IRPE is called a Lifelong Learning Institute. What is a Lifelong Learning Institute?
The Exploritas program (formerly Elderhostel) has the following description:
"Imagine a school without grades or tests, a place where the only prerequisites are an active mind and a desire to learn in a congenial atmosphere. Fill the classrooms with dedicated students of retirement age. They are a community of learners who design their own college-level curriculum according to their own needs and interests, people whose common bonds are intellectual curiosity and the experience of their generation. They share opinions, knowledge, and expertise with humor, creativity and mutual respect. When classes are over, the lively discussions don't end. The talk spills out to the hallways, the cafeteria, or the student lounge. Younger students passing through are impressed by the vitality of this enthusiastic bunch. Learning is obviously lots of fun. Pursue learning through your local LLI."
IRPE is your local LLI.
Do I have to be retired to be a member?
No, you need not be retired. Although the program is designed for persons of retirement age, anyone who wishes to may join. Many participants continue to work part-time and even full-time and are able to participate in classes or the travel program.
What is 'peer-to-peer learning'?
Peer-to-peer learning means that people of similar ages and experiences share their interests and knowledge with each other. Members with passions for particular subjects share their love of the topics through teaching many of our course offerings. Some retired and active faculty from Brooklyn College or other CUNY colleges have found teaching an IRPE class to be an especially interesting and gratifying experience.
How do I become a member?
Please visit our Join page.
What is the cost?
The annual fee of $75 is the only basic cost. There may be other expenses for some classes. A watercolor painting workshop, for example, may require materials or supplies. Reading/literature class participants may prefer to purchase rather than borrow books. Travel Program activities are on a cost per trip basis.
Can I join IRPE at any time?
Yes. Although the fall semester starts in September and the spring semester in February, not all classes and lectures start at the beginning of the term. Many start at other times throughout the semester. The IRPE annual membership fee is less than one would pay for a single course in most other adult programs, making membership cost effective at any time.
How does IRPE keep its cost so low?
One tenet of IRPE is to keep the cost of the program as low as possible. This helps make it available to people in all economic situations. We are able to do this by relying on volunteers for teaching classes, managing the program and conducting almost all other functions of the IRPE. There are only two paid employees, one full-time and one part-time administrative assistant. In addition to their salaries, other expenses include room rentals, postage and fees paid to Brooklyn College.
How do I register for classes?
For most classes the 'registration' process is simplicity itself: you merely walk into the classroom and sign the attendance sheet. For certain classes, indicated by an asterisk in the course listing, pre-registration is required. This is done by placing your name on a list in the IRPE office, Room 3160 Boylan Hall.
How many courses may I take?
There is no limit to the courses one may attend. You may take as many classes as you can fit into your schedule.
What if I don't like a class?
If a class doesn't meet your expectations, simply do not return for the remaining sessions. You may wish to try another class scheduled for the same time slot. The IRPE program is somewhat informal and most instructors welcome new participants at any time in the semester.
How does the travel program work?
The Travel Committee plans trips that will appeal to IRPE members. Some are local day trips and others are multi-day journeys involving travel to locations as far as Canada, New Orleans or Mount Rushmore. Notices are sent to members about upcoming trips and the costs for participating. Seats are filled on a first-come, first-serve basis.
What is the ticket/voucher program for cultural performances? What about other events and activities on-campus?
On the bulletin board outside Room 3160 Boylan, the Cultural Events Committee posts a listing of events that are free or for which discounts or vouchers are available. You may obtain these tickets or vouchers in Room 3160 at the times indicated on the listing
There are many events taking place on campus for the general college community, such as Wolfe Institute lectures, concerts and films. Notices are posted on the board outside Room 3160 or on the table just inside the office.
In addition, IRPE members can obtain discounted community memberships to use the new West Quad building which contains a pool, a gym and other recreational facilities.
How can I get to the Brooklyn College Campus?
Please visit the Travel and Directions page.
What about parking?
Parking can be difficult, but it is possible. There are metered spaces on Bedford Avenue, Campus Road, Glenwood Road, Nostrand Avenue and East 26th Street. Most meters allow parking up to six hours. There is a parking garage at the Target store at Nostrand Avenue and Avenue H and a small lot on Nostrand Avenue near the Long Island Railroad cut (between Avenue H and Avenue I). Street parking is available but is very limited.
How does one become an instructor?
Please visit our Volunteer page.
How are classes chosen?
Generally, classes are proposed by the prospective instructor, but if you have an idea for a class you would like to see, suggest it to the Program Committee using the Course Proposal Form on our Volunteer page. They may seek someone who can conduct such a class.
Can I take books out of the Library?
Yes. Your IRPE membership card can be used to borrow books from the college library. The library also offers access to computer terminals and a pleasant reading room-lounge area on the main floor.
Can I use the pool and the recreation center? How much does it cost?
The new West Quad recreation facility is open to members of the community, with discounted rates available. The rates are posted by the Department of Recreation.
Do I have to be a Brooklyn College graduate?
It is not necessary to have attended Brooklyn College or any other college. There are no educational prerequisites for IRPE. Our members range from those with advanced degrees to those who might not have been able to go to college before and want to take advantage of the opportunity now.
Is there an age requirement?
We welcome adults of all ages who are able to attend classes during weekday hours. Most of our members are of retirement age
Why can’t you send me a current catalog before I join?
We restrict access to current catalogs to members in order to prevent non-members from attending our classes. View a list of current courses without room and time information.
Can I audit Brooklyn College classes?
Yes, it is possible to audit Brooklyn College classes on a space-available basis, with the permission of the instructor and payment of a fee to the college. This is not handled through IRPE. If you wish to audit a class, you must go through the college Registrar.