a photo of an OLLI instructor teaching a class

The ever-changing OLLI faculty is at the heart of the OLLI member experience. We welcome and appreciate new and returning instructors, and invite course proposals that range from academic subjects to skills and activities. We also encourage a variety of teaching formats, including facilitated discussions of books, films or ideas; informational lectures; hands-on instruction; and field trips.


Our volunteer instructors have found that teaching, in some cases for the first time, to be a rich and rewarding experience. The topic selected may reflect either vocational expertise or an avocational passion. Invariably, OLLI instructors report that the teaching process deepens their own knowledge of the subject matter.

The relationship between instructors and students at OLLI is uniquely egalitarian. OLLI members are in an instructor’s class by choice. There are no tests or papers to grade, and the classroom environment is casual and relaxed. OLLI students bring their own expertise and life experiences to the classroom, which makes for lively exchanges.

OLLI instructors do not need to be an OLLI member, hold a particular degree or have taught previously. What we do require is knowledge of the subject matter, thorough preparation, sensitivity to different learning styles, adherence to OLLI policies and guidelines, and an ability to communicate concepts in a clear fashion. For health-related courses, licensure in the field being taught is required.

Realistically, not everyone was born to teach, and not all topics will attract students. OLLI reserves the right to assign its classroom space to individuals who best meet member interests.

Who Does What

The OLLI office staff receives course proposals, clarifies information on the forms, schedules courses, and prepares the quarterly course catalogs. The all-volunteer OLLI Curriculum Committee reviews course proposals, provides instructor support and training, and accepts or rejects courses based on OLLI policies. 

Instructor Benefits

While OLLI does not pay its instructors, we do offer instructor benefits that go beyond personal satisfaction.

  • Instructors receive a credit voucher based on the number of course sessions they teach that can be used towards OLLI membership fees.
  • Some OLLI courses are also qualified as SOU one credit courses. See the description of this program and how courses are selected for inclusion.
  • Instructors receive special privileges at SOU’s Hannon Library, depending on whether their course are in the one credit program or not.
One-Credit Courses Non-Credit Courses
Books 21 days 21 days
Audio 7 days in library use
Video 7 days 7 days
Summit* Yes No
Interlibrary Loan* Yes No
Privileges expire End of Term End of Term
*One-credit instructors need to submit a "new account" form at the circulation desk to gain this privilege.

Instructor Support

The OLLI Curriculum Committee stands ready to help prospective instructors prepare a course proposal and utilize teaching tools that can range from flip charts to I.T. equipment. Guides for use of the IT equipment are available for download in PDF format: Guide for I.T. at Ashland Campbell Center; Guide for I.T. at Medford Higher Education Center. An instructor workshop is held at least annually, and coaching and mentoring is also available once a course is underway.