Former Harvard dean named director of UH Manoa's Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Lisa Shirota, (808) 956-7352
Communications Director, Social Sciences, Dean's Office
Posted: Aug 16, 2016

Carole Mandryk
Carole Mandryk

Carole Mandryk, a former dean at Harvard University and an award-winning instructor in Anthropology who has taught at universities and colleges across the U.S. and Canada, has been named director of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UH Mānoa (OLLI-UHM) is an educational membership program in the College of Social Sciences that offers non-credit, college-level courses and other activities to encourage older individuals to engage their minds, enrich their lives, and serve the community. While the Institute primarily serves elder learners aged 50+, the only true requirements for participation are maturity, life experience and a desire to learn.

Program members hold a common vision that older adults are a resource for society. UH Mānoa, with its land-grant mission and history of public service, is a natural setting for a program devoted to lifelong learning, personal growth and community service opportunities. Today, OLLI-UHM has nearly 1,000 members who participate in courses, workshops, book clubs, film and art events and service projects.

“Dr. Mandryk’s interdisciplinary background is a perfect fit for the variety of learning opportunities offered through OLLI. We are fortunate to have Carole’s experience as a teacher and scientist to build upon the success of the lifelong learning program over the past twenty years. We’re delighted to welcome her to OLLI-UHM,” said Denise Eby Konan, dean of the College of Social Sciences.

Mandryk replaces outgoing director Rebecca Goodman.

Goodman and a group of community elders and University administrators established the forerunner of today’s lifelong learning program at UH Mānoa in 1996. The program subsequently won national recognition from the American Society on Aging, as well as grants and endowment gifts totaling $2.3 million from The Bernard Osher Foundation in San Francisco. OLLI-UHM is now part of a national network of 119 university-based lifelong learning institutes in the U.S. supported by the Osher Foundation.

Mandryk’s professional life has spanned academic, public and political spheres. She has served as a consultant for National Geographic, NOVA and the History Channel, been featured in more than 15 interviews by print and broadcast media outlets pertaining to questions about past climatic conditions, human-environment interaction, and is a frequent invited speaker about climate change awareness, action and education.

With BA and MA degrees in Anthropology and a PhD in Quaternary Studies (University of Alberta, 1992), Mandryk has more than 25 years of teaching experience as well as administrative and grant management expertise. She has taught and conducted research at Harvard University, George Mason University, Grant MacEwan College in Canada and UH Mānoa.

"I am delighted to be returning to UH Mānoa to serve in a different capacity and play a role in OLLI-UHM’s innovative approach to lifelong learning. This is a wonderful opportunity that combines my passions for multidisciplinary approaches to knowledge, service and community engagement," said Mandryk.

For OLLI-UHM member Jeanne Nowaki, staying connected and making new friends is as important as the content of the courses. The retired elementary school teacher enjoys the diversity of interests and backgrounds of the people she has met since through the program.

Said Nowaki, “It’s really an important part of my life. The classes are interesting, but the bonus is meeting people from different fields that I would never have met otherwise. I became reacquainted with someone that I knew when I was working as a teacher. An old friend became a close friend through Osher. It also keeps me alert and aware of current events. This is a real community with real value. It’s a way of staying connected and making new friends."

Bernard Osher greets OLLI-UHM member Donald Matsumori (front right). Also pictured (L-R): Bernard Osher Foundation President Mary Bitterman, Director Carole Mandryk, and OLLI-UHM student Martha Torney. 

Marked by leadership, excellence and innovation, the College of Social Sciences (CSS) at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa provides students with a culturally diverse experience that transforms them into bold, engaged global citizens who affect change, break down barriers, touch lives and succeed in a multi-cultural context. Its student-centered environment is dedicated to providing students with a vibrant academic climate that affords exciting, intense interaction among students and faculty as they address fundamental questions about human behavior. Featuring outstanding scholarship through internships, active and service learning approaches to teaching, and an international focus particularly in the Asia Pacific region, it prepares students to become leaders in public and private enterprises throughout Hawai‘i and Asia.