Whatever the reason, CRI fulfills the need
Yes, there’s a big difference between typical undergraduates and retirees who return to college campuses.
For one thing, the humanities become more important as students grow older, according to Daniel Shannon, a University of Chicago dean.
“Some retirees come back to capture what they didn’t have in their undergraduate experience, particularly those who went through professional programs,” he says.
“Others return because they suddenly realize that at 18 they didn’t have the capacity to read critically Socrates, Thucydides, and Nietzsche,” he adds.
Glenn Neidhardt, Edmonds, himself a University of Chicago graduate, would agree.
“When I studied mathematics there, I was reluctant to stray too far from my major,” he says. “Years later, at the Creative Retirement Institute, I can explore – and enjoy – many subjects I passed up.”
CRI, as it is known, is a lifelong learning program at Edmonds Community College that offers non-credit, college-level courses appealing mostly to adults over 50.
Courses deal with the humanities and sciences as well as current trends. There are no exams or grades.
We asked several other CRI students who have been in the program for some time to comment on Dean Shannon’s observations.
Barbara Magnuson, Lynnwood, says, “I was born curious, and I love to learn. CRI meets these needs wonderfully. I’m also pleased by the synergy between instructors and students.”
“These courses keep me mentally alive,” says Arlene Selvage, Mountlake Terrace. “I like the stimulation of new things and interacting with people interested in what’s going on.”
“CRI is my community,” says Harriet Olitt, Edmonds. “Serving on the committee that plans courses, I must learn about different subjects before I can recruit instructors.”
Another transplant from the Chicago area, Robert Scott, Mill Creek, cites a different benefit.
“When my wife and I moved here, CRI helped us to quickly become assimilated in our new community,” he says, “and of course we’re grateful for a continuing source of mental stimulation.”
William Astel, Shoreline, is one of the founders of the program, which began offering classes in 1993. He participated in some of the early feasibility studies and has served on or chaired CRI’s important committees.
“It’s interesting to see how it evolved,” he says. “Over the years, we’ve had ebb and flow when it comes to enrollments. Right now, it’s gratifying to see registrations and revenues as strong as they are.”
These comments reflect a national trend, as lifelong learning programs now take place on more than one hundred U.S. campuses.
“We expect, because of demographic trends, for enrollments to grow at a lively pace,” says Mary Walshok, an administrator at the University of California, San Diego.
A good reason for this surge is that the baby boom generation, the first to attend college in great numbers, is starting to reach retirement age. This group has already shown a strong interest in further education.
Is CRI right for you? You might think about it. For further information, phone 425-640-1830 or go to www.cri.edcc.edu.