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
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?