The college is hosting an open house on Friday, June 1 at the Trinity Church Hall starting at 2 p.m. Ken Rozee, past president of SCANS, will be coming down to talk about the program, and the two instructors of the fall courses will be there as well.
Getting SCANS to Liverpool was the work of Mary McIntosh and Catherine Bird, who say it's been an interest in the community for a while to bring in a program like this.
The courses are not for credit, and there are not tests or assignments during the sessions. They are purely for the enjoyment of learning, says Bird.
For the first Liverpool session there will be two courses offered in the fall. Markets and Ethics will be taught by Dr. Daphna Levit. The course focuses on the concepts behind the economy, and why markets can spin into confusion and chaos.
Wendell Eisener will teach the other course called Introduction to World Religions: Meet Your Neighbour. According to the description, Twenty -first century Canada is a nation that is rich in ethnic, linguistic, and cultural diversity. This pluralism extends to religious expression as well. However, very few of us “know our neighbour'' because most people fear the unknown. It provindes and introduction to the big five religions, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, to see what they say of themselves, the way they view the world, their conceptions of Ultimate Reality, and the goal of life.
Locations for the courses haven't been finalized, however they will be announced before the classes begin this fall.
Bird says they also welcome suggestions for courses that people might be interested in taking in the future.
The idea behind bringing SCANS to Liverpool was sparked by a column by Tom Sheppard, that ran in The Advance in the fall of 2011. The column was about the SCANS program held in Mahone Bay. McIntosh says it peaked her interest when she read it.
"I've always wished we had a university close by that we could audit courses," she says.
She contacted the college about bringing some courses to Liverpool, and the result was the open house and getting two courses lined up for the fall.
McIntosh says she sees the college as helping rebrand the area, working towards the goal of making Liverpool a destination. A destination embraces the arts and culture of a location, and continued learning is part of that process she says.
Bird says a similar program was done in the past at the Thomas H. Raddall Library. It was popular, however it didn't continue due to personal commitments. She hopes this latest offering will be able to continue in Liverpool
Ken Rozee, who just recently stepped down as the president of SCANS, has been with the program nearly from the beginning.
It began in 2007, with a group of retired professors from Dalhousie. They thought it might be interesting to offer lectures to retired people, as a way of continual learning.
It started off with a small committee, and they advertised a few of the courses they wanted to offer. Thinking they might get a couple dozen people, they booked a community room in Sobey's to hold the registration. Instead over 150 turned out to sign up for the courses.
From there SCANS has been very successful. The program has around 500 members, with 40 to 50 classes offered in each term. The terms run six to eight weeks, with three terms between the Fall and Spring.
Instead of paying per course, the college operates on a membership fee basis of $135 per year. Anyone over the age of 50 can register for a course. Members can take any course they wish, although they need to register ahead of time because they tend to fill up quickly.
It initially started in the Halifax Regional Municipality with five locations, then expanded to Mahone Bay and Truro. Now they are adding another school to Liverpool
Rozee says they have plans to expand into Antigonish in the future, as well as other areas without similar programs already in place.
The teachers are primarily made up of professors and teachers from the school system, however they also have business professionals, lawyers and religious leaders put on lectures.
The teachers get a stipend to cover costs of materials and travel, and Rozee says they have had little trouble finding people to teach the classes. Earlier this year they also received a New Horizons grand to help with costs.
Rozee has also taught classes and says it is a very different environment from teaching university or high school. The students are there not because they have to but because they want to. He says they often ask many questions, and ones that provide a challenge for the teacher.
"In a lot of my lectures I had questions that remained unanswered," he says. "Before the next lecture I had to look them up to answer them."