A monthly newsletter for faculty & staff of the Faculty of Humanities

We acknowledge with respect the Lekwungen peoples on whose traditional and unceded territory the university stands and the Songhees, Esquimalt and WSÁNEĆ peoples whose historical relationships with the land continue to this day.

A Message from the Dean

UVic Humanities Dean Annalee Lepp


Greetings everyone!


As we move towards the beginning of an unparalleled fall term, I want to recognize that the last five months have been very taxing for faculty members, teaching instructors and staff in the Faculty—not to mention for our students, who are experiencing their own hardships and uncertainties. We have faced a barrage of new challenges and demands at work and home, which have required frequent, quick pivots and steady hands. There has been a lot to deal with, to say the least.


I want to express my deep gratitude to all of you for your extraordinary hard work and fortitude under these trying circumstances. They testify to your commitment, as educators, researchers, supervisors, leaders and staff, to supporting our undergraduate and graduate students, both entering and returning. Thank you so very much for your time and effort in keeping department offices running efficiently, developing high-quality online courses and learning communities for our students, and making this fall term the best it can be.


I wish you all a smooth beginning of term and hope you will not hesitate to reach out to us in the Dean’s office for advice and support.



- Annalee Lepp, Acting Dean, Humanities

Staying Connected

Through the Pandemic

UVic Humanities prospective student town hall (june 2020)


So much of university life has traditionally taken place on campus, in classrooms or at the BiblioCafé; in the McPherson library or around the Petch fountain outside its main entrance; on the field or upon a bench – that is, in person. With those opportunities suddenly limited, many wondered: how will we stay connected with one another? (read more)

Big fan of Nigel Howard? Join the club.

UVic ASL instructor Nigel Howard translates for Dr Bonnie Henry


Since the American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter and UVic instructor started interpreting for the BC government’s daily COVID-19 updates, several social media pages have sprung up in appreciation, the largest of which has 3,700 followers... (read more)


Made with Nigel's blessing, posters and t-shirts with his likeness signing for you to "keep your distance" have appeared all over BC since they were created in March. Part of all proceeds go to a non-profit of Nigel's choice: the Deaf Children's Society of BC. You can order yours here.

Inspiring Students Online

UVic Gender Studies instructor Janni Aragon (290x180)

A Pedagogy of Care

During the rapid shift away from face-to-face course delivery in March, Janni Aragon (Gender Studies) took immediate steps to ensure her students would have the same kind of dynamic, community-oriented learning experience they have come to expect from UVic... (read more)


UVic Medieval Studies professor Michael Reed (290x180)

Virtual Tours of Medieval Victoria

Unable to offer his tour of medieval architecture in Victoria in person, Michael Reed (Medieval Studies) brought local landmarks to his students' monitors... (read more)


In Focus: Graduation 2020

UVic graduating blue martlet icon

A Virtual Experience

Graduation looked a bit different this year due to COVID19, with a "virtual graduation experience" created by the university along with our own online celebrations. One thing that never changes is how proud we are of our graduating students.

UVic Gender Studies student Simone Blais (180x110px)

Simone Blais

"My degree has been really complimentary to the work I do outside of the academy. I genuinely feel I was able to study what I stand for," says Gender Studies student Simone Blais... (read more)

UVic French student Pamela Fraser (180x110px)

Pamela Fraser

"I love Victoria. I think it would be really interesting experience to teach French immersion here. I like teaching Anglophones. I can really relate and understand the issues that may come up," says French student Pamela Fraser... (read more)

Two Humanities Students win 3M Awards

Madeleine Kenyon (Philosophy)

Through empathy, courage and a keen intellect,  Madeleine Kenyon (Philosophy) has turned her own vulnerabilities into a superpower that has propelled her to the forefront of student-led mental health initiatives at UVic and earned her a prestigious 3M National Student Fellowship... (read more)

“Social justice is not just a set of theories or a singular moment of activism for me, it is embedded in how I live my life,” says Hanna Jacobsen (Gender Studies). Their 3M education challenge focused on mental health of LGBTQ+ students, especially trans students facing barriers to health care... (read more)

Faces of the Humanities: Kailin Gillis finds unlikely career path through co-op

Kailin Gillis (English)

Gillis is completing her second co-op placement as an educational technology assistant — a job in which she helps UVic students, staff and faculty navigate and troubleshoot the technological tools available for learning and teaching. She talks to Stephanie Harrington about doing co-op during a pandemic and finding a career path in the unlikeliest of places... (read more)

Get to Know a Researcher:

History's Wendy Wickwire

Book launch for Wendy Wickwire's At the Bridge: James Teit and an Anthropology of Belonging in Sidney, BC (June 2019). From left to right: Bonnie Campbell, Emma Joe, Hilda Belanger, John Haugen, Wendy Wickwire, Charon Spinks, Janice Antoine, Amy Charlie, Michael M’Gonigle, Grand Chief Percy Joe, Mandy Jimmie (Photo credit: Wendy Wickwire).

Wickwire, an emerita professor in the Department of History, spent three decades researching James Teit, a prolific ethnographer and advocate for Indigenous Peoples’ rights. She talks to Stephanie Harrington about bringing the story of this little-known historical figure to the fore... (read more)


Book cover At the Bridge: James Teit and an Anthroplogy of Belonging

Did you know? At the Bridge recently won the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences' Canada Prize in the Humanities and Social Sciences, and the Canadian Historical Association’s Clio BC award. Go Wendy!

Lessons Learned & Challenges Faced: Outgoing Grad Advisors Share Their Wisdom

In July, Catherine Leger (French), Elena Pnevmonidou (Germanic and Slavic Studies) and Sara Beam (History) ended their terms as grad advisors. With over 12 years of collective experience supporting graduate students and programming in Humanities, Associate Dean Research Alex D'Arcy asked them to share the lessons learned, insights gained and challenges faced... (read more)


Things That Make You Go Hummm


4 year old Illiyan stands beside one of his 'listen to Nigel' posters (photo credit: - Zen Tharani and Shazia Karmali via Vancouverisawesome.com)


"B.C. sign language interpreter Nigel Howard is a 'real life superhero' to this deaf 4-year-old" goes the headline for an op-ed written by the boy's parents for vancouverisawesome.com. The article continues: "Ilyan is now four and a half and seeing Nigel signing alongside Dr. Bonnie Henry has made him so proud to be deaf. When we purchased a few 'Listen to Nigel' posters, Iliyan immediately asked that we hang one in his room and post one outside our house."


Need we say more? We dare not, for fear of detracting from the perfection of this moment.


This section features the small, personal moments that remind us of our shared humanity or pull on our heart strings that little bit. If you see something that makes you go hummm, send it to us at humscom@uvic.ca for inclusion in our next newsletter!





Although we don't want to see them go, we're always happy to see our colleagues begin a new chapter in life. May their days be full of joy and their visits to our hallways remain frequent!



Leslie Saxon (Linguistics), who has been a faculty member in the Department of Linguistics since 1991.


Continuing Sessionals:

Sheila Burgar (English), who has been teaching first-year literature and composition, second-year British survey courses, and Victorian literature in the Department of English for over 25 years;
Paul MacRae (English), who has done us the great service of not only teaching numerous sections of the regularly full ENGL 225 course, but has written the textbook for it and generously passed on his materials to his successors;
Valerie Warder (English), who has been teaching AWR courses for well over a decade and has contributed substantially to the design and development of the English courses for Engineering students;
Candice Neveu (English) who has also been teaching first-year composition, literature and composition, and AWR Engineering courses here for well over a decade.



Jenny Jessa: Graduate Secretary in Linguistics and previously worked in the English Department;


Rhonda Batchelor: With just over 9 years with the Malahat Review, Rhonda officially retired at end of December 2019;


Irina Gavrilova: Assistant to the chair in Germanic and Slavic Studies, Irina just retired on July 31, 2020;


Judy Nazar: Joined the "Language Centre" (now known as the Humanities Computing and Media Centre) in the 1960s, then again in the 80s. A driving force behind UVic's American Sign Language courses, along with Kristi Faconer. Judy has been with UVic for over 35 years.


This message was sent to you by Faculty of Humanities, University of Victoria 

Clearihue Building, Room C305


 Twitter Facebook