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WMU to offer summer lifelong learning classes for older adults

by Jeanne Baron

May 6, 2011 | WMU News

Photo of WMU Lifelong Learning Academy.
WMU Lifelong Learning Academy
KALAMAZOO--After a successful launch this spring, the Western Michigan University Lifelong Learning Academy will offer a short session of eight courses this summer from June 10 through July 17.

Area residents are invited to obtain more information as well as register for the summer classes during an on-campus open house from 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 18, in Room 4010 of the Health and Human Services Building, which is off of Oakland Drive on Cass Street near the intersection of Oakland and Wheaton Avenue. Attendees will hear about new classes and events that have been scheduled, including a trip to the Traverse City area set for Wednesday and Thursday, June 22-23.

More than 160 people registered for the academy's inaugural spring 2011 session. The academy provides a diverse and evolving array of non-credit educational classes and activities as a way for older adults to stay intellectually active and socially engaged. Membership is free and open to anyone with a passion for learning. Courses are geared toward those age 50 and up and include a tuition fee ranging from $20 to $40 and, in some cases, an additional fee for materials or other costs.

Those participating in the inaugural session were uniformly positive and excited about their academy classes. "It introduced me to the language of computers and an understanding of just how gigantic and complex a world it is," one participant said. Other feedback included comments such as "People were put at ease to ask questions," "Lots of topics were covered," and "The instructor covered a lot of material in a short time and encouraged class discussion."

Along with that success, the academy was recently accepted into the Elderhostel Institute Network, an organization of lifelong learning institutes affiliated with Road Scholar Inc. (formerly known as Elderhostel). The network's conferences and newsletters, as well as its online advice, connect WMU's academy with hundreds of similar institutes around the country and world.

For more information about the WMU Lifelong Learning Academy, contact the Extended University Programs office at or (269) 387-4174.