Dec. 12, 2016

Alumni Spotlight: Dianne Leong-Fortier, BFA'94, BEd'98, MEd'09

Arts alumni are an accomplished crew. They have great advice for students and fellow graduates, and know that arts degrees teach skills that are sought-after in the professional environment.

Dianne Leong-Fortier is the Academic Strategist with Student Accessibility Services at the University of Calgary. The Academic Strategist position provides academic skills instruction to students with disabilities and is responsible for developing and implementing individual and small group learning sessions for students. Dianne has significant experience in education for both youth and adults and within a number of industries in Calgary. Among the number of volunteer positions Dianne has held, she is currently a member of the Faculty of Arts Alumni Advisory Council.

What is your favourite University of Calgary memory?

My favorite UCalgary memory was working collaboratively in group work with like-minded colleagues in my Fine Art/Visual Arts degree, Bachelor of Education degree and Masters of Education degree. Always, I have found professors and staff professional, supportive and inspiring.  

What was your favourite campus hang out spot?

My favourite hangout was the art studios and university libraries.

If you could give one piece of advice to a student completing the same degree that you did, what would it be?

First of all, access all the supports that you may need to help you time manage your studies appropriately so that there is balance in your academic and personal life. Take advantage of the numerous resources and staff working in the student services departments and various libraries on campus.

How has your career evolved?

My career has evolved immensely which has taken me into many years of life-long learning and personal development.  I love learning and helping others whether they are K-12 students or adult learners.  I have worked in various sectors: arts and culture, non-profit, public education and post-secondary education as an educator and arts and culture supporter and artist. Additionally, I have held roles as a board member for non-profit organizations and currently as a council member for professional organizations in Alberta.

What is the best thing about your job?

Currently, I moved into adult education/post-secondary as an Academic Strategist.  I have worked as a teacher in K-12 and arts community and adult learning environments. Life-long learning is my passion which allows me to develop unique relationships with students and colleagues that I work with.

How did your arts degree help you get to where you are now/your current career?

My arts degree opened many doors for me, first as a professional artist, then as a teacher in public education and now as an academic strategist.  An arts degree leads to opportunities that are varied and diverse in public, corporate, and private sectors.

Do you have any other thoughts or memories you would like to share?

I am proud to be an Alumni of the University of Calgary and most recently to have the opportunity to be a member of the Faculty of Arts Alumni Advisory Council.  I encourage all UCalgary Alumni to re-connect and get involved in the numerous opportunities that are available for Alumni. I am extremely pleased to come back to the university in a new role that supports adult learners at the post-secondary level of education.