• Resources for Higher Education

    Resources to help higher education develop the skills and talents of experienced adults to help solve social problems.

A Vision for Encore Higher Education

Colleges and universities offer encore programs to help older adults acquire new knowledge and skills that employers need, gain credentials that serve their encore goals, and prepare for successful transitions to roles with social impact. Increasing numbers of individuals have already returned to colleges and universities to prepare for encore careers. “Non-traditional students” are the norm at many institutions. Encore initiatives in higher education are focused on those aspiring to make an encore transition who seek sturdy advice, available financing, appropriate pathways, and more receptive employer attitudes.

Innovative higher education encore programs have already emerged in a variety of academic divisions – continuing education, workforce development, executive and professional education, undergraduate and graduate education – and across departments – research, human resources, curriculum, advancement, career and alumni services, and student support services. They are being delivered online, on campus and hybrid.

The program examples and resources found here are intended to support colleges and universities as they leverage their assets to educate and enable individuals for encore careers.


Featured Programs

Encore! Connecticut, University of Connecticut Department of Public Policy

Encore!Connecticut is a four-month workforce development program tailored for seasoned corporate professionals seeking to transition their skill-sets and experience into successful professional and managerial employment in the Connecticut nonprofit sector.

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Pace University

Pace University’s Encore Transition Program helps executives and professionals transition into encore roles that advance the greater good.

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University of Washington

University of Washington EncoreU initiatives introduce UW employees and retirees to encore opportunities.

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Stanford Distinguished Careers Institute

The Stanford Distinguished Careers Institute offers a year-long opportunity for about 25 Fellows individuals from all walks of life who seek to transform themselves for roles with social impact at the local, national, and global levels.

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Advanced Leadership Initiative, Harvard University

Each year, through the Advanced Leadership Initiative, a select group of Fellows from diverse sectors with a track record of achievement and accomplishment comes to Harvard to transition from their primary income-earning careers and prepare for their next phase plan as change agents for society.

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Ignite Institute at Pacific School of Religion

The Ignite Institute provides education and training for spiritually-rooted changemakers, excavating and communicating the transformational narratives within progressive spiritual traditions, and anchoring a network of faith communities, social justice organizations, and activists working towards economic justice.

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The Encore Transition Program at Union Theological Seminary

The Encore Transition Program at Union Theological Seminary engages a diverse group of 12-15 like-minded 55+ adults in a four-month program of discernment, dialogue, and decision-making about what an “encore” stage of productive and experienced adulthood might look like.

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Portland Community College, Climb Center for Advancement, Life by Design NW

Life by Design NW redefines how to successfully navigate work-life transitions and plan for meaningful retirement. Our training programs and services address the needs of the changing workforce and provide opportunities for giving back to the community.

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Rio Salado College 50+ Encore Programs

Rio Salado College offers online teacher certification to eligible adults (age 50 and older) who are interested in re-careering and pursuing teaching positions in early childhood, elementary, secondary, special education and arts education.

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Useful Resources About Encore in Higher Education

Universities Cater to a New Demographic: Boomers

In this blog for the Harvard Business Review, Encore.org founder Marc Freedman endorses “schools for the second half of life”  and calls on universities to create them.

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Changing Higher Education to Support Life/Work Transitions

Encore.org’s Former Director of Higher Education Initiatives, Barbara Vacarr makes the case for experienced students in higher education, as the cutting-edge of a new and growing wave of human talent.

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Colleges Are Failing America's Midlife Population

With so many boomers looking for help to transition to a new phase of work, why has there been a deafening silence from the nation’s colleges and universities?  Encore.org’s Former Director of Higher Education Initiatives, Barbara Vacarr talks with Rich Eisenberg at Forbes.com.

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Get the Encore Conversation Started
on Your Campus

Use our toolkits to host an Encore alumni event

For university alumni office professionals

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For university alumni associations

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Join the Encore Higher Ed Movement

Let us know what is happening on your campus

Encore.org believes that higher education has a key role to play in supporting transitions to meaningful second acts. For over a decade, we have worked to bring encore programs to community colleges (the Encore Community College Initiative) and created an informal network and set of resources for four-year colleges and universities based on an encore vision for higher education (EncoreU). Let us know what is happening on your campus, so that we can include you in our field-building activities, gatherings and conferences. To share information about your program, please contact Jim Emerman ([email protected]).

For more resources

Connect with Encore.org