Interesting tidbits from the latest batch of LLI newsletters.
The Academy for Lifelong Learning at Kingwood College
in New Caney, Texas recently offered members a stimulating course entitled
Kit Carson and Manifest Destiny in the American West: Davy Crockett,
Daniel Boone, Wild Bill Hickok, Buffalo Bill, Kit Carson--all heroes
of the American frontier. But only one of them had a truly significant
effect on American history and the expansion of the American nation
to the Pacific as a completion of its “Manifest Destiny”:
Kit Carson-- mountaineer, Indian fighter, Indian friend, scout, linguist,
Union officer in the Civil War, cold-blooded killer and family man.
Unlike the others mentioned above, Kit Carson may in fact be even larger
than his legend, and far more interesting. James K. Polk, as President,
is given the credit for the final accomplishment of America’s
Manifest Destiny, but without the likes of Kit Carson, it may not have
happened until much later.
Members of the Academy for Lifelong Learning at North Harris
College in Texas took a course entitled PHOTOGRAPHY FOR
TRAVELERS: The basics. They found out how easy it is to capture
stunning images while traveling. They also learned about the couple
of things to keep in mind and what few gadgets they can take in their
camera bag which can make a big difference. The class was led by a professional
photographer, who taught them all about their cameras, how to take landscape
photos that are a step-above the rest, how to capture a sense of place.
They also gathered some tips on cataloguing those photos when they get
The Center for Continuing Adult Learning at Hartwick College
and SUNY Oneonta in New York offered members some interesting
courses this fall. Among them was Words & Music: The World’s
Longest Marriage. Members took a quick 1500-year journey from the
inception of written music and its use as a text supporter. They saw
how the composers married text and music to create some very memorable
and interesting work. And why…more than not…did the Church
Members of the Encore Center for Lifelong Enrichment at North
Carolina State University in Raleigh recently took a course
entitled Religion, Media, and Popular Culture. This five-week
course explored the intersection of religion, media and popular culture.
Topics discussed the rapid spread of megachurches, televangelism, politics
and religion, and the ways in which people of various faiths are depicted
in both news and entertainment media. Topics ranged from religious silent
movies, through mid-century Biblical epics, up to Mel Gibson’s
The Passion of Christ and beyond. Religious humor was also explored.
Members of the Institute for Continuing Learning at Young Harris
College in Georgia recently studied the War of 1812.
Attention was centered on the conflict’s colorful leaders, unforgettable
naval battles, and the great victory at New Orleans fought AFTER the
war was over.
Members of the ILR program at Old Dominion University
in Virginia recently studied Musical Theatre: Now & Then, Here
& Now. This session included a brief overview of the history
and development of this uniquely American art form. Emphasis was placed
on recent developments, including national tours, contemporary Broadway
trends and the growth of regional theatre companies that make musicals
accessible to large portions of the population.
Members of the Jefferson Institute for Lifelong Learning (JILL)
in Virginia will be studying Prisons in America: An Insider’s
View, this fall. The facilitator, a retired warden of a maximum
security prison, will discuss the inmate subculture, how various criminal
personalities fit into the inmate hierarchy, the issues of criminal
activity, violence and drugs within the prison, the causes of prison
riots, offender case histories, their crimes and how they adapted to
incarceration, and the prohibitive cost of incarceration and alternative
sentencing. The course includes a field trip to a correctional facility
and provides a rare look at life behind the walls of a maximum security
The Learning in Retirement program at Iona College (LIRIC)
in New York is offering a course entitled Medicine and Morality.
Six sessions will look at such issues as Abortion and Contraception-
Euthanasia – Wrongful Life – Gene Therapy and Eugenics –
Cloning and the Manipulation of Stem Cells – Morality and DNR.
This fall, members of the LIR program at the University of
Wisconsin, Oshkosh, are studying Early Sea Explorers.
This course on early seafarers deals with Pirates, Buccaneers and Privateers,
some famous and some infamous.
This fall, the Lifelong Learning Institute at James Madison
University in Virginia is offering members a chance to study
Jean-Paul Sartre: Existentialism: Literature and Philosophy.
This course will include the following topics: Heidegger and Sartre
on Anguish and Self-Deception, Tolstoy’s “The Death of Ivan
Illych,” and Sartre on the Desire to be God, Sartre’s On
the Problem of Self and Other and the Attempt to Solve this Problem
through Godlike Romantic Love, Is Hell Other People? Sartre’s
“No Exit,” and is a Sartrean Ethics Possible?
The new LLI at Armstrong Atlantic State University
is off to a great start with some excellent courses. Bringing the
Great Art Masterpieces to Life was one such course. The course
gave members a change to study why painters created their famous work,
the symbolic significance of a strange object or person in a particular
work, and learn many other answers to questions about the masterpieces,
much adored throughout history.
Members of the Lifelong Learning Program at Regis College
in Massachusetts have been studying Fire in the Tinderbox: Twentieth
Century Balkans this fall. In this course the study leader has
been reviewing the history of the Balkans in antiquity and in the Byzantine
and Ottoman periods. They have been focusing on the development of the
nation states in the area, paying particular attention to the causes
of their ethnic diversity. The course also examines the role of regional
competitive expansionism and the great powers interventions in the disastrous
outcome during the 20th century. The course concludes with a “crystal
ball” look into the future alternatives for this battered region.
Sacred Chants from Across the World is the title of a course
being given this fall at the Lifetime Learning Institute at
SUNY New Paltz in New York. Participants will explore the creative,
joyful, and healing power of song through the practice of playful and
ecstatic chants from around the world. They will learn and sing chants
from a variety of sources including the call and response style of Hindu
Kirtan, Tibetan, African, Native American, Mideastern, and Western traditions.
And woven through these traditional pieces will be reflections from
scientific and metaphysical perspectives on the healing effects of change
for the mind/body/and planet. No previous singing experience is necessary.
Members of the Lifetime Learning Institute at Northern Virginia
Community College in Annandale recently took a course entitled
Petticoat Government. They learned how, throughout history,
women in the White House created a niche for themselves as they set
precedents, supported social causes and were political partners to the
The L.I.F.E. program at Mount Saint Mary College in
Newburgh, New York is offering its members a chance to study American
Religion: Homegrown Varieties. This course will cover six varieties
of religious denominations that originated in the United States. Class
sessions will be devoted to the Puritans, Mormons, Seventh Day Adventists,
Christian Science, Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Holiness Movement.
Members of the McGill Institute for Learning in Retirement
took some stimulating courses this past spring. Among them was William
Morris: Beyond Arts and Crafts. Remembered today for handsome fabric
patterns and elegantly simple furniture designs, Morris was much more:
a passionate socialist, a scholar of Nordic literature, a father of
modern urban planning, a utopian social experimenter, a poet, an influence
on artists, architects and designers from the 19th century to modern
times, to mention just a few of his spheres of activity. Participants
surveyed various dimensions of the life and work of this polymath Victorian
MSU for Seniors at Minnesota State University in Mankato
offered some interesting courses over this last year. Among them was
Columbus, Loyalists, and Slaves. The story of San Salvador,
a Bahamian Out Island and the site of Columbus’ first landing
in the New World. Later, the place where 5,000 American loyalists and
their slaves relocated after the American Revolution.
The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Berkshire Community
College in Massachusetts is offering its members a chance to
study Dashiell Hammett & Lillian Hellman: A Hard-Boiled Duo.
Exciting! Explosive! Extra-marital! Extraordinary! These words
describe the lives and writings of Dashiell Hammett and Lillian Hellman.
This course will explore the passions that they brought to their work
and to their relationship. Their involvement in the politics of their
time led to heartache, punishment and public exposure. Their influence
upon future authors cannot be ignored,
Members of the OLLI program at Duke University in
North Carolina were treated to some stimulating courses this past year.
Among them was The New Face of Central Asia: All You Ever Wanted
to Know about the “Stand,” and Then Some. This course
looked at the history and cultures of the region. They discussed the
current political landscape and key economic issues (oil and gas, water,
agriculture). Finally they explored the future prospects of the five
countries and their relationships with neighboring powers and the U.S.
Rational Discussion: A Weekly Roundtable is a program held
every Wednesday at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute
at Rutgers University in New Jersey. The purpose of this
program is to expose members to different viewpoints and simultaneously
help them maintain the decision-making process on a rational rather
than emotional plane.
The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of
N. Florida in Jacksonville has some stimulating courses lined
up this fall. In the field of literature, members will be studying Women
in the Irish Short Story; Local Writers; Dante, Beatrice & Florence;
the Great Books series; and the Roaring Twenties.
Members of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University
of Michigan in Ann Arbor recently took a course entitled State
of War: Michigan in World War II. Participants looked at the many
tensions and problems as well as the startling successes as Michigan
became the driving force of the Arsenal of Democracy, drew in workers
from everywhere and sent its own men and women around the world in uniform.
Members of the Worcester Institute for Senior Educations (WISE)
at Assumption College in Massachusetts will be studying Freakonomics.
The objective of this course is to show through forceful story-telling
and wry insight that economics is, at root, the study of incentives
– how people get what they want, or need, especially when other
people want or need the same thing. In Freakonomics, one explores the
hidden side of…well, everything: abortion and crime reduction,
the inner workings of a crack gang, the truth about real estate agents,
the myths of campaign finance, the telltale marks of a cheating schoolteacher,
the secrets of the Ku Klux Klan, etc.