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


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. Courses typically meet for an hour and 50 minutes once a week for five weeks. Most courses are scheduled weekdays from 10:00 AM – 11:50 AM and 1:00 PM –2:50 PM, although on rare ocassion 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. A committee of the membership reviews the proposals and recommends courses to be offered.

Who can I call for information? Feel free to contact OLLI Director Sharon Gretz at 412-624-7072 or email to  to discuss the course you wish to propose.

Dates for Upcoming Term:

Spring 2020 Term: Course Proposal period is closed.
     Session #1 - January 27 - February 28, 2020
     Session #2 - March 16 - April 24, 2020

Tentative Dates for Summer 2020 Term: Course Proposals due by January 10, 2020 
    Session #1 May 11  to June 12, 2020
    Session #2 June 22  to July 31, 2020


Tips and Instructions for Preparing and Submitting a Course Proposal

Please carefully review these instructions prior to completing the Course Proposal Form.  We ask that all proposals be submitted through our Course Proposal Form. Additionally, be sure to submit all required information in your proposal. 

  1. Proposed Course Title.  Please limit your course title in your proposal to no more than 100 characters with spaces
  2. Identification of course type.  Our program has three class types. 
    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.
  1. 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).
  1. Course Outline: It is helpful to the proposal evaluation committee to see a brief statement of what 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.
  1. Special requirements for the classroom and/or participants, such as physical abilities, technical skills, etc.  PLEASE NOTE: We use typical university classrooms with access to LCD projectors and microphones.  If a computer is needed, instructors must bring their own laptop.  If you have a special space requirement, contact Sharon Gretz, Director of Osher, before you submit the proposal to assure we can accommodate your needs.
  1. Please list any required 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.)
  1. Class Size.  Most of our courses have 45-60 people, minimally (exceptions are art, fitness, writing and other “hands on” courses).  If you would like to request less than that amount of people, you must do so by contacting Sharon Gretz, OLLI Director.  Due to limitations on the number of classrooms to which we have access and the number of courses we must offer to meet registration demands, your request may not be accepted.
  1. 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.

Proposal Review 

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

  • Appropriateness of the course for the OLLI program,
  • Instructor qualifications on the topic of the 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. 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 OLLI at Pitt Director Sharon Gretz at (412) 624-7072 or email to

Download the instructions above in document form OLLI at Pitt Course Proposal Instructions » 

SUBMIT A PROPOSAL - To submit a proposal use this OLLI at PITT Electronic Course Proposal Form 
Proposals for the Summer 2020 term are due no later than Friday, January 10, 2020