l Capital University Journal
love of learning
program offers classes for 50+ set
State is taking the mantra “You’re never too old to learn”
to heart. In addition to programs for traditional students, the University
has beefed up its offerings for those who’ve earned the title “senior”
for more than accumulated class credits.
The most recent addition to the palate of classes, lectures and travel
opportunities is the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, a College of Continuing
Educationled effort that provides courses for tuning both mind and body.
The institute, which began in the fall, is designed for the 50-plus crowd,
says its director, Elizabeth Hough. It’s aimed at people who are
making the transition between the work world and some of the University’s
longstanding learning-inretirement offerings like the Renaissance Society
and Elder Hostel.
“Osher courses are fun, noncredit courses that give participants
the opportunity to meet others with similar interests,” Hough says.
The sessions are shorter than regular semester-length courses, taking
into account the busy schedules of participants.
The inaugural courses touched on a variety of topics—theater, financial
planning, healthy habits—taught by faculty members and experts from
the surrounding community.
Theatre and dance professor Ed Brazo said the enthusiasm from the students
he taught in the theatre sampler course was infectious. “It was
sheer enjoyment. We always went over the allotted class time,” he
Students attended performances at several local theaters, listened to
guest speakers from various theater disciplines and attended a dress rehearsal
for one of Sac State’s productions.
Because the class was less structured than his regular classes, Brazo
was able to share more “tips of the trade” than theory. “Many
had seen several theatre productions before, so they enjoyed the backstage
part of it.”
Dick Dotters, who took the course with his wife Sally, says, “I
was interested in expanding my horizons. Before, I could go to the theater
but not appreciate it as much, because now I know what goes into a production.”
Along with the opportunity to be a theater “insider,” Dotters
says he also enjoyed the social nature of the class. “We met people
with a similar interest and established a lot of new friendships.”
Student Ron Clyma enjoyed the healthy habits class so much, he wrote about
it in the institute’s first newsletter. He said he approached his
first health and fitness class in many years with “tremendous trepidation.”
But because it was designed for seniors with limitations and tailored
for each student, he found it a fun and useful alternative to “glitzy
He also appreciated the opportunity to get personalized counseling and
menu suggestions from a nutritionist.
Students can register for individual courses or by the “semester”
which entitles them to take up to three courses. New courses for the spring
will include Northern California cuisine, holistic healing, digital photography,
and American culture and religion.
Over the summer the institute will also hold a writing conference.
Most of the courses are held in the recently opened Napa Hall on campus.
But Hough says plans are in the works to take the show “on the road,”
offering shorter versions of the classes at local retirement communities.
Seed money for the program is provided by a $100,000 grant from the Bernard
Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes, named for a Bay Area philanthropist
who has helped fund adult learning on campuses throughout the country.
The campus can apply for similar amounts in the next two years and will
then be eligible to compete for a $1 million endowment.
In addition to the Osher programs, the University offers a number of programs
for the senior set:
- The Renaissance
Society is a learning-inretirement organization that along with its
weekly forums offers dozens of more-detailed seminars for members.
- The Life
Center, housed in the University’s Julia Morgan House, offers
a range of health and fitness classes including fallrisk prevention,
tai chi and strength training, as well as computer workshops. It also
has a speaker series on health-related topics.
at Sac State works with the national Elderhostel Snapshots program to
offer short educational travel programs.
- The Sixty-Plus
program allows seniors to take University courses at a reduced rate.
Osher Lifelong Learning Institute: (916) 278-5485 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Renaissance Society: (916) 278-7834 or www.csus.edu/org/rensoc
Elderhostel: (916) 278-7847Sixty-Plus: (916) 278-3901