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COVID-19 Update: The University of Minnesota will offer online, or alternative, instruction through the end of summer term 2020. Read CCAPS's operational updates or visit the Safe Campus website for the University's operational updates.


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  • All LearningLife courses that take place prior to August 31, 2020, have been canceled. In many cases, LearningLife’s canceled courses and seminars have been rescheduled for fall. In the coming weeks, we will make a decision as to whether fall courses will take place online or face-to-face in the classroom. As always, the best way to stay apprised of LearningLife offerings is to read LearningLife News, our bimonthly newsletter. (If you have registered for a course in the past two years, you are subscribed!)
  • For questions, please email learning@umn.edu

Inspired Learning for the Insatiable

LearningLife may best be described as inspired learning for the insatiable—the consummate seekers of the world. So why not cultivate your mind and approach learning on your own terms?! Intellectually challenging and personally enriching, LearningLife’s innovative portfolio of short courses, seminars, and one-day immersions features a range of topics and approaches to learning. Taught by University faculty, and scholars and professionals from the community, the program offers rich, meaningful experiences that highlight the minds, resources, and research of the University for those who seek knowledge, personal development, and academic and civic engagement.

LearningLife also is home to Encore Transitions, a series of courses designed to help you imagine and prepare for a vibrant, purpose-driven post-career life, and Headliners, a lively current event discussion series that highlights the recent work of University scholars and researchers.

Courses, Seminars, Immersions

Master Your Strengths and Boost Resilience

Start Date: June 17, 2020 | Free Webinar
Instructor: Karin Goettsch
The uncertainty of sudden major crises and smaller everyday challenges can test our resilience. Our transforming workplace will require us to pay more attention to our overall wellness and balance, as well as those of our teams. In addition to prioritizing self-care, you can draw on a set of your best inner qualities as positive drivers to help guide you in challenging situations and create a more fulfilling work experience.

Elizabeth Scheu Close: Minnesota’s First Modern Architect

Start Date: September 14, 2020 | Short Course
Instructor: Jane King Hession
Once described as a “diminutive woman in a hard hat,” Elizabeth “Lisl” Scheu Close was not only Minnesota’s first modern architect, she was a trailblazer throughout her 50-year career in the field. Offered in cooperation with the Goldstein Museum of Design, instructor Jane King Hession will place Close’s life and career within the historical context of other women in the field. The course includes a walking tour of University Grove, a neighborhood in Falcon Heights where 15 houses designed by Close stand. 

The War on Science: "Alternative Facts" and the Threat to Democracy

Start Date: September 15, 2020 | Seminar
Instructor: Shawn Otto
At the very time we need it most, science has come to commonly be denied by many policymakers in favor of "alternative facts" that better fit their ideology, and adherence to those alternative facts is strictly enforced. What’s more, it’s a worldwide problem. In this seminar, award-winning science writer Shawn Otto, will explore today’s four-part war on science. We’ll discuss where it is coming from, what people and social and economic factors are driving it, and what we can do to turn things around before it’s too late.

Toni Morrison Tribute: The Class

Start Date: September 17, 2020 | Short Course
Instructor: Toni McNaron
Taught by Professor Emerita Toni McNaron, this course celebrates the work of award-winning author Toni Morrison, including three novels that form a historical trilogy detailing the perpetual ills of slavery, and two nonfiction works that illuminate themes often investigated by the author.

The Art of Ancient Greece

Start Date: September 22, 2020 | Short Course
Instructor: Allan Kohl
This introduction to ancient Greek art begins with the Aegean cultures of the Minoans and Mycenaeans, then goes on to examine the development of Greek visual art through the Geometric, Archaic, Classical, and Hellenistic periods. Through images of archaeological sites including Delphi, Olympia, and the Athenian Acropolis, as well as notable examples of sculpture and figurative vase painting, art historian Allan Kohl will trace the relationship of Greek art with philosophy, religion, politics, war, and international trade.

A Golden Age of Cartography: Maps and Mapmakers Before 1800

Start Date: September 23, 2020 | Short Course
Instructor: Marguerite Ragnow
This course surveys the golden age of cartography, highlighting maps and mapmakers from the Middle Ages and ancient Rome to 18th-century America. Using rare and magnificent maps from the James Ford Bell Library’s collection, you’ll delve into the history, romance, and beauty of cartography and learn how ideas about the world have changed over time—not just on maps, but in the imagination as well. Offered in cooperation with the James Ford Bell Library. 

Beating About the Bush: English Idioms and Other Wild and Woolly, Tongue-in-Cheek Phrases

Start Date: September 24, 2020 | Seminar
Instructor: Anatoly Liberman
Our mastery of everything is limited, and just as no one has encountered all the words of one's native language, no one understands all its idioms. But ask anyone in a seminar on language history and they will tell you that the study of the derivation of idioms is wildly entertaining. Join Professor Anatoly Liberman for this special preview of his recently completed dictionary of English idioms in which the meanings of such collocations and, more importantly, their origins are explained. Trust us: you’ll be thrilled to bits!

From Marshall to Roberts: The Supreme Court and the Commerce Clause

Start Date: October 5, 2020 | Short Course
Instructor: Timothy R. Johnson
One of the most important powers held by the United States Congress is the power to regulate interstate commerce. But what is commerce and what is Congress allowed to regulate under Article I, Section 8 of the US Constitution? This course with Dr. Timothy Johnson, a nationally recognized expert on the US Supreme Court, traces the Court's jurisprudence in this area of law and places the major cases in political and economic contexts. 

Listening to the Past: Oral History 101

Start Date: October 13, 2020 | Short Course
Instructor: Kim Heikkila
Professional Oral History practitioners are skilled historians who engage in deep research, conduct informed interviews, and preserve interview materials for use by others. But you don’t have to be a pro to conduct a good interview. This course for aspiring professionals and lay people alike will introduce you to some of the formal aspects of oral history practice.

Napa Valley Deep Dive

Start Date: October 14, 2020 | Short Course
Instructor: Leslee Miller
There’s a good reason Napa Valley is recognized internationally as one of the world's most reputable areas for wine growing and tourism. Join Sommelier Leslee Miller as you sip and study exceptional wines produced from a collection of grape varietals that have been grown in the region for more than 150 years. You’ll also explore the history of some of the pioneering producers and more recent, innovative makers of the region.

Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin

Start Date: October 28, 2020 | Short Course
Instructor: Daniel Freeman
First performed in Moscow in 1879, Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin is the product of an astonishing emergence of great musical talents in Russia during a brief period following the 1850s. One feature of this movement included the use of story lines that differed from the more common German and Italian operatic traditions of Tchaikovsky’s day. In the case of Eugene Onegin, it was Alexander Pushkin’s novel in verse that served as the basis for the opera, which has gone on to become a well-known example of lyric opera.

On Gratitude: Cultivation and Practice

Start Date: November 2, 2020 | Online Short Course
Instructor: Amy Gunty
According to Dr. Robert A. Emmons, "Gratitude has one of the strongest links to mental health and satisfaction with life of any personality trait—more so than even optimism, hope, or compassion." This online course will take a multifaceted approach to the investigation of gratitude, covering philosophical underpinnings, scientific findings, and real-life practices that can help you to leverage the power of gratitude in your life and the lives of those around you. 

PTSD: History and Treatment

Start Date: November 9, 2020 | Seminar
Instructor: Alik Widge
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a condition that was widely known during ancient times but didn’t come into public consciousness until the 1980s. This seminar provides a brief overview of the history of the diagnosis and shares new approaches to treatment, including new therapies that are being researched and pioneered at the University of Minnesota.

International Health Concepts: Ayurveda, The Science of Life

Start Date: November 12, 2020 | Short Course
Instructors: Vanashree Belgamwar, Lisa Philander, Jessica Rosenberg
This unique course will survey the basic principles of Ayurveda, one of the world's oldest holistic systems of medicine. The session includes an examination of these principles and how they may be used in your daily life, a tour of the College of Biological Sciences’ new Conservatory and its biodiverse collection of plant species from around the world (including those most commonly used in Ayurvedic practice), and a demonstration of beginning yoga activities and exercises (including chair yoga) that enhance your health, in keeping with Ayurvedic practice.

Positive Psychology: The Science of Well-Being

Start Date: January 12, 2021 | Online Short Course
Instructor: Amy Gunty
Would you like to become more adept at activities that researchers believe increase life satisfaction, purpose, and meaning? Would you like to live your life more fully? This online course delves into the tenets of Positive Psychology, which focuses not on human deficits and problems but rather, human strengths, resilience, and well-being. Gather some optimistic steam and come learn about the research behind this bold approach to looking at the variances of the human condition.

Toni Morrison Tribute: The Class

Start Date: January 14, 2021 | Online Short Course
Instructor: Toni McNaron
Taught by Professor Emerita Toni McNaron, this online course celebrates the work of award-winning author Toni Morrison, including three novels that form a historical trilogy detailing the perpetual ills of slavery, and two nonfiction works that illuminate themes often investigated by the author.

Engaging New Possibilities: Unscripted Tools for Design Thinking

Start Date: February 11, 2021 | Short Course
Instructor: Tane Danger
Have an issue that’s screaming for attention? A professional plan that needs to be reshaped or rejuvenated? A personal goal that requires resuscitation or refinement? This unique course explores how Design Thinking, when coupled with the art of improvisation, can build collaboration, communication, and creativity skills across any number of disciplines.


There are four ways to register.

1. Online by selecting the course title

2. By phone if you're paying by credit card: 612-625-2900

3. By faxing the completed form to 612-624-5359

4. Via mail by sending the completed form to:

CCAPS Registration Center
353 Ruttan Hall, 1994 Buford Avenue
Saint Paul, MN 55108

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