Learning in Retirement (LIR), based in Amherst and Northampton, Massachusetts, changed its name to Five College Learning in Retirement (5CLIR) to reflect its unique relationship with the five colleges in the area: University of Massachusetts, Smith College, Amherst College, Mount Holyoke College, and Hampshire College. The program, which was modeled after the Harvard Institute, will soon celebrate its 20th anniversary.

5CLIR was established around a core program of seminars. All seminars are led by unpaid member volunteers, who initiate ideas for seminar topics and plan the implementation of the seminars under the guidance of a Curriculum Committee. Each participant in a seminar is expected to participate actively, usually by making a presentation on a specific topic and leading a follow-up discussion. Although most seminars meet for two hours once a week for ten weeks, seminar leaders are encouraged to be creative in designing seminars and providing for group participation. Now that 5CLIR has about 250 members, 20-30 different seminars are offered in each of two semesters.

Every semester 5CLIR has more than enough members willing and eager to lead seminars as most people enjoy sharing an interest of theirs with other active participants. While everyone in a seminar is both a “teacher” and a learner, leaders find that preparing for and experiencing a seminar affords the opportunity for even greater learning.





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