In 2005, members of RALUT (Retired Academics and Librarians of the University of Toronto) held a one-day symposium to hear about the ongoing research of some of the University’s retirees. This event was repeated annually for several years. Some participants decided that once a year was not often enough and undertook to form a College which could sponsor intellectual exchange and activities within the academic retiree community on a continuing basis. To this end, Senior College was founded in 2010. The founding Fellows had a clear idea about the kind of college they wished to create. The college’s primary mission was to build a community in which senior scholars from all academic disciplines could share the fruit of their continuing scholarship and enjoy intellectual exchange, freed from the constraints of their academic careers. The raison d’etre of Senior College continues to be the support and stimulation of the intellectual interests of its members. To this end it has launched the wide range of programs outlined below. The College began as a program of the University of Toronto’s Academic Retiree Centre (ARC) at 256 McCaul Street. The creation of ARC was one of the conditions in the 2005 agreement between the University of Toronto and the University of Toronto Faculty to end mandatory retirement. In 2014, the five-year Provostial Review recommended that ARC become the Senior College Centre and be merged with Senior College, and that all retired University of Toronto faculty and librarians should become Members of Senior College with the option of paying a fee to become a Fellow of the College. The Review Panel’s recommendations were accepted by the Provost and Senior College and implemented in 2015.

Members and Fellows: All retired faculty and librarians of the University of Toronto are automatically Members of Senior College. No fee is charged for being a Member of the College. Members who are interested in becoming more actively engaged in the College’s academic programs have the option of becoming a Fellow of Senior College. Retired non-academic senior administrators can apply to become an External Fellow of Senior College). Fellows pay an annual fee to support College activities and to cover membership in the Faculty Club. Spouses of Fellows pay a reduced fee

Information about the current membership fee and how to become a Fellow can be found on the College’s website under “Application/Fees”

External Fellows: The following individuals may apply to the College to become an External Fellow:

  • Retired faculty and librarians from a degree-granting institution recognized by the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada or its equivalent in other countries.
  • Retired non-academic senior administrators from the University of Toronto.
  • Retired faculty and librarians from a knowledge-based institution or organization
  • Spouses, widows, or widowers of Members, Fellows and External Fellows.

External Fellows pay the same annual fee as Fellows. Spouses of Fellows and External Fellows pay a reduced fee.

Limited access Fellow or External Fellow:  This membership is intended for retired faculty and librarians who self-identify as unable to attend Senior College events in person for reasons of health or geography. It includes all Senior College activities presented via Zoom, but does not include membership in the Faculty Club.

Weekly Seminars: Once a week during the fall and winter terms the College hosts a seminar at the Faculty Club. These weekly meetings are at the centre of the intellectual life of Senior College.

A multidisciplinary Program Committee ensures the academic diversity of the topics covered. Questions and comments in the second hour of the seminar provide opportunities for lively exchange.

A light lunch (for a fee) is available before (for 2 pm seminars) or after (for 10 am seminars) the seminars, and light refreshments are provided prior to and at the “break” in the seminar.

Members who are not Fellows, and guests, may attend the talks but are asked to make a small contribution to help cover expenses (currently, $10 per seminar).

Monthly Colloquia: Colloquia enable small groups of Fellows and External Fellows to engage in more intensive and sustained discussions than is possible at the seminars. There is no speaker at colloquia. A short reading list is provided for participants. Participation is capped at fifteen.

Book Club: The College also hosts a monthly book club.  The book club sessions are open to all Fellows and External fellows of Senior College on a first-come, first served basis until the maximum number of participants is reached.

Summer Discussion Series: During the summer months, the College organizes a series of lunches at the Faculty Club, each one focussed on an informal presentation by one of the College Fellows on her/his area of expertise and research interest.  The lunches are open to Fellows and External fellows.

Outings: The College also organizes small group outings (e.g. to The ROM, Fisher Rare Book Library, Agha Khan Museum) open to Fellows and External Fellows.

Annual Symposium: In the spring of each year, the College hosts a one-day public symposium on a subject of current importance. Speakers include scholars at the frontier of research on the subject as well as community leaders active in the field at the practical level. There is ample opportunity for the audience to question speakers and add their own comments. Over the years, the Symposium Committee has arranged outstanding programs on such themes as “Immigration and Multiculturalism”, “Challenges Facing the City”, “The Roots of Violence”, and “The Brain and Us.” For a fee, the Symposium is open to all Fellows, External Fellows and Members of the College as well as to members of the general public.

University-in-the Community (UitC): In partnership with Innis College, the Workers Educational Association (WEA), and Senior College, UitC provides free university-level non-credit education to Torontonians who for financial, health, family or other reasons are unable to attend university. Courses are humanities-oriented. WEA identifies students for the program through a network of community centres. Innis College provides class-room space. Senior College assists WEA in designing the program, finding volunteer lecturers, and raising funds to support the program’s administrative needs. Currently UitC is funded by the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Arts and Science with a donation by Senior College.

Continuing Research and Scholarship: For Fellows, External Fellows, and Members of Senior College “retirement” is a misleading term. Many retired scholars continue to contribute to their universities, their academic fields and to the larger community. The College produces the Senior Scholars Annual, a compendium of information about the awards, honours, publications, invited lectures, teaching and community contributions of retirees in the previous year. Although the Annual is by no means a complete account of retirees’ research and community activities, it is impressive evidence of the on-going achievements of academic retirees.

Research Grants: Senior College provides small research grants for which Fellows and External Fellows may apply.

The Senior College Centre is located at 256 McCaul St., suite 412, where there is  a reception lounge, open from 9 to 4:30, Monday to Friday. The College’s administrative offices and meeting rooms are also at this location.

The College can be contacted at:
Phone: 416-978-7553
email: senior.college@utoronto.ca
website: https://seniorcollege.utoronto.ca/

The weekly talks and annual symposium are held at the University of Toronto Faculty Club located at 41 Willcocks St. Tel: (416) 978-6325.  The Colloquia, Book Club, Committee meetings and art exhibits are held at the Senior College Centre at 256 McCaul St. Suite 412. If circumstances dictate, internet video conferencing sessions may be held.

Attendance at weekly talks and the annual symposium is open to all Members, however those who are not Fellows or External Fellows are asked to make a contribution of $10. Participation in the colloquia, book club, summer discussion series, and outings is open only to Fellows and External Fellows

Please email senior.college@utoronto.ca with the subject line “please add me to the listserv”. Please provide your first and last name in the body of the email.

The College’s Constitution is posted on its website.

The Senate is composed of the Fellows and Members of Senior College. The Senate adopts and amends the College’s Constitution and annually elects the College Council and Officers – the Principal, Vice-Principals, Registrar, Bursar and Communications Director.

The College Council directs the academic activities of the College and appoints the Chairs of the College’s Standing Committees.

The College’s Executive Committee is responsible for implementing decisions of Council and making recommendations to Council. It consists of the officers of the College and the chairs of Standing Committees.

The   Standing Committees do most of the detailed planning and monitoring of the College’s academic activities. They include committees for the following purposes: Budget, Fund-Raising, Membership, Book Club, Nominating, Program, Annual Symposium, Colloquia and University-in-the-Community.

The College has one paid staff, the College Administrator. The College relies heavily on volunteers to keep Senior College Centre open from 9am to 4:30pm, Monday to Friday. Chairs and members of committees are expected to play a major role in organizing the College’s academic programs.

The University of Toronto funds the Senior College Centre as well as the salary of the College Administrator. The fees paid by Fellows contribute to the funding of the College’s academic programs. With the assistance of the Office of Advancement, the College engages in fund-raising activities. The priority targets of its fund-raising, approved by the Provost, are to support: 1. the College’s Academic Programs; 2. Community outreach; 3. Senior College Centre Activities.

Retirees can continue or become regular members of the Association. More information can be found in the UTFA Constitution and the By-Laws.  UTFA is a vocal advocate of maintaining and improving retirees’ pensions and benefits. UTFA is a member of College and University Retiree Associations of Canada (CURAC) and the Association of Retired Organizations in Higher Education (AROHE).  UTFA ensures that retired members are represented on the decision-making body, the UTFA Council, and on the Executive Committee. Retirees are entitled to four representatives on the Council, chosen only by retired members.  The Chair of the Retired Members Committee is a member of the UTFA Executive Committee. Representatives from UTFA and from the Retired Members Committee of UTFA are members of the Board of management of the Senior College Centre.