Friday Courses

Thank You for Another Great Semester!

As we entered our 25th year, our instructors, volunteers, and members assisted in making the spring semester an overwhelming success. With a desire to continually innovate and meet our students where they are, we are proud to announce that in addition to in-person classes, virtual and hybrid courses will continue to be offered for the foreseeable future.

We look forward to seeing you for the fall 2022 semester, as we continue the celebration of ILR’s 25th anniversary!

Intriguing Mysteries, Surprising Sleuths, Worldwide Venues

From an unexpected author to a Golden Age sleuth to an Australian half-caste detective to an American academic amateur to the oldest sleuth imaginable, these five stories set in four countries will challenge our expectations of what a mystery can be.

Class texts: We will read the following mysteries in this order:

A. Milne, The Red House Mystery, independently published, 2020, ISBN-13: 979-8651788361

Arthur W. Upfield, Bony and the White Savage, ETT Imprint, 2019, ISBN-10: 1925706710, ISBN-13: 978-1925706710

Amanda Cross, Sweet Death, Kind Death, Ballantine Books, 1995, ISBN-10: 0345467639, ISBN-13: 978-0345467638

Ngaio Marsh, Light Thickens, Felony & Mayhem Press, 2016, ISBN-10: 1631940651

Steven Saylor, “The Alexandrian Cat” from The House of the Vestals, 1992 (available from me as a PDF)

The instructor will email the course booklet in PDF form, which includes “The Alexandrian Cat” (does not include other texts), before the first class. If you cannot access PDF files, please be sure to contact the instructor as early as possible so alternative hard-copy materials can be prepared for you, which you may collect at the Oxford Copy Shop on College Avenue.

Instructor: Judith de Luce, Professor Emerita of Classics, Miami University; avid reader of mysteries; feminist literary scholar.

5 Fridays: April 1–29; 9:00–10:15 a.m.
Format: Classroom
Location: Knolls of Oxford, Clubhouse


Unlocking the Secrets of Origami

Modern origami is many things: it can be an engaging activity to delight children, a leaf unfolding from a bud, a useful medical device (think stents for heart patients), or the folded wings of a communication satellite that unfurl in outer space. Lastly and most importantly, it can offer mental stimulation for older adults. All cognitive resources are used while creating a work of origami, giving the brain a rest from debilitating and stressful thoughts. In addition, the act of following instructions stimulates audio and verbal memory.

Instructor: Christine McCullough has a consuming interest in all things origami which began in high school and has continued off and on for nearly 60 years. She has taught gifted children for over 15 years at Super Saturday and summer campers at Seven Hills School in Cincinnati.

5 Fridays: April 1–29; 10:45 a.m.–noon
Format: Virtual
Location: Online
Supply fee
: $15, payable with registration


Oxford Planning for Climate Change

The City of Oxford, Miami University, and community groups are planning actions that will maximize preparations and minimize disruptions stemming from climate change. Both the city and Miami University have climate change initiatives in their strategic plans which are currently being discussed. In this course, several local leaders will describe 1) what has been accomplished, 2) what is being done, and 3) what is being planned to sustain a safe and successful community.

April 1City ResponsibilitiesJessica Greene, Staff member, City of Oxford. Sam Perry, Community Development Director, City of Oxford.

April 8Miami University Climate Action PlanningAdam Sizemore, Director of Sustainability, Miami University. Jonathan Levy, Executive Director of the Institute for the Environment and Sustainability, Miami University.

April 15Waste Management, Investments, CommunityChantel Raghu, Council member, City of Oxford, and veterinarian.

April 22Planning, TransportationDavid Prytherch, Council member, City of Oxford, and Professor of Geography.

April 29Electrification OptionsJason Bracken, Council member, City of Oxford.

Instructor: Mark Boardman has had professional and retired careers dominated by conservation, particularly the interface of geology and human activity that influences climate change and land use. Mark spent five years as Director of the Institute of Environmental Sciences and over a decade as a board member of Three Valley Conservation Trust.

5 Fridays: April 1–29; 10:45 a.m.–noon
Format: Virtual
Location: Online


The History of Printing: 1800 to Present

Join us as we explore the history of printing and printed books through the rich collections of Miami University's Walter Havighurst Special Collections and University Archives. We will examine the materials and processes used to print books in the 19th century and how printing, illustrating, and bookmaking evolved in an increasingly mechanized world. This course is a complementary course to the previously offered History of Printing and the Printed Word, but no prior knowledge or experience with printing is required.

Instructors: Rachel Makarowski is the Special Collections Librarian of the Walter Havighurst Special Collections and University Archives, Miami University. William Modrow is Head of the Walter Havighurst Special Collections and University Archives, Miami University.

5 Fridays: April 1–29; 10:45 a.m.–noon
Format: Classroom
Location: Oxford, King Library, Room 320


Entering the Golden Age of Broadway

The Golden Age of Broadway featured the overlap of earlier composers such as Richard Rodgers, Irving Berlin, and Cole Porter with new ones such as Lerner and Loewe, Frank Loesser, Jerry Herman, and Stephen Sondheim. Through film clips and discussion, we will review musicals from the 1940s and 1950s including South Pacific, Annie Get Your Gun, Brigadoon, Kiss Me Kate, Guys and Dolls, and more.

Instructor: Doug Iden is a big fan of musical theater and enjoys talking with other devotees.

5 Fridays: April 1–29; 12:30–1:45 p.m.
Format: Virtual
Location: Online


What Is Soul?

Here are four thoughtful answers from a philosopher (Aristotle), a poet (Lucretius), a bishop (Berkeley), and a psychologist (Freud). Their views are different but taken together make a comprehensive idea of the soul. Each suggests some way the soul might exist after death.

Instructor: Jack Sommer taught philosophy at Miami University, Western College, and short appointments at several other schools. His experience includes two years with the Army engineers during the Korean War and many years writing a book, Moments of Soul, An Inquiry into Personal Attraction, in which he tries to understand the mind, personal identity, honor, and faith, all connected and dependent on our need for others.

5 Fridays: April 1–29; 12:30–1:45 p.m.
Format: Classroom
Location: Oxford, Boyd Hall, Room 132


Fabtabulous: Fun and Useful Ways to Reduce Textile Waste

Ready to reject fast fashion by repurposing fabrics into useful items such as tote and gift bags, rugs, pet toys, and jewelry? Learn about textile recycling challenges, generational habits of fashion, sustainable wardrobes, and overconsumption issues. You can make and create with t-shirt yarn, turn fabric bits into beads, and use other easy strategies to reduce textile waste. Hands-on, free choice projects will be featured, using the Thread Up Oxford fabric stash or you can BYOF (bring your own fabric)! Sewing machines are available but non-sewers are welcome.

Instructors: Shana Rosenberg is a lifetime Oxford resident and director of a textile waste reduction nonprofit called Thread Up Oxford. She gets to play with fabric all the time. Ingrid Schreiber came to Oxford in 1989. She likes to make things out of materials that cross her path. Ingrid is Program/Activity Coordinator at Oxford Seniors.

5 Fridays: April 1–29; 2:00–3:30 p.m.
Format: Classroom
Location: Oxford Seniors, Art Room


Italian Lovers: How Do They Love? Let Us Count the Ways!

We will explore poetry and stories about love by Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio, Machiavelli, and works by women poets of the Renaissance such as Gaspara Stampa, Veronica Franco, and Moderata Fonte. We will consider whether the type of love depicted in literature reflects and influences how we define our role in the world and in life.

Class texts: Readings (c. 20-30 pp. per week, in English) will be supplied in a PDF file: week 1, Dante, excerpts from The New Life and The Divine Comedy; week 2, Petrarca, from “The Canzoniere”; week 3, Boccaccio, poetry and stories from The Decameron; week 4, Machiavelli, the play The Mandrake (c. 40 pp.); week 5, Renaissance women poets.

Instructor: Sante Matteo is Professor Emeritus of Italian Studies. For ILR, he has taught a recurrent movie course with a different theme each term, as well as courses on Italian literature.

5 Fridays: April 1–29; 2:15–3:30 p.m.
Format: Virtual
Location: Online