Liberal Arts 101 expands to two sessions for 2019
February 14, 2019
Liberal Arts 101 is pleased to announce the program will expand to two sessions for 2019, thanks to the generous support of the Sisters of St. Joseph of London. This year’s sessions will run from May 7 – June 20 and from September 12 – October 24, 2019.
The Sisters of St. Joseph have long supported the King’s community in education, scholarships, and Indigenous, women’s, and social justice initiatives. In a continuation of their generosity, they expressed an interest in funding a second session of Liberal Arts 101 in 2019. The program recently won the 2018 Pillar Community Innovation Award in the Community Impact category.
Doreen Vautour, Associate Dean of Students and one of the program coordinators for Liberal Arts 101, says this is very exciting news for the King’s Liberal Arts 101 program. “We’ll be able to offer this opportunity to twice as many people,” she says. “It’s about accessibility. We’re removing barriers for people.”
Dr. Alison Meek, Associate Professor of History and the other program coordinator for Liberal Arts 101 echoes those sentiments. “There seems to be a demand for the program that we would love to fulfill,” says Dr. Meek. “It certainly fits with our mission statement of inclusion and being part of the community.”
Founded in 2008, Liberal Arts 101 is a no cost, non-credit, university experience for people who have an interest in learning but may have experienced barriers to a traditional university opportunity in the past. Participants meet weekly for seven weeks and cap off the program with a graduation ceremony. Each of the seven sessions includes a dinner, a lecture by a King’s professor, and small group discussions led by King’s students.
Liberal Arts 101 is at capacity each year. A second session will allow for additional community members to participate, with more King’s faculty, students and teaching assistants to be involved. “We always have a line-up of those wanting to volunteer,” says Dr. Meek.
Liberal Arts 101 “allows (faculty) to reach such a different audience. You can take the knowledge you have and offer it to a wider audience. You get different questions,” says Dr. Meek.
Vautour says that for many students, “it’s not about the degree; it’s about the experience.” Many Liberal Arts 101 students love being able to come to a university and attend what amounts to an actual lecture, Dr. Meek says. The experience changes their outlook on further education, their own abilities, and future possibilities. Participants walk away empowered and energized.
There have been many success stories for Liberal Arts 101. One student from the 2017 Liberal Arts 101 class has since taken three Social Work courses and is looking to attain a degree in Social Work. A King’s student took to social media to tell the story of their mother, a new Canadian, who took Liberal Arts 101 and spoke highly of the professors who were “so kind and welcoming.”
Vautour also tells the story of another participant who reported the program changed her life at a fundamental level. “She had recently left an unhealthy relationship, in which her partner regularly told her she was stupid,” Vautour says. “After being able to understand the course material, and contribute to class discussions, she realized what she was really capable of and had a new-found confidence.”
“It’s like we’re helping to plant a seed in the community and in time we will see how it grows,” Vautour says.
For more information on how to register for Liberal Arts 101 visit https://www.kings.uwo.ca/academics/liberal-arts-101/.