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Tallgrass Creek-Kansas University Partnership Proves Lifelong Learning is Ageless

July 24, 2013

OVERLAND PARK, KS  (July 24, 2013) - Residents of Tallgrass Creek retirement community in Overland Park have developed an ageless love of learning through a partnership with the Kansas University branch of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, a nonprofit offering courses on a wide range of topics to learners of all ages. Tallgrass Creek residents work closely with the Kansas University Osher Institute to develop courses they find interesting.
A hit among Tallgrass Creek residents has been a course focusing on the music of the renowned American composer and pianist, George Gershwin. The work of the Tallgrass Creek education committee, a group of residents and staff that works with the institute to develop topics, makes the course possible for residents to attend. Many of the teachers in the program have experience at the collegiate level or beyond. The Gershwin class is taught by Paul Laird, a professor of musicology in the Kansas University school of music for over 20 years.
Teachers in the program particularly enjoy their experience at Tallgrass Creek, according to Jim Peters, director of the Kansas University program.  
"Tallgrass is one of our most popular places," Peters said. "There is a very active independent living audience, and they are very involved in selecting which courses we bring into the community."        
Formerly taught in semester style, traditional class structures, the classes at Tallgrass Creek have now switched to three two-hour sessions spread over a three-week period. Per a recommendation from the education council, the switch was made in an effort to keep residents more actively engaged in the courses, demonstrating the influence Tallgrass Creek residents have on the process.     
"That seems to be enough time to drill down to a topic, but not so much time that people feel like they have to commit to it for a long period of time," Peters said.     
The partnership with the Kansas University Osher Institute has been a success, and it has kept Tallgrass Creek residents actively engaged, according to Jill Cline Evans, Resident Life Manger.    
"The education committee has proved invaluable in choosing classes residents are interested in," Cline Evans said. "And the Osher Institute has demonstrated great flexibility in involving residents in the process."