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Workshop Leader Resources 

Thank you for volunteering to be an OLLI workshop leader. Without you the OLLI at Stony Brook University Program would not be as successful as it is today. This guide is designed to help give OLLI members the confidence and skills to be effective workshop leaders, whether you’re new to OLLI or a past/current workshop leader (WSL).  

Below are the objectives of this workshop leader guide: 

  • Help WSLs “hit the ground running” by demonstrating group management skills and instilling confidence. 
  • Assist new and returning WSLs to become more effective. 
  • Familiarize WSLs with OLLI at Stony Brook University and its policies.


OLLI is committed to collaborative peer learning in which members and WSLs work together to share their knowledge and experience. Some principles to guide you further are listed below. 

  • Recognize that all OLLI members bring a significant body of knowledge and experience. 
  • Encourage the sharing of knowledge. 
  • Respect differing beliefs, values, and opinions. 
  • Focus on the strengths learners bring to the classroom. 
  • Provide opportunities for dialogue within the group. 
  • Be aware of different learning styles and consider using auditory, visual, and participatory teaching methods. 
  • Consider inspiring class members by getting them involved emotionally, by tapping into memories, and by adding real-life stories. 
  • Ask workshop members for feedback. It’s motivating for members to know that their opinion contributes to the course. 
  • Many adults prefer teaching methods other than a formal lecture. 
  • Stay positive and focused.


All guest speakers must have a completed Guest Speaker Application on file preferably one week in advance. Exceptions include last minute speakers who make general commitments at the beginning of the semester and finalize dates last minute. In these scenarios, the Program Director must be informed and give verbal approval prior to the guest speaker arriving on campus or entering the workshop via video conference or telephone call. If a guest speaker has specific political party affiliations or is employed by a University other than Stony Brook University, this affiliation must be shared with SBU.

All guest speakers must be provided with a copy of the  Volunteer Identification Agreement form and the Member Code of Conduct to review prior to presenting. This is integral as all guest speakers need to be aware of and acknowledge all policies regarding approved conduct and OLLI & SBU policies on diversity, inclusion, and participation.

Guest Speaker Applications are valid for the one semester they are completed in and will need to be completed in all subsequent semesters thereafter.