Carnegie Mellon University

Teach for Us

The popularity and growth of Osher at Carnegie Mellon are because of the commitment, enthusiasm and talents of our Study Leaders. Study Leaders volunteer their time in preparing and educating an engaged group of lifelong learners. Become part of the Osher team and teach for us!

Who Are Our Study Leaders?

Study Leaders are volunteers who come from various walks of life. They bring many different talents based upon their life experience. Some present classes based upon many years of professional or business experience; others from hobbies or avocations that have provided them with memorable skills over the years. A few Study Leaders simply coordinate their classes and have different speakers each week.

Our students have the intellectual and physical energy to participate in classes enthusiastically. Study Leaders find teaching at Osher at CMU a very rewarding experience.

Thank you for your interest in volunteering to be a Study Leader (instructor) for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. We are now organizing classes for the Spring 2025 Term and would welcome a course proposal from you for consideration.

Osher at CMU provides its members with non-credit courses on a variety of subjects. Our students are very enthusiastic and participate actively in the learning process. It is important for you to know that we do not screen our new study leaders in a traditional way; we instead rely on our students to determine whether a study leader should be invited to teach for us again or not.

Courses are offered in three terms: Fall, Spring, and Summer, with two sessions per term. We offer up to 150 courses per term. Each session spans an 8-week period so study leaders can comfortably schedule their courses, allowing flexibility for late starts, cancelled classes, etc. Courses meet once a week, generally for 1.5 or 2 hours. We offer courses that meet one-time to six-times in consecutive weeks. Most courses are held on the Carnegie Mellon campus, though some take place at various off-campus sites.

Study leaders are volunteers who come from various walks of life and have many different talents. Some present courses based upon their professional or business experience; some draw upon hobbies or avocations that have provided them with skills they can teach to others. A few study leaders act as coordinators and have different speakers each week. Our study leaders find the process engaging and very rewarding. 

You can find further information about our program by exploring this Osher website, A great place to start is by viewing online our current catalog and archived catalogs under Publications. 

To teach for us, you must first submit a course proposal, found below. Please read the Proposal Instructions below carefully before filling out the form. If your course is accepted, the information that you provide will appear in our Spring 2025 catalog, which will be published in November 2024. The catalog requires a great deal of planning and coordination, so the deadline for receiving proposals is Monday, September 2nd, 2024. Note that we assign classrooms on a first-come, first-served basis so the sooner we receive your proposal, the more likely you are to receive your preferred day, time, and place. Late proposals are difficult to schedule and will not be accepted.

Please know that we require study leaders to have email accounts that they access regularly. This allows study leaders to communicate with their students easily through our online registration system and allows the office staff to communicate with study leaders efficiently.

We welcome you to the group of potential study leaders for the Osher at CMU program and look forward to receiving your course proposal. If you have questions, please feel free to contact us.


The Curriculum Committee

Instructions for Completing the Online Course Proposal Form for CMU Osher

Spring 2025 Proposal

Due Monday, September 2nd, 2024. Late are difficult to schedule and will not be accepted.

    • The form must be completed and submitted in a single online session. If you close your browser or logout from your computer before submitting the form, any entered data will be lost, and you will need to start the data entry process again from the beginning. You may open and inspect the form and exit an online session before starting data entry to become familiar with it, but once you begin to fill out the form, you must complete the entire data entry and proposal submission process before ending the session.
    • Allow at least 30-45 minutes to complete and submit the form. We recommend that you prepare your written answers to the lengthier parts of the form (course objectives, course description, your biography, weekly outline) in advance of starting the online form. You may copy and paste answers from a word processing program into the form to save time and ensure you can finish the data entry in a single session.
    • Required form entries are marked with a red asterisk (*). You must complete all the required entries before submitting.
    • Please do not use CAPS LOCK when filling in the proposal. Only use sentance-case to fill in the fields.
    • Once the “Submit Course Proposal” button is clicked, you will see a thank you screen and your proposal will be submitted to the Osher office. 
    • You will receive an email copy of the completed form as well shortly after you submit the proposal.

Specific Instructions for Course Proposal Form Fields

COURSE TITLE, DESCRIPTION, AND BIO: If your course is a repeat and all the information is the same, please give the title and write the word SAME into both the course description and bio fields.

    • COURSE TITLE: Course titles are restricted to 40 or fewer characters (including blanks) and is required even if returning SL with the same course as before. Please capitalize first letter of each word. Do not use parenthesis or hyphens. Colons and quotation marks are accepted.
    • COURSE DESCRIPTION: Use your course description to sell your course. Limit is 150 words – no bullets, numbers, or lists. Please check your word count prior to filling out the form. Remember to indicate any required text and/or materials. Students must know in advance of all associated costs. Course descriptions and biographies may be edited by Osher and/or staff editors before being printed in the course catalog.
    • BIOGRAPHY: Biographies are limited to 125 words, including the biographies of any co-leaders. If there is more than one study leader, identify one of you as the main contact responsible for communicating with the office and class members. We encourage you to customize your biography to match your course.

Examples of previous course descriptions and biographies can be viewed on our website:


You will be asked:

    • to pick a session to teach in
    • choose three time slots, ranked in order of preference (1-3), you could teach. Unfortunately, we cannot always accommodate everyone’s choice, but do our best to do so. Late afternoons and Fridays are easier to schedule. If you have no preference, leave this blank and we will assign a day/time slot.
    • the number of classes for your course (5 - 6 is the norm, but fewer are possible)
    • the class length (1, 1.5, or 2 hours). We strongly recommend non-activity classes (i.e., lecture-type classes) last 1.5 hours
    • to indicate the minimum number of students (below which the course will be cancelled) and the maximum number of students (at which enrollment will be capped)
    • if you are teaching a computer course in a CMU computer cluster, and what software you will need

If your course is new or revised, you will be asked to provide 3 or 4 sentences (100 words) about your course objective(s) and then a couple of sentences (100 words each) about your class goals for each week of the course.

If you need to use the A/V equipment, you must learn how to use it. A/V is available in all Osher classrooms. A training session will be held prior to the start of the term. New study leaders must attend this training session; returning study leaders are also encouraged to attend. 

Again, IT IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT THAT you are extremely careful that all your information is correct before you submit because your submission will be considered final.

If we accept your proposal, we ask that you adhere to our established rules and regulations; please 

  • show mutual respect and tolerance for diverse opinions
  • be certain that you know how to use Osher A/V equipment before your course begins, A/V training is available upon request
  • encourage your students to sign-in for class (if you are teaching off-campus, you'll be sent a copy to put out for students)
  • support our Osher culture of encouraging students to raise their hand for study leader confirmation before they speak
  • inform the Executive Director if a student behaves in a way that is a violation of the Values and Expectations – see Values and Expectations under Membership on this website
  • inform the Osher office, in a timely manner, if you need to cancel a class or make any changes to your class schedule
  • communicate with your students through your account on the Osher at CMU online registration system
  • provide student handouts electronically through your account on the Osher at CMU online registration system
  • do not sell or promote your services or products
  • inform students of the need/requirement to purchase a book for course participation
  • inform the Executive Director by telephone if a situation rises that seriously impacts your ability to teach your course

Spring 2025 Proposals

Proposal Instructions

  1. Read the Study Leader Agreement above.
  2. Click on the proposal form link and the form will open in a new webpage. Text may be copied from your files and pasted into the form.
  3. Note that there are limits on course title, course description, and biography.
  4. New and revised courses will be required to give a course objective and outline for each week.
  5. Click the "Submit Course Proposal" button at the end of the form to submit your proposal. You will receive a copy by email.

Spring 2025 Course Proposal Form

Please be sure to read the instructions above. When you have completed your proposal, be sure to click the Submit Course Proposal button at the end of the form. Note that the form cannot be saved for later - it must be completed in the same session. Proposals are due Monday, September 2nd, 2024.

Spring 2025 Proposal

Late proposals are difficult to schedule and will not be accepted.

Spring 2025 Term Dates

First Session
January 13th to March 7th, 2025
(No Class MLK Day: Monday, January 20th, 2025)

Second Session
March 10th to May 2nd, 2025
(No Classes during CMU Carnival: Thursday-Friday, April 3-4, 2025)

Please list any date(s) you cannot hold class for personal reasons (e.g., holidays, religious obligations, vacations, business travel) on the proposal.

Course Proposals

If you are interested in teaching for us and are new to Osher at Carnegie Mellon University, please contact the Registrar, Lyn Decker via email at

We continuously are looking for new, interesting courses. If you know of anyone who would be willing to teach a course, please encourage them to submit a proposal.