FAQ

Make your selection and click your chosen heading below to learn more about us.

We offer over 100 courses each year.

Courses are diverse and can include foreign languages, music appreciation and practice, singing, elder law, astronomy, history, dance, historical walks and talks, philosophy, writing, environmental issues, travel, chess and other games, yoga, tai chi, family history research, computer and book groups. A range of one-off topics are offered in our Tuesday talks and we offer social events such as excursions, theatre attendance, monthly lunches and coffee mornings. Visit our Current Program and Calendar pages for what’s available.

Zoom is an online application which enables users to ‘join’ a meeting with others on their phone, computer, tablet or laptop.  Participants can see and hear each other on their device screen in a virtual class setting. The tutor can also share slide presentations, video clips or texts on their screen with participants as they teach, or ask questions of the class participants. To join the meeting participants sign in to Zoom on their device, enter the meeting ID number and passcode sent to them by email. Click on Setup your device for instructions to securely setup and use Zoom. It really is simple. But if you are having difficulty, call us for help.

The nature of the course depends on the course leader but generally courses are relaxed and informal so members can enjoy learning with people their own age and with similar interests. There are no exams.

Most courses are held in central Newcastle and surrounding suburbs with access to public transport. We have a classroom at 21 Gordon Avenue, Hamilton used for many small group courses. You can click on the venue name for directions on google maps at Venue maps. 

Venues are chosen to ensure we can comply with COVID restrictions.  Some classes are held via Zoom on your computer, laptop or phone, from home or on the go.

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 weekdays.

Most courses are led by members, who have a special interest to deliver a course. The course leader or presenter may be somewhat like a teacher, lecturer, facilitator or convenor. Creating participation and a friendly social environment are the key attributes of a course leader.

Members are encouraged to lead courses because without course leaders we could not function. If you are interested in leading a course, please contact the Program Coordination team. No formal academic qualifications are needed to deliver courses.

Courses are open to retired or semi-retired people who are financial members. 

We are committed to giving all enrolled members equity of access to courses. Where more members than can be accommodated apply, a random ballot is conducted.  If you are wait-listed and a place later becomes available we will contact you as soon as possible. If you can no longer attend a course, please withdraw as soon as possible to enable waitlisted members to join. We will advise you whether you are placed or waitlisted in the email we send confirming enrolment/s.

No.

You only need to enrol in Term 3 and 4, in courses that are new to you.

To withdraw from a course in 2022, please go to the ‘How to enrol’ page and click on the ‘Enrolment’ button. After adding your name and address, select ‘Withdraw’ as your purpose and select the course from which you wish to withdraw. Once you have reviewed what you have entered, tick the check box at the bottom of the form and select Submit.

nb You should only ‘withdraw’ from a course if you no longer wish to attend any sessions. It is especially important to withdraw from courses which are oversubscribed, so those on the waitlist can use any vacant spots. If you simply can’t make a single session within a course, you should simply let your course clerk know you are an apology for that session. Where a waitlist is in place, we will contact members on the waitlist to take advantage of individual days if we know of a vacancy due to an apology.

You can view the Current Program

The program is updated as new courses are added or circumstances change. If you are referring to a printed copy, you can check it is the current program by the version number and date in the footer.

We are administrated by volunteers. Our premises in Hamilton are used for some small group classes, but most administration occurs securely through technology. Committee meetings are a combination of face-to-face and zoom and we communicate with our hundreds of members primarily by email, online forms and phone.

U3A was originally known as University of Third Age. The word university was used in the context of a community of teachers and scholars. Now known as U3A, we have evolved into a community that provides its own courses and social activities using mainly 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 our busy program happen are carried out by member volunteers. A committee is elected each year at the Annual General Meeting, who appoints a Program Coordination team. Many members who are not on the committee also pitch in. Members can help by offering to lead a course or volunteering to be a Course Clerk. Tutors and Course Clerks are vital to our success. Course clerks mark the roll, facilitate our COVID Safety Plan and generally make sure that the course runs smoothly. Please remember we are not a paid service provider. All work is voluntary and all members are responsible for the success of their organisation. You can find the names and titles of your Committee and Appointees to other roles under Contact us. If you are interested in contributing please let us know.

We aim to minimise the risk our operations pose to our members, volunteers and the organisation.  Our policy is to identify potential risks and document our approach to managing them. Read more at NU3A Risk Management Policy

To join for the full calendar year, the membership fee is $60. If joining mid year, the membership fee is $40. 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 spelled out in the Current Program.

We do not accept cash at our office as it creates unnecessary security risks and responsibilities for our volunteer helpers. Our preferred payment method is Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT) through your financial institution. However, you can pay in cash over the counter at any Newcastle Permanent. See About Fee Payment page for details.

Personal cheques require us to physically transport and handle payments (during COVID) unnecessarily. They also delay receipt by a clearance period. To minimise the administrative load by our volunteer workers, we no longer accept personal cheques. We apologise for the inconvenience to the very few who still use personal cheques. You can make payment online or on your banking app, or attend a Newcastle Permanent to pay in cash or by transfer from your Newcastle Permanent account. See About Fee Payment for further details.

In addition to face-to-face courses, we have adapted to COVID by offering zoom and outdoor options and implementing a COVID Safety Plan, in compliance with government restrictions. Members must consider their personal circumstances when choosing face-to-face courses. For the wellbeing of all members, you are required to be fully vaccinated and wear masks as described in the plan.

Each member must assess their own circumstances to determine if they should attend face-to-face courses. If you choose in-person courses, please visit our COVID Safety Plan to view the entry requirements relevant to the venue of your course. 

We do not own the Intellectual Property (IP) in course and educational materials, creative 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 presentations 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 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. We select and pay for our annual licences as part of our annual network affiliation fee. Intending Tutors should visit the U3A Network NSW website to view the Copyright Guide.