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Curriculum Committee Duties


OLLI@SCU: What Does the Curriculum Committee Do?

Our OLLI@SCU Curriculum Committee plans and coordinates all the courses that are offered to OLLI members. Currently we develop sixteen courses per quarter, with about equal numbers of long and short courses, and nine courses and a Destination Learning event in the summer.  We also plan Distinguished Speaker and Spotlight on SCU Faculty presentations and occasional special events. 

How does the Curriculum Committee decide what courses to offer?

Our ideas for courses generally come from these sources:

  • topics suggested in course evaluations and member surveys
  • courses offered or proposed by previous OLLI@SCU instructors
  • proposals submitted to OLLI by potential new instructors
  • reviews of courses offered at other area universities, colleges, and OLLIs
  • our own research and ideas as to what will address our subject areas and be of interest to OLLI members

Each of our committee members has a list of instructors with whom they are working as liaison for classes.  While much of the work for proposing classes is done individually in the liaison role, it all comes together at our monthly meeting.  Committee members submit information on courses being proposed or ideas for new classes to the Chair a week before the meeting.   The chair then puts together the materials as attachments to the agenda.   By reading the materials ahead of the meeting, we can devote our time to discussing whether a class will meet our standards and effectively extend learning in that subject area.  In some cases additional information is requested or we may suggest minor changes to the proposal. The liaison then works with the instructor to modify the class as needed and to ensure that we agree on the goals and general plan for the course as well.  Sometimes we decide that the proposed course is not a good fit for OLLI@SCU or we defer it to maintain a balance of subject matters to another time.   

How are instructors chosen for courses?

We recruit OLLI instructors who have shown both a mastery of their subject area and teaching excellence. For topics we have identified, we give priority to SCU faculty who are qualified to teach the subject matter; next we consider faculty at other universities and colleges. For ideas from past OLLI instructors, we review course evaluations to ensure that their courses have covered the intended material and been well received. For a few subject areas, like music and theater, we recruit experts in the field who may not be professional educators but have relevant experience, knowledge, and skills in the subject area. Once we have accepted and scheduled the courses, the Osher office assumes responsibility, publicizing the courses online and in a monthly bulletin as well as a quarterly catalog, handling course enrollments and registrations, arranging classrooms and tech support, and dealing with any problems that arise. 

Who serves on the Curriculum Committee?

All of us on the Curriculum Committee are volunteers. We come from a variety of education and professional backgrounds, are required to be OLLI members, and serve two-year terms, which run from July 1 to June 30. We have a two-hour meeting on the SCU campus each month, and we communicate frequently by email so we can use the meeting time efficiently. Our current Curriculum Committee members are Tom Baker, Alan Bennett, Jeff Englander, Sarah Flowers, Naomi Kalmus, Carol Ross (chair), Liz Salzer, Anne Simonson, and Ken Wadors.

It’s a great group!

If you are interested in serving on the Curriculum Committee, please review the link to “How to Apply for the Curriculum Committee” or you can contact the office for more information. 

Monday, April 4, 2022