The Last Lecture is a new program at Eastern as of Fall 2015. Each quarter a professor, staff member or faculty member is chosen to present on what they would like their hypothetical last lecture to students to be.
The first lecture took place Dec. 1 in Hargreaves Hall with Jeff Stafford, Ph.D. Stafford is a communication studies professor at Eastern, as well as an organizational communication speaker and coach. He has traveled the country as a panelist, presenter, consultant and volunteer. The Last Lecture offered him yet another opportunity to teach others what he has learned and inspire them to engage in self-leadership.
Adviser for Campus Programs, Clubs and Organizations Sundi Musnicki came up with the idea for this program. Musnicki joined Student Activities Involvement and Leadership (SAIL) in the summer of 2014 and “brought a wealth of knowledge along with numerous ideas for programs and events at EWU,” Graduate Assistant for Leadership Education at the SAIL office Katie Del Monte said.
According to Del Monte, The Last Lecture is designed to be open-ended for the lecturer, allowing the nominated professor or faculty member to speak on what, in their mind, is the one thing they would want students to take away for their college education and experience.
“We had the pleasure of having Dr. Jeffrey Stafford give our very first Last Lecture. He presented so much thoughtful information on self-leadership that it is hard to pinpoint one thing to take away; however, I know that many students and even staff members learned something new and left with an abundance of information,” Del Monte said.
There is no specific topic assigned to those nominated for The Last Lecture, according to Del Monte. “The professor is given a prompt of what they would want students to walk away with and that is it,” she said.
“I felt very honored that people would ask me to do that. It was an exciting opportunity and felt really good to have people ask you to not only speak, but the first one to kick off the series,” Stafford said.
The focus Stafford was trying to take was that of self-leadership and really taking control of your own destiny. “Not waiting to be told what to do, but to say ʻThis is what I want to do and be, and this is what I believe inʼ and moving forward with that,” he said.
Stafford said the interaction with the audience was good and there were about 90 people there, including a few faculty members and some of his colleagues. “It was a really good experience,” he said.
Stafford also talked about a few things people can do to better themselves and become more marketable. He said people should consistently be asking themselves three important questions: What went well; did they learn; can they do better next time. “If you’re always doing those things, you’re always going to be moving forward,” he said.
A professor or faculty member is chosen for the program through nomination.
“We have many students, graduate students and staff members within the SAIL office that typically throw out ideas for favorite professors and faculty,” Del Monte said.
Students who have a nomination for a future presenter can contact the SAIL office.