The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Vanderbilt will offer winter 2019 classes on innovative thinking, women in the civil rights movement, the impact of drugs on the brain and a Nashville Shakespeare Festival production.
Other Osher classes—open to all those who are 50 and older—include Japanese reflections on World War II, acting for opera singers, mindfulness meditation practices and steel drum band. American popular music, ceremonials of Western European celebrations in the early modern era, the quest for human meaning at the end of life, a practicum on innovation and a class at the Lane Motor Museum are among the other choices. Osher students can also sign up for a field trip to Keeneland in Lexington, Kentucky (seating is limited).
“Our stellar Vanderbilt faculty and community experts ensure that we maintain an academically rigorous curriculum,” said Norma Clippard, program director for the Osher Lifelong Institute at Vanderbilt. “In addition, members often make lasting friendships with other lifelong learners in these classes, which are open to all those 50 and older.”
The following courses comprise the winter term:
“Osher Steel Drum Band — Advanced,” led by Alli Puglisi, steel band instructor. This class, a level up from Osher Steel Band — Beginner, moves at a fast pace and focuses on learning different styles of music. Students meet for six Sundays, beginning Jan. 13, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Blair School of Music.
“Osher Steel Drum Band — Beginner,” led by Mat Britain, adjunct instructor in music. No musical experience is needed to join this hands-on class, which meets for six Sundays, beginning Jan. 13, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at the Blair School.
“Mindfulness and Meditation,” taught by Cameron Gordon, associate professor of psychology at Middle Tennessee State University. The primary emphasis will be on teaching students how to engage in both formal and informal mindfulness meditation practices. The class meets for six Mondays, beginning Jan. 14, from 9:30 to 11 a.m. at St. George’s Episcopal Church.
“OLLI at the Nashville Shakespeare Festival,” led by Santiago Sosa, director of the festival’s winter production of Julius Caesar, and Marcia McDonald, a Shakespearian scholar at Belmont University. The class meets for three sessions at the Troutt Theatre—Jan. 21 and 23 at 1:30 p.m. and Jan. 25 at 10 a.m., when students will watch a performance.
“A Practicum in Innovation,” organized by Patricia A. Ward, professor of French and comparative literature, emerita. The course involves observation and interactive learning, and participation requires co-enrollment in the Osher class “Innovative Thinking in the Digital Age.” Limited to 24 students, this class meets for five Mondays, starting Jan. 21, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. at the Wond’ry.
“Drugs and the Brain,” taught by Jeanette Norden, professor of cell and developmental biology, emerita. She will cover a few general classes of drugs, including antidepressants and anti-psychotic medications, as well as opioids. Students meet for six Tuesdays, beginning Jan. 15, from 9:30 to 10:45 a.m. at West End United Methodist Church.
“Japanese Reflections on World War II and the American Occupation,” taught by Edgar Porter, professor emeritus, Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University. Porter will share what he learned during a decade living in Japan, including stories shared from more than 40 interviews of former students, nurses, Kamikaze pilots and others impacted by the war. The class meets for six Tuesdays, beginning Jan. 15, from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. at West End United Methodist Church.
“Innovative Thinking in a Digital Age,” organized by Patricia A. Ward, professor of French and comparative literature, emerita. This course, which is team-taught, is an introduction to the ways innovation is driven by digital technology and how our lives are affected today. The class meets for six Wednesdays, beginning Jan. 16, from 9:30 to 10:45 a.m. at The Commons Center.
“American Popular Music,” taught by Brittany Chase, adjunct assistant professor of musicology and ethnomusicology. She will take a historical approach to understanding popular music in the United States and abroad with class lectures and discussions. Students meet for six Wednesdays, beginning Jan. 16, from 11:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at The Commons Center.
“OLLI at the Lane Motor Museum,” offers an up-close look at rare cars and motorcycles—dating from the 1920s to today. The single-session is Thursday, Feb. 7, starting at 2 p.m. at the Lane Motor Museum. The personalized tour is limited to 30 individuals.
“Four Weddings and Funeral or Two: Ceremonials of Celebration in the Early Modern Era,” taught by Cynthia Cyrus, vice provost for learning and residential affairs and professor of musicology. This course will examine a set of case studies of Western European celebrations from the late Middle Ages to the 18th century. The class meets for six Thursdays, beginning Jan. 17, from 9:30 to 10:45 a.m. at The Commons Center.
“The End of Life and the Quest for Human Meaning,” taught by Larry Churchill, professor of medical ethics, emeritus. Students will consider the meanings attached to someone’s death and other related ethical issues. The class will meet for six Thursdays, starting Jan. 17, at The Commons Center.
“Women in the Civil Rights Movement,” taught by Linda Wynn, professor of history and political science at Fisk University. Students will learn about the role that women played in the movement from 1941 to 1970. The class, which is part of the Vanderbilt Osher’s partnership with Fisk, will meet for six Fridays, starting Jan. 18, from 9:30 to 10:45 a.m. The location is West End United Methodist Church.
“Not Just Carrying a Spear: Acting for Opera Singers,” taught by Gayle Shay, associate professor of voice and director of Vanderbilt Opera Theatre. In this interactive, hands-on class, students will explore the acting and movement fundamentals in which contemporary opera singers are now trained. Vanderbilt Opera Theatre students will join the Osher participants for a performance during the final class. Students meet for six Fridays, starting Jan. 18, from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. at West End United Methodist Church.