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Breakout Session Descriptions – 2017 Osher Institutes National Conference

Tuesday, 10:45am – 12pm

A Culture of Inclusion

Over the last few decades, the strategic plans of many lifelong learning programs have stated the need for diversity. Some programs have made progress, but members still question: “What are we going to do about our diversity problem?” Are we defining diversity too narrowly, focusing on what can easily be seen at the expense of other areas in which diversity occurs?  In this session, two Osher Institute directors will suggest that, before we can “achieve diversity,” perhaps we need first to redefine diversity. What do members mean by diversity and why do they seek it? Why do we welcome some groups, but feel uncomfortable with or are oblivious to others? Do our well-meaning attempts to achieve diversity actually contribute to the ongoing homogeneity of OLLI programs? Perhaps as long as “we” try to find the way to make our programs attractive to “them,” we are doomed to fail.
Garry Crites, Director, OLLI @ Duke University
Tricia Inlow-Hatcher, Director, OLLI @ North Carolina State University

Hot Topics: Creative Arts

Albert Einstein said, “It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.” This panel of multiple Osher Institute leaders will examine and discuss how to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge in OLLI programs through innovative courses, seminars, and workshops. Topics presented will include writing, visual arts, dance, music, and theater groups. Come steal some great ideas and be inspired by how art can enhance an Osher Institutes’ programming.
Dee Aguilar, Coordinator, OLLI @ University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Patsy Burns, Manager, OLLI @ California State University, Fullerton
Mike McCuskey, Advisory Council Chairperson, OLLI @ California State University, Chico
Dana Pandey, Associate Director, OLLI @ Dominican University of California
Linda Shook, Director, OLLI @ Auburn University

How to Rewrite the Rules of Engagement to Retain the Volunteers You Have

Traditionally, volunteer management was all about the Three Rs (Recruitment, Retention, and Recognition). Today, volunteers are seeking different ways to be engaged. They demand flexibility and expect to make a tangible difference with their time and talents. If they don’t find those things at your Institute, they’ll take their time and talents elsewhere. As such, it’s time to rewrite the traditional rules of engagement. This session will explore new definitions of retention as well as share emerging trends in measuring volunteer impact and recognizing volunteers for their work. Participants will receive tools that can be used immediately at Osher Institutes, including a volunteer support plan, recognition checklist, and Individualized Volunteer Plans for emerging leaders at your Institute. These will all help you keep the volunteers you have, as well as attract new volunteers to your work!
Beth Steinhorn, President, JFFixler Group

Increase Traffic to your Facebook Page and Twitter Account

Do you have a Facebook or Twitter Page for your Osher Institute and get frustrated when your posts don’t get much traction? Wonder if you are taking advantage of everything Facebook and Twitter have to offer? Learn the top eight actions you can take immediately to improve your presence on Facebook and Twitter. Understand how content calendars can improve your content and what content works best for your Osher Institute. Take away a plan for content creation that will get results.
Jennifer H. Selke, PhD, Licensed Educational Psychologist, University of California, Berkeley

Working with Retirement Communities

Many Osher Institutes partner with residential retirement communities in order to expand their programs’ capacity geographically and attract new members and instructors. Without a solid understanding of the benefits and needs on both sides of the partnership, these relationships can become damaging. Three OLLI staff directors will share how to make these types of partnerships flourish through their own lessons learned in collectively working with dozens of retirement facilities, facility managers, and sales executives. Hear their stories of success and learn from their mistakes, to form new retirement community partnerships and to improve those already in place.
Sarah Anderson, Executive Director, OLLI @ The Pennsylvania State University
Rick Knopf, Director, Osher Institute @ Arizona State University
Natalie Lecher, Director, OLLI @ University of Washington

Tuesday, 2:45 – 4pm

Being Proactive: A Case Study Approach to Discussing Volunteer and Staff Roles

One of the most rewarding and challenging elements of a lifelong learning organization is the relationship between volunteer leadership and paid staff. Staff members sometimes misunderstand the needs and talents of members who bring a lifetime of experience to their work as volunteers. Members sometimes misunderstand the constraints of working within an academic institution and don’t value staff expertise. Individuals avoid talking about these conflicts because it can be challenging to see the issues with empathy. This workshop will include the review of five fictionalized case studies based on a variety of real life scenarios as a way to reveal “best practices” in managing volunteer and staff responsibilities.
Catherine Frank, Director, OLLI @ University of North Carolina, Asheville

Building Volunteer Resources: Thinking Outside the Box

The success of an Osher Institute relies on the strength of its greatest resource: volunteers. Recruiting and retaining volunteers is both an art and a science. This session will allow for rethinking current methods for volunteer motivation and satisfaction, important factors that impact individual performance. Through the experiences of two Osher Institute directors, participants will learn about a customized training program that focuses on talent-matching strategies and recognition tactics, as well as the seven stages of decision-making and group development. These strategies and tactics can then be tailored for staff and volunteer leaders to build their own committee frameworks to support the wide range of volunteer roles in their OLLIs.
Jane Fletcher, Program Director, OLLI @ Granite State University
Jeanette Toohey, Director, OLLI @ University of North Florida

Experiments in Distance Learning

Interest in distance learning programs in Osher Institutes is growing even though, by its nature, distance learning can be at odds with the social engagement that makes OLLI so rewarding for members. Nonetheless, for members who have mobility issues, are temporarily away from home, or are homebound, a remote connection to their OLLI can be very enjoyable. Distance learning can also satisfy a demand for greater class capacity, with technology allowing for 90 participants instead of 30. This session will familiarize participants with distance learning as a teaching and collaboration method through the introduction of the high-tech tools that educational designers are using and the different online learning solutions that OLLIs are trying out.
Dee Aguilar, Coordinator, OLLI @ University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Jerilyn Logue, Program Manager, OLLI @ Iowa State University
Anna Moshier, Program Coordinator, Osher Institute @ University of Delaware
Diane Venzera, Assistant Director of Adult Learning, Osher National Resource Center
Jackie Wickham, Instructional Technologist, School of Professional Studies, Northwestern University

Introduction to StrengthsFinder®: Leading with Your Strengths

People who focus on using their strengths are three times as likely to report having an excellent quality of life and six times as likely to be engaged in their jobs. You want to use your strengths more but how do you do that? In this interactive workshop, participants will review personal results from the StrengthsFinder® assessment that includes a personalized Strengths Insight Report and an Action-Planning Guide, and discover how to use individual strengths at home and at work. Discover what the four domains of leadership say about the types of jobs in which a person would do well and how to take career or volunteer work to the next level. Learn what individual strengths look like when overdone and how they might prevent people from getting what they want. Leave with a personalized plan for living a strengths-based life. This workshop requires individuals to bring a printout of their StrengthsFinder results.
Jennifer H. Selke, PhD, Licensed Educational Psychologist, University of California, Berkeley
Gallup Certified Strengths Coach

Strategies for Space Management

Capacity limits often begin with a lack of classroom space for Osher Institutes. While a few rooms may be sufficient when membership is in the hundreds, they aren’t nearly enough to handle memberships in the thousands (and growing!). Regardless of the membership count or resources of an Institute, there are strategies to maximize and grow classroom spaces in ways that can help an OLLI increase capacity. Three directors who have worked the puzzles of space savings in a variety of ways will share their tactics and facilitate small group discussions helping to solve the puzzles of individual Institutes back home.
Beth Barber, Executive Director, OLLI @ University of Virginia
Wayne Holo, Director, OLLI @ Stony Brook University
Nancy Kennedy, Director, OLLI @ Furman University

Tuesday, 4:30 – 5:15pm

Building a Culture of Giving

In this session, participants will explore the most vital aspect of fundraising—organizational culture—and how it functions as a compass for increasing the prospects, potential, and power of a fundraising campaign. Through consideration of research-based thinking and anecdotal assessments of effective fundraising practices, participants will develop concrete ideas to implement given their context and clientele. Key learnings will include identifying and assessing the aspects of an organization’s culture that are beneficial to fundraising and those that might be roadblocks to greater success; identifying ancillary aspects of an OLLI program that can help build a culture of giving among the membership; identifying and assessing trends in giving among differing populations and demographics, especially those related to differences in generational responses and priorities; and identifying resources for and potential avenues through which new fundraising strategies can be implemented.
Brett Harris, Director, OLLI @ University of Southern Mississippi

Celebrating Milestone Anniversaries

There is nothing like a milestone anniversary to inspire a celebration and an opportunity to look back at an Osher Institute’s many accomplishments through the years. As OLLIs continue to grow and develop, there will be even greater reasons to celebrate and mark these special moments. This lively session will feature a tale of three OLLIs and their approaches to their own anniversaries: special fundraising campaigns linked to an anniversary; celebratory social events that bring together members, instructors, campus, and community; and courses, lectures, and other programming designed to mark an anniversary year. The conversation will focus on finding the ideal strategy—or combination of plans —for observing an institute’s special anniversary, and how to implement those plans for a successful celebration. Questions, comments, and great ideas from the attendees will be encouraged!
Christine Catanzarite, Director, OLLI @ University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Jennifer Disano, Executive Director, OLLI @ George Mason University
Barbara White, Executive Director, OLLI @ California State University, Long Beach

Effective and Inexpensive Marketing Ideas

Osher Institutes regularly market their programs through dedicated websites, printed catalogs, word of mouth, and, increasingly, by using videos. Promotion is aimed at increasing long-time members’ engagement and attracting new members to OLLI. Recognizing that marketing budgets are often tight and staff and volunteer time is limited, this panel discussion introduces effective and distinct marketing approaches to website design, catalog production and distribution, and the use of video resources. The common thread is the ingenuity and strategy used in moving creative ideas into practice—while respecting local lifelong learning brands.
Jennifer Monahan, Web, Marketing and Communications Coordinator, OLLI @ University of California, Berkeley
Josh Raney, Director, OLLI @ University of Arkansas
Megan Whilden, Executive Director, OLLI @ Berkshire Community College

Fostering Community Service Collaborations

Creating collaborations between Osher Institutes and their surrounding communities brings many opportunities for growth and development to an Institute and its members. The partnership invites OLLI members to be of service to others in their community, providing a feeling of a job well done, and strengthening relationships that can be beneficial to all.  In this session, three Osher Institute directors will share their unique experiences of building community through partnerships on their campuses and in the larger cities or states of their Institute.
Jennifer Anderson, Director, OLLI @ The University of Alabama
Jonathan Draper, Program Director, OLLI @ University of Connecticut
Michelle Riggio, Director of OLLI and Assistant Director of Continuing Education, OLLI @ Bradley University

Improving Curriculum through Evaluations

Curriculum committees continually strive to improve course and discussion group quality. This involves both preparatory processes in course and instructor development, and, later, in measuring student feedback to identify courses that need work. How do effective Osher Institutes create processes to ensure quality before a class is accepted? How are courses and instructors quantifiably evaluated to help them make improvements? And throughout both pre- and post-course activities, how can an OLLI maintain respect for the considerable contributions of its instructors? This workshop will compare practices and share stories between two varied Institutes, then allow for small-group discussions of the points made by the presenter/facilitators.
Adam Brunner, Director, OLLI @ Temple University
Julia Cayuso, Director, OLLI @ University of Miami

Wednesday, 8:30 – 9:15am

Generation X is Here . . . Is Your OLLI Ready?

The Reality Bites Generation (born 1965- 1980) became eligible for Osher Institute membership in 2015. Generation X is a smaller demographic injected between two larger demographic cohorts—Millennials and Boomers. They were the first generation to fully benefit from Title IX and their rates of volunteerism are near 30 percent. They are entrepreneurial and cynical, but have reproduced at a higher rate than Boomers. Responsible for indie films, alternative rock, and, probably, dolphin-safe tuna, they are a trendy bunch. Join with other Xers and the X-friendly for a presentation on what recruitment and retention of this new generation of Osher Institute members can look like. Explore and discuss how this demographic will change OLLI and how to be ready for them.
Maralie Waterman-BeLonge, Director, OLLI @ University of New Mexico

Innovative Curriculum Planning Processes

Curriculum is at the center of an Osher Institute and having a strong curriculum committee is essential to building a higher quality program.  This session focuses on curriculum planning processes that include ideal program committee structures, identifying and recruiting speakers, building course-best practices, and incentivizing university participation in an OLLI program.  It also includes practical information on how to use social media and other communications tools to keep partners, teachers, the community, and members involved and informed of Osher Institute offerings.
Ray Beery, Board President, OLLI @ George Mason University
Jennifer Disano, Executive Director, OLLI @ George Mason University

Recruiting & Developing Volunteer Leaders

Recruiting, developing, and preparing leaders is essential for every Osher Institute. Even the strongest program can stumble when a transition in leadership occurs: established practices abandoned, processes forgotten, institutional memory lost. A team of members, led by former board chair and retired Osher Institute staffer of the OLLI at USF, has found a winning strategy that includes a leadership development training course alongside a strong, clear, and consistent nominating process. The nominating process includes recruitment by current leaders and is also supplemented by an open call for applications. After three years of using this format to encourage and develop new leaders, the organization has witnessed a marked rise in the caliber and preparation of new volunteer leaders. Members begin their leadership tenure ready to serve productively, understanding the limits and opportunities of their new role.
Ara Rogers, Executive Director, OLLI @ University of South Florida

Shifting Demands—Membership Retention as a Moving Target

When no one signed up for major events at the Osher Institute at University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), yet coffee and copy costs were skyrocketing, leaders took notice.  Learn how OLLI at UNLV is adjusting to the changing desires of its members and how committees, board, and staff are responding to better meet the needs of members in regard to programming, course offerings, and budgeting. This session will be interactive with ample time for fellow Osher Institute colleagues to share their experiences and learn from one another.
Rob Levrant, Director, OLLI @ University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Gayle Mason, Volunteer Leader, OLLI @ University of Nevada, Las Vegas

The Products and Services of the NRC

Since relocating to Northwestern University in early 2015, the National Resource Center for Osher Institutes (NRC) has carefully reorganized in specific ways. With access to the greater capacity of Northwestern University—in marketing, information technology, and digital assets—the NRC has expanded the products and services offered to Osher Institutes. What has not changed is the unit’s strong commitment to help OLLIs thrive. Fostering communication, convening collaborations, and cheering on the staff and volunteer leaders of local OLLIs remains central to the NRC mission. Learn about the growing tools and resources developed by the NRC, including explanations on how they can be accessed and how these resources can be instrumental in growing your local Institute’s success.
Stacey Hart, Manager of Operations, Osher National Resource Center
Steve Thaxton, Executive Director, Osher National Resource Center
Diane Venzera, Assistant Director of Adult Learning, Osher National Resource Center

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