Program 60 Participants Enrich Undergraduate Courses

At The Ohio State University, students come from all different walks of life to focus on pursuing their passions in the classroom. Most of these students are fresh out of high school, 20-somethings getting a degree to set themselves up for a lifetime of success. But with Program 60, nontraditional learners are entering the classroom and making an impact on everyone involved.

Program 60 gives Ohio residents age 60 and older the opportunity to experience academic excellence at Ohio State. These residents are allowed to take university credit courses on an audit, space available basis, tuition-free through the program, giving them the chance to head back to school and use their retirement to learn something new.

Every semester, many Program 60 students participate in Department of Art courses. The studio art classes that focus on painting and drawing are where Laura Lisbon, Professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, met and taught many of these nontraditional learners.

“It feels like I have always had Program 60 students in my classroom, and I’m so grateful for that,” Lisbon said. “The insight and world experience they bring into my classroom is wonderful.”

Lisbon shared that Program 60 has created a richness in her classroom that only comes from the generational difference. She has seen the program participants share their life experiences, from traveling around the world, to fighting in wars, and has watched these stories inspire her traditional students.

“They are so willing to talk with the younger students and be open about their work,” Lisbon said. “Their openness is inspiring. It shows my traditional students that life doesn’t have to end at retirement; you can pursue whatever your passion is later in life. That commitment and motivation really impacts all of my students.”

Lisbon loved having Program 60 participants in her classroom and encourages other instructors around campus to be open to the opportunity as well.

“What these participants bring to your course and class projects is invaluable,” Lisbon said. “If you have the room, I say let them in!”

Interested in finding out more Program 60 at Ohio State? Watch our informational video.