Older community members who dream about their college days have the opportunity to get back into the classroom Sept. 27 at the Community University at the West Liberty University Highlands Center in Triadelphia.
The university is gearing up for its third semester of offering adults age 50 and older classes in subjects ranging from antiques to how to write a book or learning about land rights concerning the Marcellus Shale formation.
"It's a really nice activity for people who are retired in our community," said Jeff Knierim, vice president for community engagement. "It's an opportunity for lifelong learning and to continue to challenge people intellectually regardless of your age."
There are no tests, grades or requirements to participate in the courses presented by volunteers from the community who are excited and knowledgeable about the subjects they will teach.
"When we started this, we really found that the presenters were really passionate about their field of knowledge," Knierim said. "They really enjoy teaching, and the interaction with the students is really engaging."
Knierim mentioned a new course offered for the fall term that will take students off-campus for the first time to tour the historic homes of North Wheeling, including the Eckhart House, the Arthur Phillips House and the Hans Phillips House on Main Street.
The courses are designed to accommodate the schedules and needs of retired individuals. Classes are held during the day Monday through Friday and are almost all conducted at The Highlands location, where students can find easy parking and amenities after class is over.
None of the 20 courses offered overlap each other, so students paying a one-time fee can take as many courses as they wish throughout the week. Those interested in participating can pick up a brochure and registration form at the WLU Highlands Center, the Ohio County Public Library, the Moundsville-Marshall County Public Library and the Brooke County Public Library. Community members can also visit the Community University website to download a registration form.
Knierim said the courses have "a relaxed atmosphere" and have seen great participation from people "who like to learn just for the joy of it." He said he sees the program branching out in the future to offer courses in Brooke, Hancock and Marshall counties.
"The Community University really complements the educational opportunities offered by West Liberty," Knierim said. "It connects people to the university who might not have any other reason to be connected with us."