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.


Twelve different courses are being offered during the fall 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 .

Course 1

Humor for Laughter and Well-Being

INSTRUCTOR: Raj Rajagopal

Dates: Thursdays, August 31; September 7, 14, 21

Time: 10:00 a.m. - noon

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

Registration Deadline: Registration is now closed

Class Limit: 175

Humor exists all around us. It is most clearly observed in media, advertising, and entertainment. But humor is embedded in contexts where we don't expect to find it. Humor can lead to more effective teaching and accelerate discoveries in STEM fields. In this course, we will study humor broadly with a focus on how it promotes wellness, breaks down boundaries, and facilitates connections across people and cultures. At the heart of humor is the creative interweaving of context, narrative, and abrupt surprise. We will observe how comedic individuals use these elements to produce laughter in their audiences.

INSTRUCTOR: Raj Rajagopal is a University of Iowa professor emeritus of geography. His brainchild, the India Winterim program, won a 2016 Andrew Heiskell Award for Innovation in International Education. For many years he has taught courses related to humor, problem solving, innovation, and creativity to university students, adult learners, and practicing professionals around the globe.

Registration for Course 1 is now closed.

Course 2

Anna Karenina and the Art of Literary Seduction


Dates: Tuesdays, September 5, 12, 19, 26

Time: 3:30 - 5:20 p.m.

Location: Students may attend on Zoom or in person at the UI Seamans Center, Room 2229, 103 S. Capitol Street, Iowa City.

Registration Deadline: Registration is now closed

Class Limit: 72

In Anna Karenina, his most European novel, Tolstoy contemplates the lives of characters beset by passions and left at the mercy of unbridled will. At once boundlessly relatable and utterly infuriating, the novel asks a daunting question—What constitutes human happiness?—and leads us through the lives of Anna, Alexei, Dolly, Stiva, Kitty, and of course Konstantin Levin, who bears the philosophical wisdom of Tolstoy. The instructor will share how the author’s life is reflected in the novel and what she has learned on multiple visits to his estate, Yasnaya Polyana. Welcome to the seductive—and destructive—world of Anna Karenina. The Pevear and Volokhonsky translation is recommended.

INSTRUCTOR: Anna Barker teaches Russian literature and culture at the UI. A native speaker of Russian and Hungarian, she received a PhD in comparative literature from the UI in 2002 with a dissertation in translation studies. Her areas of interest include 19th-century Russian and European literature, Russian cultural history, and opera. Dr. Barker's online tutorials can be found at

Registration for Course 2 is now closed.

Course 3

1968: A Year of American Turmoil

INSTRUCTOR: Jerry Harrington

Dates: Fridays, September 8, 15, 22, 29

Time: 10:00 a.m. - noon

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

  • September 8: Schwab Auditorium
  • September 15, 22, 29: Room A

Registration Deadline: Registration is now closed

Class Limit: 60

NOTE: Only the in-person classes are full. Zoom classes are still being offered.

Few years contained more shocks and upheavals in American history than 1968. Our nation was divided by the Vietnam War. There were anti-war protests, political assassinations, urban riots, and campus unrest—all cast against a divisive presidential election that seemed to shift its focus every month and that peaked with violent street clashes at the Democratic convention in Chicago. In addition to covering the multiple political stories of that year, this course will examine the cultural phenomena of 1968—movies, books, television programs, music, NASA space missions—that made this a unique time in the lives of Americans.

INSTRUCTOR: Jerry Harrington of Iowa City retired as marketing public relations manager for DuPont Pioneer in Johnston, Iowa. In retirement he has been writing articles for Iowa History Journal. His book Thunder from the Prairie: The Life of Harold E. Hughes will be published this fall. This will be his fifth course for Senior College.

Registration for Course 3 is now closed.

Course 4

International Literature at the University of Iowa

INSTRUCTOR: Visiting Writers

Dates: Mondays, September 11, 18, 25; October 2

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

Location: Iowa City Senior Center, Room 302, 28 S. Linn Street, Iowa City

Registration Deadline: Registration is now closed

Class Limit: 50

Since its inception in 1967, the International Writing Program (IWP) at the UI has hosted more than 1,500 writers from more than 150 countries. The program aims to introduce talented poets, fiction writers, dramatists, and nonfiction writers to American culture, to facilitate their participation in American university life, and to provide them with time and a congenial setting for producing their own literary work. This course offers the opportunity to meet eight writers in residence at the UI this fall. Each week, two writers will read and discuss their works, talk about the current state of literature in their home countries, and answer your questions.

INSTRUCTORS: Two visiting writers will present their work at each session.

Registration for Course 4 is now closed.

Course 5

Riverside Theatre: Local Performances, National Conversations


Dates: Wednesdays, September 13, 20, 27; October 4

Time: 10:00 a.m. - noon

Location: Riverside Theatre, 3rd Floor, 119 E. College Street, Iowa City

Registration Deadline: Registration is now closed

Class Limit: 100

Say “theatre” and many Americans think “Broadway,” but what makes American theatre so distinctive is the vibrant regional movement that has brought high-level performances to countless cities across the country. This course will look at the national landscape through the lens of Riverside Theatre, for 42 years Iowa City’s only professional resident theatre. Each week the instructor will be joined by artists, theatre leaders, and others for conversations about how a not-for-profit theatre operates, including season planning, rehearsal processes, development of new plays, and challenges facing the industry.

INSTRUCTOR: Adam Knight is in his sixth season as Riverside Theatre’s producing artistic director. Before moving to Iowa, he spent 17 years in New York City working for such organizations as the Signature Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Club, and League of Resident Theatres. Regional credits include work with the Folger Theatre, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, and Williamstown Theatre Festival.

Registration for Course 5 is now closed.

Course 6

From Grain to Glass: A Look at the History and Process of Brewing Beer


Dates: Tuesdays, October 3, 10, 17, 24

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

Location: Big Grove Brewery, 1225 S. Gilbert Street, Iowa City

Registration Deadline: Registration is now closed

Class Limit: 50

Beer was brewed and enjoyed for thousands of years before the current boom in craft breweries. We will study the history and process of making beer while we explore a number of beer styles from notable international breweries and from the extensive craft portfolio of Big Grove Brewery, which produces over 24,000 barrels of beer annually and has been awarded more than 12 international medals. Beer samples will be paired with classic food samples. Fee for this course will be $90.

INSTRUCTOR: Iowa City native Andy Joynt, director of brewing at Big Grove Brewery, has degrees in business administration and German language studies from Colorado State University. After brewing beer at home for 16 years, he began a professional brewing career at Big Grove in 2016. Along the way he became a Certified Cicerone and a Certified Specialist of Wine.

Registration for Course 6 is now closed.

Session 6 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 or contact the UI Center for Advancement at 319-335-3305 or 800-648-6973.

Course 7

The Swine Republic: Environmental Consequences of Iowa's Corn-Soy-CAFO Production System


Dates: Fridays, October 6, 13, 20, 27

Time: 10:00 a.m. - noon

Location: Zoom

Registration Deadline: Registration is now closed

This course will consider the environmental impact of Iowa's large-scale corn and soybean production and the ways that this production links to the concentration of livestock animals and the fuel ethanol industry. The costs: increasing soil erosion, the loss of wildlife habitat and recreation areas, foul air from animal waste, and heavily polluted waterways. The damage to Iowa’s soil, aquifers, surface waters, and air and the effects on human health will be examined. These issues will be considered within the historical context of the vast changes that have occurred in Iowa agriculture and the current context of climate change. 

INSTRUCTOR: Avid outdoorsman Chris Jones was most recently a research engineer with UI’s IIHR-Hydroscience & Engineering, focusing on monitoring water quality in agricultural landscapes. He holds a PhD in analytical chemistry. Previous work experience includes time at the Des Moines Water Works and the Iowa Soybean Association. His book The Swine Republic: Struggles with the Truth about Agriculture and Water Quality was published in May.

Registration for Course 7 is now closed.

Course 8

Understanding Evolution: From Molecules to Ecosystems

INSTRUCTOR: Maurine Neiman, Andrew Forbes, and Drew Kitchen

Dates: Mondays, October 9, 16, 23, 30

Time: 10:00 a.m. - noon

Location: Zoom

Registration Deadline: Monday, October 2

We will provide a broad and interdisciplinary overview of evolutionary science as it relates to the origins of life on earth through the evolution of complex traits and organisms, including but not limited to humans. Topics may include the definition of evolution, what natural selection is (and what it isn’t), the origin of life, the evolution of disease, the evolution of humans, and the evolution of sexual reproduction.

INSTRUCTORS: Maurine Neiman, Andrew Forbes, and Drew Kitchen are all University of Iowa faculty members with expertise in evolutionary biology. Professors Neiman and Forbes, both in the Department of Biology, are specialists in evolutionary ecology and study evolution in nature. Professor Kitchen is in the Department of Anthropology and focuses on the evolution of disease-causing bacteria and viruses.

Course 9

Boogie-Woogie Piano Giants: A Close Look at Eight Pioneering Jazz Stylists

INSTRUCTOR: Craig Kessler

Dates: Thursdays, October 19; November 2, 9, 16

Time: 10:00 a.m. - noon

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

Registration Deadline: Thursday, October 12

Class Limit: 175

NOTE: No class on Thursday, October 26

In this course, we’ll use rare performance footage, photos, sound recordings, and insights from jazz and blues historians to survey the history and developments surrounding the influential musical style boogie-woogie. The weekly pairings will feature Albert Ammons and Meade Lux Lewis, Pete Johnson and Jimmy Yancey, Hadda Brooks and Cripple Clarence Lofton, and Charles Edward “Cow Cow” Davenport and John Len Chatman (aka Memphis Slim). While the course is underway, the instructor will program music and commentary related to each week’s content on his radio show, “Jazz Corner of the World,” on KCCK 88.3 and 106.9 FM.

INSTRUCTOR: Craig Kessler has been a jazz radio producer and DJ for over 30 years—over 10,000 hours of jazz radio! He is also the owner and producer of the jazz record label Realtown! Records and has served on the board of directors of the Iowa City Jazz Festival. For many years, he owned the Iowa City store Real Records.

Course 10

Why Do Cities Matter? Global Perspectives on Politics and Reform in Urban Life

INSTRUCTOR: Shelton Stromquist

Dates: Wednesdays, October 25; November 1, 8, 15

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

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

Registration Deadline: Wednesday, October 18

Class Limit: 175

Long governed by propertied elites, cities in the 19th century were transformed by migration and industrialization. Massive strikes, epidemics, fouled streets, unsafe water, and decrepit housing tore apart their physical and social fabric, and the question of who should govern cities—and in whose interest—moved front and center. Working-class movements and middle-class reformers took up the challenge to make cities more humane, livable, and democratic. Drawing on stories of local activists and their social-democratic movements, this course will explore how cities became crucibles for municipal socialism and a new urban politics whose ideas continue to inspire those who fight for the right of cities to govern themselves.

INSTRUCTOR: Shelton Stromquist is UI professor emeritus of history and a lifelong social activist. He has published widely on American social and labor history; as a University of Iowa Global Scholar, he expanded his research outside of the United States. The result, recently published by Verso, is Claiming the City: A Global History of Workers’ Fight for Municipal Socialism.

Course 11

Human Experimentation: Past Problems, Present and Future Challenges

INSTRUCTOR: Dr. J. Andrew Bertolatus

Dates: Tuesdays, October 31; November 7, 14, 21

Time: 10:00 a.m. - noon

Location: Zoom

Registration Deadline: Tuesday, October 24

The course will begin with an overview of the past (mostly negative) experience with research on humans, which has been largely responsible for the existing system of research regulations in the U.S. Next, we will discuss the current framework of oversight of human research. This will be followed by a detailed look at the process for developing and marketing drugs and devices in the U.S. Finally, we will deal with areas that the instructor perceives to be particularly challenging in the conduct and oversight of human research. 

INSTRUCTOR: Dr. J. Andrew Bertolatus has served as chair of UI’s Institutional Review Board since 2002. His clinical and research experience is focused on kidney transplantation and antirejection therapy. He received BA and MD degrees from Johns Hopkins University, completed a residency at the University of Kentucky, and trained in nephrology in the U.K. before coming to Iowa.

Course 12

Homecoming: Learning Across the Curriculum in the Stanley Museum of Art's Inaugural Exhibition

INSTRUCTOR: Lauren Lessing

Dates: Mondays and Wednesdays, November 13/15, 20/22, 27/29; December 4/6

Time: 4:00 - 5:00 p.m.

Location: Zoom

Registration Deadline: Monday, November 6

Each of the eight hour-long class sessions will closely examine a selection of artworks in one of the museum’s second-floor galleries, where the inaugural exhibition, Homecoming, is on view. Participants will explore how the artworks relate to the gallery’s organizing theme. Themes covered in the course include: Expansive Visions, Points of Departure, Reencounters, Action and Reaction, History Is Always Now, Fragments of the Canon, Centering on Cloth, and About Face. Optional homework assignments will include supplementary readings and visits to the Stanley to see the artworks in person.

INSTRUCTOR: Lauren Lessing, the director of the UI Stanley Museum of Art since 2018, holds a PhD in art history from Indiana University. The author of many publications about American art and material culture, she has worked at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, and the Colby College Museum of Art.

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 
Greg Johnson 
Frank Mitros 
Mary New 
Sara Rynes-Weller 
Pam Willard 
Nancy Williams 

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A veteran aims to update the Memorial Honor Roll, located inside the Iowa Memorial Union, with the names of students and alumni who died in military conflicts from Vietnam through today. Thousands of Hawkeyes have answered the call of duty during wartime?and some have made the ultimate sacrifice. These University of Iowa students and alumni include Nile Kinnick (40BA), a former halfback whose fighter plane crashed during training in World War II. While not everyone can have a stadium named in their honor, all soldiers deserve to be remembered. That's the premise behind a project that Iowa business graduate and retired Maj. Gen. Stewart Wallace (68BBA) is organizing. Born at University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics and raised in Britt, Iowa, Wallace joined the army immediately after graduating from Iowa in 1968?during the Vietnam War. He retired in 2001 after 33 years of military service and now volunteers as a military adviser with the Iowa Technology Institute. Wallace is working to update the memorial wall located inside the Iowa Memorial Union with the names of every UI student or graduate who died in the line of duty. The current display, located on the first floor, is missing the names of soldiers from Vietnam through recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. It currently features listings from World War I, World War II, Korea, and some from Vietnam. "It's important to recognize the sacrifice of former students who gave their lives for this country," he says. "They should be recognized, and the IMU is the perfect place to do it." Wallace is working with staff in the Division of Student Life and the Office of the Registrar to cross-reference military death records of soldiers from Iowa and Illinois, but the team needs help and is calling on the families and friends of those who know a Hawkeye who died in the line of duty. "We need help, so we don't leave someone off the list?especially students and alumni from outside of Iowa or Illinois," he says. In 1919, UI President Walter Jessup (34LITTD) called for the construction of a student union dedicated to the memory of soldiers who died in World War I. Since then, the goal of the war memorial has been to honor any UI student or graduate who died while serving. Some names?such as Army Staff Sgt. Robert J. Miller, a Medal of Honor recipient who was killed in combat in Afghanistan?have been added to a digital honor roll, but the physical plaques haven't been updated since the 1970s. If you know any Hawkeyes who were killed or died while serving, especially those who were not from Iowa, submit their names to be included on the updated memorial. You can learn more about the IMU war memorial and its history by visiting its website.

Group looks to support students and alumni and to maintain a supportive voice for their issues at the University of Iowa.

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