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July 8, 2002

Center for Lifelong Learning gears up for fall classes

By Stephanie Sonnenfeld

Want to learn Swahili? Need to prepare for a standardized test? Always wanted to deepen your appreciation of Impressionist art? Then the Emory Center for Lifelong Learning can help.

Registration for the center’s fall classes through Evening at Emory, Emory's Senior Univer-sity, Academy for Retired Professionals, Evening at Oxford and daytime non-credit adult education will begin Sept. 6, with most classes initially meeting during the last week of September or the first week in October.

In addition to the perennial favorites—dancing, exercise, language, computer and professional and personal development classes—this fall welcomes several new additions, including “Mini Theology School,” “Swahili for Beginners” and “Admission 101: Make Your College Admission Easier.”

Inspired by the center’s successful “MiniMedical School,” “MiniTheology School” spans six sessions and incorporates aspects of the Candler School of Theology’s graduate studies program, and is taught by Candler faculty. “Swahili for Beginners” is taught by two native speakers and includes an interdisciplinary approach to learning and appreciating the ancient African language. “Admission 101” helps parents and students see that applying to college doesn’t have to be complicated or stressful, and offers feedback on application essays, high school resumes and course curriculum from admission counselors.

Registration and course descriptions will be available through a printed catalog and online at Online registration was first offered in 1996 and has grown exponentially since then, said Steve Stoffle, director for the Center of Lifelong Learning. With 10,000 registrations annually, the Internet simplifies the process for both students and staff.

“The fact that so many of our students are registering online has really opened up the kinds of things we can do here,” he said. “Well over 50 percent of our registrations come through the Internet.”

The center’s website offers listserv sign up, which allows the staff to email special Internet offers and course updates. Online registration also gives center staff quick access to determine if a full class can generate enough interest for another session, Stoffle said.

New class offerings and website expansions aren’t the only updates.

After almost two years of planning, designing and constructing, the center moved into its newly-renovated home on the Briarcliff Campus in December 2000—a 6,700-square-foot building which houses 11 large classrooms and ample office space. The changes don’t stop there for Emory’s 51-year-old adult education program.

Most obviously, there’s the name change. Long known as “Evening at Emory,” the program adopted its new moniker—the Emory Center for Lifelong Learning—when it moved into its new home.

“When we christened the restored building The Emory Center for Lifelong Learning, it was a natural time to rename the program,” Stoffle said. “Evening at Emory is still an important part of what we offer, but now we're much more than just Evening at Emory.”

With ample space in its new locale, the center then added its new daytime class offerings. The classes are similar, if not identical, to the evening classes, again running the gamut from yoga to literature to business skills.
The new space also allows the longer-standing programs—including Senior University—to thrive.

A part of Emory’s adult education courses since 1977, Senior University is a chance for retirees to expand their education and has become an important social outlet for many of its students, Stoffle said.

Another recent partnership has allowed the program’s educational travel opportunities to increase dramatically. Starting two years ago, many of its travel abroad programs have been operated through TraveLearn, a network of more than 300 universities and colleges nationwide. Participants travel with groups of no more than 20 and a professor who specializes in the particular country of travel. Additional domestic and abroad trips also are offered through local agents.

The changes to the program are exciting and impressive, but Stoffle said the true synergy of the Center for Lifelong Learning always will be in its students and instructors.

“People who come to our programs are ‘doers,’” Stoffle said. “Our instructors are the most interesting people in Atlanta because they're here for the sheer joy of teaching adults — and our students are here for the love of learning; they're passionate about 'filling in the gaps' in their educational backgrounds.”

Interested students or potential instructors can visit the center’s website or call
404-727-6000 for more information on any of the center’s programs and offerings.