Who are we and what are we about?

Cannon Valley Elder Collegium is a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization that provides high quality learning experiences in the liberal arts for students over age fifty (retired or not). We are based in the town of Northfield, Minnesota, a community of 20,000 residents, rich in educational resources with two nationally-ranked liberal arts colleges, Carleton and St. Olaf. The city is home for an increasing number of retirees who are attracted by the wide range of cultural opportunities available in a small town setting.

The instructors for CVEC include retired faculty from our two colleges, but also include persons, retired or not, from other walks of life. Our students live predominantly in Northfield and nearby towns, though some commute from as far away as the Twin Cities and Rochester.

Here are some key facts and guiding principles for our courses:

– We are dedicated to providing fun and interesting learning experiences for seniors.

– Our courses are provided in three terms each year: Fall (mid-September to early November), Winter (early January to early March), and Spring (late March to mid-May).

– We offer approximately fifteen courses each term, for a total of approximately 45 courses during the year. Courses generally meet once per week for two hours per class (with a short break in the middle), and most courses are eight weeks long.

– Courses are generally limited to 20 students, to allow for student participation and discussion. We find that the opportunity to exchange ideas and opinions is important to our students.

– We assume that our students have graduated from high school. No other formal education is required or necessary.

– The fee for a full eight-week course is $50, an amount that has not changed since CVEC was founded. That fee is waived for registrants who request financial assistance, with no questions asked. Students may withdraw from a course before the second class meeting and receive a full refund.

– We solicit input from our students through course evaluations and requests for course topics.