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Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

Falling leaves

Dynamic, Engaged, Ever-Growing

OLLI at the University of Minnesota (OLLI at the UMN) is part of the University’s College of Continuing and Professional Studies and belongs to a national network of 124 Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes supported by the Bernard Osher Foundation. 

OLLI’s mission is to provide its membership of dedicated lifelong learners with a year-round curriculum of high-quality noncredit courses, as well as intellectually stimulating social, cultural, and volunteer opportunities. In fact, OLLI volunteers are integral to the OLLI experience of community, camaraderie, active learning, and civic and cultural engagement.

Founded in 1995, OLLI is honored to have been recognized as an “exemplary lifelong learning program” by the Osher Foundation.

Interested in joining OLLI? Check out the Fall Course Guide and learn about becoming a member!

Open Your Door to Active Lifelong Learning

image of old man on paddleboard with small dog

Our door is always open! Membership in OLLI at the University of Minnesota gives you access to a vibrant portfolio of courses taught by professors, graduate students, and postdocs; community and civic leaders; independent scholars; as well as those OLLI members who have professional knowledge of or a scholarly interest in a particular subject.

In addition to courses, member events and special interest groups, help to foster OLLI’s commitment to provide members with social, cultural, and educational opportunities beyond the classroom. You won’t be a “stranger” for long! The camaraderie that grows out of shared experience is significant and lasting and there are many ways to get involved and many wonderful people to meet.

As a membership organization, OLLI functions and thrives because of volunteer support. When members infuse OLLI with their professional skills, budding talents, and endless enthusiasm and creativity, they not only help to keep the Institute running, they also ensure OLLI remains a vibrant community dedicated to lifelong learning, social engagement, and purposeful aging.

OLLI at the University of Minnesota has an annual membership fee of $240 and all memberships are valid for one year from date of purchase. Membership fees are critical to the institute’s success and sustainability. The fees help to support dynamic quality programming and remind members that they are part of an engaged learning community and a national network of lifelong learners. The Osher Foundation allows each institute to develop a fee structure suited to its community. However, the Foundation only supports OLLIs that are sustained by renewable membership fees.

While OLLI members give, they also receive. Named in honor of the late founding director of the Elder Learning Institute (which was to become OLLI in 2005), The Meriam B. Seltzer Scholarship Fund provides assistance with annual membership fees for those who have demonstrated financial need. If you or someone you know would like to apply, please contact the OLLI office at 612–624–7847.

Volunteer

Elderly adults collaborating in a community garden, smiling

As a membership organization, OLLI at the University of Minnesota functions and thrives because of volunteer support. When volunteers infuse OLLI with their professional skills, budding talents, and endless enthusiasm and creativity, they not only help to keep the Institute running, they also ensure OLLI lives up to its promise to be a community dedicated to volunteerism, social engagement, and purposeful aging. And what better incentive to help OLLI thrive than by actively participating in an activity that is sure to boost your health, vitality, and well-being!

The following is a list of some of the many roles members play in service to OLLI.

  • Course Leaders are the key to OLLI’s vibrant roster of courses each term, as the majority of classes are led by members who have professional knowledge of, or a scholarly interest in, a subject. Still other courses are taught by professors from the University of Minnesota and other Metro-area colleges and universities, as well as community and civic leaders, and independent scholars.
     
  • Course Assistants are truly frontline ambassadors for OLLI—assisting course leaders, answering new member questions, and helping both during class sessions, be they taught face-to-face or remotely. Course Assistants often supplement the educational exchange and camaraderie by coordinating post-class gatherings to share in a cup of coffee, glass of wine, or meal.
     
  • Special Interest Groups (SIGs) are created and run by OLLI members in conjunction with the SIG coordinator. SIGs meet regularly, year-round, and provide members with social, cultural, and educational opportunities beyond the OLLI classroom.
     
  • Advisory Board members advance OLLI's mission, vision, and values and work to promote the institute’s sustainability and success by providing advice, active involvement, advocacy, and support to the OLLI Director. Advisory Board members also serve as Chairs for the following committees: Curriculum; Development; Events; Membership, Outreach, and Volunteers; Advisory Board Nominations; and Planning.
     

Interested in becoming a volunteer? Simply email the OLLI office.

OLLI Scholars

A graduate tosses her mortarboard into the air.

The OLLI Scholar Program invites University of Minnesota graduates and post-doctoral researchers to teach for the institute and earn a stipend.

An annual application period takes place each spring, during which the candidates’ submitted course proposals are reviewed. Those who are selected become OLLI Scholars and teach their course(s) in the next academic year—typically for a total of seven weeks—for which they receive a $1,000 stipend.

OLLI Scholars must be enrolled students during the term in which their course is delivered and obtain a written endorsement from their advisor.

The next application period will take place in spring 2021.

Culture Corps

Red flags tacked into a tabletop map.

OLLI is proud to partner with the University of Minnesota’s office of International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) in their initiative to help international students become active in the University community.

Created in 1998 by Dr. Mohammed Bari, Culture Corps provides international students with the opportunity to share self-initiated projects related to their unique cultural experiences, perspectives, and insights. An annual ISSS scholarship allows OLLI to host several graduate student scholars, giving them valuable teaching experience and helping to fulfill both programs’ visions of an inclusive and engaged international learning community.

Support OLLI

Your gift—whether monthly, annual, planned, or matching—will help OLLI to continue to feed curiosity and foster learning and a lifetime of engagement for active older adults. Every gift is an investment in OLLI’s present and future communities, be it via the Meriam B. Seltzer Scholarship Fund for members or the OLLI Scholars Fund to support intergenerational learning and our up-and-coming researchers and scholars.

Contact Us

OLLI at the UMN

Lifelong Learning and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute
College of Continuing & Professional Studies | University of Minnesota
353 Ruttan Hall | 1994 Buford Avenue | Saint Paul, MN 55108-6041