Strolling around the Farmington Hills campus in either April and May or October and November, one might think that higher education has significantly gone “silver.”
Energized seniors discuss courses, professors, philosophy, books, and travel, toting iPads and notebooks, without a single concern over grades or quizzes. This is higher education, retirement-style.
This year marks the ninth anniversary of SOAR (Society of Active Retirees), a lifelong learning initiative affiliated with both Wayne State University and Elderhostel Institute Network.
SOAR offers classes in two six-week terms, the upcoming spring term in April and May and a fall term in October and November. Seniors attend two-hour sessions in topics ranging from art and architecture to law, music, science, and travel.
One SOAR member said, "This is college as I always wanted it to be: no assignments, no papers, no quizzes, no grades, just brilliant professors sharing what they know best.”
Executive director Ralph Stromberg agrees that the faculty is the crown jewel of the Society.
“We have a quite distinguished group, all volunteers, drawn from WSU and other area colleges and universities, as well as many qualified professionals," he said. "Each brings a lifetime of study and experience in his or her chosen field. We offer around 65 courses each term - something for everyone.”
In addition to the scheduled classes, SOAR sponsors a series of field trips aimed at providing members with opportunities for cultural experiences and socialization. Field trips have included dress rehearsals at the Michigan Opera, local theater productions, and summer river cruises. Add to that a film festival, book club, and choral group, and it’s easy to see why the enthusiasm level of SOAR members is so high.
Membership in SOAR is open to all who are committed to lifelong learning. The spring term will offer 72 classes in many areas of interest.
To view this spring’s course schedule and to download a registration form, contact SOAR at soarexplore.com or call 248-489-0005.