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
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
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
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
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
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
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