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 feature 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 intellectual resources of the University for those who seek knowledge, academic engagement, and personal development.
LearningLife also is home to Encore Transitions, a series of courses designed to help you imagine and prepare for a vibrant post-career life, and Headliners, a lively current event discussion series that highlights the recent work of University scholars and researchers.
Courses, Seminars, Immersions
From simple teas to the multibillion-dollar supplement industry, herbal medicine is a major part of many peoples’ daily health and healing. Yet most assume that herbal medicine is an exotic import or an ancient holdover. Through guided presentations and workshops, this course will trace the origins of Western herbalism practice and include unique hands-on experiences at the University’s Wangensteen Historical Library of Biology and Medicine and Native American Medicine Gardens.
Start Date: September 15, 2018 | Immersion
Instructor: Sharon “Birdchick” Stiteler
According to Sharon Stiteler, aka “The Birdchick,” the process of bird migration is decidedly long, and “in theory, somewhere in the world, some bird is migrating every single day of the year.” Led by Stiteler, this nature-filled immersion will have you watching birds as their migration turns mad. The day includes time spent at and near the Carpenter Nature Center in Hastings, as well as along the confluence of the Mississippi and St. Croix Rivers.
There is no shortage of evidence of scientific leadership being used for the global good. Agronomists, chemists, biologists, and physicians have all brought their scientific acumen out of the lab or clinic and into the roiling cauldron of international politics and policy. This course takes an in-depth look at four laureates (two individuals and two organizations): Minnesota’s Dr. Norman Borlaug, Kenya’s Dr. Wangari Maathi, the Organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, and Doctors Without Borders.
More "primitive" than the famous Greek myths, the myths of medieval Scandinavia breathe the spirit of fatalism. The gods fight giants, monsters, and one another; they make love, seduce gullible women, and move toward the final battle in which everything and everybody will perish. This course relishes in the preserved tales of Odin, Thor, Frey, Balder, Loki, Freya, Frig, and others.
The Mediterranean provides a perfect site for reflection on the origins and limits of the modern nation state; on the demographic, economic, military, and cultural exchanges between societies and states that anticipate and ultimately compose the modern international state system; and on the benefits and challenges of living in close proximity with people of marked linguistic, ethnic, and religious differences. This course examines the literature of Mediterranean authors who have responded to these challenges with reference to four points of cultural encounter: Ancient Greece and Rome, the Ottoman Empire and the West, the Balkans, and Israel and its Arab neighbors.
For generations, writing that is political in nature has often contained more heat than light, and some critics have gone so far as to insist that "political art" can never be excellent as art—that it remains, by definition, polemic. In this course, we’ll read three books—all strong and moving examples of fine writing—that offer unblinking commentaries on the issues of race and gender during their respective times: James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time, Virginia Woolf’s Three Guineas, and Robin Coste Lewis’s The Voyage of the Sable Venus.
First performed at the Grand Théâtre du Casino in Monte Carlo in 1917, Giacomo Puccini’s opera La Rondine (The Swallow) has long been a neglected work and, despite the artistic value of the score, one of the composer’s less successful works. That is, until revivals started to blossom in the 21st century. Join musicologist Daniel Freeman for this one-session course that explores why modern audiences have come to recognize the opera as a worthy companion to Puccini’s better-known masterpieces. Offered in cooperation with the Minnesota Opera.
Start Date: October 9, 2018 | Short Course
Instructor: Timothy Johnson
In this course, Morse Alumni Distinguished Teaching Professor of Political Science and Law Timothy Johnson will (re)introduce you to the institutions, policies, and processes that comprise the American political system, all with an eye toward how our system of governance has continued to evolve over time.
Start Date: October 11, 2018 | Seminar
Instructor: James Kakalios
What was the real science behind Krypton’s explosion? Why does the Flash become heavier as he tries to run at the speed of light? This Whiz! Bang! Pow! seminar will answer those questions and more, all with the goal of illustrating fundamental physics principles in a fun and accessible manner. Replete with a cast of heroes and villains, you’ll learn the answers to such important real-life questions as how graphene saved Iron Man’s life, what the chemical composition of Captain America’s shield is, and whether Superman or the Flash is faster.
Start Date: October 16, 2018 | Short Course
Instructor: Leslee Miller
“Anything but the usual suspects” is how Sommelier Leslee Miller describes this course exploring the lesser-known segments of the red wine world. From red- to black-skinned and light- to full-bodied grapes, you’ll learn about a range of obscure varietals, including Aglianico, Blaufränkisch, and Plavac Mali, and the history, geography, and cultures from which they are produced.
Start Date: November 5, 2018 | Short Course
Instructor: Gretchen Wagener Burau
From the brothels of Pompeii to the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, the history of fresco painting is replete with stories of tragedies and triumphs. The oldest known painting medium, fresco means fresh in Italian and refers to the process by which water-based pigments are applied to freshly applied plaster. This hands-on course introduces participants to the history, materials, techniques, and processes of fresco painting and restoration.
Start Date: November 7, 2018 | Short Course
Instructor: George Sheets
Julius Streicher was among the “major war criminals” brought to trial before the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg. Unlike most of his co-defendants, Streicher never held an official position in the German military or government during the Nazi era, though he was an ardent member of the Nazi Party. This course examines Streicher’s trial and is the third in a series of popular courses on “Famous Trials” taught by Professor Emeritus George Sheets.
Start Date: November 26, 2018 | Short Course
Instructor: David Matthes
It’s complicated, but grasshoppers and elephants are built from the same arrangement of just four chemical bases. How? A little (and huge) thing called genomes. In this course participants will not only learn about ancestry and genomes, they also will learn to interpret their own human genome sequence. Take the plunge and discover the amazing world residing within nearly every cell of your body.
Start Date: November 28, 2018 | Short Course
Instructor: Dave Page
The ties between Fitzgerald’s life in St. Paul and much of his short fiction are evident—the author’s deep connection to the city giving him some of his best material. This course delves into those stories, some virtually unknown, others literary classics. Taught by Fitzgerald scholar Dave Page, each class session will begin with an illustrated lecture, followed by a discussion of related works.
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