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September 2015

 

New faces and new spaces for Professors on Wheels
Ray DiSanza

 

ray disanza
Ray DiSanza, new coordinator of Professors on Wheels, is expanding the program venues to include libraries throughout Suffolk County. (photo by Kevin Peterman)

Some seven or eight years ago, Professors Dan Linker and Adam Penna introduced a program called Professors on Wheels to the college. They envisioned the program as a way to serve the often-overlooked senior population in our community by sending volunteers to deliver lectures at senior centers and rehabilitation facilities.

Under the guidance of my predecessor Dan Linker, Professors on Wheels grew from a pilot that served three centers to an established program that serves roughly fifteen, and its course catalog expanded from a handful of courses to over eighty. The program wouldn’t be what it is today—it may not even exist at all—if it weren’t for all of his hard work. Nor would it exist without the wonderful volunteers who so generously give their time or the overwhelming support of the FA and the college administration.

When other professional obligations forced Linker to step away and I was given the opportunity to be the new coordinator for Professors on Wheels, it was like, “Hey, no pressure. The administration and the FA and all the volunteers love this program. And Dan loves this program. But seriously, really, no pressure.”

I am honored and humbled and grateful to have been entrusted with the responsibility of being the new coordinator of Professors on Wheels. And my goal, from the very beginning, is to continue to grow the program by increasing the number of participating centers and expanding the courses that we offer.

I’ve already started the process of increasing the number of participating centers as well as diversifying the population we serve. Professors on Wheels has always been dedicated to serving Suffolk’s senior community. This remains at the heart of Professors on Wheels today. In the interests of continuing the program’s growth and increasing both the number and the types of presentations that we can offer, though, I’ve contacted the Longwood Public Library, Brentwood Public Library, and Middle Country Library about setting up a pilot program.

If all goes well, we will continue to expand to other local libraries and community centers throughout Suffolk. Expanding to libraries allows Professors on Wheels to reach wider and more diverse audiences and to raise the profile of the program and the college in the community. It also allows us to expand and diversify our course offerings with courses aimed specifically at youth or young adult audiences.

The other part of the goal, increasing the number and the types of the courses offered, I can’t do on my own. So, please, if you’re interested in getting involved, check out the Professors on Wheels page. You can see the types of courses that have been offered in the past, learn more about the program and download a course proposal form.