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Opening doors to lifelong learning

Ever Scholar, offered by the Professional Studies Unit at the Queen’s Faculty of Education, provides opportunities to explore topics in the arts, science, and the humanities.

Ever Scholar, a new program offered by the Professional Studies Unit at the Queen’s Faculty of Education, opens up learning opportunities for retirees and seniors in the Kingston area.

[Ever Scholar]
Ever Scholar is a lifelong learning program providing opportunities to explore topics in the arts, science, and the humanities. (University Communications)

Ever Scholar is an open-enrollment course series for anyone in the Kingston and surrounding area. Designed as a lifelong-learning program, Ever Scholar provides opportunities to explore topics in the arts, science, and the humanities.

The program got its start when Jessica Della-Latta, Executive Director of Professional and Non-Credit Programs at the Faculty of Education, took part in the Foundational Leadership course offered by Queen’s Human Resources. She had just received an enquiry regarding Queen’s offerings for third-age learners. The enquiry was for something more than a lecture but not as intensive as a course for credit. To set the program up for success, Della-Latta’s Foundational Leadership project team polled Kingston community members and alumni and met with potential partners such as ESU, community organizations, and senior administrators at Queen’s.

They discovered that while programming for third-age learners is abundant in the Kingston area through local community groups, none specifically met the immersive course experience that many retirees and seniors were looking for. Seeing a win-win opportunity, Della-Latta and her project team moved the project forward.

Meeting with all stakeholder groups including Queen’s University Institute for Lifelong Learning (QUILL), Later Life Learning, Kingston Seniors Centre, Retirees Association of Queen’s (RAQ), and the Enrichment Studies Unit confirmed the need. 

“I met with all those groups because I didn’t want to redo what was already being done well. I wanted to identify the gap and fill it. I wanted this to be a collaboration,” Della-Latta says. “So we formed an advisory board with members from each of those groups to help shape and guide – they came up with the name Ever Scholar – what our focus and subject areas will be.  It is an important collaboration.  We all cross-promote our programs in the spirit of learning for all.”

The Faculty of Education was a natural place for such a program.

“As educators, we believe that education continues beyond formal schooling. Ever Scholar is an opportunity for us to share our wealth of knowledge and research with the community and offer accessible lifelong learning opportunities for everyone” says Rebecca Luce-Kapler, Dean of the Faculty of Education.

The first six-week course, entitled First Nations, Metis, and Inuit Studies, started on Wednesday, Oct. 10 and is hosted primarily at Duncan McArthur Hall, along with field trips to locations such as the Elbow Lake Environmental Education Centre.

The courses are being developed by graduate students from the Faculty of Education.

The programming is also being developed with cost-effectiveness in mind, not only for the university but for the students as well. For example, parking is covered by the registration fee.

Another key for Ever Scholar, points out Nathan Cheney, Business Developer in the Professional Studies Office, is building positive relationships between the university and the community

“We wanted to try and remove as many barriers for people as possible while maintaining the quality of learning that we are proud to offer at Queen’s University," he says. "One of the things that Queen’s focuses on is the community aspect and the community experience of the campus. We decided to host this on Queen’s campus so learners experience all Queen’s has to offer."

The second course, which will focus on health sciences, will be offered in May.

If you have an idea for an Ever Scholar course, Della-Latta is open to suggestions from all faculties.

For more information about Ever Scholar, visit the Professional Studies website.