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One Day University - Be a Student of the Greatest Teachers for Just One Day

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One Day University

One of the things I hear people say so often when they reach, say, 50, is that they didn’t truly appreciate the opportunity they had in college to be the student of some of the greatest teachers. Oh, to have that chance again, even for just one day, to listen to what our country’s best professors have to say about history, art, current events, and other fascinating topics.

Steven Schragis and John Galvin are giving you that chance. They scoured the top campuses, asking one primary question of students, “Which class, taught by which professor, should every student take before leaving this school?”

One Day of College:

"We look at each professor,” Galvin said, “as a story that needs to be verified.”

They start with the teachers students love and then read student newspapers, look at teaching awards, sit in on classes, sometimes under cover; they do their homework.

With over 100 of the most-revered professors on board, and 20 in the bull pen, Schragis and Galvin opened One Day University, giving people like yourself the chance to listen to four of our greatest teachers---for just one day. Each session is held in the auditorium on a college campus, adding to the feeling of being back in school.

The Ideal Day:

“The ideal day,” Shragis said, “is four very different subjects, different styles, different professors.”

The presentations usually include art, history, current events, and a wild card, something like psychology or “The Astonishing Secrets of the Mind.”

Growing a Community:

Right now, classes are being held 3-5 times a year on the east and west coasts. You might find three to four hundred people in a session, and interest is growing.

“Sixty percent come back for another one,” Shragis said.

Returning students are recognizing each other and creating a community of their own, he said. “It’s like education meets entertainment for a day.”

Professors are asked to keep their subjects light, fun, never boring.

A Happiness Club:

Shawn Achor teaches Money, Happiness and Your Brain. “It’s pretty simple stuff,” Galvin said, “but people say afterward, ‘Why don’t we form a happiness club?”

The One Day U staff is trying to assist that effort. They now have a Facebook page and send a newsletter that often includes the answers to five questions they asked one of their esteemed professors. A mini lecture, if you will.

What’s Next?:

While they won’t be adding new cities to the schedule soon, Schragis and Galvin are working on making One Day U available to a wider audience.

“The possibility that people will be able to hear our greatest lectures online is something we’re definitely working on,” Galvin said.

“We have to figure out the model for the live online format,” Schragis said. “We have recorded most of lectures and are working on ways to bring them to more people. It’s coming. We’re just not sure exactly when or in what form.”

Right Teachers, Right Students:

What makes One Day U so successful is the coming together of people who love to teach with those who have a passion for learning.

“These teachers have gone to school forever,” Galvin said, “they have spent whole careers studying something very specific, talking to students who are taking a course because they have to. We give them the opportunity to come and share their knowledge with somebody who cares, a peer. This is exhilarating to them, exciting, to be able to talk about Ronald Reagan with people who were alive at the time, with students who are paying their own money to be there. Exhilarating.”

True Appreciation:

Galvin added that people come out of the lectures and thank him.

“I was in the men’s room at Wellesly,” he said, “and a guy was on his cell phone saying, ‘I feel like my hair is growing out again.’ ”

That's true appreciation.

The Dim Sum of the Education Market:

“One Day U is a little bit like the dim sum of the education market,” Schragis said. “You may not want to hear 14 hours on string theory, but if I tell you the best professor on the subject will speak for one hour, now you can get just a little sampling of string theory.”

One Day U is a wonderful opportunity for lifelong learners to hear the great minds they wouldn’t otherwise have access to, to attend a school they might not otherwise get to attend, to sit with others who value education at a high level.

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