The Academy of Lifelong Learning (ALL) at the School of Professional Studies is a community that brings together a diverse population of students of all ages committed to the ongoing and self-motivated pursuit of knowledge. ALL encourages critical thinking and supports students seeking personal enrichment, connection with a social network, and the acquisition of new skills and perspectives. Through the ALL website, students can interact with their peers; access a curated list of resources; explore upcoming course offerings in the humanities, languages, and global affairs; and participate in events and clubs.
The Academy of Lifelong Learning
The Academy of Lifelong Learning (ALL) at SPS supports a diverse community of students committed to the ongoing pursuit of knowledge.
Featured Courses: Fall 2020
English as a Second Language
History & Culture
NYU SPS Center for Applied Liberal Arts Film Series
Fall 2020 Selection: Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson
Join the ALL Book Club as we read along with NYU Reads and discuss Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson. NYU Reads is a university-wide initiative to bring the NYU Community together around a single common reading, chosen by a University committee composed of faculty, student, and administrator representatives. The book describes the compelling story of NYU Law Professor and founder of the Equal Justice Initiative Bryan Stevenson and his efforts to fight for the freedom of wrongfully imprisoned people.
Connect with others in a Center for Applied Liberal Arts-led discussion on October 15th at 12 pm.
This event is free and open to the public. Participants will receive a Zoom link upon registration.
About the book:
“Bryan Stevenson is America’s young Nelson Mandela, a brilliant lawyer fighting with courage and conviction to guarantee justice for all. Just Mercy should be read by people of conscience in every civilized country in the world to discover what happens when revenge and retribution replace justice and mercy. It is as gripping to read as any legal thriller, and what hangs in the balance is nothing less than the soul of a great nation.”
—Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
Current NYU SPS Lifelong Learners
Joyce Ades, a lively senior in her 70s, has the demeanor of someone decades younger. The Brooklyn resident trained for many years with many yoga masters, and continues to practice and teach it. Previously, she taught French and Italian at Hunter College, Brooklyn College, and Queens College (CUNY).
Ades describes herself as a “culture vulture,” who continuously wants to learn. This led her to accept a friend’s invitation to take an art class at NYU SPS. Since then, she has been a regular in the School’s programs. Her favorite professor is Filip Noterdaeme, who teaches classes including “The Art Scene,” “The Met at 150,” and “Velázquez, Rembrandt, Vermeer: The Golden Age of Painting.” Noterdaeme, she noted, “is wonderful, knowledgeable, has a great sense of humor that keeps us entertained, and his presentations are always stimulating. His love and enthusiasm for art is contagious and awakens our appreciative admiration for the material presented.”
During the current pandemic, Ades has found the remote classes offered by NYU SPS to be very helpful. Having recovered from COVID-19 herself, Ades said, “Our ability to take classes remotely via Zoom is a real blessing; it’s the next best thing to going to a museum.”
In addition to the intellectual stimulation of the classes, Ades has benefited deeply from the online relationships she has established with members of the NYUSPS learning community. “I’ve met four wonderful ladies, and every Friday, we zoom visit for happy hour!”
Prior to retiring Susan Drury, age 81, had a stimulating career that spanned several industries. She was a researcher at NBC on The Today Show and documentaries. Following her years at NBC she worked at a foundation involved with theater, playwrights, and authors
"If you've been working all your life, what do you do with yourself after your retirement?" She asked. Her answer: take a variety of lifelong learning courses at NYU SPS, where she found intellectually stimulating faculty members, course content, and discussions incredibly satisfying. Her wide array of interests is reflected in the courses she has taken ranging from art appreciation, theater, and New York history to the Supreme Court, famous trials and film studies.
"I am very impressed with the faculty. You find yourself coming back again and again to take classes with them," she spoke of the times when Filip Noterdaeme led trips with her class to museums and art galleries, and the summers she travelled to London as a member of Michael Zam's Theater class.
“I am a little Type A and I like to be busy all the time,” said Arlene Bookbinder, a retiree who fills her days taking a broad range of classes in her hometown community of Short Hills, NJ, and remotely via Zoom through NYU SPS. While she had taken classes in person at NYU, the pandemic has made it necessary to pursue her academic interests through remote study. She is a big fan of lifetime learning and has used the time in lockdown to increase her knowledge in the areas that matter most to her.
“People would be happier if they learned to expand their horizons,” said the 72-year-old grandmother who worked in the financial services sector before retiring from JPMorgan after more than 17 years. “They would be much happier if they pursued something every day that is important to them.”
What is important for Bookbinder are the art history classes she has taken at NYU SPS. Although the pandemic has limited the in-person classroom experience, Bookbinder is enjoying her remote class on Velazquez, Rembrandt, Vermeer: The Golden Age of Painting, taught by Filip Noterdaeme, whom she describes as an “amazing” professor. She also plans to take Noterdaeme’s Pivotal Early Works by Great Artists class this coming fall. “He absolutely loves his subject,” she said. “He has made each class wonderful and easy to follow online through Zoom. We are able to interact with him and with our classmates in an environment that is very intellectually stimulating and safe”
After residing for half a century in Binghamton, NY, where she worked in the University of Binghamton library, Ann Goldberg and her husband moved to the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Goldberg, who is in her early 70s, wanted to retire to a place with more cultural offerings and opportunities.
Referred to NYU SPS by a relative, Goldberg browsed through the course offerings and liked what she saw, especially in her areas of interest—art history and literature. This summer, she is taking two art history classes with Filip Noterdaeme, and a class with Leigh Harbin, who teaches a course titled “Detective Partners in Literature.”
“I am very pleased with my classes at NYU SPS. Having worked in education, I look for well-organized course offerings, professors who provide a detailed syllabus and supplementary materials, and instructors who are knowledgeable,” said Goldberg, adding, “I’ve been impressed with how my instructors have adapted their classes to new technology.” Goldberg along with her classmates, has adjusted well to the remote offerings, which have become a necessity during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Most of the students are from the professional world and they’ve had experience with numerous technologies,” she noted. She also is finding the range of ages of the individuals in her classes refreshing. “There is a cross-section of people at different points in their lives and careers in my classes that I have not found at other schools. This mix makes for a richer educational experience.”
For nearly 15 years, Laura Weinstein, a retired museum educator, has taken a variety of courses at NYU SPS—mostly in-person classes at the School’s Midtown location. “It is important to continue to grow intelligently and keep you mind stimulated and strong, and the NYU SPS courses have helped do just that for my friends and I,” said Weinstein.
Prior to retiring, Weinstein held positions at a number of New York City museums, including the American Museum of Natural History, The Jewish Museum, the Museum of Arts and Design, and the Museum of the City of New York, where she continues to volunteer at as a tour guide several days a week.
“Over the years, I have taken many courses related to New York City, including on the City’s architecture, multiple courses with Professor Francis Morrone, an adjunct instructor and NYC historian, and, this summer, I will be taking a Travel with Film course with Leonard Cortana, an adjunct instructor,” Weinstein said. “These courses have really helped me to learn a host of little-known facts about the City, which I have been able to share with tourists in my role as a volunteer at the Museum of the City of New York.”
“I have taken courses at other academic institutions, but those classes are not of the same quality as the NYU SPS classes,” said Weinstein. “I feel that one of the most important factors in choosing courses is the instructor, including their level of expertise and engagement with the class. And, NYU SPS offers just that.”
In addition, Weinstein has built relationships taking these courses that have extended well beyond the classroom and enhanced her overall experience. “I have made lifelong friends with a group of ladies who regularly take the NYU SPS courses. In a recent semester, we have participated in activities, such as lunches and trips, outside of the classroom,” she noted.
While she has enjoyed the in-person interaction with the instructor and other students in her previous classes, like others, Weinstein needed to recently transition to remote learning for the 2020 Spring semester due the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Weinstein, “This spring was my first online/remote class, and it was a good experience. The content was of the same high-quality that you would expect from an NYU SPS in-person experience, and I would definitely recommend these Zoom-based courses to anyone who is interested in lifelong learning.”
“In today’s ever-changing world, it is important for me to be current on global and national issues, and the expert opinions delivered in the NYU SPS Center for Global Affairs courses are ideal for staying well-informed on today’s hot topics,” asserted Gregory Rasin, a partner with Proskauer, a leading international law firm.
Since 2019, Rasin has taken a variety of NYU SPS courses, including classes on world and US politics, foreign and regional affairs, and mid-eastern and far-eastern history. “The NYU SPS courses are energizing, and I am looking forward to taking additional courses in the coming semesters, especially as our country approaches the fall presidential election,” said Rasin. “I have taken several courses taught by Judith and Mark Siegel, who worked for the US State Department and political parties respectively, and they provide expert perspective on real-time political issues and current affairs that makes their courses very dynamic and engaging,” he added.
“As I begin to transition from my career at Proskauer, where I have been for 15 years, the NYU SPS courses are keeping me well-informed on the current issues that are of the most interest to me,” he concluded.