Courses for Winter 2019

Click Here for a printable version

Please select "Register For Courses" on the left to register.

Location: Geer
Times: Monday, 10am-noon
Dates: Jan 14 - March 4
Sessions: 8

decorative leaf

How to Listen to and Understand Great Music


“Learning how to appreciate the unmatched beauty, genius, and power of concert music can permanently enrich your life. Why is this so? As award-winning composer and Professor Robert Greenberg explains, "Music, the most abstract and sublime of all the arts, is capable of transmitting an unbelievable amount of expressive, historical, and even philosophical information to us, provided that our antennas are up and pointed in the right direction. A little education goes a long way to vitalizing and rendering relevant a body of music that many feel is beyond their grasp.”

This course, from the Great Courses DVD collection, features Professor Robert Greenberg, the Music-Historian-in-Residence with San Francisco Performances.


Instructor: Michael Magnifico
Get Class List
Location: Geer
Times: Tuesday, 10am-noon
Dates: Jan 15 - Feb 18
Sessions: 6

decorative leaf

How to Look at and Understand Great Art


“Great art is among the most sublime, meaningful, and redeeming creations of all civilization. Few endeavors can equal the power of great artwork to capture aesthetic beauty, to move and inspire, to change your perceptions, and to communicate the nature of human experience. Great art is also complex, mysterious, and challenging. Filled with symbolism, cultural and historical references, and often visionary imagery, great artworks oblige us—defy us, even—to reckon with their many meanings.

What does it take to truly know what you're seeing when you look at art? What technical skills and knowledge are needed to comprehend the full richness of artworks, to unpack the hidden significance of master paintings, sculptures, prints, and more?”

This course, from the Great Courses DVD collection, features lectures by Professor Sharon L. Hirsh, president of Rosemont College.


Instructor: Kathleen&John Robinson
Get Class List
Location: Geer
Times: Wednesday, 2-4pm
Dates: Jan 16 - Feb 13
Sessions: 5

decorative leaf

Biological Science and Modern Life


In late 1944 President Roosevelt and his science advisor, Vannevar Bush, asked what would happen to the vast wartime effort to support science when the war ended. They decided science, including basic science had to be sustained. From that decision, the NIH, the NSF and other agencies were founded or reorganized. The results in cell and molecular biology have been extraordinary, with implications for medicine, agriculture, national security, the law, and more.

I propose to spend two classes learning the structure of cells, how genes function, what proteins do, and how cells are organized to divide and to specialize. With that basic knowledge I propose that we tackle specific problems for the last three sessions. Here are a few that we could consider:

• The biological basis of opiate addiction (my current obsession)
• Vaccines, specifically the cases of Ebola and Influenza viruses
• Genetically Modified Crops: the cases of chestnut blight and blight resistant potatoes
• Molecular Biology and the first treatments of genetic diseases: Sickle Cell Anemia and Spinal Muscular Atrophy
• The problem of drug resistance in bacteria, viruses and protozoans such as malaria.
• Pathogens and National Security
• The Molecular Basis of Aging
• Science in a world of alternative facts


Instructor: Richard Kessin
See this instructor's bio
Get Class List
Location: Noble
Times: Thursday, 10am-noon
Dates: Jan 17 - March 7
Sessions: 8

decorative leaf

Play Reading


This winter, we'll read five plays by Paula Vogel, a contemporary American playwright. Currently, Vogel directs the MFA playwriting program at Brown University. Her plays simultaneously entice and disturb the reader using a combination of hilarious comic writing allied to sleepless political and social commentary that can move in the same play from titillating to shocking to murderous. She forces a reappraisal of our attitudes that define the conventional family, AIDS, violence against women, prostitution, the structural determinants of the impoverishment of women, and pornography.

Part of her method entails revisiting classics such as Joyce and Shakespeare and extracting the authors' passages and perspectives that she turns on their head to show how they contribute to social pathology.

Class members should bring The Baltimore Waltz and other plays by Paula Vogel. It can be ordered at Oblong Books in Millerton or from Amazon. I note below a link to the Amazon site for the Play.

The collection was originally published in 1995, but her anatomization of the disablement of women speaks to us today in the accents of the continuing misogyny emanating from the highest circles of government.

https://www.amazon.com/Baltimore-Waltz-Other-Plays/dp/1559361093/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1542406843&sr=8-2&keywords=paula+vogel+plays


Instructor: Robert Rumsey
See this instructor's bio
Get Class List
Location: Noble Horizons
Times: Thursday, 1-3pm
Dates: Jan 17 - Jan 24
Sessions: 2

decorative leaf

Applying To College: Behind the Scenes


Would You Like to Go to College Now?

The process of applying to college and university has become so fraught with stress and anxiety now. Is the trouble worth it?
Here are some of the topics we will discuss and explore. Your personal stories and reflections will be integral to making this course a success.

- How do you choose where you would like to go
- Liberal Arts: are they a thing of the past
- The Common Application
- The personal essay
- SAT - ACT- Test Optional
- Financial Aid
- Athletic recruitment
- Parental pressure
- Interviews and campus visits
- Legacies and development
- What about Harvard
- Rankings

Instructor: Dary Dunham
See this instructor's bio
Get Class List
Location: Noble
Times: Friday, 10am-noon
Dates: Jan 18 - Feb 22
Sessions: 6

decorative leaf

Things Fall Apart; The Centre Can Not Hold


The title is taken from the poem, ‘The Second Coming’, written in 1919 by W.B Yeats.

One: The French and Indian War, which was crucial in the future establishment of the United States of America. From 1754 to 1759, the French were winning. Then Pitt, the Elder, changed all that by hiring Germans to fight in Europe and sending troops and ships to North America.

Two: Lord Cornwallis’ Southern Campaign in the Revolutionary War. A series of British “victories” and one French victory at sea led to the British surrendering an army at Yorktown.

Three: Negotiating the peace after Yorktown. You think politics are bad now?! Try putting together a peace agreement with five dissident factions, thirteen ‘independent states’, a stubborn king, three of the major combatants facing bankruptcy, threat to the unity of the British Empire, millions of acres at risk and hundreds of thousands of people, who have no say, affected by the terms agreed upon. All as a major part of the war continues in Europe and partisan raids continue in the Carolinas.

Four: The Gallipoli Campaign, WW I. After an almost acceptable start, one of the great debacles of the war.

Five: The Suez Incident. After Nassau nationalized the Suez Canal to help pay for the Aswan High Dam, Britain, France and Israel, all U.S. allies, executed a joint attack on the canal area and the Sinai. The US remained neutral due to Cold War concerns. Probably a good thing!

Six: An Argentine junta decides to take back the Falkland (Malvinas) Islands from Great Britain. After all, Great Britain would not try to defend a frozen rock with only 1800 people, 8000 miles from England and 300 miles from Argentina. The junta failed to take into account the Iron Lady and Britain’s attachment to empire.


Instructor: Thomas Key
See this instructor's bio
Get Class List