These bylaws are subject to the policies and procedures of the University of Illinois and the guidelines of the Bernard Osher Foundation.

NAME: The name of this organization is Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Illinois (OLLI at Illinois; OLLI).

MISSION STATEMENT/PURPOSE: OLLI at Illinois furthers the pursuit of lifelong learning by offering affordable, accessible, high-quality educational programs for the population over fifty years of age in Champaign-Urbana and the East Central Illinois area. OLLI programs are conducted in an environment that fosters member participation in the planning, execution, and assessment of all programs. OLLI broadens and enriches the lives of its members by heightening their intellectual engagement and stimulating their curiosity.


Eligibility: Membership in OLLI at Illinois is open to all persons age fifty and over who pay the annual membership fee. The membership fees and other program fees are determined by the Board. Scholarships are available. The conditions for scholarship are determined by the OLLI Director. Membership is limited by the ability of OLLI to accommodate new members and by such further criteria as may be adopted by the Board and approved by the University.

Categories of Membership: The membership term is the fiscal year, with membership benefits commencing on July 1 and expiring on the following June 30. Half-year memberships are also available for the period beginning on December 1 and running through June 30. Membership benefits and conditions are approved by the Board. Membership in OLLI does not confer any further University of Illinois student, staff, or faculty status, or any other benefits pertaining to those roles.

All members are eligible to vote for Board candidates and officers, and to attend the Annual Meeting in June.

Termination of Membership: Occasion may arise when it will become appropriate for the OLLI Director, in consultation with the Board Chair, to terminate or decline the membership of an individual whose actions are inconsistent with or harmful to the best interest of OLLI at Illinois.

ORGANIZATION: The Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost shall appoint an OLLI Director, who is the chief administrator of OLLI. The Director is a full-time employee of the University of Illinois and is responsible to the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost for ongoing operations and business management. An OLLI Board of Directors, which shall be elected as set forth in these bylaws, shall advise the Director on the formulation and execution of bylaws, policies, priorities, and the creation of standing and other committees. The internal governance of OLLI shall be in accordance with the University of Illinois policies and Bernard Osher Foundation guidelines. Individual members of the OLLI Board of Directors do not have the authority to act on behalf of OLLI or the University or to take any legal, financial, or personnel actions.

THE OLLI BOARD: The OLLI Board, an advisory board, shall represent and advocate for the membership in its collaboration with the OLLI Director. In such capacity, the Board shall work with the Director on:

  • the curriculum, activities, and general operation of OLLI;
  • the development and implementation of short, medium, and long range plans for OLLI;
  • creating an environment for active participation and volunteer engagement by the members;
  • the resolution of issues that may arise in the operation of OLLI from the members’ perspective
  • providing input into the creation and implementation of the OLLI budget. Although the establishment and control of the budget lie within the purview of the Director, the Board participates in discussions regarding the budget with the Director;
  • the setting of fees for participation in OLLI and its programs; the Board will review the institute’s fee structure every two years or as needed, and make such modifications as they deem necessary;
  • assisting the Director and others in raising funds for OLLI;
  • creating and dissolving such committees, both standing and ad hoc, as it deems necessary and appropriate; and
  • raising with the Director matters and concerns that the Board and its members believe affect the operation of OLLI.

Board Membership: The Board shall have a membership not exceeding thirteen. All Board members must be current members of OLLI at Illinois. Board members and officers are recommended by a Nominating Committee to the full OLLI membership prior to the Annual Meeting for approval at that meeting. The OLLI Director serves as a permanent ex officio member of the Board.

Term of Service: Board members shall be elected to a term of two years, renewable for a second two-year term, with service not to exceed four consecutive years on the Board. The Board membership year is the same as the fiscal year.
A previous Board member may be elected to an additional term of service, but only after a period of two full membership years has elapsed since the end of the earlier term.
An outgoing Board Chair may be invited to serve for one year as ex officio Board Chair Emeritus immediately following the completion of their two-year term as Board Chair. If the Board Chair has an additional year of service remaining on the Board after serving as Chair, then that year and the year as Board Chair Emeritus will be served simultaneously. If the Board Chair has already served the full four-year term, then they will be invited to remain on the Board, in an ex officio capacity, for one year to serve as an informal advisor to the new Board Chair and the Board.

Vacancies: Board vacancies occurring during the year will be considered by the Nominating Committee for the following year.

Meetings: The Board will meet a minimum of six times per year, with a schedule circulated prior to the start of the year. A majority of the Board members present at a meeting shall constitute a quorum for conducting business. The Board Chair will call the meeting and provide five days’ notice via e-mail to its members.

Presiding at Meetings: All Board meetings will be presided over by the Chair. In the absence of the Chair, the Vice-Chair shall preside. If neither Chair nor Vice-Chair is available, the Secretary will serve as Chair.

Officers: The officers of the Board shall consist of a Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary, and Financial Liaison. Board officers will be recommended by the Nominating Committee to the full membership at least ten working days prior to the Annual Meeting, with the election conducted at the Annual Meeting. Each officer is elected to a two-year term, with the possibility of renewal for a second two-year term. No officer may serve more than four consecutive years in a position.

Chair: The Chair will conduct all Board and Annual Meetings in consultation with the OLLI Director; appoint chairs of standing and other committees in consultation with the OLLI Director; serve as ex officio member of all standing committees; and serve as an advisor to the OLLI Director and the Nominating Committee.

Vice-Chair: The Vice-Chair will assist the Board Chair and OLLI Director as appropriate and conduct Board and Annual Meetings in the absence of the Board Chair. The Vice-Chair may serve as an ex officio member of a standing committee, except the Nominating Committee, in the place of the Chair at the Chair’s discretion.

Secretary: The Secretary will record minutes of all Board and Annual Meetings and arrange for distribution to the Board membership.

Financial Liaison: The Financial Liaison shall serve as a special advisor to the OLLI Director on the organization’s financial matters and report to the Board at all Board meetings. In the event of OLLI financial matters requiring additional investigation, the Financial Liaison shall serve as Chair of a well-specified task force made up of both Board members and other OLLI members chosen for their special expertise in the area of discussion, and appointed by the Board Chair in consultation with the OLLI Director.

COMMITTEES: OLLI at Illinois shall have standing committees and a Nominating Committee as designated below. Special task forces may be formulated as described below to study issues which come before the organization. Other committees may be created and dissolved by the Board.

Standing Committees:
Curriculum Committee
Development Committee
E-News Committee
Membership Committee
Study Group Committee

Committee Chairs: Chairs of committees will be appointed by the Board Chair and OLLI Director. Committee chairs will serve a one-year term, with the possibility of renewal for a second year. No committee chair may serve more than two years in that role, with the exception of the E-News Committee Chair.

Committee Membership: Committee members will be appointed by the OLLI Director, in consultation with the committee chairs and Board Chair, and will serve for up to three years. There are no term limits for the E-News Committee. The OLLI Director and the Board Chair (or Vice-Chair, if so designated) shall be ex officio members of all standing committees named above. No elected member of the Board shall serve as chair of any standing committee. The committee membership year is the same as the fiscal year. A previous committee member may be invited to an additional service, on the same committee or a different one, as soon as they have completed their term of service on the original committee.

Board Liaisons to Standing Committees: A Board member will be appointed by the Board Chair and OLLI Director to serve as Board Liaison for each standing committee. The Board Liaison will serve as an ex officio member of the committee for a term of two years, and will be responsible for representing the Board and its policies at all committee meetings. Board Liaisons will provide committee reports at each Board meeting.

Nominating Committee: The Nominating Committee identifies, invites, and recommends the members and officers of the Board for approval at the Annual Meeting. The slate shall consist of as many nominees as there are positions to be filled in the upcoming election. The committee shall consist of no less than three members and a chair, and will be appointed in April by the OLLI Director. The committee shall consist of no less than three members and a chair, and will be appointed in April by the OLLI Director; one of the committee’s members will be drawn from the current Board, and that individual will be named by the OLLI Director in consultation with the Board Chair. The committee’s term of service will conclude with the Annual Meeting in June.

Task Forces and Ad Hoc Committees: The Board Chair, in consultation with the Director, may convene an ad hoc committee or task force to address any emergent issues. Membership of any task force or ad hoc committee may include Board members and other appropriate individuals drawn from the OLLI membership. A task force or ad hoc committee may be terminated by the appointing authority at any time and if not so terminated, will terminate automatically at the conclusion of its purpose.

Roles of Standing Committees: Below, each standing committee is named and its purpose described. Within the parameters of its purpose, the OLLI Director and the Board will define each committee’s specific duties and responsibilities, and the Board Liaison will communicate those duties and responsibilities at the first meeting of the committee. Committees will meet on a schedule to be determined prior to the start of the year by the OLLI director, Board Chair, and committee chair, with no meetings in June, July, or August unless special circumstances should require it.

Curriculum Committee: The Curriculum Committee is responsible for developing a stimulating, well-balanced schedule of courses for the fall and spring semesters. The committee works in partnership with the OLLI Director to identify instructors and topics that will result in a diverse, intellectually stimulating curriculum; reviews course and instructor performance and determines future directions; approves and refines course proposals; and assesses course policies and evaluation procedures. The OLLI Director has sole hiring responsibility for all course instructors, and committee members may not discuss hiring details or terms of employment with any potential or current instructors.

Development Committee: The OLLI Director is the chief development officer of OLLI at Illinois. The Development Committee works with the OLLI Director and Board to plan and implement fundraising activities that help to meet OLLI’s financial goals. In accordance with University policies and procedures, the committee identifies needs and develops fundraising goals; develops active strategies for achieving those goals; and communicates with the Board regarding fundraising plans. Members may not solicit any individuals or agencies on behalf of OLLI.

E-News Committee: The E-News Committee works in consultation with the OLLI Director to plan, assign, write, design, and distribute an electronic newsletter for members and others on the OLLI at Illinois mailing list. The committee will also produce special issues as they deem appropriate. The committee generates feature stories, columns, member-feedback sections, and other content; and assesses reader responses and user data. There are no term limits for the chair or members of this committee.

Membership Committee: The Membership Committee creates and implements plans for the recruitment, orientation, and retention of OLLI members. The committee is responsible for welcoming new members through new-member orientation sessions held prior to the start of each semester; and reaching out to new and returning members at informal activities designed to engage and sustain OLLI membership. The committee also assists the OLLI staff in arranging and staffing the Annual Meeting, day trips and local tours, and special events throughout the year, and in distributing course catalogs and other marketing materials.

Study Group Committee: The Study Group Committee develops and approves a schedule of peer-led discussion groups on a wide variety of topics. Committee members are expected to have personal experience as study group facilitators prior to joining the committee, and are encouraged to serve as facilitators during their term on the committee. The committee provides support and guidance to study group facilitators through workshops and training meetings; actively participates in recruitment of facilitators and in the suggestion of potential topics; reviews and approves study group proposals; and assesses proposal policies and evaluation procedures.

PROGRAM ADMINISTRATION: OLLI at Illinois is a program of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, located within the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost and subject to all established University, Board of Trustees, and State of Illinois rules and regulations, as well as all guidelines of the Bernard Osher Foundation. OLLI at Illinois is supported by a permanent staff hired according to University guidelines. OLLI will operate under an annual budget that is presented by the OLLI Director, agreed upon by the Board, and approved by the University prior to the start of the new fiscal year.

The Director is the chief administrator of OLLI at Illinois. The Director is a full-time employee of the University of Illinois, appointed by the University and reporting to the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost. The Director is responsible and accountable for the overall management of OLLI including programmatic, financial, personnel, and managerial matters; and for ensuring that Board decisions and policies conform to University policies. The Director is also responsible and accountable to the Bernard Osher Foundation as the Principal Investigator of all grants and endowment gifts according to the established guidelines and reporting procedures. The Director shall be a non-voting member of the Board and all other committees and task forces.

PARLIAMENTARY AUTHORITY: The rules contained in the latest edition of Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised shall govern the conduct of business at OLLI at Illinois in all cases in which they are applicable and in which they are not in conflict with these bylaws or with the University statutes.


Amendment: Amendments to these bylaws must be proposed at one Board meeting and not voted upon until the next meeting, with notice sent to all Board members of the proposed changes and the date, place, and time of the meeting at which a vote will be held.

Revision: At least every two years the Board, in consultation with the OLLI Director, shall examine the bylaws and propose such revisions as seem desirable.

Revised and approved by the OLLI Board of Directors on March 5, 2020.