The Desautels faculty of music started the year on a high note by appointing a new dean.
Edward Jurkowski, whose position officially began Jan. 1, is no stranger to Winnipeg’s music scene.
“I’m from Winnipeg,” he said.
“I did my undergraduate degree at the faculty of music and went down to the States to do my graduate studies.”
While he had spent time outside of Winnipeg, he was always looking for an opportunity to return to the city — an opportunity which presented itself in the form of the dean position.
He had previously worked as the dean of the faculty of fine arts at the University of Lethbridge.
“Came back to Canada, and had been living in Lethbridge, Alberta, for the last 22 and a half years,” he said.
“Loved it a lot, but home is home, and when the opportunity came up, my wife and I thought ‘Good opportunity to think about moving back, reconnecting with family.’ And received the position, and excited to be here.”
Jurkowski said his time here so far is “going great,” and that the significant expansion of the faculty of music’s space — in 2017, the faculty opened a new 60,000 square foot facility attached to Taché Hall — was an especially exciting aspect coming into the position.
“There’s so many more possibilities with just being a larger space where you can have room to breathe, but also the idea of it being connected so close with the [art buildings] and the theatre that’s right there,” he said.
He said his main goal as the new dean of the faculty of music was collaboration — inviting both students and faculty to interact with music students and to encourage mutual learning.
“The possibilities of interdisciplinary work both with students — particularly just getting them energized and excited, being together — and just learning from each other, learning what their particular curriculum is about,” he said.
“Learning what their experiences are as a student, as a music student, what that might mean for a visual arts student, what that might mean for a drama student, what kinds of creative things could be put together.”
Beyond that, Jurkowski said he hopes to expand this culture of collaboration to fellow university faculty, and the wider arts community in Winnipeg and beyond.
“I’m also very interested in what that might mean for faculty associations and what that might mean for the university and the Winnipeg community,” he said.
He said he hopes to encourage inter-faculty connections as well.
“It’s developing relationships with other deans and seeing what goes on, say, in the faculty of arts, or the faculty of science […] And what activities are going on there.
“What kind of relationships might music be able to forge with, say, the school of business or with the school or art?”
Jurkowski said in the short time he has worked at the U of M as a dean, his experiences have been “nothing but positive,” and credits “the environment that’s been provided by the faculty” as his reasoning.
“All the students I speak with are just extremely thrilled to be doing what they’re doing.”