College For Grown-Ups

Students walk along outdoor sidewalk labelled "Discovery Gallery, Scholars Walk"

I'm grateful to work on a college campus, to be part of a vibrant learning community where new trails are blazed and life changing breakthroughs are discovered. Stroll through the Scholars Walk at the University of Minnesota and you will understand what I mean. The brilliance of our researchers, scholars, educators, and students inspires awe. I'm proud to be part of a university that is driving discoveries and impact in our local and global communities.

This is the backdrop for University of Minnesota Advanced Careers (UMAC), a "gap year for grown-ups" as they transition from careers into what's next. UMAC fellows join a world class university, learning alongside undergraduate students and connecting with experts and other resources to build out ideas for the future.

UMAC fellows tell us how much this kind of access matters to them. Lectures and seminars spark ideas and new ways of thinking. Applied curricula like the Grand Challenge courses deepen understanding of issues we face as a society - climate change, poverty, global health, for example - while focusing on practical solutions and propelling action. Fellows find that this time of renewal and exploration helps them chart a course forward, to use their talents to make the world a better place in their encores.

It's not easy shifting from a career to what's next, especially in a society where who we are is so tied up with what we do. Our fellows have built successful careers, and have honed a range of skills and talents. They are ready for a change - to use those hard earned skills in new ways, for new jobs/careers or meaningful volunteering. Yet there are few blueprints and pathways to post-career work that taps into those skills and combines purpose and meaning. Universities are ideal settings for people to navigate these transitions in encore adulthood, a new life stage characterized more by engagement and active living than leisure and relaxation.

Like young adults, encore adults want to build career skills and sharpen strategies to navigate the new world of work. And like their younger counterparts, they also want to use their skills to make a difference. For those of all ages, universities are places to learn and grow and apply that learning in meaningful ways in our communities.

UMAC is recruiting its 2020-21 cohort of fellows.

Apply before March 31, and/or nominate someone to be a UMAC fellow.