OLLI Courses - Fall Semester 2018

8-week Semester Begins on Monday, September 10!
Registration opens on Wednesday, July 11 at 9:00 a.m.

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.)

The schedule of class meeting times can be found here, with additional information included in each listing below. All courses meet for 8 weeks unless otherwise noted in the description.

Browse courses by subject



An Understanding and Appreciation of Chinese Art
Ian Wang
Tuesday, 3:30-5:00; October 9 through October 30
This is a 4-week course that meets during the second half of the semester.

This illustrated 4-week course will introduce students to the major developments and fundamentals of Chinese art philosophy and theories, touching on some of the significant developments in a rich 3,000-year history. We will examine the special fields of traditional Chinese art from portraiture to figure painting, traditional Chinese bird and flower painting, and landscape and literati paintings. Finally, we will look at contemporary Chinese art and its recent impact at the University of Illinois and in Champaign-Urbana.

Instructor: After a career in medical sciences in China, Ian 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. His first OLLI course, in fall 2017, received high marks for the strength of its visual materials and the instructor’s passion for the topic.


Art and Controversy
Kelly White
Tuesday, 1:30-3:00; September 11 through October 30

There has never been a time in history when artists did not attempt to push the boundaries of the role of art in society. Used as a tool for creative expression, art has been destroyed, censored, and stolen. It has provoked, shocked, and scandalized. Art has unabashedly explored sexuality, politics, and religion while paving the way for an open platform of new cultural norms. Some of these instances were intentional, others accidental, some purposeful, others regretful, some contemporaneous, others historical – but all were controversial, fascinating, and a very valuable part of the history of art!

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 second OLLI course; her fall 2017 course on Women in Art received exceptional reviews for the instructor’s knowledge of the subject and lively, interactive classes.



At the Center of the Storm: The Persian Gulf Emirates in the Modern Era
Janice Jayes
Tuesday, 9:00-10:30; September 11 through October 30

In the last century the emirates of the Gulf passed from being subjects of the Ottomans, to outposts of the British, to independence. The discovery of oil transformed the region, but oil also brought war and American military bases. Now the countries of Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Oman struggle to shape their own paths as they balance between the competing strategic interests of their neighbors and chart their own path into the future. This class will provide a brief modern history of the region and the challenge of modernizing while preserving their cultural heritage.

Instructor: Janice Jayes is interested in regions in transition, cultural politics, and U.S. security policy and has taught several courses for OLLI, including the Syrian Civil War and the U.S. Military in Africa. She teaches Middle Eastern history at Illinois State University. 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 Syrian 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.”


Maintaining Quality of Life in our Later Years: Learning to Cope with the Challenges of Aging
Dirk Mol and Suzanne Harris
Monday, 11:00-12:30; September 10 through October 29

This course will allow participants to learn from the insights of Atul Gawande in his best-seller Being Mortal, while hearing presentations from experts on the various aspects of aging. As we live longer than the three score and ten of our ancestors, the complications of medical issues, legal issues, and emotional and spiritual issues can become overwhelming. The premise of this course is that preparing to meet the challenges requires knowledge of the issues and careful planning with family and professional help. If done right, that work maximizes the chance for quality of life to the end. Each week, an expert presenter will speak about the specific issues.

Suggested readings from Being Mortal will be included in the course syllabus, which will be shared with students before the start of the semester. Participants will benefit greatly from obtaining the book in advance.

Dirk Mol has been involved with issues of aging ever since the early 1970s when his first professional job after graduate school was with the Sage Advocate Programs, a church-sponsored community-based ministry to the aging community in New Haven, Connecticut. Since then, as a clergyman and a psychotherapist, he has worked with numerous individuals dealing with the impact of aging, all the while watching himself age and noticing the challenges to doing it as gracefully as possible. This is his first OLLI course, but he has led several extremely successful OLLI study groups on a wide variety of topics.

Suzanne Harris has worked with older adults for the last 25 years as a psychologist with specialty training in their cognitive, psychological, health, and end-of-life needs. She has worked in both hospital rehabilitation programs and private practice and offers seminars in her specialty areas to VA psychology interns, and local health associations and organizations. She has presented as part of an earlier OLLI course on end-of-life issues, but this is her first semester as an instructor.


The 2018 Elections
Robert Rich
Monday, 1:30-3:00; September 10 through October 22, with a final post-election class meeting on November 12

This course will focus on the 2018 mid-term elections: the national election and the Illinois elections. Will this be a "swing election" where control of Congress returns to the Democrats? Will this be for the House or the House and Senate? To what extent will Governorships and Legislatures be dominated by one political party? To what extent will the election be a reflection of the public's assessment of President Trump? Are there signals for the upcoming 2020 elections? In Illinois, what will the elections teach us about the "public mood"? To what extent will gerrymandering be reflected in the election results? This course will meet for seven consecutive sessions during the regular semester, and then have a final meeting on November 12 to review and discuss the results of the elections.

Instructor: Robert F Rich is Professor of Law, Medicine, Political Science, and Public Health (retired) and Director of the University of Illinois Institute of Government and Public Affairs (retired). He was Director of IGPA from 1986 to 1997 and from 2005 to 2012. He was,on the faculty of the University of Illinois from 1986 to 2012. His areas of specialty include: health and mental health policy; science and technology policy; pension reform; and educational policy. The instructor’s numerous OLLI courses have received strong evaluations for his thorough knowledge of the subject, well-chosen guest speakers, and skillful discussions.


Genealogy 101: Climbing Your Family Tree
Monique Rivera
Monday, 5:30-7:00; September 10 through October 1
This is a 4-week course that meets during the first half of the semester.

This course is designed for beginners and will cover the basics of getting started with family history research. Over the four weeks, we will cover the following: building one’s family tree online; how to search digital archives; tips and tricks to finding and adding data to the family tree; connecting with online genealogy communities; DNA testing kit basics; and connecting with new relatives through DNA matches (including “dos and don’ts” for making connections). Students are encouraged to bring their own laptops/tablets to this interactive class, to allow students to explore online resources and receive instructor feedback and guidance.

Instructor: Originally from Key West, Florida, Monique Rivera earned a bachelor’s degree in Spanish language, with a concentration in French language and phonetics while studying in France. Over the past 20 years, she has held numerous positions: as a foreign language educator; translator; event coordinator; and project manager. She has worked at the University of Illinois since 2006, and currently serves as co-director of engagement at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts. A genealogist for over ten years, Monique is now pursuing her master's degree in Library and Information Science at the School of Information Sciences, The iSchool at Illinois. This is her first OLLI course.


U.N. Sustainable Development Goals: In Your Life and Community
Joy Scrogum

The 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) lay out a path to end extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and protect our shared environment. While some corporations have started aligning operations with the SDGs, more awareness of and attention to the goals among businesses, governments, and citizens is needed. In this course, we’ll explore how you as an individual can contribute to progress toward the SDGs and how they might relate to groups in which you participate (e.g. religious congregations, clubs, small business operations, non-profits, etc.). We'll discuss local projects which address the goals and ideas for advancing progress.

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 and Social Impacts of Innovations," and Greening Schools. She is an M.S. in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, a LEED Green Associate, and an International Society of Sustainability Professionals Certified Sustainability Professional (ISSP-CSP). Her first OLLI course on sustainability received high marks for her enthusiastic presentations and useful information.



Moving Pictures: Films that Touch Your Heart
Tom Neufer Emswiler

Here are feature films that were not big hits due to lack of money or star power, too unusual a subject, or problems getting distribution. They are all outstanding films, and they move us in different ways. 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 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 ½-hour class. Films to be screened include One Chance, Elizabethtown, 13 Conversations about One Thing, and Pucker Up: The Fine Art of Whistling.

Instructor: Tom Neufer Emswiler has taught three film classes at OLLI along with many other classes on a variety of topics. He 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 1700 films. He taught his first OLLI course in 2009, and his numerous courses over the years have received enthusiastic reviews for his extensive preparations and carefully selected materials.


British Comedy on Film: Wilde, Shaw, Alec Guinness, and TV Comedy
John Frayne
Friday, 1:30-4:30; September 14 through November 2

Who says the British are slow to “get” a joke? British humor may be drier than the American variety, and British heroes may, in the words of a Hollywood producer, “walk slow and talk fast,” but Britain has seen several golden ages of comedy in the past century. In the 1890s, two Irishmen, Oscar Wilde and Bernard Shaw, shook up the London stage, and the revival of British film after World War II was led by the Ealing Studios’ films starring Alec Guinness. This course will compare the stage plays of Oscar Wilde (The Importance of Being Earnest) and Bernard Shaw (Pygmalion), as adapted to the screen, with the Ealing comedies with Alex Guinness (Kind Hearts and Coronets). This course will end with a look at a classic British TV comedy series, Fawlty Towers, which featured John Cleese, a Monty Python star, as Basil Fawlty, hotelkeeper and epitome of British middle class follies.

Instructor: John Frayne was from 1965 to 1997 Professor of English, Comparative Literature, and Film Studies at the University of Illinois, 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.


Women Make Movies: Their Contributions in Early Cinema
Connie Hosier
Monday, 3:30-6:30; September 10 through October 29

This course will offer a glimpse into the cinematic achievements made by several women in the early decades of moviemaking. Alice Guy Blaché was, most likely, the only woman making movies anywhere in the world from 1896 to 1906. As film production grew, it offered women multiple career opportunities that did not exist elsewhere: a groundbreakers like Mary Pickford, well known as an actress, was also a producer and a studio co-founder. Another actress, screenwriter, director, and producer was Mabel Normand. Lillian Gish, not only an actress, was also a key collaborator with director D.W. Griffith. These women earned high salaries in front of the camera, and at the same time were contributing behind it – as screenwriters (Anita Loos, Frances Marion, Lillian Hellman), directors (Dorothy Arzner, Lois Weber, Leontine Sagan), and editors. We will view short films and excerpts in addition to features including Where Are My Children?, Broken Blossoms, Madchen in Uniform, Camille, The Women, and The Little Foxes.

Instructor: After receiving an M.A. from Columbia University, Connie Hosier taught English in the New York City Public School System. She also taught at-risk students in Tucson and was the administrator for a school funded through an LEAA grant that she had written. After moving to Champaign, she taught film courses among other subjects at Parkland College for 23 years. Retired now for over a decade, she has taught numerous OLLI courses on film-related topics, and students regularly hail her well-structured, meticulously prepared courses.


21st Century Cinematic Sleepers
Chuck Koplinski
Wednesday, 5:30-8:30; September 12 through October 31

It is the best of times and the worst of times where film distribution is concerned. What with cable and satellite television, video streaming services, on-line cinema libraries, and a record number of theaters, consumers have greater access to a wider variety of movies than ever before. And yet, be that as it may, some films still get lost in the shuffle, never finding an audience amidst the glut of product that floods these delivery platforms. This course will focus on eight different movies that came and went with little public recognition, films that deserved a wider audience and are ripe for re-discovery. The hope and intent of this course is to create a sense of discovery for those who see these films for the first time and an opportunity to reevaluate them for those who’ve seen them before. The films to be screened are A Scanner Darkly (2006), In Bruges (2008), Wendy and Lucy (2008), Another Earth (2011), Young Adult (2011) Calvary (2014), The Gift (2105), and Norman (2016).

Instructor: Chuck Koplinski has been a film critic for over 20 years, writing for various independent newspapers in the community. He currently reviews films for The News-Gazette, the Illinois Times, WCIA-TV, and MIX 94.5 FM. He is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association and the Chicago Film Critics Association. This is his 11th offering at OLLI since 2013, and students regularly praise his excellent film selections and informative introductions.



World War II: A Look behind the Curtain
Frank Chadwick
Tuesday, 1:30-3:00; September 11 through October 30

This course does not provide a chronological recounting of the events of World War II, but instead (to borrow a phrase from The Wizard of Oz) looks behind the curtain to see why the war unfolded as it did. We will examine the eight most important belligerents in depth: their economy, political organization, education, demographics, and experience of war, and how all of those shaped how and why they fought the war. What were their unique strengths and weaknesses? How were women and minorities mobilized in industry and the armed forces? Why were some more successful than others? Each week of the course covers one nation, and they are treated roughly in the order they entered the war, or came to prominence.

Instructor: Frank Chadwick has spent much of his career writing military history and designing war games. In addition to nine science fiction novels and short stories, and over a hundred published game designs, he has written almost 300 articles and columns, and fourteen military history books; his military history Desert Shield Fact Book (1991)reached number one on The New York Times bestseller list. He has previously taught detailed, well-received courses on Writing the Novel, and the 1973 Arab-Israeli War, as well as a large number of study groups on writing, films, music, and history.


Germany’s Historic Palatinate from Prehistory to 1648
Fred Christensen
Wednesday, 1:30-3:00; September 12 through October 31

This class will look at German and European history from the viewpoint of a single province. Germany’s scenic Palatinate – der Pfalz – is a land of castles and vineyards, with close ties to America as a homeland of the “Pennsylvania Dutch,” and as today’s location of the largest U.S. military community in Europe. This small region on the middle Rhine has a long and colorful history. From antiquity through the 17th century, the Palatinate played many roles: core area of the Celtic La Tene culture, Roman frontier province, heartland of medieval Germany under the Salian and Hohenstaufen emperors, and sovereign principality of the Wittelsbach dynasty who emerged as Electors of the Holy Roman Empire at the end of the Middle Ages. Instructor-made films will portray the Palatinate’s prehistoric stone monuments, Celtic hillforts, Roman villas, Romanesque cathedrals, and castle ruins perched spectacularly on hilltops.

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 in five areas of history and archaeology: Britain, Germany, early America, Israel/the Holy Land, and military history in general. This is his 22nd OLLI course since 2008. Recent student evaluations cited his carefully chosen materials, enthusiasm, and broad knowledge of the subject matter.


The Bubonic Plague in Europe
Joy Kammerling
Monday, 1:30-3:00; September 10 through October 1
This is a 4-week course that meets during the first half of the semester. Another course on Peer Gynt, taught by Cathrine Blom, will meet during this time slot during the second half of the semester; that course requires a separate registration.

The bubonic plague devastated Europe in the 14th century and sporadically thereafter. In this course we will examine the impact of plague on the social, religious, and economic development of the time. Among other things, we will look at the medical world’s attempts to treat plague, the varieties of religious responses including the rise of flagellants, masses delivered to assuage an angry God, and pilgrimages. We will conclude our course by studying the lingering devastation wrought by plague; peasant rebellions, social unrest and policy toward Jews, to name a few.

Instructor: Joy Kammerling earned her Ph.D. at the University of Illinois at Chicago and is an Associate Professor of History at Eastern Illinois University. She teaches Renaissance and Reformation history, and her research focuses on Jewish-Christian relations during the Early Modern period. Her publications include articles and book chapters on Protestant beliefs and treatment of Jews in the 16th century, and she has authored numerous book reviews. Recently, Dr. Kammerling completed work as a consultant on a five-part video series entitled The Renaissance, and she is currently working on several projects including a book on the 16th-century theologian and defender of the Jews, Andreas Osiander. Her OLLI courses have received extremely strong evaluations, with students hailing her deep knowledge and engaging teaching style.


The Impact of the Military on the Evolution of the University of Illinois
Joe Rank
Wednesday, 1:30-3:00; October 10 through October 31
This is a 4-week course that meets during the second half of the semester.

From its opening in 1868, the military has had a profound impact on the University of Illinois and it has had a lasting impact on the military. Once dubbed “the West Point of the West,” Illinois has provided “citizen soldier” leaders for a century and a half. During World Wars I and II, it provided technical training to tens of thousands of soldiers and sailors in non-degree programs in aviation, diesel mechanics, and communications. Wartime defense research in digital computing, synthetic rubber, anti-malarial drugs, and radar set the stage for preeminence in scientific research. Illinois became a world leader in providing services to disabled veterans and others. Guest presenters will include professors of military, naval, and air force aerospace sciences and the director of the University’s innovative Chez Family Foundation Center for Wounded Veterans in Higher Education.

Instructor: 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 led him to propose the development of a campus Welcome Center at the Alice Campbell Alumni Center. His OLLI courses and lectures on University of Illinois history have received strong reviews for his careful preparation and richly illustrated presentations.


Facts and Fables of Scotland’s Fortresses and Families
Loarn Robertson
Wednesday, 9:00-10:30; October 10 through October 31
This is a 4-week course that meets during the second half of the semester. Another course on the language of music, taught by Linda Jordan, will meet during this time slot during the first half of the semester; that course requires a separate registration.

Part of the rich heritage of Scotland lies in the numerous grand and imposing castles, fortified places, and palaces which can be found among the glens, hilltops, lochs, and coastline promontories of this colorful land. This course offers participants the chance to get to know and recognize some of the great castles of Scotland and the clans that owned them together with the history and folklore that surrounds them. A special feature will be on three of the most powerful Scottish clans, their origins, rise and fall from grace, their heraldry, and their ancestral lands. This course will appeal to those with an innate interest in the raison d’être for castle building and the clans that cared for them, and for those with a passion for Scottish history and folklore, and also for those considering a visit to Scotland and looking for information about historical sites and places worth visiting. No text is required but access to the internet is suggested. Background materials and references will be provided.

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. 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. His earlier OLLI course on Scottish heraldry was well-received, with students noting the instructor’s lively presentations and vivid examples.



Edith Wharton on Film
Parley Ann Boswell
Thursday, 11:00-12:30; September 13 through November 1; while this is a 90-minute course, two sessions will be extended to accommodate feature film viewings

Edith Wharton (1862-1937) lived half of her life during the age of cinema, and she made a great deal of money by selling her fiction to Hollywood. Yet she absolutely hated the movies. Too bad. We can only guess her reaction if she knew that her fiction has enjoyed a serious renaissance and reconsideration in the last several decades, thanks in part to movies adapted from her works. We will read The Old Maid (ISBN: 0486476858) and The Age of Innocence (ISBN: 0486298030), and we will also watch adaptations of several of her works as we consider what happens when filmmakers turn their cameras to Wharton’s fiction.

Instructor: Parley Ann Boswell graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign just months after Francis Ford Coppola’s masterpiece The Godfather Part II was released. Now Professor Emerita of English, at Eastern Illinois University she taught Film Studies and American Literature – from colonial through early 20th century – for thirty years. This is her first OLLI course.


The “I” in Poetry
James T. McGowan
Monday, 11:00-12:30; September 10 through October 29

Surely, two of the more compelling existential questions that humans engage with almost continuously throughout their lives, especially from the onset of adolescence, are these: “Who am I?” – that desire to formulate a sense of self, to self-identify and self-define, to comprehend, however acutely or dimly, how the many factors that influence the development of a self have played out in our lives up to any particular moment of time; and “What does/did it mean to be me?” – a closely related and subsequent question that fuels a need to assess the significance of whatever sense of self an individual has as it relates to one’s past, present, and the imagined future. Poets, too, engage with these questions perpetually in their poetry through the mask of a persona, the “I” of their poems, to varying degrees of autobiographic accuracy and exposure. In some poems, there is a very close connection between the subject matter of the poem and the life of the poet, while in other poems, there is little connection at all. Regardless of how close the connection, though, what does emerge in any particular poem is the sensibility of the poet toward that elusive “I.” Through close readings and the application of various interpretive strategies, we will analyze and discuss a variety of poems to explore how poets – from Dylan Thomas and Robert Frost to Gwendolyn Brooks and Natasha Trethewey – have striven to address these very questions.


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 has 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, White Eagle Coffee Store Press. His previous OLLI courses on poetry and short stories have received high marks for his well-chosen materials and insightful discussions.


Walter Lippmann and American Journalism
John Palen
Tuesday, 11:00-12:30; September 11 through October 2
This is a 4-week course that meets during the first half of the semester.

Between Yellow Journalism and Breitbart, there was Walter Lippmann. In the early 20th century, American journalism seemed mired in the sensationalism of the Hearst-Pulitzer circulation wars and the naive empiricism of “just the facts” reporting. A new way forward was needed, and Walter Lippmann was there to provide leadership. In landmark writings on journalism’s role in a democratic society, Lippmann formulated the “New Objectivism” that remains a powerful – and controversial – influence today.

Instructor: John Palen retired in 2009 from the Journalism Department at Central Michigan University, where he taught for 26 years. An active journalist prior to his teaching career, he was a reporter, copy editor, and editor for daily newspapers in Missouri, Illinois, and Michigan. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Washington University in St. Louis and master’s and doctoral degrees from Michigan State University. Palen previously taught well-received OLLI courses on How to Read a Newspaper and Donald Trump and the Press. He is also a published poet. His eighth collection, Distant Music, was published in 2017 by Mayapple Press.



Peer Gynt, Henrik Ibsen’s play with incidental music by Edvard Grieg: there is more to Peer Gynt than meets the ear
Cathrine Blom
Monday, 1:30-3:00; October 8 through October 29
This is a 4-week course that meets during the second half of the semester. Another course on the bubonic plague in Europe, taught by Joy Kammerling, will meet during this time slot during the first half of the semester; that course requires a separate registration.

Classical music lovers are generally familiar with Edvard Grieg’s two Peer Gynt suites. “Peer Gynt” is, however, much more than just the suites; it is a long play with incidental music by Grieg, based on fairytale, folklore, and folk music, built on Henrik Ibsen’s fantasy poem from 1867 – a multidimensional, complex adventure story in 40 scenes in five acts, taking some five hours to perform in full. This course will present the play and its music in its cultural and historical context, to give the audience a sense of its richness and its association with Norwegian national traits, as well as Ibsen's own upbringing and familial turmoil.

Instructor: Cathrine Blom earned her Ph.D. in musicology at the University of Illinois, where she also earned a B.A. in psychology with a minor in music. She also has a working background in physics, participating in Norway on analysis of CERN experiments prior to coming to the U.S. At Illinois, she co-taught the primary introductory music classes for majors several times, and received an honorary mention for the Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award in the College of Fine and Applied Arts. This is her fifth OLLI course since 2015, and students regularly praise her teaching skills and thorough knowledge of the subject matter.


More Poets of Tin Pan Alley 1920s-1940s
Eve Harwood
Friday, 10:30-12:00; September 14 through October 5
This is a 4-week course that meets during the first half of the semester.

“Words make you think a thought. Music makes you feel a feeling. Songs make you feel a thought.” E Y Harburg.

This course explores the art and craft of lyric writing in the careers of Lorenz Hart, Cole Porter, and Oscar Hammerstein. The introductory session will review terminology and conventions for songwriters in the 1920s-1940s. Class meetings will present biographical information and close reading of selected lyrics by each writer. By definition, lyrics are words that sing. Therefore group singing is invited to experience the full impact of lyrics in the body, brain, and heart. This course introduces new materials and is open to both returning and new students.

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. Given her lifelong love of Broadway musicals, she is pleased to share this enthusiasm with OLLI members. This is her third OLLI course, and a student described one of her past courses as “polished, well-prepared, personable presentations, conveyed with passion for the subject.”


What Makes Russian Music Russian?
Anne Mischakoff Heiles


The Written Language of Music: An Introduction
Linda Jordan

Music is a language we all hear, some perform, but many, and maybe even most people, cannot read. Imagine if you couldn’t read words but could only hear and talk with others! Do you wish you could read the language of the music that you hear and enjoy and sing? Then maybe an introductory 4-week class in reading the music language from the beginning is for you. No skills or previous instruction are required. It will be an interactive session involving rhythmic clapping, reading and singing simple music, and finding the notes on a keyboard.

Instructor: Linda Jordan holds a Bachelor of Music in Music Education and a Bachelor of Arts in Piano from Centenary College of Louisiana, and a Master of Music Degree in Musicology from the University of Texas at Austin. She taught from 1988 to 2009 at Menlo School, a private college preparatory high school in Atherton, California, where she directed three choirs, taught AP Music Theory, and was the Music Director for many musicals. She has been pianist for many choral, theatrical, and instrumental groups in the San Francisco Bay Area and has directed church choirs for many years. In 2001 she was awarded the Menlo Park Rotary Award as the Menlo School "Teacher of the Year." Her well-received OLLI courses have provided students with many insights into the language and theory of music.


Canadian Jazz
Jenelle Orcherton
Wednesday, 9:00-10:30; September 12 through October 31

Canadian jazz is often overlooked but has its own history and star jazz performers. With a unique (and personal) insight into these musicians, this course will highlight just a few of the recent and current prominent jazz musicians from all across Canada. Artists will include alto saxophonist P.J. Perry; Tommy Banks, whose legacy is far-reaching across generations of musicians; versatile musician Kelly Jefferson; pianist, composer, and arranger Marianne Trudel; composer Christine Jensen; boundary-pushing composer and pianist David Braid; unique performer William Carn; and David Occhipinti, whose projects always offer a fresh and alternate take on what jazz has to offer.

Instructor: Jenelle Orcherton is a jazz performer and educator, with training in Education and a recent Masters' in Jazz Performance from the University of Illinois. She is the Artistic Director and Founder of the Champaign-Urbana Jazz Festival heading towards its fifth successful season. 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. Jenelle has over ten years of education experience and is passionate about giving all audiences the opportunity to engage with jazz. Her recent OLLI courses have been exceptionally well-received, with students hailing her thorough knowledge and engaging presentations.


Around the (Symphonic) World in 8 Weeks. . .and 400 Years
Matthew Sheppard
Wednesday, 11:00-12:30; September 12 through October 31

Each week, we will travel to a new epicenter of musical creativity and development, moving in both time and space. After taking a moment to gather our cultural and historical bearings, we will dive right in by listening to and discussing landmark compositions by influential composers. To deepen our understanding and appreciation of these great works, a short introduction of “what to listen for” in that time period will inform our class to the expectations and musical norms of the day – and help us to understand what makes these works so great. An earlier version of this course was offered in 2014, and this course will cover different materials, making it suitable for both new and returning students.

Instructor: Known for his passion and enthusiasm for music and education, Matthew Sheppard leads an active career as both a performer and pedagogue. His Music Director appointments include the University Chamber Orchestra at the University of Chicago, the Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company of Chicago, the Hyde Park Youth Symphony, the Sangamon Valley Youth Symphony and Civic Orchestra, and the UU Church of Urbana-Champaign. He also serves as Assistant Conductor of the Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra. As a frequent OLLI instructor, he is highly regarded for his musicianship, technical ability, inspirational teaching style, and scholarship.



Aristotle’s Children: The Revival of Virtue Ethics
Robert Alun Jones

“Virtue ethics” is one of several ways of thinking about ethics, including deontology (the emphasis on duties or rules), and consequentialism (the focus on the consequences of our actions). Virtue ethics is rather concerned with the moral character of the actor, and emphasis that originated with Aristotle, and persisted in Western moral philosophy until the Enlightenment where it was eclipsed by the work of Kant and Bentham. But it was revived in the late 20th century and has flourished ever since – and this course will focus on that revival and its contributions to contemporary philosophy.

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, and he has published widely on Durkheim, Rousseau, Weber, and others. His courses on philosophy and ethics have received strong evaluations citing the instructor’s deep knowledge and engaging teaching style.


A Rabbi Encounters an Atheist: Viewing Woody Allen’s Film Oeuvre, Seriously
Rabbi Norman Klein
Friday, 9:00-12:00; September 28 through November 9; please note that this course will begin two weeks after the formal start of the semester, and will include 7 consecutive sessions

This course will explore the scope of Woody Allen's film oeuvre, each film's style, structures, content, attitudes to God or the lack thereof, and what we can derive concerning the events and peoples depicted in the context of his pervasive atheistic position. His auteur-like control over his film production allows us to treat his films very much as a window into the director's mind. We shall also explore what other atheists throughout history have said about the statements of Woody Allen's film characters, and Woody Allen's own statements. Each class will include an introduction to the film, a film screening, and follow-up discussion of the particular work in question, with additional discussion material regarding particular atheistic philosophical positions.

Instructor: Norman Mark Klein is retired as the emeritus rabbi at Sinai Temple in Champaign after serving as the interim rabbi at temples in Canada and Florida. Before becoming Rabbi Emeritus at Sinai Temple, Champaign, IL, he served as rabbi from 1995 to 2013. Rabbi Klein was ordained at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1985 and was rabbi at temples in Pennsylvania and Texas between 1985 and 1995. Rabbi Klein came to rabbinic school at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion with an interest in literature, having done graduate work at Indiana University, Bloomington (A.B.D. in the Ph.D. program of the English Department, with a minor in film production), his thesis work on the subject of the interaction of character and place in contemporary novels set in exotic places. His rabbinic thesis focused on a contemporary Israeli novel. He has taught several extremely well-received courses at OLLI on subjects related to religious studies.


The Dead Sea Scrolls: The Intersection of Archaeology and Religion
Sarah Wisseman and Janet Elaine Guthrie
Monday, 9:00-10:30; October 8 through October 29
This is a 4-week course that meets during the second half of the semester.

The discovery and interpretation of the Dead Sea Scrolls radically changed our understanding of biblical archaeology and the history of the Jewish and Christian faiths. Who were the Essenes of Qumran? How did their beliefs and practices differ from those of other Jewish sects of the first and second centuries B.C.? What does archaeology tell us about the scroll writers and how they lived? What is the relationship between the scrolls and the Bible? This 4-week class, taught by a retired archaeologist and a retired pastor, will explore the historical and archaeological context of the scrolls, the lifestyle of the people who wrote them, and the implications of these ancient documents for religious history.

Sarah Wisseman is the retired Director of the U. of I. Program on Ancient Technologies and Archaeological Materials (Illinois State Archaeological Survey, Prairie Research Institute). She received her degrees in Anthropology (Harvard University) and Classical and Near Eastern archaeology (Bryn Mawr College) after spending two years in Israel studying Biblical archaeology. Her primary research areas are the science of Egyptian mummies, ceramic technology, experimental archaeology, and archaeometry. She also writes archaeological mysteries. Her past OLLI courses on archaeology have received exceptional reviews for her deep knowledge of the subject and engaging presentation style.

Janet Elaine Guthrie retired in 2016 from her role as lead pastor at First Mennonite Church of Champaign-Urbana. She currently serves as a spiritual director and promotes racial and social justice through active community engagement. A graduate of the U. of I., she earned a doctorate from Harvard University and enjoyed a 30-year career in higher education as a humanities faculty member and campus administrator before heeding a call to seminary. She has lectured and published widely, on such diverse topics as women’s literature, Scandinavian immigration, the liberal arts, international education, Celtic Christianity, and spiritual wellness. This is her first OLLI course.



Getting Around: Air Transportation in the 21st Century
Edwin E. Herricks
Tuesday, 3:30-5:00; September 11 through October 30

This course will offer an overview of what it takes to successfully get from here to there on an airplane. We will consider how agencies, airplanes, airlines, and airports work together to provide an efficient air transportation system, except when it isn’t. Lectures will provide a behind the scenes look at what really goes on to make air transportation work for you. Topics will include leaving on a jet plane, considering the intricacies of the air transportation system and how the system is evolving. We will analyze your trip, reviewing what happens when. Next, the focus will shift to the plane, reviewing why they try to break it before you get on it, maintenance, and things that go bump during the flight. After planes, there will be a focus on the airport, considering location, design, what you see when you look out the terminal window, and what all those planes and people out there are doing. We will review safety and how it happens, examining personnel qualifications and training for airport operators, ground handlers, pilots, and controllers. Finally, we will consider the future. This course should satisfy the curious, provide something new even for jaded travelers, and possibly even allay the fear of flying.

Instructor: Edwin E. Herricks is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois, and has been on the faculty in Civil and Environmental Engineering since 1975. In 1999 Ed began the Airport Safety Management Program in the University’s Center of Excellence for Airport Technology. He is the winner of the FAA’s Excellence Award given for research contributions that have resulted in a significantly safer, more efficient national airspace system. He has used avian radars to understand bird strike hazards and other technologies for foreign object debris detection and apron surveillance. He has had assignments from the International Civil Aviation Organization and consulted on airport safety technologies worldwide. His (lapsed) top tier status means he has spent a lot of time in airplane seats and his research interests have given him access to airports all over the world. This is his first OLLI course.


Genomic Biology and Society
Faculty of the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology (team-taught); coordinated by Roy Dar
Thursday, 9:00-10:30; September 13 through November 1

Genomic biology combines information about genes and their functions and unique methodologies to develop a predictive understanding of biological systems and behavior relevant to solving medical, energy, and environmental challenges. This course will introduce students to genes and genomes and explore technological advances in genome research and how these advances are impacting society. Faculty will be drawn from the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology (IGB), one of the premier institutes of its kind in the country.

Gene Robinson, Department of Integrative Biology and Director of IGB
Gene Robinson uses genomics and the honey bee to study the mechanisms and evolution of social behavior. In this lecture he will show how his discovery of social regulation of brain gene expression in honey bees led him to solve the nature-nurture problem.

Lisa Ainsworth, USDA ARS, Department of Plant Biology; IGB Theme: Genomic Ecology of Global Change
Lisa Ainsworth investigates crop responses to global atmospheric and environmental change. In this lecture she will discuss the role of genomic biology in agriculture, from traditional breeding to transgenic manipulation.

Ting Lu, Department of Bioengineering; IGB Theme: Biosystems Design
Ting Lu focuses on the analysis, construction, and utilization of bacterial gene regulatory circuits for understanding biological questions and advancing therapeutic interventions. In this talk he will present his recent work on the modeling and engineering of bacterial social interactions for directing ecosystem assembly and functioning.

Rachel Whitaker, Department of Microbiology; IGB Theme Leader: Infection Genomics for One Health
Rachel Whitaker studies the molecular evolution of cellular microorganisms in their natural environmental contexts ranging from hot springs to human infectious disease. In her lecture she will describe how genomics can help us see the unseen world around us and contribute to some of society’s greatest challenges like the rise of antibiotic resistance and emerging infectious diseases.

Chris Brooke, Department of Microbiology; IGB Theme: Infection Genomics for One Health, viral genomics
Chris Brooke focuses on understanding how the genetic architecture of influenza virus promotes and influences viral adaptation and immune evasion. In this lecture he will describe how recent breakthroughs in viral genomics are shaping our understanding of common and emerging viral pathogens.

Roy Dar, Department of Bioengineering; IGB Theme: Gene Networks in Neural and Developmental Plasticity
Roy Dar studies viral decision-making in HIV infected T-cells. He will discuss how single-cell gene expression fluctuations and genetic similarities that have interlaced viral-host relationships can provide new insights for therapeutic strategies.

Satish Nair, Department of Biochemistry; IGB Theme: Mining Microbial Genomes
Satish Nair focuses on the characterization of enzymes involved in the biosynthesis of phosphonate antibiotics, which are the active ingredients in some herbicides and antimalarials. His lab aims to use structural data to reprogram these enzymes to produce novel compounds. In this lecture he will cover the basics of genome mining and how sequence information can be used to gain information about natural products.

Andrew Smith, Department of Bioengineering; IGB Theme: Omics Nanotechnology Cancer Precision Medicine
Andrew Smith leads a bioengineering lab focused on new precision medicine approaches to overcoming key hurdles in our ability to successfully treat cancer, obesity, and Alzheimer’s disease. In this talk, he will describe how new types of therapeutics allow precise tuning of the immune system by selective targeting of specific cell types and how diagnostics can predict which patients will respond favorably to a specific therapeutic regimen.

Coordinator: Roy Dar is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Bioengineering and a member of the Gene Networks in Neural and Developmental Plasticity theme at the IGB. Roy is a systems biologist interested in the role of fluctuations in gene expression and gene regulatory networks in development and disease at the level of single-cells. Beyond research, he is involved in teaching in the Bioengineering Department and scientific outreach programs on the U. of I. campus.


Manipulating Genomes: Past and Present
Claudia Reich
Tuesday, 11:00-12:30; September 11 through October 30

Since the beginnings of agriculture, humankind has, knowingly or not, altered the genetic makeup of plants and animals. This process has historically been informed by our increasing scientific understanding of the natural world. From selective breeding to the purposeful improvement of foodstuffs, the 20th century laid the foundations of genetic engineering and the targeted modification of organisms, from microbes to plants and animals, including humans. Our 21st century armamentarium includes technologies that allow exquisite precision in the changes we introduce in genomes. The current accomplishments and the future possibilities of these technologies are drastically changing the outlook on strategies to solve problems, from bioremediation and pest control to medicine. This course will briefly cover the history and basic science underlying the foundations of genetic engineering, before concentrating on the newest developments in targeted and surgically precise genomic manipulation. Gene editing and other technologies allow scientists to effectively introduce genetic changes in a number of organisms. How is this accomplished? And, more importantly, what are or should be the limits to these endeavors?

Instructor: Claudia Reich holds a Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina. At the University of Illinois since 1987 and until retirement in 2012, she has been a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Biochemistry and Research Assistant Professor and Senior Scientist in the Department of Microbiology, the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, and the Institute for Genomic Biology. She has guest lectured in several courses in the Departments of Microbiology and Plant Sciences, and organized and conducted workshops and training sessions on Computational Tools in Genomics Research at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications and Argonne National Labs. Her areas of expertise include Molecular Genetics and Bacterial Genomics. At OLLI she has taught courses on Microbiology and Molecular Biology and has led numerous study groups, mostly focusing on science issues – and students regularly cite her extensive knowledge and thoughtful facilitation of in-class discussion.



Introduction to Meditation/Mindfulness
French Fraker
Tuesday, 9:00-10:30; October 9 through October 30
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 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 lectures covering mindfulness will give the students practice in a variety of mindful activities. Students are encouraged to practice meditation and mindfulness on their own.


Instructor: French Fraker first became interesting in meditation back in the early 1970s when he was writing his master’s 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 retired in 2005 from Eastern Illinois University where he taught in a graduate counselor education program. His area of focus was substance abuse. His recent OLLI courses on meditation/mindfulness have received exceptional reviews for his informative presentations and well-chosen materials.


The Old Soft Shoe: Exploring Tap Dance for Beginners
Robin Goettel
Wednesday, 3:30-5:00; September 12 through October 31

Learn the evolution and basic steps of this early rhythmic form of tap dancing. At each class session, we will practice simple steps and short routines, including chair-based warm-ups and standing exercises. There will also be a short presentation each week on tap dance history, including enjoyable clips of famous hoofers from the turn of the 20th century through the 1940s – from Bill “Bojangles” Robinson and Shirley Temple to the Nicholas Brothers, Eleanor Powell, and Fred Astaire. No previous dance experience is required…just an interest in learning simple tap steps and having fun. (Please note: It is important that you do not have challenges with knee or ankle joints, as this style requires frequent bending and straightening of the legs; the instruction will emphasize proper alignment of feet, knees, and hips for joint safety.) Learn the Tea for Two soft shoe and Shuffle Off to Buffalo and Susie Q steps. Wear comfy clothes and soft-soled shoes.

Instructor: Robin Goettel has studied and performed tap dance for 25 years from her 20s to her late 40s. She received excellent instruction from Christine Rich, Cindy Pipkin-Doyle, and Alicia Engelhardt, performing in numerous dance recitals. At Wiley Elementary School, she taught an after-school class for kids for three years called “Tap Happy Feet.” She has also been involved in other forms of dancing since high school, including modern dance, jazz, folk dance, and Zumba. She has a passion for researching the history of dance, especially the tap dance genre. Her knowledge about teaching older adults will create a safe environment to learn the basic dance steps and short routines. Her OLLI courses on chair yoga have received excellent reviews for the combination of student-focused instruction and informative background materials.


Introduction to Tai Chi and Qigong Fundamentals
Mike Reed
Tuesday, 11:00-12:30 (Section A) – September 11 through October 30
Thursday, 11:00-12:30 (Section B) – September 13 through November 1
There are two sections of this course, with identical content, and students may register for only one section, which will meet weekly for the 8-week semester.

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!”


Ballet for Adults – Beginner and Intermediate Levels
Lei Shanbhag
Wednesday, 9:00-10:30; September 12 through October 31

Ballet is a classical dance form applicable as an artistic performance, as well as an elegant fitness and wellness exercise. Ballet develops strength, tone, flexibility, balance, and grace through extension. Ballet not only transforms how your body looks, but it also affects the way you move. Its total mind and body engagement ultimately develops a more athletic, functional, and refined mind and body connection. This class focuses on both beginners and those with some dance experience. It is a low impact workout, suitable for all ages.

Instructor: Lei Shanbhag has been learning and dancing ballet for more than 25 years since she came to the United States from China as a graduate student. The first adult ballet she attended opened her eyes about the possibilities of what ballet could offer. She believes ballet can be an excellent means for fitness and wellness. She has been teaching ballet for adult beginners for the past three years in several fitness venues, including the Champaign Fitness Center, Mettler Center, the Savoy Recreation Center, and YMCA. She has also been a Zumba instructor for the past five years. This is the second time she has offered this course, and students in the spring semester praised the skilled instruction and informative historical context.


Popular Ballroom Dances
Alex Tecza
Tuesday, 5:30-7:00; September 11 through October 30

With the 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 taught in this session will include foxtrot, tango, swing, and mambo.

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 the Dance Department at the University of Illinois and Regent Ballroom, choreographed and performed in productions at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, and has coached the Illini Dancesport team. Alex teaches students of all ages and levels. He has taught at OLLI since fall 2017, and a recent student evaluation noted that he is “the rare combination of an accomplished dancer and a calm, disciplined, caring instructor.”