Propose a Course

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at the University of Pittsburgh is a member-based learning community comprised of adults age 50 and more who are seeking intellectually stimulating courses and opportunities to interact with like-minded adults and Institute faculty.

General Information About OLLI Courses
Tips and Instructions for Preparing and Submitting a Course Proposal
How Are Proposals Reviewed?
Submit a Proposal

NOTICE: The Summer Course Proposal Form is now available. Submissions are due no later than Tuesday, January 10, 2023

General Information on OLLI courses

When are courses held? OLLI courses are held during fall, spring, and summer terms, with each term divided into two five-week sessions. In person courses typically meet for an hour and 50 minutes once a week for five weeks, with online courses meeting for 75 - 90 minutes weekly. Most courses are scheduled weekdays from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. , although on occasion courses may meet at other times, including evenings and Saturdays.

Who can submit a proposal? OLLI at Pitt routinely seeks out course proposals from both new and established OLLI instructors. Many of our instructors are graduate, doctoral, and post-doc students, professors, lecturers, adjunct instructors and others associated with the University of Pittsburgh or other educational institutions in the area. Additionally, we welcome instructors who have both teaching experience and special expertise and knowledge from the community at large. A committee of the membership reviews the proposals and recommends courses to be offered.

How are course proposals submitted? Interested instructors must use our online Course Proposal Form to submit their course proposal.

Is there any compensation?  Yes, OLLI at Pitt is able to pay instructors for their instructional time (sorry, we cannot pay for your prep time). Typically, courses are 7 1/2 - 10 instructional hours. Instructors are paid through the payroll system and are considered part-time instructors for OLLI. Instructors who have an incorporated entity can be paid as contractors, if they wish. 

Who can I call for information? Feel free to contact OLLI Program Coordinator Patricia Szczepanski at 412-624-7912 or email to  to discuss the course you wish to propose. Please know that once a course runs we typically do not repeat it for several terms to a couple of years, to assure our members have fresh courses.

Dates for Upcoming Terms:

Summer 2023 Term (Submission period is open, and the deadline is Tuesday, January 10, 2023)

Session #1 - Monday Classes start May 8, regular session May 15 - June 17
Session #2 - June 26 - August 1

Tips and Instructions for Preparing and Submitting a Course Proposal

Please carefully review the overview of the information below regarding what we request from you in our online Course Proposal Submission formWe ask that all proposals be submitted through our Course Proposal Online Form. You will be asked to upload your vitae or resume so please have it available when you complete the form.

  • Proposed Course Title.  Please limit your course title in your proposal to no more than 60 characters with spaces.
  • Course Description: Your course description should be concise and clear about the topics and classroom activities so that students will know what to expect. We ask you to limit the length of this description to approximately 100 words that could be used in our course catalog. Students need to know what will be taught, the approach to the subject matter (lecture, interactive discussion, skill activities, films/readings, etc.), and out-of-class preparations (readings or assignments).

  • Course Outline: You will type a few sentences for each week of the proposed course. It is helpful to the proposal evaluation committee to see a brief statements of what content will be covered during each week of your course.  This information is especially relevant to instructors new to our program. This helps the committee to evaluate the appropriateness of the course for our OLLI program. 

  • Identification of course type.  Our program has three class types and you are asked to select one. 
    1. Academic courses are those that are primarily lecture-based and are akin to undergraduate college courses. 
    2. Personal Growth/Exploration courses are those that are more “hands-on” oriented or requires skills beyond academic such as language, art, fitness OR may be an academic topic primarily taught through interactive group discussion.
    3. Enjoyment courses are those in which the majority of class is spent with the students discussing the topic or practicing a skill rather than the instructor presenting. The Instructor’s primary purpose is for group sharing and discussion.
  • Length of the course - Typically OLLI courses are 5 weeks long, but, other options are also possible.
  • Ideal number of students for the type of course you hope to teach.
  • You will indicate how much time is needed weekly for your course. Most often, our face-to-face courses are one hour and 50 minutes per week with online courses running 75 - 90 minutes weekly.
  • For proposed in-person courses you are asked for special requirements for the classroom and/or participants, such as physical abilities, technical skills, books required, etc.  PLEASE NOTE: We use typical university classrooms with access to LCD projectors and microphones for our face-to-face courses.  If a computer is needed, instructors must bring their own working laptop.  If you have a special space requirement, contact our office at , before you submit the proposal to assure we can accommodate your needs. For online courses, OLLI at Pitt provides instructors with a PITT Zoom account through which they will teach.
  • You are asked to list any suggested text in your proposal.  If you suggest a book for your proposed course, you must confirm in your proposal that the book is still in print or you will not be able to use it for this course. (Please include title, author, publisher, and ISBN number. Total cost of books should not exceed $25.)
  • We ask you information on audio-visual technology proficiency for your proposed face-to face class and also, if proposing to teach an online course, your proficiency and experience using the online platform Zoom as a presenter.
  • We ask if you have taught the proposed course before; if so, when and where did you teach the course previously.
  • Financial interests – Instructors must disclose any financial interests they have in a product or service mentioned in the course.   These factors may be considered as the course proposal is evaluated.
  • Your resume or vitae is requested (you will upload it) and we ask you to submit a brief bio paragraph that can appear or be modified for use in our Course Catalog.

Proposal Review 

Our Curriculum Committee evaluates submitted course proposals.  Courses are scored and selected on the basis of the following:

  • Appropriateness of the course topic for the OLLI program,
  • Instructor qualifications specifically on the topic of the proposed course
  • Teaching, presentation, or public speaking experience
  • For instructors with prior experience in OLLI, course evaluation reports of previous courses
  • Alignment with OLLI policies and known interests of OLLI members
  • Novelty of the course topic to our program, and;
  • Facility capacity to successfully operate the proposed course

Once courses are approved, individuals proposing courses are informed as to whether or not their course proposal has been accepted. Even though your course may be accepted, it may not be possible to offer it during the term you initially requested. These details would be discussed with you. Finally, upon selection of a course, the details of dates and times are finalized with the instructor.

If you have any questions about the course proposal process, please contact our office at and we will make sure the appropriate staff member gets in touch with you.

SUBMIT A PROPOSAL HERE: Summer 2023 Course Proposal Form