All Are Welcome, But You Gotta Be at least 50 To Vote!
Not every (almost-soon-not-to-be-any-longer-middle-aged – I can’t believe it!) person is particularly interested in any sort of classes. In fact, many resist the idea of associating with people of their own age. But some are interested (the numbers around 3%, so you’re definitely unique!), and at the University of Maine Senior College, our mission is to make sure the opportunity is there for those who want it. We’re grown up and generally competent. As we say to entice prospective instructors, “We already know how to learn and have well developed, easy going, social skills. You’ll like teaching here.”
Augusta Senior College provides many activities and academic classes in language, history, current affairs, and other subjects. These classes are usually taught by professors or professionals, sometimes, retired. We also offer a variety of personal enrichment opportunities in art, crafts, music, and theater, along with concerts, forums, and book clubs. Our Winter 2020 Lecture Series registered 187 students, though one of our most popular classes, Pétanque (a French style bowling game, taught by Raymond Fecteau) is limited to 8 at a time. A typical semester has 25 or 30 classes. See what’s going on now.
What don’t we have? We don’t have classes that are primarily intended as job training or career advancement. That’s “adult education,” and for a brief explanation and history of the difference between Senior College and adult education, though the age brackets overlap, see below, The World of Lifelong Learning. Suffice it to note that the UMA campus that is famous for it’s productive and convenient distance learning programs which support many of those who are advancing their education while working or taking care of kids, is also the campus which sponsors one of the most successful Lifelong Learning programs in the state of Maine. So if you did stumble here looking for a degree program or classes to improve your career, goto UMA’s website or read a great US News review. To learn more about the pleasure of learning without grades go to more news or just register for a class.
The World of Lifelong Learning
The Osher Foundation, sponsor of the Maine Senior College Network where UMASC is one of 17 participating colleges, says about the need for Life Long Learning:
“In the fall of 2000, the Foundation began to consider programs targeted toward more mature students not necessarily well served by standard continuing education curricula. [These] Courses often attract students of all ages eager to accumulate units to complete degrees or to acquire specific job skills. By contrast, the interest of many older adults, especially those who have retired, is in learning for the joy of learning – without examinations or grades – and keeping in touch with a larger world.”
This is not only an American phenomenon. It began in France in 1973 and spread throughout Europe where it is commonly referred to as U3A (university for the third ‘age’ of life). China began building schools in 1983 and now has more than 70,000 serving about 8 million students, about 3% of the people over 60.
If you’d like to be part of this world wide movement, sign up for a class. After a few sessions, you might be walking back to your car, notice some classmates and join them for a cup of coffee. There are studies that show we make our lifelong friends in college.
NEW UMASC COMMENTARY
To inaugurate our new commentary section, both Cheryl Fontaine and Peter Whitkop in separate articles share the challenge and satisfaction they experienced as they prepared to teach their first Senior College Class. Ann Sullivan talks with Chuck Acker, the real “not-founder” of UMASC as the organization traveled a winding road to its first semester in 2002. And Kay Fiedler zooms in to personalize the décor choices and quality time many of us spent with our four legged friends during the shut-in.
This legacy of friendship has been passed down from the first dreamers who imagined Senior College to
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