LearningLife

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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: | 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: | Short Course
Instructor: Julia Gamache

As the population ages physically, our brains undergo a natural process of aging. What changes can we expect to occur as our brains age and what steps can we take to prevent normal aging from transitioning into disease states, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s? This course begins with an overview of the fundamental topics in neurobiology before moving on to discuss how to improve cognitive function. Key to the course is learning how to assess neuroscience data critically, and how to improve quality of life and maintain our brain as this vital organ ages.

Start Date: | Short Course
Instructor: Daniel Freeman

Famed for its ingenuity in preserving the bel canto tradition inherited from his predecessors, Giuseppe Verdi’s Rigoletto was part of a group of three operatic works written at the pinnacle of the composer’s early creative output. Set in the dissipated court of a fictitious 16th-century duke of Mantua, the story of Rigoletto explores a number of themes that were unusual for the serious operas of Verdi’s day, including the suffering of a physically deformed character and the love of a father for a daughter.

Start Date: | Short Course
Instructor: Toni McNaron

This course delves into three germinal works that explore the racial conundrum of our United States: Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me, and Claudia Rankine's Citizen: An American Lyric. Bold, innovative, canonical—these are books by authors who refuse easy answers and trendy solutions. Rather, they shine the light of their respective talents on the essential questions as to why skin color exerts such a huge, destructive shadow on American culture.

Start Date: | Seminar
Instructor: Maria Gini

Popular culture has long surmised the hypothetical scenarios in which artificial intelligence becomes the dominant form of intelligence on earth only to wrestle control of the planet away from the human race. But how likely is this scenario? This seminar explores current state of intelligent systems and digs deep into its future developments and challenges.

Start Date: | Short Course
Instructor: Leslee Miller

Think that the world of wine isn't changing due to changes in our global climate? With temperatures increasing worldwide and regions being exposed to water deficits more frequently, climate change is affecting viticulture everywhere, having both positive and negative effects on various regions. Join Sommelier Leslee Miller to taste a variety of vintages and learn how the industry is addressing this pressing and ongoing challenge.​

Start Date: | 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: | Seminar
Instructor: Trygve Throntveit

For decades, Woodrow Wilson has been remembered as either a paternalistic liberal or reactionary conservative at home, and as a naïve idealist or cynical imperialist abroad. This seminar turns to the historical record to recover Wilson's actual ideas and their implementation as a means to challenge long-held conclusions. We will explore the possibility that Wilson was not a “Wilsonian,” as that term has come to be understood, but rather, one who sought to enable the gradual development of a genuinely global system of governance that would maintain justice and facilitate peaceful change.

Start Date: | Short Course
Instructor: John Erwin

No doubt about it: Minnesotans are experiencing warmer seasons and increasing fluctuations in wet/dry weather events. This affects how we garden. What plants will flourish as our climate continues to change? Luckily for us, the University of Minnesota is a leader in identifying and developing new high-temperature-tolerant plants and methods for growing vegetables and herbs indoors, making this intensive the best three hours you can spend to ensure your garden’s success.

Start Date: | Short Course
Instructor: Julia Gamache

As the population ages physically, our brains undergo a natural process of aging. What changes can we expect to occur as our brains age and what steps can we take to prevent normal aging from transitioning into disease states, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s? This course begins with an overview of the fundamental topics in neurobiology before moving on to discuss how to improve cognitive function. Key to the course is learning how to assess neuroscience data critically, and how to improve quality of life and maintain our brain as this vital organ ages.

Start Date: | 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: | 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: | One-Day Immersion
Instructor: Sharon “Birdchick” Stiteler​

How do avid birders find so many birds? Half the battle is being able to identify birdsongs—not only what type of bird is singing, but what specific calls mean. Led by Sharon “Birdchick” Stiteler, this lively immersion will have you out during the height of breeding season where you’ll enjoy the search for colorful species like Indigo Buntings, Yellow Warblers, and Green Herons. You’ll also listen for Soras and Marsh Wrens, and learn the predator alarm calls of Red-winged Blackbirds and Robins.

Start Date: | Short Course
Instructor: Laura Stack

No experience necessary! Heighten your visual awareness through observational drawing in this immersive mini-camp. You’ll learn different ways of representing objects/people through quick gesture sketches and long-study drawings as well as concepts important to the novice drawer, including mark-making, line quality, media experimentation, and observation of shape, angle, and proportion.

Start Date: | 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: | 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: | 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: | 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: | 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: | 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: | 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 Wangari Maathi, the Organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, and Doctors Without Borders. 

Start Date: | 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. 

Registration

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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