloo as a Master’s student in the Rhetoric and Communication Design program in Fall 2018. They will also stay on the WatSciComm team as a research assistant with Dr. Mehlenbacher. Black explained, “if you have something that you want to do, something that might benefit not just your own education but the education of other people, then you should go for it.”
Photo credit: Paula de Villavicencio
Congratulations to English alumna Eleanor Sudak, who is among the winners of the 2018 HeForShe writing contest at University of Waterloo. Eleanor won first place in the poetry category for her poem “Today We Say Thailand.” The winning submissions have been published in a special anthology presented by the Book Store and Writing Centre in support of the HeForShe 10x10x10 IMPACT framework.
English was well represented on the judging panel and included Dr. Sarah Tolmie (English Language and Literature, Faculty of Arts), PhD candidate Tommy Mayberry (who is also an Instructional Developer, Centre of Teaching Excellence), and MA candidate Marisa Benjamin.
Congratulations to UWaterloo English’s Dr. Ashley Rose Mehlenbacher, whose article “Crowdfunding Science: Exigencies and Strategies in an Emerging Genre of Science Communication” in Technical Communication Quarterly received honorable mention for the Nell Ann Pickett Award from the Association of Teachers of Technical Writing. According to the abstract:
Crowdfunding is a novel mechanism for garnering monetary support from the online public, and increasingly it is being used to fund science. This article reports a small-scale study examining science-focused crowdfunding proposals from Kickstarter.com. By exploring the rhetoric of these proposals with respect to traditional grant funding proposals in the sciences, this study aims to understand how the language of science may be imported into this popular genre.