Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at CSU, Chico

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Are you looking for something interesting to do? Do you want to meet new people while you have fun learning?

30 Years of Lifelong LearningOsher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at CSU, Chico is an educational program for lifelong learners age 50 and better who are eager to explore traditional and new areas of knowledge – without exams or grades. Distinguished Chico State faculty members, retired teachers, and members simply passionate about a subject they know well enjoy sharing their expertise with members whose life experience and intelligence enrich the exchange of ideas. With locations in Chico, Oroville, Paradise, and Willows, OLLI offers a unique way to explore new topics, discuss current events, make new friends, and take day trips to theaters, gardens, and museums.

For 30 years, lifelong learners have joined together at CSU, Chico to enjoy a wide range of intellectual, cultural, social, and recreational activities. Our more than 1,200 members have the opportunity to join in any of our more than 130 peer-led courses on a wide-variety of subjects, seminar series, and seasonal social events. It is a unique way for you to explore new topics, discuss current events, and network with community members.

A Message from Our Director

Dear OLLI Members & Friends,OLLI at CSU, Chico Annual Report 2016-17

People often share with me how OLLI at CSU, Chico profoundly changed them, how their classes and out-of-classroom experiences taught them to see themselves and the world differently, and how this program has helped them build lasting friendships. OLLI staff and volunteer leaders work hard to deliver the kinds of programming and events that enhance members’ experiences and help build value. It involves behind-the-scenes number crunching, planning, outreach, and research that occur regularly in meeting rooms, at members’ homes, or over coffee at Beatnik’s.

In my 2016-17 Director's Report I am delighted to share some successes that these efforts make possible and I encourage you to take a few minutes to read the report. None of this would be possible without member continued support and engagement, so thank you for helping us expand lifelong learning opportunities in Chico and surrounding communities, and may this report help you feel more informed and connected to the process.

Ann Nikolai

2018 OLLI Annual Business & Town Hall Meeting

Year-end highlights, budget recap, and strategic planning set tone for new fiscal year    

Charts from OLLI Business Meeting PresentationEighty members attended the OLLI Annual Business Meeting earlier this week at the Chico Masonic Family Center. Program Director Ann Nikolai shared highlights of this 2017-18 fiscal year, which ends June 30. She also presented the budget and fee schedule for next year. Her presentation focused on three historic cost drivers and OLLI’s strategic approach over the past five years to transitioning to a fully self-supported program from one heavily subsidized by the office of Regional & Continuing Education. A video of the presentation is available online.

Advisory Council Chairman Mike McCluskey followed the numbers with the results of the fall Shaping the Future survey, where members had the opportunity to weigh in on areas of the program that matter most to them. Mike and his strategic planning task force are in the final stages of drafting a five-year plan, which will be available to members upon completion. The plan incorporates the major takeaways from the survey.

Campus Partnership Enhances Learning Through Improved Hearing & Listening Techniques

OLLI Hearing && Listening Workshop A recent study by OLLI at UC Berkeley showed that the #1 reason OLLI members leave OLLI is because of hearing loss and the frustration and/or embarrassment it causes. In an effort to counter this trend, OLLI is partnering with Dr. Suzanne Miller, director of the Center for Communications Sciences & Disorders (CMSD), to develop teaching/learning opportunities for OLLI peer leaders and CSU, Chico students. Personal consultations, research projects, and classroom visits to assess OLLI’s sound systems in our primary classrooms are all underway this spring. These activities follow two workshops last fall, where Dr. Miller and her students addressed hearing loss and identified ways we can improve the overall classroom experience by becoming aware of the issues and techniques used to address hearing loss. These activities also give CSU, Chico students the opportunity to work with older adults in a classroom setting, which is as much a learning opportunity to help them succeed as it is for OLLI. Stay tuned for more information!

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

Bernard and Barbro OsherThe Bernard Osher Foundation was established in 1977 by Bernard Osher, a San Francisco businessman and community leader, who perceived that the needs of mature students were not well served by traditional continuing education programs. The Foundation supports the strengthening of existing lifelong learning programs, as well as the creation of new ones, at colleges and universities across the country. The Foundation began its support of such programs in 2001 with grants to Sonoma State University in California and the University of Southern Maine at Portland.

In 2005, CSU, Chico joined the network of Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes and our existing learning-in-retirement program became known as the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at California State University, Chico. In 2007, the foundation awarded OLLI at CSU, Chico a $1 million endowment gift for programming excellence and for demonstrating potential for longterm success and sustainability, and a second $1 million endowment gift was awarded in December 2014.

Quick Facts

  • Eligibility for membership: 50+ years old or retired.
  • Spouses of members may be of any age.
  • Full Membership (Academic Year): $215
  • Number of current members: 1,200+

Our Advisory Council & Staff

OLLI Advisory Council: 
William Tefteller, Chair • Betty Bilbo • Mary Brashears • Louise Cummins • Jerry Dunham • Paul Moore • David Price • Sara Simmons • Debbie Vermette • Sydney Wilde
OLLI Staff: 
Program Director
Ann Nikolai
Phone: 898-5858
Operational Coordinator
Michele Desmond
Phone: 898-4251
Community Outreach Coordinator
Gayle Womack
Member Services Representative
Susan Levine
Phone: 898-6679
Pam Camara
Phone: 898-3362

OLLI Operating Policies, Procedures & Budgets

May 2015 Osher Lifelong Learning Institute Policies & Procedures

About the University

Kendall Hall on the Chico State CampusEstablished in 1887 as a California Normal School for Teachers, CSU, Chico is the second oldest California State University. Chico State serves a twelve county region of 33,000 square miles, equivalent in size to the state of Ohio. As an anchor institution in this rural region, CSU, Chico has a long tradition of reaching out to our varied populace to expand cultural, economic, and educational opportunities. 

The University serves nearly 17,000 students. A residential campus located in a true college town, it attracts students from all parts of California. In its yearly ranking of "America's Best Colleges," U. S. News and World Report ranks Chico number three among master's-level public universities in the Western United States.

Office Hours and Location

Aymer J. Hamilton Building
Room 118B, on the CSU, Chico Campus [ Map ]
(adjacent to the Bidwell Mansion)

Office Hours: Monday–Thursday, 9am–1pm

Phone: 530-898-6679

Email: olli@csuchico.edu