Lifelong learners in North Phoenix will have a new ASU home

November 8, 2021

Lifelong learners in the Northeast Phoenix Valley will have a new ASU location where they can take credit-free classes, hear lectures, attend events and interact with each other starting this spring.

Arizona State University’s Osher Lifelong Center, or ASU’s OLLI, already has locations on the Tempe, Downtown Phoenix, and West campuses, but has moved into several spaces in the northern part of the valley over the years. , said its director. , Richard Knopf.

ASU Health Futures Center in northeast Phoenix. Photo by Charlie Leight / ASU News
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Using the new ASU Health Futures Center will give OLLI at ASU a presence in this part of town with state-of-the-art classrooms, at a facility near 64th Street and Mayo Boulevard, which houses the Mayo Clinic and Arizona State University. Alliance for Healthcare, Knopf said.

The alliance’s common goal, according to the Health Futures Center website, is to “bring together the brightest minds to accelerate cutting-edge research discoveries, improve patient care through innovation, and transform the world. medical education to improve health outcomes at individual, community and national levels. . “

OLLI at ASU engages learners aged 50 and over with a wide variety of educational opportunities in multiple subject areas without the usual assessments involved in most college level courses, meaning there are no grades. , exams or prerequisites.

People who sign up for courses, known as members, can also attend campus events, join local affinity groups, and get group discounts on local arts and culture events as well as media networks. social.

We asked Knopf, a professor at the School of Community Resources and Development based at Watts College for Public Service and Community Solutions, about OLLI’s new presence in the community as the institute begins offering classes at the Health Futures Center in spring 2022.

Note: Some answers have been edited for length and / or clarity.

Question: How was the OLLI organized during the ASU events at the Health Futures Center in North Phoenix? Where else is OLLI based at ASU?

Reply: Two dimensions to this response. The first is that it has always been a dream for me, and therefore for OLLI, to have sites that, in addition to our normal university-wide offerings, would focus on a certain area of ​​the community. awareness. Like maybe downtown, arts and culture; Tempé, education; that sort of thing. TO HFCCenter for the Future of Health, we will focus on providing seniors with an in-depth look at cutting-edge research and breakthroughs in medicine, psychology, care, mindfulness and well-being. When I saw this Health Futures Center go live – and it’s been under construction for a few years – I thought to myself, wouldn’t it be great to be a part of this facility? Wouldn’t it be great to co-create with HFC an important part of their mission to reach out to the external community and disseminate information from research on health and well-being? … If you go to the HFC website, you will see that education plays a big role up there, so I thought, maybe OLLI has a role in that.

Since OLLI at ASU moved to Watts College 15 years ago, we have strived to be geographically distributed and have always strived to have a presence in the northeast of the valley. We went from room to room every year knowing full well that the room wouldn’t last long for us. I bet we’ve been through six or seven sites there. … Then this building arrived …

This feeling of being on an ASU facility to provide OLLI offerings to ASU is powerful. This is what our members want, this is what is good for ASU and this building is exploding with the synergy between a wide range of disciplines bringing real change in the advancement of health. There is cutting edge research by Mayo Clinic, by ASU and a merger of the two world famous entities. You can bring these innovators and academics right into the classroom. The inevitable bond of the elderly to the ASU and Mayo Clinic businesses is a hard-hitting thing.

Q: Describe the facilities at the Health Futures Center and what they will offer your lifelong learners.

A: First, it is interdisciplinary and inter-organizational fusion at its best. … I can’t tell you how many, but there are at least nine or 10 academic entities within ASU, all gathered in this space. …

What is happening in this building is people who are not normally together doing it and doing this ideation, becoming knowledge entrepreneurs, testing new ideas, and exploding the limits of current understanding. Another piece is the incredible cutting edge research infrastructure out there. You go from room to room and you are simply blown away by your glimpse into the future of the research devices, tools and technologies crammed into this building. And students and faculty are thinking about ways to create a better future for all. Much of the building’s design reflects the aspiration of researchers to interact and connect with each other, so that people of all research perspectives and skill sets converge on the ultimate mission of provide a better health future for all.

There are other things about the inspirational qualities of the building. They have a huge auditorium; it can accommodate 190 at least. Thus, we can co-create unique and innovative programs such as recruiting national and global experts on healthy aging and longevity to share their message of hope.

ASU Health Futures Center, auditorium, January 2021

The auditorium of the ASU Health Futures Center. Photo by Charlie Leight / ASU News

Q: OLLI at ASU has been remarkably successful in moving their classes to Zoom during the COVID-19 pandemic. Will OLLI’s presence at the Health Futures Center make it possible to offer more in-person classes?

A: We already have 15 courses on site ready to launch in the spring semester. The courses will be delivered, like all ASU courses, in a dual modality – providing large-scale access while allowing for face-to-face instruction for those who so desire. The dual modality solves a long-standing historic challenge for OLLI at ASU – how to continue to extend ASU’s service to a wide range of older people dispersed over a wide geographic area. We now have the best of both worlds: live lessons with all their community building potential and online streaming with all of its own unique mechanics for building community as well.

This new installation will never interrupt our enormous capacity for online presence. It will improve it. This will allow more people to have access to the phenomena occurring in this building.

Q: Does this new location allow for the creation of new courses that have not been offered previously or multiple sections of existing courses?

A: There will be a pinch of past successful OLLI courses at ASU that address quality of life issues. But the big answer to this question is, by all means! We are going to have not only courses, but special events and opportunities that have never been in our portfolio in the past. We know our seniors have incredible gifts. My dream is to have opportunities for them to partner with HFC professors in creating and conducting impactful research. And above all, serve as life and research coaches for the preponderance of ASU students who will adorn the building. There is going to be a lot more on my radar; let’s see if we can do it.

Q: How does the new facility fit into ASU’s mission?

A: Everything is linked to ASU’s capacity for innovation, its entrepreneurial spirit, its desire to be a player in positive societal transformation. OLLI at ASU is an important vehicle for the type of community integration that President (Michael) Crow has instilled in our institution. OLLI at ASU’s mission is to showcase the brilliance of ASU as a local, national and global leader. We are an integral part of ASU’s lifelong learning mission with the fullest understanding of the concept – a learning that never ends as we all seek to cultivate our potential and find spaces for contribute to the whole of society. The new facility adds incredible texture to this mission.

Q: Tell us about the “storytelling event” that OLLI at ASU will be holding at the new location from 3pm to 6pm on Friday December 17th. What will happen then?

A: Two of our members who are very gifted in the creative arts team up with a faculty expert from South Mountain Community College in the healing process and the legacy potential of storytelling. They decided to host an event at HFC in their state-of-the-art auditorium to serve as a “ribbon cut” for our presence at HFC and our participation in its mission. Storytelling is very present in Phoenix. We will work with other organizations to make it a flagship event for the whole region. A great secondary benefit is that OLLI at ASU will continue to fuel the creative energies of our wonderful metropolitan area while promoting the mission of the HFC.

More information on the December 17th event will be available soon on

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