OLLI NEWS
A New Osher Institute - OLLI at University of North Texas
Celebrating Performing Arts - OLLI at California State University, Fullerton
Great PR! - OLLI at University of Southern Mississippi
Tuesdays with Spirit and Soul Series - OLLI at University of California Riverside
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Greetings from the NRC    Mar 2017 15
March inspires us to move ahead but reminds us of our recent past. Charles Dickens recognized this in writing:
 
"...March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade..."
 
This is the month that literally springs (most of) us forward with daylight savings time. It marks the official change of the season. It brings basketball madness to some of our campuses, too.  So in keeping with this pivotal month, the Osher NRC provides  spring-like inspiration and cheer to this newsletter.
 
Below, we welcome good publicity and fresh ideas from one of our newer OLLI directors in Mississippi; we celebrate the addition of a new Osher Institute - our 120th OLLI in Denton, Texas; we relish the rhythm of tap dancing members in Fullerton, California; and, we applaud the ingenuity of our colleagues in Riverside, California using technology to bring filmmakers from afar into their OLLI classroom.
 
For those participants in the upcoming Osher Institutes National Conference in April, there will be even more fresh ideas and inspiration to propel springtime. Everyone enjoys a little more spring in life. And we hope everyone enjoys this spring newsletter, as well. 
 
March on! 

 
Steve Thaxton, Executive Director


 
OLLI at University of North Texas
A New Osher Institute
With funding from The Bernard Osher Foundation, the University of North Texas' Emeritus College program has become the newest Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.  Located in Denton, Texas, UNT's lifelong learning program was created in 2009 to provide older adults in the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area with an extensive array of educational opportunities, travel programs and social activities.  With the addition of UNT's program to the national Osher
Institute network, the Osher Foundation now supports 120 lifelong learning programs on university and college campuses across the country, with at least one grantee in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

UNT's Osher Institute operates under the auspices of the University President's Lifelong Learning and Professional Development division. Current UNT president, Neal Smatresk, previously served as president of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where he helped to develop its Osher Institute into a robust and successful program.  His wife, Debbie Smatresk, served as the director of the Osher Institute at UNLV for a number of years and is now a volunteer leader with UNT's program. 

Dr. Marilyn Wagner, director of the Osher Institute at UNT, is thrilled to be part of the national Osher network.  She is proud of the rapid progress the program has made in just six years.  During the past academic year, more than 100 courses were offered in Denton.  Additional programming will be launched at UNT's New College at Frisco in the months ahead.  More than a dozen educational trips - both domestic and international - will also be offered in 2017.

"We are confident that the program is poised for continued success during its next stages of growth and service to the community," said Osher Foundation president, Mary Bitterman.  "We are delighted to provide this support to help the University of North Texas enhance and expand the enriching educational services its Osher Lifelong Learning Institute offers to older adults in the Dallas-Fort Worth area." 

OLLI at California State University, Fullerton
Celebrating Performing Arts - Tap Dancing
At a recent OLLI at CSUF luncheon, the emcee announced the entertainment. Instantaneously, festive music, triple time steps and flap ball changes echoed throughout the room.
 
OLLI members looked up to see stage lights bouncing off shimmering skirts of high-stepping women as men in colorful top hats tapped to the beat. When dancers reached center stage, the audience lit up. Their colleagues, CSUF OLLI Snappy Tappers were at it again!
 
Six years ago, a few members dreamed about learning to tap dance. Once the Curriculum Committee approved the idea, members started a class. Today, CSUF OLLI tap dancers create moving art. Visionaries Lee Ann Donaldson, Jan Mendez and Kiyo Young studied videos and visited dance classes so they could teach themselves and others tap steps. Some in that first class had studied tap; others had never put on tap shoes.
 
Through practice, students improved dance skills and discovered they were tapping into better balance and sharpened mental acuity. They worked on dramatic smiling, studying pictures of their faces to see if their smiles would engage audiences. Their ultimate dream was to perform!
 
In October 2013 Toni Hoffman, with ten years of choreographed ballroom dance experience, joined the class. With Toni at the helm and her husband Stan as sound engineer, OLLI Snappy Tappers began performing. A first gig at a St. Patrick's Day party led to performance requests. Snappy Tappers entertain at community centers, senior complexes and service clubs, tailoring routines to events.
 
Members take tap for various reasons. Paulette Kish joined after losing her husband and said, "I feel like I have a second family." Edward Dunvan mentioned benefits of exercise and mental stimulation. He said the class is fortunate to have Toni as leader and added, "We perform for charitable and service groups as part of giving back." Donna Gilbert Vann gave kudos to the teacher: "The group sparkles and radiates joy under Toni's leadership." 
 
The OLLI at CSUF tap class's success demonstrates that dreams can come true. Members wanted a tap class -- and started one! Today, the class boasts a performing dance troupe. Click here to see a video of one of the Snappy Tapper performances.
 
Submitted by : Patricia Silvestri, member, OLLI at California State University, Fullerton

OLLI at University of Southern Mississippi
Great PR!  
Brett Harris, the director of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Southern Mississippi was recently interviewed by the Hattiesburg American as part of their "Top 12 under 40" news feature. Not only did Brett have some great advice for young professionals, but the article accompanying his interview highlights many of the opportunities provided by OLLIs.  It offers an inspiring message about the Osher Network and the difference that being a member of an OLLI can make in an individual's life. Brett notes, "If people want to keep pursuing passions or develop new ones, we want to be the place they come to do that. Folks in our target area have a lot they want to do and accomplish. OLLI allows them to pursue new information, keeps them involved and doing what they love to do". Read the full article and view Brett's video remarks in the Hattiesburg American here 

  OLLI at University of California, Riverside 
Tuesdays with Spirit and Soul Series: A Film Series on Conscious Aging
The second annual presentation of the "Tuesdays with Spirit and Soul Series: A Film Series on Conscious Aging", featured three highly acclaimed documentary films that explore the concepts of aging more consciously, challenging cultural norms and cultivating a more meaningful, authentic life. On February 9, 2016 the film, "A Beautiful Equation", was screened at the Coachella Valley location for 250 Osher and community members. 
 
Director Robin Truesdale and Theatre Director Len Barron were Skyped in for an after screening discussion.  After working out the technical challenges that could be anticipated with a virtual presentation, Robin and Len were ready to tell of their experience making the film, and the unconventional casting of the eight grandmothers. They then responded to questions from a very inspired and impressed audience of lifelong learners.      
 
Whenever possible, key players associated with the films are brought in, whether virtually or in person. A small panel of experts in the field associated with the film's main subject are identified and used to discuss and add to the impressions left by the film.  Experience has shown that if one reaches out to the Director or Producer of the documentary and invites participation in the screening, there is a high possibility of working something out that may not cost anything or may have a very nominal cost, especially if tied to the purchase of the DVD.
 
The film will be screened again this spring at our Riverside location as part of a Lecture Series. To put a new twist on the after-screening experience, UCR's professor, Dr. Rachel Wu, Assistant Professor of Psychology, will share research on how to maintain cognitive health across the lifespan. This research investigates the growth trajectory of how infants and children learn. Members will leave inspired from the film and encouraged by the research being done by Professor Wu.
 
Submitted by: Sandra Richards, director, Science, Law and Humanities and Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at University of California Riverside

  Irving, TX - April 2017
conferenceNational Conference Review
We've got a great lineup of sessions for attendees at the upcoming Osher 
Institutes National Conference! Here's a peak at the daily agenda:

An Advice Column for Osher Institute Staff and Volunteers
dearolliDear Olli
Dear Olli,
I chair our curriculum committee and we've noticed that some Osher Institutes have mostly academic course offerings while some are heavy on trips, expressive arts, exercise and other more leisure or hobby offerings. Why such a variety, and are there advantages or disadvantages to either approach?
~The Chairperson
 
Dear Chairperson,
You touch on one of the secrets of success of the Osher Institute model. The repertoire of courses and educational activities is encouraged to be whatever is best for that particular Institute, host university/college, community, and especially the local membership. Each program's local autonomy is respected among Osher Institutes. There is no presumption that one program's curriculum is right or better than another, but there is the presumption that each program's offerings might provide exciting ideas for consideration at another Institute.
 
Factors that influence an OLLI's curricula include the absence or presence of other programs or organizations that might compete for a member's attention. This frequently leads an Institute to define their niche differently from a neighboring community education program or a faith-based learning program. The availability of instructors or discussion leaders is also a practical factor in determining courses. If there are teachers/leaders who bring a subject to life with passion, they often influence the offerings. Partnering organizations, either on campus or in the community, factor in as well. Sometimes there are arts studios or fitness facilities nearby that are desirable partners. Often, the most influential consideration remains in what the Institute's members want to explore. If members are curious about a subject, they'll register and get engaged in it. Keeping a constant feedback loop of member's interests is one of the best things a curriculum committee can do to ensure success.
~Olli

Have a question for Olli? Please send it in care of Stacey Hart at the NRC:Stacey.Hart@Northwestern.edu  

OlliTraveler
Educational Travel Ideas from the OLLI Network
The OLLI Traveler
OLLI at University of Rhode Island
St. Andrews By-The-Sea & Campobello Island
Enjoy a four day getaway that has it all. Connect with nature on a guided "moose safari" in the mountains of Maine. Visit the charming old world settlement of St. Andrews by-the-Sea and be captivated by its unmatched scenery and rich colonial history. Reflect on the serenity of Campobello Island and visit the summer home of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his family. Unwind at the five-star, world-class Algonquin Resort Hotel. There's a bit of something for everyone on this two country motorcoach tour. Read more about this trip to the Northeast.
Dates: June 26-29, 2017

OLLI at Louisiana State University
Bus Trip to Shadows-on-the-Teche and the McIlhenny Tabasco Plant and Jungle Gardens on Avery Island
Leslie Tassis will entertain you with stories of South Louisiana. First stop is the Shadows-on-the-Teche for a guided tour and video of this classical revival home, listed on the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The bus then brings us to downtown New Iberia for lunch, where there are several local restaurants, as well as shops and a walkway along the Bayou for those wishing to bring their own lunch. Next stop is the Tabasco Company Visitors' Center on Avery Island, for a self-guided 10-stop tour of the greenhouse, barrel workshop & warehouse, mash vats and bottling plant. After a stop at the Tabasco Country Store, we will ride through the 170-acre Jungle Gardens to enjoy the tropical plants, alligators and other wildlife and the ancient Buddah statue. A short walk takes us to the overlook of Bird City, where thousands of egrets and other birds return every spring to have their young on the nesting platforms. Read more about this local tour.
Date: April 5, 2017

OLLI at San Diego State University
Borrego Springs' Sculptures with Santa Ysabel Stage Stop
Join us on a deluxe motor coach for a one-day Edventure to Borrego Springs from SDSU. Our first stop is at the historic Santa Ysabel Store, an emporium dating back to 1884. Ten minutes down the road we'll have a docent-led tour of Warner-Carrillo Ranch House, a former stop on the Butterfield Stage Line. We'll continue on breathtaking Banner Grade road until we reach the desert floor at Borrego Springs, and enjoy lunch (included) at the legendary Casa Del Zorro resort. Then we'll visit the amazing life-size metal sculptures of Ricardo Breceda. Before heading back, we'll stop at the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park for a short walk and see a film in its visitor center. Read more about this day trip in California.
Date: March 23, 2017

Quick Tips for Helping Operate an Osher Institute
didyouknowQuick Tip - Recognizing and Recruiting Volunteers

Osher Institutes rely on the support of volunteers. Recruiting volunteers, and making sure that those individuals feel supported and recognized is a big job. The Osher Institute at the University of North Florida recently implemented a volunteer support strategy aimed at achieving these objectives. Members are encouraged to wear name badges while attending classes, and now, those members who are also volunteers are identified with smiley faces on their name badge. In addition, an advertisement for volunteers was added to the OLLI catalog with contact information for those members who might like to learn more about volunteering at OLLI.  


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

Executive Director, Jupiter Lifelong Learning Society

Osher Program Supervisor

Classroom and Facilities Coordinator

Secretary, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

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