November 11, 2011

Angelica Fenner Following a glorious Indian summer, autumn has arrived in Ontario, transforming the countryside outside Toronto into delicate painterly hues of yellow, dark orange, and crimson red. It has always struck me as ironic that the new academic year coincides – at least in temperate climates - with precisely the season when nature yields its final harvest before surrendering to fallow earth and hibernation. Yet in some regards, we scholars are also similarly synchronized, spending summers in productive research, ‘ploughing’ through data at our computers or ‘foraging’ in archives in search of evidence and artifacts to sustain us through the coming academic year. Now we are reaping the harvest of seeds previously planted, as evidenced in the ideas we implement in the classroom, the papers we present at Fall conferences, and a new round of curricular planning and review.

But as every farmer knows, autumn is also the season for preparing the soil for future seasons of growth. So, too, do we invite private individuals and corporations to consider extending financial support for our various endeavors in Germanic Languages and Literatures. This may assume the form of either a one-time or annual contribution, whether endowed or expendable, and can be earmarked, at the donor’s request, for a specific purpose. We currently have in place, for example, the Hermann Boeschenstein Memorial Fellowship, which is awarded annually by our department to a promising new M.A. or Ph.D. student on the basis of their past performance and future promise. Current award holder Marlo Burks came to our department with an M.A. in Medieval Studies from the University of Leeds and an M.A. in German from Dalhousie University. This year she will pursue coursework in Middle High German, on Heinrich Heine, Franz Kafka, Romanticism, and the ‘Myth of Origins.’ As research assistant to Professor Lehleiter, she is also helping prepare for publication conference papers from the 2011 Symposium, "Fact and Fiction: Literature and Science in the German and European Context.”

We hope to put into place other such donor-sourced scholarships. The Provost’s Ph.D. Enhancement Fund (PPEF) will match on a 1:1 basis any endowed gifts pledged between now and December 31, 2012 and paid in full by December 31, 2013. If you would like to contribute to such a fund or to have an award named after yourself, either the Chair in German, John Zilcosky ( or the Development Officer Jacob Wesolowski in the Office of Advancement ( would be very pleased to discuss options with you further. The attached pledge form provides guidelines for initiating this process. Please know that your support will be prudently implemented to maximize benefits to the program and to the students whose development represents our most important 'yield.’ Although we live in times of heightened austerity, through resourcefulness and collaboration with others we will continue to meet the evident demand and thriving interest that exists within the wider GTA and in Canada for German culture, history, and language.

Angelica Fenner
Associate Professor of German & Cinema Studies

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