Forever Learning Institute

Stay sharp with fall curriculum from the Forever Learning Institute! Follow one of four thematic tracks or drop into classes that interest you. There’s no need to commit to an entire track — participate as much or as little as you like via our live events or our new independent study.

Solving the Unsolvable: Finding Solutions to Wicked Problems

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Problem solving is a critical skill needed to succeed in life. Arguably, it is imperative to the survival of our species. We continue to inherit some of mankind’s most complex and life-threatening challenges: health disparities, poverty, racial inequity, human migration, and climate change, among others. Each of these is so complex that it derives no single solution or signal that the issue has been solved.

How do we even begin addressing, much less solving, these problems? Join experts from each of Duke’s 10 schools as we seek clarity on these complex issues.

  • September 14 — Duke in Dialogue: Race and Representation
  • October 5 — Human Dynamics in Climate Change
  • November 9 — Dissolving Disparities: Addressing Health Inequities
  • December 15 — Building Thriving Communities

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Artificial Intelligence: Real Ethical Quandaries

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Can we avoid Hollywood-style scenarios of AI improperly influencing our world, be it in health care, financial markets, or overall decision-making powers? Incredible advances in machine learning and computers programmed to think like humans have inspired an entirely new subdiscipline of ethics.

With help from Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, Duke Law School, Fuqua School of Business, Pratt School of Engineering, and the Duke Initiative for Science & Society we will investigate the implications of using AI in our research, on the job and in day-to-day life.

  • September 29 — Morality in Artificial Intelligence
  • October 27 — Opening the Black Box
  • November 17 — Behind the Machine: AI, Algorithms & Bias
  • December 7 — Artificial Intelligence: Capabilities, Liabilities and Responsibilities

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The Art of Persuasion


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While job-specific skills and credentials help you get hired, your ability to work with others, problem solve, stay flexible, and communicate can help you thrive and advance professionally. Whether you are asking someone to invest in your idea, advocating for your solution to a problem, or negotiating a contract, strong persuasive skills are an essential part of your career toolbox. 

Join fellow Duke Alumni as we explore one of the most important communication tools you can develop: Persuasion. 

Presented as part of our professional development series. This series may incur a fee and is not recorded.

Enhancing Voices of the 19th Century

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Each century cultivates a vast array of voices, a few more well-known than most. But with the ease of access to documentation and research, we have the opportunity to examine our past and assess, or reassess, what we know. Whether book, article, poem or speech; inspirational, critical, discovery, or observational, adding new voices to stories already told provides the chance to expand our own perspectives and re-evaluate our experiences.

Amend your historical knowledge with these influential thinkers, unsung heroes, and diverse history-making voices from across the globe, following a path of your choice. Scholars from Duke University Libraries, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, Duke Divinity School, The Graduate School, and others will guide you in this new independent study.

This track includes four self-guided studies.

  • Medicine in the 19th Century
  • Freedom, Fear, and Independence in Haiti
  • Women’s Suffrage
  • Armchair Travel across the Eastern World

Created in collaboration with Duke University Libraries

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Each academic track includes a combination of lectures, panel discussions, online courses, recommended readings and workshops that you can complete at your own pace. Plus, tune in for monthly live engagements to get your questions answered by Duke experts and have engaging, thought-provoking conversations with fellow alumni. Live sessions of all academic events are recorded and will be posted on the Duke Alumni Lifelong Learning YouTube Channel.

What are you waiting for? Feel like a student again and register for your fall semester!