MISSOULA – The MOLLI program at the University of Montana is thriving. This fall there are nearly 800 individuals registered for courses, an all-time enrollment high. MOLLI membership also has grown to 637 members since the start of the fall term on Oct. 3.
MOLLI is one of many Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes across the county. The program is a resource for adults aged 50 and older who enjoy having a relationship with UM, connecting with others and learning for learning’s sake. MOLLI courses are noncredit and without the pressure of grades or tests.
Courses are offered during three, six-week terms: fall, winter and spring. This fall, 23 different courses are offered. They are academic in nature and traditionally taught by UM faculty, emeritus faculty and professionals from the community. Students can choose subject matter ranging from “Contemporary Issues in International Human Rights” to “Walking through Missoula’s History” and everything in between.
MOLLI is a membership organization, with annual memberships costing $20. Each class costs $60, with a discount for those individuals taking multiple classes within the same term.
“We try to keep it affordable and accessible to everyone,” said Roger Maclean, the dean of UM’s School of Extended & Lifelong Learning, which facilitates and houses the MOLLI program. “It really is a community program.”
Hal Stearns, a long-standing MOLLI instructor, generally teaches Montana history courses. He earned his master’s in history and doctorate in education from UM. He spent many years as a history teacher at Missoula’s Sentinel High School and later at UM. He said the biggest difference in teaching MOLLI classes and graduate students is the more relaxed atmosphere that comes from people being there just for the joy of learning.
“With MOLLI students, every student is interested and attentive, because they chose that specific subject,” Stearns said.
MOLLI’s winter term starts Jan. 23, with registration beginning Dec. 9. MOLLI’s annual fundraising campaign begins Oct. 31 for those interested in helping sustain this valuable community resource.
Western Montana, Dailies