Annual Report

2018-2019

Chair Comments

At our year’s end membership meeting in May, I provided highlights of some of the issues that the Executive Board worked on during the year. (By way of review: as noted below, ILR is self-supporting.) In early 2017, as we began pursuing a raise for our Program Manager, we learned that we would first need to meet a few financial objectives. As a result, we raised our membership rates in the fall semester of 2017, increased donations, and increased selling catalog ads. On June 13, 2018, the Finance Committee met, and we concluded that our funds would support a $5,000.00 raise. We spent the next few months preparing our proposal and supporting documentation. In October, we met with Global Initiatives to formally submit the raise proposal, and were reminded that it wasn’t up to the Board; such decisions are made at the Academic Personnel office of Miami. In December, the administration informed Global Initiatives that the Board’s salary increase request was denied. We were also informed that exemplary performance could be nominated for a Pride Award, a one-time bonus. Earlier this year, Global Initiatives nominated Judy for a $1,000 Pride Award, which she received in March. We hope to pursue other potential avenues as well, and we’ll keep you posted.

Also, the Board focused on bringing the ILR Standing Rules and the Bylaws up to date so as to reflect changes which have occurred, and I anticipate that this work will continue through the summer and into the Fall 2019 term. One issue which received particular focus was Article III, Section 1, which read, “The ILR shall be a self-directed membership organization, operated as a non-credit program through the Global Initiatives and eLearning Program of Miami University, Oxford Ohio.” The Board voted unanimously to change that wording to “The ILR shall be a self-directed membership organization, operated as a non-credit program through Global Initiatives of Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, and shall be a self-supporting organization, operated not for profit to the extent required by Miami University.”

In additional actions, we agreed to support The Knolls of Oxford’s renovation project in their auditorium, specifically upgrades to room darkening and audio/visual equipment, in the amount of $2,000.00 from our gift fund. We also initiated and funded audio/visual upgrades at Oxford Lane Library’s Havighurst room.

I’m sure you’re aware of the enormous contribution we enjoy from our Program Manager, Judy Macke. The statistics included herein are due to her continued efforts. Since 2011, programming has increased by 150% and enrollment by 96%! Our fall enrollment of 356 set a new fall term high, and our spring enrollment shattered the existing spring record. This year marks our seventh consecutive record-breaking year, capped by an enrollment total of 708, breaking the 700 threshold for the first time. And the satisfaction ratings are sensational!

Finally, I want to remind the membership that ILR continues due to your volunteering to serve on or chair our various committees, and to share your experiences by teaching. Please give serious consideration to supporting us by donating your time, energy and ideas.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Michael J. Griffith
Chair, ILR Executive Board

 

Curriculum

Statistics for 2018-2019

  • 146 total courses held on five sites
  • 11 Special Events
  • 16 self-drive tours
  • 708 member registrations (a new record)
  • 109 new-member registrations
  • 54 non-member registrations (attended Special Events only)
  • 3,893 total course & event registrations

Administered by:

  • Total # volunteers: 450+
  • Total # instructors/lecturers: 294
  • Total # staff: 1 Program Manager
  • Total # student workers: 1, part-time

Spring End-of-Semester Survey Results

  • Response rate: 57%
  • 73% of the registrants have a Miami University affiliation
  • 98.5% rated their ILR customer service experience as very/highly satisfied
  • 97% rated their perceived value of the ILR program as very/highly satisfied
  • 100% rated their overall satisfaction of the ILR program as very/highly satisfied!!!

Representative comments included on the surveys from new and returning members reinforce the Overall Satisfaction data:

An excellent term! I learned a lot from both instructors and fellow students. It's educational and uplifting to interact with the thoughtful, inquisitive, provocative people involved in ILR. ~Sante Matteo, M.U. Emeritus

Love ILR! It brings together interesting, knowledgeable people on important topics and is one reason that makes retirement in Oxford worth it. I like sharing my own thoughts, giving lectures, and leading discussions. Why move when there is so much here? ~Edna Southard, M.U. Emerita

ILR is a 5-star example for lifelong learning. ~Barb Alder, Miami Alumna

I am appreciative of having the opportunity to attend classes which are stimulating and thought-provoking. I am grateful to all who are involved in planning and instructing these excellent sessions. ~Dawn Buroker, Oxford resident

I cannot give enough praise to the whole ILR team and instructors. Thank you so much for your time and keeping the older generation occupied, learning and making new friends! ~Debby Crowley, Oxford resident

ILR gives light to my October and April. The Program is so well run and the courses are so interesting. ~Ellen Buerk, Alumna

I appreciate the time and effort the staff, instructors and university put into this valuable program. ~Tom Barnes, Alumnus

Special Events

Fall 2018 Events

In September, a sold-out bus tour dubbed The Queen’s Gems (Cincinnati Music Hall, downtown Cincinnati, Mecklenburg Gardens, Cincinnati Observatory), was followed a week later by a second bus tour, aptly named Journey to Freedom & the Tin Lizzy (Levi & Catharine Coffin State Historic Site, Kitchen at the Loft, Model T Ford Museum). On the Friday prior to the start of the semester, our traditional Kickoff Party gathered new and current members in excited anticipation for “back to school.”

Spring 2019 Events

Six event options, including three bus tours were offered this spring. Due to the overwhelming popularity of the event of the same name in the fall, The Queen’s Gems Encore (Cincinnati Music Hall, Netherland Hilton, Cincinnati Observatory) was offered as an extra bonus event to accommodate all those who had been left on the original tour’s waiting list. A week later, Out of Darkness Emerge Signs of Light (Union Terminal, Holocaust & Humanity Center, American Sign Museum) was held. In early May, those holding the “golden ticket” enjoyed another sold-out event, It Takes a Village and a Vision (German Village Historic District, Schmidt’s Sausage Haus, Honda of America Manufacturing & Heritage Center. As has become a new tradition, the ILR Annual Meeting & Ice Cream Social provided a tasty, proverbial and literal cherry atop another successful year of engagement, enrichment, and enlightenment.

New This Year

Travel

ILR collaborated with the University of Cincinnati’s OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) program to offer travel opportunities through Road Scholar. Our first two offerings—The Spirit of the Lake Erie Islands and The Best of Theater in New York—have sold out, affirming the interest for this type of experience is high. Testing the waters, our Program Manager coordinated these first two trips, but has moved future planning into the capable hands of a Special Events Committee subgroup.

Priority Registration

Priority registration was offered to all ILR donors, and increased donations reflected the popularity of this move.

Assistance

Office Support

Emily Janssen began her student worker position in the ILR office in July 2018. Global Initiatives is funding this position, for which we’re extremely grateful.

Tech Team

With the growth of ILR and as many as four classes running consecutively in three or more areas of the county, with leads of possible technology-savvy volunteers provided by Jerry Riesenberg, our Program Manager formed a Tech Team to assist the instructors in the classrooms. This team exemplifies just one of the numerous ways our volunteers continue to play a critical role in the operational efficiency of ILR.

Challenges

Online Registration Payment

The “buy now, pay later by mail” option for online registration will, regrettably, soon become a thing of the past. During each of the last two semesters, our Program Manager spent an inordinate amount of time hunting down forgetful payees and a couple of bad apples who skipped paying entirely. As a result, online registration will only accept payment at the point of purchase for future terms.

Board and Committee Service

The lack of clarity regarding job descriptions was addressed at Board meetings and by special committees throughout the year. Currently accurate descriptions of typical responsibilities have been submitted in most cases, and will be finalized and published this fall.

Liaison Committee

With the ever-increasing popularity of cell phones and email as a main source of communication, volunteers are finding it difficult to have phone calls answered. As a result, the Liaison Committee brought their challenges and suggestions to the board, and the board voted to eliminate the practice of unilaterally assigning a liaison to every course. Instructors will now be given the option to accept/decline liaison assignment, with the exception of classes that travel or exercise.

Finances

Our end-of-fiscal-year statement shows our surplus for this year was $23,400, an increase of $3,000 over last year. Our total carryover into the next fiscal year will be $90,580. This is an important issue, insofar as we must anticipate the impending need in the near future to conduct a search and hire a replacement for Judy Macke when she retires, and we hope to bring that person on board for a two-year overlap with Judy for training prior to the takeover.

Special Thanks and Recognition

Ginger Smith and family of Richard (Dick) Smith, for designating ILR as a recipient for memorials in Dick’s memory. Dick’s enduring commitment to Miami University and ILR was described in his obituary, as follows:

“After an initial term at Miami University, he joined the army and served for 18 months, before returning to Miami and completing his degree. He earned his doctorate in Geography at Northwestern University and taught at the University of North Dakota for three years before returning to Miami in 1957. He remained there until his retirement in 1996, a much-loved mentor and teacher of generations of students of Geography and Environmental Studies, who went on to successful careers in a variety of fields. Over the course of his career, he chaired the Geography Department and served as Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. In 1989, he received the university's Benjamin Harrison Award in recognition of his contributions to the advancement of education. He also played a leading role in the founding and consolidation of Miami's Institute for Learning in Retirement (ILR), teaching numerous courses and leading trips to a variety of destinations.”

Teresa Blake, Program Associate at the Voice of America Learning Center, who was always courteous, efficient, and willing to help our students and instructors in West Chester.

Brad Farr, Assistant Director at the Voice of America Learning Center in West Chester, for his many years of patient and capable audio/visual assistance.

Bill Gracie, our Curriculum Committee Chair, for his continual inspired leadership resulting in wonderful course options that always keep us coming back for more.

Bob Johnson, who stepped in as interim chair of the Special Events committee when the chair became temporarily unavailable.

Chris Liles, who efficiently and courteously replies to your ILR phone calls and email on a daily basis from her home.

Kristin Magyari, Assistant Director Communications & Marketing, Global Initiatives, for continually striving to make our website shine, often under tight deadlines.

Miami University Global Initiatives, “home” of ILR, for their unwavering support and numerous resources provided to our program and its staff.

John Moul, for his term of service on the Executive Board.

Rod Nimtz, Director of Miami’s Voice of America Learning Center and ad hoc ILR board member, for his leadership, support, and vision for planting and growing ILR in West Chester.

Our generous donors, for supporting ILR’s vision and mission with their treasure.

Our numerous instructors and volunteers, whose investment of time and talent breathe life into all that happens within ILR.

Our Miami and community partners, especially: Berkeley Square, Butler County Historical Society, Chesterwood Village, Community First, Fairfield Community Arts Center, Hillandale Family of Communities, Hueston Woods State Park, Lane Library, Oxford LaRosa’s, Miami University Art Museum, Miami University Global Initiatives, Miami University Police Services Center, Miami University Rec Center, Miami University Voice of America Learning Center, Ohio Living Mount Pleasant, Oxford Community Arts Center, Oxford Seniors, The Knolls of Oxford, and The Spicy Olive. Their financial support and/or donation of classroom space continues to be an invaluable asset to our program and its members.

Lois Philips, for her ongoing years of single-handedly coordinating the ILR programming at Ohio Living Mt. Pleasant in Monroe.

Jerry Riesenberg, our technological wizard, whose selfless donation of time and expertise helps ensure ILR’s computer technologies enable us to keep pace with our explosive growth, and who “stomps out forest fires” in classes which have tech. problems.

Betty Rogers, who continues her long track record of coordinating one of our most popular regular offerings, Midday Lecture Series.

Vonna Westrich, who works her magic wading through a slew of course proposals to ready the text into a first draft of what eventually evolves into multiple drafts of the upcoming semester’s catalog.

Judy Macke, without whom, our entire operation would nosedive into oblivion.

 

2019-2020 ILR Board of Directors

At our annual meeting on May 10, 2019, the membership confirmed the recommendations of the ILR Nominating Committee as follows:

Executive Committee

  • Chair: Mike Griffith (2nd term ends 2021)
  • Vice Chair: Vacant
  • Secretary: Marcia Waller (2nd term ends, 2020)
  • Treasurer: Richard Daniels (2nd term ends, 2020)

At Large Members

  • John Barnhart (first term ends 2022)
  • Pat Baugher (2nd term ends 2021)
  • Sara Butler (1st term ends 2020)
  • Carolyn Gard (1st term ends 2021)
  • Virginia Layton (2nd term ends 2020)
  • William Hardesty (1st term ends 2020)
  • Fred Martin (1st term ends 2020)
  • Lois Philips (2nd term ends 2020)
  • Patrick Sidley (first term ends 2022)

Ex Officio Members

  • Phyllis Cummins, Assistant Director of Research, Scripps Gerontology
  • Judy Macke, ILR Program Manager
  • Rod Nimtz, Director, Voice of America Learning Center
  • Cheryl D. Young, Assistant Provost, Global Initiatives

ILR Board Meeting Schedules:

All board meetings are open to registered members. Meeting schedules are published in the ILR catalog and are available on the ILR website, MiamiOH.edu/ilr, or call the ILR office.

2017-2018

Our 21st year continued to demonstrate the growth we’ve enjoyed for the past six years. Indeed, this growth has been so substantial that the board agreed that under our present circumstances (staff, scheduling, available spaces, budget, etc.), ILR needs to try to limit the number of courses offered each term to 75, the number of locations to five (Fairfield, Hamilton, Monroe, West Chester and Oxford), and Special Events tours to two per term.

Curriculum

For the 2017 / 18 year, we continued our practice of offering courses in Hamilton, Fairfield, Monroe and West Chester, as well as in Oxford. We offered more classes and events than ever before – a total of 161! The fall term saw a total enrollment of 319, and the spring term 314 – a record-breaking registration for a spring term. A summary of other statistics is worth including here:

  • Total # volunteers: 450+
  • Total # instructors/lecturers: 303 (including Miami’s President, Gregory Crawford, and his wife and University Ambassador, Renate Crawford)
  • Total # staff: 1
  • Total # interns: 1, spring term only (Scripps Gerontology undergraduate minor capstone)

The end-of-term surveys indicate continued high satisfaction with the program. With a 51% return rate, responses showed:

  • Customer Service: 100% very / highly satisfied
  • Registration Confirmations: 98.3% very / highly satisfied
  • Overall Satisfaction: 98.9% very / highly satisfied
Representative comments included on the surveys from new and returning members reinforce the Overall Satisfaction data:
“This was my first ‘semester’ as an ILR student and I can’t tell you how much I loved it. I have been raving, and I am so excited for fall. Thanks for all you do to make ILR thrive. It is a true gift to the communities it serves. I am so glad that I am finally working just part-time so that I can take full advantage.” ~Kathryn McGrew, Senior Research Scholar, Scripps Foundation
“My first course in ILR was a wonderful experience, and I am looking forward to the catalogue of fall courses.” ~Charles Ganelin, Miami Alumnus and Emeritus
“This was our first time but it won't be the last. We are kicking ourselves for not taking advantage of this earlier.” ~Tom Schaber, Miami Emeritus
“I much enjoyed my first ILR session, thank you!” ~Philip Tinne, Spouse of Miami Faculty Member
“Thx for ILR. Great source for intellectual stimulation, meeting like souls, and exploring new endeavors.” ~Anonymous
“I'm always pleased with ILR offerings!” ~Martha Henry, Miami Alumnae


Special Events Committee

In September, members and non-members enjoyed tours to the American Printing House for the Blind and The Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory. Three days later, our Annual Kick-Off Party was staged at The Knolls of Oxford. A November Fly Me to the Moon tour included the Armstrong Air and Space Center, a behind-the-scenes look at the Winan’s Chocolates and Coffees Shop, and finished with a visit to Sinclair Community College’s Unmanned Aerial Systems program, where we were afforded the opportunity to learn to control our own drones – on simulators. Many “crashes” but no damage and no injuries, other than to egos! Some members took the Explore Coffee and Much More in Costa Rica trip and reported a wonderful learning experience along with splendid coffee. Rounding out the term were tours of Miami’s Institute for Food, the Lebanon Correctional Institution, and two Hamilton tours: Hamilton Urban Core, and Hamilton Downtown Revitalization.

Our spring catalog offered seven event options, including two bus tours: If You Build It, They Will Come; and Watered Down and Mounded Up. Despite weather being the enemy, rescheduling was accomplished by our amazing committee and Program Manager. Rounding out the term: Mental Health First Aid for Older Adults—a free all-day workshop; a two-hour Explore Watercolor Painting in Oxford…and Italy? session; our Annual Meeting and Ice Cream Social; and post-semester offerings: Trash Talk and Tour of Rumpke Recycling; and Angels in the [Spring] Grove Tram Tour.

Impressive? Thank your Special Events committee, its Chair, and our Program Manager!

Finances

Registration fees for the fall 2017 term were set at $115.00 – an increase of $20 per semester, the first increase in six years. During that period, our program size nearly doubled and our membership saw an increase of 76%, while the size of our paid staff remained at one. After reviewing reports from both the Treasurer and Program Manager and extensive discussion over a number of months, the ILR Board concluded that we must address the following issues to keep ILR moving forward and operating at the high level we’ve achieved. These include:

  1. Replace failing and aging equipment—laptops, projectors, amplifiers, etc.
  2. Provide a much-deserved raise for Judy Macke, ILR Program Manager and sole staff member.
  3. Implement measures that will eventually establish permanent assistance in the office.
  4. Continue to pursue additional sources of support.

In summary, the Main Account (registration, salary, operating expenses) ended this year with a balance of $44,500.00, and the Gift Account (donations, equipment, etc.) a balance of $25,700.00. Due in part to an upswing in donations, the total balance at the end of our year is $23,500.00 above our beginning balance.

Issues

Office Support

The Finance Committee continues to seek realizable ways to increase the salary of our Program Manager and to provide additional part-time or full time paid assistance.

Mailings

Last year’s problems with bulk mail delays for the course catalogs appear to have been resolved. While there were moderate hiccups, Judy Macke and volunteers ensured that most received their catalogs in a timely manner.

Board and Committee Service

Over the course of the past two semesters, it became evident that those who are serving on the board and on committees were not entirely clear with regard to the job description outlining their responsibilities. We are working to rectify that situation, whereby an accurate job description, based on the bylaws of ILR, can be handed to each incoming member of the board or a committee on which they serve.

Revision of Bylaws

A sub-committee is reviewing the ILR Bylaws and Standing Rules in order to ensure clarity and updated accuracy.

Special Thanks and Recognition

The family of Larry Gray, who suggested that donations to ILR might be made in his memory. Larry’s commitment to our program was described in his obituary as follows:

“Over the past five years, Larry was an active participant in the Institute for Learning in Retirement (ILR), a non-credit, non-profit program for senior learners offered through Miami University. As a lifelong learner, Larry participated enthusiastically in a wide variety of classes on topics that expanded well beyond his usual interests and served on the curriculum committee. Although he had never taught before, he took a leap and began researching, writing, and presenting his own classes on topics that interested him, with titles ranging from The History of Bread to his most recent class, The American Car Culture, which concluded last week. To honor his memory, please step outside your comfort zone and read or listen to a good book on a topic you had never considered, or take a class to learn something new.”

Teresa Blake, Program Associate at the Voice of America Learning Center, for her kindness and efficiency while assisting our students and instructors in West Chester.

Judy Brewer, for her continued volunteer service in the ILR office.

Barbara Cox, for her service on the ILR Board. We’re sorry that she felt it necessary to step down due to other obligations.

Bill Gracie, our Curriculum Committee Chair, for his continual inspired leadership resulting in wonderful course options.

Paul Holzschuher, for his creative efforts to preserve our history in photos by building, scanning, editing, and organizing an ILR Flickr site.

Chris Liles, who monitors and efficiently handles the ILR phone and email on a daily basis from her home.

Marilyn McKnight, for steering the Special Events Committee, and Bill McKnight for keeping us entertained and laughing on the buses.

Margi Moul and Dawn Pfohl for co-chairing the Liaison Committee and ensuring our instructors have the classroom support they need.

Jerry Riesenberg, for donating so much of his time and expertise to ensure ILR’s computer technologies efficiently (and impressively) keep pace with our explosive growth.

Jan Szuhay, for her years of service on the board.

Miami University Global Initiativesfor their unwavering support of ILR and the numerous resources provided to our program and its staff.

Our numerous instructors and volunteers, whose investment of time and talent breathe life into all that happens within ILR.

Our generous donors, for supporting ILR’s vision and mission with their treasure.

Our Miami and community partners, especially Berkeley Square, Butler County Historical Society, Chesterwood Village, Fairfield Community Arts Center, Lane Library, Lane Library Technology Center, Oxford LaRosa’s, Miami University Art Museum, Miami University Parking Services, Miami University Voice of America Learning Center, M.U. Downtown Hamilton, Mount Pleasant Retirement Village, Oxford Community Arts Center, Oxford Seniors, and The Knolls of Oxford. Their support and donation of classroom space continues to be an invaluable asset to our program and its members.

And of course, to Judy Macke, our “Wonder Woman” Program Manager, who keeps a mind-boggling number of plates juggled and is the lifeblood of our successes.

Personal Notes

ILR’s catalogs highlight the opportunity for registrants to become “Engaged, Enriched, Enlightened.” For me, part of the “Enriching” is reflected in our interactions with one another. I would argue that that’s but one of the payoffs of our ILR program. Therefore, I’ll close this report by twisting the words of George Santayana:

“Those who refuse the opportunity to continue to learn are destined to have less fun than those who embrace it.”

Respectfully submitted,

Mike Griffith
Board Chair


2018-2019 ILR Board

At our annual meeting on May 11, 2018, the membership confirmed the recommendations of the ILR Nominating Committee as follows:

Executive Committee

  • Chair: Mike Griffith (2nd term ends 2021)
  • Vice Chair: John Moul (1st term ends, 2019)
  • Secretary: Marcia Waller (2nd term ends, 2020)
  • Treasurer: Richard Daniels (2nd term ends, 2020)

At Large Members

  • Pat Baugher (2nd term ends 2021)
  • Sara Butler (1st term ends 2020)
  • Carolyn Gard (1st term ends 2021)
  • Virginia Layton (2nd term ends 2020)
  • William Hardesty (1st term ends 2020)
  • Fred Martin (1st term ends 2020)
  • Lois Philips (2nd term ends 2020)
  • Vacant (seat vacated by Barbara Cox, first term ends 2019)

Ex Officio Members

  • Phyllis Cummins, Assistant Director of Research, Scripps Gerontology
  • Judy Macke, ILR Program Manager
  • Rod Nimtz, Director, Voice of America Learning Center
  • Cheryl Young, Assistant Provost, Global Initiatives