March 29, 2017 | Volunteer & Awards

A champion of equity, diversity and excellence

Angela Hildyard is honoured with a 2017 Vivek Goel Faculty Citizenship Award

Angela Hildyard is honoured with a 2017 Vivek Goel Faculty Citizenship Award

No one can accuse Angela Hildyard of talking the talk but not walking the walk. On her watch as Vice President Human Resources and Equity, the University of Toronto has gained recognition as one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers, Top Diversity Employers, Top family Friendly Employers and Top Employer for those over 40.

Hildyard’s work has touched practically every sector of the University community. For her rich, meaningful, tremendously positive and lasting contributions, Hildyard, who is also a professor in the Department of Leadership, Higher and Adult Education at OISE, has been honoured with a 2017 Vivek Goel Faculty Citizenship Award.

Hildyard is a double graduate of U of T (MA 1973, PhD 1976). Since joining OISE as a research assistant in 1970, she has served as Director of OISE, negotiating its merger into the University in 1996, as the Principal of Woodsworth College, and as Vice President, Human Resources & Equity for 15 years. Since October of 2016, she has served as Special Advisor to the President and Provost.

It would take volumes to include all of Hildyard’s initiatives, but perhaps a good place to start is one she is most proud of: the approval by Governing Council of the Statement on Equity, Diversity, and Excellence (pdf). The statement supports equity, protecting human rights, and embracing diversity and inclusiveness in an environment that allows excellence to flourish. “We are still the only institution that has such a statement and it speaks to the values of the institution, making it clear we will not be excellent unless we embrace equity and diversity,” she says.

Walking the walk, Hildyard led numerous initiatives to enhance the experience of underrepresented groups at the University. Most recently, she initiated modifications of the University’s employment equity data so that we have a better understanding of the diversity of our community with respect to gender and gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, race and ethnicity and Indigenous status. Hildyard has also worked with members of U of T’s Black faculty who have noted, as have Black students, that Black students do not see themselves represented within the faculty.

“I am willing to work, and will continue to work with members of our Black community because there is still a lot of work to be done,” she says. “I am very mindful that as a white woman I have been privileged. So I wish to be an ally to those who have not had access to the same privileges.”

As an academic holding the office of VP HRE, it was important to Hildyard that the office’s policies and activities were based on good, research and data. “I have never been afraid to meet with particular groups to hear what their concerns are, and then look for ways to address those concerns that are acceptable to both the individual and the institution,” she says.

She has maintained her association with research and teaching throughout her career, supervising numerous masters and doctoral students, and presenting at both professional and academic conferences across Canada and internationally. Outside the University, she has served as a consultant and on panels and committees across North America and Europe. In recognition of her significant contributions to higher education, she was honoured with the InspirED Award.

In addition to the multiple honours she has received for her achievements, Hildyard has the distinction of having an award named after her. The Senior Women Academic Administrators of Canada’s Angela Hildyard Recognition Award honours an individual who continually demonstrates innovative leadership in advancing the mission of their institution and higher education.

Hildyard’s vision of equity is inclusive. “No matter what role you play in the University of Toronto, everyone should take pride that we are considered to be one of the best institutions in the world,” she says. “And it’s not just the faculty, it’s also the staff, who do their work day in and day out to ensure that our faculty and our students can succeed.

“I love this place,” she adds. “I’ve had incredible opportunities and I have wonderful, wonderful colleagues. I don’t regret a single day that I’ve worked here.”

The Vivek Goel Faculty Citizenship Award was created to honour Vivek Goel’s contributions to the University in his role as Vice-President and Provost from 2004 to 2008. It recognizes exemplary University faculty who have a sustained record of administrative contributions and this year two distinguished faculty members are being honoured with this award. It is presented each year under the banner of the Awards of Excellence, a program recognizing the outstanding members of the University of Toronto community who have made rich and meaningful contributions to the University, their communities and to the world.

Alumni Relations within the Division of University Advancement is the steward of the Awards of Excellence program on behalf of the University of Toronto Alumni Association, and co-ordinates the vital contributions of other University stakeholder groups toward this prestigious award program.

Professor Angela Hildyard and the other 2017 Awards of Excellence recipients will be honoured at a recognition event on April 27.

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