By Jenn Watt
After spending most of her life in downtown Toronto the new dean at Haliburton School of Art + Design packed up her things making sure to remember her parka and snowshoes and moved to Haliburton village.
“The reason for that was both professional and personal” says Angela Stukator seated at a table in her new office on the Haliburton campus. “Professionally I had achieved everything that I had hoped to and then some at Sheridan and I turned 60 – and I’m proud to say that. I have a lot of energy and I wanted a new exciting challenge. So when the decision came up I looked at my three adult children and said what do you think? They said go for it. So with their support I applied for the position and I was fortunate enough to be offered it in November.”
Sandra Dupret who was dean at HSAD for more than a decade accepted the position of VP student experience in April of 2019 and continued to fill the role in Haliburton until Fleming College selected her replacement.
Stukator describes herself as an enthusiastic administrator – one who revels the art of designing dynamic practical programs. Most recently she was associate dean of Animation and Game Design at Sheridan where she was a key player in creating their honours bachelor of animation which she says now has about 600 students has won several awards and counts internationally recognized directors among its alumni.
Before taking the job at Sheridan Stukator was a professor in film studies at the University of Western Ontario: a natural progression from her academic training in the same field. But she found herself gravitating to colleges and the potential their hands-on format presented.
“I got very interested in arts education and wanted to be involved in the development of programs that allowed people not only to study the theory and the history but also very much the practice. The college system excels at that: applied learning and learning that is absolutely tied to industry” she says.
Her decision to leave Sheridan after about 16 years was a leap into something new but it wasn’t entirely out of character. Stukator says she was looking to refresh her worldview and give herself a new challenge. She was also familiar with the area and keen to embrace the natural beauty and blissful lack of traffic that the Highlands provides.
“I was commuting an hour and a half each way from Toronto to Oakville and now it takes me approximately seven minutes depending on how easy it is to make the left onto the highway” she laughs. Her passions align nicely with her new locale: watching films and going for hikes.
Along with her role at HSAD Stukator is dean of the School of General Arts and Sciences which takes her to Fleming College’s Peterborough campus one to two days a week.
Having just settled into her new job last week Stukator says she’s still taking everything in meeting people and learning about the college.
“I don’t have any immediate plans to change anything. What I’m doing is looking at the strategic plan and new academic plan which is in development and trying to situate GAS [General Arts and Sciences] and Haliburton so that they are aligned with Fleming and its priorities. That includes things like focusing on people student success emerging technologies Indigenous communities” she says.
She sees potential for growth and expansion saying she’s “100 per cent” behind the concept of a student residence which is in the discussion stage.
“Haliburton is an absolute jewel. Much like Sheridan’s animation program it needs to be leveraged and branded so that the rest of the world knows how fantastic it is and that it becomes a real destination of choice for artists and makers who want to continue their path of learning and practice” she says.