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What, exactly, is UMAC?

The University of Minnesota Advanced Careers Initiative guides encore adults as they imagine and invent what’s next in their work and lives. We launched UMAC in response to what we see as a new life stage—an encore to conventional adulthood—for those thinking about, approaching, or moving through what used to be conventional retirement ages who see meaningful work (paid or unpaid) as part of what’s next for them.

UMAC Fellows Program

UMAC Fellows Program brings experienced professionals back to campus as they transition from career jobs into new ways of working and giving back. Fellows join a cohort of learners who seek meaningful work with social impact in their encores. Over the course of two semesters, UMAC fellows have the space to learn, experiment, and build a foundation as they prepare for new life chapters that include meaningful work.

The UMAC Fellows Program taps the richness of a vibrant, world class university. Fellows learn across the generations, joining students in applied classes addressing societal challenges. They contribute to a project in the social sector, building connections in nonprofits.

UMAC Online

UMAC Online is a two-part, virtual series. Charting A Course for What's Next (8 weeks) helps participants design a life of purpose, engagement and social impact. What Difference Can I Make? (8 weeks) focuses on practical approaches to becoming a positive force within communities. Visit this part of the website for more information.




These are unprecedented times in need of new models of living and working. These trends are driving the need for new blueprints.

  • Americans are living longer. Medical advances and life-style changes have postponed age-related frailties.
  • Many in the large Boomer cohort (born 1946-64) are retirement-eligible or have already left their career jobs, and those in GenX are not far behind.
  • Choices are full-time work or full-time leisure, yet most want something in-between.
  • The new economy is turbulent, global, and automating, even as safety nets are unraveling.
  • Old rules about a one-time, one-way, irreversible retirement exit are outdated.
  • Both the population and the workforce are aging, even as older workers and retirees are healthier, more educated, and more vital than ever in history.

We invented UMAC as a place where encore adults can think about, share, and “try on” different possibilities for meaningful next chapters, inventing their own encores. Similar initiatives exist at Stanford University, Harvard University, University of Notre Dame, and now University of Texas-Austin. UMAC was the first such program in a public university.

Why is UMAC on pause?

Covid-19 interrupted our UMAC fellows program. We are using this time to rethink many aspects of UMAC to set us up for future success. We enlisted the talents of a group of business students to study our business model, value proposition, and marketing approaches. The analysis points to a real need, and the value of UMAC to encore adults and the community. We are still exploring ways to relaunch UMAC.


When does UMAC meet?

UMAC Meeting Times

UMAC Fellows Program meets on Tuesdays from 3:30-6:00 for Focus on Transformation and Wednesdays from 12:15-1:15 for Faculty-Fellow Dialogues. We follow the University of Minnesota Academic Calendar.

How many hours per week does UMAC require?

Our core curriculum includes approximately 8-10 hours of in-person meetings per week. There will be readings outside of meetings and opportunities to get further involved (e.g. attend additional lectures and talks). Fellows can dial up participation if they are interested or dial down as needed.

Will I earn college credit by participating in UMAC?

No. UMAC is not designed as a degree-seeking program. Instead, UMAC provides participants with opportunities to learn and grow, and study areas of interest, but without the requirement of writing papers or taking tests.
For participants who are interested in formally enrolling in a class, UMAC staff can help with doing so. We can help you find classes of interest and assist you as you navigate enrollment. There are likely to be additional tuition costs, depending on residency status and eligibility for existing student classifications. Note that some University of Minnesota courses are only open to students enrolled in specific programs. We will help you determine which courses are open for enrollment.

Are you accepting applications at this point?

No, we are not accepting applications at this time. Once we have a better plan for UMAC, we will relaunch, building on the insights we have gotten from our business analysis.


Will UMAC Online be offered soon?

We are exploring a suite of offerings for UMAC, including a redesigned fellows program as well as an online option. At this point, we are thinking big picture, and not offering any of these options until we have an overarching vision and strategy.


The best way to find out more about UMAC is to join our mailing list.