By Beccy Tanner
Since Wichita State University began offering free Lifelong Learning courses to Wichita area senior citizens five years ago, the program has grown from one course with 40 students to 10 courses with more than 1,000 students.
As one of the teachers, I love these classes. Students bring unique perspectives to the classes through their own life experiences. Great conversations are held and friendships formed. In my classes, which cover history, I think they realize that what they experienced in life really was the living history of Kansas.
This semester, 10 Lifelong Learning classes are being offered on topics ranging from meteorology and the preservation of national treasures to Kansas history, jazz and Shakespeare.
Typically, the courses are held at area senior centers and residential facilities. However, this year all in-person Lifelong Learning classes will be held at the Eugene M. Hughes Metropolitan Complex at 29th and Oliver in Wichita. WSU is making sure that high touch areas in the building – such as door handles, light switches, water fountains and restrooms – are cleaned and disinfected on a frequent basis. All building guests will be required to wear face coverings and students will sit six feet apart. There will be hand sanitizer stations at all entrances to the Hughes Metroplex and all classroom spaces will be disinfected before and after each class.
Other changes include classes starting earlier, during the first full week of August, in order to avoid cold and flu season as well as minimize COVID-19 exposure.
If your preference is to learn online, students can watch courses live during the actual class or on YouTube at a time that’s more convenient for them.
Got an out-of-town friend who’d like to participate? The classes are now open to any senior Kansas resident.
The Kansas Board of Regents has waived the Lifelong Learning tuition for Kansas senior citizens. In addition, WSU is covering all application and course fees for seniors who register for a course by Sept. 11. To view a catalog of courses being offered and register, go to https://www.wichita.edu/academics/wpce/Lifelong_Learning.php or call 316-978-3731.
I’ll see you at WSU!
Beccy Tanner is a former Wichita Eagle and the author of “Bear Grease, Builders and Bandits: The Men and Women of Wichita’s Past.”
By Beccy Tanner