Continuing Education + Job Training // Publishing since 1999
Love of Learning

University in the Community: Learning Together

By JOANNE MACKAY-BENNETT - September 28 2021

Resilience is one of those words that you hear all the time now. It is often used to describe an individual who has admirably stared down adversity or a community that has overcome misfortune. But it is also used almost as shorthand, a quick and easy way to signal that the challenge, whatever it may be, will be met.
A neighbourhood has suffered from the effects of a tornado. A person has suddenly lost their job. A country has been at war for decades. If the reporting of the event describes those involved as ‘resilient,’ is it a sign that the rest of us should just move along?

A more thoughtful response to understanding the word resilience might be to consider when we use it and why. If you were down and then somehow you rebounded, you might very well be described as resilient. It’s a word that works well for finite activities like games – especially zero-sum games where my win is your loss. This could be because it’s harder to be resilient when the challenge you are facing is one that does not have a short-term solution.

How do we meet the challenges of life’s long in-betweens? Those times like the recent lockdown where we had to struggle to stay connected to friends, to families… and to ourselves? In The Lonely Century: How to Restore Human Connection in a World that’s Pulling Apart (2021), author Noreena Hertz describes loneliness as disconnection from the personal, social and institutional anchors of our day-to-day lives.

Sometimes loneliness might feel as if we are drifting through hours, days, and weeks. It is antithetical to the unrelenting, minute-by-minute updates of ‘breaking’ news. So massive were the numbers of people suffering from isolation during lockdown, in fact, that Hertz describes loneliness as ‘not just a subjective state of mind: [but] a collective state of being.’ (Tara Henly, Globe and Mail, September 6, 2021.)
What if we were to think of time as something that contains but is not limited to ‘the small now’ of short-term thinking?

University in the Community (UitC) is a small, informal, free-of-charge, ten-week program for adults. We are a community of students from different backgrounds and experiences who come together as partners in learning.
This Fall, we will explore how understanding a longer view of time might lead to another way of experiencing life in a large city like Toronto. Could thinking of time as something other than right now encourage us to look out for others, to be generous, to move from what is to what if?

The three articles on this page were written by UitC students. They are representative of the students in the class in that all three writers are committed lifelong learners who read, want to feel connected to this city and the wider world, and enjoy asking questions. In these pieces, one writer answers what is (FAQ on nutrition), one imagines what if (short story), and one asks why (emotions and decisions).

This Fall, UitC will meet on Zoom.
Dates: September 29 – December 1, 2021.
Time: 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm.

If you think you would like to join our program, all you have to do is get in touch!

NOTE: UitC is a non-credit program. We ask that students make every effort to attend classes for the full ten weeks of the term.

Learning Curves

Personal Brand: Significance and Development Strategies

May 30 2024

In today's competitive marketplace, personal branding is essential for establishing a deep connection with your audience and differentiating yourself from competitors. By authentically representing your values and journey, you can build a strong, sustainable brand that resonates with people and creates lasting impressions.


Learning Curves

It wasn't just a pizza...

May 26 2024

A heartwarming story from a Lebanese friend highlights the cultural challenges and kindness encountered by immigrants, as two women collecting grape leaves for a traditional dish were unexpectedly gifted pizzas by a compassionate police officer. This anecdote underscores the importance of understanding and supporting the diverse needs of newcomers in our communities.


Teacher’s Voice
Learning Curves

Thinking about Exams

May 17 2024

Some colleagues and I find exams to be stressful experiences for college students who usually cram for them. Given viable options to traditional midterm and final exams, we want to try other learning components for the same marks. We’ve shared with each other reasons for choosing learning over testing. Over time, we’ve also seen administration’s interest in making exams optional.


Here In the House of Mirrors
Learning Curves

Coming to Canada

May 14 2024

Join Rob Herholz as he recounts his parents' courageous journey from Germany to Canada in the post-World War II era. Through vivid anecdotes and heartfelt reflections, discover the challenges they faced, the community they found, and the lasting legacy of gratitude they instilled in their family.