Frequently Asked Questions
Where does the name “Osher Lifelong Learning Institute” come from? What does it mean?
We’re glad you asked! OLLI-USF’s roots go back to 1993. Back then, we were the USF Division of Senior Programs and its constituent programs, SeniorNet and Learning in Retirement. In February of 2005, we received the first of several gifts from The Bernard Osher Foundation (www.osherfoundation.org), based in San Francisco. Since 2002, the Osher Foundation has been quietly “helping” programs such as ours—at first, just in Maine and California. Later, the Foundation decided to help fund a national network of Lifelong Learning Institutes.
The Oshers, Bernard and Barbro, are philanthropists who have channeled their generosity into education, medicine and the arts. They gave us several gifts and, more recently, $2,000,000 in endowed funding. There are very few strings attached to the Oshers’ gift—one is that each institute be identified by a common name. We changed our name to OLLI-USF in the summer of 2005. When you travel to other states, you can find other institutes because they will be called the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Duke, Tufts, Rutgers, University of Wisconsin, etc. We are one of six Florida OLLIs—others are at Eckerd College, Univ. of Miami, Univ. of North Florida, Florida International Univ. and Florida State.
Who's in charge of OLLI-USF
We are a “member-run-and-led” organization. Member-volunteers run this organization. OLLI has a Board made up of seven elected members and six appointed committee chairs. Members also serve on committees, teach courses, assist instructors, act as study group leaders, make decisions about the courses we offer, volunteer in the OLLI office and are involved in many other aspects of running this organization. We hope that you will “answer the call” and pitch in to help in some capacity during your membership year. OLLI has a small, mostly part-time staff. OLLI-USF doesn’t offer programs FOR you; rather it enables you, the members, to have the programs that you want. This differentiates us from other adult education programs and from senior activity centers. We rely on volunteer power to remain true to our “member-run-and-led” spirit and to keep program costs down.
Who makes up the OLLI staff?
The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute is part of the Division of Continuing Education at the University of South Florida in Tampa. The OLLI staff are the liaison between the university and the program and its volunteers. They work with the members, leaders and instructional volunteers to administer, provide information, coordinate programs, and promote the interests of OLLI-USF within and outside of the University. Please contact us; we enjoy hearing from members!
Why do I need a name badge?
OLLI-USF is a community of learners; it can be difficult to build a community if you don’t know your fellow member’s name.Avoid that annoying, “I know that person, but can’t remember their name” situation—please wear your name badge to all OLLI functions, classes/study groups, coffees and meetings. Your badge will also identify you as an OLLI-USF member when you are around campus. New OLLI members are identified by a ribbon on the left side of their badges.
If you misplace your name badge, please call 974-8422 to request a replacement.We will issue one replacement a year.
What is the parking situation at USF?
Finding convenient parking on any college campus can be a challenge. USF, one of the largest universities in the nation, is no different. Please refer to the enclosed Parking Services map to find the buildings and parking lots referred to in this section.
When registering for an OLLI course or program, you can purchase a parking permit at a discounted daily rate of $2.50 per day. These parking permits are valid only on the days your class meets.
Your parking permit is good for any space on campus designated S (for non-resident students) or Visitor. There are nonresident student and/or visitor spots in lots 38C, 38T or 38A which are convenient to most of our program locations. These lots are generally full during peak campus hours, between 9:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Please pay attention to the signs indicating whether the lot you wish to park in has student or visitor spots: some lots have separate, designated areas or spaces for students, staff and visitors. You may park in a metered visitor spot, but you will have to deposit coins into the meter. Parking regulations are strictly enforced so always remember to display your parking permit clearly on the dashboard. If you have a handicapped tag, you may park in any handicapped space — but you must still purchase and display a USF parking permit. No one should park in a “reserved” space.
What if my class requires a textbook?
OLLI Computer class textbooks, disks and other materials needed are included in the cost of registration. Materials are distributed to students in class. If there are any exceptions to this practice, see the Liberal Arts textbook instructions below.
Liberal Arts faculty occasionally require or suggest a textbook. Textbook information is always listed in Evergreen or on our web site descriptions of the class, indicating required or optional. Details about how and where to obtain the textbook and the approximate cost are provided on the mailed study group registration confirmation (receipt). The USF Bookstore will generally attend our Open Houses to sell those few textbooks that are required. They are also happy to ship your book to your home. Contact the USF Bookstore General Books department at 813-974-5026 for more information about book pricing and availability.
How does second choice registration work?
A significant benefit of membership is the opportunity to take a second class at a reduced price. Second choice registrations are contingent on your registration in a full-price course. Second choice registration rates range from $10 to about $40 (for some computer training courses). On a selected date between one and two weeks before the start date of each class, we will release all available seats for those who wish to take the class as a “second choice.” At this time, you may call Registration at 813-974-2403 (select option 1) or visit the OLLI website (www.usfseniors.org) to see if your second choice is available. If so, you may register for the class at the second choice fee. Here is how second choice prices and registration dates will be listed in Evergreen (we made the second choice option bold in this example):
Fee: $40 • 2nd choice option: $10 (call 9/30) • free parking
In the example above, the $10 second choice fee becomes effective on September 30. OLLI trips and several classes are not offered as second choice options, and some one- or two-day classes have restrictions, as noted with their class descriptions.Second choice registrations are first come, first serve, so register early, whether by web, telephone, fax or mail as soon as possible to ensure a place in your desired classes.
What if I need to withdraw from a class or I’m not happy with a class?
It depends on when you withdraw. Make yourself familiar with our refund policy, which is published in every edition of Evergreen: we will issue a refund before a class starts, minus a $15 administrative fee, and no refunds after a class starts. By the time a class starts we have mailed you information and perhaps given you materials; we will not be able to “sell” your seat to another member after the first meeting.
We want you to be happy with your selection and will work with you to try to come up with a solution. We can try to transfer you to another class in the same term; we cannot transfer you to a future class. Call any OLLI staff member if you have any issues or concerns about our classes. We will work with you to find a solution that will better meet your needs.
What about access to the USF Library?
Access to the USF library is a privilege of OLLI membership. If you have previously received a green and white library card, hang on to it! It will continue to be valid with your continuing membership. If you’d like a library card, please call Mary Ettinger O’Donnell or Joseph McAuliffe.
New cards need to be bar-coded on your first visit to take advantage of your checkout privileges. Simply go to the circulation desk in the library during business hours, Monday through Friday, and tell them you need to register your library card.
Your library privileges at the USF Tampa Campus Library are the same as for USF undergraduates: up to 20 books, for up to three weeks. Your card entitles you to check out books only. It will not allow you to borrow University Media Center items. If you run into a problem during business hours, ask to see the Director of Access Services, Merilyn Burke, or call Joseph McAuliffe.
What is the Renaissance Certificate program?
A rounded approach to education was an ideal of the Italian Renaissance period. OLLI-USF’s Renaissance Certificate program helps you become a modern “Renaissance” learner. Each OLLI course that meets a total of eight or more hours is classified in at least one of seven Renaissance certificate fields of study: history, humanities and the arts, literature and writing, political science, science and mathematics, technology, and elective. (The fields of study are noted at the end of the course description, in parentheses.) You must take one course in each field of study. The five remaining courses may be taken in any of the seven fields of study for a total of 12 courses. For more information, click here.
Why are you always asking for my email address?
Email is a quick and cost-effective way to disseminate information to our members about our program, distribute news and remind you about upcoming events. Postal, or “snail mail,” is expensive and inefficient for most of the messages that we send. In emergency situations, when we need to cancel/postpone classes due to weather, instructor illness or other situations, email is another way we can notify and update you. We have found that email addresses tend to change with some frequency, so we will continually ask you to update the e-mail addresses we have for you. Expect to be asked to check your email address and verify that it is correct on the first day of any OLLI class. If you prefer not to receive most emails from us, just let the OLLI office know. We don’t send very many, and of course, we NEVER share that information with others.
How can I find out more about OLLI-USF?
There are lots of ways. Go to our web site, accessed via www.usf.seniors.org and enter our OLLI home page. Once there, click on the FOR OLLI MEMBERS link at the right hand side. You’ll find copies of OLLI’s recently-ratified bylaws, archived copies of OLLI News, and a link to our new member information site, www.ollilifeusf.org! New editions of OLLI News are distributed quarterly via email. A few printed copies will be made available in OLLI classes, for those without access to the Internet. You will also want to check your spam filter periodically and ensure wanted mail from OLLI doesn’t wind up lost to you.
OLLI’s Communications Committee is working hard to ensure that members become familiar with some of OLLI’s instructors, members, leaders, events and history. If you have an idea or a comment about OLLI News, please email OLLINewsUSF@gmail.com or call 813-974-8036.
How can I find out about other events and programs at USF?
USF sponsors hundreds of lectures, concerts, performances, symposia, conferences and art exhibits every school term and supports research continuously. One of the benefits of living in a university town is the ability to attend and take part in such events—if you know about them. OLLI-USF began an email service, or listserv, several years ago to alert any interested person about events that might be of interest to adults in the community. The listserv is called USFSeniors. If you are interested in receiving periodic email messages from us about upcoming events, you should sign up. We endeavor to send no more than two messages in any one week, and we will often combine event notifications to reduce the amount of email that we send.
Occasionally, USFSeniors posts messages from researchers who are looking for subjects. Participating in scholarly or medical research is a way to learn more about yourself, your health and, sometimes, even make a little extra money. It is also a way that OLLI members can contribute to the University’s research mission. All USFSeniors opportunities are verified for authenticity and only the list owner (Ara Rogers, Director of OLLI) can post messages. In that way, you know that all requests for research participants are officially sanctioned university research, having been evaluated for ethical research practices. This also limits spam and junk mail. To join the USFSeniors list, send an e-mail to Ara Rogers, OLLI Director, at Arogers@admin.usf.edu, indicating you want to join the USFSeniors list.
I’d like to suggest a class that OLLI-USF should offer. How can I let you know?
Since OLLI operates with volunteer instructors, we appreciate member ideas for topics but can’t always secure a qualified instructor who will teach on that basis. Members are usually our best sources for ideas about new classes and, particularly, for new study group leaders. We encourage you to contact us with information about people you know or have heard who might be a study group leader. If you have an instructor referral, contact one of the OLLI coordinators on staff or contact our OLLI curriculum leaders: Bill Sapper (email@example.com) for a liberal arts study group or Shirley Deeter (firstname.lastname@example.org) for a computer course idea.
How do I get a Certificate of Completion for myclass?
We’ve found that some members want certificates; some don’t. It is a waste of resources to print and issue unwanted certificates. So we only issue Certificates of Completion upon a member’s request. If you wish a certificate of completion for any of your classes, please contact the OLLI Volunteer desk at (813) 974-8036 or email@example.com, and request one. Our office volunteers will call you if they have any questions about your request, create your certificate and arrange to get it to you.
Could I teach a class for OLLI-USF? What would I need to do?
YES! Members teach most of our classes. This is how we are able to diversify and expand our offerings. We are always looking for new ideas and new leaders. We would be looking for evidence that you know your subject and you possess (or are willing to learn) the necessary skills to help you succeed as an OLLI study group leader or instructor. If you think you would like to teach at OLLI, contact the OLLI office. Here’s what you can expect:
1) Discuss your ideas and interest with a member of the OLLI staff. They will arrange...
2) A meeting with the program’s Curriculum leaders who may suggest modifications, or offer additional resources.
3) For some topics, a Friday Lecture Series program (a 45-minute introduction to the topic) might be appropriate.
4) Schedule your class.
OLLI also offers resources of various sorts to prospective and/or new study group leaders. A study group on how to develop an idea for OLLI, "A Course is Born," is offered annually, at no cost, for those with ideas they want to try out. New instructors/study group leaders are also oriented and mentored by experienced leaders. We encourage you to consider teaching for OLLI! You won’t find a more rewarding group of students to work with!
How can I get the most out of my OLLI-USF membership?
We have several suggestions:
Don’t wait until the last minute to register. Members requesting a space-available “second choice” will have taken most remaining seats the week before the class starts.
Take advantage of the many free events (such as Friday Lecture Series) that we offer. We are often able to get simply stellar speakers for a one-hour lecture who can’t do an entire series for us.
Get involved in OLLI by volunteering at some level. You will build lasting bonds with some really remarkable people and strengthen the organization for yourself and for others.
Carry a sweater or light jacket. One member’s Sahara is another’s Antarctica. Meeting rooms are often cool, especially mornings.
OLLI-USF is about learning in a relaxed, no-stress environment. Relax, enjoy your classes and our members. Remember that you learn more from those you disagree with than from listening only to those who share your opinions. We strive to be a place that is open to reasoned debate and the airing of a variety of perspectives and viewpoints.
Applaud the talented volunteers who teach our classes and make it all possible. Your appreciation is their best reward.
Ask questions! Phone numbers for all five OLLI staff members, the central desk (manned by OLLI volunteers) and the registration staff are listed on the inside front cover of the Evergreen or you can click here. We welcome your questions and input! Also, a volunteer from OLLI’s Member Services committee may call you to greet you as a new member and give you an opportunity to ask questions.