By Bill Andrews

The following was taken from the March, 2006 issue of the Senior Academy Newsletter. Senior Academy is affiliated with the University of S. Florida, Sarasota-Manatee. It is reprinted here with permission.

Some of you will remember filling out a survey about the Senior Academy a month or so ago. Well, the preliminary results are in, and there are some interesting (curious) results.

The over forty percent survey return is well beyond the norm. So thanks to all of you who took the time to respond.

Bless the member with a sense of humor who answered “What single most important thing can the Senior Academy do to improve the value of your membership?” as follows: “I believe the Senior Academy desperately needs a school mascot. May I suggest the Madagascar tortoise. It lives to the ripe old age of 150+ years.” What next? Cheerleaders for our shuffleboard and Bocce teams?

There were ninety-one suggestions for new courses (some overlaps, but not a whole lot), including the expected requests for lots more music and art courses, advanced writing and science, literature, and political discussion courses, as well as some not-so-ordinary suggestions like fishing, bridge, voice-activated computers, preparing for one’s demise, the art of conversation, and spectator sports. Curriculum Committee, please take note.

A majority of those who responded marked “no opinion” relating to library and bookstore usage and satisfaction/dissatisfaction. We wonder what that should be telling us.

The same occurred with the “Social Interaction” question: lots of “no opinions” there also. But then in the comment section there were a number of suggestions/complaints about this aspect of the Senior Academy. The hope (even probability) is that the opportunity for socializing (lunch together, a drink or a snack between classes, just “hanging out” on the terraces and patios) will be enhanced greatly by the configuration of our new quarters on the new Campus.

One of the Academy’s dilemmas was reflected: The higher level of one’s education (Master Degree or Doctorate), the less desire there is for classes which are primarily offered for entertainment/enjoyment or for Senior Academy socialization opportunities.

The three most important criteria for current members: intellectual stimulation; a dedication to lifelong learning; and a challenging academic environment.

Last but certainly not least: the survey reported an overall satisfaction rating of 4.43 on a 5.0 scale: 51 people rating the Senior Academy at the 4 level and 75 at the 5 level.

But for now…let’s focus on that mascot. Any other suggestions?




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