Annual Week of Learning - OLLI at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
A Dog Day Afternoon in Tuscaloosa - OLLI at the University of Alabama
Art Auction - OLLI at Coastal Carolina University
OMG! Origami - OLLI at California State University, Channel Islands
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Greetings from the NRC    Apr 2017 15
As we prepare this issue of the Osher Newsletter, we are packing materials for the 2017 Osher Institutes National Conference near Dallas, Texas. As many of you know this sesquiennial event (the official word for a regular event that occurs 18 months apart) is a major undertaking for the Osher NRC. Planning begins more than a year before the conference. National conferences highlight and celebrate the wide variety of the Osher Institute theme - that Institutes offer a truly broad array of courses, discussion groups and events. The only limits are in the creativity of leaders.
This month's newsletter shows us that breadth beautifully: we hear about cross-OLLI collaboration in Wisconsin and Nevada; an ancient fine art that exercises the creativity and memories of California members; creative fundraising plans in South Carolina; and how one Alabama program is going to the dogs to learn about and possibly help with a community problem.
We hope those of you joining us at the National Conference will soak up even more ideas and share them with your colleagues at home. And we hope you readers will be energized by this newsletter along with future reports from the Conference.  Our challenge to you is to keep growing your creativity while you expand your minds (and friendships) at your own Osher Institutes.
Warm April wishes from your team at the NRC,
Steve Thaxton, Executive Director

OLLI at University of Milwaukee-Wisconsin
Annual Week of Learning
The annual Week of Learning with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is always memorable. Whether it's exploring American Government in Washington DC or investigating immigration issues along the border in Arizona, participants always gain new insights and knowledge about a variety of important topics. This past February's trip along the Colorado River to investigate water issues was no exception. 

Starting in Las Vegas and ending Yuma, the group met many interesting presenters that included officials from the Federal Bureau of Reclamation and a farmer who helps produce the country's winter vegetable supply. The most noteworthy speaker was Pat Mulroy, the former director of the Southern Nevada Water Authority and now current member of the University of Nevada-Las Vegas Law School.  Pat is recognized as the premiere authority on water usage along the Colorado River.

Although the tour had Ms. Mulroy lined up as a speaker, there was no readily available place for her to speak. UWM Director Kim Beck quickly contacted Rob Levrant from the OLLI at UNLV.  In the true spirit of Osher collegiality, Rob quickly found space on the UNLV campus for the presentation.  Members of OLLI at UNLV were also invited to attend. 

On the day of the presentation, Week of Learning participants arrived early to a reception hosted by the Las Vegas Institute.  Members of both institutes had an opportunity to meet over coffee and snacks, while comparing the great things happening in both locations.  And then enjoyed a highly informative presentation from Pat Mulroy. It was a great beginning to an excellent Week of Learning!

Submitted by: Kim Beck, director, OLLI at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee 

OLLI at The University of Alabama
A Dog Day Afternoon in Tuscaloosa
As a "bonus" for members of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at The University of Alabama, local non-profit organization Canine Compassion Fund (CCF) presented a session on fostering pets who were taken in by local animal control. Special guest "Tiny" was along to inspire extra interest and love. The session, which went beyond the warm and fuzzy, was to instruct and inform OLLI at UA participants who might have an interest in fostering or adopting abandoned pets. The expert information presented ranged from the homeless pet population in Tuscaloosa to the processes of pet adoption. Members learned about the different ways to help CCF financially and how just offering a lap and some love for a couple of weeks (until a home or rescue is found) could save a life. In addition, participants learned what it takes to be a responsible and loving pet owner, making it relevant to both existing pet owners and prospective ones. Members interested in improving their pet- parenting skills, along with those who might become new pet parents enjoyed the CCF presentation, and perhaps a loving lick, too. 

For more on the presentation, follow this link to pre-event coverage in the Crimson White. 

Submitted by: Kathy Chastine, OLLI at The University of Alabama

OLLI at Coastal Carolina University
Art Auction  
The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Coastal Carolina University (OLLI@CCU) hosted an Art Auction and Wine Tasting at their Litchfield Education Center on March 14, 2017. Those attending enjoyed the music of the new OLLI Chamber Orchestra club, baked goods and other refreshments from the Special Events Committee, and over 80 works of art donated by OLLI members, staff, and instructors. One Hope winery, based in Napa Valley, hosted the wine tasting, offering samples of six varietals, from a crisp Sparkling Brut to a nice, rich Cabernet. For each bottle sold, One Hope donates half the proceeds to a charity paired with that particular type of wine, so during this event, OLLI members were able to feed hungry children, plant trees, fund a clinical trial, find a home for a shelter animal, send medicine abroad, and fund therapy for autistic children. The silent
auction netted $1100 toward OLLI's operating expenses, but more importantly, this event provided an opportunity for members to socialize with one another while admiring the art and music created by their peers.

Submitted by: Carol Osborne, director, OLLI at Coastal Carolina University

  OLLI at California State University, Channel Islands 
OMG! Origami
OLLI at California State University, Channel Islands members are enjoying a OMG experience this semester - participating in Origami Memory Gymnastics.  Taught by Dr. BiJian Fan, a retired biotech engineer and renowned paper artist, class members learn the Japanese art of transforming paper into beautiful objects.
"Origami art has been advocated by neuroscientists to maintain brain fitness and make memories stick," said Fan of Camarillo, who once worked at Amgen in Thousand Oaks. The self-taught artist is known for his intricate paper sculptures, and first discovered the craft of origami from his grandmother while growing up in Beijing, China. Fan later discovered that the process of contemplating the principles of origami, as well as the physical act of transforming paper into art, helps maintain mental fitness. 
Fan explains that mental engagement through education is also a powerful way to mitigate dementia risk as activities such as origami are found to activate the prefrontal cortex.
"It does stimulate your brain and it's also challenging because I don't always get it immediately," class member Shohana Brower said. "Also, the creative part is fun. Creating something new and different does stimulate that critical thinking."
The OMG class session is divided between learning paper folding techniques as well as reviewing mental fitness research, and then transforming paper into beautiful objects.

Submitted by : Courtney Gross, OLLI analyst, OLLI at California State University, Channel Islands

An Advice Column for Osher Institute Staff and Volunteers
dearolliDear Olli
This month we re-run a question to Olli that first appeared in 2015. Given the current political climate, it is perhaps even more relevant than when originally asked.
Dear Olli,
Our curriculum committee recently approved a course for an upcoming semester that has the potential to attract some heated debate. What thoughts can you provide to help us prepare for what could be a divisive topic?
~Getting Ready for a Storm
Dear Getting Ready,
One of the hallmarks of Osher Institutes is open and respectful discourse - on many issues. Whether the context is politics, religion or social issues, many OLLIs have experienced strong and opposing views expressed in their classrooms. In fact, many curriculum committees invite just that sort of debate. The key to success is in developing and nurturing a culture of respect - both between individuals and through the spectrum of their viewpoints. Some Institutes address this in their organizational policies: by-laws and codes of conduct that reiterate the themes of tolerance and respect for opposing views. Usually, individual OLLIs work in concert with their host colleges to incorporate the standards and language of the overall university in these sorts of policies and communications. And there is often thoughtful collaboration between Institute volunteer advisory leaders in shaping official statements to meet the needs of their colleagues and members. Finally, providing a prelude to a course or discussion group that centers on controversial content is a good practice. That prelude might take the form of an OLLI leader or staff person making initial remarks that remind the group of the policy of individual respect that their OLLI collectively holds. It is always a good reminder to members that an Osher Institute is a safe and welcoming place for honest and courteous discussion.
Have a question for Olli? Please send it in care of Stacey Hart at the NRC:Stacey.Hart@Northwestern.edu  

Educational Travel Ideas from the OLLI Network
The OLLI Traveler
OLLI at University of California Irvine
Aquarium of the Pacific and Long Beach Harbor Cruise
The architecture of the Aquarium of the Pacific is inspired by the towering breaking waves of the Pacific and mirrors the fluid and dynamic temper of the ocean. The Aquarium features a collection of more than 11,000 animals representing over 500 different species. Exhibits introduce the inhabitants and seascapes of the Pacific, while also focusing on specific conservation messages associated with each region. Following the Aquarium visit and lunch we will embark upon a 45-minute narrated cruise around Long Beach Harbor, one of the most active ports in the world. Vistas include the picturesque shoreline of downtown Long Beach, the Queen Mary and the open ocean. See massive container ships from around the world docked at state-of-the-art cargo terminals, and the offshore "oil islands." Learn more about this Southern California trip.
Date: May 24, 2017

OLLI at Santa Clara University
Exploring Iceland
Join Odysseys Unlimited for a journey that will bring you face to face with the primal forces of nature.  Iceland is home to Europe's largest waterfall, Dettifoss, the glacier-made canyon at Asbrygi, abundant bird life at Arnarstapi shore and the beautiful Lake Myvatn, home of bubbling mudholes, lava fields and volcanic craters.  Spend 11 days traveling the breadth of the country, all while staying in excellent lodgings.  Learn more about this trip to Iceland.
Dates: June 24 - July 4, 2017

OLLI at University of Alaska Fairbanks
OLLI Adventure in Gold Country: Yukon Charlie National Preserve
Join your fellow OLLI members for a four-day adventure at the National Park Services' Coal Creek, a restored mining camp. The camp, complete with its own dredge, is located off the Yukon River, near Slavens Cabin. Historian Ross Coen will walk you back in history to relive the glory days of the gold rush history. Naturalists from the National Park Service will be on hand to supplement the instruction. In addition, students will have a chance to explore Slavens Cabin and enjoy a boat field trip on the Yukon River. The camp comes complete with bunkhouses, a central wash-house, and a dining hall where our own chef will prepare hot meals. Learn more about this trip to gold country.
Dates: June 25-30, 2017

Quick Tips for Helping Operate an Osher Institute
didyouknowQuick Tip - Meet Your Instructors
Course instructors are a vital part of Osher Institutes and are often the reason that members enroll in certain courses. The Osher Institute at University of California San Bernardino sends out an email each term containing a link to photos and bios for the instructors of their upcoming courses. This is not only a great marketing tool, but also provides perspective and a personal touch to members of the Institute. As the email notes, " The quality of our OLLI instructors is a hallmark of our program. Many are current or retired professors, and several are accomplished professionals who are tops in their field. This powerful combination of academics and industry experts gives you a learning experience that's second to none in the Coachella Valley."  

  Career Openings in the OLLI Network
jobboardJob Board
Director, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

Director, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

Education Program Associate 2, OLLI

Regirer Grant Program Assistant, OLLI

Secretary, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

Is there a staff opening at your Osher Institute? Please send it to us at  oshernrc@northwestern.edu