University of Oregon

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

Continuing and Professional Education

New Member Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Oregon?

OLLI-UO is an educational and social community for mature adults who enjoy diverse and stimulating learning opportunities led by current and retired faculty, professionals in the community, and current OLLI-UO participants. OLLI-UO is comprised of two physical sites: Eugene/Springfield and Central Oregon, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are meeting online.

OLLI-UO is a non-credit program of UO Continuing and Professional Education. When you join OLLI-UO, you are enrolling as a non-credit student at the University of Oregon, but you become a member of the OLLI-UO learning community. We refer to OLLI-UO participants as "members" for this reason.

What does the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute mean? Who is Osher?

Bernard Osher is a philanthropist whose foundation made funds available to universities to start, or to sustain existing, lifelong learning programs. There are over 120 Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes in the United States. The programming and organizational structure of the institutes is locally determined.

Who 'runs' OLLI-UO?

OLLI-UO operates with substantial contribution from its members, with significant administrative and facility support from the University of Oregon. Members elect a Governing Council that oversees OLLI activities and makes recommendations to OLLI-UO staff. Members organize various committees such as the Program Committee and Membership Committee.

Who decides what classes are offered?

The Program Committee, along with OLLI-UO staff, approves and schedules classes over the course of the entire year. Any OLLI-UO member can propose a program to the Program Committee for its consideration.

What do I do if I'd like to propose a class to be offered?

Discuss your class with the Program Committee Chair and submit a Course Proposal Form (see below) to the Program Committee. The Program Committee will discuss and determine if/when it can fit in the schedule. Courses can be proposed in these ways:

Who facilitates / teaches classes?

Sessions may be facilitated/taught by OLLI-UO members, experts from the community, current or retired university faculty members, etc. Class length, content, and format vary. Some programs have multiple facilitators; there may be a different facilitator for each session.

Where do I find a list of classes?

Offerings for both sites are listed on the Program Schedule for the respective location. During our in-person hiatus, all offerings are via Zoom and are open to members of both Central Oregon and Eugene/Springfield, unless otherwise noted. There is also a calendar format that shows what is available.

What if I want to take a class, but I can’t make one or two of the class sessions?

In most cases, no problem! Just attend the class sessions as you are able. Some classes and events may require registration.

Why do some classes have registration and others do not?

Courses are limited in size based on the instructor's preference and/or physical classroom capacity.

Registrations are processed on a first-come, first-served basis.

What if a class has already started, can I join in the middle?

Yes, that is typically not a problem. The only exception would be classes or excursions where attendee space is limited and registration is required. Call or email the OLLI-UO office to register and find out if seats are open, or if you have to be put on the waiting list.

Can guests attend?

Guests are welcome to attend a single session of most classes (including virtual sessions). The only exception is a highly-attended course with registration that is at capacity. Guests should email OLLI-UO staff at before attending in-person or virtual classes/discussion groups to see if there is space.

Special events like open houses are held throughout the year at program sites to provide members of the community with an introduction to the OLLI-UO program. Our next sample day will be held virtually.

Who do I call if I have a question?

The main Continuing and Professional Education office (under which OLLI-UO is housed) is typically staffed Monday–Friday, 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. While the CPE office operates at reduced capacity during the COVID-19 pandemic, staffed office hours are Monday–Thursday, 9:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m. The office voicemail gets checked daily. Because we still have several staff members working remotely, email is the preferred method of contact while we are on an in-person hiatus: The Contact page on the OLLI-UO website lists both staff contacts and member-leaders.

What is the OLLI-UO Member Portal? How do I contact other members?

The OLLI-UO member portal offers resources specific to members, including:

  • Membership information, including individual’s membership dates
  • OLLI-UO member directory, where you can find contact info of other members who have opted to share their information
  • Instructor handouts available for download

Members may login to their OLLI-UO Member Portal by choosing the “Sign In” button on the OLLI-UO webpage.

When is my membership renewal due?

Membership fees are due annually (for year-long members) or every six months (for semi-annual members) on the first day of the month that you joined OLLI-UO. Membership dates are displayed in the OLLI-UO Member Portal.

What do our membership fees go toward?

Membership fees go toward paying for program costs such as facilities and infrastructure, administrative support, technical and broadcast equipment, website and database operation and maintenance, marketing efforts, and membership events.

Do my fees allow me to participate in other OLLIs?

Although OLLI is a national network of sibling programs, fees paid at one OLLI organization are not transferable to other OLLIs. The fees for OLLI-UO provide access to programming at all of our OLLI at the University of Oregon sites. Other OLLIs may choose to "honor" the membership on an individual basis, but that is not standard practice within the network.

When will OLLI-UO resume in-person programs?

This is a difficult question to answer at this moment. OLLI-UO is bound by guidelines from the State of Oregon, Deschutes and Lane Counties, and the University of Oregon. We will resume in-person programs only when it is safe to do so. When it is safe, we will likely offer "blended broadcasts," where a small cohort of members will meet in person, with additional members tuning in via Zoom.

How do I get onto Zoom?

We're glad you asked! We have a specific Zoom help page with instructions and resources. We also hold monthly Zoom trainings. Contact the OLLI-UO office to learn when the next one is, or to request one-on-one help.


Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Oregon