Northwestern Emeriti Organization wins innovation award for establishing “mini-courses”


Angeli Mittal/Daily Senior Staffer

Weber Arch. The Association of Retirement Organizations in Higher Education granted the Northwestern Emeriti Organization the Innovation Award for their “mini-courses.”

Caroline Brew, Assistant Campus Editor

The Northwestern Emeriti Organization won the Innovation Award in October for their series of “mini-courses.” NEO was one of three Innovation Award winners from the Association of Retirement Organizations in Higher Education. 

NEO established the courses in 2019 in partnership with the Evanston Public Library. Retired faculty members teach them to Evanston residents and members of other local communities. 

“These classes leveraged the expertise of NU emeriti across the full spectrum of disciplines, giving back to the community and helping strengthen relations between town and gown,” the association wrote in an announcement. 

NU faculty has taught seven courses so far, with participation ranging from 50 to 300 residents. The mini-courses are non-charge and non-credit and typically consist of two weekly virtual sessions.

Former NEO President Roger Boye, who submitted the award nomination, said Zoom has allowed the organization to expand their community reach.

“With the pandemic, we were forced to make a U-turn and offer the courses online, but the silver lining is that we have been able to accommodate far more people online,” Boye said in a news release.

However, NEO hopes to return to in-person classes for their spring course entitled “SCOTUS: Law and Politics” taught by Jerry Goldman, a political science professor emeritus. 

Past NEO mini-courses range from Communication Professor Emeritus Sandra L. Richards’ “Theatre in the Time of a Pandemic” to political science Professor Emeritus Wesley Skogan’s “Police Reform: Progress and Pitfalls.” 

“The fact that there has been an innovation award for (the “mini-courses”) shows we are going in a good direction and might even be a model for others,” NEO President-Elect Jeffrey Garrett said in the news release.

Email: [email protected] 

Related Stories:

Northwestern’s Racial Equity and Community Partnership grants impact local communities

Norris University Center offers mini courses for fall 2021

Pritzker School of Law awards Global Jurist of the Year Award to all women judges in Afghanistan