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The mission of Senior College is to provide high-quality educational opportunities for seniors. Courses cover a wide variety of topics in the humanities, sciences, and the arts and are taught by emeritus and current University of Iowa faculty members and others.

Senior College is run by a committee of retired UI faculty and staff members. The volunteer committee works in cooperation with the Association of Emeritus Faculty and the University of Iowa Retirees Association and contracts with the UI Center for Advancement to host this webpage and handle registration.

SPRING 2023 COURSES

Twelve different courses are being offered during the spring semester. Courses typically meet for four 2-hour sessions for a $30 fee.

Please review all courses before registering. Detailed information about each course and instructor can be found by clicking on the "More" arrow in the gray box and is also available in the course catalog (PDF).

Once you have made your selections, use the "Register Now" button. After you register, you will receive a confirmation email within 24 hours.

If you have questions about course registration or would like to receive email updates for future sessions of Senior College, please contact the UI Center for Advancement at 319-335-3305 or 800-648-6973 or via email at alumni.seniorcollege@foriowa.org.


Course 1

Players and Rivals: Touring America with the All-Star Cast of 1896

INSTRUCTOR: Evan Hilsabeck

Dates: Wednesdays, January 25; February 1, 8, 15

Time: 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.

Location: Coralville Center for the Performing Arts, 1301 Fifth Street, Coralville

Registration Deadline: Registration is now closed

Class Limit: 175

In 1896, ten of America's most famous actors captivated the nation in an all-star tour of Richard Sheridan's The Rivals. Between sold-out performances, they debated acting technique, jockeyed for prominence, and shared stories about their lives on the stage. We will focus on four of them: Joseph Jefferson and Louisa Drew, two of America's first stage stars; Francis Wilson, leader of the fight to unionize actors; and Julia Marlowe, a passionate voice in the early feminist movement. Their journey by railroad will provide a framework for examining the challenges that came with a traveling production and for exploring 19th-century theatre practices and theatrical life outside New York City.

INSTRUCTOR: Evan Hilsabeck, managing director at the Coralville Center for the Performing Arts, is a magpie in the junk heap of American theatre history. His passion is researching and collecting the original playbills, photographs, faded press clippings, and archival documents that tell the stories of New York's early Broadway theatres.

Registration for Course 1 is now closed.


Course 2

The Broadway Viewing Club

INSTRUCTOR: Christopher Okiishi

Dates: Thursdays, January 26; February 2, 9, 16

Time: 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Location: Coralville Center for the Performing Arts, 1301 Fifth Street, Coralville

Registration Deadline: Registration is now closed

Class Limit: 175

Musical theater is an art form that thrills and uplifts audiences around the world. But what makes a show work? In this course, we will analyze productions of four well-known musicals: Gypsy, Into the Woods, Les Misérables in Concert: The 25th Anniversary, and Billy Elliot (subject to streaming availability). Each class will be an in-depth discussion of the production's music, theme, stagecraft, acting, direction, design, and story construction and their impact on the overall effect of the show.

INSTRUCTOR: Christopher Okiishi is a writer, performer, director, and producer of theater. His work has been seen at City Circle Theatre Company, Theatre Cedar Rapids, SPT Theatre, Coe College, Riverside Theatre, Los Angeles' Odyssey Theatre Ensemble, and the New York Film Academy. He has written scores for three theater projects and one award-winning film. He is also a practicing psychiatrist who lectures locally and nationally.

Registration for Course 2 is now closed.


Course 3

Loot, Forgeries, and the Global Art Market

INSTRUCTOR: Brenda Longfellow

Dates: Fridays, February 3, 10, 17, 24

Time: 10:00 a.m. - noon

Location: Zoom

Registration Deadline: Registration is now closed

Since ancient times, thieves have looted art objects, and forgers have created art to satisfy the desires of patrons and collectors. This course will consider how and why both categories of objects have been incorporated into American museum collections and trace how these illicit objects make their way through today's global art market. We will examine the dangers that looted objects pose to our understanding of cultural heritage and the historical past, the ways that fakes have affected the art market, and the value of forgeries as indices of contemporary taste and preconceptions about art.

INSTRUCTOR: Brenda Longfellow is an associate professor of art history at the University of Iowa. She teaches classes on fakes and forgeries as well as on Egyptian, Greek, and Roman art. She has published broadly on the art, architecture, and hydraulics of the ancient Roman Empire.

Registration for Course 3 is now closed.


Course 4

What Is a Print? Printmaking Then and Now

INSTRUCTOR: Diego Lasansky

Dates: Thursdays, February 9, 16

Time: 2:00 - 4:00 p.m.

Location:

  • February 9: Lasansky Gallery, 216 E. Washington Street, Iowa City
  • February 16: Stanley Museum of Art, 160 W. Burlington Street, Iowa City

Registration Deadline: Thursday, February 2

Class Limit: 15

How can we tell original handmade prints from high-quality photocopies? For that matter, what are prints, and what are the processes that graphic artists use to create them? This two-week course (which is identical to Course 10) will take us through the rich history of printmaking into today's contemporary techniques. We will look at historical and modern prints in the collection of the Stanley Museum of Art and enjoy a guided tour of the Lasansky Gallery and a demonstration in Diego Lasansky's studio in downtown Iowa City.

INSTRUCTOR: The work of artist Diego Lasansky follows a tradition of portraiture that both honors historical themes and reflects the influences of the contemporary world. His first solo exhibition, in 2015, featured paintings, drawings, and intaglio prints. He began to learn his craft at an early age from his uncle Tomás Lasansky and grandfather Mauricio Lasansky, both renowned artists.

Session 4 is now full. If you would like to be added to a waiting list for this course, email the course number, your name, and your phone number to Senior College at alumni.seniorcollege@foriowa.org or contact the UI Center for Advancement at 319-335-3305 or 800-648-6973.


Course 5

The Life and Times of John Prine: The Man, the Music, the Mischief

INSTRUCTOR: Ken Anderson

Dates: Mondays, February 27; March 13, 20, 27
Note: No class on Monday, March 6

Time: 2:00 - 4:00 p.m.

Location: Coralville Center for the Performing Arts, 1301 Fifth Street, Coralville

Registration Deadline: Monday, February 20

Class Limit: 175

Guided by music clips, videos, and song lyrics, this course will lead students through the events of John Prine's life from his years as a singing mailman to his legacy as one of the most influential singer-songwriters of his generation. Students will gain a deep understanding of the many ways in which Prine's "Big Old Goofy World" showcases the American lived experience, with stories from his life highlighting his irresistible dedication to mischief making, his creation of the urban Appalachian musical sound, and the rich observational poetry crafted by this true American everyman. Students will be encouraged to explore their own life stories using Prine's novel musical style and evocative lyrics as a jumping-off point.

INSTRUCTOR: Ken Anderson is an author and a clinical associate professor in UI's College of Public Health who holds a passion for music, literature, and the performing arts. His career spans service as a nephrologist and a chief medical officer, and he has held several appointments as a state and federal health official.


Course 6

Walt Whitman's "Song of Myself"

INSTRUCTOR: Ed Folsom

Dates: Tuesdays, February 28; March 7, 14, 21

Time: 10:00 a.m. - noon

Location: Zoom

Registration Deadline: Tuesday, February 21

This is your chance to read (or re-read) America's epic poem of democracy, Walt Whitman's "Song of Myself." We will divide the 52-section poem into four parts and discuss each part in a separate class period. Along the way, we will discuss the historical, cultural, and biographical contexts that inspired and that illuminate the poem. And we will end each class with a look at how Whitman's contemporary Emily Dickinson responded in a very different way to many of the same social, cultural, and philosophical issues.

INSTRUCTOR: Ed Folsom is the Roy J. Carver Professor Emeritus of English, editor of the Walt Whitman Quarterly Review, co-director of the online Walt Whitman Archive, and editor of the Iowa Whitman Series at the University of Iowa Press. He is the author or editor of numerous books and essays on Whitman and other American writers.


Course 7

Agricultural Medicine at Iowa: Sustaining Our Food Supply, Protecting Our Workers

INSTRUCTOR: Kelley Donham

Dates: Fridays, March 17, 24, 31; April 7

Time: 10:00 a.m. - noon

Location: Students may attend on Zoom or in person at the Coralville Public Library, Room A/B, 1401 Fifth Street, Coralville.

Registration Deadline: Friday, March 10

In-Person Class Limit: 60

Just as Iowa leads the nation in agricultural output, the University of Iowa has been an international leader in protecting the health and safety of those who cultivate the soil, produce crops, and raise livestock. This course will cover the history of UI's Institute of Agricultural Medicine since its founding in 1955 and then focus on the diseases and injuries that most affect agriculturalists—who engage in the most dangerous occupation in the U.S. These include respiratory and musculoskeletal diseases, skin diseases, cancers, health hazards caused by pesticides and the pharmaceuticals used in livestock production, zoonotic infections, psychosocial issues, and traumatic injuries.

INSTRUCTOR: Kelley Donham is professor emeritus in UI's College of Public Health, having served for over 40 years in the specialized field of agricultural medicine. He holds degrees in preventive medicine, epidemiology, and veterinary medicine. He has published over 160 articles as well as five textbooks and a history of the Institute of Agricultural Medicine.


Course 8

Shakespeare, Page to Stage: Twelfth Night

INSTRUCTOR: Miriam Gilbert

Dates: Tuesdays, March 28; April 4, 11, 18, 25

Time: 10:00 - 11:30 a.m.

Location: Zoom

Registration Deadline: Tuesday, March 21

Twelfth Night—coming at the end of the Christmas holidays—is a time for festivities but also marks the end of the revelry. So too, Shakespeare's Twelfth Night blends hilarious scenes of foolish behavior with moments of sadness, unrequited love, and possible betrayal. The play's setting, Illyria, sounds like "illusion," but we're reminded that "the rain it raineth every day," and we return to reality. We'll work through this complex comedy, with close reading of the text, and viewing of selected filmed performances—and look forward to Riverside Theatre's production in City Park this summer.

INSTRUCTOR: Miriam Gilbert is professor emerita of English, having taught at the University of Iowa from 1969 to 2013. She still enjoys studying and teaching Shakespeare and going to see Shakespeare in performance, especially in her second home, Stratford-upon-Avon.


Course 9

Lessons from The Land Remains: Land Tenure and Agricultural Development in Iowa

INSTRUCTOR: Neil Hamilton

Dates: Mondays, April 3, 10, 17, 24

Time: 2:00 - 4:00 p.m.

Location: Zoom

Registration Deadline: Monday, March 27

Our history and future are shaped by how we treat the land, especially in a state dominated by agriculture. This class will use the 2022 book The Land Remains: A Midwestern Perspective on Our Past and Future to focus on the evolution of Iowa's agricultural structure, soil conservation, water quality, stewardship, and the role of land in rural culture. The historical discussion will trace parallels in attitudes toward the land to issues of racism, economic inequality, and environmental vulnerability and will serve as a platform for considering future challenges and opportunities such as climate change, the land-food connection, and land trusts.

INSTRUCTOR: Native Iowan Neil Hamilton is an emeritus professor of law and founding director of the Agricultural Law Center at Drake University. The author of The Land Remains and a commissioner with the Dallas County Soil and Water Conservation District, he is internationally known for his pioneering work in the field of agriculture and food law.


Course 10

What Is a Print? Printmaking Then and Now

INSTRUCTOR: Diego Lasansky

Dates: Thursdays, April 6, 13

Time: 2:00 - 4:00 p.m.

Location:

  • April 6: Lasansky Gallery, 216 E. Washington Street, Iowa City
  • April 13: Stanley Museum of Art, 160 W. Burlington Street, Iowa City

Registration Deadline: Thursday, March 30

Class Limit: 15

How can we tell original handmade prints from high-quality photocopies? For that matter, what are prints, and what are the processes that graphic artists use to create them? This two-week course (which is identical to Course 4) will take us through the rich history of printmaking into today's contemporary techniques. We will look at historical and modern prints in the collection of the Stanley Museum of Art and enjoy a guided tour of the Lasansky Gallery and a demonstration in Diego Lasansky's studio in downtown Iowa City.

INSTRUCTOR: The work of artist Diego Lasansky follows a tradition of portraiture that both honors historical themes and reflects the influences of the contemporary world. His first solo exhibition, in 2015, featured paintings, drawings, and intaglio prints. He began to learn his craft at an early age from his uncle Tomás Lasansky and grandfather Mauricio Lasansky, both renowned artists.

Session 10 is now full. If you would like to be added to a waiting list for this course, email the course number, your name, and your phone number to Senior College at alumni.seniorcollege@foriowa.org or contact the UI Center for Advancement at 319-335-3305 or 800-648-6973.


Course 11

Clinical Anatomy and Physiology: A Systems Approach to the Human Body

INSTRUCTOR: Carol Scott-Conner

Dates: Wednesdays, April 19, 26; May 3, 10

Time: 9:00 - 11:00 a.m.

Location: Zoom

Registration Deadline: Wednesday, April 12

Each session will begin with a detailed discussion of the anatomy (structure) and physiology (how things work) of a particular system of the body, focusing on information that is not only inherently fascinating but clinically relevant. Comparative anatomy will be used to show examples of adaptation to varied environments. Where appropriate, we will consider embryology and development to explain structures and errors of development. We will also discuss how things can go wrong and how disorders are treated. Beginning with the musculoskeletal system and ending with the endocrine system, we will sequentially explore our own bodies.

INSTRUCTOR: Carol Scott-Conner, MD PhD, is professor emeritus of surgery at the University of Iowa. She is a recipient of the Honored Member award from the American Association of Clinical Anatomy and a founding member of the American College of Surgeons Academy of Master Surgeon Educators.


Course 12

Brain Myths: Debunking Common Misconceptions about Our Most Complex Organ

INSTRUCTOR: Dr. Jan Wessel

Dates: Thursdays, April 20, 27; May 4, 11

Time: 2:00 - 4:00 p.m.

Location: Coralville Center for the Performing Arts, 1301 Fifth Street, Coralville

Registration Deadline: Thursday, April 13

Class Limit: 175

The brain is the most complex organ in the human body, and neuroscience is still a young discipline. Yet popular culture and the news media are full of confidently presented statements about the brain that scientists know to be highly misleading or even false. This course will highlight eight of the most popular of these myths, including ones like "We only use 10% of our brain" and "Lies can be detected through brain waves." It will point out why these assertions are misguided and will offer an accurate picture of the underlying science, presented on the level of an introductory college course.

INSTRUCTOR: Dr. Jan Wessel is a neuroscientist and an associate professor in the Departments of Neurology and Psychological and Brain Sciences at the University of Iowa. He is the director of the Cognitive Neurology Laboratory, which studies the human brain's ability to flexibly control thoughts and behaviors.


Course 13

The Piano: From Cristofori to Steinway

INSTRUCTOR: Ed Kottick

Dates: Tuesdays, May 2, 9, 16, 23

Time: 1:30 - 3:20 p.m.

Location: Voxman Music Building, Classroom 2, 93 E. Burlington Street, Iowa City

Registration Deadline: Tuesday, April 25

Class Limit: 60

This course will examine the indispensable piano's ancestors, the harpsichord and the clavichord; the invention of the piano in 1700 in Italy; its journey in the 18th century through Germany, Austria, England, France, and elsewhere; its role as one of the first mass-produced products of the Industrial Revolution; its popularity in the 19th century; and its still-changing nature today. The many forms of the piano such as the grand, the square, the pantalon, the upright, the lyre, the giraffe, the doghouse, and the euphonicon will be discussed. Along the way, we will pay special attention to the pianos of Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Schumann, Chopin, Liszt, and Brahms.

INSTRUCTOR: University of Iowa professor emeritus of musicology Ed Kottick has a particular interest in the history, acoustics, and mechanics of musical instruments. In his younger days, he enjoyed professional careers as a trombonist, recorderist, and conductor. In 2022 he produced and conducted The Machine Stops, a two-act opera based on a story by E. M. Forster.


Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact the UI Center for Advancement in advance at 319-335-3305 or 800-648-6973.


Senior College Committee

Emil Rinderspacher, Chair 
Tom Rocklin, Vice Chair 
Warren Boe 
Gayle Bray 
Holly Carver 
Kelley Donham 
Lesanne Fliehler 

H. Dee Hoover 
George Johnson 
Frank Mitros 
Mary New 
Pam Willard 
Nancy Williams 

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An Iowa law professor shares his insights into what the storming of the Capitol by pro-Trump insurrectionists could mean for America. Derek T. Muller Members of Congress evacuated the House and Senate chambers on Jan. 6 as a mob of supporters of President Donald Trump raided the U.S. Capitol to protest the certification of the 2020 presidential election results. Following a Trump rally, rioters scaled walls, broke windows, and gained access to the Senate floor and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office. At least five people died in the clash between rioters and law enforcement. Iowa Magazine interviewed Derek T. Muller, a professor and election law expert at the University of Iowa College of Law, to learn how these events could affect our democracy's future. Is there any precedent in American history for what's occurring during this transfer of power? It's hard to find any historical comparisons to 2021. In 1860, the election of Abraham Lincoln was enough to cause secession. And other presidents have been fairly sore losers, leaving town without attending the inauguration. But there's never been a sustained attempt like this by a president to seek to overturn the election results, to deny the legitimacy of the president-elect's victory, or to incite a mob to 'fight' for him like this. Was the Capitol breach a threat to democracy? Political violence is a great danger to democracy. We rely on the public's trust in the legitimacy of elections. Storming the Capitol and disrupting legislators during their official business of counting electoral votes is a worrisome sign for future elections. What crimes could those who stormed the Capitol be charged with? Rioters might be charged with assault or vandalism. More serious might be seditious conspiracy, defined as seeking to hinder or delay the execution of any law of the United States or by force taking away property. What is the 25th Amendment, and could it be applied to this situation? The 25th Amendment is a mechanism to ensure a transition of power in the event the president is unable to discharge his duties. It has been used twice for a temporary and voluntary transition of power when a president has undergone surgery. Another untested provision allows the vice president and a majority of the cabinet to write to Congress that the president is unable to perform his duties, in which case the vice president immediately becomes acting president. The president could then assert that no inability exists, and the vice president and the cabinet could argue again that he is unable. Congress would need to vote within 21 days by a two-thirds vote in both houses that the president is unable in order for the vice president to continue his duties. If invoked, the assumption is it would 'run out the clock' until Jan. 20. The provision was principally designed for situations where the president was incapacitated, like an assassination attempt in which he slipped into a coma. It would be a novel and significant thing for the vice president and cabinet to invoke it in cases like this. Do you think President Trump's role in the Capitol riot could lead to impeachment? Impeachment seems unlikely because Congress is not in session and would need to move quickly. The House could adopt articles of impeachment by a simple majority vote. The facts are straightforward, so there wouldn't need to be an extensive investigation to gather facts. It would then go to the Senate for a trial, which could remove the president by a two-thirds vote. It could also bar him from serving in any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States, effectively preventing him from becoming president again. It's also possible, if untested, to impeach him after he has left office, which would allow Congress to vote to bar him from future government service. Do you think the events that unfolded at the Capitol on Jan. 6 might lead to any changes in federal election law? It remains unclear how Congress might respond to this as a matter of federal election law. The Electoral Count Act of 1887?the statute under which Congress was counting electoral votes?allows objections like those lodged in Congress, and a small change in the future might make objections harder. In a broader sense, Congress might be more inclined to support H.R. 1, an omnibus election bill that requires independent redistricting commissions and campaign finance changes, but it's not clear if those changes could pass the filibuster in the Senate or would instill public confidence in elections. Statehood for the District of Columbia, after experiencing an out-of-control riot like this with fewer resources than it needed, may also be a more pressing issue and would add two senators and one representative from the District to Congress. What might the events of Jan. 6 mean for the future of our elections? It will take a long time to assess the fallout of these riots. Distrust in our elections is very high among a significant segment of the population right now, and some Republicans in Congress are encouraging that distrust. It is very hard to think of a productive way forward if the losing side in an election cannot accept losing.

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