Discovery Program offers something for everyone


It’s impossible to say who learns more in McMaster’s Discovery Program: the community members who get their first taste of university learning, or the people who organize their weekly classes.

“I think what we’re doing is the essence of education: inspiring people and empowering people and forming a community of learners – people who are excited to come and learn,” says program co-ordinator Patrick Byrne.

The Discovery Program is designed to offer a university experience to adults, from their 20s into retirement age, who have faced barriers to post-secondary education because of circumstances in their lives.

Through the no-fee program, which has just finished its fourth year, a small group of about 20 learners gathers once a week in the Wong e-Classroom in Mills library for a lecture and discussion, followed by work on individual projects related to the course theme.

The Discovery Program is designed to remove barriers between the university and the community it serves, opening access to learning for all, including the Arts & Science students who work with Discovery students.

“I truly think it is a partnership,” Byrne says. “We get double back from the experience.”

This year’s class, taught by Anthropology Professor Ann Herring, looked at pandemics and plagues throughout the history of in Hamilton, including field trips to the Hamilton Museum of Steam and Technology and the Hamilton municipal cemetery on York Boulevard.

McMaster offers the program with support from the Office of the President, the Arts & Science program, the Hamilton Community Foundation and the City of Hamilton and is now accepting support from individuals through iFund Mac.

McMaster president Patrick Deane was to speak to the class and present learners with certificates at a graduation ceremony on campus Saturday.