OLLI Courses - Fall Semester 2017

We are pleased to present these descriptions of our fall semester courses, arranged by subject area. (Note: These categories recognize the predominant discipline, but many of these courses are interdisciplinary in their focus.)

All courses meet for 8 weeks unless otherwise noted in the description. An overview of class meeting times can be found here. All courses meet at OLLI’s location in the M2 Building, 301 North Neil Street (Suite 201), downtown Champaign.

Browse courses by subject





More History of Photography
Craig McMonigal
Tuesday, 3:30-5:00; September 12 through October 31

This course will fill in the gaps from the instructor’s History of Photography course that was offered in the spring semester, surveying the history from invention to contemporary– and it is suitable for both those who took the earlier course and new students. The emphasis will be on the art of photography, including surrealism, influential books, the nude in photography, and developments such as Polaroid and digital photography. Examples of major genres, movements, and technical developments in photography will be discussed with PowerPoint presentations, and actual examples from the instructor’s extensive collection of historical and contemporary images will be shown.

Instructor: Craig McMonigal received his BFA from Ohio University, and his MFA from the University of Illinois. Craig worked for the University of Illinois, and taught at Parkland College, retiring in 2015 after receiving an award as a Community College Outstanding Faculty for the state of Illinois. His work is included in the collections of several museums. Craig has curated more than a dozen photography and art exhibitions. He taught traditional and digital photography, Studio Lighting, and the History of Photography at Parkland College. Craig has an extensive collection of photographs and a library of over 1400 photography books. His first OLLI course, in spring 2017, received excellent reviews for the wealth of examples he shared.


Women in Art: Renaissance – 20th Century
Kelly White
Tuesday, 11:00-12:30; September 12 through October 31

This course surveys women’s involvement in and relationship to the visual arts from the Renaissance through the 20th century. It will be organized chronologically and thematically. The imagery, artists, and patrons discussed will be examined within their social and cultural context, and as reflections of the role of women in their respective time periods. The course focuses on the factors related to women’s access to the means of artistic production and their major contributions to the history of art. We will consider the historical reality of women’s participation in art through the ages as well as revisionist art histories and strategies for examining the history of women in the arts.

Instructor: Kelly White was born in the city of Luanshya in Zambia, Africa to British parents. After living in Africa for seven years, her immediate family moved to a tiny town in Eastern Tennessee and after about 14 years, relocated to the suburbs of Chicago. She eventually attended the University of Illinois and received her BFA in Graphic Design in 1992 and in 2002 received an MFA in Painting and an M.A. in Art History at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia. She returned to Illinois several years ago and is currently the Executive Director of 40 North | 88 West, the Champaign County Arts Council. She has been drawing and painting for most of her life and has taught art history at Parkland College for more than 10 years. This is her first OLLI course.




The American Health Care System
Robert Rich
Monday, 1:30-3:00; September 11 through October 30

In this course we will focus on the American health care system in 2017. To what extent will elements of the Affordable Health Care Act be retained? What new elements are being introduced in the form of "TrumpCare"? What are the major elements in a complex health care system which need to be addressed? Will Americans have universal access to health care? We will examine the American health care system as it has evolved over the last nine months. To what extents will states play a greater role? Will Medicaid expansion be retained? We will have guest speakers who are experts in health care policy and health economics.

Instructor: Robert F. Rich is the retired Director of the University of Illinois Institute of Government and Public Affairs and Professor of Law, Political Science, Medicine, and Public Health. He was on the faculty of the University of Illinois from 1986 through 2012. His research and public engagement has focused on the policy -making process, health law and policy, state and local government, and public management. The first version of this course was offered during OLLI’s first semester in fall 2007; because of the changing nature of the subject matter, this course is suitable for both new and returning students. The instructor’s numerous OLLI courses have received strong evaluations for his thorough knowledge of the subject, well-chosen guest speakers, and skillful discussions.


Oligarchs: Finding them, following them, and investigating them
Brant Houston
Tuesday, 1:30-3:00; September 12 through October 31

This course will cover the rise of oligarchs from both Russia and other parts of the world. The course will show how to identify them and keep track of their activities and influence. We will look at their history and then use recent investigative journalism and research to see their involvement in global industries, in offshore money laundering, and in U.S. politics and business.

Instructor: Brant Houston is the Knight Chair in Investigative Reporting at the University of Illinois where he teaches investigative and data journalism and oversees the online newsroom, CU-CitizenAccess.org.  He previously was executive director of Investigative Reporters and Editors, a group of 5,000 members, for more than a decade and before that an award-winning investigative reporter for 17 years. He is co-author of The Investigative Reporter’s Handbook and author of Computer-Assisted Reporting: A Practical Guide. He also is co-founder and the board chair of the Global Investigative Journalism Network, a consortium of more than 120 nonprofit newsrooms throughout the world. He taught his first of many OLLI courses in fall 2012, and his courses receive rave reviews for his thorough research and numerous resources for students to explore.


Reuse as a Sustainability Strategy
Joy Scrogum
Wednesday, 9:00-10:30; September 13 through November 1

When thinking about how to decrease their own “carbon footprint,” or to improve the overall sustainability of our society, many people typically consider strategies involving reduction of consumption or resource use, or increased recycling and use of recycled materials. This course will focus on the often overlooked “third R,” reuse, and why it is an important component of sustainability. Students will be introduced to sustainability, the waste management hierarchy, and the circular economy. The course will explore different forms of reuse (e.g. repair, food recovery, etc.), and their economic, environmental, and social impacts.

Instructor: Joy Scrogum is a Sustainability Specialist at the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center, a division of the Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois. She helps businesses, organizations, and individuals identify and implement strategies for waste reduction and efficiency. She also works on sustainability outreach projects, including the Illini Gadget Garage and Green Lunchroom Challenge. Past projects include the International Sustainable Electronics Competition, ENG 498 "Sustainable Technology: Environmental & Social Impacts of Innovations," and Greening Schools. She is an MS in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, a LEED Green Associate, and an International Society of Sustainability Professionals Sustainability Associate. This is her first OLLI course.



Ain’t Misbehavin’: The “Sex Comedies” of the 1950s
Pat Gill
Tuesday, 5:30-8:30; October 10 through 31
This is a 4-week course that meets during the second half of the semester.

After the waning of the screwball and madcap comedies in the 1940s and before the reinvented romantic comedy that began with The Graduate in 1967, there were the “sex comedies” of the 1950s and early 1960s. For decades, critics viewed this era as a “low point in comedy” that indulged in farcical titillation while upholding conventional morality. The millennium brought about a reconsideration of these films, an appreciation of their sophisticated premises, quick, witty dialogue, sparkling, inspired actors and acting, and subtle appraisals of the restrictions of social convention and the personal, social, gendered costs of flaunting it.  Films to be viewed: Born Yesterday, Sabrina, The Tender Trap, and Desk Set. Films will be expeditiously introduced with discussion to follow after screening.

Instructor: Pat Gill is an emeritus professor in the Department of Communication and in Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Illinois. She has taught various aspects of media and popular culture for 35 years. She has written on filth, crime, obsession, wit, and nostalgia. She still toys with the idea of completing her second book, Men Behaving Sadly: Anguished Male Cinema. Her first OLLI course was offered in fall 2007, the program’s first semester, with students noting her informative introductions and lively post-film discussions. This is her tenth OLLI course.


*** CANCELED ***
Directed by William Wyler: Favorite Movie Classics
Connie Hosier

This course has been cancelled for the fall semester. We look forward to offering the course as part of our spring semester lineup.

This course will offer a selection of movies by director William Wyler. Known to be a meticulous craftsman, Wyler gained a reputation of making films that were serious, intelligent, and popular. Among the classic Hollywood directors, Wyler made fine literary and theatrical adaptations that often addressed serious themes. His career began in the silent era and continued through the 70s, and his movies went on to win more Academy Awards than those of any other filmmaker. There is a consistency of quality in Wyler’s films, which are remembered for their striking images in capturing a fleeting emotion or the importance of a moment. We will watch and discuss eight movies that reflect Wyler’s ability to direct a wide range of genres: The Letter (film noir), Mrs. Miniver (wartime propaganda), The Desperate Hours (gangster), The Westerner (Western), The Heiress (women’s picture), Jezebel (costume drama), and Dodsworth (family melodrama).

Instructor: After receiving an M.A. in Language and Literature from Columbia University, Connie Hosier taught in the NYC public school system, then moved to Arizona, again teaching at-risk students, then on to Champaign and Parkland College, where the courses she taught included film studies. Retired for over a decade, she now reviews movies for our local community radio, WEFT 90.1 FM, and continues her love of teaching film classes at OLLI – where students regularly hail her well-structured, meticulously prepared courses. She taught her first OLLI course in spring 2012.


Moving Pictures: Inspiring Films You May Have Missed
Tom Neufer Emswiler
Tuesday, 11:00-1:00; September 12 through October 31 (note: this class meets for 2 hours)

Eight feature films that will move you emotionally and/or challenge you intellectually. None were “big hits” - lack of money or “star” power, or too unusual a subject. Included are two documentaries and six dramas. Some raise religious questions about such things as miracles, life after death, and the nature or existence of God. Others deal with the thrill of athletic competition and how it can motivate some in positive ways. Still others look at human emotions and the meaning of forgiveness and love. All are short enough for us to see the film and discuss it within a 2-hour class. Titles include Finding Joe, Saint Ralph, Henry Poole Is Here, Shouting Secrets, Angel in the House, Unconditional, Hip Hop-eration, and Delivering Milo.

Instructor: Tom Neufer Emswiler has been a student of film all his life. As a campus minister at Illinois State University he received two national grants in the area of film. He was chosen to go to Boulder, Colorado to participate in a DVD in which he discussed films of spiritual significance with producer/director/author Stephen Simon. He has a collection of over 1600 films. He taught his first OLLI course in fall 2009, and his numerous courses over the years have received enthusiastic reviews for his extensive preparations and carefully selected materials.


Pre-Code Hollywood
Chuck Koplinski
Wednesday, 5:30-8:30; September 13 through November 3

The Pre-Code Hollywood era refers to the time between the advent of sound in 1927 to July 1, 1934 when censorship rules established by the Production Code Administration (PCA) began to be strictly enforced.  The films made within this brief period of time focused on such taboo subjects as prostitution, homosexuality, infidelity, abortion, promiscuity, and illegal drug use among other things. This course will examine the Motion Picture Code and the rules it contained, examine the reasons why it wasn’t initially enforced and the circumstances that led to its being strictly adhered to, and look at key figures of the era, including actress Barbara Stanwyck and directors William Wellman and Frank Capra. The films that will be shown during the course are The Divorcee (1930), Little Caesar (1931), I am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932), The Island of Lost Souls (1932), Baby Face (1933), The Bitter Tea of General Yen (1933), Gabriel Over the White House (1933), and Wild Boys of the Road (1933).

Instructor: Chuck Koplinski has been a film critic for over 20 years, writing for various independent newspapers in the community. A member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association and the Chicago Film Critics Association, he currently reviews films for The News-Gazette, the Illinois Times, WCIA-TV, and MIX 94.5 FM. This is his ninth offering at OLLI. He taught his first course in 2013, and students regularly hail his excellent film suggestions and informative introductions.



Basic Heraldry
Loarn Robertson
Thursday, 9:00-10:30; October 12 through November 2
This is a 4-week course that meets during the second half of the semester.

This 4-week course examines the elements of heraldic design, art, and history. It provides participants with exposure to the art and science of armory involving both the design and displaying of coats of arms together with the pageantry associated with state ceremonies and public displays. Course participants will delve into the medieval origins of heraldry through contemporary usage. Special and unusual coats of arms from countries like the USA, England, France, and Scotland will be presented together with matters of genealogy, pedigree, and rank affecting general armory. Participants will have the opportunity to practice the language of heraldry in Norman-French and English and construct their own personal coats of arms.

Instructor: Loarn Robertson is a native Scot and a graduate of the University of Illinois. A former university professor, clinician, and academic book editor, Robertson is currently retired and is the founder of a small business enterprise, Scotia Books and Things, that offers informational products about things of Celtic interest. Using his undergraduate training in history, Robertson has written several Scottish and Franco-Irish historical, biographical, and genealogical works, and regularly presents on topics of Scottish history to local universities and community colleges. This is his first OLLI course.  


The Story and the History of Appalachia
Cam MacRae
Tuesday, 9:00-10:30; September 12 through October 31

Almost as soon as the original American colonies were first settled, adventurous pioneers began to explore and make their homes in the southern Appalachian mountains. The region has nevertheless long been viewed as a place set apart, an area so isolated that it was left behind as the rest of the country modernized. This course will present an overview of the history and culture of the southern Appalachian mountains. Each class will also include a case study illustrating in depth some aspect of that week's broader focus with the ultimate aim of unravelling the Appalachian stereotype. An earlier version of this course was offered in fall 2015, and this course is intended primarily for new students.

Instructor: Cam MacRae has long been interested in social history, looking at how people live and work with each other in their physical, social, and political environments. She holds an M.A. in history from East Tennessee State University. Her master's thesis, Women at the Loom: Handweaving in Washington County, Tennessee, 1840-1860,looks at how women in upper East Tennessee integrated themselves into the local economy in the decades before the Civil War. Cam teaches Scottish Gaelic and has taught very well-received OLLI courses on Celtic Studies and Appalachian Studies; her first OLLI course was offered in 2014. She has worked in the education departments of several museums designing programs for visitors.


The Thames: River of the English Heartland
Fred Christensen
Wednesday, 1:30-3:00; September 13 through November 1

From its source in the Cotswolds to its mouth east of London, the River Thames passes through scenic landscapes that have witnessed historic events and inspired artists and poets over the centuries. Almost every mile provides a significant or attractive topic for discussion, whether historic (medieval struggles for power or inspiration for Shakespeare’s history plays), artistic (landscapes that inspired Turner, Reynolds and Constable), literary (from Lewis Carroll to Kipling and Dickens), technological (canals, locks and weirs, flood barriers), or natural (wetlands and small preserves unchanged for millennia). This course will follow the rural river along its course toward London, and there will be interesting surprises around each bend.

Instructor: Fred Christensen is a former history instructor at the University of Kentucky and assistant professor of military science at the University of Illinois.  He teaches noncredit classes for OLLI, Parkland College, and other venues, in five areas of history and archaeology: Britain, Germany, early America, Israel/the Holy Land, and military history in general. He began teaching at OLLI in spring 2008, during OLLI’s second semester, and has offered courses in every semester since then. Recent student evaluations cited his carefully chosen materials, enthusiasm, and broad knowledge of the subject matter.


The War That Changed the World: The 1973 Arab-Israeli War
Frank Chadwick
Wednesday, 3:30-5:00; September 13 through November 1

This course is a military and diplomatic history of the 1973 Arab-Israeli War, also known as the Yom Kippur War, The Ramadan War, The October War, and the War of Atonement. It begins with an overview of the series of preceding Arab-Israeli wars from the 1947 War of Independence on, then covers the plans and war aims of each side, the armed forces of all the belligerents, and the course of operations in the war. We will end with an examination of the enduring aftermath of the war which changed the balance and nature of Middle Eastern politics.

Instructor: Frank Chadwick has a B.A. in speech from Augustana College and an M.S. in communication from Illinois State University. For most of his professional career he has been a game designer and military author and columnist. His book on the 1991 Gulf War, The Desert Shield Fact Book, reached number one on The New York Times best-seller list. He has taught several well-received courses and facilitated numerous study groups at OLLI since 2011, and he currently serves as a member of the OLLI Board.


Emerson’s Lectures and Essays
Willis Goth Regier      
Wednesday, 11:00-12:30; September 13 through November 1

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) was a man of sorrows who preached optimism. He trained to be a minister but had too many doubts, and turned his attention to editing a journal –The Dial – and giving public lectures. A charismatic speaker, Emerson lectured across the United States (except the South), attracting large audiences. He revised his lectures into books of essays, some of which remain keystones of American literature. His lectures and essays personified the American Intellectual. His range was awesome in its depth, but sometimes formidable and difficult. Emerson’s thought reached to heaven, but his heart loved the woods, where he walked in shadows and haze. The course will be conducted as informal lectures, with special attention to Emerson’s three most important collections of essays:  Essays, First Series; Essays, Second Series; and The Conduct of Life. The instructor will provide a list of suggested readings, many of which are available online for free.

Instructor: Willis Regier retired in 2015 as the Director of the University of Illinois Press. He has authored three books – two were selected as CHOICE “Outstanding Academic Books” – and edited another. In Harper’s John Leonard wrote “Book of the Sphinx is happy all the way through: a grab bag, treasure trove, and star chart of the mythic monster's whereabouts in art, religion, history, and literature, with the winks, nods, footnotes, bird trills, and memory-bank shots of a scholar so intimately at home that he seems, like his subject, to be playing with his food." Regier has published essays and reviews in American Academic, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Language, Modern Language Notes, Paideuma, World Literature Today, and other journals. He taught his first OLLI course in fall 2015, and his courses receive strongly positive evaluations, with one recent student calling the experience “OLLI at its highest potential.”


Fairy Tales and Gender Formation
Vicki Mahaffey
Wednesday, 1:30-3:00; September 13 through November 1

“The consolation of the imaginary is not imaginary consolation.”—Roger Scruton
What does it mean to be female in contemporary culture, and how is that meaning related to definitions of femininity in other cultures, and at other times? Children are taught the difference between male and female roles, and one of the main ways this instruction takes place is through the pleasurable media of books, tales, and more recently films. Yet relatively few children reared on Sleeping Beauty know that once upon a time it was a tale about rape (Jane Yolen, in sharp contrast, turns it into a story about the Holocaust), or that one of the Cinderella stories (the “Donkeyskin” variant) concerns father-daughter incest. The stories currently found in nurseries are often sanitized versions of older, more complex and varied narratives that take many different forms. Our overall aim, then, is to understand how sexual identity is constructed differently in different cultures, and to explore the ways that fairy tales work to express psychological reactions to maturation while conditioning both characters and readers to adopt specific social roles in adulthood.

Instructor: Vicki Mahaffey, Clayton and Thelma Kirkpatrick Professor of English and Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Illinois, has taught at Illinois since 2008. She is the author of three books--Reauthorizing Joyce (Cambridge); States of Desire: Wilde, Yeats, Joyce and the Irish Experiment (Oxford), and Modernist Literature: Challenging Fictions (Blackwell)—and she has edited a collection of essays on Joyce’s Dubliners, Collaborative Dubliners: Joyce in Dialogue (Syracuse University Press). She has received several teaching awards and is a Guggenheim fellow. She is an elected member of the Board of Trustees of the James Joyce Foundation and serves on the advisory boards of the James Joyce Quarterly and Joyce Studies Annual. She lectures on Irish literature all over the world, and has been featured on the BBC, the RTE, and Australian public radio. She has taught several exceptional courses at OLLI since fall 2014. One student recently wrote of the experience, “I was transported on a journey of words.”


Poetics of Place
James T. McGowan
Monday, 11:00-12:30; September 11 through October 30

For all of its history, the influence of the environment on poetic expression has been incalculable.  Whether urban or rural, mountainous or prairie, oceanic or arid, poets have striven to reveal character and vision by how their characters engage with their surroundings, which can be malignant or benign, inspiring or dispiriting, nurturing or destructive. Through discussion, we will explore the astonishing range of such poetic expressions. Through close readings and the application of various interpretive strategies, we, too, will engage a variety of poems in order to discern how poets re-create their environments through image, metaphor, and symbol.

Instructor: After receiving an M.A. in English at the University of Arkansas, with an emphasis in creative writing, James McGowan left academia to open a restaurant in Chattanooga, TN.  Subsequent to discovering how difficult it is to be an owner/operator of a stand-alone restaurant, he rushed back into academic life, becoming a Professor of English at Parkland College for 33 years.  His short fiction and poetry have appeared in a variety of literary journals and magazines, among them The North American Review, The Spoon River Poetry Review, Alligator Juniper, The Ledge, The Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, and White Eagle Coffee Store Press. His first OLLI course on poetry, in spring 2017, received strong reviews for his well-chosen poems and insightful analyses.


Victorian “Hard Times,” in TV Adaptations of Famous British Novels
John Frayne
Friday, 1:30-4:30; September 15 through November 3

England in the Victorian period was a time of great economic expansion with the accumulation of vast wealth for some, and grinding poverty for others. This course will present film and TV versions of famous Victorian novels which engage the problems in 19th century England. Works by Charles Dickens (Hard Times) and Mary Gaskell (North and South) depict directly the ills of the factory system. Works by George Eliot (The Mill on the Floss) and Anthony Trollope (The Way We Live Now) examine the moral results of relentless competition and immoral speculation. On the lighter side, we will see how the “marriage for money” game works out in Love and Friendship (Jane Austen) and Doctor Thorne (Trollope).

Instructor: John Frayne was from 1965 to 1997 Professor of English, Comparative Literature, and Film Studies at UIUC, and is now an Emeritus Professor. He specialized in Modern British Literature and Film Studies. From 1985 to present, he has been radio host on Saturdays (formerly also on Sundays) at radio station WILL-FM, where he hosts “Classics of the Phonograph,” and Opera Broadcasts. Since 2000, he has been classical music critic for The News-Gazette. In recent years, he has volunteered at the Champaign Public Library FriendShop, serving on the Board and the FriendShop committee. He offered his first OLLI course in spring 2010 and has taught regularly since then, with students hailing his insightful treatment of topics from literature and film to classical music.



21st Century Jazz Masters
Sam Reese
Wednesday, 11:00-12:30; October 11 through November 1
This is a 4-week course that meets during the second half of the semester.

In the recent film La La Land, Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) proclaims, “Jazz is dying… And the world says, ‘Let it die.’” This is clearly an “alternative fact” from the perspective of those who have followed the jazz world since 2000. Jazz in the 21st century has continued the vital and progressive evolution that characterizes its 100-year history. This 4-week course will profile four recent jazz masters who have received lifetime achievement awards since 2000: Tony Bennett, Charlie Haden, Herbie Hancock, and Wayne Shorter. We will analyze masterworks, investigate artistic histories, and place their work within the larger historical context of jazz. 

Instructor: Sam Reese is Associate Professor Emeritus of Music at the University of Illinois. He has taught the joys of music to people from 3 to 93 as a public school music teacher and administrator for 24 years and as a member of the Illinois music faculty for 11 years. He taught his first OLLI course in fall 2007, during the program’s inaugural semester, receiving outstanding evaluations for that and the numerous phenomenally popular courses that have followed. He recently completed a term as a member of the OLLI Board.


Big Bands in Jazz: Loud and Proud
Jenelle Orcherton
Monday, 11:00-12:30; September 11 through October 30

From dance bands to modern large ensembles, big bands have always been part of the jazz idiom. Here we will trace big bands from their famous swing beginnings to the new ensembles forging their own styles. Subjects will include Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Artie Shaw, Maria Schneider, Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band, and others.

Instructor: Originally hailing from Montreal, Jenelle Orcherton is an active educator and jazz performer. Her degrees are from University of Saskatchewan (B. Education) and the University of Illinois, (M.Mus, Jazz Performance), and she has served on many jazz and community organizations including the Saskatoon Jazz Society, Music Defying Boundaries, and most recently the Urbana Public Arts Commission. She is the Artistic Director and Founder of the Champaign-Urbana Jazz Festival in its third season. Jenelle has over ten years of education experience and is passionate about giving all audiences the opportunity to engage with jazz. She taught her first OLLI course in spring 2017, with students noting her thorough knowledge of the subject.


Female Composers: Their Lives and Music
Cathrine Blom
Tuesday, 1:30-3:00; September 12 through October 3
This is a 4-week course that meets during the first half of the semester. Another music course on the role of conductors will meet during this time slot in the second half of the semester; that course requires a separate registration.
Until the late 19th century, female composers lived obscure lives, often being forbidden by their fathers and husbands to publish their works or perform in public.  Nonetheless, the last one thousand years produced outstanding female composers, women with exceptional strength and personality who fought for their art and talent and won respect for their music, and for themselves as composers. They persevered in writing not only songs and piano pieces – which were regarded as suitable for the fair sex as long as they were composed for domestic consumption –but chamber music, cantatas, overtures, oratories, operas, and symphonies. This 4-week course will cover twelve outstanding composers and examine their music, as well as their private and public lives.

Instructor: Cathrine Blom holds a Ph.D. in musicology from the University of Illinois, and a B.A. in psychology and music.  She co-taught the primary introductory music classes for music majors several times, receiving excellent student evaluations. In 2005 she was nominated for an Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching award, and received an honorary mention by the College of Fine and Applied Arts. Since fall 2015, she has taught three courses, with enthusiastic evaluations noting her knowledge of the subject matter.


Music Conductors: What Do They Do and How Do They Do It?
Joe Grant
Tuesday, 1:30-3:00; October 10 through 31
This is a 4-week course that meets during the second half of the semester. Another music course on female composers will meet during this time slot in the first half of the semester; that course requires a separate registration.

This course will take an inside look at the role of music conductors. We will examine the responsibilities of a conductor, how they prepare themselves and their organizations for concerts, select music, interpret musical scores, and bring performances to fruition. The class will also be introduced to the fundamentals of the conducting gesture: starting/stopping, basic conducting patterns, various expressive styles, and leading the group in simple musical examples. Conducting examples will include simple folk, patriotic, popular, and classical music. No prior music experience is required.

Instructor: Joe Grant is an Associate Professor Emeritus from the U. of I. He taught there for 26 years, chairing the Music Education division and heading the choral music education program. His teaching responsibilities included choral conducting and methods, and music theater production. He also conducted the U. of I. Women’s Glee Club. Under his direction the choir sang at state and regional conferences of Music Educators National Conference and state, divisional, and national conferences of the American Choral Directors Association. He is currently the Director of Music at First Presbyterian Church, Champaign. This is his first OLLI course.


Papa Haydn’s Children
Anne Mischakoff Heiles
Wednesday, 9:00-10:30; September 13 through November 1

Franz Joseph Haydn composed more than a thousand works – his children: chamber music, symphonies, sonatas, songs, operas, and oratorios. He essentially established the string quartet and symphony genres. Haydn was wildly popular during his life and was invited to London, where he mixed with the royal family and wrote some of his greatest music. We will look at his remarkable life story (much of it through his journals and letters), his wit, work for the greatest employer of his time, and his personal relationships with and influence on Mozart and Beethoven. We will listen to a great variety of his delightful music and view a comic opera.

Instructor: Anne Mischakoff Heiles’s interest in Haydn was piqued by an undergraduate course on Haydn, but she was hooked on his music by hearing and playing it, which always improved her mood! During a varied career as violist, she was a member of the Detroit Symphony and a regular substitute in the Chicago Symphony, recorded for Motown, and performed in three professional string quartets. She earned a DMA at the U. of I., where she also taught as a visiting faculty member. She has been on the faculties of the University of the Pacific, Northwestern University, and California State University, teaching viola, music history, and chamber music. She taught her first OLLI course – an earlier version of this course – in fall 2011, and her courses have received praise for her exceptional teaching and deep knowledge of the subject.


Poets of Tin Pan Alley 1920s-40s
Eve Harwood
Friday 10:30-12:00; October 13 through November 3
This is a 4-week course that meets during the second half of the semester.

From the Jazz Age to the Second World War, many of the American songs we now call “standards” were heard first on Tin Pan Alley, the Broadway stage, or in a Hollywood musical. The lyric writers in this course worked in all three settings. We will explore the art and craft of lyric writing in the careers of Irving Berlin, Ira Gershwin, Yip Harburg, and Dorothy Fields. In songwriting, it generally takes two to tango (Berlin and Porter excepted) and the lyricist has often been an underrated partner. Class meetings will present biographical information to inform our understanding of each writer’s range and unique contributions to the development of lyric styles. Participants will be invited to study individual songs in detail, analyze how the lyrics fit what Hammerstein called “the inexorable mathematics in music,” and sing as the spirit moves them.

Instructor: Eve Harwood is Associate Professor Emerita in Music Education at the University of Illinois where she taught courses in general music, folksong in the classroom, and music teacher education. She has published articles on playground learning styles and undergraduate teacher education, and she is a current member of the OLLI Board. She taught her first OLLI course, on Stephen Sondheim, in fall 2016, and a student described that exceptionally well-received course as “polished, well-prepared, personable presentations, conveyed with passion for the subject.” 



History of Early Islam: The Creation of a New Civilization
Janice Jayes
Thursday, 9:00-10:30; September 14 through November 2

Within a century of the first revelations the new religion proclaimed by the Prophet Mohammad transformed life in the Arabian Peninsula. It spread rapidly across North Africa and Central Asia and absorbed previous civilizations as it created a new community that combined elements from tribal, Roman, and Persian cultures. The Islamic Golden Age remains a source of pride for Muslims today, but is also central to current disputes over the role of religion in public life. This class will use lectures and visual resources to explore the world of early Islam (600-900 c.e.) and the debates it still occasions. This course was first offered in fall 2015 and is suitable primarily for students who did not take the earlier course.

Instructor: Janice Jayes teaches Middle Eastern history at Illinois State University. She earned her Ph.D. in History (with a specialization in U.S. foreign relations) from The American University, and her M.S. from Georgetown University. She was a Fulbright Teaching Scholar at the American University of Cairo in Egypt and taught in the politics department at Al Akhawayn University in Morocco before moving to Champaign. She is interested in contemporary foreign relations and security issues and has also worked in Latvia, Argentina, Kyrgyzstan, and Mexico. She taught her first OLLI course in 2014, and her courses on a wide variety of historical and contemporary topics have been among the best-received offerings of recent years. One student wrote of her course on the Syria conflict, “Beyond excellent. Janice did not try to make issues simple. Rather, she kept the complexity but helped us understand it and we learned ways to interpret news and events.”


The Problem of Evil in Western Thought
Robert Alun Jones
Monday, 9:00-10:30; September 11 through October 30

In philosophy and theology, the “problem of evil” concerns the apparent contradiction between the existence of evil and belief in the goodness, omniscience, and omnipotence of God. Three centuries before Christ, Epicurus put it succinctly: “Either God wants to abolish evil, and cannot; or he can, but does not want to. If he wants to, but cannot, he is impotent. If he can, but does not want to, he is wicked. If God can abolish evil, and God really wants to do it, why is there evil in the world?” These questions concern not just moral evil (the harm done by humans to one another), but also the seemingly “unjust” pain and suffering caused by natural phenomena (disease, earthquakes, hurricanes, drought, famine, etc.), and even to the fragility and brevity of human life itself.

Instructor: Robert Alun Jones is Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies, History, and Sociology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Professor Jones is a member of the Campus Honors faculty. His major research interests include Durkheim and his intellectual context, the methodology of the history of ideas, and the scholarly use of electronic documents and networked information systems. He teaches courses on the history of religious thought and social theory. This course has been offered twice before – the first time in fall 2007, during OLLI’s first semester. This and the instructor’s other courses on philosophy and ethics have received strong evaluations citing the instructor’s deep knowledge and engaging teaching style.



Chaos or Cosmos – Did the Greeks Get It Right?
Andrew Jones
Tuesday, 9:00-10:30; September 12 through October 31

This course will survey the history of cosmology, revolutions in our view of the solar system and universe, and the discoveries and theories that formed our current thinking. We will explore the (mostly) accepted details of our universe, beginning with ancient beliefs and myths about the earth’s creation and how the Greek view of the universe ultimately resulted in a comprehensive description of the heavens. We will look closely at astronomy, cosmology, the Big Bang, and current theories of the universe.

Instructor: Andrew Jones has been an astronomer, eclipse chaser, and cosmologist – without portfolio – since graduate school. Almost everything he learned in his undergraduate and graduate studies has been repudiated in the past forty years, so he is keen on watching developments and tracking current theories from his perch outside academia. For many years he has specialized in bringing new software, network infrastructure, and medical technology to market. He has taught undergraduate, graduate, and off-campus seminars on information systems, marketing, and technology commercialization at the University of Illinois. He also taught courses in astronomy, physics, math, and programming at the University of Alabama and Stillman College. His first OLLI course, in fall 2016, received excellent reviews for his use of illustrations to explain complex concepts.


From the Sun to the Stars
Jim Kaler
Monday, 9:00-10:30; September 11 through October 30

The course will examine the Sun and how it works, and look at the solar spectrum and how it is used to determine the solar chemical composition. The view will then expand to the Solar System and its members, to the different kinds of stars, and how they are born, live their lives, and die. We finish with the discovery and study of planets orbiting other stars. The overall theme is the interconnectedness of the stars and their galaxies, and how they are all needed to create us. The talks are flexible and topics will naturally overlap.

Instructor: Jim Kaler, Professor Emeritus of Astronomy, earned his A.B. at the University of Michigan, his PhD at UCLA, and has been at the University of Illinois since 1964, where his research involved dying stars.  Jim has held Fulbright and Guggenheim Fellowships, received the 2003 Campus Award for Excellence in Public Engagement and the American Astronomical Society's Education Prize for 2008, and has published nearly 20 books. He maintains various websites that include "Skylights," which gives bi-weekly sky news, and "Stars," featuring the "Star of the Week."  Asteroid 1998 JK was named "17853 Kaler" in honor of his outreach activities. His first of many OLLI courses was offered in 2010, and students regularly note his vast knowledge and the remarkable images he uses in his presentations.


Physics from Cosmos to Baseball
Faculty of the Illinois Physics and Astronomy Departments (team-taught); coordinated by Inga Karliner
Thursday, 1:30-3:00; October 12 through November 2
This is a 4-week course that meets during the second half of the semester.

Physicists try to figure out how things work, at all scales. In this course, world-renowned scholars in the University of Illinois Physics and Astronomy Departments will help us understand our fascinating world. They will discuss cosmology, the world of black holes, quantum mechanics, and things they have learned about the physics of baseball. The team-taught course consists of four lectures by four different speakers. The talks are entirely self-contained and independent. 

Charles Gammie - “Monster in the Middle: the Black Hole at the Center of the Milky Way” – Professor Gammie’s research involves black holes, star and planet formation, and accretion physics.

Alan Nathan - “Physics and Baseball:  An Intersection of Passions” – Professor Nathan serves on the editorial board of the journal Sports Engineering and has served on panels advising Major League Baseball, the Amateur Softball Association, the NCAA, and USA Baseball.

Paul Kwiat - “All Things Small and Quantum…” – Professor Kwiat joined the Physics faculty at Illinois as the second Bardeen Chair in 2001. His current research spans Quantum Optics, Quantum Information, Photonic Quantum Information Systems, Hyper-entanglement for Advanced Quantum Communication, and Optical Quantum Computing.

Joaquin Vieira - “A Brief History of the Universe” – Professor Vieira is an observational cosmologist whose scientific interests include the cosmic microwave background, experimental tests of inflation, dark matter, dark energy, and instrumentation.

Coordinator: Inga Karliner earned her Ph.D. in Particle Physics from Stanford University and has worked in elementary particle theory and experiment, and in observational cosmology. She initiated and coordinated the Physics Outreach program at the University of Illinois Physics Department that includes the Saturday Physics Honors Program and Science at the Market.  She coordinated very well-received “Matter, Energy, and Universe” courses at OLLI in 2008, 2011, and 2013.


The Science Behind. . .
Scientists of the Prairie Research Institute, University of Illinois (team-taught); coordinated by Michael Jeffords
Thursday, 11:00-12:30; September 14 through November 2

This course will feature eight retired scientists from the Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois. Each will contribute one presentation on the science behind an aspect of their research. The Prairie Research Institute is a multidisciplinary research center focused on objective research, expertise, and data on the natural and cultural resources of Illinois, and it comprises the Illinois Natural History Survey, Illinois State Archaeological Survey, Illinois State Geological Survey, and Illinois State Water Survey. The Institute has facilities at the U. of I. and field offices and research stations throughout the state.

David Enstrom – “The Science behind Displays of Birds: Costume, Song, and Dance” – Dr. Enstrom has worked on the evolution of color patterns and song in birds.
Joyce E. Hoffmann – “The Science behind the Natural History and Conservation of Bats” – Dr. Hoffmann’s work at the Natural History Survey has focused on the distribution and natural history of the mammals of Illinois, including endangered and threatened species.
Michael Jeffords – “The Science behind Mimicry in Insects” – Dr. Jeffords is an entomologist, freelance photographer, writer, and educator focused primarily on the issue of biodiversity.
Donald Luman – “The Science behind Remote Sensing: Revealing Illinois’ Hidden Landscapes Using Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) Technology” – Dr. Luman is a specialist in the use of satellite and aerial photography for natural resource applications.
John Marlin – “The Science behind Encouraging Native Bees and Some Other Pollinators” – Dr. Marlin studies native bees in Carlinville, Illinois over long periods of time, and has devoted his research to various conservation issues.
Ken Robertson – “The Science behind the Structure of Flowers: An Evolutionary Perspective” – Dr. Robertson has spent many years conducting field research in the natural areas of Illinois, especially prairies.
John Taft – “The Science behind Botanical Habitat Assessment” – Dr. Taft’s research has focused primarily on the influence of environmental interactions and management of native plant communities through ecological restoration and biological conservation.
Sarah Wisseman – “The Science behind Art Forgery Detection” – Dr. Wisseman’s primary research areas are the science of Egyptian mummies, ceramic technology, experimental archaeology, and archaeometry. She has taught numerous well-received OLLI courses and currently serves on the OLLI Board.

Coordinator: Dr. Michael R. Jeffords is the retired education/outreach director for the Illinois Natural History Survey (INHS). He was the staff photographer for the Illinois Steward magazine and has co-authored Illinois Wilds, a coffee table book about the natural habitats of Illinois, Exploring Nature in Illinois: A Field Guide to the Prairie State, A Field Guide to Illinois Butterflies, and the newly released Curious Encounters with the Natural World. He taught his first of numerous OLLI courses in spring 2009, to enthusiastic reviews from students who noted his many exceptional examples.



150 Years of Art at the University of Illinois
Ian Wang
Monday, 1:30-3:00; September 11 through October 2
This is a 4-week course that meets during the first half of the semester.

This course will be an illustrated highlight of the role that art played in the earliest days of the University of Illinois, and how it shaped the U. of I. to become what it is today and beyond. We will examine 150 years of art at the university, along with the major art movements during this period – John Gregory’s vision for the university, the first art collection, and the development of the University Art Gallery, the Krannert Art Museum, and the World Cultures and Heritages Museum (now Spurlock Museum). This course will also examine works created by U. of I. faculty, staff, and students through the years, from traditional works to digital and online art.

Instructor: After a career in medical sciences in China, Dr. Wang has been committed to the role of art in the community, writing for local publications and organizing exhibits to promote local arts and artists. Since 1999, he has been on the Board of Directors of the Spurlock Museum, serving as President of the Board from 2006 to 2008; and has been a curator in the East Asian Galleries of the Spurlock Museum. He won the Champaign County Arts Council’s annual ACE Awards twice, the Community Advocate Award in 2005 and the Media ACE Award in 2008. This is his first OLLI course.


Illinois at 150: Celebrating the University of Illinois Sesquicentennial
Joe Rank and Ryan Ross
Tuesday, 3:30-5:00; September 12 through October 31

Illinois at 150 will celebrate the University of Illinois’ 150th anniversary by telling its story through the eyes of the hundreds of thousands of students who have passed through its doors. Focusing on the fascinating history, traditions, and culture of the University, this course will show how world events – wars, Depression, technical revolutions, globalization, and evolving societal norms – profoundly affected the student experience. We will examine how a handful of visionary leaders transformed the school from a small industrial college into one of the world’s premier institutions of higher learning. Prominent guest speakers will share firsthand accounts. An optional “field trip” to the University’s Student Life and Culture Archives will allow students to examine rare documents and artifacts. This course will appeal to Illinois graduates, faculty, and staff, and anyone interested in local history and changing social customs.

Instructors: Joe Rank, retired vice president and historian at the University of Illinois Alumni Association, is an Urbana native who earned B.S. and M.S. degrees in Advertising in the U. of I. College of Media. A 20-year career naval officer, he served as assistant professor of naval science at Illinois, where he was named to the list of excellent instructors. Following his Navy career, he joined the staff of the Alumni Association. His keen interest in University of Illinois history and traditions led him to propose the development of a campus Welcome Center to open at the Alice Campbell Alumni Center in conjunction with the university’s 2017 sesquicentennial celebration. He co-taught an earlier version of this course – his first at OLLI – in fall 2016.

Ryan Ross (Coordinator, History and Traditions Program, U of I Alumni Association) is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences with a B.A. in English who also holds a M.S. degree from the Graduate School of Library and Information Science. Prior to joining the Alumni Association staff in 2015, he was an archivist and researcher at the University of Illinois Foundation and at the University Library, where he created 2012 exhibits celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Land Grant Act displayed in the Main Quad buildings. This is his second OLLI course, having co-taught this course in fall 2016.



Become Strong, Stable, Secure, and Balanced with LV Chair Yoga™
Instructor: Robin Goettel
Monday, 3:00-4:30; September 11 through October 30

LV (Lakshmi Voelker) Chair Yoga honors each student’s individual differences. Each posture helps nurture self-acceptance, understanding, and patience. Through this class, students will experience a calming atmosphere to help them de-stress and gain increased self-awareness. They will also learn about important yoga principles they can carry into their everyday life for improved health and wellness. Chair Yoga integrates body, mind, and spirit for those unable to practice Yoga on the mat. It creates a safe environment by: teaching how to do a pose safely, based on individual challenges; having an expanded awareness that every body is different; and adapting to the varied levels of flexibility in each class.

Instructor: Robin Goettel retired from the U. of I. in 2014 as an Associate Director for Education with the Sea Grant Program. She then decided to become more involved in promoting good health and wellness as a certified Chair Yoga instructor. She was trained by Lakshmi Voelker, a nationally-respected Chair Yoga teacher trainer who created her LV Chair Yoga program “Get Fit Where You Sit” ® in 1982. Robin has taught chair yoga classes at Clark Lindsey Village, Sinai Temple, the Mettler Center, and the Urbana Park District’s Fall Fitness Program. She has taught this course twice since spring 2016, and students have noted the instructor’s professionalism and strong preparation during this very beneficial class.


Introduction to Meditation/Mindfulness
French Fraker
Thursday, 9:00-10:30; October 12 through November 2
This is a 4-week course that meets during the second half of the semester.

This 4-week course will give students the knowledge and the guidance to develop a personal meditation practice. The lectures will present a basic overview of the history of meditation and physiological and psychological foundations of meditation. Students will learn techniques to relax and calm their body and their mind. Each class will include a series of short meditations designed to give the students the skills to begin a meditation practice at home. Students will be taught techniques to overcome the barriers and challenges faced by beginning meditators. The last class will cover mindfulness and give the students practice and variety of mindful activities. Students are encouraged to practice meditation on their own. This course was offered in spring 2017, and it is intended for students who did not take the earlier course.

Instructor: French Fraker first became interesting in meditation in the early 1970s when he was writing his M.A. thesis on biofeedback relaxation. He went through TM meditation training and studied the mind-body connection. He received his Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Illinois. He taught at Eastern Illinois University in a graduate counselor education program, with a focus on substance abuse. Upon retirement in 2005 he took his first OLLI class, which was a tai chi class. He has studied meditation and tai chi with several nationally renowned teachers. He taught his first OLLI course, a very well-received version of this one, in spring 2017.


Introduction to Tai Chi and Qigong Fundamentals
Mike Reed
Tuesday, 11:00-12:30 (section A) and Thursday, 11:00-12:30 (section B); Section A – September 12 through October 30, Section B – September 14 through November 2; there will be two sections of this course, with identical content, and students may register for only one section, which will meet weekly for 8 weeks.

Qigong is an ancient practice whose Chinese origins extend back in time nearly four thousand years. It was developed as a holistic art for nurturing a healthy mind, body, and spirit. Over the millennia it has evolved into a wide variety of forms, which have played important roles - spiritual, social, political, military, and medical - in Chinese cultural history. The practice of taijiquan, more commonly known in the West as tai chi, is a relatively new application of the principles of qigong to the purpose of martial arts. Tai chi was created as an internal martial art in the 17th century, and has since flourished as a general health practice as it is practicable for people of all ages and physical abilities. Each of the 8 sessions will be structured to provide an overview and acquaint students with the principles and practices of tai chi and qigong. This course is intended for both students who are new to tai chi and those who have taken it at OLLI or elsewhere in the past.

Instructor: Mike Reed has been studying and practicing Tai Chi and Qigong since 1998. He has shared his experience and understanding for the past 16 years with local students at OLLI, at the Savoy Recreation Center, and with research participants at the U. of I. and in a variety of other settings. This course was offered in OLLI’s first semester and has been taught in nearly every semester since then. One recent student said of this course, “I learned enough about tai chi that I would like to continue to practice. It has improved my health!”


Popular Ballroom Dances
Alex Tecza
Monday, 1:00-2:30; September 11 through October 30

With growing popularity of ballroom dancing and more exposure on TV, new studies have been conducted to test the benefits of this activity. The multidimensional benefits of dancing include all areas of health: physical, mental, social, and emotional. In this course, you will learn the basics of popular ballroom dances and how to create your own patterns so you can have fun improvising. We will also show you how you can dance what you learned to almost any music. Thus, you will never feel left out at any dance party. No partner required. Dances will include the waltz, rumba, cha cha, swing, and foxtrot.

Instructor: Alex Tecza is a former competitive ballroom dancer. His achievements include titles of professional national and world finalist, Dancers Cup Tour Professional Couple of the Year two years in a row, and several wins in professional standard, smooth, and showdance divisions. Since retiring from competitions, Alex has continued to teach and perform all over the country. Locally, he has taught master classes and workshops for Dance Department at the U. of I. and Regent Ballroom, choreographed and performed in productions at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, and has coached Illini Dancesport team. Alex teaches students of all ages and levels. This is his first OLLI course.