The network includes colleges and universities around the world that have:
- Endorsed the 10 AFU principles. This includes involving older adults in educational programs and research; promoting and supporting second career and personal development; promoting intergenerational learning; and widening access to online educational opportunities.
- Committed themselves to meeting and serving the needs of aging populations.
Missouri State is the first public university in Missouri to join this network.
According to Missouri State Provost Dr. Frank Einhellig, the university has made efforts over many years to ensure the campus is welcoming and comfortable to individuals of all ages.
“Our membership in this network strengthens our commitment to lifelong learning. Our hope is to increase intergenerational interaction on our campus, which will help shrink the generation gap and dispel age-related stereotypes in our community,” Einhellig said.
How MSU supports students of all ages
Missouri State has several programs and initiatives that show its commitment to AFU principles.
Adult Students Services supports people starting college at age 21 or older and those juggling school, work and family. MSU 62 allows Missouri residents ages 62+ to enroll, tuition free, in one course per semester.
The gerontology program has been at MSU for over four decades. It offers the only Bachelor of Science in Gerontology in the state, as well as a minor, and soon, an undergraduate certificate. The program is the first in the nation certified as a program of merit through the Academy for Gerontology in Higher Education (AGHE).
In addition, the university’s culture recognizes age as an element of diversity in its diversity, equity and inclusion efforts and programming.
“Being a member of the AFU Global Network provides many resources and opportunities for MSU to explore ways to further bolster our existing age-friendly infrastructure,” said MSU Gerontology Program Coordinator Dr. Lisa Hall.
By doing this, MSU can:
- Increase its enrollment of students aged 22 and above.
- Better support non-traditional students who are already enrolled.
- Enrich traditional students’ educational and interactional experiences by having an intergenerational student body.
- Strengthen its retirement planning, and nurture faculty and staff through the retirement transition and beyond.
- Graduate even more students who have awareness of the aging process and empathy for those in late life.
“All these benefits have a ripple effect and therefore the potential to increase intergenerational civility in the workplace and in politics, and even to decrease chronic disease and long-term care costs,” Hall added.
More about the AFU Global Network
In 2012, then Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny and Dr. Brian MacCraith of Dublin City University launched the network.
AGHE endorses the AFU principles. Joining the AFU AGHE network of global partners offers institutions the opportunity to learn about emerging age-friendly efforts and to contribute to an educational movement of social, personal and economic benefit to students of all ages and institutions of higher education alike.