Wednesday Courses

Fall Registration has closed. SEE YOU THIS SPRING!

We greatly anticipate seeing you for our spring 2022 semester (March 28—April 29). Until registration for spring opens, please review our previous course offerings below. Please note these courses were offered for fall 2021 and that our course offerings differ every semester.

Three Months in Bethlehem: Rights, Wrongs, and Realities

Drawing on her experience as an international observer in the West Bank, the moderator will lead participants in an examination of the long conflict between modern Israel and the Palestinian people. Updated material will cover history, politics, religion, and America’s role. The moderator will utilize readings, documentaries, and outside speakers to illuminate this challenging and often contentious topic.

Instructor: Susan Brogden is a graduate of Purdue University and Miami University. In early 2018, she spent three months in the West Bank, living and working as an international observer with the Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI). Since her return, she has worked as a regional coordinator for Churches for Middle East Peace, seeking to broaden Americans’ understanding of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and to advocate for a just peace for both Israelis and Palestinians.

6 Wednesdays: October 6–November 17; 9:00–10:15 am
Format: Classroom
Location: Boyd Hall, Room 217
NOTE: Class will not meet on 10/27. If there is sufficient interest, a sixth session (November 17) will be added to allow for a wrap-up discussion and documentary.


How Can We Overcome Polarization in our Nation?

How can we bring civil discourse into our communications? Political and personal polarization has grown in our nation for over 25 years. How do we change this course of polarization? It starts with patriotic empathy—transforming our attitudes towards each other. In other words, our love for our country is shown by concern for our fellow citizens. Learn how this process begins with depolarizing within and moves to using skills for bridging the divide. Come join us on this important learning journey to discover how you can make a difference.

Instructors: Beverly Horstman has volunteered as State Coordinator for Braver Angels since 2018. Her professional experience includes 40+ years in business involving marketing, training, and customer service. Before retiring, Beverly was VP of Business Operations. Kathy Justice has volunteered with Braver Angels on the Core Team for Greater Cincinnati Alliance since 2019. Before retiring, Kathy was Director of Speech Pathology, Audiology, and Interpreter Services at The Christ Hospital.

5 Wednesdays: October 6–November 3; 9:00–10:15 am
Format: Hybrid
Location: Online or VOALC, Room 128


The Damnation of Theron Ware: Frederic’s Powerful Novel

The fifth best-selling book of 1896, Harold Frederic’s The Damnation of Theron Ware, presents an innocent but ambitious Methodist minister in his first year in an upstate New York town as he and his wife encounter a new world: a scholarly Catholic priest, a Darwinian scientist, an itinerant church fundraiser, and a ravishing red-haired organist. Come join our reader-centered, conversational discussion of this little-known but thoughtful and eminently readable novel—with what a colleague calls “the best literary sex scene I know.” Before our first class, please read Part I, chapters I-V, pp. 1-52.

Class text: Harold Frederic, The Damnation of Theron Ware, Penguin Classics, ISBN: 0-14-039025-1

Instructor: Don Daiker is Professor Emeritus of English, Miami University, and a Hemingway scholar who has taught many courses in American literature.

5 Wednesdays: October 6–November 3; 9:00–10:15 am
Format: Hybrid
Location: Online or Peabody Hall, Room 31


Naked Masks

Naked Masks is the title that Luigi Pirandello, Nobel Prize-winning Italian playwright, gave to his collected plays. We will read and discuss five of his most important plays, including his most famous, Six Characters in Search of an Author. Pirandello’s primary themes are the relativity of truth and the intersection between reality and illusion.

Class text: Luigi Pirandello; ed. Eric Bentley, Naked Masks, E.P. Dutton, 1957, ISBN: 0-525-47006-9

Instructor: Peter Pedroni, Professor Emeritus of Italian, Miami University, directed the Miami University Summer Language Institute in Italy for 36 years. He has published books and articles on Italian literature and has translated two Italian novels into English.

5 Wednesdays: October 6–November 3; 10:45 am–noon
Format: Classroom
Location: Peabody Hall, Room 116


Passages: E.M. Forster’s Howards End and A Passage to India

Of the English novelist E.M. Forster, the American critic Lionel Trilling said this: “He is one of the thinking people who were never led by thought to suppose they could be more than human and who, in bad times, will not become less.” Trilling was one of Forster’s most astute critics; we will evaluate his observation as we read and discuss together Forster’s last two novels published in his lifetime: Howards End (1910) and his indisputable masterpiece, A Passage to India (1924). For our first class meeting please read Forster’s essay “What I Believe,” easily accessible on the internet.

Class texts: E.M. Forster, Howards End. Any edition.
E.M. Forster, A Passage to India. Any edition.

Instructor: William J. Gracie, Jr., Professor Emeritus of English and former Dean of the School of Interdisciplinary Studies/Western College Program, Miami University, is chair of the ILR Curriculum Committee.

5 Wednesdays: October 6–November 3; 10:45 am–noon
Format: Classroom
Location: M.U. Police Services Center, Room 123


History of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Since 1986, 180 artists have been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. We will listen to music from many of these beloved musicians and view vintage film footage from their performances. Let’s compare the music of the 1950s, '60s, '70s, and '80s from Elvis to the Beatles to Dylan to Elton John.

Instructor: Gary Ruff has enjoyed teaching over 50 seminars for OLLI at the University of Dayton. Gary has a collection of over 5,000 records and has seen many of his favorite artists live.

5 Wednesdays: October 6–November 3; 10:45 am–noon
Format: Classroom
Location: VOALC, Room 128


The Rocks Speak! But Are We Listening?

This course will be an introduction to paleontology, the study of past life on Earth. While learning the history of paleontology, we’ll also examine and discuss samples of fossils from Ohio and other areas of the U.S. This course will require some introduction to geology, geological processes, and earth science.

Instructor: Jay Spielman was a geologist with the Bureau of Land Management for 37 years.

5 Wednesdays: October 6–November 3; 12:30–1:30 pm
Format: Classroom
Location: Boyd Hall, Room 217


Wednesday Brown Bag Lecture Series

Relax and learn. See how a tsunami in Japan and a local playground are connected; experience full steam ahead in Hamilton, Ohio, from the largest paper mill to the largest indoor sports complex in the country; examine foods from the South; and meet Spider Man and the itsy-bitsy spider. Feel free to bring your lunch and enjoy this ILR tradition.

October 6Journey of Rebuilding a Playground in JapanEmiko Moore is a freelance news writer/producer and former host of The City Show on Lebanon Channel 6.

October 13 Hamilton is HotDan Bates is President and CEO of the Greater Hamilton Chamber of Commerce. Dan is an engaged member of his community, serves on many boards and advisory committees, and has been a passionate volunteer for numerous business, education, and human services organizations, especially those that serve the needs of at-risk high school youth or transitioning military personnel and veterans.

October 20The Redevelopment of the Champion Paper Mill Michael Dingeldein is a registered architect in his 37th year of practice in Hamilton, Ohio. Mike will make a presentation on historic redevelopment of Champion Paper to the new Spooky Nook Sports Complex in Hamilton.

October 27South in Your MouthDeb Price has presented on a variety of topics for ILR for two years and OLLI for six years since retirement. Deb has been teaching swimming at Coney Island for 53 years. Southern treat samples will be served at this presentation.

November 3 Spiders: They’re Here for Good!Alan B. Cady is a Professor of Biology at Miami University, specializing in ecology, physiology, and animal behavior, and recently has been investigating spiders and harvestmen as agents of biological control.

Coordinator: Marlene Esseck is a retired educator from the Lakota School District.

5 Wednesdays: October 6–November 3; 12:30–1:45 pm
Format: Classroom
Location: VOALC, Auditorium


The Why, When, Where, and How of Cloud Storage for Consumers

If, as most of us now do, you have a smartphone, tablet, or traditional computer, and you want to access your files (documents, photos, household inventories, medical history) from any/all of your devices but aren’t sure how, this is the class for you. Your variety of computing devices is the “why” for cloud/internet storage and computing. Microsoft has OneDrive, Apple has iCloud, Google has Google Drive and Photos, Amazon has Cloud Drive, and DropBox is yet another option. Which might you use, where, and when? And how do you truly secure all your important information online? This and more will be covered in consumer-friendly terms in three lectures.

Instructor: Robin Seaver spent her career teaching basic computer skills from yesterday’s mainframe computers to today’s smartphones and tablets.

3 Wednesdays: October 6–20; 12:30–1:45 pm
Format: Virtual
Location: Online


Painting with Knives

Put those brushes down and bring those knives out. Participants will learn basic techniques of painting in oils using two kinds of palette knives. They will smooth, drag, touch and lift, blotch dab, spread, and create fine lines and ridges. The entire class will use the same photo as reference.

Instructor: Marian Fisher has previously taught landscape painting for ILR. She has over 13 years of experience creating art with oils. Marian is an active member of the Woman’s Art Club of Cincinnati and Art Alliance Painters.

5 Wednesdays: October 6–November 3; 2:15–3:45 pm
Format: Hybrid
Location: Online or VOALC, Room 123
Supplies: List will be emailed upon registration.


Mt. Rushmore: The Artist and the Men on the Mountain

Let’s delve deep into the carving of Mt. Rushmore, exploring all of its nooks, crannies, struggles, and conflicts. Beyond the granite itself, we’ll also take a closer look at each of the presidents represented and revered there.

Instructors: Deb Price and Caryl Miller have taught numerous classes for OLLI and ILR, many on history-related topics.

5 Wednesdays: October 6–November 3; 2:15–3:30 pm
Format: Hybrid
Location: Online or VOALC, Auditorium


A Tourist’s Guide to London & the United Kingdom

Travelers and those interested in other parts of the world can learn what makes England one of the greatest tourist destinations. The instructors will explain how to prepare for and survive a trip to this wonderful nation and present the not-to-be-missed sites to visit in Central, Eastern, and Western London as well as their fascinating history. One session will explain several exciting day trips to historical locations such as Greenwich, Hampton Court, Oxford, Brighton, Bath, Stonehenge, Stratford-upon-Avon, the Cotswolds, and the site of Churchill’s birthplace, Blenheim Palace.

Instructors: Richard Piland left a 16-year career as a university professor to start a research firm in 1983 and now writes local history books, seven of which have been published. He has served on the board of the Butler County Historical Society. Marcy Piland, after a 15-year career in advertising scheduling for local television stations, became a project coordinator and company liaison for Ethicon Endo-Surgery. She now writes romance novels, nine of which have been published.

5 Wednesdays: October 6–November 3; 4:00–5:15 pm
Format: Virtual
Location: Online