Category Archives: Faculty

Alumna Eleanor Sudak wins HeforShe

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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.


The rhetoric of Kickstarter?

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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 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.

Image: Kickstarter

A new book from Dr. Vershawn Young

Congratulations to Dr. Vershawn Ashanti Young, cross-appointed with English, whose book Neo-Passing: Performing Identity after Jim Crow (co-edited with Mollie Godfrey) has just been published by University of Illinois Press. From the press:

“African Americans once passed as whites to escape the pains of racism. Today’s neo-passing has pushed the old idea of passing in extraordinary new directions. A white author uses an Asian pen name; heterosexuals live “out” as gay; and, irony of ironies, whites try to pass as black. Mollie Godfrey and Vershawn Ashanti Young present essays that explore practices, performances, and texts of neo-passing in our supposedly postracial moment. The authors move from the postracial imagery of Angry Black White Boy and the issues of sexual orientation and race in ZZ Packer’s short fiction to the politics of Dave Chappelle’s skits as a black President George W. Bush. Together, the works reveal that the questions raised by neo-passing—questions about performing and contesting identity in relation to social norms—remain as relevant today as in the past.”

Dr. Marcel O’Gorman on locking up your smartphone

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In case you missed it, Dr. Marcel O’Gorman of UWaterloo English has an article in The Atlantic discussing his research on digital abstinence, titled “The Case for Locking Up Your Smartphone.” An excerpt:

“Michael I. Norton, Daniel Mochon, and Dan Ariely coined the “IKEA effect” to name the increase in value people assign to self-made products. With the Resistor Case, I’m counting on a similar effect, that students who fist construct and then choose to make use of their DIY phone lockers might be more compelled to use them. Of course, the kit will only work if the teacher provides a context for it that includes a discussion of responsible smartphone use. (The kit provides a series of cards to prompt this conversation.)

When I teach these workshops, I introduce students to the French translation of paying attention: faire attention, or “making” attention. It suggests that attention is not something to be bought or sold, but something to craft. This is a concept that could benefit anyone who considers adjusting school, work, or entertainment plans to accommodate the supposedly shorter attention spans of digital life.”

Image source here.


Remembering Dr. Joe Gold

Retired English professor Joseph Gold died on January 13 at the age of 84.

Born in London, England, Gold joined the University of Waterloo in September 1970 after ten years at the University of Manitoba. He chaired the English department from 1970 to 1973.

Recognized as a leading world authority on the work of Charles Dickens, Gold’s research also focused on bibliotherapy – “that is, the use of literature as a psychotherapeutic agent and in the normal developmental stages of personal growth.”

In September 1972, his book The Stature of Dickens: A Centenary Bibliography became the 500,000th item added to the University of Waterloo Library’s catalogue.

In 1978 he was elected the president of the Temple Shalom Reform Congregation of Waterloo.

He also served on a number of departmental committees.

Gold retired from the University in January 1994.

An award in his name, The Joseph Gold Award for teaching English was established in 1996 as part of the Waterloo Regional English awards, given out to a teacher who demonstrated leadership, creativity and enthusiasm in teaching English.

In addition to his work as a professor of literature, with books published on Faulkner and Dickens, Gold was also a clinical member of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists and wrote several books on the role of literature in human relations, including Read for your Life (1990) and The Story Species (2002).

“Reading fiction is not just entertainment,” Gold once said. “It changes people’s lives, how they think and feel and act.”

A memorial service will be held at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, January 20 at Temple Shalom on Beechwood Drive in Waterloo followed by a Kiddush, memory-sharing and stories.

From the UWaterloo Daily Bulletin

11 Encounters with Mennonite Fiction

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If you have taken a course in Mennonite writing at UWaterloo, it might have been taught by Hildi Froese Tiessen, now Professor Emerita, and editor of the forthcoming 11 Encounters with Mennonite Fiction (Mennonite Literary Society, 2017). You are invited to attend a launch for the book on Thursday, December 7th, at Conrad Grebel at UWaterloo in the Schlegel Community Education Room. Also being launched is Silentium: And Other Reflections on Memory, Sorrow, Place, and the Sacred, by Connie T. Braun.



Dr. Neil C. Hultin passes

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Unfortunately, we are announcing the passing of Dr. Neil C. Hultin, who spent many productive years in the English Department at UWaterloo.

HULTIN, Neil C. 1934 – 2017 Neil Hultin, a longtime professor in the Department of English at the University of Waterloo, passed away on November 21, 2017 after a brief illness. For the last two years he resided at the Columbia Forest Long Term Care Home in Waterloo. He is survived by his wife Beryl, their children Philip, Geoffrey and Karen, and grandchildren Aidan, Cameron, Ethan, Michael, David, Sarah and Benjamin. Neil was born in Kenmare, North Dakota, the youngest child of Clarence Philip Hultin and Edith Eleanor Johnson Hultin. Neil’s brother Carmen Philip (“Buddy”) and sister Eileen were already teenagers when he was born. Neil’s father died quite young in 1937, as a consequence of being gassed during WW1, leaving Edith to raise the family single-handedly through the last years of the Depression. Neil’s brother left home to serve in the US Army Air Force during WW2, and his sister married. Edith and Neil lived in a tiny apartment above a shoe store in Minot, N.D. through the 1940s, although Neil spent summers in Donnybrook, N.D. on a relative’s farm. He never forgot his North Dakota roots even though his life took him far from where he started. Neil discovered strong intellectual interests in school, which led him to pursue post-secondary education, the first of his family to do so. He obtained a B.A. from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota in 1955, and the following year he married Beryl Helen Juhala. Together, they moved to Chicago where Neil earned an M.A., and then to Baltimore where he studied at Johns Hopkins University to obtain the PhD. His decision to pursue an academic career led to a brief teaching appointment at the University of Arizona, but the offer of a tenure-stream assistant professorship at the University of Western Ontario induced him to move the family to Canada in 1963. In 1969 he relocated to the University of Waterloo, where he remained in the English Department until his retirement. His scholarly focus expanded and changed over the years from his initial interest in Medieval English literature, to include linguistics, folktales and fairytales, folk medicine, and the activities of various 18th and 19th Century British intellectuals. Neil also maintained a deep interest in theology and religions. Books on these topics featured prominently in his library. He published several scholarly books, as well as articles in international academic journals. He was a popular teacher and mentor to both undergraduate and graduate students. At home, he welcomed and encouraged family discussions of history, current affairs, or philosophy around the breakfast table or late at night in front of the fireplace. Neil was a devoted husband and father. He valued home and family above all, and was happiest sitting in his house or garden with his family around him. He gave generously whenever friends, neighbours or family asked for his help, but rarely asked for anything himself. He was proud of everything his children and grandchildren did but humble about his own accomplishments. The family extends deepest gratitude to the staff at Columbia Forest for the love and support they gave to our father. We also are most grateful for the friendship and assistance given by Joe Brito of Aurora Home Care over the past two years. A Celebration of Life will be held in the Fireside Room of the Erb & Good Family Funeral Home , 171 King St. S., Waterloo on Saturday, November 25, 2017 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations to Parkinson Society Canada may be arranged by contacting the funeral home at or 519-745-8445.