Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at CSU, Chico

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Welcome Peer Leaders!

Poety && Great Books Peer Leaders

OLLI at CSU, Chico is an academic cooperative providing our more than 1,000 members opportunities for intellectual development, cultural stimulation, and social interaction. OLLI’s educational program is centered on classes developed and taught by volunteers who share their time and knowledge.

  • Share your passion
  • Interact and engage with peers and community members
  • Help develop innovative, interesting and compelling learning experiences
  • Join a national movement of adult learners at the only Osher Institute in a 12-county radius
  • Without the participation of our peer leaders, OLLI wouldn’t be possible!

Resources to Help You Succeed

We have grown our peer leader support capabilities and expanded this website to serve as the one-stop resource for all of the information you need, including key dates and peer leader events, resource documents, and special notes you’ll need to stay informed and connected to your students, your Curriculum Committee, and to OLLI.

Choose a Topic:

Get Ready for Class: Reference & Refresher Information:
Submit a Course ProposalWhy Be a Peer Leader?
Important Dates & EventsPeer Leader Conduct
Membership PolicyOLLI Culture
A/V TrainingPeer Leader Obligations
Listening Assisted DevicesLiability Waivers
Accessing Class RostersClassroom Hosts
Posting Class Materials OnlineClassroom Maps & Locations
WaitlistsMentor Program
Class CancelationsPeer Leader Handbook
Holidays Observed 

Course Proposals

Do you wish to lead a class in an upcoming term(s)? You can submit a course proposal here prior to each term. The link to the online proposal form will be shown when the proposal period opens.

Want a reminder of a past class' title and/or description? Log in to the membership site with your last name & ID number and then look at your "My Peer Leader Classes." Interested in referencing past class schedules? Here are a couple of links:

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Important Dates & Events

June 1First Day of Summer Classes
June 28Last Day of Summer Classes
September 13First Day of Fall Classes
October 18-29Winter Break
November 11Veterans Day, No Classes
November 22-26Thanksgiving Break, No Classes
December 10Last Day of Fall Classes

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Membership Policy

Paid membership is a requirement for enrollment in any OLLI course, excursion, or event. OLLI peer leaders are also required to pay for a membership in any term(s) in which they lead a class. OLLI was founded on the concept of a peer-led, member-driven model initiated in 1988 under the original name “Prime Timers.” The membership policy has been implemented to allow us to report OLLI membership statistics according to reporting requirements of our major benefactor, The Bernard Osher Foundation. It also enables us to better forecast for planning and budgeting purposes.

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Audio/Visual Training

OLLI Media Cart

Training on our A/V equipment is required to lead an OLLI class. Prior to the start of each term, a schedule of training sessions is published and sign-up sheet distributed to all peer leaders who’ve requested A/V equipment in their classroom. The User’s Guide For A/V Equipment is also required reading, artfully crafted by members of the Facilities Committee.

For additional A/V information, tips, and our User's Guide, please visit the A/V Resources web page.

A/V Training:

Myron, William && Jerry: The OLLI Facilities TeamEven if you are not sure whether you will be using the audio visual equipment, please come check out the setup because it is very high quality and much easier to use than previous OLLI equipment collections. So, mark your calendars and plan an hour or so at an OLLI classroom play with the equipment. Bring samples of your presentation materials or files so you can practice with them. We want you to reach the point that you are comfortable and confident that you can operate the equipment by yourself.

For specific dates, times, and additional information, see the Important Dates above and also watch for an email(s) from the OLLI office.

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Listening Assistance Devices

Thanks to generous donations from our members, OLLI recently upgraded four media carts and added voice amplification equipment in our Craig Hall and Chico New Thought Center locations. It is frustrating to be interested in class material and unable to hear. Our A/V team will provide practice sessions with the microphone, wireless transmitter, and speech amplifier during the required A/V training. (See above.)

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Class RostersClass Roster Instructions

OLLI members continue to enroll in classes – and sometime drop classes – throughout the term. To make sure that you always have the most up-to-date lists available for communicating with your classes, we created the ability for you to pull your own rosters from within the OLLI online system. Download instructions for accessing your class rosters and log in to your OLLI member account to get started.

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Instructions for Posting Class Materials Online

Please send class syllabi, reading lists, and/or other reference materials to the OLLI office for posting to the OLLI site. Files must be less than 2MB or the website cannot accept them. PDF files are preferred since most members have the free application needed to view them. If you do not know how to create a pdf file, you can send a Word or Excel document and we can create it for you (but there may be a delay in posting your materials). The materials will be available on the online schedule by clicking on the title of the class.

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Peer Leaders at OLLI Class PreviewThe OLLI online registration system allows members to enroll themselves in a class until the cap for the class is reached. Thereafter, a member has the option to list him or herself on a wait list. The OLLI office will work closely with peer leaders whose classes have exceeded capacity by updating them on the status of their waiting lists. If seats become available early in the semester, the peer leader will be encouraged to contact those waitlisted and invite them to join the class. If spots don’t open up, and if those waitlisted are not successfully enrolled into the class, then they will have the option of being pre-enrolled into the same class the following semester...but only if the same class is being offered again. The OLLI Office will facilitate the process of contacting waitlisted members and pre-enrolling them in the new class, as applicable.

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Class Cancelation Policy

Should a Peer Leader be unable to lead a class(es) as scheduled, he/she MUST contact the OLLI office as soon as possible. Due to contractual obligations, OLLI staff is required to inform venue managers if a class is not meeting. In addition, Peer Leaders should notify students in the class using the class roster.

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Holidays Observed

It is the policy of the Advisory Council that classes do not meet on observed holidays and/or during University breaks when classes are not in session. See Important Dates above for a list. As part of a service to peer leaders, OLLI committee leaders use these days for A/V training, PowerPoint training, equipment upgrades, classroom upgrades, and other purposes. With more than 100 classes each semester, there is very little time to service equipment and/or classrooms and these holidays and breaks provide a much needed window for various services.

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Why Be a Peer Leader? ~ The Peer Leader High

By: Sydney Wilde, Co-chair Curriculum Committee & Peer Leader:

Peer Leader Training

Most of us join OLLI for at least two reasons: to expand our minds and to expand our friendships. It is easy to expand our minds with the plethora of interesting topics offered, but we don’t always get a chance to know our fellow students in the classes we take.

Peer Leaders get to know everybody! Certainly everyone in class will know you, and further more they will appreciate you for what you are offering. Pretty soon you will find familiar smiling faces everywhere and begin to put names and personalities to each. Voila! You have a community.

You do not need to be a teacher or professor to be a Peer Leader; you need to share what you love, a hobby, a passion, a good book, a stimulating video series, a walk in the park ... You don’t even have to stand up and speak before a crowd; you can facilitate a discussion group.

OLLI students want to learn. They want you to succeed. They will appreciate you for making the effort. You will come away feeling wonderful. We call it the "Peer Leader High!"

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Peer Leader Conduct

In order to protect and maintain the academic freedom of the University and the non-profit status of the CSU, Chico Research Foundation, of which OLLI is a sponsored program, peer leaders are required to observe the following restrictions:

  1. The organization shall not support or oppose any political party, candidate, or political issue.
  2. The membership list and personal information to include names, addresses, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses shall not be used for non-organizational related activities or fundraising without the written consent of the Program Director.
  3. Classes shall not be used to promote political positions or candidates.
  4. Classes shall not be used to sell or promote products or services, or to generate client lists.
  5. The organization shall adhere to all administrative, financial, and operational policies as set forth by the California State University, Chico; CSU Chico Research Foundation; and CSU, Chico University Foundation.  
  6. While classes on historical cultures and traditions are welcome, promotion of sectarian religious viewpoints must be avoided. Should you encounter any problems or concerns, you are encouraged to contact the OLLI office at 530-898-6679 or email olli@csuchico.edu.  
  7. Advertising of all OLLI classes and programs shall be coordinated through the OLLI Office. OLLI classes and programs may not be promoted outside of the OLLI Membership, with or without using the OLLI name, without the express approval of the OLLI Director or designee.

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OLLI Advisory Council members and OLLI staff keep the wheels turning.

OLLI Culture

The OLLI organization and culture offers many benefits to its members. In addition to education and lifelong learning, it also serves as an important social network and community. As a Peer Leader, you represent the OLLI culture, which requires that you treat fellow peer leaders, class members, and facilities staff and students with respect, dignity, and appreciation. 

Note: Please refer any problems with classroom environment to the OLLI office rather than the Craig Hall or other facility staff.

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Peer Leader Obligations

  1. Attend the Class Preview program.
  2. Attend the Peer Leaders Orientation.
  3. Attend all scheduled classes in which you are in charge. If you need to miss a class for any reason, please let the OLLI office know as soon as possible.  
  4. Be available by phone or email for members’ questions.
  5. Set-up and clean-up your classroom. If another class is not scheduled immediately following yours, turn off the audio visual equipment, lock the door, and return the key.
  6. If you experience any problems with your classroom facility or equipment, notify the OLLI office

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Liability Waivers

OLLI is a sponsored program of the CSU, Chico Research Foundation. Current membership is required for full coverage under the Research Foundation’s liability waiver policy. A checkbox for waiving of liability is part of each membership application form, both in print and online. Additionally, peer leaders are required to complete a Volunteer Information Form to hold him or her harmless if a member is injured (or property is damaged) at or during a class. These completed forms combine to (1) recognize membership in a Research Foundation-sponsored program, and (2) acknowledge volunteer participation of the signatory in a volunteer capacity (peer leader).

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Classroom Hosts

Peer Leaders at OLLI Class PreviewThe Classroom Host program managed by the Communication Committee and is modeled after similar programs at other OLLI Institutes. Classroom Hosts (CH's) support OLLI members by greeting them in class, helping them find seats in crowded classrooms, and relaying important highlights from the electronic news bulletin. CH's also listen to concerns and to relay information back to OLLI leadership so that the organization can be more responsive to members’ needs.

CH's also help to ensure that classroom presentations are audible. Is the microphone on? Is the volume high enough? Is the peer leader using the microphone? Are questions from the audience being repeated into the microphone so that everyone can benefit? OLLI at UC Berkeley learned the biggest reason members drop out is due to hearing loss. To the extent CH's can assist in this area, we feel we are performing an essential duty by helping to retain members who might otherwise become isolated.

All Peer Leaders go through required training on how to use OLLI's media carts, but CHA's are not expected to assist with A/V equipment in the classrooms. However, if you are comfortable with technology, we invite you to attend one of our A/V trainings so that you can assist when needed to help keep the classroom running smoothly. Interested? Email Classroom Support leader William Tefteller or download an informational flyer on the Classroom Host program.

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Classroom Maps & Locations

Classroom addresses and maps can be found in multiple locations:Classroom Location Info

  • On the online schedule, click the title of the class or the name of the class location for an address and links to a pdf map and/or Google map. (see image at right)
  • The OLLI website's "Class Locations & Maps" page lists every class location in alphabetical order, along with an links to a map, directions, or both.
  • Printed copies of maps and locations are available on the table just outside the OLLI office, in a black binder labeled “OLLI Class Locations & Maps.”

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Peer Leader Mentor Program Designed to Assist New Leaders and Veterans Alike

Read our new mentor guidelines.

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Peer Leader Handbook

This handbook provides valuable information to assist you throughout your tenure as an OLLI peer leader. Think of it as a resource rather than an instruction manual. It includes numerous resources you can use to make your experience as a peer leader a rewarding one for you and the members of your classes. Topics covered in the handbook include:

  • Our Mission
  • Course Outlines & Syllabus
  • Emergency Procedures
  • Peer Leader Conduct
  • How to Cancel or Reschedule a Class
  • Classroom Assistants
  • Field Trips
  • Frequently Asked Questions for Peer Leaders
  • Sample Course Proposal, Syllabi, & Course Outlines
  • Links to OLLI Resources Online
  • CSU, Chico & OLLI Office Maps

This handbook is important for all Peer Leaders to review as it outlines not only what OLLI expects from its Peer Leaders, but what a Peer Leader should expect from the OLLI staff. The OLLI Office is available to provide support and answers for Peer Leaders when those answers cannot be found within the handbook. [ Download the Handbook ]

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