Honoring the Mayor - A Champion of OLLI
As the community facing arm of George Mason University, OLLI frequently collaborates on program initiatives with the City of Fairfax in Virginia. About two-thirds of members live within city limits, so, it is important to have strong and binding relationships with city officials. For over 30 years, OLLI at George Mason University and the city have worked hand-in-hand to support educational activities (lectures, socials, events) in the community. They jointly support a robust 4-day book festival, welcoming more than 150 authors to the Fairfax campus every October. This year, the festival gained National recognition for its New American Voices Award featuring immigrant authors, and the festival gained local acclaim winning the 2022 Arts Innovation Award of Fairfax County. OLLI collaborates with the city’s Spotlight on the Arts Series bringing lectures to that event, too. In addition, OLLI was recognized as the Town and Gown recipient for best non-profit by the University and the City of Fairfax in 2018.

Over many years, the mayor of Fairfax, David Meyer has been a tremendous champion of the Institute’s efforts. His work on the city council helped provide access to city facilities, marketing opportunities, and introductions to other community partners. As Mayor Meyer leaves his official role on the city council, the Board of Directors celebrated and thanked him by providing a lifetime membership to OLLI and welcomed him to the organization with hopes he will continue to engage on many levels with the Institute in the future. 

Submitted by: Jennifer Disano, Executive Director, OLLI at George Mason University
Hybrid Learning Across the Osher Institute Network
In December, the Osher National Resource Center offered a Hybrid Learning workshop. This workshop brought together network staff to discuss the state of hybrid learning at their Institutes. The discussions were enlightening and informative. As part of this collaboration, the NRC elicited effective practices from three Institutes that perform hybrid modalities well. The following are excerpts from written interviews with these Institutes. The interviewees were: Joey Conrad, Executive Director, OLLI at University of Kentucky; Dolores Cox, Executive Director, OLLI at University of Nevada, Reno; and, Jeanette Toohey, Director, OLLI at University of North Florida. 
If you were to pick one area/thing that has been crucial to the effectiveness of your hybrid classes, what would it be and why? From Joey Conrad: “Having a staff member as a dedicated hybrid expert has been crucial to the success of our hybrid model. Nick Farr (OLLI staff member pictured in blue, above) took the lead on developing our virtual learning offerings and then expanded into hybrid learning. He has been responsible for most of the hybrid activities, including hosting weekly Zoom trainings for members/instructors, cross training staff and volunteers to set up and host hybrid offerings, and developing hybrid classroom setup guides.”
What has been the most difficult area to overcome in offering hybrid classes? From Jeanette Toohey: “Having good sound for those on Zoom. Those that rely on computer speakers (rather than earbuds/earphones) create a recipe for dissatisfaction.”
How do you staff your hybrid classes (Do you use volunteers or staff? Do you have moderators? Tech support? Learning designers? Etc.?) 
From Dolores Cox: “We are fortunate to have volunteers, tech support, and staff. There is a team we have for each class that contributes to supporting our hybrid classes.” 
Any tips or tricks for successful hybrid? From Joey Conrad:Have a projector and screen that allows in-person participants to see and interact with online participants. Also, develop setup guides for hybrid classes and cross-train staff/volunteers. From Dolores Cox: “Connect with presenters and coach them on how to engage with those logged in on Zoom.” Finally, from Jeanette Toohey:A well configured room and supplemental sound projection make all the difference in terms of success.”
Thank you to these directors for providing the NRC with their insights and knowledge on hybrid learning.
Travels Local and Beyond!
As we know, history is always a popular topic for members of Osher Institutes. The OLLI at CSU Channel Islands gives members the opportunity to learn history both in the classroom and beyond. Last spring, members took a six-week course on the history and art of Sicily taught by one of their instructors, Laura Hagel. Then in October, 12 members set off on a two-week trip to bring the classroom learning to life in Sicily and Malta. There they experienced the archaeology, architecture, history, cuisine, and art of the region. Highlights from the trip included both wine and olive oil tastings as well as high tea at the Palazzo Parisio in Malta.

Closer to home, OLLI at CSUCI also offers local opportunities to take learning beyond the classroom. July brought members an opportunity to take a bus trip to the newly opened Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles. This museum featured historical memorabilia including costumes from award winning movies, Oscar trophies, and clips from classic movies. Then in August members were able to tour SoFi Stadium in Inglewood. This allowed the members a behind the scenes experience in the home of both the LA Chargers and the LA Rams. Members got to run through the tunnel to enter the field, just as their favorite players do.

These wonderful travel opportunities are created by dedicated volunteers. The local and global outings and trips take what is learned in the classroom and brings it to life. The classes and seminars encourage members to engage in learning new topics that they then can develop a greater understanding of on their outings.

Submitted by: Daniel Banyai, Program Director, OLLI at California State University Channel Islands
Quick Tip - Recruiting Instructors
The following is a recommendation from Angela Allen, Director of OLLI at California State University San Bernardino: “If you have a campus directory that has a biography on faculty in each school, do a little research. Select a few instructors that could teach an OLLI course on the area they got their Ph.D. in. For example, I recruited a history professor who got his doctorate on marginalized groups in China. He was thrilled to teach an OLLI course on his passion rather than another History 101 class. Now he is the biggest advocate for OLLI to other instructors and the unit WINs!”
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Is there a staff opening at your Osher Institute? Please send it to us at oshernrc@northwestern.edu