June 7, 2004

Contact: Marvin Hunt, KU Continuing Education, (785) 864-7857.

KU Continuing Education initiates institute for lifelong learning

LAWRENCE -- The Bernard Osher Foundation of San Francisco has selected the University of Kansas as a site for a nationally prominent program focusing on the educational needs of learners 50 and older.

The new KU Osher Lifelong Learning Institute will be administered through KU Continuing Education. The institute will provide noncredit classes taught by KU faculty and community instructors during fall, spring and summer sessions, starting in fall 2004.

Marvin Hunt, assistant dean of continuing education, will direct the institute.

"We will offer rich programming in areas such as international culture and history; Lawrence and Douglas County social, political, environmental and historic issues; literature, culture and the arts; science, health and religion; and an array of other courses in which people will participate for intellectual stimulation and the pure joy of learning," Hunt said.

Courses will be held in Kansas City, Topeka and Lawrence during the day, in the evening and on the weekends. A range of institute membership options will allow participants to attend multiple series during a session, a calendar year or a lifetime.

The Osher Foundation has funded the development of 50 lifelong learning institutes in the United States. The earliest institutes were on the East and West coasts. KU's will be one of the first in the Midwest.

The institutes vary in structure and courses offered, but their common theme is programming for adults over 50. An advisory group of Kansans who are advocates of lifelong learning is being developed to help plan the curriculum and to ensure that programming responds to community needs.

Curtis Marsh will be the institute's program manager, and Suzanne Scales will be a program assistant. Series in development for fall 2004 include the history of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, a review of Broadway musicals, explorations of Islam, how the life sciences affect Kansans, the interdependencies of globalization, and conflict resolution and transformation.

The Lifelong Learning Institute plans collaborations with organizations including the Kansas Historical Society, the Lawrence Arts Center, Brandon Woods Retirement Community, the Lied Center of Kansas, regional art museums and other community organizations with educational interests. Hunt said the institute also would explore opportunities for exchange programs with other Osher institutes in the United States.

For more information call the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at (785) 864-5823 or toll-free (877) 404-5823.

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