About New Dimensions

New Dimensions Lifelong Learning Institute offers Grand Valley adults 50 and over the opportunity to enroll in a variety of non-credit classes focused on academic and personal enrichment. Learn more at New Dimensions Lifelong Learning Institute's website.

In the fall of 2014, a small group of retired individuals began talking about the possibility of classes for seniors that would reflect the successful national model:  The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. New Dimensions has incorporated many of the policies and much of the structure of OLLI.  This model has provided a framework to guide in the planning of all facets of what we now know as New Dimensions Lifelong Learning Institute (NDLLI).

​After much discussion, a concept for the program was formed and planning for classes began. New Dimensions was launched in the spring of 2015 with 16 classes and 64 members and almost all of the classes were held at local churches and CMU. 

After completing 5 sessions (one in the winter/spring and one in the fall of each year), we have grown to 63 classes and 405 members which is a 60% increase. The Grand Valley shows there is a need and great interest for people 50 and over to continue learning and meeting new people. 

Volunteers provide the success and sustainability of the program

Strong membership involvement is needed to organize and sustain the program.  We hope you will consider taking an active role.  New Dimensions has no paid staff; volunteers select courses and recruit instructors, maintain membership, conduct registration, manage the web page, plan marketing and promotion, and conduct operations.

Program Philosophy

In the spirit of fostering understanding, each member is encouraged to share opinions and ideas. NEW DIMENSIONS class participants do not attempt to "convert" others, because there is a mutual respect for each member's experiences, ideas, value systems and beliefs. The true focus of a New Dimensions class is the critical examination of issues and opinions.  Each participant's point of view carries equal weight. Consensus is not a goal.  We encourage participants with varied perspectives to attend and become engaged through discussion and civil debate.

Funding and Resources

The major funding source for NDLLI is the $75.00 membership fee and donations.  The program received non-profit status in 2015 which allowed for a way to seek funding and sponsorships.

Board of Directors

Jan Henwood
Jean Gauley
Vi Crawford
Bill Byers

Course Development Winter/Spring Term

Judy Herr
David Karisney
Kristi Smith
Dick Arnold
Kathy Moran
Melanie Wiseman
Julie Heacock
Paul & Bonnie VanCamp
Judy Thornburg
Cary Atwood
Susan Hall
Linda Malesich
Deb Cockroft

Curriculum Coordinator

Anne Breckenridge


Julie Heacock

Web Support

Anne Breckenridge
​Deb Cockroft

Course Offerings

Beginning Birding with Cary Atwood, new dimensions participants with binoculars viewing birdsClasses reflect an academic focus featuring an array of disciplines such as history, science, philosophy, ethics, political science, art, literature, economics, current issues, nature study, performing arts, and more. New Dimensions members are encouraged to make suggestions for potential class topics and instructors. While some courses may be offered regularly, others may be changed, added or deleted from term to term.

 (Pictured: Beginning Birding with Cary Atwood)

Course Selection

  • will provide diverse and intellectually stimulating offerings in a wide variety of academic disciplines to include but not limited to: history, science, literature, political science, ethics, philosophy, economics, nature study, humanities, art studies including history and appreciation, and current issues.
  • will include topics of controversy and concern and ensure that instruction represents information on all sides of an issue.


  • will create a welcoming classroom encouraging all participants to engage and interact through a variety of formats including discussion, small groups, question, and presentation.
  • will respect the diverse opinions of participants.
  • will remain neutral in presenting controversial material and will include information on various positions on the subject.
  • will represent varied ethnic and racial groups whenever possible.

Winter/Spring 2019 Classes