January 18, 2010

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By Julia Ferrante

LEWISBURG, Pa. — The Bucknell Institute for Lifelong Learning will continue in February with 14 courses for mature learners in the Central Susquehanna Valley.

Participants may enroll in courses exploring subjects from Jane Austen and poetry to Lewisburg architecture and immunology. The 90-minute classes will meet once a week for six weeks at locations including the Union County Public Library and RiverWoods Senior Living Community.

Two sessions of the popular "Taste in Art" course will be offered in the winter term. Those who registered for that class during the fall term but were not randomly selected will have priority.

Registration open house
The institute will hold an information and registration open house from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 30, at The Village Common at Buffalo Valley Lutheran Village at Tressler and Reitz boulevards in Lewisburg.

The spring term will run from the week of Feb. 21 to the week of March 29. Registration should be completed by Feb. 8. Six-week courses cost $35 each; three-week courses are $20 each.

The institute began in the fall as a pilot program with seven courses, offering "a broad range of creative, educational and intellectual opportunities in a stimulating, cooperative and supportive environment," noted Bucknell Provost Mick Smyer. The courses are taught by retired faculty members and members of the community.

In the fall, 114 students enrolled in courses, many taking more than one course.

Program participant Margaret Greaves of Lewisburg said the institute was a great opportunity for intellectual discussion.

"There is a great thirst among seniors to explore and discuss ideas," Greaves said. "The diversity of courses is so great and the instructors so talented that everyone should find new and delightful avenues of thought," Greaves said.

Alice Totten, a member of Bucknell's Class of '52 who lives in Northumberland, discovered connections between past and present in a class about The Great Depression.

"I learned a lot and find many things cropping up daily that I now 'get' and would not have 'gotten' before the class," Totten said.

Spring courses
The courses planned this spring include "This Old House: Lewisburg's Historic Architecture," "Jane Austen's World," "History of the English Language: From Beowulf to Last Week" and "To Oz and Back on a 'Mellow' Brick Road: A Journey to Explore the Acting Process."

As the institute grows, it will develop a greater diversity of offerings and activities, with area residents taking the lead on organizing and leading many of them, Smyer said.

"As a psychologist who has worked extensively on issues of aging, I know the importance of mental activity to long-term well-being," Smyer said. "So, while I encourage you to become a member of the institute and take a course or two, I also urge you to become more actively involved by offering to lead a course, make a presentation, organize a study group, help with program administration or other volunteer roles."

Institute membership
The institute's $35 annual membership year runs from July 1 to June 30.  Individuals joining for the winter term pay $20 for membership through June 30 and may renew thereafter. Besides taking a role in the institute - from organizing to teaching to volunteering - members receive several benefits, including being able to register for up to two institute courses each term; receiving course catalogs as soon as they are available; receiving invitations to special campus events, lectures and activities; and receiving full, free access to the Bucknell Library. Members also will be eligible for a $10 discount off the reserved seat full-admission price for two tickets to any evening event in the Weis Center Series of professional arts performances.

For more information, including the spring 2010 schedule of courses and scholarship opportunities, e-mail the institute at lifelonglearning@bucknell.edu or call institute chair Edward Cotter or coordinator Ruth Burnham at 570-577-7006.

The complete schedule, class descriptions and registration forms are available at www.bucknell.edu/lifelonglearning.

Contact: Division of Communications