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Número 10 - Junio 2002

The institute for learning in retirement
Gainesville, Flordia

Ray Jones

On January 15th, 2002 the first classes were given in the newly formed Institute for Learning in Retirement in Gainesville, Florida. The Institute (ILR) has been developed through partnershipa with the Institute on Aging at the University of Florida, Oak Hammock - the Continuing Care Community affiliated with the University , and the University of Florida itself.

Dr. Jeff Dwyer, Director of the Institute on Aging, and Dean Jennifer Heesacker, Dean of Residents at Oak Hammock, have been major organizers of the program.

The Institute on Learning is also an affiliate of the Elderhostel Institute Network and share its characteristics.

According to its recent material, the Institute for Learning in Retirement is a "non-profit community organization of retirement-age members.

It provides life enrichment programs through continued education. Peer learning is the heart of the program. A desire to learn and actively participate in a group setting are the only requirements. An informal, flexible and non-competitive environment enhances this learning, with no concern for grades or credit. Membership is available to every older adult, regardless of race, gender, religious affiliation or prior academic achievement.

The general areas of study include or will include genealogy, art and music appreciation, history, literature ecology, computer use, and politics.

Classes in natural history, various health programs, retirement, and bio-medial areas are being considered.

The length of the term can range from four to eight weeks.

There are also social events and special lectures.

Recently a faculty member of the Brain Institute of the University of Florida gave a two hour presentation on Adult Stem Cells and the research currently being conducted in this area. In the area of the humanities a class is being given in the "History and Development of Opera" which has lasted two eight week sessions. Classes have been held in several venues, including the University of Florida campus.

The Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art has been particularly cooperative in allowing the large classes to be taught there as well as the large science workshop on Adult Stem Cells.

There are currently over 200 members who have registered and paid the $25 membership fee. The fee for each class is $20.00. Classes have ranged in size from over 100 for such classes as "Global Perspectives" to smaller sized ones with six to eight persons. Additional information on curricula and organization is available at the websites at www.oakhammock.org and www.aging.ufl.edu.

Dean Heesacker can be reached a jheesacker@oakhammock.org.

The Institute for Learning in Retirement is a volunteer organization.

It has a Board, and from the Board a number of Committees have been formed - Curriculum, Publicity, etc. There are plans to expand the number and subject Content of the classes offered. The classes will be given in many venues throughout the community. The Oak Hammock Continuing care facility is currently being built.

It will have several classrooms which can be used by the ILR; and teachers, facilitators, and students will be able utilize the very latest information and educational technology available.

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