Back-to-school fever is hardly just for the young. Scores of Dot seniors who still love to learn are anticipating going to UMass for special classes this fall.
Wichian Rojanawon, PhD, Director of the universityâ€™s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute or OLLI Program, conservatively estimates that 10 percent of the 600+ OLLI membership will again come from Dorchester/Mattapan.
The no-pressure courses meet once a week during the day and last anywhere from 4 to 12 weeks. Field and theater trips, bring-your-own-lunch special lectures, and social events are other options.
No academic or other credentials are required, only the desire to participate actively in a small course environment with oneâ€™s peers, and an open mind about sharing skills and ideas. There are no tests, no papers, and no degrees.
Hereâ€™s a sample of the 2009 fall courses, most of which begin in mid or late September: â€œWriting Stories and Memoirs,â€ â€œTai Chi,â€ â€œWorking in Watercolors,â€ â€œFirst Ladies,â€ â€œGetting to Know How to Look at Paintings,â€ and one that sums up the whole program, â€œStretch Your Body/Stretch Your Mind.â€
One-session â€œbrown bagâ€ presentations will include William Bulger on JFKâ€™s legacy, â€œKeep Control of Your Assets and Your Life,â€ and a video-conference entitled â€œDie-Hard Sports Fanâ€™s Guide to Boston.â€
Donâ€™t-be-afraid-of-your-computer classes range from â€œMaking Sense of Numbers Using Microsoft Excelâ€ to â€œHow to Build a Simple Website.â€
Among the Dot residents in facilitator roles, Judy Planchon returns to teach her popular Intermediate Conversational French. Ashmont Hillâ€™s Jim Buckley, who has directed over 50 plays, will again offer Acting 101 for those who have never been on stage, a mini-course which will culminate in the presentation of a one-act in mid-fall.
This reporter will be teaching the latest installment of his â€œSo You Think You Have Problems?â€ Shakespeare Appreciation series, this time exploring the ever-enchanting â€œA Midsummer Nightâ€™s Dreamâ€ ( which will be presented by a local theater group this fall) as well as his popular â€œThe History of Mysteryâ€ series, focusing on how to find crime novels, movies, and television series that best suit oneâ€™s tastes.
Dorchester resident, Diane McCormack, chairs the OLLI Board of Directors. Her husband, Thomas Taranto, heads the Outreach Committee. Savin Hill patriarch John Carney is also a board member.
Living so close to the Harbor Campus, Mattapan/Dorchester residents can most easily make use of other OLLI membership benefits like free access to the UMass Library and the Clark Athletic facilities including an indoor Olympic-sized swimming pool.
Other life-enrichment opportunities include going to local theater productions of â€œKiss Me, Kate,â€ â€œCarmen,â€ and August Wilsonâ€™s baseball-themed â€œFences.â€ Excursions are planned to Lowell and Hartford. Overseas trips to China and to Thailand are almost filled, at this point, but new ones are being contemplated for Peru and Spain.
View enrollment details and entire fall listings online at olli.umb.edu, where you can also see a 12-minute testimonial-filled documentary about the UMass OLLI program. Otherwise, call 617-287-7312 to have a free catalog mailed.