Osher Lifelong Learning Institute
The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Duke (OLLI at Duke began in 1977 as the Duke Institute for Learning in Retirement, a joint venture of Duke Continuing Education and the Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development.
Since 2004, we have been members of the Osher Lifelong Learning Network, a group of over 120 lifelong learning institutes funded by the Bernard Osher Foundation, dedicated to providing excellent education for adult learners, and to extending the demographic served by traditional universities.
OLLI at Duke offers a wide array of courses - in literature, history, religion, philosophy, natural sciences, social sciences, performing arts, art and architecture, economics, finance, computers and lifestyle issues.
Our curriculum committee is responsive to the requests of our members, so our offerings are always fresh. In addition, we have social events, guest speakers, short trips, and a host of special interest groups, ranging from two book groups to foreign language clubs, from dancing troupes to bands and chorus.
OLLI classes are non-credit -there are neither tests nor grades nor educational requirements. We choose to learn from each other, to hear opposing ideas, and to synthesize the expertise of the instructor, the wisdom of our fellow students and our own opinions into new views. This synthesis keeps us strong, as individuals and as a program.
We invite you to join us!
Our courses conform to an arts and sciences curriculum and are scheduled by a fifty-member curriculum committee, on the basis of member requests, the expertise of class leaders, variety and balance. OLLI instructors are a mix of peer teachers, professors from Duke and nearby universities, graduate students, independent scholars, and community experts.
OLLI classes do not have tests, grades or educational requirements, and therefore exemplify “learning for the love of it.” Participation is essential, ranging from keeping up with assigned readings and contributing to class discussion, to sharing the results of one’s own research. Most classes are held either in The Bishop’s House on Duke’s East Campus or in the Education Building at Judea Reform Congregation on Cornwallis Road in Durham. Classes typically meet once per week for 1 ½ hours; class times are usually 9:00 am, 11:00 am, 1:30 pm, and 3:15 pm. Fall and winter term classes generally last 10 weeks; spring term classes last six weeks. Please check the detailed course descriptions for exceptions.
If you have an idea for a class or know of someone who would make a great OLLI teacher, please contact Garry Crites at 919-684-2703.
Membership & Registration
To attend OLLI at Duke classes, activities, and events, you must first remit $35 in non-refundable annual membership dues (payable when you first sign up for courses during the school year). If you purchased a membership any time between March 1, 2016 and June 30, 2016, your dues are good through June 30, 2017. If you no longer have an active membership, our registration system will automatically add one to your cart as you are checking out when you enroll in courses during registration.
If your membership has expired and you wish to purchase a new one online with a credit card, you can do by clicking on the link below and following instructions to checkout:
How to purchase a membership by phone
Call our registration office Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, EST at 919-684-6259 or at 1-866-edu-Duke.
How to purchase a membership by mail
The OLLI catalog also contains a membership form. You are welcome to return it to our registration office with check payment only. Mail it to us at:
Duke Continuing Studies
Durham, NC 27708-0700
Membership dues are non-refundable.
Registration opens at 9:00am on Tuesday, August 9. There are many ways to register.
Online Registration: Duke Continuing Studies has a new website that should make it easier for you to register!
Before registration day, make sure your web browser has been updated to a recent version. (Internet Explorer 11 or later, Firefox 27 and later, Safari 7 and later, Chrome 30 and later).
Not sure which version of browser you have?
- for Internet Explorer
- for Firefox
- for Safari
- for Google Chrome (click on the link for Chrome or scroll down the page)
With our new website, there are now three ways to find your course. Go to learnmore.duke.edu to get started.
- By course number or name: At the top right, there is a search box under the shopping cart symbol. Type in either a portion of the title (e.g., World Today) or the four-digit course number from the catalog (e.g., 0393), and hit “Enter.” The first entry that comes up in the search should be your course. Click on it, add it to the cart, and then either check out or, if you want another class, click “Close” and type another course into the search box.
- By day of the week: Click “Osher Lifelong Learning Institute,” then click the down triangle labeled “Show” under “Courses” (on the left side). Scroll down until you see your course— they are listed by day of the week—and click on it. Now you can add it to your cart.
- By Search for Courses*: Click on the Search by Courses link located on the second horizontal menu of learnmore.duke.edu, enter the four-digit course number, and then add to cart. You will then be prompted to login with your username and password.
Registration Event: If you would like help registering online, we will be having a registration event at JRC on Tuesday, August 9, 9:00am to 12:00pm. We will have trained OLLI mentors with computers to assist you. You must have your registration User Name and Password to register. If you have forgotten these, you must be able to access your home e-mail from the computers we will have onsite.
Phone Registrations: If you would like to register by phone, you may call the registration office (919-684-6259) anytime after 9:00am on Tuesday, August 9. Please do not ask to register for classes prior to this date. Members will be registered in the order calls are received. If your call goes to voicemail because of heavy call volume, leave a message; a registration member will contact you as soon as possible in the order calls are received. Please do not leave multiple messages, since these only slow down the registration team.
Paper Registrations: You still have the option of registering using the form in the catalog. Please deliver or send your form and personal check to the Bishop’s House
no sooner than Monday, August 8, and they will be processed on Registration Day in the order received. Please note: Because of security precautions, persons using the paper form must pay by check. If you prefer to use a credit card, you will need to register online or by phone.
Requests for refunds for dropped courses must be received by the end of the first week of class (September 16). After that time, no refunds will be issued except in the event of an emergency, at the discretion of OLLI at Duke staff. There will be a $20 service charge per course dropped. If a course is cancelled by OLLI at Duke, no charge will be incurred by members. Please note: Membership dues are nonrefundable.
We want our classes to be available to all who wish to participate in them. Please contact Garry Crites at 919-684-2703 to discuss financial aid. All requests are confidential.
Activities & Calendar
Activities are an integral part of the OLLI program, providing opportunities to learn and socialize outside the classroom. If you have general questions or suggestions for activities, call Kathy Parrish at 919-681-3476. If you want to find out more about any of the listed groups, please contact the coordinator for that activity.
This informal group reading contemporary literature meets on the second Monday of every month at 3:15pm in The Bishop’s House.
September: My Brilliant Friend by E. Ferrante
October: Between the world and Me by T. Coates
November: Away by A. Bloom
December: The Diver’s Clothes Lie Empty by V. Vida
January: All the Light We Cannot See by A. Doerr
Coordinator: Judy Grauer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-416-0755.
It’s time to dig out that unfinished project from the back of the closet. Knitting, quilting, crocheting, sewing . . . whatever. All are welcome. We will meet every Monday at 3:15pm in The Bishop’s House. For more information, contact Judy Grauer at email@example.com or 919-416-0755.
International Folk Dance
Join us for a fun way to get exercise, both physical and mental, and improve your balance. The folk dances we practice are done in a line or circle (no partner is needed) and are low impact (not highly strenuous). Most of the dances originated in Eastern Europe. Our ongoing class meets on Tuesdays, 1:30–2:45pm, at Croasdaile Village Retirement Community. Newcomers are welcome at any time. There is no charge, but you will need to contact coordinator Judy Stafford at 919-383-7172 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
La Table française se réunit le mardi de midi à 13h00 se réunit le mardi de midi à « The Forest at Duke ». Tous ceux qui parlent français couramment sont bienvenus! Vous nous trouverez dans l'atelier (the Craft Studio). Renseignements: Emily Lees (email@example.com) et George Entenman (firstname.lastname@example.org). Le groupe se réunit dans “The Studio at the Forest at Duke Retirement Center.” Spanish Table with Margaret Riley (email@example.com) meets from 12:45-2:30 on third Friday of each month at local Hispanic-themed restaurants.
Mac Computer Users Group
Mac users will gather for Q&A and short presentations on topics of interest. The group will meet periodically at a day, time, and place to be announced. Coordinators: Mary Jo Fickle, firstname.lastname@example.org, and Susan Eure, email@example.com.
Bring your instrument and join the group, called the Baillie Branslers. All voice categories are welcome, and we are now welcoming viola di gamba players. It is led by Kay Bailey (firstname.lastname@example.org) and meets Fridays at 1:15pm at Carol Woods Retirement Community, 750 Weaver Dairy Road, Chapel Hill.
Science Book Club
We read and discuss books of substance on topics ranging from biology, evolution, and the physical sciences to medicine, the environment, and biographies of famous scientists. You do not have to have a science degree to participate, and no registration is required. You must be an OLLI member to participate in this book club. The group usually meets the first Thursday of the month at 3:15pm at The Bishop’s House. Coordinator: Dan Oldman, 919-544-2686 or email@example.com.
Retirement Transition Group
This informal drop-in group for all OLLI members who are going through transitions in retirement and perhaps experiencing some challenges with that. The group meetings will provide an opportunity to share concerns, offer ideas that have worked, share resources we are aware of, connect with other OLLI members who are going through the same experiences and get ideas we can try on our own. The group will meet the 2nd Friday of each month at The Bishop House from 1:30-3:00. Information about the group will also be in the Spotlight and on the OLLI calendar on the member website. People can drop in at any of the meetings. There is no charge. Contact the coordinator, Corinne Schillin at firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-537-8450 to learn more and to be put on a mailing list for this group. A companion course to help navigate the adjustments in retirement, “Now What! A Roadmap into Retirement,” will be offered by Corinne Schillin at various times during the year.
|Tuesday, August 9||Registration for Fall courses begins at 9:30 am|
|Sunday, September 11||Opening Convocation at JRC from 2:00-4:00 pm|
|Monday, September 12||OLLI Fall classes begin|
|Monday, October 3||Rosh Hashanah - no classes at JRC|
|Wednesday, October 12||Yom Kippur - no classes at JRC|
|Monday-Friday, October 24-28||OLLI Fall Break - no classes|
|Monday-Friday, November 21-25||Thanksgiving Break-no classes|
|Friday, December 2||Last day for most OLLI Fall classes|
OLLI at Duke relies heavily on the volunteer efforts of members to keep the program running. Members teach classes, coordinate lecture series, lead small-group discussions, organize activities and volunteer projects, serve on the Board of Advisors and committees, act as class assistants, make coffee, and volunteer for all the tasks that make us an exemplary organization. Please read the bulletin boards, e-mails, and newsletters to find out about opportunities to take advantage of one of the many opportunities listed or to suggest a new program or activities. A volunteer form is also included in the OLLI course catalog.
Class members act as assistants to the instructors, helping to ensure that announcements are made, equipment is set up, and handouts are distributed. Class assistants are essential to the smooth functioning of OLLI at Duke and enjoy the benefit of becoming better acquainted with both faculty and fellow class members. Training will be provided! If you would like to volunteer to be the class assistant in one or more of your classes, contact Garry Crites at 919-684-2703 to let him know which instructor you would like to assist.
We welcome both new and longtime members to become part of the leadership of OLLI at Duke. Serving on the board, either in an elected office or as a committee chair, will allow you to use your talents, contribute to the success of this dynamic organization, and be part of many facets of the OLLI at Duke community.
Even if you are not ready to coordinate activities for an entire year, you may want to contribute by organizing a trip so that our members can learn more about a favorite North Carolina attraction; members have coordinated trips to the Duke Primate Center, the North Carolina Zoo, the potteries of Seagrove, North Carolina, and the wineries of the Yadkin Valley. We need people to do everything from creating lecture series to pouring wine. We always need help with convocations and picnics. These activities are important ways to meet new people and learn more about the organization.
The knowledge and experience of OLLI at Duke members has been much sought after and appreciated by a variety of community agencies. Directors of the following projects would be delighted to add new volunteers to their ranks.
Duke Center for Aging and Human Development
In 1977, OLLI at Duke, then called the Duke Institute for Learning in Retirement (DILR), began as a joint venture between Continuing Education and the Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development, and OLLI at Duke members continue to volunteer to participate in studies for the Center for Aging. Pick up an application in the OLLI office.
Duke University’s International House
University International House provides many services for international students and faculty at Duke. You can help by being an “International Friend” or by participating in English language conversation groups. Call International House, (919) 681-6080, for more information.
Members & Leadership
Who Belongs to OLLI at Duke?
All adults, who wish to pursue academic interests are encouraged to join. Our membership has included high school drop-outs and college presidents, native North Carolinians and newcomers, professionals and homemakers. Uniting such a rich and diverse mix of backgrounds and interests is the common goal of deepening our understanding of the world around us through study and discussion.
The fact that our students are members of OLLI at Duke underscores that this is a cooperative venture, relying on the contributions and participation, both in class and out, of each member. Believing that learning is dependent on active involvement, members teach classes, coordinate lecture series, lead small-group discussions, serve on the Board of Advisors and committees, act as class assistants, help with record-keeping and administration, make coffee, and volunteer for many other tasks, both large and small.
OLLI at Duke, headquartered in The Bishop’s House on Duke’s East Campus, is an organization where lifelong learners can enjoy daytime courses, good conversation, and the companionship of peers. In this relaxed and congenial atmosphere, OLLI at Duke affords an opportunity to rekindle former interests and pursue new ones in classes without papers or tests, where members have in common a passion for learning and all the benefits that come from keeping mind and body healthy, active, and engaged. In addition to the programming available exclusively to our members, being part of the Duke community provides access to a wealth of intellectual and cultural activities.
Classes are held in a variety of locations throughout the area: The Bishop’s House on Duke’s East Campus, the Judea Reform Congregation Education Building near the intersection of Highway 15-501 and Cornwallis Road in Durham, Smith Warehouse Computer Lab near the intersection of Main and Buchanan in Durham, area retirement communities, and a variety of sites both on and off Duke’s campus.
Founded in 1977 as a joint venture of Duke University Continuing Education and the Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development, DILR/OLLI has grown from its 42 original members to over 1800 each year, with a curriculum of over 100 classes each semester.
OLLI at Duke operates under the auspices of Duke Continuing Studies and Summer Session. We are a member-led organization with our own Board of Advisors, bylaws and committees. OLLI at Duke is managed by a Director and an Assistant to the Director, who are employees of Duke Continuing Studies.
The OLLI Board of Advisors consists of the President and Vice President, who serve one-year terms, six At-Large Advisors, who serve three-year terms, and committee chairs who serve one‑year terms, and the Past President. The Director and the Assistant to the Director are ex‑officio members of the board.
We are always looking for people to help with events and committees. If you would like to talk to someone about volunteering at OLLI, or if you have ideas for a new activity or improvements to an existing program, please contact Garry Crites at 919-684-2703.
2015 - 2016 Officers
(one-year term, elected at annual meeting)
President: Gregg McPherson
Vice President: Marvin Teer
Past President: Wendell Musser
Term Ending 2017: Betsy Bullen, Charlie Squillante
Term Ending 2018: Margaret Riley, Mary Ellen Walkama
(one-year term, appointed by President)
Board Development: Gregg McPherson
Communications: Raymond Conroy
Curriculum: Ginny Knight
Instructor Relations: Mike Bahnaman
Membership: Margaret McKeon
Strategic Planning: Mary Alexion
Space: Marvin Teer
Volunteer Relations: Stephanie Johnson
Director: Garry Crites
Assistant to the Director: Kathy Parrish
Representatives at Judea Reform Education Building: Susanna Chabinak-Uhlig, Jo Ann Dubberley, Roz Wolbarsht
Staying in Touch
OLLI at Duke keeps members informed and connected to the program in a number of ways.
Members can always check out the latest news and find flyers and sign-up sheets for groups and activities on our bulletin boards, located at The Bishop’s House and the Judea Reform Education Building.
OLLI at Duke's staff, instructors, class assistants and leaders send out occasional e-mails to the membership to inform them of breaking news. Please contact Garry Crites at 919-684-2703 or at email@example.com to make sure that we have your e-mail address if you want to receive these notices.
The OLLI Spotlight is an online newsletter issued bi-weekly to members via email, provided by the Communications committee and published biweekly on Sundays (less often during holiday breaks and in the summer). If you are an Olli member and currently do not receive the Spotlight, please contact Garry Crites at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please email email@example.com to suggest an item for inclusion.
OLLI at Duke maintains a members-only website (olliatduke.org) designed to keep members up to date on available courses, scheduled events, activities, and items of interest. Contact Kathy Parrish (919-681-3476) for the password.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I get to my class?
See the Directions section below for sites where we hold most OLLI classes.
Most classes are held at The Bishop’s House on the Duke East Campus or at the Education Building at the Judea Reform Congregation on Cornwallis Road. Our computer classes are held at the Smith Warehouse, Bay 6. Directions for classes held at other sites in the community are for the most part listed as part of the course description.
Where do I park for my OLLI classes?
All OLLI at Duke members are eligible to receive a parking pass that will permit them to park at the Bishop’s House, at Judea Reform Congregation (JRC), and certain other locations. You may pick a pass up at either facility.
The Bishop’s House: There are a limited number of parking spaces around The Bishop’s House, including three handicapped spaces. The OLLI parking permit must be kept on your dashboard when you park at The Bishop’s House, or you may receive a $40 ticket from Duke Parking and Transportation. Your parking permit also allows you to park in the EAE (East Commuter) lot on Epworth lane opposite Trinity Avenue.
When classes are changing, please wait in line at the bottom of the small hill leading to The Bishop’s House lot. This allows people to leave, opening up spaces for the next class. Do not drive around those who are patiently waiting in line. Do not block other cars. Try to park carefully so that we can accommodate as many cars as possible. Finally, be careful backing into and out of spaces. The surface in this parking lot is uneven, and we want to avoid accidents.
To use the handicapped spots, you need an official North Carolina handicapped parking tag. Campus parking restrictions are strongly enforced with a $100 fine.
Your OLLI parking permit is also valid for the lot at Asbury United Methodist Church on Markham Avenue and Sedgefield Street. City parking restrictions limit us to two-hour parking on the side streets adjacent to East Campus.
Judea Reform Congregation Education Building: Parking is in the lot adjacent to the building. It is plentiful, well-marked and well-surfaced. Beginning the 2015-2016 school year, you will need an OLLI parking permit on your dashboard to park at JRC. To use the handicapped spaces, you will need an official North Carolina handicapped parking tag. Please do not park in spaces designated for members of the congregation, or in spots designated for JRC staff. The JRC buildings and grounds are a non-smoking campus.
For classes held at sites in the community: Please check the course description in the online or print catalog for specific guidelines on parking.
Do you hold class if the weather is bad or there is a community emergency?
OLLI at Duke classes will be cancelled when the Durham Public Schools are closed for reasons of weather. If the situation is ambiguous, or if the schools are delayed, there will be a message on the office phone (919-684-2703) by 8 a.m. on the morning in question. Listen for details about the Durham schools on WTVD (Channel 11), WDNC (620 AM) or WCHL (1360 AM). You can also check out the WRAL TV website.
Where can I get lunch between OLLI classes?
Options at The Bishop’s House include bringing a brown-bag lunch, using facilities such as the Marketplace in the nearby Duke East Campus Union, and exploring nearby restaurants in the Ninth Street area. At Judea Reform, you may bring a lunch and eat in the commons area. Please note: We comply with the dietary guidelines at Judea—no pork, no shellfish, and no meat and dairy on the same plate. Staff at Judea also maintains a list and map listing restaurants in the area.
Are OLLI facilities accessible?
Duke University encourages persons with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities. If you anticipate needing any type of accommodation or have questions about the physical access provided, please call the OLLI office at 919-681-3476 in advance of your participation or visit. The first floor of The Bishop’s House (where we hold all OLLI classes and the OLLI administrative staff works) is accessible and includes one accessible rest room. All facilities at Judea Reform Congregation Education Building are accessible.
How do I request a catalog?
Click on this link: REQUEST A CATALOG, select the OLLI catalog you wish to order, and click on Submit.
(Note: If you already have a user account, we recommend that you first go to Student Login to retrieve your username and password before making the request. If you are new to OLLI, make the request, and follow the prompts to create your user account.)
How do I add, drop, or get a refund for an OLLI class?
Please contact Garry Crites at 919-684-2703 to find out more about dropping, adding, and refunds. Refunds must be requested by the end of the first week of classes. There will be a $20 processing fee per transaction per course drop per member. Memberships are not refundable.
How long does my membership last?
Membership follows the academic calendar and runs from September through June. Those who join for the short spring term (beginning in April) will be enrolled for the entire following academic year.
- Duke University Campus (comprehensive)
- East Campus
- West Campus
- Bishop's House
- Smith Warehouse Bldg.
- Judea Reform Congregation
From I-85 Northbound
To West Campus:
Exit at Duke University/HWY 751. At the first light, turn right onto 751. You will drive several miles through Duke Forest. Pass through the light at Erwin Road and follow the West Campus map.
To East Campus:
Exit at Guess Road and Turn right. Follow Guess Road across W. Club Blvd, where Guess will change to Buchanan Blvd. Follow the East Campus map.
To Smith Warehouse Bldg.:
Exit at Guess Road and turn right. Follow Guess Road across W. Club Blvd., where Guess changes to Buchanan Blvd. Follow Buchanan Blvd along Duke’s East Campus. Cross Main Street. The Smith Warehouse is just past the railroad tracks on your right. See the Smith Warehouse Map. Continuing Studies is located in Bay 6.
From I-85 Southbound
To West Campus:
Exit onto 15/501 South toward Chapel Hill, then exit 15/501 at Duke University/Hwy 751 and turn left. Follow the West Campus map.
To East Campus:
Exit at Guess Road and Turn left. Follow Guess Road across W. Club Blvd, where Guess will change to Buchanan Blvd. Follow the East Campus map.
To Smith Warehouse Bldg.:
Exit at Guess Road and turn left. Follow Guess Road across W. Club Blvd., where Guess changes to Buchanan Blvd. Follow Buchanan Blvd along Duke’s East Campus and cross Main Street. The Smith Warehouse is just past the railroad tracks on your right. See the Smith Warehouse Map. Continuing Studies is located in Bay 6.
Take I-40 to 147N (Durham Freeway). Follow 147 past downtown Durham, exiting at Swift Avenue.
To West Campus:
Turn left and follow Swift to Duke University Road. Turn right, then right on 751, and follow the map of West Campus.
To East Campus:
Turn right on Swift, then right on Main St and follow the East Campus map.
To Smith Warehouse Bldg.:
Turn right onto Swift Ave. Cross the railroad tracks and make a right at the next light onto Main Street. Follow the Main street until you reach Buchanan Blvd. Turn right and cross the railroad tracks. Smith Warehouse will be on your right. See the Smith Warehouse Map. Continuing Studies is located in Bay 6.
To Judea Reform Congregation:
Take I-40 to 147N (Durham Freeway). Follow 147 past downtown Durham and the Swift Avenue exit. Take Exit 16-B / 15-501 South / Chapel Hill. Take 15-501 South to Cornwallis Road exit (Exit 106). Turn left onto Cornwallis Rd. Go under 15-501 and take the third driveway on the right after the Western Bypass service Road.
From Chapel Hill
Take 15/501 Bypass to Durham.
To West Campus:
Exit at 751 and turn right. and then follow map of West campus. OR Exit 15/501 at 147S. Follow to Swift Ave and turn right to Campus Drive. Turn right on Campus Drive and follow the West Campus map.
To East Campus:
Exit 15/501 at 147S (Durham Freeway). Follow 147S to Swift Avenue. Exit and turn left on Swift. Turn right at Main Street and follow the East Campus map.
To Smith Warehouse Bldg.:
Follow 15-501 North, marked to Duke Univ./Med Ctr. Do not take 15-501 Business. Continue on US 15-501 to exit #108 B (N.C. 147 S/Durham Freeway). Take Durham Freeway S. to Swift Ave. exit (#14), marked East Campus. Take exit and turn left onto Swift Ave. Go through your first light, cross the railroad tracks, and make a right at the next light onto Main Street. Follow Main Street until you reach Buchanan Blvd. Take a right on Buchanan Blvd. Cross the railroad tracks and the Smith Warehouse will be immediately to your right. See the Smith Warehouse map. Continuing Studies is located in Bay 6.
To Judea Reform Congregation:
Follow 15-501 North. Take the first exit (Exit 106 - Cornwallis Road); turn right onto Cornwallis Road. Take the third driveway on the right after Western Bypass service road.
To the Bishop's House on East Campus, Office of Continuing Studies
Take 147 Durham Freeway to Swift Avenue exit. From Chapel Hill, turn left onto Swift; from Raleigh turn right. At the traffic light just after the railroad tracks, turn right onto Main Street. At the second light, turn left onto Buchanan Boulevard. Turn left at the second entrance into campus, opposite Dacian Avenue on the right. Follow the road around to the right; it ends at a white house on a slight hill.