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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

The Literature of Retirement

Start Date: February 8, 2020 | Short Course
Instructor: John Watkins
The retirement to which modern Americans, Britons, and Western Europeans now aspire is a product of the social, political, and medical changes of the 20th century, and with those changes, a small but fascinating new genre has appeared on the literary horizon: the novel of retirement. This course will examine some of the best novels about retired people, including Barbara Pym’s Quartet in Autumn, Iris Murdoch’s The Sea, the Sea, and William Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of King Lear.

Shakespeare’s Fair Youth and the Dark Lady: An Admirer's View

Start Date: February 13, 2020 | Special Event
Instructor: Anatoly Liberman
The 154 sonnets penned by William Shakespeare are among the greatest poems ever written in the English language. Love, jealousy, despair, humility, and pride—the same passions dominate the sonnets that are familiar to us from the author’s plays. According to Shakespeare admirer Professor Anatoly Liberman, “Rather than focus on courtly or unobtainable love in a conventional way, Shakespeare paved the way for modern romantic poetry by conveying love as complex, earthy, and often controversial.” Join Liberman for this pre-Valentine afternoon of decadent sweets, libations, and poetry.

Toni Morrison Tribute: The Class

Start Date: April 2, 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.

Elizabeth Scheu Close: Minnesota’s First Modern Architect

Start Date: April 7, 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 and their exhibition of Close’s work, curator Jane King Hession will place Close’s career as an architect within the historical context of other women in the field. The course includes a visit to the exhibition as well as a walking tour of University Grove, where you’ll view 15 houses designed by Close.

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

Start Date: April 15, 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!

Don Giovanni

Start Date: April 22 2020 | Short Course
Instructor: Daniel Freeman
First performed in Prague in 1787, Mozart’s Don Giovanni is considered by many modern critics to be the composer’s greatest operatic masterpiece. Based on literary treatments associated with the notorious libertine of fiction, Don Juan of Seville, and with a libretto written by Lorenzo da Ponte, the opera is often regarded as a weighty antidote to Mozart’s well-known comic operas. Offered in conjunction with the Minnesota Opera production.

Design Thinking

Start Date: June 24, 2020 | Short Course
Instructor: Virajita Singh
The emerging field of “Design Thinking” takes design concepts from professional realms such as architecture, film, fashion, and design, and applies them to broader society. The process, which focuses on deep listening, holistic thinking, creativity, collaboration, experimentation, and “user” experience and engagement, is used in a variety of fields as well as by individuals working toward expansive or specific goals. In this course, you’ll use the systematic steps of Design Thinking to advance your creative vision.

A Golden Age of Cartography: Maps and Mapmakers Before 1800 

Start Date: July 16, 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.


There are four ways to register.

1. Online by selecting the course title

2. By phone if you're paying by credit card: 612-624-4000 

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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