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Age-Friendly Campuses in Higher Education

July 01, 2020

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The RoseMary B. Fuss Center for Research on Aging and Intergenerational Studies at Lasell University, led by Dr. Joann M. Montepare, received a $100,000 grant from the RRF Foundation for Aging.

The grant will support a study, "Taking the Pulse of Age-Friendliness in Higher Education in the U.S. Today: Testing the Age-Friendly University (AFU) Inventory and Campus Climate Survey (ICCS)," co-led by Montepare with colleagues at UMass Boston.  

The 18-month study will begin on July 1, 2020 and will help identify benchmarks that institutions can use to measure their progress in realizing AFU principles on campus. "Currently, there are no measurement tools in place to accomplish that evaluation", says Montepare, "which makes the study a necessary step in documenting current practices and providing recommendations to translate goals into practice for the AFU network's 65+ institutions worldwide. "  

"The grant supports our use of the newly developed AFU ICCS to assess age-friendly practices and attitudes across the AFU network in the U.S.," says Montepare. "This seminal study will be the first to tackle evaluation, and will help to inform and shape our national age-friendly campus efforts."  

The AARP Foundation has also awarded a grant to the Gerontological Society of America (GSA) for use by the AFU Task Force that Montepare chairs. The grant provides support to develop a Newsletter -- Advancing Age Inclusivity in Higher Education -- for which Montepare will serve as editor. The grant also supports the development of tools geared toward the exploration\ and implementation of age-inclusive, age-friendly programs, practices, and partnerships in higher education, as well as a small grants initiative for putting age friendly principles into practice on campuses.

Lasell University became a member of the AFU network in 2015. It was the first higher education institution to do so in Massachusetts and the second in the United States. Since then, Montepare and the Fuss Center have promoted and shaped the AFU effort in collaboration with the Academy for Gerontology in Higher Education/Gerontological Society of America, and Dublin City University in Ireland, the latter of which convened the global AFU initiative.