Oct. 2, 2017: Notice of Elections

Dear English Graduate Students,

We hope the start of the academic year has treated you well. This message is to announce that the English Graduate Student Society (EGSS) will be holding its annual elections in the coming weeks. Joining the EGSS is a great way to raise your professional profile, foster community and a supportive departmental culture, and make friends with dedicated and generous people within the department.

The EGSS is a student-run society that operates on behalf of all graduate students in the English department. Its purpose is to maintain and improve all aspects of academic, professional, and social life for English graduate students at UVic. We meet once a month to discuss and debate current issues in the department, organize events, and support new initiatives by and for students. Some things EGSS members have recently created and/or supported include:

  • An end-of-year holiday party, the Snowflake Gala, which will (hopefully) become a yearly tradition
  • Publishing/launching a journal featuring creative writing from graduate students
  • A “blind date with a book” fundraiser: choose a mystery book (lovingly donated and wrapped by your fellow students) based on a cryptic but clever tagline.
  • Pomodoro writing/working sessions where students sit silently and work in structured blocks of time, separated by short breaks. Then we celebrate our productivity with pizza/snacks afterwards!

This email is the official Notice of Elections for President (represented by a PhD student) and Vice President (represented by an MA student). The nomination period runs from Oct. 3-10, 2017. If you are interested in running for either position, please email me at tjychan@uvic.ca. If you would like to nominate a colleague, please CC them on the email, as we will need their permission to present them as an official candidate.

You can find out more about all the roles in the EGSS here. Essentially, the President and Vice President oversee all activities and initiatives of the EGSS and represent all English graduate students. If a student has a concern but don’t feel comfortable approaching faculty about it directly, the President/Vice President can approach the department on your behalf.

Last year, Bassam Chiblak served as President and Angie Park and Conrad Leibel served as Vice-President in the fall and spring semesters, respectively. Bassam will continue in his role until after the election period has closed. If you have any questions about the positions, please reach out to him at bchiblak@uvic.ca or visit the EGSS website https://uvicegss.wordpress.com.

Even if you don’t necessarily want to be the President or Vice President, there are still plenty chances to get involved as a chair or member of a committee! Stay tuned for more information.

Wishing you all a happy and productive October,



Grad Lounge Lending Library

The EGSS is compiling a lending library in the Grad Lounge with books about professionalization, (academic or non-academic) careers, and/or academic culture. The lending library is located in the back corner of the Grad Lounge (above the computer). To sign out a book, simply write your name on the blank sheet of paper posted next to the library and cross it out when you’ve returned it.

The EGSS is actively seeking donations of books on our wishlist! Email uvicegss[at]gmail.com to donate!

The following lists were last updated on 31 Mar 2017.

Current List

  1. They Say, I Say by Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein
  2. English-French dictionary (for Second Language Requirement Test)
  3. A Canadian Writer’s Reference by Diane Hacker
  4. How to Complete and Survive a Doctoral Dissertation by David Sternberg
  5. How to Write a Journal Article in 12 Weeks by Wendy Belcher
  6. How to Write A Lot by Paul Silvia
  7. The Elements of Academic Style by Eric Hayot
  8. The Academic’s Handbook edited by A. Leigh Deneef and Craufurd D. Goodwin
  9. How to Build a Life in the Humanities: Meditations on the Academic Work-Life Balance edited by Greg Colon Semenza and Garrett A. Sullivan Jr.
  10. Colouring book and colour pencils

Wish List

1. So What Are You Going to Do With That? Finding Careers Outside of Academia by Susan Basalla and Maggie Debelius
2. The Slow Professor by Maggie Berg and Barbara Seeber
3. Teaching to Transgress by bell hooks
4. The Professor Is In by Karen Kelsky
5. Written/Unwritten: Diversity and the Hidden Truths of Tenure by Patricia A. Matthew
6. Trans* in College: Transgender Students’ Strategies for Navigating Campus Life and the Institutional Politics of Inclusion by Z Nicolazzo
7. Mad at School: Rhetorics of Mental Disability and Academic Life by Margaret Price
8. The Black Academic’s Guide to Winning Tenure–Without Losing Your Soul by Kerry Anne Rockquemore and Tracey Laszloffy
9. Graduate Study in the 21st Century by Gregory Colon Semenza
10. Faculty of Color: Teaching in Predominantly White Colleges and Universities by Christine A. Stanley
11. Stylish Academic Writing by Helen Sword
12. Composition in the Age of Austerity by Nancy Welch and Tony Scott
13. Colouring books, colour pencils and/or other stress-busting activities

EGSS Newsletter (Dec 2016 – Feb 2017)

In December, we said a sad goodbye to Colleen Donnelly, the English department’s graduate secretary for twenty-five years. We wish Colleen a happy retirement and best wishes on behalf of all the graduate students and held a surprise party in her honour. Colleen’s shoes will be hard to fill but we would also like to extend a warm welcome to Dailyn Ramirez, our new graduate secretary.


We also said goodbye to Angie Park, our Vice President and MA rep for the Fall term. We had a great term under Angie and Bassam’s leadership and Angie will be sorely missed. Thanks and congratulations to Angie for all her hard work and on completing her MA. Congratulations, too, to Conrad Leibel, who will be stepping in as Vice President and MA rep for the Winter term.


January saw some troubling events both in Canada and abroad. UVic President Jamie Cassels issued a statement regarding both the shooting at the Islamic Cultural Centre in Quebec, as well as the United States executive order issued on Jan. 27, which bans entry to the US by citizens of 7 majority muslim countries as well as refugees. Our own EGSS president, Bassam, also wrote a letter to Dean Goto-Jones on behalf of English grad students asking for UVic to mobilize and collaborate in support of those affected. Students at the University of Toronto also created this collaborative, customizable letter and instructions for those looking to contact their MPs with concerns and calls to action. (Note that some aspects of the letter itself specifically mention U of T but can easily be modified or removed.) In February, the UVic President appointed a working group to assess the impacts of the bans on our university and to propose effective and appropriate action.

Despite the challenging times, the EGSS collectively looks forward to representing the interests of its students as well as welcoming the new year and new initiatives.

Good News

Congrats to PhD student, Lindsey Seatter, for winning a SSHRC award and Bombardier scholarship!

Congrats to all winners of 2016/17 donor awards, including Tiffany Chan, Bassam Chiblak, Jennifer Doyle, Denae Dyck, Stephanie Lahey, Hector Lopez Segarra, Sam MacFarlane, Lindsey Seatter, Amy Tang, Brandon Taylor, and Caroline Winter!

Congrats to Tiffany Chan and Amy Tang for presenting at the MLA conference in January!

Congrats to those stepping into new roles in the EGSS, including Conrad Leibel and Reuben Copley (Conference and Colloquia Chair)!

Monthly Meetings

The minutes for December and January’s meetings are posted here and here respectively.  Of note, the Pomodoro sessions were a great success and we hope to continue them, formally or informally, in the coming semester. There is also a proposal for a new committee to represent and support students from minoritized groups, which has been put forward to the EGSS and is in its beginning phases.

There’s lots to look forward to this term, including the English department colloquium, “Discussions of Cohortly Love,” a “Digital Drop-In” event (for working on academic social media profiles) — and other social events and opportunities besides!

Student Blog

Alana Sayers published a post based on her talk in December, titled “Unseen Governance: the Impact of Settler Colonialism on Indigenous Literature.”

Rachelle Tan published a post based her talk at FYI (in turn based on a talk at Congress in the Humanities) on “It’s a (Mis)match! What Tinder Taught me About Swiping Right on Academia.”


Photo by Francisco Osorio, licensed under Creative Commons.

Thanks to all who have contributed to the blog so far! If you would like to contribute, see the “Want to Contribute?” page for more.

Tool Tip: Saving webpages as PDFs

You can save webpages as PDFs in Google Chrome without downloading an extension (similar features in browsers such as Firefox might also exist). To do so, right click and select “Print.” Click on the option to select a printer (“Destination”) — but instead of selecting a printer, select Save as PDF and select the page range and location on your computer you want to save to.

You can use this trick for saving documents to work on offline later, or to save job ads to remember the qualifications they ask for. For more tips like this, see the page for the recent Pro D session on digital research tools.

If you have a suggestion for a tool tip, let us know or consider writing a blog post about it.

Upcoming Events


Photo by Alyssa Currie

Bookish Bouquets Fundraiser (TBA): The EGSS is holding a fundraiser for the grad student travel fund with bookish bouquets and wreaths (see above) available for pre-order by suggested donation of $10 and $12 respectively. If you or someone you know would like to pre-order a bouquet or wreath, email uvicegss[at]gmail[dot]com and we can drop them off in your mailbox!

Weekly on Tuesdays at 10:30am: Pro D Workshops. See CourseSpaces for more and to register. This term, there are sessions on the academic CV, the academic job market, publishing your research and many more.

Feb 12, 11am-2pm: Stolen Sisters Memorial March. A march downtown “to remember and honour Indigenous women, girls, and 2spirit people who have gone missing and been murdered.” See the link for more details.

Feb 14, 6-9pm: Decolonial Love: Indigenous Writer’s Night. If you’re looking for something to do on Valentine’s Day (aka Singles Awareness Day), come feel the decolonial love at the Indigenous Writer’s Night, featuring readings by MA student Alana Sayers.


Poster by Alana Sayers

Feb 16, 6-8pm: GSS Reading Break Board Games Night. Staying in town over reading break and looking for something to do? Try a relaxing board games night at the grad house.

Feb 17: CFP Deadline for English grad students colloquium. The English grad students colloquium, “Discussions of Cohortly Love,” scheduled for the afternoon of March 10th, is looking for student papers. All topics are welcome and students can develop a paper they wrote for a seminar.


Feb 20 at 10am-12pm in CLE314: Digital Drop-In. This event, organized by the Academic and Professional Committee, will offer an opportunity to work on that academic social media profile that you keep meaning to set up but never seem to find time for. It will also be a chance to solicit advice and feedback from your peers.

Feb 21 at 5pm: EGSS Meeting. Because of Reading Break, our monthly meeting has been pushed back to the Tuesday immediately following. Meetings are open to any English grad student — not just the exec! Please bring your ideas and enthusiasm.

Feb 28: CFP Deadline for Indeterminacy. Another chance to get your work out there: the UVic CSPT (Cultural, Social, and Political Thought) program is also holding a graduate conference this year on the theme of “Indeterminacy: Un/knowing a Body in a Space.”

A friendly reminder that the EGSS is also happy to help promote (through Twitter and this website) any events organized by or involving English graduate students (i.e. not limited to official EGSS events). If you have events or good news to share, tweet to @uvicegss or email uvicegss[at]gmail.com so that they can be included in future newsletters. Posters, images, tips, announcements, CFPs, or links are all welcome!