Correction: This story has been modified from its original version. — higher education
Senior citizens will soon be able to take advantage of a Virginia Tech classroom experience without the hassle of tests and quizzes.b
The new Tech Creative Learning Academy for Senior Scholars will hold an open house Jan. 27 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., at the Inn at Virginia Tech to showcase the program, which is designed to give people 50 and older a new learning experience.
Program facilitator Cathee Dennison, a retired Tech English professor, brought the idea for a senior scholar program to Tech after spending time in Ashville, N.C., and seeing the opportunities available to senior citizens and retirees there.
“I thought that Blacksburg would be a great place for a program like this,” she said. “Blacksburg has a large retiree population.”
In March, classes will be offered on a variety of topics. Some of the classes include “The Elusive Composition of the Universe,” taught by Brian Dennison, “The Circle of Wellness,” taught by Jocy Surface of New Tech Fitness and “The Violin in History,” taught by violin maker Dan Foster. Another featured class will be based on the Corps of Cadets’ Leader Development Program, taught by Maj. Gen. Jerrold Allen, the Commandant of the Corps.
Because this is the first year the program will run, the classes are being offered as a “spring sampler.”
Classes will run on six consecutive Tuesdays beginning in March. The program costs $45 to attend any or all six classes. The teachers, all volunteers, have been selected because of their expertise in their respective fields.
Ann Brown, the assistant director of continuing and professional development at Tech, hopes the program will give retirees in the area different opportunities than those offered by recreational centers.
Brown also pointed out the large retiree community that exists in Blacksburg and the surrounding areas.
“This program will highlight Virginia Tech’s desire to reach out to all citizens, especially non-degree professional needs,” Brown said. “We wanted to do something more educational and intellectual for senior citizens in the community.”
Organizers are hoping to expand the program to include a fall series and a summer program.
The summer program would allow seniors to spend two nights in a Tech residence hall while participating in mini workshops, allowing retiree students from out-of-town to participate.
The program’s organizers hope for high success rates because of Blacksburg’s diverse community of older people.
“Seniors are staying active and healthier longer,” Dennison said. “Hopefully a program like this will catch on.”
In order to get in touch with the project's organizers, please visit www.cpe.vt.edu/vtclass.