Category Archives: Awards

Dr. Condon on Campus Mental Health

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I am thrilled to share the text of Dr. Frankie Condon‘s speech at the March 30th Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance’s (OUSA) Partners in Higher Education Dinner. Dr. Condon was there to receive the UWaterloo Federation of Students Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award for 2017. Each year, the Feds awards one instructor at the University of Waterloo who has exemplified innovative teaching and has shown dedication towards ensuring academic success for undergraduate students.Dr. Condon used the opportunity to discuss mental health. The text of her speech follows:

“Thank you so much. I am more touched, more honoured than I have words to express. For me—and I know for my colleagues as well—there is no greater reward than to have earned the respect of our students. The students I have met at the University of Waterloo have taught me, have delighted me, and have challenged me. I have been moved to do the best I can as both a scholar and a teacher by the depth and breadth of their intellectual curiosity and engagement, by their delight in learning, and most of all by the integrity of their commitment not only to their own success, but also to that of their peers—by their courage, their humility, their compassion, and their kindness. To be recognized by them is the greatest honour I can imagine.

But I would be remiss, I think, irresponsible even if I did not say this—to all of you, especially to you. Imprint, the University of Waterloo’s campus newspaper reported this week that during the last 365 days, an estimated 596 of our students have attempted suicide. I am sure many of you know that the University of Waterloo has lost two students to suicide this term. Their tragic deaths have devastated students, faculty, and staff, as well as their families and friends. I did not know the two students who took their own lives at my university, but many years ago, during my second year as an undergraduate student at York University, I lost my father, who was also a professor, to suicide. And so this loss hits particularly close to home for me. In such a moment, when sorrow seems to overwhelm joy and despair threatens to isolate us even as we need each other most, this much seems clear to me: intellectual growth and development can never be separated from emotional and spiritual well-being. We cannot teach well if we do not attend to the fullness of the humanity of our students. There are many matters about which I am uncertain, but this much I believe: we will serve our students, our institutions, our communities, our nation, and the world far better by putting humanity at the centre of our curricula and humaneness at the heart of our pedagogy. There is, in reality, no intellectual cost, no abandonment of “rigour” required to do so. The truth is that kindness, respect, generosity—love—is the enabling condition for all learning. More than our disciplines, more than the subjects we teach, more than the assignments we design, more than the grades we give, the humanity of our students and the quality of humaneness with which we treat our students is at the heart of teaching and learning. I don’t know why our two students chose to end their lives, but I do feel certain that we must change—our institutions, our teaching, ourselves. This is the least we owe to the students who have died, to their families, and to the students now before us in our classrooms. It is to my students and to the labour of humanizing my classrooms and my institution that I dedicate myself; I hope you all will join me, because I really do believe that when we put our hearts and minds, our will and our hard work together we can make a world worth staying for.”

Dr. Warley’s book shortlisted

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Last year, UWaterloo English’s Dr. Winfried Siemerling received the Gabrielle Roy Prize for studies in Canadian and Quebec literatures for his book The Black Atlantic Reconsidered: Black Canadian Writing, Cultural History, and the Presence of the Past. This year English’s Dr. Linda Warley‘s co-edited collection Canadian Graphic: Picturing Life Narratives has been shortlisted for the same prize! Better yet, it includes chapters by not one but three UWaterloo English alumni. The jury writes:

The individual essays work to articulate the significance of the visual medium for the representation of the vulnerable self in Canadian graphic autobiographies, and range in subject from Seth and Chester Brown, to Sara Leavitt’s heartbreaking narrative about her mother’s death, to Julie Doucet’s early feminist autobiography, My New York Diary. The collection as a whole tells the story of how this important and comparatively new genre evolved in Canada, introducing historically important publications and publishing houses as well as individual cartoonists. The book design is attractive and spacious, and the accompanying illustrations beautifully produced. Canadian Graphic is both a stimulating read and an important scholarly achievement.
Congratulations to Dr. Warley and her co-editor, Candida Rifkind!

Congratulations to the New Quarterly

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The New Quarterly
, a literary journal housed at St. Jerome’s at The University of Waterloo, has garnered four nominations at this year’s National Magazine Awards, two nominations in the Fiction category as well as one each for Poetry and Essay. The nominees are:

* Sharon Bala, for Miloslav [Fiction] — a three-time recipient of Newfoundland and Labrador’s Arts and Letters award, her debut novel, The Boat People, is to be published in early 2018.

* Richard Kelly Kemick, for The Unitarian Church’s Annual Young Writers’ Short Story Competition [Fiction] — an award-winning Calgary writer who has published poetry in TNQ, he has two other nominations in this year’s National Magazine Awards.

* Selina Boan, for “(Good) ‘Girls Don’t Hitchhike’ / Half/Brother / Meet Cree: A Practical Guide to the Cree Language” [Poetry] — was a finalist in last year’s CBC Poetry Prize; she is working on a collection of poems exploring her Cree and European heritage.

* Liz Windhorst Harmer, for “My Flannery” [Essay] — won a National Magazine Award in 2014 and was nominated for another; her debut novel, The Amateurs, will arrive next year.

Close to 200 Canadian print and digital magazines submitted their best, in both official languages, with TNQ receiving the most literary nominations. “We are absolutely thrilled with the number of award nominations this year,” says TNQ editor Pamela Mulloy. TNQ, a charitable not-for-profit organization, has won 10 gold, 7 silver and had 35 honourable mentions in the 18 years that it has participated in the National Magazine Awards. The National Magazine Awards winners will be announced on Friday, May 26 at a gala in Toronto.

Photo caption: Michael Helm, Madeleine Thien and Alissa York (from left) holding each other’s books at last year’s Wild Writers Literary Festival, organized by TNQ, in Kitchener-Waterloo. Thien’s novel, Do Not Say We Have Nothing, won the Scotiabank Giller Prize, Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.

Reporting on the English Awards!

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Our annual awards ceremony, held March 31st, was well-attended as usual. The event attested to the incredible diversity of research being conducted in UWaterloo English. Joseph Stapleton won a prize for writing in rhetoric for his essay “O.J. Simpson and the Construction of Hyperbolic Reality”; Laura Bayer received an award for an essay on Dionne Brand’s novel What We All Long For that drew on the work of Spanish artist Remedios Varos. Likewise, Devon Moriarty’s award-winning essay considered “When Rhetoric, Science and Reddit Collide,” while Ian Gibson took up the novels of Cormac McCarthy through Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle to explore quantum mechanics as a novelistic strategy, in the processing capturing a Beltz Essay Prize. Judges spoke of the difficulties in adjudicating awards. Dr. Victoria Lamont described feeling at one point that she had a “seven way tie.” For more about the awards and winners, see the full listing below. More photos are also available online.
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Undergraduate Award Winners

Grade Average Award Winners
Second Year Spring:  Kate Stericker
Second Year Fall:  Joanna Cleary
Third Year:  Kayley Marner
Fourth Year:  Isabelle Cote

Academic Awards
Walter R. Martin English 251 Award:  Masha Janjuz
Award in American Literature and Culture:  Alex Rollinson
Canadian Literature Prize:  Kathleen Moritz
History and Theory of Rhetoric Award:  Sarasvathi Kannan (runner-up); Theresa Shim (winner)
Rhetoric and Digital Design Award:  Trevor Nielsen (runner-up); Theresa Shim (winner)
Rhetoric and Professional Writing Award: Dominique Kelly, Elizabeth Scott, Erin Taylor, Christine Williams (group prize)
Andrew James Dugan Prize in Literature:  Alexandra Siebert
Andrew James Dugan Prize in Rhetoric and Professional Writing:  Joseph Stapleton

Co-op Awards
Quarry Integrated Communication Co-op English Award: Danielle Bisnar Griffin
Undergraduate Co-op Work Report Award: Carla Rodrigo

Creative Writing Awards
Albert Shaw Poetry Prize:  Zainab Ahmed-Yassin Mahdi
English Society Creative Writing Award for Poetry:  Joanna Cleary
English Society Creative Writing Award for Prose:  Chris Masterman
Graduate Creative Writing Award for Prose:  Lacey Beer
Graduate Creative Writing Award for Poetry:  Masa Torbica

Graduate Award Winners

Grade Average Awards
MA:  Julie Funk
PhD: Ian Gibson

David Nimmo English Graduate Scholarship:  Justin Carpenter
Jack Gray Fellowship:  Rebecca Anderson, Devon Moriarty
Graduate Co-op Work Report Award:  Andreea Perescu

Academic Awards
Beltz Essay Prize, MA:  Laura Bayer
Beltz Essay Prize, PhD:  Ian Gibson
Rhetoric Essay Prize:  Devon Moriarty
Graduate Professional Communication Award:  Devon Moriarty
W.K. Thomas Graduate Scholarship:  Jessica Van de Kemp

Teaching & Professionalization Awards
TA Award for Excellence in Teaching:  Kaitlin O’Brien (runner-up); Nicholas Hobin (winner)
Lea Vogel-Nimmo Graduate Professionalization Scholarship:  Ashley Irwin

 

 

Award for PhD candidate Houman Mehrabian!

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Congratulations to UWaterloo English PhD candidate Houman Mehrabian, who has won the Amit and Meena Chakma Award for Exceptional Teaching by a Student (AETS). The awards committee writes:

“Houman Mehrabian, an Arts PhD student in English Language and Literature, is highly recognized for his dedication to learning and teaching. When asked about Mehrabian’s impact on student learning, 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.” In addition to his student support, one faculty member also highlighted that “he is the most dedicated student I have encountered in my 30 years of university teaching, and I can easily see how this commitment to excellence shines through in his teaching.” His support serves as a testament to this recognition. Mehrabian has been an instructor for ENGL 109, ENGL 309C EL, and DRAMA 387/ENGL 363 EL. He has also been a teaching assistant for ENGL 109 EL and ENGL 210F EL.”

Houman’s dissertation explores the complex relationship between emotions and the construction of character – between pathos and ethos – in Aristotle’s rhetorical, ethical, and poetical theories; William Shakespeare’s plays; and Friedrich Nietzsche’s oeuvre.

English alumni win writing contest

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The winners of the 2017 HeForShe writing contest have been selected, and their work has been published in a special anthology presented in support of the HeForShe 10x10x10 IMPACT framework. And two of the four winners are UWaterloo English alumni! Congratulations to Sarasvathi Kannan, a Waterloo alumna, whose “The Sword and the Pen” was one of two winners in the poetry category (the other winner was anonymous).  The winner in the Fiction category was Jessica Needham, a Waterloo alumna, with an untitled short story. Words in Place readers may recognize Jessica, who previously appeared on the blog discussing her research on Game of Thrones. Sarasvathi Kannan may also be familiar to you. She is a past recipient of the English department’s Albert Shaw poetry prize, as well as the English Society Creative Writing Award for Prose, the English 251A award, and–if that weren’t enough–the Rhetoric and Professional Writing award. Congratulations to our alumni!

Teaching Award for Dr. Condon

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Congratulations to Dr. Frankie Condon, the recipient of the UWaterloo Federation of Students Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award for 2017. Each year, the Feds awards one instructor at the University of Waterloo who has exemplified innovative teaching and has shown dedication towards ensuring academic success for undergraduate students. What makes this award special is that it is based solely on student nominations and feedback, further showing the impact professors have had on their students. A high volume of nominations were received for Dr. Condon that all spoke extremely highly of her courses and enthusiastic commitment to student success. Students were particularly appreciative of the ways in which she fostered a sense of community and teamwork in the classroom.