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Dear friends of the German Department,

While writing this letter in my office on a sunny autumn day, I can see students streaming through the corridors, dropping in on my colleagues. What an honor it has been to serve such a brilliant group of professors and students while presiding over “things German” at the University of Toronto for the past six years. I look back and am thrilled at what we have accomplished: established our Annual Toronto German Studies Symposium, now in its fifth year; achieved unrivalled success in external research grant competitions; brought our inspiring professors to wider audiences by transforming some of our English-language seminars into lectures; reengaged with alumni, emeriti, and Toronto’s German community, not least through this new annual newsletter produced by faculty editor Angelica Fenner; strengthened our undergraduate program through comprehensive curriculum renewal; and bolstered our graduate program with a proseminar, annual job-market sessions, and teacher-training workshops, culminating in our graduates finding jobs at the universities of Calgary, New Brunswick, British Columbia, Concordia and Vienna – in the past two years alone.

I am proud to have been chair during the period of uncertainty that arose following our Faculty of Arts & Science’s 2010-11 Academic Plan. Through concentrated discussions with the dean and brave interventions by colleagues from across the humanities, we not only maintained our status as an independent German Department—the oldest in North America—but also fortified our position within the University and beyond.

Out of the crisis, new connections arose: interdisciplinary symposia and working groups; cross-listed courses attracting students from far and wide; and interdepartmental alumni events such as the upcoming b2b (“backpack to briefcase”) series.

Continue Reading John Zilcosky's Letter


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Page updated on November 8, 2012

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