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Adult learning courses adapt to meet members' needs

POSTED: July 30, 2014 1:03 a.m.

The Brenau University Learning and Leisure Institute, a program that offers nondegree courses and activities to adults, is adapting after a member survey showed a need for more flexible pricing and scheduling.

The group will hold a combined town hall and registration meeting on Aug. 6 so people can learn about the changes before signing up for classes.

The most significant change is in the pricing.

Incoming BULLI President Bill Early said the organization will now charge lower membership fees to people who join later in the year. Previously, membership fees were $130 for people who join in the fall, when the group begins its year, and $60 for people who join in the summer. After the survey showed the $130 fee for people joining in winter or spring was discouraging new membership, the BULLI committee decided to pro-rate its fees each season.

“We took the $130 fee, and it’s still $130 for the full year, but it drops to $105 if you sign up in the winter, down to $90 if you sign up in the spring and $60 if you sign up in the summer,” Early said. “There is still a $40 fee per class, but the membership fee helps administer the whole program. We’re self-financing,” with the exception of meeting space provided by Brenau.

Early said the group is also planning to expand the scheduling for its classes as a result of the survey. Currently, classes last six to seven weeks, but Early said members wanted shorter classes, because the longer sessions are more likely to overlap with other plans such as vacations.

“We’re not changing our basic structure; we’re just going to add these different courses,” he said.

BULLI offers classes in a range of subjects including history, art history and appreciation, literature, religion and philosophy. Early said the group tries to offer its most popular classes every year, and offers additional classes such as architecture on an occasional basis.

“We try to meet two types of needs: learning and leisure. The learning is the primary part because we offer courses, usually 12 to 13 each year. ... The other part is social activities. We have an extremely active hiking group. We have evenings out to dinner. We have special activities, or go to Atlanta for some special occasion. We have travel, both local and international. We even have a bard’s group (for poetry writers).”

Early said the meeting is designed to inform both current members and people who are interested in becoming members about what the program has to offer.

It will be held at 3 p.m. Aug. 6 in the Brenau Downtown Center in Gainesville.

Participants will hear about the changes to fees and classes, hear from instructors about course offerings, hear the results of the survey and register for upcoming classes. It will be followed by a social event with wine and snacks.


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