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About Midcoast Senior College | Senior College Courses | Membership | Costs & Registration | Volunteers | Other Programs | Miscellaneous Notes

About Midcoast Senior College

Q: What is Midcoast Senior College (hereafter as MSC)?
A: We are a nonprofit program for older adults headquartered, as of June 2018, at 29 Burbank Avenue, Suite 6, in Brunswick (at Brunswick Landing, the former Brunswick Naval Air Station).  Signs at the parking lot direct you to our entrance.  We are one of seventeen autonomous, self-governing senior colleges in the State.  We serve the area from Damariscotta to Freeport and inland towards Augusta.

Q: What is the purpose of MSC?
A: Our mission statement: to provide non-credit academic courses and other educational events for people 50 years and older to continue lifelong learning.

Q: How do I contact MSC?
A: Our office is located in Suite 6, to the left on the ground floor as you enter 29 Burbank Avenue, Brunswick, Maine (at Brunswick Landing). Tel: (207) 725-4900. Signs at the parking lot direct you to our entrance.  Note: Our office is not staffed at all times. When you phone Senior College you may be asked to leave a message that will be answered within 24 hours, or you can e-mail us at info@midcoastseniorcollege.org.

Q: How do I get on your mailing list?
A: Send us an e-mail (info@midcoastseniorcollege.org) with your name and address.  Or, fill out the handy mailing list form on our home page.  You can also call us (725-4900) with your information.  Once on the mailing list, you will receive advance information about course offerings, lecture series, public programs, and special events.

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Senior College Courses

Q: What kind of courses do you offer?
A: Course offerings are from across the arts and sciences spectrum, with special emphasis on the Humanities and Social Sciences.  Here is a sampling of courses we have offered since our founding in 2000.

Q: Do I have to join Senior College in order to take courses?
A: Yes, you must be a member to take courses.  One becomes a member of MSC by paying the annual academic year membership fee of $35.  Course fees are additional.

Q: Is there a cost if I want to take a Senior College course?
A: Yes, in addition to the annual $35 membership fee, each course has its own fee.  See below, under Costs and Registration. Check our Course Information page each term for a list of current courses and fees.

Q: Are there requirements for taking courses at MSC?
A: The only requirement for membership is having reached age 50 or older. The spouse or partner of a member may also join and register regardless of age.  Our courses welcome all persons 50 years and older, regardless of educational background, race, color, gender, religion, sexual orientation or national or ethnic origin.

Q. Are there any prerequisites for taking courses at MSC?
A: There are no individual course prerequisites.

Q.  Do I have to take any exams?
A.  No, there are no required exams in our courses.  However, there may be homework assignments in some courses.

Q: How can I learn what courses will be offered each term?
A: Fall term course titles and descriptions are enclosed in the June newsletter and published on our website.  Winter term courses are announced via email and on our website.  Spring term course information appears in the December newsletter and on our website. Summer Seminars are announced via email and on our website. Course information is also available at the main campus in Brunswick and at many other locations in the area.

Q: Can I get credit for a Senior College course?
A: No; all our courses are not-for-credit offerings, without exams or term papers.

Q: When are Senior College courses held and what is their duration?
A: We offer four, five, six, seven, and eight-week classes in the fall term (early September to early November), in the Winter term (January-February), and in the spring term (early March to early May). Summer Seminars are usually one-day only events.  Beginning in 2011, we offer occasional online courses — particularly helpful for students unable to attend classes at our various locations.

Q: How often do classes meet in each course?
A: Most courses meet for two consecutive hours each week.  Some courses may include one or more field trips, as indicated in the course description.  Online courses have no set meeting times.

Q: Where are Senior College courses held?
A: Most classes are held at our classrooms at 29 Burbank Avenue in Brunswick (at Brunswick Landing).  Signs in the parking lot direct you to our entrance. Among other locations are Thornton Oaks in Brunswick, The Highlands in Topsham, UMA Brunswick at Brunswick Landing, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Brunswick, Patten Free Library in Bath, and Sunnybrook Village in Brunswick. (See Directions for more information)

Q: Who teaches your courses?
A: Our Instructors are drawn from area residents.  While many have had teaching careers on college campuses or at private or public schools, others may be from business, medical professionals, lawyers, artists, and more.  As of Spring 2017, 148 different instructors have offered courses at MSC; 51 of them are still active.

Q: How does one apply to teach a MSC course?
A: Click here for more information.                                          

Q: How many students take MSC courses?
A: In our first full year of classes (2001), we enrolled 286 students. In a recent term, we offered 32 courses and 592 students enrolled for a total of 749 enrollments.

Q: Whom do I contact if I have questions about a particular course?
A: Send us an e-mail (info@midcoastseniorcollege.org), and we’ll forward it to the appropriate person.

Q: What’s it like to take a Senior College course?
A: Instructors give no tests, no grades, and no earned credits.  Participation in discussion is voluntary.  Because the lower age level is 50, our classes often contain two generations.  Thus, students’ points of view show wide variation, itself an avenue to new knowledge and perspectives

Q: How much reading is required in each course?
A: Assignments vary, depending on the nature and content of the course.  Course text books are the responsibility of the student.  Many instructors create course websites on which course materials are available to all participants. The cost of copied handout materials, if any, is covered by tuition.  Reading materials are for background information and used as the basis for discussion.  Art courses may require purchase of supplies.  If the instructor wishes students to prepare an initial reading before the first class meeting, materials will either be mailed to students or made available on our website at least one week before class begins.

Q: Can I choose to do extra work in a course?
A: Often as early as the second or third week, instructors may provide a list of optional resources which may be available in a local library, bookstore, or on our or another website.

Q: What is an online course?
A: Students who are unable to attend classes at our various locations can use computers and the Internet to converse with each other and with the instructor without leaving their homes.  Senior College  piloted an online course in Fall 2011 and is planning future online courses from time-to-time.

Q: What computer skills do I need to take an online course?
A: No special computer skills are necessary.  If you use e-mail and are familiar with web surfing, you’ll have all the skills you need. Instructions will be provided before the first class. Each student logs into the course, which is  password protected, to find the week’s assignment and material to read.  The instructor posts questions in a forum to start the discussion going, and everyone joins in as time allows.  Thus the course does not meet at a set time — rather students can come and go, and post ideas and reactions to the ideas of others, whenever they wish.

Q: How do I register for an online course?
A: Registration for an online course is no different from registration for any other course.  You must be a Member and pay the individual course fee. See Costs and Registration (below) for more details.

Q: Can I evaluate a course that I’ve taken?
A: On the final day of classes, students are asked to give written anonymous comments that provide feedback about the course and make suggestions for new topics they believe would enhance the curriculum.

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Q: How do I become a member of MSC?
A: There is no admission procedure at MSC other than registering for a course. The annual academic year $35 membership fee is paid when you register for courses in the fall or spring term.  If you wish, you can be an annual member without taking a course.

Q: Do I have to be a member to attend the Winter Wisdom or Summer Wisdom lectures, the DaPonte Quartet presentations, the Current Events Forum, and the Summer Seminars?
A: No; those public programs are open to everyone.  All but the Summer Seminars are free of charge.

Q: What are the advantages of membership?
A: MSC members receive these benefits:
• attendance in classes of your choice (note, however, that some courses have limited enrollment)
• enroll in courses at any Senior College in Maine.
• mailed copies of our newsletter, The Midcoast Inquirer, that is published twice each year.
• social interaction with other students
• participation at the annual Spring Luncheon (at additional cost) and Business Meeting
• advance notice of special events
• opportunities for volunteering: e.g., serving on a committee and/or on the Board of Directors, assisting with program administration, and more

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Costs and Registration

Q: What does it cost to take a course?

Effective July 1, 2018:
Annual Academic Year Membership Fee$35.00
First course, regardless of length, each term$60.00
Additional course(s) each term$40.00
Workshop (when offered)$30.00
Summer Seminar$25.00
Note: text books are not included in the course fee.

Q: How do I find out what courses are offered?
A: Information about fall term courses is enclosed in the June newsletter and published on our website; information about spring term courses appears in the December newsletter and on our website. Winter term and Summer Seminars information is available via email and on our website.  Course information is also available at the main campus in Brunswick and at many other locations throughout the area.

Q: Is it easy to register for courses?
A: Yes, to register online for any course, simply click the “Register” button on the course list page.  You can also register by phone, or by walk in to our office.  See the Costs & Registration page for details.

Q: How many courses may I register for?
A: You may register for as many courses as you wish.  We will confirm all course registrations.

Q: What happens if too many people try to sign up for a course?
A: Assignments to classes are made on a first-come, first-served basis.  Class size is limited according to the preference of the instructor and capacity of the classroom or venue. Registration for a course is closed when the class limit has been reached.  Closed courses are indicated on the course page on this website.  When a course is closed, a waitlist is generated; you may put your name on the waitlist by calling the office.  If  a student withdraws from a filled course, his/her seat is offered to the next person on the waitlist.

Q: What if I think I made a mistake in registering or want to change my registration?
A: Contact us by email (info@midcoastseniorcollege.org) or telephone the office at 725-4900.

Q: What is the refund policy if I can’t attend a course I registered for, or if I don’t like a course?

If you drop a course prior to the beginning of classes, you will receive a full refund of the course fee.  The membership fee is nonrefundable.

If you drop a course after its first class, you will not receive a refund, and the membership fee is nonrefundable.

If you are registered in a course that is cancelled, you may apply that tuition to an open course of your choosing, or receive a refund of the tuition fee and, if not registered for another course, of the membership fee if paid that term.

Q: Is financial aid available?
A: Limited tuition waivers are available for 2 classes per year (one per term) per person.  To apply, send a letter to Midcoast Senior College, Attn: Chair, Admin Committee, 29 Burbank Avenue, Suite 6, Brunswick ME 04011.  If you prefer, you may e-mail it to us: info@midcoastseniorcollege.org.

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Q: Can I volunteer at MSC?
A: Yes, we have a variety of volunteer opportunities available, including serving on our Board or its various committees, assisting in course registration and other administrative tasks, acting as liaison in classrooms, helping out with lectures, luncheons, and other events.  Use skills you already have or develop new ones.

Q: Is there a minimum number of hours for a volunteer?
A: No; you can help for a few hours occasionally or devote more time as you become interested and involved in what we do.

Q: How do I become a MSC volunteer?
A: Call and leave a message (725-4900); e-mail us (info@midcoastseniorcollege.org); mail us your name and information (29 Burbank Avenue., Suite 6, Brunswick 04011) or give it to the course volunteer in your class.

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Public Programs

Q: What else does MSC offer besides courses?
A: We offer five other programs open to the public and Special Events for members only:

1. Winter Wisdom is our lecture series commencing in early January.  It consists of six programs combining lecture (often illustrated) with discussion.  The programs are on consecutive Wednesdays at 12:15 p.m. at the Curtis Memorial Library in Brunswick. These programs are free and open to the public.  Watch for announcements in the December newsletter, on our website, in local newspapers, and elsewhere.
Winter Wisdom Storm Cancellation Policy — if the Brunswick schools are closed because of inclement weather, our scheduled Winter Wisdom lecture is postponed to a later date.

2. Summer Wisdom is similar to our winter program and consists of four or five lectures held at 7:30 pm on Wednesday evenings in the month of June, also at Curtis Library and open to the public.  Announcement of this series appears in the April newsletter, on our website, and elsewhere.

3. Current Events Forum, in conjunction with Curtis Memorial Library in Brunswick, is offered each Thursday, 12:15 – 1:15 throughout the year.  It is free and open to the public.

4. DaPonte String Quartet.  An annual performance concert is offered each fall at the Curtis Library.

5. Excursions and Special Events are supported by our Special Events Committee.  They have included day-long summer excursions to museums, art galleries, theatres, and historical sites.  Occasionally during terms we conduct weekend workshops.  In June, MSC hosts a festive luncheon and annual meeting for students and faculty from the previous fall and/or spring courses.

Q: If I sign up for a summer excursion, can I take a friend who is younger than 50?
A: Yes; a spouse or a guest may be younger.

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Miscellaneous Notes About MSC

Q: What if I can’t drive?
A: Unfortunately we are unable to make car pooling arrangements. However, our students frequently make arrangements on their own.  Those living in community residences may be able to arrange for a van.  Check with you local events coordinator.
Students unable to attend classes at our various locations should inquire if an online course is available that term.

Q: Does the Burbank Avenue campus offer handicapped access?
A:  Yes.  The entrance easily accommodates wheelchairs, as do the hallways, office, and rest rooms.

Q: How many courses does MSC offer each term?
A:  Currently, we offer approximately 20 to 28 courses each term with over 490 students.

Q: Who runs MSC?
A: MSC, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, is administered by an Board of Directors of 15 MSC members that meets monthly for planning and policy decisions.  The Board has standing committees for administration, curriculum, development & marketing, finance, nominating, long-range planning, special events, and volunteers.  Our day-to-day operations are run by volunteers.  Indeed, all of our instructors, board and committee members, and most administrative staff are unpaid volunteers.  The good spirit of our endeavor becomes apparent.

Q: How do I apply to teach a course at MSC?
A: Read our New Faculty Information page first.  Further questions?  Contact us by e-mail (info@midcoastseniorcollege.org) or  regular mail (29 Burbank Avenue , Suite 6, Brunswick ME 04011) with your background information and course proposal.  Our Curriculum Committee makes final decisions about curriculum matters.

Q: How often is your newsletter published?
A: The Midcoast Inquirer is published twice each year and is always available on our website.

Q: What is your storm cancellation policy?
A: We are closed when the Brunswick schools are delayed or closed.  Students who have a scheduled class during a storm or pending storm should check their local radio or TV station re Brunswick school closing. In addition,  instructors may wish to establish a system of e-mail notification and/or a phone tree.

Q: Does MSC have a cafeteria for its students?
A: No we do not operate cafeteria services.  Coffee is available.

Q: What parking is provided?
A: That depends on the location of your classes.  For classes at our Burbank Avenue campus, the parking lot is located next to our building.  There is no parking on Burbank Avenue.  Avoid a ticket.
For parking at our off-site locations, see our Directions page.

Q: Is smoking allowed?
A: Smoking is not permitted within 50 feet from the entrance doors to the Burbank Avenue campus.  Smoking at the other venues that we use is governed by their policies.

Q: Who can attend the spring luncheon?
A: All faculty are invited to the luncheon, along with students enrolled in courses in the Spring and the previous Fall terms.  Sign up by telephone at 725-4900 or by e-mail.

Q: Can I make a financial contribution to the work of MSC?
A: Yes, as a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization, we welcome your financial support of our endeavors. Visit the Support MSC page for full information.

Q. What is the Wheeler/Thompson Award?
A: The Wheeler/Thompson Founders’ Award was established by the Board in 2009 in honor of the two co-founders of Midcoast Senior College, Nancy Wheeler and Jack Thompson.  Past and present Members/Students of MSC, faculty, staff and others who have supported the Senior College in significant ways are eligible for the award.  Sitting members of the Board of Directors are not eligible.

Q: Can I nominate someone for the Wheeler/Thompson Founders’ Award?
A: Yes; follow this link to the Founders’ Award page for details on how to nominate someone.

Q: Can I nominate someone for the Bill Brown Excellence in Teaching Award?
A: Yes; follow this link to the Bill Brown Award page for details on how to nominate someone.

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