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Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

October 2019 - Community Relations Team Member Spotlight

Chandra Allison                  

Name: Chandra Allison

Title: Program Coordinator for Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI)

How long have you worked at VU?

24 years at VU, 22 months with OLLI. 

What is your biggest accomplishment to date at VU or in OLLI?

Being at VU for almost 25 years is an accomplishment. I’ve been fortunate to have had the opportunity to work in different areas of the university and learn the many facets of this university. VU has been my teacher, and I am grateful.

What do you think people should know about OLLI that they would not know from visiting the website?

Our volunteers are the key component to our success. Without them, we would not be able to accomplish our goals.

What is the most fascinating thing that you’ve learned from a class offering from OLLI?

I have not participated in a class, but I learn over and over that the most valuable asset that you will ever have is your mind and what you put into it. That is why lifelong learning is important.

If you were emperor, who would you invite to lead an OLLI class?

Former First Lady Michelle Obama

Where would you like to see OLLI in the next 10 years?

I would like to see OLLI grow in membership and diversity, and possibly one day have its own building.

 August 2019 

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at Vanderbilt University is an inclusive group that strives to organize and present to the greater Nashville community stimulating intellectual and cultural noncredit courses, programs, and trips for adults over 50 of all educational backgrounds. We are very proud of OLLI’s three-year relationship with Fisk University – particularly since the classes are taught by Fisk professors on the beautiful campus of this historically black institution.

Dr. Paul Kwami, associate professor of music at Fisk University, taught “The Original Fisk Jubilee Singers, Their Tour and Their Music” course. Reavis Mitchell, Ph.D., professor of history and dean of the school of humanities social and behavioral sciences, taught the course entitled “A History of Fisk University."

“Diversity and inclusion continue to be among our most important priorities, as reflected in the curriculum for this summer,” said OLLI at Vanderbilt Director Norma Clippard. “We are striving to expand into a variety of neighborhoods across Nashville, and the Fisk partnership is an important component of our programs.” "I know that Fisk professors have enjoyed the strong engagement and enthusiasm of the OLLI lifelong learners on our campus,” said Rodney Hanley, provost and vice president of academic affairs at Fisk University. “We are delighted to continue this community partnership with Vanderbilt.”

These following noncredit classes are the types of classes that were offered this summer:

  • “Tickling Your Taste Buds with Nashville’s Latino Cuisines” taught by Cynthia Wasick, Senior Lecturer, Department of Spanish & Portuguese, Vanderbilt University
  • “Nutrition and Health: Issues and Insights” taught by Jamie Pope, Assistant Professor, Nutritional Sciences, Vanderbilt University School of Nursing
  • “Exploring Digital Storytelling Through Scalar” taught by Mickey Casad, Executive Director of the Center for Digital Humanities, Vanderbilt University
  • “Art and Power: The Visual Arts as Expression and Instrument of Power” taught by Marcia Lavine, Retired Teacher at University School of Nashville
  • “The Principles of Tai Chi and Daily Movements” taught by Cindy Hui-Lio, Instructional Systems Designer and Usability Researcher, Osher Center for Integrative Medicin
  • Music for Seniors: Beginners Harmonica Learning Lab taught by Bronson Herrmuth, Teaching Artist and Charlie McCoy, Teaching Artist
  • “A Day of Mindfulness Practice” taught by Cameron Gordon, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, Middle Tennessee State University and Kendall Hinote, Founder, Mindfulness in Nashville Education
  • “Music Cities” A Study of Musical Sounds and Spaces” taught by Robbie Fry, Senior Lecturer, Vanderbilt Blair School of Music


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