Sign up for Osher Lifelong Learning at Vanderbilt fall term

Most classes will be held online due to COVID-19 concerns

The history of the blues, tips for writing a memoir, and issues surrounding race, gender and sports are among the classes offered by the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Vanderbilt for fall 2020.

Other Osher classes—open to all those who are 50 and older—include China’s 20th-century revolutions, the history and science of astronomy, and self-care during the pandemic.

studio headshot of Norma Clippard by Vanderbilt University
Norma Clippard (Vanderbilt University)

“We are proud to be celebrating 25 years of lifelong learning at Vanderbilt,” said Norma Clippard, the program director. “While our membership has grown exponentially through the years, we have strived to maintain a curriculum of intellectually stimulating classes and programs taught by Vanderbilt faculty and community experts in a supportive and friendly environment.”

The university’s lifelong learning program began as Retirement Learning at Vanderbilt in 1995 with about 100 members. The program, which now has more than 1,000 participants, was awarded a $1 million grant from The Bernard Osher Foundation in 2009 to establish an endowment. It was renamed the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Vanderbilt and received a second million-dollar gift from the foundation in 2016.

All fall 2020 courses will be online with the exception of three steel drum band classes, each of which is limited to 12 people and will require physical distancing.

Registration is open for the following:

  • Osher Steel Drum Band–Advanced, taught by Alli Puglisi, director, OLLI Advanced Steel Drum Band. This class, a level up from Osher Steel Drum Band–Intermediate, moves at a fast pace and focuses on learning different styles of music. Students meet for seven Sundays, beginning Oct. 4, from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. at the Blair School of Music.
  • Osher Steel Drum Band–Beginner, taught by Mat Britain, director, OLLI Beginner Steel Drum Band. No musical experience is required to join this hands-on class, which is scheduled for seven Sundays, beginning Oct. 4, 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 course 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 seven Sundays, beginning Oct. 4, from 2 to 3:15 p.m. at the Blair School.
  • Nutrition and Immunity, taught by Randy Pendergrass, a licensed sports nutritionist and certified strength and conditioning specialist. Students will learn about the role of nutrition in supporting the immune system and strategies for helping it function optimally. Students will meet for six Mondays, beginning Oct. 5, from 2 to 3:15 p.m.
  • An Exploration of Astronomy’s History, Science and Discoveries, taught by Billy Teets, outreach astronomer and acting director, Vanderbilt Dyer Observatory. A wide variety of topics will be covered, including how astronomers use technology to make discoveries and so-called oddball stars. The class has six Tuesday sessions, beginning Oct. 6, from 9:30 to 10:45 a.m.
  • The Italian Renaissance: What Was It? Why Then? Why There? taught 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 Tuesdays, starting Oct. 6, from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
  • How to Write a Memoir, taught 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 10 students, will meet for six Tuesdays, beginning Oct. 6, from 1:30 to 3 p.m.
  • Race, Gender and Sports, taught by Andrew Maraniss, bestselling author of a biography of Vanderbilt trailblazer Perry Wallace. The class is in partnership with the Sports and Society Initiative and Vanderbilt Athletics. Topics will include 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 Wednesdays, starting Oct. 7, from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
  • The Blues: History and Influence, taught by Robert Fry, senior lecturer in music history and literature, Blair School of Music. The lives and music of Muddy Waters, Bessie Smith, B.B. King and other prominent blues musicians will be covered within the context of the history, continuation and influence of the genre within the United States and abroad. The class will meet for six Wednesdays, starting Oct. 7, from 2 to 3:15 p.m.
  • China’s Revolutions: 1912-1976, taught by Edgar Porter, professor emeritus, Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University. The 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 Thursdays, starting Oct. 8, from 10 to 11:15 a.m.
  • 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 global trip 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 Thursdays, beginning Oct. 8, from 2 to 3:15 p.m.
  • Self-Care: What It Is, Why It Is Important, and How to Do It, taught by Kendall Hinote, master’s level social worker and founder of Mindfulness in Nashville Education. The course is an introduction to the what, why and how of self-care and why it can be especially beneficial during the turbulent stresses of the COVID-19 pandemic. There are six sessions, all on Fridays, starting Oct. 9, from 10 to 11:15 a.m.
  • Writing Seminar: The Writing Life, taught by Victor Judge, assistant dean for academic affairs and lecturer, Vanderbilt Divinity School. Participants will compose assignments in prose and share their work with their peers. It is designed for beginning writers with no previous publication experience. Enrollment is limited to 12 participants who have not previously taken the class. The sessions are scheduled on various Wednesdays starting Oct. 14 and concluding on April 28, 2021. The class meets from 8:30 to 10 a.m.

All classes are individually priced. Click OLLI at Vanderbilt to register.

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 615-322-6511.