2020-21 Lougheed College Lectures Season in Review

Shelby MacLeod - 21 May 2021

The Lougheed College Lectures sponsored by Syncrude have always been broadcast online for audiences at other campuses and beyond, but by prioritizing digital viewership this year it had a wider reach than ever before, bringing new and returning audiences thought-provoking perspectives from a variety of disciplines. The Peter Lougheed Leadership College (PLLC) hosted seven presentations via Livestream over this past academic year, making the sixth year of Lougheed College Lectures another successful season.

At a glance:

  • More than 5,000 people registered to watch live
  • Viewers from more than 40 countries
  • Almost 100 questions submitted via the online Q&A on Mentimeter

Screenshot from livestream presentation shows Tyler Waye speaking to a slide with a chart showing female unemployment surpasses that of males during COVID-19

What did we learn?

This year’s series was based on the theme of leadership and public institutions, which was increasingly in the spotlight during the pandemic. As citizens demanded accountability and responsiveness, decision-makers had to engage those they serve while wading through dissent, controversy and even “fake news.” Viewers heard reflections and advice from the speakers, who humbly shared their experiences for others to learn from.

Speaking across party lines and other divides

Informing and uniting groups was a common topic during this past year of divisive events. Author and journalist James B. Stewart pulled back the curtain on news media, sharing how the industry has changed in response to reduced funding and the rise of digital media. Speaking shortly before the American election, he shared his commitment to transparency and honesty in communications. Later in the series, author and advocate Irshad Manji gave advice for interpersonal communications, especially for conversations among proponents of various political parties who struggle to get on the same page. “Listen to understand, not to win or respond,” she explained.

Leading during COVID-19

We were reminded to critically select our values and stick to them, even in the face of pressure from naysayers. Tricia Smith applauded the integrity and patience of heartbroken Team Canada athletes who faced disappointment when the Olympics were cancelled. We heard other stories of adapting and pivoting in international post-secondary institutions⏤as shared by esteemed university leaders Persis Drell (Stanford University) and Heather Zwicker (The University of Queensland)⏤and Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Deena Hinshaw spoke of the healthcare impact of COVID-19 in Alberta. 

Preparing for the future

These proactive experts pointed to what’s ahead and how we can prepare for, and even take advantage of, change. Tyler Waye shared the results of his international research on work and how it’s transforming. Spoiler alert: it’s changing rapidly. Other speakers passionately called for reform, as Cindy Blackstock condemned the Government of Canada’s lack of progress in addressing racial discimination against First Nations children. Regardless of the discipline they spoke from, the speakers reiterated hopes that the future would be equitable, and called for supports for those that were at a disadvantage.

Screenshot from livestream presentation shows Cindy Blackstock speaking to a somber slide with a tweet and a 1907 newsclipping of a Schools Aid White Plague article

Thanks to this year’s speakers, partners, and all the participants that joined us to listen, learn and lead. Planning is already underway for the 2021-22 season, which returns in the Fall with the theme of leadership skills for an altered present.

The other benefit of hosting our lectures online? They’re all recorded, so you can watch the ones you missed on our Lecture Archive! Find recordings of lectures from past seasons as well.

The complete lineup in the order they occured (with links to Livestream):