Course leaders – finding, servicing and rewarding convenors

by Frank Jennings

This article is a summary of the main points made in the workshop on this topic, led by Fran Tarbox of Kempsey-Macleay alley U3A, at the 2012 Port Macquarie Network Conference.

While every U3A operates in a different way, often depending on membership size, different methods of administration, and venues available, some of the following suggestions may be useful.

Finding course leaders:

  • In application forms, newsletters and in media articles and interviews, ask people if they would like to lead a course
  • List Network Resource Library courses in your newsletter, and ask for volunteers to lead them
  • Rotating leadership responsibility within a group or class can develop new leaders as confidence grows.
  • If a leader retires or take a break, ask their suggestions for a replacement

Servicing course leaders

  • Provide each leader with a folder containing information such as the U3A year calendar, committee details, mentor list, accident or incident forms, advice on how to deal with difficult members, venue information, reports etc,
  • Provide brunches at the commencement of Terms 1 and 3 with in-service training, eg a first aid course such as Life .. live It .. Save it (available from the NSW Ambulance Service), to explain course policies, or a Q & A session to share information and ideas

Rewarding Course Leaders

  • Certificates of appreciation
  • Polo shirts, lanyards, or other small gifts of appreciation for people who conduct courses over several weeks or terms.
  • A brunch or lunch where leaders are guests but other members pay.
  • Thankyou’s in newsletters, local media, etc
  • Thankyou cards for one-off talk presenters