If you are 50 years of age or older, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Delaware invites you to continue your education, while meeting other community members with similar interests.
“We operate under the Division of Professional and Continuing Studies as a separate nonprofit entity. We are member funded, so we’re self-supporting,” explained Anna Moshier, program coordinator for the program at Lewes.
This year, the program expanded its offerings, moving from the Bethany Beach municipal building to Ocean View Town Hall.
“We expanded to a new location that allows us to offer more courses,” said Moshier. “This particular semester we have 78 courses between Lewes and Ocean View, so we have quite a few…. Fall by far is our most popular semester.”
Courses vary from standard lectures to hands-on activities — such as pottery and dance.
“We offer movement classes such as tai chi and yoga, english country dance as well as lecture courses,” Moshier said. “We offer a variety… We have art courses, so you can learn about art history in a lecture setting or you can actually take a painting class, basketry class, stained glass, pottery or something like that.”
To take classes in both the fall and spring semesters, participants must pay $225. If a community member would rather only take one semester of classes, the membership fee is $130. A shortened four-week session is available in June for $50.
“It’s a membership organization. So you pay a membership fee and you can take as many classes as you’d like. The classes are for the Lewes location and the Ocean View location. That includes as many courses as you want to take on a space-available basis,” she said. “We offer trips and they do cost extra from the membership but members do get a discount versus a nonmember, and they do get priority.”
Those who sign up for classes will be given reading materials, a syllabus, and any other related course papers.
“No grades, no tests, no homework,” stressed Moshier. “It’s learning for the joy of learning. People have said to me through the years, they don’t want to sit at home and get old. They want something to do and it’s great.”
Classes are offered in Ocean View on Mondays and Wednesdays, and Mondays through Thursdays in Lewes. Registration began in July, however Moshier said those who wish to still take classes this fall semester may still sign up.
“If they missed a week or two it’s okay. We’ll still let you in,” she said. “We have some 10-week courses and some five-week courses. So there are some that started in the first five weeks now and the second five weeks will start in October, so there are still opportunities to take classes as well.”
Currently, Osher is seeking community member volunteers interested in teaching or organizing a course.
“We’re in the beginning phases of accepting course proposals for our spring semester that starts in January. All instructors are volunteers. They submit their course ideas to us. They can either submit proposals online or call us. We’re always accepting new ideas, especially for Ocean View. We’re always looking to expand that program.”
Osher also has locations in Dover and Wilmington, however Moshier noted that those programs operate separately from the Lewes program.
“We are 25 years in existence this year. We started in Milford and have moved to a variety of different locations. We’ve been in the Cape Henlopen School District going on 10 years now.”
This is the first time the program has been offered in Ocean View, and Moshier said they are excited about their new partnership with the town.
“We had been looking for a location. We had been using the Bethany Beach town hall for free. They had graciously partnered with us for free but we wanted the extra space,” she said. “It has been a wonderful partnership so far. We look forward to years of it. They have more space if we want to expand and there’s plenty of parking… This has been a good growth move for our organization.”