Explore New Ideas
OLLI-UM offers multiple avenues by which members can explore new ideas, enhance creativity, and engage their minds.
Ann Arbor, MI 48105-2193
Enjoy lectures almost every week, year-round, from the comfort and safety of your home or in-person at the Washtenaw Community College. Academic and professional experts speak on a wide range of cutting-edge social and political issues, science and technology, music, and the arts. Our teleconference lectures include the weekly lectures of the Thursday Lecture Series (five series on different themes throughout the year with six individual lectures per series), and the monthly Distinguished Lecture Series.
To learn more, visit Lectures in our Course Catalog page.
The OLLI Distinguished Lecture Series consists of ten lectures. Lectures are held on Tuesday mornings from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m., once per month from September through June. The speakers are well-informed experts from town and gown who share their specialized knowledge in an engaging manner. Each lecture is just the beginning; a stimulating question-and-answer period follows most sessions.
This event includes all ten lectures in the Distinguished Lecture Series.
These ten lectures are also included in the All Lectures Package (10 Distinguished Lecture Series lectures + 30 Thursday Morning Lecture Series lectures + 3 Summer Lecture Series lectures).
The Distinguished Lecture Series lectures may also be purchased in packages of five lectures each: Session 1, September through January and Session 2, February through June.
The speakers for the five Session 1 lectures (September through January) were:
Taming Corporate Power in the 21st Century
Professor Gerald F. Davis
September 13, 2022, 10 - 11:30am
From Community Activist to the Federal Bench: My Path to Becoming a Federal Judge
Judge Judith E. Levy, United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
October 11, 2022, 10 - 11:30am
What Happened on November 8, 2022
Professor Michael Traugott
November 22. 2022, 10 - 11:30am
Archaeology and Heritage along the Nile in the Heartland of Ancient Kush
Dr. Geoff Emberling
December 13, 2022, 10 - 11:30am
What Should the Work Ethic Mean for Us Today?
Elizabeth Anderson, Max Shaye Professor of Public Philosophy, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
January 10, 2023, 10 - 11:30am
The speakers for the second session, from February through June, 2023 are:
Finding Catholics in Early America: Lessons From the Archives
Professor Susan Juster
February 14, 2023
Lessons for the Ages: Everything I Needed to Know I Learned in Introductory Psychology
Dr. Shelly Schreier
March 14, 2023
Expanding the Science of Firearm Injury Prevention: A Pathway Forward for Reducing Death and Injury in the United States
Dr. Patrick Carter
April 11, 2023
The Other Gases: The Politics of Short-Lived Climate Pollutants
Professor Barry Rabe
May 9, 2023
Migration: The Complicated History of the United States
Professor Saeed Khan
June 13, 2023
Want to join the Distinguished Lecture Committee?
Please contact Frances Schultz by e-mail to [email protected].
More information about the Distinguished Lecture Series.
There are five Thursday Lecture Series each year. Each series offers six lectures on a unifying theme and a variety of speakers covering specific aspects of the theme. Learning continues in an active question-and-answer period following each lecture.
- When: Thursdays from 10:00 to 11:30 am
- Where: Washtenaw Community College or online via Zoom webinar
- Fee: $10 for a single lecture daypass
- Fee: $36 for a 6-week series
- Fee: $190 for the all Thursday Morning Lecture Series Package
- Fee: $220 for all 43 Tuesday, Thursday, and Summer Lectures
Themes for Winter/Spring 2023 term
- Plastics and the Carbon Age: Environmental and Health Impacts (1/12/22-2/16/22)
- The Future of Education (2/23-4/6)
- Human Migration Through the Ages (4/13 - 5/18)
More Information about the Thursday Lecture Series.
Part of the Thursday Lecture Series, this three lecture series will be held on select Thursdays in June from 10:00 to 11:30 am.
The theme for the 2023 Summer Lecture Series is "Historical Architecture/Fresh Ideas."
Fee: $15 for the series or $10 for a single lecture day pass. OLLI membership is not required.
There are six Lecture Series Packages:
- Distinguished Lecture Series Package, September–June
- 10 lectures for $60, save $40, available only in the fall
- Distinguished Lecture Series Session 1, September–January
- 5 lectures for $30, save $20, available only in the fall
- Distinguished Lecture Series Session 2, February–June
- 5 lectures for $30, save $20, available in fall and winter/spring
- Thursday Morning Lecture Series Package
- 33 lectures for $190, available only in the fall
- Includes all 5 Thursday Morning Lecture Series (30 lectures)
- Includes Summer Lecture Series (3 lectures)
- All Lecture Series Package
- 43 lectures for $220, available only in the fall
- Includes Distinguished Lecture Series (10 lectures)
- Includes all 5 Thursday Morning Lecture Series (30 lectures)
- Includes Summer Lecture Series (3 lectures)
More information about Lecture Series Packages.
In 2019, OLLI-UM adopted a strategic plan that mandated the creation of our own Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee in order to ensure that DEI values would be infused throughout our program at every level. The committee drafted a mission statement which is detailed below. Our goal was to lay out a roadmap for the program and ourselves, so that we would be accountable in realizing our objectives.
DEI Mission Statement
The mission of the DEI Committee is to increase the diversity of OLLI membership and create an environment that welcomes all; increase awareness of racial, social, economic, educational and health disparities experienced by marginalized communities; encourage members’ self- education and self-reflection on issues related to implicit bias; and promote positive, transformational change leading to the eradication of racial and social injustice in ourselves, the OLLI membership, and the community-at-large.
How We Will Do This
- Spearheading efforts that lead to continuing awareness and education of our members on issues related to racial and social inequities through lectures, workshops, book discussions, and study groups, and encouraging members to initiate their own self-education on these issues
- Working closely with other OLLI committees to ensure DEI principles are infused and integrated throughout the program
- Partnering both within UM and with external organizations with similar aims to collaborate on relevant programming and initiatives
- Evaluating the outcomes of our DEI strategies, wherever possible, in order to identify and implement continuous improvements and identify positive and negative outcomes such that initiatives can either be continued or improved upon
In keeping with the mission statement, many thought-provoking lectures and classes are included in each term. We are intentionally offering many different formats to explore these complex topics, including lectures, dialogs, and study groups. We will be sending surveys after each event so that we can incorporate participant feedback and continue to improve.
In a strategic effort of outreach to UM and the broader community, OLLI has sought and deepened partnerships with such organizations as the UM Turner African American Services Council (TAASC), Ypsilanti District Library, UM Ford School of Public Policy and UM Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. The DEI Committee has now started to identify additional partners with similar aims to determine shared interests, and together plan activities, programming and educational opportunities to expand our collective reach.
As you can see, OLLI has set in motion a thoughtful and determined process for fulfilling our DEI mission and values as outlined in our strategic plan. But we are just getting started! With the DEI Committee’s leadership, OLLI and our programs will become richer and deeper in meaningful ways, and so will each of us. Please join us so that all voices can be heard and represented in our community and beyond.
From “Caravans, Cultures, and Chinggis Khan Along the Silk Route” to “Computerized Investing: Asset Allocation and Mutual Funds” and everything in between, OLLI Study Groups offer something for everyone. For a small-group learning experience in which participants can discuss issues, share knowledge, and grow in unexpected ways, OLLI Study Groups can’t be beat! More than 60 high-quality courses are offered each term (Fall and Winter/Spring/Summer), and may last anywhere from one to 10 weeks or more.
Cost: $10 to $95 per event.
More information about Study Groups.
A Shared Interest Group (SIG) brings people together who have a common interest that they wish to pursue indefinitely within a structure of meetings and activities designed primarily by the members of the group. A SIG will strive to develop a sense of community and friendship among its members even as it endeavors to enhance members’ skills, education, and experiences.
A SIG is different from a traditional Study Group
- A SIG does not have a formal class syllabus.
- Members of a SIG determine the content and discussion of a SIG. A designated facilitator arranges meetings, takes attendance, and initiates the discussion among the SIG members on how the group will operate.
- Persons within a SIG are assured of ongoing membership in it until they decide not to participate.
- SIGs vary in how often they meet.
- A SIG does not have a formal ending date.
- A SIG may be formed by OLLI members because of a particular ongoing interest that is not offered in a study group.
- A SIG may also be formed to socialize and learn together in a group that meets regularly.
Start a SIG
If you ever wanted to start a long-term group activity, submit a proposal for a Shared Interest Group through OLLI. Applications accepted at any time. Contact the OLLI office for details.
OLLI currently has nine active SIGs, some renew in September, others in January. Check back for openings.
- Literary Short Fiction, Full (renews in September)
- The Future of Healthcare in the U.S., Limited spaces available. (renews in September)
- Syd Kaufman Mystery Book Club, Full (renews in January)
- A Study of Ethics, Full (renews in September)
- Artificial Intelligence - 360, Full (renews in January)
- The Schmoozery: At Our Age, In This Age, limited spaces available. (renews in September)
- Poetry Reading, limited spaces available. (renews in September)
- Hot Off the Press, limited spaces available. (renews in September)
- Contemporary Issues, limited space available. (renews in September)
You may register to add your name to the wait list of a full SIG and the OLLI Office will contact you if a spot opens.
Want to get involved with Special Interest Groups (SIGs)?
Please contact OLLI Interim Assistant Director Ryan Luttermoser by e-mail to [email protected]
More information about Shared Interest Groups (SIGs)
“Afternoons with OLLI” is now "Evenings with OLLI". The program provides informal learning in a congenial group setting. Local personalities present programs in the late afternoon or early evening to encourage attendance by pre-retirees as well as retirees.
Evenings with OLLI offers a wide variety of programming to enjoy as we explore Ann Arbor, southeast Michigan, and our wonderful Great Lakes state. Programs feature local personalities, engaging stories about our community and state, and delve into current issues.
- Fees: $10 per event, or free if this is your first OLLI event.
- Membership: This is one OLLI activity that you do not need to be a member to attend.
- Registration: To register without being a member or to register for free in your first year, please mail in an event registration form to the office.
More information about Evenings with OLLI.
OLLI Out of Town will be featuring in-person travel as well as virtual travel this Fall.
- Virtual program on select Fridays, 3:00 – 4:30 pm
- $10-$15 per virtual trip or $35 for a package of 3.
- Check to see if your program is virtual or in-person.
Trip Highlights for Fall 2022
Lincoln Center, A West Side Story (ONLINE)
November 11, 2022 l 3:00 - 4:30 pm l $15
Join us on this Road Scholar virtual travel program to New York City’s famed Lincoln Center. Marked for demolition as a slum which inspired the 1957 play “West Side Story”, scenes for the 1961 movie were filmed on this very site just as the district gave way to a glittering performing arts center and a new high-rise neighborhood.
The real story includes ethnic and racial tensions, Urban Renewal, the Cold War, architectural and political rivalries played out as the consensus of the Fifties gives way to the tumult of the Sixties.
Let’s explore this dramatic story that brought this iconic but controversial center into being in the middle of the 20th Century…and watch as it is reimagined for the 21st Century. John Kriskiewicz with Explore New York. John is a native New Yorker with a professional degree in architecture from Pratt Institute. He has taught courses focusing on architectural and city planning history at Parsons School of Design, The Cooper Union, Fashion Institute of Technology, Stern College for Women, and Manhattan College.
John has designed travel programs and lectures for many of New York City’s institutions and corporations including Road Scholar/Explore New York. He admits to a special affinity for New York’s extensive infrastructure as well as its Mid-Century Modern heritage.
Tour of DIA “Van Gogh in America” Exhibition (ONLINE)
December 9, 2022 l 3:00 - 4:30 pm l $10
Join Carlene VanVoorhies, DIA Docent, as she takes us on a virtual tour of some of the 70 authentic Van Gogh works from around the world in the “Van Gogh in America” exhibition. The exhibition celebrates the DIA’s status as the first public museum in the United States to purchase a painting by Vincent van Gogh, his Self-Portrait (1887). On the 100th anniversary of its acquisition, enjoy the fascinating story of America’s introduction to this iconic artist in an exhibition only at the DIA.
A Capitol Day in Lansing
December 14, 2022 l 7:45 am - 5:00 pm l $135
NOTE: Be sure to wear a pair of good walking shoes. "Enjoy a luxury motorcoach bus tour from Ann Arbor to Lansing where you will spend the day in our State’s Capitol. Tour the Michigan Supreme Court Hall of Justice and Learning Center and observe oral arguments at the Michigan Supreme Court. After an included lunch, you will conclude the day with a guided tour of the Michigan State Capitol. The total number of registrants for this tour will be 30 based on the maximum number of participants allowed by the Michigan Supreme Court for its tours. To assure a seat on this tour, register early.
Want to join the OLLI Out of Town Committee?
Please contact Chair Ruth Primas by e-mail to [email protected].
More information about OLLI Out of Town.
OLLI Reads! is a shared experience where we read and discuss a common book. As OLLI members, we read a book at the same time, then come together for a presentation by the author, followed by a discussion.
The Ones Who Remember: Second-Generation Voices of the Holocaust is an anthology of essays that delves into the lived experience of sixteen different families grappling with the legacy of this genocide. While there is a vast number of memoirs written by survivors of the Holocaust, there are fewer first-person accounts of the effects of this historical trauma on the second generation, and none in which all the authors are part of a single community. This book provides an intimate glimpse into the challenges and gifts of growing up in the shadow of their inherited trauma.
The authors describe the impact of learning of their parents’ experiences in concentration camps, hiding under false identities or working in forced labor battalions. Each of the sixteen narratives offers its own unique and compelling view of the author’s search to piece together fragments of their parents’ histories, find their own footing in the world and create a life rich with meaning and purpose. Readers will be deeply touched by the reflections of their individual suffering and their parents’ as well as the incredible fortitude and resilience seen across the generations.
This book evolved out of the authors’ work writing original Holocaust remembrance services that described their parents’ incredible journeys of survival and adaptation to life after the war for an Ann Arbor Reform Jewish congregation since 2004. The editors and authors of this book are an intentional community of adult children of Holocaust survivors born throughout North America, Israel, Sweden, Hungary and Switzerland; all who came to reside in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
More information about OLLI Reads!
Save the date! Big Hearts for Seniors May 18, 2023!
Visit the Big Hearts for Seniors website for information. For updates leading up to the event, follow us on Facebook!
- Big Hearts for Seniors Benefits
- Ann Arbor Meals on Wheels
- Housing Bureau for Seniors
- Osher Lifelong Learning Institute
- Silver Club Memory Programs
- Turner Senior Wellness Program
This category typically includes:
- Fall Kickoff event(s) held each September;
- OLLI's Virtual Winter Open House held each January;
- OLLI Annual Meeting and Election in May
Big Hearted Stories: Generations, the Big Hearts for Seniors fund raising event
- Tutorials that provide an introduction to OLLI's programs and services.
View YouTube videos of these Big Hearted Stories events:
- May 2022: Big Hearted Stories: Journeys
- May 2021: Big Hearted Stories: Generations
- July 2020: Big Hearted Stories — Experiences of Aging
OLLI reserves the right to substitute speakers. The views expressed are those of the speaker(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the University of Michigan.
You may attend your first OLLI lecture for free and without becoming an OLLI member. After that, membership is required in order to attend lectures. The annual membership fee is $25/year and covers the period from September through August. Once you are a member, you can drop in to any lecture for $10.
Never taken an OLLI-UM study group before? Enjoy $10 off your first study group registration.
Contact the OLLI Office to drop OLLI lectures, study groups, and other events. If the event is dropped before the first meeting for single session events and before the second meeting for multiple session events, you can be given a credit or refund for the event’s fee. Call the OLLI Office to use your credits as payment toward other OLLI events. If the event is dropped after the second meeting, no credit will be given, but it is still important to drop so that we’ll know who is attending and to possibly open up space for someone on a waiting list.
Contact the OLLI Office to find out what your credit balance is and to use your available credits as payment toward other OLLI events. Credits do not expire, but you need to explicitly ask to use them. Unfortunately, at this time, you cannot use your credits online.
- OLLI will issue credits, or grant a refund upon request, for study groups that are cancelled
- No refunds for in-person OLLI Out of Town events within 30 days of the event
- The OLLI annual membership fee is not refundable
There are two ways you can access your credit:
- Online — Please send us an email at [email protected] requesting a refund when you submit your online registration. Unfortunately we are unable to process credits during your online registration, but we can issue a refund from the office when you send us an email.
- Paper Registration — When you send in your paper registration form, please make a note that you are using a credit, and subtract the credit amount from the total due.
The OLLI office tries to process refunds as quickly as possible, but it may take several weeks to receive your credit/refund. Refunds are given online for online payments, and by check for cash or check payments. If you have any questions please direct them to [email protected].
When an event is full, members who would like to attend are placed on a waiting list. If space for the event opens up, the OLLI Office will contact the individuals on the waiting list by e-mail or phone in first come first served order to see if they still wish to register.
OLLI has created a more equitable registration process. The process applies only to Study Groups and Shared Interested Groups (SIGs). Registration for other OLLI programs continues on a first-come-first-served basis.
Here is what you need to know for Study Groups and Shared Interested Groups (SIGs) registration:
An initial equal opportunity registration registration period will run from mid-August to early September for Fall term and from mid-December to early January for Winter/Spring term. You can register at any time during these periods and receive equal consideration for classes that become oversubscribed.
All oversubscribed programs will be subject to a lottery to give everyone an equal chance to get in. Early registration does not increase your chances.
Everyone who applies for programs that become subject to the lottery will be notified of the outcome by e-mail a few days after the lottery is conducted.
Members who are not selected will be given refunds, placed on a wait list and invited to join if space becomes available. Our goal is to issue the refunds during the week after the lottery.
Registration for classes that are not full will still be possible on a first-come-first-served basis after January 12th. As before, you can register on-line or by mail.
All payments must be made at the time of registration.
OLLI members may purchase gift certificates and give them to others to cover the fees for OLLI lectures, study groups, and other events.
Contact the OLLI Office for details:
Email: [email protected]
Scholarships are available to offset or eliminate the costs of OLLI membership and/or programming. Scholarships are available for membership and all programs, including lectures, study groups, out of town trips, shared interest groups (SIGs), OLLI Reads, and special events. No income verification is required. For more information or to request scholarship assistance, please contact us by email or phone, [email protected] or (734) 998-9351.
One of the positives of being online only is that lectures and classes will continue online in any weather.
The videos are currently unavailable - check back soon.
OLLI members can access past lectures in OLLI’s Video Catalog. Some of our videos have been watched over 600 times since this service was launched in March 2020 - check out OLLI’s amazing video offerings!
You use OLLI's Video Catalog to locate, if necessary purchase, and to view videos. Access to some videos is free and available to the public. Viewing most videos, however, requires a current OLLI membership. Access to videos comes automatically with no additional fee when you register for the lecture or lecture series. Access to videos may also be purchased for an additional fee. You sign in using your OLLI username and password to access these videos.
Most OLLI lectures starting in Fall 2017 are recorded including the Distinguished Lecture Series (DLS, held on Tuesdays), Thursday Lecture Series (TMLS), Summer Lecture Series (SLS), and Special lectures, e.g. the Fall Kickoff lectures, the Climate Change series and the Urgent and Critical series. Exceptions are those lectures for which the lecturers did not provide recording authorization, lectures that were canceled or where there was a technical problem. If a lecture is postponed, its recording should be available at a later date.
Due to the time required to edit the lecture videos, add closed captions, and include presentation slides, new videos are usually added to the Video Catalog about 10 days after a lecture occurs.
- An online tutorial is available to help members navigate the video catalog and view videos.
- Or see a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) and answers available under Video Help for more details.
The fees for online video access follow OLLI's regular fee structure as outlined below, but remember that there is no additional charge if you purchased access to the lecture or lecture series when it was live:
- Annual Membership fee — $ 25 (required)
- All Lecture Series Package (DLS/TMLS/SLS) — $180
- All Lecture Series Package and Election 2020 Series — $210
- One TMLS Series (6) — $ 35
- Urgent and Critical Series: Climate Change, Election 2020 — $ 35
- DLS Lectures (10) — $ 55
- DLS Lectures (5) — $ 30
- Day pass/one lecture — $ 10
- Lectures from prior program years — $ 3*
- Fall Kickoff, Winter Open House, Tutorials — No Fee
- Lectures from past years — $ 3 per lecture.
* Current OLLI membership is required to view past years’ lectures.