From the Director: Our website upgrade is underway!

As announced last fall, we have been warned by our web hosting service that our website is on the verge of obsolescence. Consequently, a small group of Elder Collegium staff and board members sought a consultant well versed in WordPress, the popular software we currently use. Extensive discussion, comments from the membership (thank you!), review of other non-profit sites, and face-to-face meetings with the consultant resulted in a bid to upgrade our site. At their January meeting, the Board authorized the staff to contract with our consultant and forge ahead.

The work will go on invisibly for some time. Throughout spring term, the normal pages, links, and archival materials will behave as usual. Sometime this coming summer, the new will eclipse the old, and voila! We will see familiar processes as well as new photos and some new features. Those who access the site on a variety of devices will find that the software adjusts for the screen size, making the site readable on a smartphone or tablet as well as on a computer screen. And for the first time, we will have the ability to manage registration on line, maintaining a parallel paper process as well.

Watch for an announcement when the revised site goes “live!”

~Carol Rutz, Executive Director


Diversity in Curriculum, Instructors, and Technology

Those who have taken a range of courses offered by the Cannon Valley Elder Collegium are no doubt aware that our courses range widely in subject matter. This term’s offerings continue demonstrating the breadth of the curriculum with courses ranging from architecture to music, literature, economics, foreign policy, history, philosophy, archaeology, data analytics, film, and bioethics. We welcome some new instructors and celebrate others who have anchored our offerings for years. Possibilities for lifelong learning are robust indeed.

One cannot help but notice over time that, on average, more women register for courses than men. In contrast—again on average—far more instructors tend to be men than women. A few moments of looking through Registration Summaries on our website will support both propositions. Fall term’s twelve courses featured three women instructors; winter term, just one of twelve. What about the proportion of this term’s faculty? Of eleven instructors this spring term, we happily note that four women teach courses in bioethics, architecture, foreign policy, and data analytics. Two of these women are new to the Elder Collegium, enriching the curriculum as they bring courses not previously offered. We can hope they will be enchanted with our students, leaving the term with more course ideas percolating for future terms.

Finally, we can claim some long-desired diversity in technology. If you enrolled in courses offered at Village on the Cannon winter term, you will remember that new projection and sound equipment improved the learning experience in their community room. For spring term, students enrolled in the film course offered at Nygaard Theater will benefit from important upgrades there as well.

These technical improvements were made possible by the Dekker Fund, established by Jennifer and Phil Ebeling in honor of Jennifer’s parents, Bill and Maribeth Dekker. We thank the Ebelings for their generosity and join them in honoring the Dekkers.

Enjoy diversity in several ways this term!