Spring 2008

Tuesday, Feb. 12, 4:30-6:30 pm
$5 (both first-time and prospective members are free)
Location: Three Fountains Clubhouse, 3280 S. Oneida Way (NOT at the church!)

Kick-off the spring term with a party. Sip, nibble, and chat. Schmooze with facilitators and fellow Academics, and pick up any hand-outs you’ll need to get ready for your first classes. (Can’t make it? We’ll mail anything you miss.) Bring along friends and neighbors to join the fun and find out what the Academy is all about.  There may still be openings in a class that strikes their fancy.  A note of caution: long before last term’s open house, five classes filled.  Members waiting to enroll that evening were disappointed.


Part 2
The Courts
Thursdays, 10 am – 12 noon
8 weeks, Feb. 21 – Apr. 10 (with a 9th week if there is interest)
$65, includes a source book of 163 pages
Lectures, discussion
No prerequisite

This is the second half of a two-part course that examines the conflict between evolution and intelligent design, but even if you missed the first part and have no science background, you’ll have no problem with the ideas covered in this course. We’ll be focusing on key state and federal court cases that have dealt with the teaching of evolution, creationism, and intelligent design in our public schools.  We’ll trace the history of the successive arguments developed by religious fundamentalists to block the teaching of evolution in the United States and examine the standards used by the courts to decide whether a given law violates the Constitutional prohibition against endorsing a religion.

Recommended reading:  Teaching about Evolution and the Nature of Science (1998).  You can download it free at http://www.nationalacademies.org/evolution/.

Instructor:  Lawyer, paleobotanist, and retired Southern Illinois University professor Larry Matten has a passionate interest in defending the modern theory of evolution against the claims of intelligent design.

Are We Hardwired?
Thursdays, 1:30 – 3:30 pm
9 weeks, Feb. 28 – Apr. 24
$70, includes additional Part 2 handouts
$20, Notebook for new participants with reference materials and timely articles from Part 1
Illustrated lectures with Q&A and discussion
No prerequisite

If you ever wanted to know what really makes you tick, this is the course for you. With a hundred billion nerve cells, two million miles of axons, and a million billion synapses, the human brain is the most complex natural or artificial structure on earth. Although we inherit some factors that shape our brain, our environment and our actions play important roles in its functioning. Beginning with a brief review of last term’s topics, we’ll continue taking a wide-ranging look at the anatomy and physiology of the nervous system, the hormones used by the brain, ideas on evolution and behavioral genetics, and ethology (animal behavior) to try to reach an understanding of the very complex factors that influence the way we live our lives.

Required reading:  Michael S. Gazzaniga, The Ethical Brain (Dana Press, 2005).

Another good book: Steven Pinker, The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature (Penguin, 2003), paperback.

Instructor:  Bennie Bub is a South African neurosurgeon board certified in three different specialties on three continents. After immigrating to the US in 1976, Bub practiced in Denver as an anesthesiologist for more than twenty years before founding a successful database company, from which he has retired to indulge his love of music, travel, and reading.

Thursdays, 10 am – 12 noon
4 weeks, Mar. 27 – Apr. 17
$25 (nonmembers $35)

Join us to talk about how our aging bodies respond to sexual desires. Classes will focus on such topics as physical attraction, touch needs, illnesses and disabilities, verbal and nonverbal communication, and changing expectations. Class input is valued and important as a means for examining these issues. This class is all about defining and communicating your personal values about sexuality, not therapy or a course in how-to. Class size limited to 12.

Facilitators:  Caroline Bliss-Kandel, RN, BSN, and Joseph Kandel, Ed.D., have facilitated classes for older adults for many years and have learned the skill of open and comfortable communication.


The Electoral College
How Presidents Are Made
Tuesdays 10 am – 12 noon
8 weeks, Feb. 26 – Apr. 15
$65, includes numerous handouts
Lectures, discussion

Nothing in our political system is more generally misunderstood or under fire than the way we elect our presidents. In this course we’ll look at the history of the United States through the lens of the Electoral College and examine the way our political parties came into being and have evolved. We’ll see what part our founding fathers’ opinions of political parties played in the creation of the Electoral College, how the college was first used, and how it was affected by the passage of the Twelfth Amendment. We’ll take a close look at several notable elections, including the disputed 2000 election, and see what roles the Electoral College, political parties, and the popular vote play in determining the President of the United States. You’ll have a chance to ponder the “what ifs” of American political history and may perhaps end by agreeing with Thomas Jefferson, who said, “If I must go to heaven with a political party, I would prefer not to go.”

Recommended reading: Jay Winik, April 1865: The Month That Saved America (Perennial, 2001).

Instructor: Dick Young is a political activist and history buff who is earning a Masters in history forty years after taking his law degree at the University of Michigan. Young has taught this course at various Elderhostels and the continuing education programs of several universities.

Wednesdays, 1:30 – 3:30 pm
4 weeks, Feb. 20 – Mar. 12
$40, no book to buy, numerous timely handouts
Lectures, discussion

Immigration has become a hot-button issue of the 2008 presidential election campaign. Hillary Clinton was pilloried for her defense of Gov. Elliot Spitzer’s plan to require illegal immigrants to have drivers’ licenses. Tom Tancredo says he won’t run for congress again now that he has successfully taken his “send ‘em all home” message to the nation as a presidential candidate.  Are today’s immigrants different from those of the past, as some claim? Is America ready to turn its back on its 250-year history as a nation of immigrants? Can we afford to absorb all the new arrivals, authorized and unauthorized?  Can we afford to turn them away?  We’ll review the history of American immigration and immigration laws past and present.  We’ll also compare relative rates of assimilation and changing attitudes toward immigrants. Finally, we’ll look at the economic impact of immigration and weigh its costs and benefits.

Recommended reading:  Most books on this subject are out of date.  Instead of a book, numerous readings and a list of recommended websites will be distributed at the first meeting.

Facilitator:  For those who missed it the last time around, economist Jim Kneser repeats this lively and highly popular investigation into one of today’s hottest topics.

Tuesdays, 10-12 am NEW
Tuesdays, 1:30 – 3:30 pm  FILLED
8 weeks, Feb. 26 – Apr. 15
$65, includes photocopies of lecture notes
Lectures, discussion

How much do you really know about the Islamic faith and the Muslim people?  Here’s your chance to explore the history of Islam from its seventh-century beginnings to the rise of Islamic fundamentalism in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.  We’ll study the life of Muhammad and discuss the Holy Qur’an, both of which are widely misunderstood in the Western world.  We’ll explore the similarities and differences among the three great monotheistic religions—Islam, Christianity, and Judaism—and examine the implications and consequences of the long political history between Islam and the West. At least one Muslim guest will provide some insight into the struggle faced by the American Muslim community in the wake of 9/11.

Required reading: Karen Armstrong, Islam (Random House, 2000).

Also recommended: John Esposito, What Everyone Needs to Know about Islam (Oxford Univ. Press, 2002).

Facilitator:  Teaching is a passion for retired “technocrat” Walt Meyer, who has presented a series of classes on Islam for members of his Lutheran church on two occasions.

Wednesdays, 1:30 – 3:30 pm
4 weeks, Mar. 19 – Apr. 9
$35, includes photocopied handouts
Lectures, video, Q&A

For many, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a central issue in the political debate about achieving peace in the Middle East. Now is your chance to delve into this complex problem with an expert who has chaired a Middle East study group in Denver for the past sixteen years and who is now a research fellow at the Institute for the Study of Israel in the Middle East, Graduate School of International Studies, University of Denver.  You are sure to come away from these lectures with a clearer idea of the meaning of Zionism, the Middle East refugee problem, and the reasons for the close relationship between the United States and Israel, as well as a better understanding of the issues involved in the media’s treatment of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Recommended reading: David Fromkin, A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Emire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East (Owl Books, 2001), paperback; first published in hardback in 1989 as A Peace to End All Peace: Creating the Modern Middle East, 1914-1922.

Facilitator:  A native of South Africa, Herzl Melmed grew up in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) and lived in Israel from 1965 to 1976, during both the Six-Day and the Yom Kippur Wars.  Since immigrating to Colorado in 1976, he has been active in the local community and currently chairs ActionIsrael, a grassroots group of Christian and Jewish supporters of Israel.

The Blues
A Story of Migration & Transformation
Tuesdays, 1:30 – 3:30 pm
8 weeks, February 19 – April 8
$70, includes three-ring notebook and lots of photocopies
Music, video, mini-lectures, discussion

The blues, heart and soul of American popular music, was born on the Mississippi Delta in the early twentieth century and through successive decades shaped genres as diverse as jazz, country and western, rock and roll, soul, and hard rock. Set against the backdrop of turbulent social change, this course explores the wonderfully complex narrative of the influence of the blues as sung by the great women blues legends—from Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, and Billie Holliday to Aretha Franklin and Janis Joplin. We’ll examine the relationship between the transformative influence of the blues and the parallel physical and social migration of Blacks out of the oppressive rural South. As we explore how a people and their history came to be manifest in a completely new and unique genre of music, we’ll try to assess the effect of both the music and the history on today’s mainstream culture.

Instructor: After retiring from a career in commercial real estate law, Connie Hyde has returned to her roots as a student of literature, music, and art at Duke University.  She is fascinated by the people and ideas that have shaped our world and the way that literature, music, and art interact with history and politics.

How to Think Like an Economist & Why You Should
Wednesdays, 10 am – 12 noon
8 weeks, Mar. 5 – April 23
$75, includes a book’s worth of current articles + lecture notes
Lectures, Q&A, discussion

Each day the media assaults us with news of trade deficits, inverted yield curves, liquidity crises, fiscal policy concerns, a weakening dollar, and other issues about which we know we should be concerned but are unsure why. Economics sounds intimidating, but it really isn’t. Gregory Mankiw, who teaches economics at Harvard, describes it as the study of “how people choose to lead their lives and how they interact with one another.” This course focuses on the essential principles of economics—the basics of what you really need to know—with a minimum of charts and graphs and a maximum of examples from today’s headlines. Find out why economics is now the most popular major at Ivy League universities. Gain economic literacy, not a migraine, from this lively class that’s accessible to all.

Instructor: After a career in private equity, Jim Kneser, one of the Academy’s founders, has turned his attention to educating adults about the important role of economic principles in everyday life and public policy debates.

New Discoveries in Memory & Learning
Wednesdays, 10 am – 12 noon
4 weeks, Feb. 20 – Mar. 12
$35, includes lecture printouts
PowerPoint lectures, discussion

What’s in a brain? No one really knew until 1991, when scientists began to study healthy human brains. This course will focus on the most recent discoveries about brain biology, how memory works, and the importance of meaning and emotion in learning. But there is still much more to discover about the physical workings of the brain and consciousness. What should we be doing to keep our brains healthy? How does all this information affect how we live our lives? Get your brain engaged, and learn about how you learn and remember information.

Instructor: After thirty years of classroom teaching, Sandy Stolar became intrigued by how the brain actually learns. Today she is a trainer for Translating Brain Research into Classroom Practice and a member of the “Brainy Bunch,” a national group that studies brain research.


Adventures with Great Ideas
The Emotions, Part 1
Take your pick: Tuesdays, 10 am – 12 noon or
Tuesdays, 1:30 – 3:30 pm
10 weeks, Feb. 19 – Apr. 22
$75, includes copious handouts
Video, lectures, discussion

Feeling jealous, happy, or anxious? Discover what the world’s great philosophers and writers have to say about your emotions. We will examine the ways in which our passions define us, move us, play havoc with our hearts and brains, and give meaning to our human experience as rational beings. As we learn how anger, fear, love, charity and mercy, pride and humility, jealousy, pity and envy, and joy and sorrow affect our lives, we’ll take a look deep into ourselves. This course is part one of a two-part series that provides an intellectual framework with which we can reflect upon our humanity as individuals, as members of society, and as part of the cosmos. Join this great intellectual adventure.

Required reading: photocopied materials

Recommended reading: Robert C. Solomon, ed., What is an Emotion: Classic and Contemporary Readings, 2d ed. (Oxford Univ. Press, 2003).

Instructor: Jim Hartmann rose from deputy state historian to president of the Colorado Historical Society and gubernatorial-appointed state historic preservation officer during his thirty years with the society.

Enemies, Strangers, or Partners?
Wednesdays, 1:30 – 3:30 pm
8 weeks, Mar. 5 – Apr. 23
$60, includes photocopies

Whether you agree or disagree with Albert Einstein that “science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind,” you’re sure to enjoy this lively investigation into the question of whether science and religion are mutually exclusive. Stephen Jay Gould posited a “non-overlapping magisteria” with the magisterium of science covering the empirical realm—what the universe is made of (fact) and why it works the way it does (theory)—while the magisterium of religion extends over questions of ultimate meaning and moral value.  Richard Dawkins criticizes this stance as “a purely political ploy to win middle-of-the-road religious people to the science camp.”  We’ll consider extremes as well as middle grounds in the areas of astronomy and creation; quantum physics; evolution and continuing creation; genetics, neuroscience, and human nature; and God and nature.

Required reading: Ian G. Barbour, When Science Meets Religion: Enemies, Strangers, or Partners? (Harper San Francisco, 2000).

Also recommended: Scott Atran, In Gods We Trust: The Evolutionary Landscape of Religion (Oxford Univ. Press, 2002).

Facilitator:  Retired public school teacher Sherma Erholm holds a Master’s in communication theory and psychology.  As a learning junkie, she has facilitated adult courses in such diverse subjects as futurism, China, Iran, evolution, and the U.N.

Théodore Gouvy
Tuesdays, 10 am – 12 noon
10 weeks, Feb. 19 – Apr. 22
Lectures, discussion

Immerse yourself in the life and music of little-known nineteenth century French composer Théodore Gouvy with maestro Robin McNeil.  Close friend to Liszt, Berlioz, Bizet, Brahms, Schumann, and Mendelssohn, Gouvy was well-known and highly respected in his lifetime. His repertoire even includes several works commissioned by the New York Philharmonic in the 1860s.  We’ll give Gouvy the hearing he deserves and try to understand why once-popular greats sometimes get overlooked in a crowd.

No required reading

Instructor:  Retired professor of piano, musicologist, author of book and concert reviews, and executive director of the Denver Philharmonic Orchestra, Robin McNeil dislikes retirement and continues to give private lessons.

Thursdays, 10 am – 12 noon
8 weeks, Mar. 6 – Apr. 24
$70, includes numerous handouts and the use of performance videos for home viewing
Lectures, discussion

Why is Richard Wagner one of the most beloved and despised composers of the past hundred and fifty years, and why is his “Ring cycle” considered the greatest of all operas?  In this second of three courses on Norse mythology, we’ll focus on Wagner’s four-part operatic cycle, The Ring of the Nibelung, which weaves the disconnected legends that we studied last term into a dramatic narrative whole.  You needn’t have taken the first course in the series, however, to enjoy this class fully. We’ll examine Wagner’s life, the historical context in which the operas were written, and the way in which he combined the ancient myths and sagas into a musical masterpiece. We’ll view video performances of most of the operas outside of class and spend our time together delving deeply into the background and esthetic features of this controversial work of art.

Required reading:  M. Owen Lee, Wagner’s Ring (Limelight, 1988).

Also recommended: Ernest Newman, The Wagner Operas (Princeton Univ. Press, 1991). Extended bibliography will be available at the first class meeting.

Instructors:  Hardly a Johnny one-note, economist Jim Kneser indulges his lifelong interest in music by facilitating courses showcasing some of his favorite composers.  Retired high school English teacher Carol Anthony is a longtime fan of J.R.R. Tolkien with a passionate interest in Norse-English-Germanic mythology and culture.

Looking with Fresh Eyes
Thursdays, 10 am – 12 noon
8 weeks, February 21 – Apr. 17, no class Apr. 10
$60, includes bound copies of lecture outlines
Video lectures, slide presentations, discussion
No prerequisite

This is the final part of a course designed to give you the tools you need to look at works of art with greater understanding. Even if you missed parts one and two, you’re bound to relish Professor William Kloss’s illustrated DVD lectures showing you how to get inside an artwork and savor it to the fullest. We begin with the seventeenth-century Dutch masters, then move on to the reigning French classicists Poussin and Claude before turning to the Spanish baroque with El Greco and Velazquez. It’s on to Versailles to review Fragonard and other eighteenth-century French masters before catching up with the giants of neoclassicism and nineteenth-century romanticism—David, Goya, Ingres, Delacroix, Constable, and Turner.  We’ll study French realism from Daumier to Courbet and the birth of impressionism with Manet and Monet. We’ll focus on Degas, Renoir, Pissarro, and Cézanne, then move on to cubism and early modern painting and sculpture, ending with Seurat, Matisse, Rodin, Brancusi, Kandinsky, and Picasso.

Recommended reading: Ross King, The Judgment of Paris: The Revolutionary Decade That Gave the World Impressionism (Walker & Co., 2006).

Facilitator: A devotee of art museums at home and abroad, Laura Pardee has long been fascinated by European painting, sculpture, and architecture. Her firsthand experience adds a personal dimension to your virtual tour with art historian William Kloss. Fred Pardee enjoys providing technical support to Laura’s richly illustrated course.

Thursdays, 1:30 – 3:30 pm
2 weeks, Apr. 17 and Apr. 24
Illustrated lectures, Q&A

What prompted humans to start making paintings and sculpture that we now value as art?  Learn what distinguishes the Paleolithic and Neolithic cultures of our distant ancestors, and see how these differences play out in the earliest works of art known to us. These lectures will explore the various theories that try to explain the “function” of late Old Stone-Age cave paintings and the huge stone constructions raised by New Stone Age communities: do they testify to magical or religious practices, or were they merely decorative?  We’ll revisit well-known sites such as Lascaux, Altamira, and Carnac, as well as lesser-known marvels like Chauvet, Peche Merle, Gavrinis, and Newgrange.

Lecturer: An experienced scholar and lecturer in the arts and sciences, Henry Claman is a semi-retired professor of medicine at the CU Medical School, where he directs the Medical Humanities Program.

Deadly Detectives
The Detective in Literary History
Wednesdays, 1:30 – 3:30 pm
5 weeks, Feb. 20 – Mar. 19
$40, includes plenty of handouts
Discussion, lectures, video

Are fictional detectives elementary, my dear Watson? Not exactly. This course tracks famous sleuths from the golden age of detective fiction as they solve classic literary puzzles. Not only does the class offer a great mental workout, it explores the enormous variety of early twentieth-century detective figures, their predecessors (notably Sherlock Holmes), and some successors. Did you know that while Arthur Conan Doyle’s portrait of a vaguely scientific, god-like detective provoked a series of rejections of the Holmesian model, the ultrascientific R. Austin Freeman kept a personal laboratory to craft forensic solutions that would really work? Even though the authors worked at some distance from reality, the class will unearth issues that are critical to real detective work, such as lying, forgery, witness testimony, not to mention the character and creativity of the detective. Join this investigation into renowned detective characters and their creators, including Poe, Doyle, Sayers, Simenon, Christie, and others.

Required reading: Patricia Craig, ed., The Oxford Book of English Detective Stories (Oxford Univ. Press, 1990). (2 or3 stories from this book per class; available used at Amazon Marketplace)

Recommended reading: Ian Ousby, Guilty Parties: The Mystery Lover’s Companion (Thames and Hudson, 1997).

Instructor: Irene Gorak holds a Ph.D. in nineteenth-century literature from UCLA. A native of Britain, she taught English in British high schools, and later, worked as an adjunct professor of Gothic, women’s literature, and detective fiction at the University of Denver.

Wednesdays, 10 am – 12 noon
3 weeks, Feb. 20 – Mar. 5
Discussion, mini-lectures

Six decades after being penned by the Auschwitz-bound novelist Irene Némirovsky, Suite Française has found its rightful place on the bestseller list.  The first two parts of what was intended to be a five-novel cycle only recently resurfaced and have been published together as a “suite” that details, in the author’s own words, the chaotic “daily life, the emotional life, and especially the comedy” of a France overrun by Nazi forces.  Delve into this gifted novelist’s light-hearted evocation of a bitter time, written as it was being lived, and savor its rich mixture of history and imagination.

Required reading: Irene Némirovsky, Suite Française (Vintage, 2007).

Facilitator:  Trained as a geologist, Donna Barrow is an avid reader whose Stanford English professor would, Donna says, “turn many shades of red” if she knew her former student was leading a book discussion.  Not to worry, Donna will deal with the novel’s historical aspects and has enlisted former professor of literature Connie Platt and music specialist Robin McNeil to address its other features.

Lincoln’s Melancholy
Pain, Pen & Power
Thursdays 1:30 – 3:30 pm
6 weeks, Feb. 21 – Mar. 27
$45, includes handouts
Discussion, video

How did suffering and depressive tendencies lend brilliance to one of our greatest presidents? Based on the book Lincoln’s Melancholy: How Depression Challenged a President and Fueled his Greatness by Joshua Wolf Shenk, this courseexplores the paradoxical argument that Lincoln transformed his private misfortunes into rigorous public performance. Shenk’s provocative psychobiography provides the framework for exploring Lincoln’s verbal and literary genius, as well as his use of presidential power. Was Lincoln a tyrant, as some claimed, exceeding his constitutional authority, or was he simply a man at war with himself? Did his personal psychic pain contribute to the difficult decisions he made for the “house divided”? We’ll examine how polarizing elements played out in Lincoln’s mind and helped plot a course that saved the nation.

Required Reading: Joshua Wolf Shenk, Lincoln’s Melancholy: How Depression Challenged a President and Fueled his Greatness (Houghton Mifflin, 2005).

Recommended Reading: Doris K. Goodwin, Team of Rivals (Simon & Schuster, 2005).

Instructor: Educated at Williams College, Oxford, and Harvard, Douglas Wilson taught literature for more than thirty years at the University of Denver before his retirement. He has published works on Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats, and Shakespeare.

Tuesdays, 1:30 – 3:30 pm
7 weeks, Feb. 19 – Apr. 1
$55, includes photocopies
Discussion, mini-lectures, video film clips

What makes Charlotte Brontë’s romantic Victorian novel about a naïve young woman who finds love as a governess on the lonely moors of England a good read in an age flooded with bodice rippers?  What gives this tale of an orphan girl its richness and depth?  And how did Brontë’s life experience influence her writing?  We’ll explore these questions and other controversial questions as we read the novel in segments of about 75 pages each session.  You should come prepared for the first class meeting with book in hand and chapters 1-8 under your belt.

Required reading: Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre (Penguin, 2006). Other editions with notes are okay, but discussions will be easier to follow if all participants can be on the same page.

Recommended reading:  Lyndall Gordon, Charlotte Brontë: A Passionate Life (W.W. Norton, 1996).

Facilitator:  Retired English teacher Liz Aguilar has visited the family home of the Brontë sisters and walked the Yorkshire moors described so vividly in their novels.

Writing Your Life Stories
Tuesdays, 10 am – 12 noon
8 weeks, Feb. 19 – Apr. 8
$60, includes three-ring notebook, paper, and photocopies
Interactive workshop environment

Whether you’re nineteen or ninety, you have stories to tell and wisdom to share. This course gives you the support and inspiration you need to start compiling a permanent collection of your real-life stories to share with family and friends or simply to enjoy for yourself. Jump-start your memory with innovative and engaging activities that help you recall long forgotten events. This is the perfect opportunity to begin writing.

Facilitator: Kathy Boyer, a retired teacher, has conducted Life Stories workshops for libraries, summer camps, churches, community centers, and the Academy. She also works with individuals to record their memories on audio tape.

Wednesdays, 10 am – 12 noon
3 weeks, Mar. 19 – Apr. 2
Discussion, mini-lectures

Who has time for poetry in today’s hectic world?  Find out how reading and writing poetry can enrich your life. We’ll take a look at a wide variety of poets—including, among others, Sara Teasdale, William Wadsworth, Robert Frost, A. E. Houseman, Carl Sandburg, Countee Cullen, Oscar Wilde, Joyce Kilmer, and Shakespeare.  We’ll discuss the steps taken in writing a poem and how poetry can change the way you look at life and your surroundings, things you may otherwise take for granted.  Through an understanding and love of poetry, we can learn to love life and the uniqueness of its expression in nature, language, interpersonal relationships, and even tragedy.  Come prepared to share your favorite poems—your own or those of others.

Facilitator: Retired lawyer Ted Borrillo is also a published poet who has already made poetry a rewarding part of his life.


Wednesdays, 12:15 – 1:15 pm
10 weeks, Feb. 20 – Apr. 23
Academy members $40 series, $5 each (1 free)
Nonmembers $10 each
BYO Lunch
Sign up for as many or as few as strike your fancy.

Members: join us for one free lecture.  Lois Martin, founding editor and publisher of the Aurora Sun and an Academy member, has put together an appetizing array of experts and entertainers for this noon-hour lecture series. Pack a lunch, gather your friends, and join your fellow Academics for this weekly buffet of new ideas. You can find out more about the speakers at www.academyLL.org, by clicking on Facilitator Profiles.

A) Feb. 20.  “The Paranoia of Governments.”  Retired social worker Ann Stone explains how the diagnoses that apply to personal disorders can also apply to ruling bodies. She believes several countries are trapped in a paranoid foreign policy cycle.

B) Feb. 27.  “Signals and Secret Passages on the Underground Railroad.”  The long and complex story of the Underground Railroad was one of the greatest civil rights efforts in this county. It became a legend powered by beliefs and compassion. The story will be told by Sandy Sweeney as she talks about the origin of the movement to abolish slavery and the journey on the Underground Railroad.

C) March 5.  “How To Be Cool When Ordering Wine.”  Gordon Dickerson is a registered wine sommelier and director of the International Wine Guild.  He tells how to know and order the best (but not necessarily the most expensive) wines for every occasion.   He currently teaches this very specialized science at Metro.

D) March 12.  “The Prodigal Son” by Garrison Keiller.  Four players from the Unitarian Universalist Reader’s Theatre present this funny, but thoughtful, one-act play.  Directed by Jo Hehnke.

E) March 19.  “Watch Your Mouth: The Power of Words.”  The Rev. Don Scheuer—former Congregationalist minister and Cherry Creek high School teacher—has, according to the Rocky Mountain News, specialized in hugs and handshakes for his entire life. Learn how to “watch your mouth.”

F) March 26.  “What’s Wrong (and Right) with Denver’s Court System.”  The Honorable Larry L. Bohning is currently assigned to the criminal division of the Denver county courts. Judge Bohning helped revise Denver’s criminal court system and will talk about the changes he proposed for making the court more workable.

G) April 2.  “Facts and Myths about Female Hormone Replacement.”   Dr. Herzl Melmed, who has worked and trained in five countries around the world, will clarify and demystify the issues surrounding hormone replacement.   His thirty years of gynecological practice at Swedish Medical Center have included many post-menopausal women.

H) April 9. “Why Everybody Lost the Civil War.”  Dr. John Slocum will explain how the malpractice of medicine was the cause of the huge number of deaths during America’s Civil War.

I) April 16. “Cultural Patrimony: Whose Art Is It?”  Mark Addison taught grad-level art history courses at CU for ten years before his recent retirement. He’ll share his thoughts about the long history of plunder that marks the amassment of huge public collections in the world’s capitals.

April 23. “Tribes, Traditions & Trouble.” Dr. Kevin Evans, a Denver dentist, has recently returned from living with and studying several Egyptian tribes with fellow religious lay leaders.  He’ll talk about why tribal customs make it so hard for various Middle Eastern people to understand each other.


Thursdays, 1:30 – 3:30 pm
8 weeks, Feb. 21 – Apr. 10
$60 (nonmembers $70), includes the book
$45 (nonmembers $55) for those repeating the class
Leader: Retired art teacher Diane Carrick

Guaranteed: You can draw.  Drawing helps us appreciate the charm, harmony, and beauty of real forms and offers a rare opportunity for originality in a world that grows more and more conventional every day. Using the book Drawing Made Easy by David Sanmiguel (Sterling Publishing Co., 2000), you’ll explore such drawing skills as proportion, shading, and perspective.  By practicing between sessions, skills increase rapidly.  Past participants are welcome to return in order to hone skills learned last fall.  Bring a drawing pad, pencil, and kneaded eraser.

Tuesdays, 1:30 – 3:30 pm
8 weeks, Feb. 19 – Apr. 8
$50 (nonmembers  $60 or $10/day)
Resident experts: bridge enthusiasts Donna Barrow, Judy Brand, Sally Kneser, Lynne Pettyjohn

Bridge is more than a pastime.  It’s a passion.  Players return to the table time and time again for the mental challenge, the competition, and the company of others who share their love of the world’s greatest card game.  The spring bridge offering is for intermediate players who understand basic bidding and are able to play comfortably.  There will be no formal instruction, just four wandering advisors.  Come alone or bring your own partner or group.

Thursdays, 1:30 – 3:30 pm
8 weeks, Feb. 21 – Apr. 10
$40 (nonmembers $50 or $10/day), includes handouts
$20 for a book’s worth of copies, required only for new beginning students
Instructor: Larry Matten, avid chess player, elementary-school chess coach

Learn the game of kings (and queens). Both new and continuing players are welcome.  Continuing participants can play games or listen in while the weekly lesson about basic moves and strategies is given to the beginning players, who don’t need to know a thing about chess to sign up for this class. For the more advanced, there will be chess problems to solve. Learn the algebraic notation for record keeping during a game. Recreate and follow games played by chess masters. Opening moves and defenses will be discussed, as well as end-game strategies. As beginners advance, we’ll introduce variants such as speed chess and team chess.  Chess boards and pieces will be provided.

Academy Facilitators

Our facilitators are enthusiastic volunteers who research and present courses on topics of great interest to them. The materials and opinions they and their guest speakers present are their own and not necessarily those of the Academy for Lifelong Learning.

Born into a family of educators, at age ten Liz Aguilar (Jane Eyre, Victorian Rebel) announced her intention to become a teacher.  After receiving an MA in English with an emphasis on literature, she taught English, speech and drama along the way until retirement and still works as a sub.  Long a lover of literature, she developed a passion for English literature which led her to visit many literary sites in Britain including the family home of the Bronte sisters,  who stand high among English novelists.  Walking the moors so vividly described in their writings was a distinct thrill.  Liz is excited about presenting a course on JANE EYRE which has been highly acclaimed since it was first published.  She believes that this novel, like all great literature, gives the reader insights into the human condition regardless of differences in time or place.

Carol Anthony (Wagner’s Ring Cycle & the Norse Myths) retired recently from teaching high school English where she had the pleasure of teaching many Advance Placement courses. She is a passionate reader and has many interests, some of which might seem a little odd: evolutionary biology, World War II, mythology, especially in relation to the Third Reich, genetics in relationship to ethnic and linguistic analysis of the human family, historical mysteries, the Roman Republic, the history of language(s), feminism and goddess worship, European and near Eastern mythology, Holocaust denial, Medieval and Old English literature and language, and forensic science. “My husband no longer is annoyed at the constant arrival of packages of books sitting on our front porch; he’s resigned to it. He’s also resigned to my addiction to what he calls my “dead body” shows on cable TV, but refuses to be subjected to them anymore.” Carol adds, “What especially interests me is how one subject connects to other subjects.” She has been singing with the Northland Chorale for about 17 years.

Donna Barrow (Revisiting Occupied France in Fact & Fiction) is a discriminating reader who loves to explore beyond the page. She is a demon at locating background and supplemental information in order to flesh out her knowledge of a subject. Her background is as a geologist but she has many other interests, too.  Donna is an avid gardener. She designed and served as the de facto project manager for a ten acre landscaping project at her church. An avid bridge player, Donna has assisted with the Academy’s Intermediate Bridge class for several terms, where participants eagerly sought out her opinions on difficult questions.

Ted Borrillo (Making Poetry Part of Your Life) is a retired attorney. He was Chief Deputy District Attorney in Denver, taught criminal procedure and constitutional law at the DU Law School, and was a defense counsel in his private practice of law. He has had an abiding interest in the criminal justice system resulting from his interest in the Bruno Hauptmann trial and his execution for the kidnapping and murder of the Lindbergh baby. Hauptmann lived in the Bronx not far from Ted’s home. Ted has visited Flemington, New Jersey, the site of the trial, the cell where Hauptmann was kept, and has spoken with David Wilentz, the prosecutor of Hauptmann. He has taught at the Colorado Police Academy and at the National College of District Attorneys in Houston.

Kathy Boyer (Writing Your Life Stories ) has conducted Life Stories workshops for libraries, summer camps, churches, community centers, and with the Academy.  As a child, Kathy developed a love of the personal story as she listened to adults recall the tales of their childhood.  Now a retired teacher, Kathy works with individuals to record their memories on audio-tape.  As a workshop facilitator, she offers inspiration and ideas to groups of people who want to begin a written collection of their own short stories.

Judy Brand (Bridge: Intermediate Play) loves to play games of all sorts.  She  is familiar with most bridge conventions, but jokes that she likes to play by the seat of her pants.  Her instincts and aggressive bidding average more winners than losers.  She will boldly take you where you’ve never gone at the bridge table.   Judy is currently taking the chess class at the Academy where she is hoping to translate some of her bridge skills into chess moves so that she can at least keep up with her eleven-year-old grandson.  On the tennis court and ski slopes she still rules!

Bennie Bub (Human Behavior & Neurobiology, Part 2) is a South African neurosurgeon who is board certified in three different specialties on three continents.  His teaching career began when, as a medical student, he taught physics at a technical college in return for free car maintenance courses.  After receiving his MD at the University of Cape Town he became a general surgeon gaining his Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in the UK.  Having been captivated by the complexities of the brain, he then began his neurosurgical studies in London at the National Hospital for Nervous Diseases and Epilepsy.  Thereafter he became a Teaching and Research Fellow at Harvard College as well as a resident in the Harvard Neurosurgical Service at the Boston City and Massachusetts General Hospitals.  Concurrently, he studied violin performance in the Boston Conservatory of Music under Reuben Gregorian.  This Boston sojourn was followed by completion of his neurosurgical certification at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town.  Then began his years of busy neurosurgical private practice simultaneously teaching as Senior Lecturer in the Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Cape Town.  During this period he founded the first multidisciplinary clinic in South Africa for the management of intractable pain.  Immigration to the USA in 1976 was followed by training and board certification in Anesthesiology.  He then joined a practice in Denver from which he retired after more than 20 years.  In the early nineties he was founder and CEO of a successful database company, which provided credentialing of physicians for health insurance companies.  Since retirement he has indulged in his love of music, travel and voracious reading, all the while striving to stay au courant with the neurosciences.

Diane Carrick (Yes, You Can Draw!) taught junior high school art classes for eight years in Ohio. She has published poetry in Windows to the Soul, and her art work and articles about art have appeared in 5280 and elsewhere. She enjoys taking Academy classes and teaching art to small groups in her home. She’s currently in the process of writing her life story as she charges on to another adventure.

A career public school teacher, Sherma Erholm (Science & Religion: Enemies, Strangers or Partners?) holds a bachelor’s degree in speech and music, and a master’s in communication theory and psychology.  As a “learning junkie’, she now enjoys going outside her fields of expertise to research and facilitate discussions in widely varying subjects.  She has taught music and communication theory in public schools and has facilitated adult courses of interest, not necessarily in her field of expertise, e.g., futurism, China, evolution, the U.N. and others.  Other fun for her consists of travel which emphasizes the local culture, singing with the Alpine Chorale, gardening, mountaineering, paleontology, and skiing.

A teacher, scholar, and lover of English literature, Irene Gorak (Deadly Detectives in Literary History) taught English to British high school students and later, as an adjunct professor, courses on Gothic, women’s literature, and detective fiction at DU.  She has a PhD in nineteenth-century literature from UCLA.  Irene taught the popular Agatha Christie course in the spring of 2007.

Jim Hartmann (Adventures with Great Ideas: The Emotions) received his B.A. degree in the humanities from Regis College and M.A. degree in history from the University of Colorado at Boulder. After a three-year stint in radio-television, he began a thirty-year career at the Colorado Historical Society, beginning as deputy state historian and ending as president of the Society and gubernatorial appointed state historic preservation officer for the State of Colorado. After retiring from those positions, he was appointed executive director of Four Mile Historic Park where he remained for five years.

Connie Hyde (The Blues: A Story of Migration & Transformation) spent her college and graduate days immersed in literature, but, after a final year in the rare book room at Duke University library with 16th century folios, decided that her intellectual life needed more human dynamic. She spent the next several decades practicing commercial real estate law (and raising children, who, according to Connie, taught her more about the psychology of negotiation than all the law books in the world). Recently retired, Connie has returned enthusiastically to her first loves of literature, history, politics, music and art (and, of course, gardening). “I am fascinated by the people and ideas that have shaped our world and the way that literature, music, and art interact with history and politics. The modern world is so complex and perilous that we, as thoughtful adults, have to be alive to the historical currents that brought us to the present.”

After a career in private equity investing, Jim Kneser, (How to Think Like an Economist & Why You Should, The Dilemma of Immigration, Wagner’s Ring Cycle & the Norse Myths) one of the Academy’s founders, has turned his attention to educating adults about the important role of economic principles in both everyday life and contentious public policy debates. He has degrees in economics and finance and is also a CPA. He has been an active and popular facilitator for the past ten years leading well over thirty classes with over 1,000 participants. In addition to his classes on economics, finance, and public policy, he indulges his love of music by leading classes about his favorite composers and operas.

Bridge nut and art groupie Sally Kneser (Bridge: Intermediate Play) is always ready to learn something new and help teach others. “I love to learn, and it’s so much more fun with friends around.” Sally is a Life Master in bridge and enjoys explaining the basics to others. As the Academy’s Director, Sally tackles operational and tactical issues in running the nonprofit. While volunteering with the Junior League, Sally chaired several committees, including the Facilitators. When not enjoying herself at the bridge table, she attends two book clubs and stops to smell roses in her gardens.

Lois Martin (Experts & Entertainers) came to Denver by way of Philadelphia and Nebraska. She was a major in journalism at the University of Nebraska, before she moved to Pennsylvania while her husband was in medical school. She has been editor of internal publications for Campbell Soup Co. and Leeds and Northrup, both in the East. After the arrival of her four children, she founded the Aurora Sun Newspaper where she worked for 20 years as publisher. She was founding moderator of the Aurora Hospital Assn., President of the Aurora Hospital District, Business Person of the Year for the Aurora Chamber of Commerce, and elected to the Benson Hall of Fame for Community Leadership.

Larry Matten (Evolution & Intelligent Design: The Courts, Chess for Beginners) started teaching science when he turned twenty-one. Most of his teaching experience was as a professor at Southern Illinois University. He has taught over 10,000 students in his large general biology and general botany courses. He was a major advisor for five Ph.D.’s and fifteen Master’s students. His area of interest has been on early land plants. Dr. Matten has published extensively, received numerous grants, been the president of his national professional organization, is a past editor of the international journal Palaeontographica, and has had two species of fossils named in his honor. He retired from academia and received his law degree in 2000, passed the bar, and went into private practice in Elder Law. His practice has specialized in estate planning that includes: powers of attorney, guardianships, conservatorships, wills, trusts, and probate. He also represented clients having Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security issues.

Dr. Matten is a trained mediator/arbitrator and is currently doing arbitrations for the Better Business Bureau. He has recently retired from the practice of law and has returned to his first love, teaching.  He has a life-long passion for teaching about evolution and hopes to make some contribution toward the resolution of the ongoing controversy in the United States about evolution.  It is his believe that the U.S. is regressing scientifically because of a prevalence of fundamentalist and political attitudes against science.  Anti-science and anti-evolution ideas are a toxic product of these religious and political attitudes and Education is the best antidote.

Robin McNeil (Discovering a Forgotten Composer: Gouvy) began his study of piano at DePauw University at the age of four. He has a Bachelor of Music in Perform­ance from Indiana University and a Master of Music in Performance from the University of Illinois. He has performed over three hundred concerts throughout the Midwest and East as soloist, soloist with several symphony orchestras, duo pianist, a partner in four-hand concerts, and in chamber music recitals. Mr. McNeil has written many musicology book reviews for Choice magazine of the American Library Asso­ciation and Publisher’s Weekly, in addition to being an experienced music critic for newspapers. He is also a published poet, and the Denver composer, David Mullikin, has used his poems for art song texts. Mr. McNeil is the Executive Director of the Denver Philharmonic Orchestra.

Outside the sphere of music, Robin has raced sports cars and flown WW II vintage aircraft, and is a member of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. Mr. McNeil teaches privately and continues to do research on the French composer, Théodore Gouvy. Mr. McNeil is President of the Piano Arts Association, and an Honorary Member of the Institut Théodore Gouvy of Hombourg-Haut, France.

Born in South Africa, Herzl Melmed (Unraveling the Causes behind the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict) grew up in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe).  He attended the University of Capetown and was President of the Student Council, a very political position dealing with the authorities in order to provide equal treatment for all students, Black or White, in 1962. He emmigrated to Israel in 1965 and was there for the 6 Day War and the Yom Kippur War.  He ran the OB-Gyn service for the Upper Galilee, and parts of the Golan Heights and Lebanese border areas. He emmigrated to Colorado in 1976 and has been active in the local community presenting Israel’s case to numerous audiences, including church groups, university campuses and radio.  This has often involved debates with representatives of the Palestinian community.  He chairs a grass roots org. called ActionIsrael of Christian and Jewish supporters of Israel.  He is a research fellow at the Institute for the Study of the Mid E at DU.  He has chaired a Middle East study group for the last 16 years, and was recently involved in leading a Muslim-Jewish dialog for about 2 years.  He is a practicing gynecologist at Swedish when not involved in his passions.

Walt Meyer (Islam from Mohammed to Osama) is a retired “technocrat”, having spent 22 years in the weather field of the US Air Force and almost 20 years as a program manager for a defense contractor. He has been married 44 years and has three grown children and four grandchildren.
His interest in Islam stems from the post 9/11 realization that we in the West have little understanding of the Muslim faith, contributing to many false characterizations of the Muslim people. Shortly after 9/11 Walt attended a workshop on Islam presented by Jim Gonia, Pastor at Atonement Lutheran Church in Denver. He had an excellent background on the subject, having served in Madagascar among the Muslim people. Walt has done considerable reading on the subject since then and has presented a series of classes on Islam to his church on two occasions. He feels that this subject is of vital importance today.

Walt has a BS in Chemistry from Capital University, a PhD in Atmospheric Science from the University of Washington, and is a graduate of the Industrial College of the Armed Forces and the Minnesota Management Academy. He has served on many boards and task forces within the Lutheran Church and is a member of the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences, sponsored by the Graduate Theological Union of the University of California at Berkeley.  He served as Adjunct Professor of Meteorology at Saint Louis University for one year, has taught numerous Bible study classes, and has found teaching to be one of his passions.

Laura Pardee (Masterpieces of European Art, Part 3) has a special fascination and interest in the painting, sculpture and architecture of the Renaissance and has had the opportunity to experience these magnificent works of art firsthand. She and her husband have spent one month in Italy several years in a row and returned in May 2007 from a month in Italy, Croatia, and Switzerland. Laura received her undergraduate degree in French language and literature with a minor in art history from Wellesley College. She taught French and English language and literature in Vermont, Texas, New Jersey and Delaware. Fred Pardee enjoys providing technical support to help Laura lead the class discussions of the lectures in European Art. Fred received B.S and M.S. degrees in chemical engineering from Princeton University, was a jet fighter pilot in the Air Force, and pursued a career with the DuPont Company.

Lynne Pettyjohn (Bridge: Intermediate Play) came from Akron, Ohio to attend the University of Colorado. She graduated from CU and then became a high school English teacher. Her stamina is confirmed by the fact that she taught English in the Denver Public Schools for 32 years. After retiring she joined the Assistance League of Denver which is a nonprofit volunteer organization. Her hobbies include bridge, gardening, golf, and hiking.

Connie Platt (Revisiting Occupied France in Fact & Fiction ) received her BSJ from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, her MA in English from San Jose State University and her Ph.D in English from the University of Denver. For two years she reviewed books on KCFR – Denver and for 14 years she hosted the author interview program, Between the Lines, on Denver’s KDTV-Channel 8.

Having thirty years of classroom experience caused Sandy Stolar (New Discoveries in Memory & Learning) to become curious about how the brain works and learns.  After reading several books, she decided to attend a couple of workshops and then she was absolutely hooked on learning about the brain.  Sandy became a trainer for “Translating Brain Research into Classroom Practice” and is a member of the “Brainy Bunch”, a group of people who study brain research and gather each January to hear from some of the researchers themselves about the new information that is coming out.  She loves sharing what she has learned with others who are curious about this fascinating subject.

Educated at Williams College, Oxford, and Harvard, Douglas Wilson  (Lincoln’s Melancholy: Pain, Pen & Power ) has taught literature courses, from Homer to Hemingway for over 30 years.  He taught at the University of Denver in Romantic Studies.  During his university career, he taught more than 50 different courses, both graduate and undergraduate.   Douglas has published on Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats, and Shakespeare.  As an avid fly fisherman, he is also interested in the environment.

Dick Young (How Presidents are Made: The Electoral College) has long been active in politics, local state, and national.  He is a history buff, and while working on his Masters in History (some 40+ years after getting his BA and JD from the University of Michigan), he put together this course to explain what the Electoral College is, how it came about, and how it works, and has worked through our many elections.  He has taught the course a number of times at Adult Education departments of several universities and at a number of Elderhostel sessions.