Grad English Society Book + Bake Sale


The GES is hosting a two-day Book/Bake Sale from January 28-29 (10am-4pm). The sale will take place in Room 2G28N of the Arts and Humanities/International Affairs Building (formerly Ivey Building).

If you love books, please spread the word! Tell everyone you know and then some!

~Your friendly neighbourhood GES Co-Chairs


Department of English Steward Solidarity Social

2712776_mainPSACLogoWhat’s that you say about free pizza and beer?

Did you know that socializing over food and adult beverages is one of the foundations of the labour movement that has brought us benefits, equity practices, workplace health and safety protection, and the eight-hour workday? That’s right! Do you think collective organizations of working folks campaigning for better working conditions would have even been possible had it not been for pubs, bars, house parties, and meetings with snacks? Unthinkable!

Read the rest of this entry

The Graduate English Society’s Annual Holiday Party

Holiday Party invite
Invitation courtesy of Social Coordinator Kaila Rose.

We’ve passed the mid-point of the semester and the time for developing final papers, grading exams, and planning journeys home for the holidays is fast approaching. However, on the evening of Thursday, December 4th, the GES formally invites you to escape the winter blues and celebrate all of this semester’s hard work and achievements at our annual Holiday Party.

Sponsored by the GES, the Holiday Party is open to all graduate students, faculty members, and staff in the Department of English. In previous years, it has been customary to have refreshments and drinks on campus in the early evening, with the option to continue the party into the evening at a lounge, pub, dance venue, or house party. Spouses, partners, friends, and colleagues from other departments are welcome to join us for the latter half of the evening’s festivities. However, we ask that attendance of the first half of the evening at The Wave be limited to the Department of English. There is no dress code, although many take the opportunity to wear their holiday finest: glitz and glam and questionable holiday-themed sweaters are all appropriate! If you have children, we do not have childcare available but you are more than welcome to bring them to the event.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact your friendly neighbourhood GES Co-Chairs or our Social Coordinator.

LGTA Workshops Info Available

Dates for upcoming LGTA workshops have been added to the Events Calendar. For more details see the Documents page.

The first workshop will take place this Friday, October 17th from 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. in University College 282.

GES Meeting – September 29th, 2014

Minutes from the most recent GES meeting are now available on the Documents page.

Rescheduled — TA Contract FAQ & Info Session and GES Meeting

The TA Contract FAQ & Info Session will now be taking place on Monday, September 22nd from 12:00pm-1:30pm in AH 2R21.

The GES meeting will now be taking place on Monday, September 29nd from 12:00pm-1:30pm in AH 2R21.

GES Newsletter — Back-to-School Edition

In this issue:

  • Book sale update
  • The GES@Western website
  • Elections
  • Post-Qualifying-Exams Celebrations
  • Survey: Workshop on Student Poverty, Year X, and GES Support
  • First GES Meeting and reminder of upcoming events

Book Sale Update

We’ve already had a great start to our year with our book & bake sale. We’re delighted to announce that the final tally is in, and thanks to your organizing, overseeing, and remarkable baking, the GES has raised $1030. Donations are still pouring in, and we suspect that the labyrinthine nature of the Arts and Humanities building may have reduced our traffic somewhat, so we are considering having another sale in January.

The GES@Western Website

After a lapse in web presence last year, the GES website is now (mostly) updated for your browsing pleasure! As handy as Facebook and the GES listserv is, it helps to have all of your news, resources, and events in one convenient location. In addition to a blogroll for current events, the website includes information about awards and scholarships, contacts within the GES, links to other campus organizations, reading and research groups, The Jane Errors, important documents, and (perhaps most importantly) an event calendar that can help you visualize and keep track of GES-sponsored events. GES newsletters and meeting minutes will also be added to the site as the year goes on.

If you are a new student, we encourage you to take a peek at the website! The campus organizations page is being expanded over the next week, and we’re still awaiting up-to-date contact information for a number of the reading and research groups, but the most important bits (namely of a financial/organizational persuasion) have been updated.


We’ve already had a few lovely folks ask about becoming involved with the GES. In case you were not aware, the GES is a team made up entirely of graduate students in the Department of English who work to make sure that your time here is fantastic. These folks work in a number of different roles, some of which are filled by elections in the beginning of the summer and others that are filled by elections in the fall, that is, right now!

On the website under Service Positions, you can see descriptions of all GES service positions, including the following positions open for election:

  • MA Representative
  • Academic Coordinator
  • Social Coordinators (two positions)
  • Website/Listserv Manager
  • ACCUTE/MLA Representative
  • SOGS Councillor (three positions)
  • PSAC Union Stewards (three positions)

These positions have a wide range of time commitments and call for a variety of experiences and interests. Are you tech-savvy? Then maybe the Website/Listserv position is up your alley! Are labour rights important to you? You may want to become one of our Departmental Union Stewards! Are you the life of the party, have a knack for planning events, and want to help make sure that GES members have something social to look forward to? The Social Coordinator position is calling your name!

If you are interested in any of the positions, please submit your name, your program (MA or PhD), the position in which you are interested, and a short statement of interest outlining why you want to fill the position and what experiences and skills you’ll be bringing to the position to by Monday, September 29th.

As always, any questions can be directed to the GES Co-Chairs.

Post-Qualifying-Exams Celebrations

At the end of this week, many folks in the PhD program will be writing their Qualifying Exams. To celebrate the impending success of our brilliant friends and colleagues (and to facilitate much-needed post-exam decompression) we would like to invite all exam writers to the Grad Club at 2pm this Friday, September 19th for post-exam appetizers and snacks sponsored by the GES. We also encourage all GES members to convene and join us at this event, as it is an occasion for good cheer and solidarity!

Survey: Student Poverty, Year X, and GES Support

As many of you already know, Western University has recently made the decision to stop offering OGS funding to any student beyond their funding period (in the Department of English, this period is four years). Given that until now the OGS was often the sole chance for support for students in Year X, many GES members in the upper years of their programs have raised valid and serious concerns about how to successfully complete their program (which, on average, takes longer than the four year fundable period) in the face of serious financial burdens.

It has been suggested that the GES offer a workshop or series of workshops to better support students in all years who are facing poverty, precarious living situations, and general financial hardship. To that end, we have created a short survey to help us determine which issues are most pressing for GES members and what kind of support would be most beneficial to students in our program. This survey is completely anonymous, and all answers to the survey will be kept confidential. Students in the PhD IV year and Year X are strongly encouraged to participate. If you wish to participate, we would greatly appreciate your feedback. Student poverty is a very real concern, and your input can help the GES do a better job of supporting its membership in ways that matter.

The survey can be found HERE.

First GES Meeting and Upcoming Events

As we mentioned during the orientation session, GES meetings are a crucial way to stay in the loop about what is going on the Department of English. From news from department meetings to updates from the Committee on Graduate Studies, from political issues to social events, GES meetings are a “one-stop-shop”: you get to offer input on how the GES is run, and you get all of your major news updates in one place. Meetings tend to end on time, and are usually not more than an hour and a half.

The first GES meeting of the year is scheduled for Friday, September 26th from 10:00am-11:30am in Room 2R21 of the Arts and Humanities Building. An agenda for this meeting will be distributed no later than Monday, but one of the main items on the list will be a discussion of our annual holiday party and garnering a sense of what kind of social and academic events we’d like to see throughout the year.

Also, a reminder to new students that the TA Contract FAQ and Info Session (information about this session can be found here) will be taking place this Friday.

TA Contract FAQ & Orientation Session

Hello, GES members! As you recall, last week during orientation one of our speakers was Jaime Brenes Reyes, our Chief Steward of Arts & Humanities for the coming year. Jaime was presenting on behalf of PSAC Local 610, the union that represents all Teaching Assistants and Postdoctoral Fellows here at Western. The information you receive during orientation week can be pretty overwhelming, and Jaime only had fifteen or so minutes to introduce the union and what it does. Because of this, I thought it might be helpful to hold an FAQ/information session near the beginning of the term. The goals of the session are:

  • to familiarize you with the most important details of your TA contract (the Collective Agreement);
  • to give you a better idea of what steps to take if you encounter a difficulty or problem over the course of your teaching assistantship;
  • and finally, to give you an opportunity to ask more detailed and focused questions now that you’ve actually begun to TA, and have had a chance to look at your contracts and supporting documentation.

As the Lead Graduate Teaching Assistant for this year, Kevin Shaw will be holding a variety of workshops to develop skills for the actual day-to-day business of being a TA, holding office hours, managing tutorials, grading, and professionalization. However, this workshop has more to do with understanding the terms of your employment (your contract) and provide you with the information you need if you have question or issues throughout the year with your rights and responsibilities as a TA. I can’t stress enough how important it is that you be informed about your rights and responsibilities as a TA, and that you know who to talk to and what steps to take if an issue arises.


The workshop will be held on Friday, September 19th from 10:00am-11:30am in Room 2R21 of the Arts and Humanities Building (the building in which you can also find Leanne’s office, if you are still getting used to campus). I’ll be hosting the workshop. I’ll be serving as one of your three Departmental Stewards this year, served as Chief Steward of Arts & Humanities last year and as Departmental Steward the year before that, so I’ve had a lot of experience answering questions and handling issues from the very small to the very serious and will be equipped to answer any questions you may have.

I’ve listed a few resources here that will come in handy over the course of the year and may help you pinpoint some questions for the workshop beforehand. One of these (the TA Handbook) you have a paper copy of, but in the event that this handbook gets lost in the shuffle it’s always handy to have a digital copy. The resources can all be found at the following link:

  • Graduate Teaching Assistant Collective Agreement (the detailed contract under which you are employed as a Teaching Assistant, and which outlines the terms and conditions of your employment here at Western)
  • Graduate Teaching Assistant Handbook (digital copy)
  • Hours Log Sheet (a useful tool for keeping track of your TA hours every week, which is a crucial part of preventing overwork and ensuring that you are working within the terms of your contract)

If you have any questions or concerns about the information session, get in touch with me via email. Otherwise, I look forward to seeing you at the workshop!

All the best,

We’re Rebuilding!

After a long drought in terms of web presence, your friendly neighbourhood GES Co-Chairs have been working hard to get the GES@Western website back in action. In addition to providing students with updated information, we’re also working towards ensuring that new content from the past year (the Constitution and Bylaws, The Jane Errors, our event calendar, and so on) is posted to the site.

While we love the ease of Facebook and the GES Listserv for sharing information, we hope that the website will serve as an additional tool in the way of directing you to resources, keeping you updated on events and initiatives in the Department of English, and making sure that new students have a sense of what the GES does and who to talk to about any issues they may have. It also helps give prospective students a sense of graduate life in the Department.

It may be a while before we work out the kinks and shape the site so that it is of greatest use to GES members—not to mention that we won’t have a new Webmaster-or-mistress until after the upcoming elections. In the meantime, if you have any suggestions for content you’d like to see on the website, please contact the Co-Chairs and we will do our best to incorporate them.

Thank you for your understanding, and welcome to the site!

Holiday Party!


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