LEGOs Updated for a New Century - OLLI at The University of Kansas
Gratitude - OLLI at University of California, Berkeley
Electronic Fundraising Campaign - OLLI at University of Arizona
Tom and Gerry Show Offers Insight into Partisan Divide - OLLI at George Mason University
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Greetings from the NRC    Feb 2018 15
This is the month to show your OLLI love! February is often a dreary month for those of us in cold weather zones. But having St. Valentine's Day in the middle of the month adds to our cheer and gives us another opportunity to extol the virtues of our beloved OLLIs. No matter your climate, take the time to make your Osher colleagues and friends feel valued. It doesn't take much to show your regard. It's a great time to contribute to your OLLI's fundraising campaign in honor of an instructor or volunteer leader you especially appreciate. It might be a good time to organize your thoughts into a creative course proposal and step-up to the ranks of discussion leader or instructor for future terms. And at the least, it is a fitting time to let those hard-working Osher staff members know you appreciate their extra efforts that make your program enjoyable for everyone.
We have articles and examples of the positive benefits of showing gratitude and creativity in this Newsletter, too. From University of California Berkeley, an innovative course that examines gratitude from the perspectives of both its science and its art; from University of Arizona, members explaining what OLLI means to them, combining online technology, appreciation, and fundraising; from the University of Kansas, a creative course that encourages members to be playful and perhaps even include their grandchildren; and from George Mason University, a photography club that expresses OLLI's love and respect for their University, service women and men, and their beautiful Virginia surroundings.
We hope you find a bit of inspiration and get some ideas for your OLLI here this month - and perhaps feel some of the love yourself while reading it.
With affection from your Osher NRC team,
Steve Thaxton, Executive Director

OLLI at The University of Kansas
LEGOs Updated for a New Century
In 1934, Danish carpenter Ole Kristiansen combined two words, Leg Godt, (Play Well) to create LEGO. Beginning with wooden toys, by the 1940's he had purchased a molding machine and began making his now-famous plastic bricks. Today there are LEGO products, LEGOLANDS and LEGO movies, all designed for kids. That is, until last fall, when the OLLI at the University of Kansas partnered with LEGO Education, a division of LEGO International, to offer a LEGO course for children of all ages as well as adults.
This innovative three-week course was designed for teams of two. Grandparents, parents, spouses, friends, and kids teamed up for an introduction to robotics and coding taught by a LEGO curriculum specialist. During the course, the intrepid teams built and programmed a rover to explore and collect samples on another planet. They also constructed and programmed an earthquake simulator to test a structure's stability.
By the end of the course, Osher Institute members whose only memories of LEGOS were of the 50's-era plastic blocks, were able to show-off their LEGO knowledge and earn a little street cred with their grandkids, too. 
Submitted by: Jim Peters, director, OLLI at The University of Kansas

OLLI at University of California, Berkeley
During the fall session of OLLI at the University of California Berkeley, a class of 15 embarked on a five-week journey to work on gratitude practices.  Hundreds of studies have documented the physical, social and psychological benefits of gratitude and participants read related articles and viewed videos offered through an online class from the University's Greater Good Science Center, while sharing their progress with one another in an OLLI class.
Robert Emmons, an expert on gratitude, describes gratitude from two perspectives.  "First, it's an affirmation of goodness. We affirm that there are good things in the world, gifts and benefits we've received."  He adds that in expressing gratitude "we recognize that the sources of this goodness are outside of ourselves...We acknowledge that other people, or even higher powers, if you're of a spiritual mindset gave us many gifts, big and small, to help us achieve the goodness in our lives." 
Instructor Sara Orem worked with participants on keeping a gratitude journal, writing a gratitude letter and expressing gratitude as a way to recover from a negative experience.  She also asked participants to fill out surveys about their gratitude and life satisfaction. Over the course of those five weeks, the average gratitude score went up from 5 to 6.6 (out of 7), and the number of OLLI students in the class who were highly satisfied with their life doubled. Orem noted that "those results were less impressive than the transformations witnessed.  For a final project, I asked that each participant plan a gratitude letter.  They weren't required to actually write the letter (though a few of the participants did), but to think deeply about who the recipient would be, what the source of gratitude was, and how they would express that gratitude. The final presentations were inspiring."
The OLLI participants began the course by learning to navigate the online materials offered and discussing their current understanding of gratitude.  Learning more about the new field of positive psychology, their views on gratitude evolved.  One student, Abigail, said, "I thought you were going to teach me two or three more ways to say thank you. This isn't that. This is going to require that I think more deeply about my approach to life."   By the end of five weeks, students were effusive in expressing their gratitude for the course and how it was already affecting their lives.
Learn more about this course on gratitude in Greater Good Magazine.
Submitted by: Jennifer Monahan, communications manager, OLLI at University of California, Berkeley

OLLI at University of Arizona
Electronic Fundraising Campaign
In an attempt to control costs of traditional mailed fundraising appeals, OLLI-UA experimented with an all-electronic fall fundraising campaign to raise $27,700 of its annual $45,000 goal for calendar year 2017. We developed an emotional video appeal, all shot on an iPhone, asking members of each of our four campuses, "What does OLLI-UA mean to you?" and "Why do you support OLLI-UA?" The video was delivered via email newsletters to members and also presented before classes during the first week of fundraising.  A bookmark was developed and handed out encouraging members to make donations online. Additionally, donation forms and envelopes were made available at the campus level for collection and mailing to the administrative office for processing.
During the campaign, additional education messaging was sent to supplement the ongoing initiative. Before the campaign start, an email called Money Matters went out describing the Institute's funding and how much member dues and donations contribute. The fundraising kickoff email, called Community Matters, shared the appeal letter and video encouraging current and former members to donate online.  The OLLI-UA website homepage featured a fundraising thermometer, allowing members to track progress. To encourage more giving, the status thermometer was also displayed overhead before classes and in periodic email updates featuring the names of those who donated.  The campaign lasted eight weeks and raised $28,400, exceeding the goal by $700.  OLLI-UA received 266 individual donations averaging $107 each.  The average donation increased by $15 and the number of individual donors increased by 75 over a prior spring campaign.  Some of this change may be attributed to the timing of year-end charitable giving rather than the campaign itself. Nonetheless, OLLI-UA beat their goal and proved electronic fundraising is possible.
Last year OLLI-UA served 1,200 members across four campuses in Tucson and Green Valley, Arizona. Three UA staff members oversee the administration of the program with an army of 500-plus member-volunteers contributing in ways big and small to make the magic of OLLI-UA happen. The program is representative of the UA's commitment to provide innovative and engaging learning experiences that transform the lives of individuals, organizations and communities.
Submitted by: W. Scott Aldridge, program manager, OLLI at University of Arizona

  OLLI at George Mason University 
OLLI Photo Club - Building Fellowship with George Mason University and Northern Virginia
The Photo Club at OLLI Mason has become the darling of George Mason University and Northern Virginia.  Over the past several years, the Club has seized every opportunity to provide free photographic services to the university and community organizations - efforts that reward at every level.  It's a win-win-win-win for OLLI photographers, the Osher Institute, the university, and the public. 
If your OLLI is looking for ways to build fellowship with the university and neighbors that surround, below are several examples of the partnerships OLLI Mason Photo Club has forged. It is as easy as sending an email or making a phone call to potential benefactors.  The only thing stopping you is your imagination.   
  • For two years, OLLI photographers have taken promotional pictures of theater students in Mason's College of Visual and Performing Arts.  Photos have been snapped of shows and of individual students to build their performance portfolios.  The university is posting the photos on websites, Facebook pages and other mediums to better showcase Mason productions to the public. Students are using their headshots for stage bills and social media. Molly Elston, Production Manager and Practicum Coordinator for the Mason School of Theater, called the effort "wonderful" and of great use to the university.   
  • The Photo Club supported George Mason's "Fall for the Book" festival in 2017, photographing local Underground Railroad sites as part of an exhibit to support featured author Colson Whitehead and his new fictional book The Underground Railroad. The sites were identified by Mason Professor Dr. Spencer Crew and displayed for weeks in the university's Center for Visual Arts.
  • Projects are under construction with Mason's Department of Environmental Science and Policy to offer photographic services to the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation at Front Royal, VA, the newly opened Potomac Science Center at Belmont Bay, and the equine center for the equestrian team. 
  • In terms of broader community outreach, the Club contributed works to Fairfax County's 275th anniversary "Then and Now" photography exhibit of local historic locations.  That display was featured at the Lorton Workhouse Art Center.
  • The Club has partnered for five years with the United Service Organization (USO) Warrior-Family Center at Fort Belvoir, VA to provide portraits for military members and families.  This year, there were 19 portrait sessions of military personnel and families - and two dogs!  Each family or individual received a flash drive of all their photos and one printed portrait on professional photo paper (donated by Red River Paper Company from Dallas, TX). "This is really a special project," said Ashy Palliparambil, USO program coordinator. "Many of the families have not had professional-quality portraits taken in many years. Several send the photographs to family members serving overseas. We are so appreciative of the Photo Club's members for their time and effort in making this a great holiday project."  The USO would like to partner with the OLLI Photo Club in 2018 to take pictures of cancer patient families. 
Submitted by: Angie Talaber, photo club chair, OLLI at George Mason University

Osher NRC 2017-18 Webinar Series

Mark your calendar for the next webinar on February 21, 2018 beginning at 2pm Eastern/1pm Central/noon Mountain/11am Pacific/10am in Alaska and 9am in Hawaii. Register for the webinar here.

Secrets of SIG Success (Special or Shared Interest Groups)
What are the ways constructive shared or special interest groups (SIGs) are formed and endure? Are there optimum conditions or policies that limit risks and enhance SIGs? How do other Osher Institutes manage and maintain SIGs so they supplement core OLLI offerings but don't overwhelm staff and volunteer leadership? Learn some of the effective practices that create a healthy SIG environment and hear about some lessons learned that might become your own Secrets of SIG Success. 

Julie Vidotta
Director, OLLI @ Clemson University

Katherine Ellison
Director, OLLI @ Saginaw Valley State University

Tim Meehan
Executive Director, OLLI @ University of Georgia

If you have interest in being a presenter or have ideas for other topics, please contact Diane Venzera ( diane.venzera@northwestern.edu ). 

  Osher Institutes National Resource Center
The Osher NRC has enjoyed many benefits from the skills and wisdom of Assistant Director of Adult Learning Diane Venzera throughout the past three years. Unfortunately, she will be moving on to another challenging assignment. Diane has accepted a leadership position with Unity Worldwide Ministries - at their denomination headquarters near Kansas City, MO and will be relocating in the coming months.  As an ordained minister, Diane's passion for preparing youth and family ministers has been an important part of her life, beyond her work for the NRC. Please join us in thanking her for her many contributions to the Osher Network and wishing her all the best in her future work. Never one to let us down, Diane is working hard to keep us ahead on National Conference preparations. Thankfully, she'll be with us until April.
The search for Diane's replacement will soon be underway. Please feel free to recommend the opening to friends or colleagues with adult education and educational technology backgrounds.

An Advice Column for Osher Institute Staff and Volunteers
dearolliDear Olli
Dear Olli,
Our Membership Committee is deliberating how and if we should attract younger members - those who might be pre-retirement or semi-retired. Some of us want to keep our OLLI small and stick to the tried and true courses and activities, not expanding too fast or too much. Others would like to see new ideas and a broader mix of new members involved. Any ideas to offer in this ongoing debate?
Dear Debating,
Given that an average OLLI sees around 20% membership attrition each year, it is important to grow, just to maintain a stable core. Most Institutes consider a broad range of ages between 50 and 100 to be best for everyone's benefit. Many think it is wise to target members on the younger side of retirement, expecting they'll be adding fresh ideas and likely be around for years to come. In practice, anyone, no matter their age can bring new ideas to your OLLI. If your group is set on younger new members, as many are, consider that they are often less available in the day due to professional commitments. Consider creating "sampler" opportunities in late afternoons, evenings, or on weekends to give prospects flexibility to see what OLLI is about. However, don't expect there to be a crowd of prospects for any particular class - nor that current members won't want to try those alternative times also. Experiment with a variety of formats and consider using those opportunities to test one-session classes or even longer duration workshop-style courses on a weekend. While a pattern of 8-12 week courses may have been set for years, innovation can come from mixing it up. Some who study generational differences contend that the youngest of the OLLI members want lots of variety and many short-duration courses so they can juggle all the new-to-retirement activities they've been dreaming about for years.
Finally, consider hosting a group of 8-12 prospects who have inquired about Osher classes but haven't joined to research their interests and needs. Sometimes these are the people who are already on your mailing lists to keep their eye on OLLI catalogs. Inviting them to a focus group to assess their mindset might lead to innovation, and will certainly give your committee a chance to make some new friends.

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 Rhode Island
Quebec City
Experience one of the world's most romantic cities and capture a taste of Europe without the jet lag. Travel down cobblestone streets and discover the charm of the old city. Wonderful accommodations are provided at your hotel close to the historic downtown area. Dine in romantic cafes and discover the "joie de vivre" of French Canada. Learn more about this trip to Canada.
Dates: June 24-27, 2018

OLLI at Santa Clara University
Southern France: Languedoc & Provence with Art Historian Dr. Brigid Barton
Join OLLI@SCU for an exclusive adventure to Southern France. This 13-day tour features Southern France's highlights, from the Pyrénées and Languedoc, to beloved Provence. We are pleased to have Dr. Brigid Barton, Professor Emerita, Department of Art and Art History at Santa Clara University, accompany us on this journey. We begin in the historic market town of Albi, where we visit the Palais de la Berbie, the Toulouse-Lautrec Museum, and the magnificent 13th-century Cathédrale Ste-Cécile. We then set off for medieval Carcassonne, and take a half-day cruise on the Canal du Midi, a UNESCO site. We experience the beauty of art and nature as we travel first through the grand Pyrénées to Figueres, Spain; then along the Catalan coast to Collioure, France. We'll journey to Avignon and conclude our tour exploring beautiful Aix-en-Provence and Roussillon. Learn more about this trip to Southern France.
Dates: April 16-28, 2018

OLLI at University of Nebraska-Lincoln
A President, a Terrorist, Architects and Lots of Cowboys
OLLI's spring tour to Kansas and Oklahoma will transport you to sites that will surprise, inspire and educate you. Our special guest will be Lynn Jones, AIA, principal emeritus at Davis Design. There is so much to see and visit, from the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum in Abilene, Kansas, to the Will Rogers Memorial Museum and Birthplace Ranch in Claremore, Oklahoma, and so much more in between. This trip is offered by OLLI and Valden Tours. Learn more about this trip to Kansas and Oklahoma.
Dates: May 7-10, 2018

Quick Tips for Helping Operate an Osher Institute
didyouknowQuick Tip - Schedule at a Glance

Often, reading through an entire catalog of courses can be a bit overwhelming. For those who want to narrow down their class choices before reading full descriptions, a schedule at a glance in a catalog can be really helpful. The Osher Institute at Johns Hopkins University posts a chart on the back of each catalog that details the timing and titles of the courses at each of their three locations so that members can take a quick look before diving deeper into those courses that have caught their eye and fit their schedule.

  Career Openings in the OLLI Network
jobboardJob Board
OLLI Registrar

Program Administrator, OLLI - Hilton Head Location

Program Assistant, OLLI

Coordinator, Administrative Program - Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

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