New Informal Classes Introduced by Continuing and Innovative Education

A new personal enrichment program presented in the spirit of the former Informal Classes at The University of Texas at Austin will be introduced this fall by the university's Division of Continuing and Innovative Education (CIE).

The program, although not a continuation of Informal Classes, is based on community interest in taking noncredit courses at the university. CIE's informal classes will be offered within the Life Enrichment program of the Thompson Conference Center (TCC). TCC is home to other CIE personal enrichment opportunities on the campus such as the UT Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, UT Odyssey and Road Scholar programs.

"I am pleased to offer a new informal classes program to the Austin metropolitan area," said Judy Ashcroft, dean of Continuing and Innovative Education. "For 100 years, CIE has offered both traditional and nontraditional students with opportunities to broaden their educational experiences. A new informal program presented in the spirit of the former Informal Classes is highly consistent with our mission and I look forward to growing our portfolio of offerings."

Informal Classes were previously administered by the Texas Union, which announced last winter it was discontinuing them for budgetary reasons.

CIE is a cost-recovery unit, meaning the programs it offers must pay for themselves. CIE will leverage its resources to introduce a modest number of informal classes this fall. The success of the program will rely on market interest and CIE's ability to expand programs in a self-sustaining manner.

Registration is already open for the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center's Go Native U program, previously offered through Informal Classes. Space is also available in CIE's UT Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and Road Scholar.

The following informal classes are confirmed for fall. Online registration opens Sept. 7.

  • Active Life:

    • Kayaking (multiple disciplines), "Running for Beginners," "Beginning Golf I and II," "Tai Chi," "Beginning Horseback Riding" and Around Austin Walking Tours, including "Old 6th Street Walking Tour," "Capitol Grounds Walking Tour" and "Historic Churches of Austin Walking Tour."
  • Creative Life:
    • "Beginning Drawing," "Beginning Oil Painting," Digital Photography (multiple disciplines), "Hands-On Clay," "Clay: Alginate Hand Casting," "Clay: Wired-In-Space," "Poetry" and "Write a Book in 3 Weeks or Less."
  • Business and Personal Life:
    • "Speaking Without Fear," "How to Become a Private Investigator," "How to Find Out Anything About Anyone" and "Protecting Your Privacy."
  • Culture and Travel:
    • Language courses (Beginning French and Spanish).

Competitive registration prices and enrollment minimums will be structured to create a sustainable business model for the program. CIE also plans to extend special discounts for its informal classes to students and affiliated partners at the university, including faculty, staff and members of Texas Exes, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and the Littlefield Society.

A Web site is being developed for course listings and registrations. Visit Informal Classes and subscribe for updates.