For 16 years, the Institute for Adult Learning at Chesapeake College has been offering an array of customized classes for the area’s active, mature learners. Without the pressure of grades and prerequisites, the classes are providing the area with lifelong learning opportunities for anyone age 50+.
“Our courses are always changing because we use member and instructor feedback to develop the classes. People tell me they end up learning about topics they always wanted to explore, but didn’t have the time for until retirement,” said Program Director Anne White. “The only requirement is that course topics are interesting and fun.”
The IAL classes, offered in Wye Mills and Cambridge, provide an opportunity to discover talents or rekindle lifelong interests.
From yoga to history to cooking and computers, the IAL course catalog covers a wide range of topics.
“Chesapeake’s IAL offers phenomenal courses with fantastic instructors who are passionate about what they teach. It’s clearly a labor of love for all the teachers, and they always bring excitement into the classrooms,” said IAL member Steve Quigley of Centreville. “I think students and instructors both enjoy the interaction and camaraderie.”
A retired manager from IBM, Mr. Quigley said he prefers classes that cover topics outside of his career experience. Classes on the Harry Potter book series and photography, are among his favorites. An IAL course on meteorology, he said, led him to become a weather watcher for the National Weather Service.
“I couldn’t be happier with the program. I planned to take one class and now take several per session,” Mr. Quigley said. “I’ve discovered new interests and feel energized by learning so many new things.”
Member Alicia Siegrist, who also serves as the IAL Council secretary, agrees that membership in IAL is worth the time commitment.
“Initially, I was attracted to IAL by classes such as Yoga and Current Events. I still enjoy these but my attraction is now to my fellow classmates, all of whom are vibrant and gregarious people with rich and varied pasts,” Mrs. Siegrist said. ”In class, for example Banned Cinema or Chinese Cooking, I may be sitting among a retired pediatrician, police officer, farmer, CEO, teacher and FBI agent. What do we have in common? At least 50 years of life experiences and a love of learning.”
Classes scheduled to begin in November include “History of Egyptian Art”, “Basic Computer Skills”, “Chinese Cooking”, “Criminal Justice”, “WWI” and “Spirituality of Dreams.”
The IAL also presents the Brown Bag Luncheon Speaker Series throughout the year. In November, Rudolph Lukacovic will discuss “Menhaden” on Monday, Nov. 6 and David Hughes will discuss “Life During the Blitz” on Monday, Nov., 27. Both presentations will be from 11:45 am to 1 pm in EDC-27.
Field trips are also part of the program. In December, IAL members will try out the Olympic sport of curling at the Talbot County Community ice rink.
Twice a year, the IAL holds wine and cheese class showcases. The events give members a chance to meet instructors and preview course topics. The Spring Showcase of Classes will be in January.