A new college-level learning option is coming to Surprise residents aged 50 and over when the new year starts.
The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Arizona State University was introduced to the Surprise Public Library System this fall after its startup in August.
OLLI provides intellectually stimulating, non-credit classes and learning experiences for older adults.
“I’m really excited that we’re going to be doing this initially at the Surprise Regional Library,” City Councilmember Aly Cline said during a presentation at the Nov. 6 City Council meeting. “I’m really excited about this partnership.”
The Surprise Public Library System will coordinate meeting space with OLLI, which will manage and offer the classes starting with the spring semester, which runs January through April. OLLI will have classes over three semsters throughout the year: spring, summer and fall.
Students must pay a one-time per semester registration fee of $20 or $10 for the shorter summer session.
Classes themselves cost $14 per session unless otherwise noted.
There are also costs for workshop fees for classes that are specialized with immersive hands-on learning opportunities.
Current classes at other OLLI locations across the Valley include topics such as 3D printing, space exploration and ancient Southwest history.
OLLI also offers study abroad programs with ASU-led faculty headed to Taiwan and Paris in May.
More than 150 classes are taught by professors and community experts at 10 sites across the Valley, including those in Glendale, Tempe, Mesa and Peoria.
The classes are in-person, remote and hybrid. About 60% of the faculty are university-quality instructors.
But because classes are non-credit and non-graded, students can learn at their own pace.
“That means no homework, no reading, unless you want to do it,” OLLI Director Jared Swerzenski told the City Council.
OLLI programs are now run in all states and Washington, D.C. It’s funded by the Bernard Osher Foundation. Osher was the man who started World Savings Bank.
“I think it’s a great program and it’s going to be very popular among our residents who are looking for a way to continue their lifelong learning journey,” City Councilmember Nick Haney said.
Future classes on tap in Surprise include CPR and fall prevention classes.
Jason Stone can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d like to invite our readers to submit their civil comments, pro or con, on this issue. Email AZOpinions@iniusa.org.