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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

Start Date: June 25, 2018 | Short Course
Instructor: Laura Stack

An artistic trifecta, the term watercolor refers to the medium, the method, and the resulting work. This introductory course will familiarize participants with the properties of watercolor and basic watercolor techniques, including washes, wet-on-wet, wet-on-dry, and glazing. Participants also will experiment with color mixing on the palette and directly on the paper, as well as by color layering.

Start Date: July 10, 2018 | 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.

Start Date: July 10, 2018 | 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 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.

Start Date: July 11, 2018 | Seminar
Instructor: Sylvain Lesné

Alzheimer’s disease is anything but rare and its toll on our aging population is about to reach cataclysmic proportions. It’s estimated that if the course of the disease is not slowed or halted, the number of Americans affected will grow from 5 million (2017) to more than 16 million individuals by 2050. But according to Dr. Sylvain Lesné, things are not all doom and gloom! In this popular seminar, Lesné discusses recent developments in Alzheimer’s disease research, including where we may be headed in the near and more-distant future.

Start Date: July 16, 2018 | One-Day Immersion
Instructor: Jim Robinson

Want to nourish and sustain your mental health? Strengthen your mind-body connection?  This immersion explores the tenets of improvisation and how they can make you more flexible, effective, and empathetic. Improv can also help you deal with ambiguity, discover personal strengths, and move beyond perceived limitations. Reawaken your sense of play while cultivating an improvisational mindset!

Start Date: July 16, 2018 | Short Course
Instructor: Jason Kallsen

Weaving history, geography, culture, and wine appreciation, this course explores the wines of the regions that touch the Mediterranean Sea. We’ll begin by surveying the ancient history of wine, then move through Greek and Roman history, tasting a variety of wines popular during the times discussed. Spain, France, and Italy will be central to our study, as will the wines of Croatia, Greece, Lebanon, and Northern Africa.

Start Date: July 19, 2018 | Seminar
Instructor: ​Stew Thornley

Led by an official scorer for Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association, this seminar explores the official scorer’s role in baseball and traces how the position graduated from recorder to judge. You’ll discuss the decline in errors during the last 50 years (and reasons for it), as well as the use of replay video by scorers and the appeal system for scoring decisions. The instructor also will dig into the notion of home-team bias (does it exist?) and what is done by Major League Baseball to standardize how specific plays are ruled. Video simulations will allow you to try your hand at being the official scorer in the booth. Batter up!

Start Date: July 26, 2018 | Short Course
Instructor: Cante Suta-Francis Bettelyoun, Lois Hendrickson​,​ and Margaret (Macey) Flood

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 17, 2018 | Short Course
Instructor: Maureen Reed

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. 

Start Date: September 18, 2018 | Short Course
Instructor: Anatoly Liberman

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. 

Start Date: September 26, 2018 | Short Course
Instructor: John Watkins

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. 

Start Date: September 27, 2018 | Short Course
Instructor: Toni McNaron

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

Start Date: September 29, 2018 | Short Course
Instructor: Daniel Freeman

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.

​American Democracy in a Changing World

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.

The Unusual Suspects: Obscure Red Wines

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.

Genomes: Understanding Your Body's Ancestry 

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.


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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