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Historical insights into the Russia–Ukraine War, archaeological excavations to uncover the world of Jesus, American popular music and a guide to healthy living in today’s world. These are among the varied classes offered by the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Vanderbilt this fall.
Other topics include: memoir writing, world history as viewed through the “lens” of the Panama Canal, yoga for healthy aging, the U.S. citizenship exam as a tool for advanced civics, and steel drum band. OLLI at Vanderbilt is open to all those who are 50 and older.
“Fall is a great time for our lifelong learners to reconnect for stimulating lectures and lively but always respectful discussions in a supportive environment,” said Norma Clippard, director of OLLI at Vanderbilt. “In addition, our students say they value the camaraderie and lifelong friendships that have become a signature component of our program. We plan to continue the hybrid format from last summer, with some classes meeting in person and others online.”
Registration for the classes is open through Sept. 23. Click OLLI at Vanderbilt to register.
The fall term comprises the following courses:
- OLLI Steel Drum Band – Beginner, taught by Mat Britain, adjunct instructor in music. This musical journey to the Caribbean is a hands-on experience in which participants learn how to play the steel drums. Previous musical experience is helpful but not required. Students will meet for seven Sundays, beginning Oct. 2 from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., at the Blair School of Music.
- OLLI Steel Drum Band – Intermediate, taught by Mat Britain. For students who have grasped the basics, this course helps to refine techniques on the steel pans. Students will work on slightly more difficult music and dive deeper into the culture of Trinidad and the steel band art form. Completion of the beginner course is a prerequisite unless the instructor grants permission through invitation or a short audition. Students will meet for seven Sundays, beginning Oct. 2 from 2:30 to 3:45 p.m., at the Blair School.
- OLLI Steel Drum Band – Advanced, taught by Mat Britain. This group, which often performs in the Vanderbilt Steel Bands Concert, approaches music that is more difficult with advanced playing techniques. Completion of the beginner and intermediate classes is a prerequisite unless the instructor grants permission through invitation or a short audition. Students will meet for seven Sundays, beginning Oct. 2 from 1 to 2:15 p.m., at the Blair School.
- Meditation and Devotion: Inhabiting the Divine, taught by Gordon Peerman, Episcopal priest, psychotherapist and mindfulness meditation teacher. Open to beginning and experienced meditators, the class will explore the intersection of meditation and devotion, sampling Jewish, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu and Sufi ways to practice. Students will meet for seven Mondays, beginning Oct. 3 from 10 to 11:15 a.m., online via Zoom.
- American Popular Music, taught by Brittany Chase, BA’11, adjunct assistant professor of musicology and ethnomusicology. She will discuss the nature of popular music, how it is created, how it functions within human society and how it is a direct expression of the cultural context in which it is produced. Students will meet for six Mondays, beginning Oct. 3 from 2 to 3:15 p.m., online via Zoom.
- Defensive Living, A Guide to Healthy Living in the 21st Century, taught by Randy Pendergrass, licensed sports nutritionist, certified strength and conditioning specialist, and licensed massage therapist. The class will focus on what good nutrition should look like and how to incorporate basic exercises, stretching and mobilization techniques to improve one’s overall health. Students will meet for six Tuesdays, beginning Oct. 4 from 10 to 11 a.m., online via Zoom.
- Histories in Conflict: The Russia–Ukraine War in Historical Perspective, taught by Frank Wcislo, professor of history and Russian studies, emeritus. He will lead an examination of two histories of the region, one Russian and one Ukrainian, which provide each combatant side the intellectual arguments to justify the rightness of their cause. These histories reach deeply into the medieval past and sweep across centuries of imperial power, war, Orthodox Christian culture, nationalism, communism and Cold War. Students will meet for six Tuesdays, beginning Oct. 4 from 2 to 3:15 p.m., online via Zoom.
- Yoga for Healthy Aging, taught by Donna Ortner, yoga and meditation teacher. She will lead the class in a series of gentle and steady yoga practices that weave together breath, movement and meditation to cultivate a mindful presence and essential health in mind and body. Students will meet for six Wednesdays, beginning Oct. 5 from 10 to 11:15 a.m., online via Zoom.
- From Galilee to Jerusalem: Archaeology at Work Uncovering the World of Jesus of Nazareth, taught by Tom McCollough, Nelson D. and Mary McDowell Rodes Professor of Religion, Emeritus, Centre College. This course will use archaeological finds to engage such topics as the complexity of the Jewish world into which Jesus entered and where Jesus might fit into this landscape. Topics include what sort of city Jerusalem had become under Roman occupation and how archaeology has provided insights into Jesus’ death and burial. Students will meet for six Wednesdays, beginning Oct. 5 from 2 to 3:15 p.m., online via Zoom.
- The Panama Canal: Crossroads of the World, taught by Frank Robinson, assistant professor of history. This course will focus on the Panama Canal, providing a context and a lens through which to examine the history of Spanish America and Central America, United States–Latin American relations, maritime commerce, the engineering marvels of the canal’s excavation and lock design/operation and much more. Students will meet for six Thursdays, beginning Oct. 6 from 9:30 to 10:45 a.m., at the Commons Center.
- The U.S. Citizenship Exam as a Window into the Study of Advanced Civics, taught by Tony Saunders, professor of business law and business ethics, Belmont University. While Saunders acknowledges that many in the class will come with an impressive understanding of American civics, his goal is to deepen that understanding and foster a discussion that examines who we are as a people. Students will meet for six Thursdays, beginning Oct. 6 from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., at the Commons Center.
- How to Write a Memoir, taught by Carole Moore-Slater, educator and community speaker. This is an eight-week workshop designed to motivate and inspire writers with guidelines and organizational tips on how to begin writing a personal or family story. All classes will be interactive with ideas shared, personal manuscripts read and group feedback provided. Students will meet for eight Thursdays, beginning Oct. 6 from 2 to 3:30 p.m., online via Zoom.
All class meetings will be on Central Time. Vanderbilt requests that those attending in person be vaccinated against COVID.
The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute is housed within the Division of Government and Community Relations. For more information, contact Norma Clippard at 615-322-5569.