Tag Archives: new term

Grad orientation

What a joy it is to meet the new (and reconnect with the continuing) graduate students. Last week there were three days of grad orientation for the incoming MAs and PhDs. Part of what we (faculty) do is give a 3-4 minute description of what our graduate courses this year will be about. It’s one of the parts of orientation that WE like a lot, because, as Professor Randy Harris noted, it’s when we get to hear what our colleagues are doing in their courses, and it reminds us of when we were graduate students just starting out.  Most of us come away from that session saying “I wish I could take that course! Sounds amazing and exciting and challenging.” The thrill of that intellectual challenge is what brings us to graduate school in the first place, and it’s also what forms our lives as academics. That wanting to know more. That privilege of learning from others.

To cap the orientation we have a beginning-of-term party. This year it was held in the foyer of a newish building on campus that I have never set foot in before: the Centre for Environmental and Information Technology. It is a gorgeous building (those of you who know our campus will know how ambivalent many of us feel about Hagey Hall; I for one am jealous of those new buildings). The appetizers and snacks were lovely. The vibe positive. But best of all was getting to chat with some of the new students. One of the things that is happening in our department is that we are becoming more international. I talked to students from Iran, Singapore, Bosnia, and Pakistan–as well as students from way the heck up north and way out west!

I meant to take photographs for the blog, but I forgot. As my husband says, being the departmental blogger seems also to mean being a girl journalist, always having a recording device at hand. Oh well.

Term begins tomorrow. And off we go!

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A new term, a new departmental blog

Welcome to the new blog written by the department of English Language & Literature. Of course, it is not written by the department, but by me, Linda Warley, associate professor, teacher of Canadian literature, researcher of all things having to do with life writing, student of aboriginal literatures in Canada, immigrant to Canada from England; ‘mother’ to my cat Shirley; and newly appointed “Alumni co-ordinator.” This blog is for everyone: students, faculty, staff, members of the university community. Of course, it is public, but it is also about us, the English department in all of our many guises and iterations.

If you are an alumnus, please know that the English department wants to stay in touch with you, and I’m hoping this blog will become part of your routine reading. Because you are still reading, right? Aren’t we English types the perpetual, obsessive, compulsive (oops! that makes it sound like a disorder) thoroughly committed-for-life readers? Weren’t we the kids in our rooms on summer days with a book in our hands? These days we might be reading from e-readers or iPads or laptops, but I bet we’re also still reading in print. And reading a lot in all media.

And we are writing, too. Whether or not we have to write for our jobs–do you write for a living? is writing a big part of you job?–we are word people. We process words. We live words. We are words. And it’s important that words are in the right places and that our meanings are clear. We’re good at that.

I love blogging. I began writing a blog only very recently when I was away for a term, teaching as a visiting professor at the University of Zagreb, Croatia. If you are interested, please check out Lady Professor in the Balkans.. Now I’m writing another blog that is more focused on my research. Lady English Professor  has a new home.  You are welcome to join me in that virtual place as well.

Here at Words in Place I’m writing from the perspective of home. My work place; your former (or present?) place of study. I suspect you might also think of the department of English as some sort of home. We certainly hope so. The learning environment is such a comfortable place for most of us, and our degrees connect us to particular enclaves within the larger space that is the University of Waterloo. I think of the department of English as the mother ship; the place from which you launched into the world as more mature, better educated citizens. But like all mother ships, this one wants to keep you close even while we proudly watch you move out into the larger world.

So, please bookmark this blog. Check it out whenever you have some time. Pass it along to your friends who might also be UW English alumni. Comment if you feel like it. Email me with requests for specific stories. I’ll try to post something every week. And guest posts are also most welcome.

The new term is about to begin. It’s busy in the department these days. The printers are spilling out syllabi; the photocopiers are spewing paper; the campus is a buzz with orientation activities; professors are checking out the bookstore and their classrooms. Students are sharpening their pencils. Well, metaphorically, anyway. Happy Fall 2011!