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Something New for Seniors

Submitted by on March 15, 2011 – 12:00 pm

Northern Essex has something new for those over 50.  This spring, the college will launch its College of Older Learners (CoOL) which features seminars led by seniors for seniors.

The four-week seminars will meet once a week on Wednesday afternoons, and topics will vary from an exploration of sacred geometry to living with hearing loss. The first series will begin March 23 with four topics to choose from.

George Medelinskas, professor of computer science at Northern Essex, came up with the idea of creating a seminar-styled learning opportunity for seniors, spent a recent sabbatical studying programs at other colleges, and then worked with a group of area seniors  as well as his colleagues to create a program at Northern Essex.

“Our goal is learning for the joy of learning,” says Medelinskas.  “Everyone, including the seminar leader, will approach the topic with a beginner’s mind.  All seminars will engage in active learning”.

Peter Spellman of West Newbury, who has been involved in CoOL planning, has experience with seminar learning.  “These things come together from the passion of the person who is teaching it.”

This spring, Medelinskas will lead a group in sacred geometry, adjunct art professor Kate Zehner will discuss Sogyal Rinpoche’s “Tibetan Book of Living and Dying” and community members Richard Mullen and Ben Coughlin will explore the importance of being an informed citizen and deaf culture respectively.

Those interested in a brief overview of what will be offered this spring are invited to attend a seminar sampler on Wednesday, March 9 from 2 to 4 p.m. in the ArtSpace in the Bentley Library on the Haverhill Campus.

For more information, contact Medelinskas at