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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, plus 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 members has a list of instructors with whom they are working as liaison for courses.  While much of the work for proposing classes is done individually in the liaison role, it all comes together at our monthly meeting.  Members submit information on courses being proposed or ideas for new courses to the Chair a week before the meeting.   By reading the materials ahead of the meeting, we can devote our time to discussing whether a course 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 course 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.   

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 theatre, 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 quarterly catalog, handling course enrollment, arranging classrooms and tech support, and dealing with any problems that arise. 

I never worked in education.   How would I find instructors to contact?

Our committee needs to reflect our membership.  The only qualification is to be an OLLI member and to have taken a variety of courses with us. We look for people who are comfortable talking to new people and can communicate clearly in writing. We take great care to help new members become productive, by starting with an orientation on our procedures and practices, giving each new member a couple of instructors with history in our program that they can start to work with, and sharing proposals that come to us over our website.  Our committee members are very supportive of new members because we want them to succeed.  

Who serves on the Curriculum Committee?

All of us on the Curriculum Committee are volunteers. We come from a variety of educational and professional backgrounds, are 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 Camille Ahern, Alan Bennett, Jeff Englander, Sarah Flowers, Mike Meyer, Carol Ross (chair), Anne Simonson, and Ken Wadors.  Its 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.  The best way to learn more is to apply and meet with someone from the recruiting team.  Or you can contact the office and ask for someone to contact you.  Remember that THIS IS YOUR OLLI and our volunteers should reflect our membership.  

Last Updated:  Saturday, November 4, 2023