[University of Waterloo]


Past days


About the DB

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

  • Literary magazine is celebrating
  • Catholic conference begins Friday
  • And a little of this and that
Chris Redmond

'More to discover in Ontario'

[Handshake and smiles]

John Crossley, principal of Renison College snce 2002, has been named to a second term in that job, the college has announced. Crossley will now serve through June 2012. "During his four years with Renison," says a news release, "Dr. Crossley has expanded and improved the College's academic programs, facilities and financial position." He's pictured (right) shaking hands with Keith Hipel, a UW systems design engineering professor who sits on Renison's board of governors and chaired the nominating committee that recommended the reappointment.

Literary magazine is celebrating

It's award season, the shortlists are in bloom, and the editors at UW's 25-year-old literary magazine are celebrating. The New Quarterly, a national literary journal based at St. Jerome's University, turns a quarter-century this year, complete with special features for readers across the country.

"While bigger and better than ever before, there are many ways in which we've come full circle in that time," said editor Kim Jernigan. "We've returned to St. Jerome's where we were launched. We've continued to promote local writers, though now to a national audience. And we are again featuring artists, as well as writers, in our pages and on our cover."

The last three issues have featured artists and writers with local roots. Last summer, it was Shannon Reynolds's portrait series "Dramatis Personae," based on conventional characters from the theatre and starring local personalities in the roles of the coquette, the lusty woman, the crone, the sage, the tragic lovers and the dandy. Last fall it was poet and fiction writer Carrie Snyder (author of The Man in the Hair Hat); and, in the winter issue, it's painter Jeff Burns, who grew up in the region and whose surreal interior landscapes were the subject of a solo show at the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery last spring.

TNQ plans to celebrate the 25th anniversary with a series of special features in every issue leading up to its big 100th issue next fall, Jernigan says. The winter issue pointed out the significant number of well-known Canadian writers today who have a history with the magazine. "We were struck by how many of the books on the fall lists were by writers nurtured in our pages," she said, itemizing David Bergen, winner of the 2005 Giller Prize; Anne Fleming, a nominee for the Governor General's Award; and Lisa Moore, a Giller Prize nominee. "So we asked them to tell us the story of how they arrived at their opening lines, and I think they had fun doing it."

She said the magazine also celebrates "writers whose work we've published repeatedly so we've been able to see them grow, see their talent mature over time." For example, it presents a lively interview with Richard Cumyn, a Kingston writer whose first publication was with TNQ and whose fiction and essays have continued to appear in the magazine over the years. Cumyn provides a preview of his coming novel and an essay on his love of manual typewriters, part of the magazine's occasional series on writers and their obsessions.

The spring issue, now on the newsstands, features genre literature with an interview with fantasy writer Kenneth Oppel; a trio of essays by science fiction writers, including last year's Waterloo Region One Book, One Community author, Rob Sawyer; essays by mystery writer John Brady and novelist Christine Pountney, who moonlights writing erotica; and a colour feature on the off-the-shelves genre of graffiti.

The summer issue will be devoted to comedy and the 100th issue next fall to a list of the top 25 most-loved living Canadian writers.

Meanwhile, TNQ has made a stronger than ever showing at the National Magazine Awards, with writers short-listed in four categories. They include Montréal poet, essayist, and fiction writer Robyn Sarah, nominated in both the Arts and Entertainment and the Essay categories where she is competing against writers from big budget commercial magazines like The Walrus and Maclean's; Toronto writer Heather Birrell in the Fiction category; and New Brunswick writer Mark Anthony Jarman in the Sports and Recreation category.

"We think that's a first," said Jernigan, "to have a literary magazine competing in the sports category!" Jarman's essay, "A Nation Plays Chopsticks," is a gritty account of the attractions of old-timers' hockey and of the guys who continue to play long after the knees are gone. It was part of a gathering in the spring 2005 issue, "Hockey Write in Canada".

It's also a small triumph, according to Jernigan, that the judges included an essay on aesthetics in the Arts and Entertainment category, a category that is more often devoted to glitz. But Robyn Sarah is a woman of lively opinions despite the tentative way in which she builds her argument. She has this to say, for example, of the usual practice and theory of poetics: "Of this I am convinced: good poetry does not reside in beautiful or bizarre images, fine phrase making, artful mystification, esoteric allusion, linguistic mirror tricks, fractured syntax, anecdotal appeal, gorgeous description, prurient confession, political righteousness, social consciousness, academic research, exoticism, topicality, or pick-a-backing on the lives and works of the famous dead."

Sarah's entry in the essay category is an article on Israel as experienced by a child of the Jewish diaspora growing up in secessionist Québec.

Catholic conference begins Friday

A panel of journalists will discuss the theme of "Catholic Voices in the Media and the Public Square" at the opening session of the third biannual Catholics in Public Life conference hosted by St. Jerome's University and the Waterloo Catholic District School Board this Friday and Saturday.

The conference, held at St. Jerome's, kicks off Friday at 7:30 p.m. with a distinguished panel of Catholic journalists discussing the transformation of the public square and the role of the media in shaping public debate. The panellists represent the religious and secular media: Paul Baumann (editor, Commonweal), Robert Mickens (Vatican correspondent, The Tablet), Marina Jimenez (senior writer, The Globe and Mail) and Peter Kavanagh (producer, CBC Radio).

On this week's list from the human resources department:

  • Residence attendant, housing and residences, USG 2
  • CRAIG assistant, contracts research and industrial grants office, office of research, USG 4

    Longer descriptions are available on the HR web site.

  • Michael Higgins, president of St. Jerome's and author of the best-selling Stalking the Holy: The Pursuit of Saint-making, will be the moderator, in one of his last public appearances before leaving St. Jerome's this summer for the presidency of St. Thomas University in New Brunswick.

    "This is an opportunity to hear first-hand how the media do their job and how, as Catholics, these journalists struggle to present these stories impartially, even when they raise difficult issues for the church," said Scott Kline, one of the conference's co-directors and a professor of religious studies.

    (Not everybody approves. A web site called LifeSite says this week that St. Jerome's, a "nominally Catholic college", has "failed to offer more than the expected roster of the usual leftist and dissident suspects. . . . St. Jerome's has a well-established reputation among believing Catholics for broad and determined divergence from Catholic teaching on some of the most crucial social and moral issues, including abortion and the nature of marriage.")

    After Friday night's panel, the rest of the conference will involve panellists and participants in group discussions around issues facing Catholics in public life. Discussion leaders include journalists Joe Sinasac of the Catholic Register and Diane Bisson of Catholic New Times along with civic leaders Dianne Moser, chair of the Waterloo Catholic District School Board, and Deborah Pecoskie, chair of the St. Jerome's board of governors.

    One of the goals in these discussions is to help Catholic laity develop greater media literacy, organizers say. Kline said the conference offers an opportunity for Catholics to come together to have open and frank discussions about public and political issues currently making headlines. "The wonderful aspect of this conference is that it brings together local political and civic leaders with international Catholic leaders. This year's focus on the media is especially timely given the recent coverage of John Paul II, Benedict XVI, same-sex marriage and the war on terror."

    The Friday evening event is free and open to the public. The Saturday panel discussions and luncheon require registration. The registration fee for the conference is $60 for the general public, $50 for students. Registration and conference details are available online.

    And a little of this and that

    We're now ten days into UW's 2006-07 fiscal year, a period in which the university is expected to take in $353 million and spend just slightly more through its "operating" budget. Half the money will come from the Ontario government, and most of the rest from student fees. A point of interest when provost Amit Chakma presented the budget for approval by the university's board of governors in April: it's forecast that 21 per cent of tuition fee revenue, $30 million out of $142 million, will come from international students, who pay significantly higher fees than Canadians. A priority for the university, in a time of tight money, will be to increase that figure if possible, by bringing in more students from overseas, Chakma noted.

    Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing Gauss Contest for grade 7 and 8 students today.

    WHMIS training for employees available 10 a.m., Davis Centre room 1302 (repeated May 18, 2 p.m., Davis 1304); general safety orientation Thursday 2 p.m., Davis 1302, repeated May 18, 10 a.m., Davis 1304.

    Health informatics research seminar: John Yeow, systems design engineering, "Micro/Nano Devices for Biomedical Applications," 12 noon, Davis Centre room 1304.

    Communitech 2006 Tech Leadership Conference: "Brat Politics and Guerrilla Logic: Winning the War for Talent, Markets and Money," Terry Matthews (March Networks) and other speakers, Thursday all day, Bingeman Conference Centre, details online.

    UW Blooms annual exchange of perennials and other garden items, organized by UW Recreation Committee, Thursday 12 to 4, Student Life Centre multipurpose room (some items will be left out for evening participants).

    'Co-op Japan' presentation for students interested in spending a work term in Japan, Thursday 4:30, Tatham Centre room 1208.

    Spring yard sale at Columbia Lake Village, Saturday 8:00 to 11:00.

    Ontario Nano Symposium organized by graduate students in electrical and computer engineering, May 19, details online.

    You@Waterloo Day open house for future students and their parents, Saturday, June 3, 10:00 to 2:00.

    [Blue poster]

    Tonight: 'Tales of an Urban Indian' is a one-man touring performance by Brandon Oakes, brought to UW by the Aboriginal Student Centre based at St. Paul's College. The performance is tonight at 7 p.m., Humanities Theatre, tickets $11 (students $6) at 888-4908.

    In the course of its discussions a few weeks ago, the senate long-range planning committee turned to the subject of post-doctoral fellows -- individuals who have finished their PhDs and spend a year or so gaining additional experience before moving on to a faculty job somewhere. The committee looked at a chart, prepared by the graduate studies office, with some details on this often-overlooked constituency. Over the past winter there were 171 postdocs at UW, it says, including 93 in science, 39 in engineering and 27 in mathematics. Chemistry has almost a third of the campus-wide total, at 55, while some departments, from English to systems design engineering, have none at all. Who pays them? A broad range of agencies, with the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council in the lead; about a dozen were funded by industry.

    Here's a message from Katherine MacLean of the UW writing centre on the second floor of the PAS building: "The Writing Centre, in conjunction with Counselling Services, will again offer workshops to help students enhance their writing skills. There are six different workshops, and students are encouraged to take all six or only those of interest." Details are online or available from MacLean, e-mail kmaclean@uwaterloo.ca. The first workshop this term is scheduled for May 25.

    And registrar Ken Lavigne writes: "I am pleased to announce the appointment of Mary Lynn Benninger to the position of Assistant Registrar, Arts and Environmental Studies, effective June 1. Mary Lynn is a UW graduate, three times over. She holds a BMath (Statistics and Computer Science), MMath (Statistics), and MASc (Management Sciences). Most recently, Mary Lynn was the principal of Benninger Alliance Inc. Prior to this, she held a variety of management positions in the life insurance industry." The assistant registrar's job has been vacant since Nancy Weiner moved out of it to become associate registrar (admissions).

    Books borrowed from the UW library on term loan before the beginning of April are due today and should be returned or renewed. . . . May winners in the monthly Keystone Campaign donor draw have been announced and are listed online (this month they include Bob Kerton, the dean of arts). . . . The UW continuing education office will offer "The Art and Science of Project Management" as a one-day course May 17. . . .

    Finally, a correction. A few days ago the Daily Bulletin mentioned UW faculty member Brent Hall, this year's winner of the Award for Excellence in Teaching Geography. Reasonably enough he was described as belonging to the department of geography -- but in fact Hall is based not there, but in the school of planning.


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