In February 2013, I met Dr. Paula Burns for the first time and remember the encounter vividly. After welcoming her to Lethbridge and telling her how excited we were for her to start in her role, I told her a little bit about my position at the college, describing some of the fun (“If there is something cool or interesting happening here, I get to ask questions about it!”) and the less-than-fun aspects (“I also get to proofread documents like the Comprehensive Institutional Plan”), and then I said: “But the thing I love most is working on Wider Horizons.”
I added: “It’s a really good little magazine.”
“How do we know?” Paula asked me.
“Um, because, um, people tell me?” I replied.
“But how do we measure that?” she asked.
My mind went into overdrive, understanding the wisdom and necessity of her question. In that moment, I realized that if I wanted to keep doing this thing I loved doing, if I wanted to keep asking all of the questions and learning about all the amazing Lethbridge College people and experiences and sharing those stories with the 30,000-plus readers of magazine, I should figure out some things we could measure.
And so we started entering Wider Horizons into industry contests, putting our best work against the work of other alumni and community magazines across the province, region, country and continent. When we win an award – as we did in June, when Wider Horizons was named the best community college magazine in North America for the fourth time in five years – it feels like we’ve won the Stanley Cup, the Super Bowl and the World Cup all on one fantastic day.
We also started sending out alumni surveys to readers after each issue. These surveys provide fascinating insight into what you love (the Where are they now section) and what doesn’t excite you (text-heavy pages). Thanks to this feedback, we are always making changes to the magazine, and we are always looking for new ways to engage and excite and, from time to time, inspire you. After all, you have exciting and inspiring stories. It’s our job to make sure the magazine is equal to those tales.
In this issue, we are introducing a new feature that we hope will hit on the goals of engagement and excitement. Called The last word, this feature relies on you – the readers who have stories worth sharing about your time on campus. In each issue, we’ll ask a question about your college experiences (whether it was known as LJC, LCC or LC when you were a student) and we’ll include a sampling of your replies, as well as an illustration by Lethbridge artist Eric Dyck of the scenes described. We’ll also share the replies on social media, and hope it sparks some fun conversations or revives a few forgotten memories about what made – or still makes – this place so special for you.
Check out the new feature on p. 52, and let us know what you think! You can email the magazine any time with your reactions, suggestions and insights at. And as always (and most of all), thanks for reading. You and your stories are why we do what we do.
Lisa Kozleski, Editor