CANCELED: Sign up now for Vanderbilt Osher spring 2020 classes

All university-sponsored, non-Athletics events and gatherings are suspended through April 30 due to COVID-19.

Playing in a steel drum band is among the Osher Lifelong Learning Instittue classes (photo by Anne Rayner/Vanderbilt University)
Three levels of steel drum band are offered this spring by the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Vanderbilt. (Anne Rayner/Vanderbilt)

Political bipartisanship, impact of ‘70s television on culture, China’s uprisings, and issues surrounding race, gender and sports are among the spring 2020 classes offered by the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Vanderbilt.

Other Osher classes—open to all those who are 50 and older—include Emily Dickinson’s literary-theological writings, the Underground Railroad’s history, mindfulness and meditation, steel drum band and a harmonica learning lab.

“We are pleased to offer an academically rigorous curriculum with noted Vanderbilt faculty and community experts leading the classes,” said Norma Clippard, the program director. “In addition, the social aspect for our members, who often make lasting friendships with other lifelong learners who share similar interests, is very important.”

Registration is open for the following classes:

“Osher Steel Drum Band — Advanced,” led by Alli Puglisi, director, OLLI Advanced Steel Drum Band.  This class, a level up from Osher Steel Band — Intermediate, moves at a fast pace and focuses on learning different styles of music. Students meet for six Sundays, beginning March 22, from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. at the Blair School of Music.

“Osher Steel Drum Band — Beginner,” led by Mat Britain, director, OLLI Beginner Steel Drum Band. No musical experience is needed to join this hands-on class, which is scheduled for six Sundays, beginning March 22, from 12:30 to 1:45 p.m. at the Blair School.

“Osher Steel Drum Band – Intermediate,” co-taught by Mat Britain and Alli Puglisi; This new addition to the curriculum is designed for OLLI Beginning Steel Drum Band members who have developed the fundamental skills and are ready for the challenge of slightly more difficult music. Students will meet for six Sundays, beginning March 22, from 2 to 3:15 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 March 23, from 9:30 to 11 a.m. at the John Seigenthaler Center.

“A History of the Underground Railroad,” taught by Richard Blackett, professor of history, emeritus, and a historian of the abolitionist movement. The class will focus on the 1850s as the United States inched its way to war and those striving to escape slavery permanently by escaping to a free state or nation where slavery did not exist. There are six class sessions on Tuesdays, starting March 24, from 9:30 to 10:45 a.m. at The Temple.

“China’s Revolutions: 1912-1976,” taught by Edgar Porter, professor emeritus, Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University; This course begins with the Sun Yatsen-led Nationalist Revolution of 1912 and includes the founding of the Chinese Communist Party in 1921 and subsequent historic related events. The class will meet for six Tuesdays, starting March 24, from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. at The Temple.

“Great Decisions, Foreign Policy Discussion,” led by Keith Simmons, retired attorney, and Patrick Raines, dean and professor of economics, emeritus, at Belmont University; The eight topics for this session are: climate change, India and Pakistan, the Red Sea region, human trafficking, Northern Triangle, China in Latin America, the Philippines, and AI and data. Students will gather for six Tuesdays, starting March 24, from 1:30 to 3 p.m. at Vanderbilt Divinity School.

“Crossing the Aisle: How Bipartisanship Brought Tennessee to the 21st-Century and Could Save America,” taught by Keel Hunt, author and founder and chairman of The Strategy Group; He will discuss Tennessee’s colorful political history of the past century, including key personalities who have shaped it, including several governors and lawmakers. Students, who will be encouraged to share their own recollections of political candidates and elections, will meet for six Wednesdays, starting March 25, from 9:30 to 10:45 a.m. at The Commons Center.

“All in the Decade: 70 Things About ‘70s TV that Turned 10 Years into a Revolution,” led by Jim McKairnes, a writer, teacher and television historian; The course is heavy with video clips, memories and shared history. Students will meet for six sessions on Wednesdays, starting March 25, from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. at The Commons Center.

“Music for Seniors Beginning Harmonica Learning Lab,” led by Bronson Herrmuth, a teaching artist; This series is for beginners with no prior experience required. Students will learn and practice effective techniques for holding and playing the harmonica. The class meets for six Wednesdays at the Scarritt Bennett Center, starting March 25, from 2 to 3:15 p.m.

“OLLI at the Frist Art Museum,” a private tour of the J.M.W. Turner: Quest for the Sublime exhibition with Mark Scala, the museum’s chief curator; Turner was a leading figure in the Romantic Movement of the late 18th through mid-19th centuries. This special event is one session only on Wednesday, April 8, at 11 a.m.

“The House of Possibility: the Literary-Theological Imagination of Emily Dickinson,” taught by Victor Judge, assistant dean for academic affairs and lecturer, Vanderbilt Divinity School; Students will explore some of her nearly 1,800 poems in which she reveals a literary-theological imagination that exceeds the conventions of 19th-century poetics and religious thought. The class will meet at The Commons Center for six Thursdays, starting March 26, from 9:30 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.

“Race, Gender and Sports,” led by Andrew Maraniss, visiting author, Vanderbilt Athletics; Speakers including former professional athletes and college coaches will discuss issues such as the misunderstood legacy of Adolph Rupp, human rights abuses associated with the Olympics, the history of the Gay Games and more. The class will meet for six Thursdays, starting March 26, from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. at The Commons Center.

“How to Write a Memoir,” led by Carole Webb Moore-Slater, educator and community speaker; Students will learn tools and organizational tips on how to begin writing a personal or family story to save, distribute or publish. The class, limited to 12 students, will meet for six Thursdays, beginning March 26, from 1:30 to 3 p.m. The location is the OLLI Office.

“Around the World in Six Weeks: Cultural Awareness through Literature,” taught by LaTanya Rogers, associate professor of literature and drama, Fisk University; She will lead students on a trip around the world by reading literature from a different country/territory each week. Selections include Judith Ortiz Cofer’s The Myth of the Latin Woman and Robert Fernea’s A Look Behind the Veil. The class meets for six Fridays beginning March 27, from 9:30 to 10:45 a.m. at Fort Negley Visitors Center.

“The Italian Renaissance: What Was It? Why Then? Why There?” led by Marcia Levine, retired teacher at University School of Nashville; The material will describe, define and delineate the era, demonstrating that the concept of the Renaissance is a valid one. The class will meet for six Fridays, starting March 27, from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. at Fort Negley Visitors Center.

All classes and field trips are individually priced. Click OLLI at Vanderbilt to sign up.

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute is housed within the Division of Government and Community Relations. For more information, email the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute or call 615-343-0700.