Adults inspired to continue education at Regis College program

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Adult learners participate in classes and special lectures as part of Lifelong Learning at Regis College.

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By Zenya Molnar, Contributing Writer

Learning is an ongoing process that doesn’t stop after college graduation. Adults who take classes with Lifelong Learning at Regis College (LLARC) are especially aware of this fact.

Founded in the spring of 2005, the Lifelong Learning program offers educational courses to adults in the Metrowest community on the campus of Regis College in Weston.

Program Director Jill Rosen, who has served in this position since 2006, said that her philosophy toward adult education is that “people should be able to learn new subjects and information at all stages of their lives.”

Program participants range in age from 50 to 90, although adults of any age are eligible to take classes. In addition, no previous college experience is required to participate in the program. The variety of class offerings range from creative writing to Microsoft Excel to first-century Palestine and World War II cinema. Besides the courses, students appreciate the sense of community that exists among students and teachers.

Rosen said that the most positive outcome of Lifelong Learning is that it “offers people increased cognitive challenges as well as [opportunities for] building new friendships.”

Not only does the program create a community of learners, it also provides an “environment without judgement about what profession you were in, where you live, or any other demographic information,” said Rosen.

According to Rosen, who serves as the liaison between LLARC and Regis College, adult learners benefit greatly from the courses that they take since they choose what they want to learn. Unlike having to take certain required courses in college, participating in a class as part of Lifelong Learning is completely a self-selecting process. The majority of adults in the program participate for the love of learning.

Courses, which are peer-led, are mostly taught by LLARC members who would like to share an interest or who base their topic on a past profession. Rosen described the knowledge of teachers, referred to as study group leaders, and students as “consistently impressive.” Classes are conducted using textbooks and readings, similar to what one would find in a traditional college program. Unlike a typical college class, though, there are no tests, papers or credits.

“The most enriching part of my job is interacting with the students and study group leaders,” said Rosen.

Courses offered are chosen by the Curriculum Committee which is comprised of volunteer LLARC members.

A weekly lecture series called “Lunch, Listen, and Learn” is also offered during lunchtime to which all LLARC members are invited.

Classes are held Monday through Thursday during the day at Regis College in classrooms shared with undergraduate and graduate students. During the fall semester, LLARC is offering two intergenerational projects with a sophomore English class and another with an oral history class. In addition to sharing space with current Regis students, LLARC members have tutored and mentored undergraduate students.

To register for courses, you must be a member of LLARC. The annual membership fee covers tuition for classes and includes other discounts at Regis College.

For more information, visit www.regiscollege.edu/llarc or call 781-768-7135. Registration begins in June for the fall session and December for the spring session.