Learning for a lifetime

Individuals participate in a Mediterranean Lifestyle course offered through the Lifelong Learning Collaborative. Photo courtesy of Catherine Pangan

RYANN BAHNLINE | NEWS CO-EDITOR | rbahnline@butler.edu 

“Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.” This quote from Albert Einstein frames the Lifelong Learning Collaborative (LLC) website. The LLC is a program formulated for individuals ranging in age from recent college graduates to senior citizens to continue fostering intellectual growth and development. 

Dr. Catherine Pangan, a professor in the College of Education and interim director for the LLC, said that the program fosters pure learning for learning’s sake. 

“It’s open to all and exists for people who want to learn more,” Pangan said. “[It is for people] who are curious about things, who want to connect with a community in a really joyful and relaxed environment.” 

The program began in the Transformation Lab, or the Lab for short. According to its website, The Transformation Lab works on large, complex innovations that involve new educational or business models to advance the University’s strategic direction. 

The Lab moves ideas through six different phases. In the Ideate stage, the Lab and its partners conceptualize and process innovative solutions. Moving into the Assess stage, the Lab begins to shape these ideas into a potential programmatic or business model solution. One of the most important stages is the Validation stage, in which research occurs regarding market scans, SWOT — strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats — analysis, financial analysis and risk assessment. In the Design phase, a prototype is developed and results in a complete model that is ready to pilot. 

Then in the Pilot phase, the Lab and partners test the model in action. A smaller sample of the full model is introduced and results from the model are tracked. These results allow for the model to be redefined and the future of the model to be scoped and refined. After a successful pilot occurs, finally, the Launch stage commences, and it becomes a part of the standard operations for the university. 

Stephanie Hinshaw, executive director of the Lab, helped design the model of the LLC that is currently in the Pilot phase. 

“When I joined Butler, [LLC] was one of the ideas that we thought, ‘Oh goodness, this might have a lot that we want to [implement] here,’” Hinshaw said. “We really designed the model that you now see live today, figured out the funding, figured out how we would staff it, what the offerings would be and all of those components, which is like that fun business part of entrepreneurship and design.” 

The program is staffed by various faculty members and staff, such as office administrators and senior lecturers from different departments. Evan Krauss, senior marketing manager and Butler Blue IV’s handler, offered a course that took participants behind the scenes in the life of Blue and the marketing plan for the live mascot program

The LLC offers Minicourses, One Hour Talks and expert-led Behind the Scenes tours, such as a behind-the-scenes look at the costumes for Butler Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” on Oct. 11. 

Kathleen “Keegan” Egan, director of costumes for Butler Ballet, said that she wanted to lead a tour so people could appreciate the costuming profession. 

“I think what we do is really cool,” Egan said. “I think a lot of people enjoy the glamor of [the costumes] … People come in here and have a look around … I want them to know how special we are.” 

Egan said that the LLC is a great way to have a community and inform people about various aspects they are interested in. 

The LLC is not just for the Butler community. Pangan said that one of the most exciting aspects is being able to meet people who have never been to Butler before, as well as expand the program to reach more generations of individuals. Someone even flew out from Las Vegas to attend Krauss’ Behind-the-Scenes tour with Butler Blue IV. 

“We are hoping to partner with some senior living communities soon,” Pangan said. “I am excited for that population to just enjoy campus as much as undergrads do.” 

Minicourses mimic college undergraduate courses. These courses — centered on a specific topic — meet online or in person for an hour once a week for four weeks. The cost for these courses range from $75 to $125. For the fall 2023 semester, courses offered include Koru Meditation, Leadership Series, Cryptography, Introduction to Dungeons and Dragons and Beginning Mindfulness Meditation. 

There is also a series of One Hour Talks that are delivered either in-person or online about a chosen topic. These range from topics of Disney History, to Card Making with Canva and even a Homecoming Special of Sunset Yoga on the Butler Mall. 

The LLC is geared primarily towards adult learners, but Pangan emphasized that nobody will be turned away. 

“If they’re interested in the topic, they’re welcome to sign up,” Pangan said. 

Descriptions of various courses and opportunities are listed on the LLC website, along with the costs and links for registration. 


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