Shalom Center for Continuing Education is Getting a New Name and a new website! Please go to for updated information

After almost 20 years of service to the community, and to better reflect the wide range of educational topics offered to the community, the current board of directors has renamed the life-long learning center.  The new name, “Uplands Lifelong Learning Institute,” or ULLI, is in keeping with similar organizations across the country who strive to facilitate learning throughout the lifespan of individuals, encouraging the intellectually curious well into their later years.  Shalom Center has made such learning opportunities affordable and accessible to our area residents and enjoys a proud history of bringing celebrated speakers to the Uplands and Cumberland County vicinity.  

The original Shalom Center was formed in the year 2000, by a group led by Ted Braun.  The goal was to establish an educational “Chautauqua-like” organization promoting life-long learning for the residents of Pleasant Hill and the greater Cumberland Plateau area.  Shalom’s “Statement of Purpose” included the following:

The Shalom Center for Continuing Education is a non-profit educational center whose purpose is to provide opportunities for holistic education in areas of social, economic, cultural, ecological, ethical, and theological importance on behalf of shalom (wholeness, health, and peace). 

Through conferences, workshops, forums, retreats, institutes, and courses the Shalom Center seeks to engage those in Pleasant Hill and beyond in learning process that is lifelong, inclusive, imaginative, and celebrative, recognizing the integrity of creation and the unity of its inhabitants.”

Despite the overall positive tone of the word “Shalom,” it has often been perceived as strictly a religious term, giving some people the impression that we are a religious group, or that we only present religiously focused programs. In fact, a wide range of topics have been covered, including music, activists/martyrs, war and peace, church and state, faith into action, domestic violence, trauma healing, homophobia, sustainable agriculture, care of the earth, Native American perspectives, and interfaith issues. Over the past year, we’ve offered topics regarding East Tennessee involvement in the Civil War, Peace Corps volunteer experiences around the world, environmental policy issues, as well as spiritual and religious topics. Many regionally and nationally renowned speakers and authors have graciously agreed to present on a variety of subjects, with several committed to this year’s schedule.

Two Spring Short Courses are starting soon: Understanding American Identity: Divided and/or United with Mark Canfield beginning Friday Feb 22 (10-11:30, Rm 1 Pleasant Hill Community Church) and Bridge for Fun (and good for your brain too!) with Pat Harley beginning Friday Mar 1 (1:30-3:30). More information and a registration form for these two classes are attached.  We hope to see you there!

Other short courses beginning later include two shorter courses with Ed Olson, How Do We Know What is True? (Apr 2-Apr 23) and Spirituality of Difference (April 30-May 14). Both will be Tuesday 10-11:30 in Rm 1 of PHCC.   Also, we expect to offer a course on short stories this semester. More info and registration forms for these courses will be available shortly. More info and registration forms for these courses will be available shortly.

Confirmed program topics for 2019 include:
·         Native Americans in East Tennessee, with Dr. Troy Smith of Tennessee Tech (March 15-16)
o    Friday March 15 6:30 pm Native Tennessee- Indians in the pre-contact and colonial period 
o    Saturday March 16 (:30 am): Birth of a (Cherokee) Nation: the trail to the Trail of Tears 
·         Dara Gell with The Innocence Project (May 10-11)
·         Carl McColman, Professed Lay Cistercian, writer, soul friend, storyteller, and retreat leader, on Spirituality (Oct 18-19)
·         John Siewert, Professor of Art and Art History at the College of Wooster, on current and continuing debates about Confederate Monuments and Public Art (summer, date TBA).

We are in the process of finalizing a program on defining and describing one’s Legacy, with Sabina Coronado.

Programs will continue to be held at Adshead Hall at Uplands Village, 86A Church Dr, Pleasant Hill, Tennessee.
More information and a schedule of upcoming events can be accessed at the ULLI website: