Courses can include foreign languages, jazz and classical music, history, belly dancing, literature, environmental and other current issues, travel, chess, Tai Chi, family history, computer groups and book groups. Courses depend on the availability of course leaders. As well as a wide range of courses U3A also has social events like excursions, monthly lunches and coffee mornings.
We use the word university in the context of a community of teachers and scholars that relates to the derivation from the Latin “universitas magistrorum et scholarium”. U3A has evolved into a community that provides its own courses and other social activities using, in the main, member tutors and leaders, who volunteer their skills, knowledge, interests and life experiences to provide classes for their fellow members.
All of the tasks necessary to make NU3A’s busy program happen, including giving courses, are carried out by member volunteers. A committee is elected each year at the Annual General Meeting, and then the committee appoints a Program Coordinator. Many members who are not on the committee also pitch in to make sure the organisation works smoothly. Members can help by offering to lead a course or volunteering to be a Course Clerk. Course Clerks are vital to the success of U3A. They mark the roll and generally make sure that the course runs smoothly. Please remember that we are not a paid service provider. All work is voluntary and all members are responsible for the success of their organisation.
The nature of the course depends on the course leader but generally courses are relaxed and informal so that members can enjoy learning with people their own age and with similar interests. There are no exams.
Most courses are held in central Newcastle or inner suburbs so that they can be accessed by public transport.
Courses last from one session to about 16 sessions per two Terms (half-year). Each session generally lasts 1 ½ hours and classes are usually held once a week. Most courses are held during the day on week days.
Most courses are led by members, or sometimes by non-members, who have a special interest to deliver a course. In U3A the course leader or presenter may be somewhat like a teacher or lecturer, or a facilitator, or a convenor. Creating participation and a friendly social environment are the key attributes of a U3A course leader.
Members are encouraged to lead courses because without course leaders U3A could not function. If you are interested in leading a course contact the Course Coordinator. No formal academic qualifications are needed to deliver U3A courses.
Generally courses are open to retired or semi-retired people who are financial members but there are no hard and fast rules as to who can attend except that you must be a financial member.
All financial members are sent or emailed a Course Booklet twice a year listing all courses with an enrolment form enclosed. To become a financial member please visit the Membership page on this website.
To join and to participate the annual fee is $60. This entitles you to attend as many courses as you choose. Occasionally there will be an additional cost, for example to cover the cost of an excursion or special materials as in an art class. These costs will be spelt out very clearly in your course booklet.
Either Internet (EFT) or over the counter payment into our Newcastle Permanent account are our preferred methods of receipt of your membership or excursion monies. Payment by personal cheque is also acceptable. We now regard the receipt of cash adds both extra responsibility and a risk to your volunteer helpers both at the place of enrolment and when taking monies to the bank.
We are committed to giving all enrolled members equity of access to their selected course. However, due to limited capacity, because of restricted course numbers, venue limitations or where a popular course is oversubscribed, a ballot may need to be conducted.
Newcastle U3A does not assert ownership of Intellectual Property (IP) in Course and Educational Materials, Creative Works or Scholarly Works created or developed by Tutors, Presenters or Guest Speakers unless the Intellectual Property is the result of work specifically commissioned by Newcastle U3A.
Participants on all courses and presentation must respect the Intellectual Property of Tutors at all times including refraining from unauthorised photographic, audio or video recording and unauthorised use or dissemination of Intellectual Property to third parties.
In the first instance, we all should always assume that what we are reading, looking at or listening to is protected by copyright (that includes works created overseas). Our State body, the U3A Network NSW manages appropriate annual licences for audio, video and published works on behalf of Member U3As. Each Member U3A association may select their annual licence requirements and then pay for the chosen licences as part of their annual Network affiliation fee. Intending Tutors should visit the Network’s website to view the Copyright Guide.