Interesting tidbits from the latest batch of LLI newsletters.
Members of the Academy for Lifelong Learning of Cape Cod, Inc.
are studying Burney, Edgeworth, and Austen: A Novel World.
Burney’s Evelina, Edgeworth’s Castle Rackrent, and Austen’s
Persuasion, written in the beginning, middle and end, respectively,
of the novelists’ careers, share one theme – finding one’s
place in a changing world. The class will combine lecture and discussion.
Readers will engage in mini-debates, supporting conflicting readings.
The History and Future of Cartooning and Illustration is the
title of a course being given this spring at the Academy for
Lifelong Learning in Saratoga Springs, NY. Participants will
study cartooning as an art form, enjoy its history and make some of
their own. Weekly topics will include: an overview; editorial cartoons;
the Gibson Girls; Walt Disney’s animation and drama; comic books;
and much more. The group will also visit the Cartoon Museum in Ticonderoga.
What Are Our Ultimate Beliefs? was the title of a course given
this past fall at the Academy for Lifelong Learning at the University
of S. Florida in Sarasota/Manatee. This class looked at such
questions as What’s worth living for? Using a round-table discussion
format, they sought to articulate their personal beliefs through sharing
and spiritual practices. The participants did class exercises in mediation
ritual, contemplation, nature and self-reflection. There were several
guest speakers, and religious writings were examined as well.
Members of the Baylor Institute for Learning in Retirement
took a course recently on The Gifts of the Sumerians. The period
of the Sumerians predates the 1st Egyptian Dynasty as well as the appearance
of Abraham by more than 1500 years, beginning about 4500 B.C.E. and
ending about 2000 B.C.E. Theirs was the first organized civilization
of modern times created by humans. A remarkably creative people, they
invented the first written language using symbols rather than pictures.
Among their other creations are the first formal schools, the first
bicameral congress, the first written legal codes, the first written
moral ideals, the first written “farmer’s almanac,”
and twenty other firsts.
The Crusades: The Crescent and the Cross is the title of a
course being given at the Center for Learning in Retirement
at Rock Valley College in Illinois. This class follows the
epic battle between two Middle Ages superpowers; the Christian Crusaders
and the Muslins, a conflict which was fought over two centuries and
saw the separate Muslin city-state unite to fight the Christian “invaders.”
Members of the Drury University Institute for Mature Learning
in Springfield, Missouri recently took a course entitled American
Literature and the Civil War. This course examined several famous
authors and how this agonizing struggle affected their writings. Authors
included Emerson Whitman, Dickinson, Douglass, Hawthorne, and Melville.
Members of the Encore Center for Lifelong Enrichment at North
Carolina State University in Raleigh took a course recently
entitled A Sicilian Sampler. Presenters discussed Sicily’s
eclectic history, time-honored folklore and customs, distinctive food
and wine, and flora and fauna as found in the various microcosms. Part
of one session was a practicum of Italian phrases useful to travelers.
This course was developed to provide background information on Sicily
to those participating in a March 2008 study trip.
Members of the Frances Pew Hayes Center for Lifelong Learning
at Hodges University, Naples, FL will be studying the Ancient
Wisdom of Ayurveda this spring. The 5,000 year-old practice of
Ayurveda has been passed down from one generation to the next from the
ancient wisdom of the sages in India. The mind/body connection, meditation,
and yoga are contemporary expressions of this ancient philosophy. This
class offers a different perspective for understanding the physical
and emotional identity.
Members of ILEAD at Dartmouth University in New Hampshire
took a course this past winter entitled Music, Language, and Human
Evolution. In the context of human evolution, this course discussed
speech and language, and singing and music. It covered what is known
and/or what can be reasonably deduced, from archaeological and historical
evidence, Topics included the movement of the body including facial
muscles, the development of dancing, and the human voice in what we
hear and how we hear it. Participants discussed speaking, singing and
chanting, the development of language variation, and music in its variety
of styles, and eventually in instrumental accompaniment.
The Institute for Continuing Learning, Young Harris College,
Georgia offered a unique course this past winter entitled Are We
Now As They Were Then? Participants examined the leaders of the
early Christian Church, their thoughts, culture in which they lived,
how that related to early Christians, and how that relates to our culture
today. Topics included Jesus of Luke’s Gospel, Christ and the
Holy Spirit, Self-Emptied Christ of Paul, Christ of Gnosticism and Apostle’s
Creed, Hippolytus and Christ of Baptism and Christ of the Doctrine of
Ireland’s Elected Leaders was the title of a course
given at the Institute for Learning in Retirement at Bergen
Community College in New Jersey. Since its formal recognition
by the international community, Ireland has had 11 Taoiseachs (Prime
Ministers) and 8 Presidents. They examined each of these leaders, their
contributions to the development of an Irish Republic and their political
legacy. The history of the 20th Century was viewed through the perspective
of Ireland’s elected leaders.
Members of the Institute for Retirees in Pursuit of Education
(IRPE) at Brooklyn College in New York recently studied
Latin: Its Relationship to English. In the course they learned
that English grows through coinage and adoption of Latin words and phrases
that give many opportunities for colorful and precise expression.
Learning in Retirement at Iona College, New Rochelle,
New York recently gave its members the chance to study The Gothic
Enterprise. Starting about 1150, and over the next 400 years or
so, more than 100 magnificent cathedrals and literally thousands of
smaller churches were built in the Gothic style throughout Western Europe.
How were these huge structures built in an age without electric power?
Who designed them? Who built them? Who paid for them? Why are there
so many of them? In this four-session course, using illustrations from
medieval and modern sources, participants examined possible answers
to these mysteries from the Middle Ages.
The Psychology of Music: Everyone Has a Musical Brain is the
title of a course being given at Learning in Retirement, Inc.
at the University of Georgia in Athens. This course is a lecture/discussion
on how we learn and appreciate music so that it will minister to the
spiritual, emotional and intellectual needs of people. Music comes back
to us, even after 50 years, making a musical brain the birthright of
all human beings. Learning music is a lifelong process that anyone can
embrace at any age.
Members of the L.I.F.E. program at Mount Saint Mary College
in Newburgh, NY are studying Ansel Adams. Not only was Ansel
Adams a gifted photographer, he led a very interesting life. He survived
the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, developed into a concert pianist,
was married to his best friend for 56 years, and was a friend to many
famous people. He was a noted conservationist who campaigned to save
our forests, but was also quite at home at a political dinner party.
Members of the Lifelong Learning Institute, Inc. at
Edison College in Punta Gorda, Florida took a course entitled Making
a Novel Come to Life. Participants learned how an author selects
a plot and then develops it, how characters are introduced and given
life and how the story is tied together and published. The course facilitator
is a suspense novelist.
19th Century New York in Fiction is the title of a course
given this winter at the Lyceum at Binghamton University
in New York. As 19th Century New York grew from a modest town of fewer
than 60,000 people to a world metropolis of 3 ½ million, the
writers who live in it were challenged to make sense of its ever-changing
novelty. This course looked at how some of America’s most significant
writers – Irving, Poe, Melville, Whitman, Alger – interpreted
the experience of living in this overwhelming new place.
Members of the McGill Institute for Learning in Retirement
recently took a program entitled UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
They studied the cultural, historical and natural heritage sites recognized
by UNESCO as being mankind’s heritage. Locations ranged from the
wildlife reserves of East Africa to the glaciers of Greenland. Also
included in the program were historical towns around the world from
the old town of Tallin, Estonia to the Brazilian towns of Ouro Preto,
Olinda and Salvador de Bahia.
American Folk Music and the Folks Who Made it was the title
of a course given recently at the Middlesex Institute for Lifelong
Education in Middletown, Connecticut. The course included lectures,
music examples, group discussion, and a sing-a-long.
During the winter 2008 session, members of the Montreat College
Center for Adult Lifelong Learning studied Winston Churchill.
Although they spent some time on his leadership through out the years
of crisis, participants focused on the story behind the story, his early
life and the fascinating influence that shaped him. They examined the
world of Victorian England at the height of the Empire, the family of
Winston, his military experiences, heroics, and at times foolhardy élan,
as well as other fascinating stories that add up to one of the richest
biographical stories of our age.
MSU for Seniors at Minnesota State University in Mankato
offered members a chance to learn about Negro Spirituals. They
studied the significance of a form of music that has been appreciated
for many years.
Writing for the Sake of You is the name of a workshop being
given at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Coastal Carolina
University in South Carolina. In this workshop, participants
will write for the sake of writing, exploring their own inner world
through writing. It will be more about journeying inward through their
writing rather than writing for others or producing a finished product
– although that can emerge later. They will explore journaling
techniques together and writing “practice” as a Zen experience.
It will be about deepening their inner connection and awareness through
writing. Techniques will be shared including some from Julia Cameron’s
The Artist’s Way and Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the
Members of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Duke University
in North Carolina took an interesting course entitled How Airports
Work. This course took participants behind the scenes of major
airports, primarily John F. Kennedy International Airport and covered
such topics as how an airport is organized and managed; what services
and functions are required and provided; some history of aviation and
the development of JFK; planning for the arrival of the super jumbo
aircraft; and some exotic and little known functions such as emergency
planning, wildlife management, aircraft recovery and snow removal.
What’s So Funny? Comedy Around the World is the title
of a course given recently at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute
at the University of Southern Maine. Participants sampled humor,
and comedy from cultures around the world so that they might begin to
understand the similarities and differences that characterize each culture.
What does comedy tell us about the culture - its taboos, its whimsy
(if any), its type of humor, i.e satire, slapstick, puns, ethnic, religious,
political, etc.? What make us laugh and what does not? What does the
response to comedy tell us about ourselves and other? Requirement for
this course – Laughter!
Women of the 19th Century: The Myths Exposed was the title
of a course given this past winter at the Osher Lifelong Learning
Institute at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor. Hollywood
stereotypes and male interpretation control much of what we know about
history – especially women’s history. This course took a
refreshingly honest look at 19th century women: their education health
and work. Special emphasis was made to link national information to
archival evidence concerning women in Michigan.
Members of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Yavapai
College in Arizona recently took a course entitled Food
as Metaphor in Film. Through movies such as Babette’s Feast,
Big Night, Mostly Martha, No Reservations, Tortilla Soup, and Eat Drink
Man Woman, this course explored various metaphoric uses of food in cinema.
Participants studied the role of food as a vehicle for affirmation of
self worth, confirmation of ethnic identity, artistic expression socialization
and expression of love in this series of delightful films. Students
came to understand how important food can become in the psychology of
human interaction and communication.
This spring, members of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute
at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville are studying
Sand & Imagination: The Art of Glassmaking from Mesopotamia
to Contemporary Glass. This six-session course will cover Introduction:
The First 2000 Years – A Golden Age of Glassmaking: The Roman
Empire, Byzantium and Islam – Stained Glass, Venice and the Maturity
of Glassmaking in Europe and America – Art Nouveau, Art Deco and
Studio Glass – The Emergence of Glass as Art – and finally,
a field trip to visit a local collection of contemporary glass.
Members of QUEST, a Community for Lifelong Learning
in New York City took a course entitled Thinking-Cap Essays,
this past fall. Essays reflect, distill and enlarge ideas and events.
Their readings ran the gamut from critical, philosophical or humorous
to pastoral, scientific or political. Mark Twain, Cynthia Ozickj,, Maya
Angelou and T.S. Eliot were just a few of the well-known writers whose
essays they read.
President Truman and the Beginning of the Cold War
was a winter course given at the Rose Institute for Life Long Learning
at the Menorah Park Center for Senior Living in Beachwood, Ohio. The
Cold War was a period of conflict, tension and competition between the
United States and Russia and their respective allies. Did Truman cause
the Cold War? Participants learned about the momentous decisions President
Truman made in the early years of the war.