Rollins College Wins National Award for Adult Education Program

October 28, 2014

By Bob McKinlay

Rollins receives the 2014 Older Adult Model Program Award from the Association for Continuing Higher Education.

On October 28, Rollins College received the 2014 Older Adult Model Program Award from the Association for Continuing Higher Education (ACHE) for its STARS program through the Rollins Center for Lifelong Learning. The award was presented during the ACHE Annual Conference and Meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Established in 2013 from a grant from the Winter Park Health Foundation, the Rollins Center for Lifelong Learning offers innovative liberal arts non-credit courses to adults 50 and older from Winter Park, Maitland, Eatonville, and surrounding communities. The courses last four weeks and feature Rollins College faculty members, both current and retired. Each course costs $60 and scholarships are available for older adults in financial need.

“We are proud to be judged by our peers as a national model for older adult education,” says David Richard, dean of the Hamilton Holt School. “Today’s older adult learners are an active and vibrant part of our community and they deserve the best educational opportunities available.”

The STARS program received the award in large part for its innovative approaches to learning, including using online registrations, social media marketing, and texting messages to remind members to attend classes and register for the next semester. The most innovative project will be the use of e-learning, using iPads and tablets in spring 2015 to provide learning opportunities for those who are homebound or have barriers to attending classes on campus.

“The most important lesson we have learned so far is that older adults love to continue their learning,” says Jill Norburn, director of the Rollins Center for Lifelong Learning. “We have had such an overwhelming response, way beyond our initial expectations. So far, we have over 755 members with 60 courses being offered in fall 2014.”

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