Back to School: Union College Academy for Lifelong Learning

It seems a bit silly that, for the most part, structured learning takes place only in the first 20 or so years of our lives. We go to school every day for two decades to learn about all sorts of things—math, science, history, literature—and then, all of a sudden, we stop, as if we’ve learned all there is to learn. That, of course, couldn’t be further from the truth, and while we’re technically learning every day we’re on this Earth, some of us miss the structured learning only school can offer. That’s where Schenectady’s Union College Academy for Lifelong Learning (UCALL) comes in.


Established in 1988, UCALL’s mission is to provide opportunities for intellectual development, cultural stimulation and social interaction for adults through courses, excursions and special events. Members pay $75 annually and $35 per course, and get priority registration for UCALL trips, a tuition waiver to audit one undergraduate course at Union, borrowing privileges at the college’s Schaffer Library and access to Union exhibits, concerts and lectures. Each year there are two semesters of courses (fall and spring) in addition to a four-week winter session. Courses cover a range of topics as wide as those offered at Union College and are presented by volunteers from UCALL, Union faculty and community leaders and experts. And don’t worry—you don’t need any prerequisites or exams to participate.


The Fall 2021 UCALL session begins in October and will take place entirely on Zoom. That means anyone with access to a smartphone, tablet or computer—even residents at Kingsway Community!—can participate. Eight courses will be offered:


Topics in Ethics
Mondays October 4-November 1 from 10-11:30am

An exploration of our system of moral principles and how it affects our decisions.


Big History
Mondays October 4-November 1 from 1-2:30pm

A multi-disciplinary approach to looking at how our complex world came to be.


Local Authors and Their Works
Tuesdays October 5-November 2 from 10-11:30am

A new local author will talk about their recent work each week.


Death and Afterlife in World Religions
Tuesdays October 5-November 2 from 1-2:30pm

An investigation of how various religions understand death and the afterlife.


Insiders and Outsiders: Literature of Belonging and Exclusion
Tuesdays November 9-December 7 from 10am-noon

A discussion of works that explore the experience of belonging or being excluded from a group because of nationality, race, religion, etc.


Imagining the Nation: Ireland and Literature from 1880-1925
Wednesdays October 6-November 3 from 10am-noon

An examination of a critically important era in Ireland through analysis of literary texts.


Beethoven, Schubert, Mendelssohn—From Classics to Romantics by Josef Schmee
Wednesdays October 6-November 3 from 1-2:30pm

An overview of each composer and how they treated different genres of music.


Food for Thought—A Potpourri
Thursdays October 7-November 4 from 10-11:30am

An exploration of New York and New England history.


You can learn more on the UCALL website.  Fall 2021 course registration and payments can be made online beginning Wednesday, August 18.  For further questions call (518) 388-6072.