both sides of the classroom: prospective students — from both the younger and older generations — can get an idea of what attending the University will be like, and the course instructors get to teach a class that’s a bit of a departure from their regular academic routine. Created by Mary Braz, a former faculty member at the Department of Communication and Media at WCU, the program drew inspiration from Michigan State University’s (MSU) inter-generational learning program of the same name. Braz discovered MSU’s Grandparent’s University program while earning her PhD there and was inspired to start a similar program at West Chester. Although Braz has since moved on from her position at WCU, the program she founded continues to operate as an annual staple at the University. In its early days, Grandparents University consisted of many courses based in media and communications with Braz having reached out to her department colleagues to cultivate and teach a majority of the classes. Faculty who offered a class one year were invited to offer a class the following year as well, and as the program grew in participation and popularity, it has evolved from there. Since the program is always looking for interesting courses that will appeal to both grandparents and their grandchildren alike, and stays attuned to the interest and availability of faculty, its course offerings shift and change from year to year. Now approaching its ninth year, the 2019 Grandparents University program offers sixteen courses from which participants can choose. This year’s program is scheduled take place from June 24th to June 27th and has been developed with a focus on the visual and performing arts. Many of the courses cover a range of artistic mediums including fine art, media, and theater. In the interest of fully diverse offerings, the sciences are represented as well, with classes that explore topics in engineering, geography and anthropology. Fitness and activity classes are also available where participants can partake in adventure-based “team challenge” classes and even take part in workshops that explore the practices of yoga and mindfulness. The program’s flagship course, Create Your Own Newscast, has been offered since the early beginnings of Grandpar-
ents University. A subject appropriately rooted in media and communications, it offers insights into television production and invites participants to “see how the pros do it.” The grandparents and kids ge t to work together to write, produce, and direct their own television news production. Taught by Dr. Michael Boyle, PhD., a professor in the Department of Communication and Media, the course offers participants the opportunity to work both behind the scenes and in front of the camera. Students can look through a professional-grade camera, read from a teleprompter, and even serve as the director
The program’s flagship course, Create Your Own Newscast, has been offered since the early beginnings of Grandparents University. of the production. Boyle has been teaching the course since the program first started and finds that the experience is not only personally enriching but enhances the overall classroom experience. “The grandchildren are typically quite energetic and excited to play with the equipment and get in front of the camera.
MAY 2019 THEWCPRESS.COM
Voice of the Borough