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This Innovative Peer-Learning Model Has Provided Intellectual and Social Community for Many Thousands of NYC Retirees
NEW YORK, September 2022–The Lifelong Peer Learning Program (LP2), a program of the Graduate Center, CUNY, is the U.S. pioneer in a novel form of adult peer-to peer learning and on September 22, 2022, marks its 60th anniversary. The program was launched in New York City in the ‘60s and because of its ground-breaking peer-learning approach it has served as the model for the dramatic expansion of adult learning seen across the country.
Founded as the Institute for Retired Professionals (IRP) in alliance with The New School, the program took on its current name and affiliation with the CUNY Graduate Center in the fall of 2020.
“We’re not only proudly celebrating our 60th anniversary in September, but also our success in finding and transitioning to a new home at the Graduate Center and taking on a new name; all while adjusting to the remote-learning practices necessitated by the pandemic,” said Barbara Marwell, the Advisory Board chair of LP2. “We began in 1962, an era when the country’s older population was subjected to very limited educational options and often disparaging ageist stereotypes, but LP2 has continued to evolve every year since its inception. For LP2, retirement does not mean slowing down, but rather ramping up intellectually. Since our beginning, we have not only established the resilience of our original vision and that of our members, but also met the major technology and continuity challenges of the last few years.”
The LP2 peer-learning is an innovative program, one that involves rigorous study groups conceived and developed by members, who coordinate the sessions, and stimulate discussion. The study groups reflect the wide-ranging intellectual interests of the more than 300 members, retired and semi-retired professionals from varying backgrounds and careers. This accounts for the extraordinary breadth of subject matters. A semester features approximately three dozen study groups covering history, literature, philosophy, science, film, art, music, drama, political science, and so much more. In addition, the program includes publications, art and photography exhibitions and a variety of special interest groups involving, among other activities, travel, photography, theater, museums, movies, and dining.
Unlike traditional adult learning programs, the coordinators develop courses based not only on what they already know, but also on what they want to know more about. Ms. Marwell noted, “One of the great joys of being a coordinator is stretching yourself to learn something totally outside of your experience, taking the risk of being the leader in a discussion and knowing that you are in a supportive environment where everyone wants to see you succeed.”
Further information about LP2, including its offerings of study groups, history and community activities can be found on LP2 Website as well as in a brief video created for the program’s 60th anniversary LP2 Video.
About the Graduate Center of The City University of New York
The CUNY Graduate Center is a leader in public graduate education devoted to enhancing the public good through pioneering research, serious learning, and reasoned debate. The Graduate Center offers ambitious students nearly 50 doctoral and master’s programs of the highest caliber, taught by top faculty from throughout CUNY — the nation’s largest urban public university. Through its nearly 40 centers, institutes, initiatives, and the Advanced Science Research Center, the Graduate Center influences public policy and discourse and shapes innovation. The Graduate Center’s extensive public programs make it a home for culture and conversation.