Grass Roots Curriculum How You Can Help It Grow

How You Can Help It Grow

June 13, 2016

Ever wonder how our OLLI manages to offer 60 - 100 courses per term—so many it's often hard to choose?

There's no one source of such richness. There are many: course leaders who volunteer (some year after year), members who suggest course ideas or potential course leaders, Course Development Teams, and persistent outreach and follow-up by our office staff.

Now there is a new component: affinity groups organized around three broad curriculum areas--arts, social sciences, and physical sciences. These groups review member-suggested course ideas, brainstorm possible course topics and help members develop courses.

Representatives of the affinity groups join with other members of the Curriculum Committee to share information and tend to curriculum-related matters.

Here is a list of the affinity groups and their conveners along with other members of the Curriculum Committee and their areas of responsibility:

  • Arts Affinity Group, convened by Marghe Tabar (mtabar@comcast.net) and Meryll Page (pagemeryll@hotmail.com). This group has targeted two areas for development: 1) courses in applied arts (think pottery, mosaics, or watercolors) and 2) multi-disciplinary courses that could extend over several terms. One multi-disciplinary course planned for Fall 2016 is based on Women and Money, an upcoming exhibition at the Katherine Nash Gallery.
  • Social Sciences Affinity Group, convened by Lynn Bolnick (lbolnick@outlook.com). Members of this group meet with people who are interested in 1) leading OLLI courses; 2) leading Curriculum Development Teams, 3) providing assistance regarding prospective courses, instructors, or team leaders. Plans are moving ahead on five courses in the social sciences, including the one on women and money, for Fall 2016.
  • Physical Sciences Affinity Group. This group has yet to be formed. Please contact Executive Director Sandra Stevenson (ssteves@umn.edu) if you're interested in participating or especially leading this group.

Other members of the Curriculum Committee include:

  • Al Trostel, guide and coach for Course Development Teams. Coming soon: Helpful Advice for Course Development Teams. Look for news in the Up-to-Dater. If you have questions or wish to start a Course Development Team, contact Al at atrostel@comcast.net. He has valuable advice for creating a successful team-led course.
  • Florence Ostrom, who heads the Quality Review Team (QRT). This team of six meets at the end of each term to review course comments and return them in a timely manner to course leaders. Want to know more? Contact Florence at fostrom@gmail.com.
  • Carrie Bassett (cbassett@wisdominst.com), who helps build collaboration and communication among OLLI course leaders.
  • Vince Trotta (vptrotta@msn.com), who scouts for one-time presenters for courses such as Tuesdays With a Scholar. If you encounter a dynamic speaker on a currently hot topic, let Vince know.
  • Program and Office Manager Taki Andrianakos (pandrian@umn.edu), who works with current course leaders to invite them to lead again in an upcoming term and also develops new courses.
  • Executive Director Sandra Stevenson, who manages curriculum overall, maintains OLLI's network within the University of Minnesota, develops partnerships, and generally assists the Curriculum Committee in its work.

You too can be part of creating OLLI's curriculum. Have a course idea? Know a terrific potential course leader in one of the affinity group areas--? One easy link is to click on "Suggest a Course/Course Leader" on the Courses and Course Guide web page (scroll to the bottom of the page.) You can also contact the appropriate committee member or write to me at: susan@mundales.com.

There's no one source of such richness.

Have a course idea? Know a terrific potential course leader in one of the affinity group areas--? One easy link is to click on "Suggest a Course/Course Leader" on the Courses and Course Guide web page (scroll to the bottom of the page.) You can also contact the appropriate committee member or write to me at: susan@mundales.com.