Interesting tidbits from the latest batch of LLI newsletters.

The Academy for Lifelong Learning of Cape Cod, Inc. at Cape Cod Community College in Massachusetts offered a wide range of stimulating courses this past fall. Among them was Africa Today: Dilemmas, Disasters, and Development. This six-week course attempted to aid understanding of contemporary sub-Saharan Africa by looking at specific issues and countries including: corruption, aid and development; power and poverty in Kenya; HIV/AIDS in South Africa; blood diamonds in Sierra Leone; education in Nigeria; war, religion and politics in the Horn of Africa; and the meltdown in Zimbabwe.

This spring members of the Academy for Lifelong Learning at Empire State College in New York are studying Mourners, Reformers and Spies: Women in Mid 19th Century America. The general view is that Victorian women led docile, male-dominated lives. Participants will examine three important and surprising roles played by women of this era - Mourning: Life in the Midst of Death – Reform Dress: The Reason Why Women in Pants was so Publically Appalling, and Patriots in Petticoats: Women Spies and the Men Who Supported Them.

The Academy for Lifelong Learning at Kingwood College in New Caney, Texas recently offered members a stimulating course entitled Just War Theory: Most people agree that sometimes war is a necessary thing and that sometimes war should be avoided. How can we determine when a war is justified and when it would not be justified? This talk outlined some of the major moral considerations that factor into making such a determination

Follow the Lieder: The Art of the Art Song in Poetry and Music 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 course traced the romance, history and structure of the German, French and English “Art Song,” from the poets to the composers who set the poetry. There were ample audio and video examples of songs featuring great singers of the past and present. There were also interviews with local and/or visiting singers and other musicians commenting on the art of singing great vocal literature from Bach and Mozart to Brahms and Barber.

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 FDR, Hollywood and Marx: From Harpo to Karl. In early 1934 Harpo Marx toured the Soviet Union. Harpo’s visit, arranged by the White House, represents the first time that FDR called upon Hollywood for help in building a closer relationship with Joseph Stalin’s Russia. The President again turned to Hollywood in 1943 when he encouraged each major studio to make a film in support of the Soviet-American alliance. Roosevelt wanted to make Americans aware of Russian sacrifices on the Eastern front to build a relationship of trust with the morbidly suspicious Joseph Stalin (who loved movies). During the Cold War, critics charged that the films (some of which were scripted by Marxists) distorted reality and demonstrated FDR’s naiveté about Stalinist totalitarianism. Participants looked at this issue in depth.

Members of the Community Academy for Lifelong Learning in State College, PA offered a nice mix of fall classes. Among them was Six Complex Poems. Participants examined in depth six substantial poems, from the 17th, 19th and 20th centuries, chosen for the challenges they offer to the reader. Emphasis was on technical devices, prosody, structure and form.

The Institute for Continuing Learning at Young Harris College in Georgia offered members a chance to learn about the Rise of Universities. The rise of universities during the Late Medieval and Renaissance periods was one of the most important occurrences in all of Western history. How and Why this happened is a remarkable story. Which are the earliest institutions? Who were some of the great teachers? Who were the students? What did they study? How did the first textbooks come about? How was student life then different from today? The answers to these and other questions revealed much about Europe’s rise to greatness, leaving behind its economic, religious and political rival – the Islamic world.

My Favorite Authors and the Books They Wrote, was the title of a program given last fall to members of the Institute for Learning in Retirement at Bluffton University in Ohio. Eight different speakers shared information about their favorite author and discussed several of the books written by him/her.

Last fall the Institute for Learning in Retirement at Bergen Community College in New Jersey offered the course Russian Short Stories. The short stories of Chekhov: mature feelings, complicated human responses, dilemmas that seem impossible to resolve. A true mirror of Russian life at the end of the 19th Century. All were explored by ILR members in great detail.

The Institute for Mature Learning at Drury University in Missouri offered their members a course entitled Depression. Rates of depression and suicide have risen dramatically around the world. What do we know about such increases and what have we learned can be done to prevent and treat these problems? Some of the answers are very surprising and members studied them in depth.

Members of the Institute for Retirees in Pursuit of Education at Brooklyn College in New York were challenged this past fall to study some stimulating topics. Among them was Reading the New York Times. Participants brought in the Tuesday Science edition of the Times for an informative discussion of the latest breakthroughs in science.

The Tower of Babel: Language Change and Dialect Formation was the title of a course given at Lagniappe Studies Unlimited/Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Louisiana State University this past fall. This course examined the varieties of languages and how they evolved; how the languages, dialects, registers, styles and genres formed. What processes have English and other languages undergone to reach their current forms? Do men have different styles of speech than women? Why do teenagers speak the way they do? Participants looked at the influences that made our language into what it is today and how it will change in the years to come.

Abigail Adams: Her Life and Times was the title of a course given this past fall at the Learning Institute at New England College (LINEC) in Henniker, New Hampshire. In a combination of lectures and discussion, participants explored the many roles of Abigail Adams. Prior to class members were encouraged to read a biography of Abigail Adams in order to more fully participate in the course.

Nutrition for the Chronologically Advantaged (Senior Citizens) was the topic discussed at the Learning Club in Winona, Minnesota this past fall. Topics covered included vitamins, trans fats, omega-3 fatty acids, cooking oils, and all the new nutrition words and ideas we read about today.

This past fall, members of the Learning in Retirement program at Furman University in South Carolina took a course entitled Creative Aging: Expanding Our Forms of Expression in Late Adulthood. Using the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, people were able to enhance their own ‘creative aging” process. They learned more about how to feel truly alive and to fully express themselves in all their many qualities.

This fall, members of the Learning in Retirement Program at Sacred Heart University in Connecticut took some interesting courses. Pueblo Indians: Their History, Culture & Arts was one of those courses. The group explored pre-historic and contemporary ways of the Pueblo, looking at archaeological sites and rock writings in the Southwest, evidence of ancient dwelling of the Ancestral Puebloans.

Drawing: Body Parts & More, is the name of a course being offered to members of Lifelong Learning of Hilton Head, Island. Participants of any skill level can concentrate on drawing all parts of the body. Some parts are structurally and anatomically challenging. Exercises will include quick gesture drawings, short and long poses, and loose and tight approaches.

Members of the McGill Institute for Learning in Retirement took some stimulating courses this past spring. Among them was Mexico As Seen by Rebecca West. Participants read Rebecca West’s Survivors in Mexico, using this witty and entertaining book to guide them through a review of Mexican history and art from the time of the Aztecs and the Mayas through to the present. This book, her last, written in 1966 and published for the first time in 2003, provides many valuable insights as she relates Mexican history to world history.

The Middlesex Institute for Lifelong Education in Connecticut took part in an interesting session this past fall. The Story of Dolls was a lecture and discussion about dolls, their history and the memories they bring to us. Samples of various historical, noteworthy dolls were displayed and discussed. Members were encouraged to bring their own dolls for sharing or appraisal if desired, by the leader, a member of the United Federation of Doll Clubs and Doll Doctors Association.

Members of the Montreat College Center for Adult Lifelong Learning in North Carolina recently learned more about The Social Impact of Immigration. This discussion forum of current and future US immigration policy was designed to help class participants formulate their individual opinions. Specific immigration questions and audience participation was welcomed.

MSU for Seniors at Minnesota State University in Mankato offered some interesting courses over this last year. Among them was The Women of World War II. They relived the experiences and memories of this unique population during a time of dramatic change.

Members of the OLLI program at Duke University in North Carolina were treated to some stimulating courses this past year. Among them was Faiths of the Fathers. They surveyed the religious and philosophical beliefs of some of the founding fathers of the United States, including Franklin, Jefferson, John Adams, Samuel Adams and Thomas Paine.

Members of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Granite State College in New Hampshire were offered some exciting classes this past fall. Among them was a look at Vintage Radio Programs. This 6-week course not only looked at such programs as those by George Burns and Gracie Allen, Fibber McGee ad the Easy Aces, it also gave the participants a chance to take part in a live radio production. They read scripts, created sound effects under the leader’s expertise and at the end of the six weeks, put on a live show for OLLI members.

This past fall, members of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor took part in a course entitled Who Am I Now? The focus of this course was on reinventing oneself after retirement. They covered psychological and practical issues for voluntary and imposed retirement.

American Marriage & Male/Female Roles and Relationships from the 1950s to 2007: Four Generations of Change was the title of a course given this past fall at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Oklahoma State University. This course examined the considerable amount of change that has occurred in American marriage in general and more specifically in the roles and relationships of American females and males in the last 50 years. Social and economic forces responsible for the change were looked at and discussed. Specific attention was given to mate selection, fertility decision-making, female work force involvement, and the emerging of the two-paycheck marriage, divorce and cohabitation patterns, and the changes in the social and sexual intimate relationships between males and females in pre-marital, marital and extramarital situations both now and in the future.

Members of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Coastal Carolina University in South Carolina can become River Watchers. This 6 week education program, is designed to raise citizen's knowledge and awareness of the current state of the river so that participants may become more effective stewards of their watershed. Training is provided in basic water quality science and watersheds, environmental laws, and neighborhood environmental watch basics.

The Care and Feeding of a 19th Century Cowboy was the title of a fall course given at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Yavapai College in Arizona. This course featured the nuts and bolts of a cowboy’s life; hundreds of items, including (but not limited to) tools of the trade, saddles, boots, hats, chaps, ropes, spurs, tack, chuck wagons, the round-up, cattle drive, roping, prairie coal, and bulldogging were studied. This course provided a peek into the life and times of a 19th century cowboy.

Members of QUEST, a Community for Lifelong Learning in New York City took an Acting Workshop this past fall. The class focused on developing acting techniques through acting exercises, scene study and improvisation to help class members acquire some of the tools and skills used in acting.

Last fall, the Rose Institute for Life Long Learning in Ohio offered their members a chance to study The Thirty Most Important Things You Should Know About the Government. In each of the six class sessions five important facts about our government were described and developed.






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