Beginning July 1, 2021, a revised committee structure will be implemented, to reflect the changing activities and needs of the organization. Read the new Committee Portfolio descriptions  HERE

The Five College Learning in Retirement Program depends on its members to do just about everything that is needed to provide an interesting, quality program for retired people in the Pioneer Valley. We organize seminars, workshops, trips, special programs, meetings, and events. This takes a lot of creative effort by members, and it is done through standing and ad hoc committees and sub-committees.

2020-2021 5CLIR Committees Committee Chairs
Curriculum Kathy Campbell, Francie Borden
Finance Monroe Rabin
Great Decisions Bruce Brewer
Membership/Outreach Margaret Russell
Member Events Catharine Porter
Nominating Margaret Russell
Projects & Events Ellen Kosmer
Ongoing programs Wendy Parrish
Technology Gordon Wyse


Appointments to committee membership are for three-year terms. Ideally, new appointments are made each year to ensure a constant supply of new people and new ideas. This rotation offers a wonderful opportunity for new and recent members to get creatively involved and to get to know other members better. Our organizational year is from July 1 to the next June 30. Each year we ask members to indicate what committee(s) they would volunteer to serve on. This list is used to select new committee members, as openings occur during the year.



Curriculum Committee

The Curriculum Committee is responsible for all 5CLIR seminars and workshops; it consists of twelve members plus the two co-Chairs. The Committee normally meets on the first Thursday of the month and regular attendance at the meetings and sponsored events (such as the Previews) is expected. The Committee’s responsibilities are: recruiting moderators; reviewing seminar proposals and working with moderators on proposal content; assisting the Office Manager in developing the seminar catalogue; suggesting policy changes to Council that might improve the seminar program; and preparing an annual academic year calendar to submit to Council.

Each year four new members are appointed to a three-year term. Candidates must have been a 5CLIR member for at least a year, have taken at least two seminars, and preferably should have either moderated a seminar or served on at least one 5CLIR committee.

Finance Committee

The LIR Treasurer chairs the Finance Committee, which also includes the Assistant Treasurer, Vice President/President-Elect, and at least two other members approved by Council.  Members have full access to all books of account.  The committee advises the Treasurer in financial control and budgeting.  It meets at least quarterly.

Great Decisions Committee

The Great Decisions Committee organizes and manages the 5CLIR Great Decisions program presented each spring to members, guests and the interested public from the Pioneer Valley.  In September the committee selects five of the topics offered by the Foreign Policy Association for their annual Great Decisions studies, and over the next two months identifies and recruits speakers expert on these foreign policy issues.  From November to February the committee works out the details of the arrangements for the speakers, the venue, publicity and ticket sales.  The committee also provides the on site management of the series of five lecture-discussion forums beginning in late March or early April.

Member Events Committee

The primary concern of the Member Events Committee is to maintain the well-being of the organization by affording opportunities for members to socialize. The Committee organizes several annual events, including a New Members Coffee, a Spring Social, and other gatherings. The September Potluck Picnic is held at the beginning of the fall semester, when members can re-connect and new members are welcomed. Meetings are held as needed, from five to eight times a year.

Membership Development & Outreach

(description )

Interest Groups & Ongoing Programs Committee

The Special Programs Committee oversees a wide variety of member-organized educational activities that follow models different from that of the peer-led seminar. Special programs or events may be initiated by the Committee or by individual 5CLIR members or 5CLIR groups such as seminar or interest groups.  The committee is responsible for producing a fall and a spring catalog of special programs and meets as needed, about two to four times a year.  Members are appointed for three-year terms.

Projects and Events Committee

The Special Projects and Events Committee is responsible for soliciting, screening and approving funding for special projects and events proposed by 5CLIR members. It will recommend special projects and events, with a budget, to Council for their review and approval. The Committee will also provide continuing oversight of approved projects and events, and will ensure that complete records are collected and archived for 5CLIR.  The Committee will not independently originate special projects and events. It is not obligated to support a project or event every year.

Technology Committee

The Technology Committee provides 5CLIR members with information on and instruction in relevant digital and audio-visual technology related issues. The committee provides occasional workshops and single lectures as well as direct personal help. While some members will have significant technical expertise, others are needed so that we can identify issues that non-technology minded 5CLIR members may be facing.

Activities Committee

Winter/Summer Programs are one-time events that are initiated by the committee and scheduled for the intervals between the regular 5CLIR semesters. Typical programs include theater or concert trips, museum visits, lectures, a river boat cruise, and outdoor activity in both winter and summer. Our final event before resuming seminars each September is a potluck picnic, always an enjoyable occasion when the committee assists the Members Events Committee in welcoming new 5CLIR members. The committee consists of two co-Chairs and an unspecified number of members; it typically meets twice a year.


© 2016 Five College Learning in Retirement
Smith College
18 Henshaw Ave., C2
Northampton, MA 01063
(413) 585-3756

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