This might be better than AARP. The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute has re-launched its Berkeley center in association with UC Berkeley.
Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) is a national network for “older learners”—50 and older—with 119 program centers across the U.S. and a central resource point at the University of Southern Maine.
The local OLLI program uses space on the UC Berkeley campus and surrounding neighborhoods, all BART-handy and close to public parking.
Membership at $50 a term and $100 for an academic year gives access to some 50 courses each year; course fees are an additional $75 to $160. (If that sounds expensive, consider that UC Berkeley Extension courses in comparable subjects apparently start at over $400 asemester.) Financial assistance is available, too. Courses run for six weeks.
OLLI runs inexpensive lecture series and one-time events, too, at $5 each or free to members.
This fall’s lecturers on “Politics and Science” include Rita Maran (Oct. 20: International Law, Human Rights, and Torture), David Presti (Oct. 27: Mind, Brain, and Consciousness), Michael Omi (Nov. 3: Racial Identity and the Census), and Lynne Elkin (Nov. 10: Rosalind Franklin and the Discovery of DNA).
OLLI taps the locally plentiful resources of senior brains and UC and other local universities. Promising courses include Charles Darwin: His Life, Times, and Science taught by lecturer/curator John Dillon; Bay Area Documentary Filmmakers, by film critic Michael Fox (also host of the Mechanics’ Institute’s Friday night CinemaLit series); Psychology and Opera: Verdi’s Human Dilemmas, by research psychologist Gerald Mendelsohn; and Remembering History, by the stellar writer Susan Griffin.
One special year-long course with Robert Cole will comprise discussions led by Cole or a guest on the Thursdays before six each of Cal Performances’ music and dance series, and discount tickets (sold separately) to those. Cole is retiring after directing Cal Performances for 23 years.
Classes and lectures take place daytimes and evenings. Registration is happening now and right up to the start of classes on Oct. 1, but some courses will fill quickly.
For more information, see http://olli.berkeley.edu, call 642-9934 or write to the office at 1925 Walnut St., No. 1570, University of California, Berkeley, 94720-1570 to ask for this semester’s brochure.