Peter Lougheed Leadership College opens up to students outside the program

The Peter Lougheed Leadership College (PLLC) is undergoing a series of changes to allow more University of Alberta students to attend classes offered by the college.

The PLLC, started in 2015, is a university initiative looking to advance cultures of leadership at the U of A. It offers courses that were limited only to students enrolled within its cohort-based leadership certificate program. In January, the General Faculties Council’s Academic Standards Committee — which overlooks academic programming —  approved the following major changes to the program that will take effect in Fall 2019:

  • Enrollment in the Foundations of Leadership course, a mandatory course for students pursuing the PLLC certificate, is being opened to any eligible U of A student. This includes those not pursuing a PLLC certificate.
  • Year-long courses are now being offered as semester-length courses.
  • The minimum credit requirement to begin taking PLLC courses or the certificate program is being reduced from 45 to 24, allowing second-year students to participate.
  • Some leadership courses offered in other faculties will be allowed to count towards the PLLC certificate.

Lois Harder, PLLC principal, said the changes are in response to the university’s desire to open up the college to the broader campus community.

“We want to make sure everyone can be engaged in leadership discussions and gaining leadership skills,” Harder said. “All students, regardless if they are interested in the certificate or not, should be able to take a class with us if they so choose.”

Students’ Union vice-president (academic) Akanksha Bhatnagar said she welcomes the new changes.

“I am very happy with these changes,” she said. “I think semesterised courses make the great teaching the PLLC does much more accessible to the campus community.”

The PLLC certificate program (the Certificate in Interdisciplinary Leadership Studies), is a two-year program where students take four leadership classes, a number of workshops, a summer stretch experience, and a final capstone project to earn their credential. The stretch experience is a 200-hour leadership project undertaken by the student during the summer between their first and second year within the program.

Harder said she’s excited to see more students be able to experience the PLLC. She added that often students enrolled in programs who have strict requirements and not much room to take the certificate can at least take some classes if they choose.

“There are often students who want to take classes about leadership, but just do not want to commit to 12 credits,” Harder said.

“The certificate still exists,” she added. “If people decide this is the credential they want… they will still have access to it.”

Additionally, Harder said that in September 2019, the PLLC will start offering some programming and workshops for graduate students at the U of A.

Bhatnagar said she thinks more students taking leadership courses will help the overall campus and province in the future.

“The more students we can get engaging in the program, I think the more important the college becomes,” she said.

Adam Lachacz

Adam Lachacz is a third-year student double majoring in history and political science. In his spare time, he likes to read, breathe, speed, and drink mead.

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