The U3APP COVID-19 Working Group

In the beginning

On Friday the 13th of March 2020, members of the U3APP Committee of Management drafted a plan to manage the risk of COVID-19 within our U3A and to prepare for any potential shutdown of operations.

The virus moved fast and within 3 days, the CoM had decided to suspend all face-to-face courses and to close our office.  On Monday the 16thof March, the Ides of March, CoM met, for the last time face-to-face as it eventuated, and agreed to set up a Working Group to manage our Coronavirus Plan.  Pam Caven, Jim Pribble and Diane Boyle were appointed to the Working Group.  At the meeting a trial of remote classes using Zoom and the purchase of one Zoom account was also approved.

And now –

Over half a year later and the Working Group has been working continuously managing the strategy and the day to day decisions needed to allow our U3A to continue its operations.  And we have not just one Zoom account for our remote (or online as we now call them) classes but six!

And it is the same 3 people on the Working Group, who not only have overseen all the tremendous work put in by all aspects of the organisation, but have also come to enjoy each other’s company and become friends.

How do they manage? 

Respect for each other’s skills, a “can-do” attitude and a sense of humour all contribute.  Meeting at least weekly, by Zoom of course, there is a good sense of camaraderie and focus on new initiatives, issue resolution and communications.  In between meetings, they keep in touch with updates on their agreed actions.

Who are they?  Here’s some more info about each of them:

Pam Caven, Deputy President and Events and Functions team

U3APP has been a good fit for me. My career has always been in education as a teacher, lecturer, curriculum writer and author of textbooks.

The power of good teachers. My history teacher in Matric urged me to study History Honours at University. The academic environment was a revelation to me. I loved it.

Reality hit when I was posted to Mildura High School, a cultural shock for someone who had grown up three miles from the Melbourne GPO, although over the course of a year I did come to appreciate the town and its surrounding countryside. From Mildura to Carlton where I lectured in British History at the Secondary Teachers College.

Europe beckoned. I was well prepared for teaching the Industrial Revolution in a London comprehensive secondary school. The undoubted highlight of my time in Europe was the six months I spent in Italy. Three months learning the language at the Universita per Stranieri in Perugia. Bellissimo! My time there left me with a lifelong love of all things Italian.

On returning to Australia via South America I entered the world of TAFE and there I stayed until I retired experiencing wonderful and varied times as a teacher, writer, and an executive in state and federal governments.

I have been on several not for profit boards, including being President of the School Council, when our son was at Melbourne High School,

Following my retirement, I joined U3A Port Phillip and I became an active participant in a variety of U3A courses, too numerous to list and joined the Committee of Management.

I have loved the U3APP experience.

Jim Pribble, member of Committee of Management & Course Coordination team – Tutor Support

I am an American (Yankee)-Australian, born, reared and educated in smallish towns in Southwestern Oregon. I excelled academically and was soon off to University immediately after graduation in 1961.

I graduated from Oregon State University with a BSc and MSc, having spent some years prior to that getting married and serving in the US Army. I entered the workforce in 1974 as a Research Biologist for the Oregon Department of Fisheries, (Research Division) and spent my professional career either as a research biologist or a manager of biological research teams – in the USA and in Victoria.

I first became involved in U3APP in 2009, enrolling for the first time in Shirley Armstrong’s Art Class on Friday mornings. That was my only involvement with U3A until 2017 when I retired from a second, non-scientifically based career, to take a course lead by Geoffrey Levy. I so enjoyed the course that I decided that I would give facilitating a go. Since 2018, I have facilitated/tutored courses, presenting 1 or 2 courses each term.  I really enjoy the experience, especially now that we are delivering the courses on-line.

The COVID-19 Working Group has provided formidable challenges to the intellect and stamina of the participants. The complexity of issues is sometimes daunting, with no apparent solution to the issue at hand.  Owing to the organizational skills and experiences of the group members we have managed to conceptualise, compartmentalise and solve the challenges impinging on U3APP since lockdown in a timely manner.  I believe that the Working Group has served the Committee and membership well. I wouldn’t have missed working with Pam and Diane for quids!!

Diane Boyle, member of Committee of Management and IT Team

I am a Canadian-Australian who has lived in Melbourne more than half my life.  I grew up not far from Toronto, in London, Ontario (a very cold and snow-covered place in winter), and obtained one of the inaugural Computer Science degrees from the University of Waterloo.  My working life was spent in IT, in software development. After taking up scuba diving just prior to retirement, I worked after retirement on a casual basis for a dive safety organisation, Divers Alert Network.

I joined U3APP in 2012 as I was interested in Colin Jones’ Tales of the Sea course.  And when the IT team was formed in 2014, I joined the team as a way to contribute to the organisation.

How to Enrol

On-line: after bookings have opened

On-line enrolments are preferred as this significantly reduces the amount of back-office work for our volunteers.

  • Login to the website.
  • Go to the Courses & Enrolling page.
  • Scroll down to find the course that you are interested in.
  • Does the course have spaces available?
    • Click on the course name to go to the booking page.
    • Click on “Book for this course or event”.
    • You will receive a confirmation email.  Please check your Junk/Spam folders as these automatically-generated emails often finish up there.
  • OR is the course shown as FULL?
    • Click on WAITLIST.

Paper Enrolment Form: before bookings open for First Semester

  • Obtain a paper Enrolment Form either from the Office or by printing an online copy available here.
  • Complete the paper Enrolment Form and submit it to the Office.

The start date for acceptance of paper Enrolment Forms for first semester is published on the U3APP website and in the e-Bulletin. Enrolment Forms received before this date are treated as though they had been received on the start date (ie there is no advantage to be gained by submitting early). On the start date and thereafter, paper Enrolment Forms are numbered in order of receipt.  Paper Enrolment forms are processed by U3APP volunteers on the same day as on-line bookings.

If your enrolment is successful, you will receive a confirmation email.  Please check your Junk/Spam folders as these automatically-generated emails often finish up there.

If your enrolment is unsuccessful,  you will receive an email telling you that you have been waitlisted.

Via the Office: after bookings have opened

  • Contact the office in person, or by email or phone.