Wednesday, 9 April 2014

The Last Lecture: Not A B-Movie

With the last week of classes here, it’s time to start finishing up our final papers, putting the finishing touches on our assignments, power reading the final few chapters of our text books, and getting ready for exams…. AND, I’m going to suggest that we take a few moments to try and really appreciate the people that we’ve had around us all year. We are fortunate enough to have strong and positive community of students in our classrooms, residences, student groups, and in student governance. Each one of us contributes to our campus, and hopefully we have each been able to positively impact one another. 

This week, YouAlberta will be celebrating a few of the individuals who have made an effort to improve your student experience this year. Some might call these individuals leaders, others might simply see them as that face that they see around campus, while others still would just call them “friend.” 

We're starting today off with a look at the individuals who inspire us inside the classroom:

Provided by Edward Spink, After U

The Last Lecture - it sounds like the title of a potential B-list movie. In reality, it’s something a lot more valuable than some movie you’ll find in a $5 clearance bin at Wal-Mart. The Last Lecture gives the opportunity to a professor to answer the question “If this were your last time to address a group of students, what would you say to them?” I can’t imagine this to be an easy question to answer. It’s like asking a hockey player to play their last game or asking a police officer to go on one last patrol before they retire.

No, this isn’t like the last lecture of a semester where your professor rushes to teach you everything, or holds a Q & A review session, followed by you applauding them for all the hard work they’ve put into teaching you the entire term. At the Last Lecture, a professor has the chance to forgo the syllabus, the lesson plan, the powerpoint slides and the laser pointer. Instead, they’ll be able to speak about whatever they like, whether it be a stories of their experiences being an undergraduate student or perhaps some inspiring life lessons. Whatever it is, you can expect their words to come from the heart.

I nominated Dr. David Begg, a professor from the Faculty of Medicine to be this year’s Last Lecturer. Naturally I was excited when I found out he was one of the three finalists along with Dr. Linda Kerr, and Dr. Robert Burch. I nominated Dr. Begg because he truly cared about his students and he really respected them. He inspired me to do what I love and I know he would’ve given an amazing Last Lecture. Although Dr. Begg didn’t win, I’m still excited to hear Dr. Burch speak at the Last Lecture. Despite being the ones standing in front of a lecture room, the ones you may be a bit intimidated to ask a question or visit during office hours, professors are human beings. They too have experienced the ups and downs of being a student. They’re tasked with the job of passing the knowledge of the universe onto each generation of students. They all have unique and incredible life experiences and adventures you never get to hear of. Whatever knowledge Dr. Burch has to pass onto this generation of students, I know his words will be from the heart and will be truly inspiring.


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