Butler University has launched a new initiative targeting adults who have a thirst for knowledge. Through the newly formed Butler Lifelong Learning Collaborative, adults can take non-credit courses on a variety of topics ranging from Leadership Development to Disney History.

Course offerings are split into three categories: Minicourses (a series of four one-hour courses centered on a specific topic), One-Hour Talks (a one-time session delivered in-person or online about a chosen topic), and Behind the Scenes (expert-led educational tours). Costs vary by course and program type but are typically priced between $30-$120.

“According to the Pew Research Center, approximately 75 percent of adults consider themselves lifelong learners,” Catherine Pangan, Director of the Butler Lifelong Learning Collaborative, said. “There is a strong demand for continuing education beyond what is traditionally offered by colleges and universities. Butler has experienced faculty, a rich history in higher education, and an easily accessible location that makes us the ideal institution for filling this educational opportunity in Indianapolis.”

The courses offered through the Lifelong Learning Collaborative do not count toward a college degree. “There are no tests, no grades, and no degree requirements,” Pangan said. “We see all types of students in our courses, from recent college graduates to senior citizens. But they all have one thing in common: they are intellectually curious and have a passion for learning, at any age or stage.”

Studies indicate that there are many benefits to lifelong learning, which is defined as the practice of continuous, voluntary, and self-motivated quest for knowledge. Among the benefits are improved memory, decreased cognitive decline, increased self-esteem and self-confidence, improved decision-making, and positive impact on attitude and outlook.

“There are also social and professional networking benefits to lifelong learning,” Pangan said. “Exploring topics of interest with others who share your interest and level of curiosity helps form strong bonds that could lead to new friendships and professional relationships.”

Butler has two Behind The Scenes courses on the calendar that are sure to be popular with those who are familiar with the university: a view into a day in the life of Blue IV, the English bulldog who serves as Butler’s mascot (Sept. 8); and a walking tour of historic Hinkle Fieldhouse, complete with insider stories (Dec. 8).

“Blue IV is arguably one of Indy’s most well-known four-legged celebrities, and spots are filling up fast with fans who want to meet him and learn about the marketing strategy behind the live mascot program,” Pangan said. “And if basketball is a religion in Indiana as some people claim, then Hinkle Fieldhouse is our state’s cathedral to the sport. Fans won’t want to miss this behind-the-scenes tour.”

Topics for Minicourses currently scheduled include Koru Meditation, a Leadership Series, Cryptography, and Dungeons and Dragons. One Hour Talks are scheduled for Leadership, Aphasia, and ChatGPT. In addition to the courses featuring Blue IV and Hinkle Fieldhouse, Butler is also conducting Behind the Scenes Tours of downtown Indy, the costume shop for Butler’s production of The Nutcracker, and the Holocaust Museum in Terre Haute. Additional courses will be added throughout the year.

A complete list of courses offered, dates, and costs is available on Butler’s website.