In Lifelong Learning classes in Tulsa, you're never too old to stop learning
BY SARA PLUMMER World Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 08, 2012
2/08/12 at 4:18 AM
School isn't just for the young. People who may have thought their time in a classroom was over may be surprised by what's available for people who don't want to stop learning.
Ken Greenwood is a perfect example. After years in the radio and broadcasting industry, he became an educator and worked in the University of Tulsa's communications department. Then he started working with the Oklahoma chapter of the Nature Conservancy and the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve and has authored a book on prairie ecology.
Now he's in the classroom again teaching conservation and ecology to adults as part of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.
"I'm personally very dedicated to the idea that we never stop learning," Greenwood said. "There's always room for a little more knowledge. When people cease to know, they start to grow old."
Several six-week courses for people 50 and older begin next week, and people can enroll up until classes start Feb. 14, as long as the class doesn't fill up.
This spring semester, offerings include classes on astronomy, ecology and conservation, organization and planning, tai chi, downtown Tulsa landmarks and businesses, documentary films, personal philosophies, geography, antique appraising, news media and current events, the book series "Chronicles of Narnia," and Tulsa's multiculturalism.
The classes are two hours long with a break in the session, and many students bring a lunch to eat between morning and afternoon classes, said OLLI Tulsa site coordinator Barbara Swiggart.
OLLI, offered through OSU-Tulsa, started holding courses in Tulsa in 2007. OLLI is a membership organization, and people can join for $50. The first class is free, and additional classes cost $25.
A committee comes up with the class offerings, Swiggart said, and students are surveyed on classes they would like to see offered in the future.
"We try to do some history, literature, finance, sciences, some more light-hearted classes," she said.
In the four years since it started in Tulsa, the program has grown from about 100 people to now more than 400, and Swiggart attributes it to repeat students who tell their friends.
"Once an OLLI student, always an OLLI student," she said. "They enjoy being together, they make friends."
It's just as beneficial for the instructors, Greenwood said.
"It moves my old gray matter around a lot," he said. "For those presenting or teaching a class, it keeps us on our knuckles. You have to keep current on your subject."
Osher Lifelong Learning Institute offers classes through OSU-Tulsa for people age 50 and older.
When: The first of the six-week classes begin Feb. 14.
Where: Most classes are held at Central Center, 1028 E. Sixth St., or LaFortune Community Center, 5202 S. Hudson Ave. Astronomy 101 class is held Mondays at the Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium, 3624 N. 74th East Ave. The Documentary Club class is held Mondays at Montereau Retirement Community, 6800 S. Granite Ave.
Cost: OLLI membership is $50, and the first class is free. Additional classes cost $25.
Enrollment: Participants can enroll now by getting brochures and registration forms at Central Center or LaFortune Community Center, by calling 800-765-8933 or on the first day of classes at Central Center.
For more: 800-765-8933 or tulsaworld.com/olli
Original Print Headline: Over 50 and back in a classroom
Sara Plummer 918-581-8465
A caterpillar walks on a plant at the Nature Conservancy's Tallgrass Prairie Preserve near Pawhuska. OLLI classes include ecology and conservation. TOM GIlBERT/Tulsa World file