Honoree Team 2015 – OLLI Collaboration

Congrats to OLLI Collaboration for being honored as an outstanding team of volunteers!

Team Name:  OLLI Collaboration

Team Members:  Mike Ames, Patti Chikahisa, Lee Ann Donaldson, Jane Moon, Georgiana Nygaard, Ellie Vargas Page, Bill Pupura, Judy A. Smith, Jane Subeck-Goodman, Carol Thurk, and Ron Osajima

Nominating Organization:  California State University, Fullerton

Honoree Category:  Education

Why Nominated:  Osher Life Long Learning Institute (OLLI) is a group of professionally retired community members that support education through their members and within their community. However, a leadership group within the Institute went above and beyond and developed a valuable partnership between Cal State Fullerton and OLLI members, called the CSUF-OLLI Collaboration.

The CSUF-OLLI Collaboration plan was launched in 2010 to tap into OLLI members’ skills and knowledge in order to enhance students’ university experience. OLLI worked with each of the Cal State Fullerton colleges to identify collaboration opportunities. Many members brought insider knowledge as former Cal State Fullerton administrators, faculty or staff, but they also represent a gamut of professions – from teaching and business to aerospace and marketing. They keep their skills sharp by sharing them with students, while students benefit from the additional coaching, mentoring or study sessions they receive from OLLI Members. This in turn supports Cal State Fullerton’s strategic plan that focuses on co-curricular learning opportunities outside of the classroom.

Responding to the calls for collaboration, OLLI members passionately volunteer as guest lecturers, coaches, mentors, panelists, research subjects, business consultants and more. By 2014, the collaboration had grown to more than 420 members participating in numerous activities per year, ranging from filling out a research study questionnaire to semester length tutoring and mentoring projects.

As part of the OLLI-CSUF Collaboration, these volunteers are doing much more than helping students prepare for exams, pass courses, or draft sum. Tapping into their accumulated wisdom and experience to connect with students, lecture to classes, and advance clinical research about healthy aging, they are engaging the students and passing their knowledge along to the next generation. They are rewarded by grateful students and faculty members, and by the knowledge that they are helping to create the community of the future.

School of Nursing Professor Christine Latham wrote, “Our observations are that the OLLI tutors are especially helpful because they are patient and respectful in their sessions with students. They are true advocates for our students, in that they are willing to listen and coach students with professional writing skills, not editing, of their papers.” One of Dr. Latham’s students wrote about the tutors: “They are great. I would not have passed my class without this.”

OLLI Collaboration volunteers have found it compelling to give something back and share their wisdom with young people. These opportunities are priceless and support student persistence, increase graduation rates, and narrow the achievement gap for underrepresented students. Their volunteer activities not only support students but also staff and faculty.

The OLLI Collaboration volunteers are proving the adage that “those who give, also receive”. And that is a valuable life lesson for all of us, no matter how old we are.

Please write a note of congratulations below!


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