Monday Courses

These courses have been completed. Feel free to browse last semester's classes for a sampling of what we offer. Content will be updated for fall 2021 on or before the opening of registration on September 2nd.

First Novels: Harvena Richter's The Human Shore

Authors' first novels are always fascinating. Let's discuss Harvena Richter's first novel, The Human Shore, written at the same time her father, Conrad Richter, wrote his novel, The Waters of Kronos. Here's the description: "The riveting account of a woman and her three children caught in the vicious grip of a New England hurricane. The house that Nona believes she loves more than her husband is swept away; she survives clinging to a fragment of flooring, hurled by the waves across the bay." We will talk a bit about Harvena Richter as an author and scholar of Virginia Woolf as well as her relationship with her father. We'll also explore the real life inspiration for the hurricane at the center of Richter's novel.

Class text: Any copy of Harvena Richter’s The Human Shore

Instructors: Marianne Cotugno is Professor of English.

5 Mondays: March 29–April 26, 9:00–10:15am
Location: online


Climate Change: The Most Important Problem of Our Time

Of all the environmental problems humanity faces today, global climate change is certainly one of the most complicated. There are choices we have to make and political decisions necessary that are not easy. The reality of tipping points and an overwhelming feeling of science denialism are topics we plan to cover. We anticipate concluding with reason for hope for the future.

Speaker: Mark Boardman is Professor Emeritus of Geology and the Institute for Environment and Sustainability. As an environmental scientist, global climate change is of intense interest to him.

Instructor: Ben Mattox is a retired high school science teacher spending most of his career at Talawanda High School in Oxford teaching biology and botany. Karl Mattox is Professor Emeritus of Botany and former Dean of the College of Arts and Science. He is a dedicated grandpa and father as well as an avid reader of Harry Potter books and science books of all areas, but especially on climate change.

5 Mondays: March 29–April 26, 9:00–10:15am
Location: online


High School Geography Revived: New Ways to Study Our World

Geography has returned to the curriculum of high schools across the U.S., including many near here (not Talawanda). Last year, around a half-million high school students (mostly ninth graders) had a geography class and around a quarter million took the Advanced Placement (AP) Human Geography exam. High school geography is no longer memorizing countries and capitals. It's about acquiring tools for analyzing contemporary issues at global and local levels. Our class will review the principal topics in the high school geography curriculum and how these topics are being taught, including immigration, cultural and ethnic diversity, economic inequality, and environmental sustainability.

Instructor: Jim Rubenstein is Adjunct Professor Emeritus of Geography. He is the author of the human geography textbook used by most high schools.

5 Mondays: March 29–April 26; 9:00 am–10:15 am
Location: online


Passport to Retirement

Learn how to manage your finances in retirement. This course provides a comprehensive approach that helps you set realistic goals and make more informed financial decisions for your overall financial retirement and financial management. Address real-life concerns with tools that will last a lifetime. The moderator will use full-color graphics to explain financial concepts clearly and concisely. Participants will receive a 135-page workbook packed with exercises, checklists, and self-analysis quizzes. This valuable resource helps students apply what they learn to their personal financial situations.

Instructor: Gary Hollander, CFP, is a practicing financial professional with over 44 years of experience who conducts educational workshops to help people avoid common roadblocks to financial success in retirement. He has been recently awarded “FIVE STAR Best in Client Satisfaction Wealth Manager” by Cincinnati Magazine and was recently awarded by the Cincinnati Better Business Bureau for being an accredited member and A+ rated since 1991. He has been president of Hollander & Associates LLC since 1976.

6 Mondays: March 29–May 3; 10:45 am–12:00 pm NOTE: Course extends post-term
Location: online


Miami's Art Museum Up Close

Your insider's guide to new exhibitions and upcoming programs at the Miami University Art Museum. Each session will explore topics and objects of special interest associated with the current installations.

March 29Overview of Current ExhibitionsJason Shaiman, Curator of Exhibitions

April 5Visualizing the Unseen: Gregorian Chant and the ArtsRobert Benson, Professor Emeritus

April 12Treasures of Buddhist Sculpture from India and JapanRobert Wicks, Director

April 19Miriam Schapiro and Frida KahloEllen Buerk, Docent

April 26 – Faith Ringgold RevisitedCynthia Collins, Curator of Education

Instructor: Marianne Cotugno, Professor of English, has published articles on Conrad Richter.

5 Mondays: March 29April 26; 10:45am –12:00 pm
Location: online


Becoming ‘One Indivisible Nation’ in an Era of Divisiveness

The United States is a wonderfully diverse country, requiring our leaders and citizens to find ways to bridge differences to become united and strong. This course will present research and analysis on the nature and causes of the divisiveness and dysfunction in our governing processes today. We will present potential solutions to moving toward a more united country in both our elected officials and our citizenry. Finally, we will look at potential policies that might address the needs and concerns of the majority of the country and that might move the country more toward a more perfect union; we will discuss what actions need to be taken to implement these policies. This is a lecture style class, but is presented in an interactive style using more questions for the attendees to consider than statements to debate. Spirited discussion is encouraged and regularly occurs.

Instructor: Robert Viney is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and, after serving in nuclear-powered submarines, worked as a senior business executive with two Fortune 500 companies and with several smaller private companies. He has been an Adjunct Professor of Leadership at the University of Cincinnati for the past six years and a volunteer with several community development and leadership programs, including presenting multiple ILR courses.

5 Mondays: March 29–April 26; 10:45 am –12:00 pm
Location: online


Midday Lecture Series

Each Monday the Midday Lecture Series presents a speaker who will discuss a topic of interest and importance. Make plans to enjoy this ILR tradition.

March 29 AFabric Treasures: An Antique Quilt BedturningMary Royer is a member of the American Quilt Study Group and the Midwest Fabric Study Group.

April 5Tour of the Universe: You are HereDean Regas is Astronomer and Education Director, Cincinnati Observatory.

April 12Inside the Knee: Anatomy, Injury, Aging, and RepairDavid Butler is Professor Emeritus of Biomedical Engineering, University of Cincinnati.

April 19Formal, Functional, and Sometimes Funky: Exploring Oxford's Mid-Century Modern Architecture, 1940-1970Steve Gordon is Director, McGuffey Museum.

April 26Martha Washington's Silver: Coinage, Currency, and National Identity in the Early Republic, 1776-1796Robert Wicks is Director, Miami Art Museum.

Coordinators: Sara Butler, Professor Emerita of Art, is vice-chair of the ILR Curriculum Committee.William Gracie, Jr., Professor Emeritus of English and former Dean of the School of Interdisciplinary Studies, is chair of the ILR Curriculum Committee.

5 Mondays: March 29–April 26; 12:30 –1:45 pm
Location: online


Huddled Masses and Wretched Refuse: The History of U.S. Immigration Politics

Immigration has been a hot political issue in the United States since the country's earliest days. Most often the terms of the debate have sounded strikingly similar to the arguments we still hear today, even though the historical specifics varied. We will examine and discuss similarities and differences in the way immigrants were viewed by native-born Americans at multiple points in America's history. We will look at how those views led to the evolving efforts of the federal government to regulate the flow of foreigners into the country and how they continue to echo in the politics of today.

Instructor: Rob Schorman is Professor Emeritus of History having retired in Spring 2019 after two decades as a faculty member and administrator at Miami's Middletown campus.

5 Mondays: March 29–April 26, 2:15–3:30 pm
Location: online


Genealogy Series

Learn how to trace your family's history through examining records from the past. Classes will include Introduction to Genealogy; Census and Vital Records Genealogy; Finding the Mother Country; Cemetery Research; and Libraries, Museums, and Archives.

Instructor: Brad Spurlock is Manager of the Smith Library of Regional History for the Lane Libraries. As part of his position he manages archival collections and conducts history and genealogy research and programming.

5 Mondays: March 29–April 26, 2:15–3:30 pm
Location: online


Dialogues on Democracy

This Monday evening online lecture/discussion series, coordinated with the University's Menard Family Center for Democracy, will feature nationally prominent scholars, experts and practitioners as they discuss selected topics of American law, politics and history. Be sure to take advantage of this unique opportunity.

March 29Should We Keep the Electoral College?Jesse Wegman, author of Let the People Pick the President: The Case for Abolishing the Electoral College (St. Martin's Press, 2020) sits on the editorial board of the New York Times, where he has written about the Supreme Court and legal affairs since 2013. Mr. Wegman has also worked as a reporter, editor, and producer at various news organizations including National Public Radio, the New York Observer, Reuters, The Daily Beast, and Newsweek.

April 5The Civil War, Reconstruction, and the Problem of FreedomEric Foner, the DeWitt Clinton Professor Emeritus of History at Columbia University, is one of America’s pre-eminent historians and public intellectuals. He is the author of over two dozen widely acclaimed books on American history, including the Pulitzer Prize and Bancroft Prize-winning The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery (2010), and Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877 (1988), which won Bancroft and Parkman Prizes. Dr. Foner is a past president of the Organization of American Historians, the American Historical Association and the Society of American Historians. He is an elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the British Academy and was elected to the American Philosophical Society in 2018.

April 12Bye week; no class

April 19The Constitution and American LifeMichael McConnell, director of the Constitutional Law Center at Stanford Law School, is a former judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit and a senior fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution. One of the nation's leading authorities on the U.S. Constitution, Judge McConnell previously clerked for Judge J. Skelly Wright at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and Justice William J. Brennan, Jr. at the United States Supreme Court. His distinguished career has also included service as an assistant general counsel at the Office of Management and Budget, an assistant to the Solicitor General in the Justice Department and as the William B. Graham Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School.

April 26Miami University Janus Forum – speakers to be announced.

Coordinator: John Forren is Associate Professor and Chair of Miami's Department of Justice & Community Studies and Director of the University's Menard Family Center for Democracy.

4 Mondays: March 29–April 26, 7:00–8:15 pm NOTE: No class April 12
Location: online NOTE: This lecture will be held via Zoom