Emeritus kickoff previews summer, fall classes

The Emeritus plus 50 “Back-to-School” kickoff April 14 gave students 50 and over a chance to meet some of the instructors teaching summer and fall classes.  

Emeritus director Cindy Berry said this was the first time ever in the history of the Dallas County Community College District that credit classes were combined for summer and fall registration, which has been ongoing since April 19. 

Berry said if emeritus students have been taking classes this spring or if they took them last fall then they would be eligible to register now for classes this summer or fall. If students have not taken any classes at Richland for an entire year though, and they want to take a credit class, they will have to go through the entire application process all over again. 

That means they would have to fill out an application, do the transcript waiver agreement and sign the form as to why they want to take credit classes, Berry said. 

Emeritus classes are geared specifically for seniors, especially the office technology courses. Classes must have at least 10 students signed up so that core instructors can get paid. If not, then the class will be canceled. 

“Seventy-five percent of all the credit students on Richland’s campus are part-time students and most of them work full time,” Berry said. “We don’t have what they call in academia, ‘traditional students.’ All of our students are nontraditional, but our credit classes are designed for anybody to take.”

For those taking credit classes, they will have to take tests and get a grade on their transcript. 

“If you are 65 or over and a resident of Dallas County, then you can take six credit hours and there’s no charge for you to take those two classes,” Berry said. 

As far as the noncredit classes, there is a small charge for those, Berry said, but students don’t have to fill out an application or do a transfer waiver agreement – just pay the fee. 

Berry said the program is having some really low enrollment in a lot of the classes and she encouraged attendees to suggest the Emeritus website (www.richlandcollege.edu emeritus) with a variety of classes to their friends, who may be interested in taking one this summer or fall. 

Emeritus students do not have to get a meningitis shot to take classes, Berry said, but if they have grandchildren under 20 who are taking credit classes on campus, the grandchildren will need to get a shot, unless they’re taking 100 percent online classes. 

Berry also said the Federal Educational Privacy Right Act law (FERPA) requires colleges to be very careful in maintaining the privacy of students’ personal information. 

As a result, Berry said, when emeritus students call the office to sign up for a class, the staff will ask some identifying questions; for example, date of birth and address. Then they will have to send a confirmation email back to the office.

This summer, Senior Source and Richland have partnered to offer four lectures as part of an Enrichment Lecture Series on June 16 and 28, July 13 and 26. The cost is $25.

The lectures in the series will be held at the LeCroy Center on Richland East Drive off Walnut from 1:45 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. They are:  “Scams, Fraud and Identity Theft,” “Texas Healthcare 2016:  Why Changes are Needed,” “Services Available to Seniors Through the Senior Source” and “Power of Attorney Uses and Abuses.” 

At the kickoff, Dara Eason, who is in charge of the Emeritus Volunteer Program, said she is looking for volunteers to help with English practice for Conversation Partners and Reading, the Tutor/Mentor Program and the Reading Enhances Academic Development Program (R.E.A.D.). 

“The students are just amazing,” she said. “Each volunteer will have one to three students. It’s a great opportunity to really serve in the community.” 

John Drezek runs the Learning Center and is looking for volunteers to do one-on-one tutoring with Richland students in math, accounting, writing, reading, history, government or science for one to two hours each in Medina Hall, Room M216. 

For more information about the volunteer opportunities, contact either Eason or Drezek at 972-238-6227 or 3756. 

Chris Tucker spoke at the kickoff about one of the most important classes being taught this summer. It’s titled “Supreme Court Decisions That Changed America” on Wednesdays from June 15 to July 6. 

Tucker said the Supreme Court ends its term at the end of June, and there are some big decisions on big cases that will be coming down, the most important being the immigration decision, which will decide if the president has authority, on his own, to decide that millions of people living here illegally will not be deported. Tucker will also cover the history of the court and about 20 to 30 very important decisions that have made big differences in American life.