Osher Institute announces spring 2014 course schedule

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at Arizona State University is set to bring over 80 courses and lectures in history, art, music, writing, science, space, philosophy, religion, physics, Shakespeare and more to students ages 50 and above around Phoenix.

Classes include Social Networking, Communication and Surveillance in Today’s Culture, The Science of Cancer, Archeoastronomy, Planetary Exploration, Ancient Cultures, Baroque Music and more.

The OLLI is part of ASU’s Partnership for Community Development in the School of Community Resources and Development, part of the College of Public Programs.

OLLI provides low-cost educational and cultural courses and programs without tests, grades or educational requirements. Spring classes begin in February, March, April and May, with most courses running four sessions. One-time lectures are also offered.

Classes are offered at locations around the Valley, including ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus and Maravilla Scottsdale. There will also be courses at ASU’s West campus in northwest Phoenix, Tempe Connections at the Tempe Public Library and Friendship Village Tempe.

Rabbi David Davis has been teaching religious studies for nearly 45 years. “Most students who enroll in my classes are not Jewish. They enjoy learning about the connections between Judaism and Christianity,” says Davis. In March, Davis will teach an OLLI course called “Adventures in Judaism” at the ASU West campus.

In celebration of Women’s History Month in March, OLLI is offering The Female Art Form, Women Artists, Nobel Prize Literature Winner Alice Munro and Through Women’s Eyes: 20th Century U.S. History.

Also new this semester is a Saturday Art Series at the ASU Downtown Phoenix campus to include classes on Gothic, Baroque and Islamic buildings, as well as drawing, ink and watercolor workshops.

OLLI’s featured event on Feb. 15, “Abundant Aging and Longevity,” will include a series of presentations by ASU’s finest scholars speaking on the breakthroughs in understanding of the human element of aging and longevity.

OLLI at ASU director Richard Knopf said in a statement released online that membership has increased three-fold over the past year.

“The 50-plus generation is now known as the encore generation,” says Knopf. “Never has there been a greater thirst by seniors to explore, chart new destinies, expand horizons and serve others.”

Knopf’s sentiments were echoed by OLLI student Scott Idzorek. “I think this is a gold mine educational opportunity at rock bottom prices and at multiple locations,” says Idzorek.

The OLLI at ASU is funded in part by the Bernard Osher Foundation, which supports university-quality educational offerings for mature students interested in engaging in lifelong learning. ASU is one of several colleges and universities across the United States to have been awarded a permanent Osher Foundation endowment to sustain and support its programs.

The spring course schedule is available at most public libraries, senior and community centers, and is online at lifelonglearning.asu.edu. Students may register for courses online through the website. Call 602-543-6440 for further details.

Written by Adrianna Ovnicek