Course Information

Select a day of the week above to filter courses. Use Ctrl (⌘) + F on your keyboard or your browser's search function to search the entire page.

All times listed are Central Standard Time.

EACH COURSE is identified by one of the following terms:

  • ONLINE ONLY: Both the instructor and students will meet online for the class, live via Zoom, in the designated weekly time slot. Sessions will be recorded for review, if desired.
  • HYBRID: The instructor teaches live from the Moss Building. Some students are in the classroom (limited availability), while others Zoom in. When registering, you may select either the IN PERSON or ONLINE version of the class – both options allow students to interact with the instructor.
  • IN PERSON ONLY: The class will take place at the Moss Building. These sessions will not offer online viewing and will not be recorded.

Monday Courses

  • Cinders and Silence: Western Missouri’s Burnt District (9:30 – 11:00 a.m.)
  • Ways to Adapt Home Landscapes to a Changing Climate (10:00 – 11:30 a.m.)
  • Two Sessions on American Art (10:00 – 11:30 a.m.)
  • Learn How to Play Mah Jongg (10:00 a.m. – noon)
  • Missouri Treatment Courts: The Foundation of Justice Reform (1:00 – 2:00 p.m.)
  • It’s 2023 – What Is There to Wear? (1:00 – 2:30 p.m.)

Note: There are no classes scheduled on Monday, Jan. 16, in observance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.


Cinders and Silence: Western Missouri’s Burnt District

Mondays: Jan. 9, 23, 30; Feb. 6 (4 sessions)
9:30 – 11:00 a.m.
HYBRID
Semester Course Fee:
$40
Premium Members: Unlimited classes; no additional fees
Topic: U.S. & World History

By September 30, 1863, 2,200 square miles of western Missouri had been depopulated and, by order, put to the torch. Almost 40,000 residents suddenly became refugees, scattered to the four winds. Following the Civil War, while this Burnt District was repopulated, the war's death and devastation were purposefully erased from Missouri's history. This course reconstructs the events through the eyes of those who lived the history. Each class addresses a different dimension of the period. Initially, the depth of the destruction and its causes will be explored. From 1854 to 1863, confrontations with those from the Kansas Territory waned, and these displaced families and communities fell into oblivion. The exodus triggered by General Order No. 11, following Quantrill's Lawrence Raid, will be experienced through the eyes of the refugees. Session three introduces the political theater through the life of R. L. Y. Peyton. Peyton's political career and impact stretched from Missouri to Richmond, Va. Lastly, the Burnt District's enslaved African Americans become our focus – after all, their yearning for freedom sparked the maelstrom.

Instructor: Tom Rafiner is an independent researcher who has devoted the last 20 years to reclaiming the history of Missouri’s Burnt District. A Mizzou graduate (‘69), Rafiner began his research following retirement and relocation to his native Kansas City. His work has resulted in three books, all anchored in Burnt District history. Rafiner has been the keynote speaker at several Civil War events and has spoken in more than 30 Missouri counties. A storyteller, his old-school approach to engaging audiences brings the history up close and personal.


Ways to Adapt Home Landscapes to a Changing Climate

Mondays: Jan. 9, 23 (2 sessions)
10:00 – 11:30 a.m.
HYBRID
Semester Course Fee: $20
Premium Members: Unlimited classes; no additional fees
Topic: Science & Technology

First half of the semester

This class is being offered under the umbrella of the UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030), which has a global focus on reversing ecosystem losses, improving ecosystem services and recovering biodiversity. A wide variety of practices are needed, depending on local and regional conditions to achieve the stated goals in a changing climate. The challenges revolve mainly around restoring ecosystems with the increased frequencies of extreme temperatures, drought and flooding. Topics will include local action that can increase the efficiency of using water in landscapes, how to landscape in ways that conserve energy and how to select plants that can tolerate extreme weather events, such as drought, floods and saturated soils. The instructors will share examples of plantings to achieve self-sufficient, low maintenance gardens in mid-Missouri.

Instructors: Chris Starbuck is an emeritus faculty member in the Division of Plant Science & Technology at the University of Missouri. He received his doctoral degree in horticulture from Oregon State University and had a teaching/research/ Extension appointment in horticulture focusing on woody ornamental plants. He brings many years of experience relevant to establishing plantings that adapt well to climate challenges.

Michael Chippendale is an emeritus faculty member in the Division of Plant Science & Technology at MU. He received his doctoral degree in entomology from the University of Wisconsin and had a research/teaching appointment in entomology focusing on insect-plant relationships. He brings many years of experience relevant to responding to climate challenges in home landscapes.


Two Sessions on American Art

Mondays: Jan. 30; Feb. 6 (2 sessions)
10:00 – 11:30 a.m.
HYBRID
Semester Course Fee:
$20
Premium Members: Unlimited classes; no additional fees
Topic: Literature, Art & Religion
Second half of the semester

Delve into important topics in the arts with two specialists from mid-Missouri museums – Sarah Jones from the Missouri State Museum and Robin Blake, docent for MU’s Museum of Art and Archaeology.

Jan. 30: The Missouri Capitol Lunettes, Oscar E. Berninghaus and the Taos Society of Artists
The original Capitol Decoration Commission planned to use artwork to educate people about the resources and history of the state of Missouri. The lunette murals decorating the second floor are among the most direct representations of this goal. Oscar Berninghaus, a St. Louis native, and his colleagues of the Taos Society of Artists created many of the original lunettes. Join Dr. Sarah S. Jones, art historian for the Missouri State Museum, to explore the history of the Taos Society of Artists and their contribution to the art of the Missouri Capitol.

Instructor: Dr. Sarah S. Jones serves as historic site specialist and art historian at the Jefferson Landing State Historic Site and the Missouri State Museum. Her background includes work in art museums and historic houses in Missouri, Nebraska and New York. She recently published an article in the University of Missouri Museum of Art and Archaeology’s academic journal MUSE entitled “Richard Notkin’s Cooling Tower Teapot #5: Nature, Craft, Tradition, and Protest in the Nuclear Age.”

Feb. 6: African American Artists
This historical survey will focus on African American visual artists, starting with the early 19th century art of Joshua Johnson and extending to the works of contemporary artists Kara Walker and Kehinde Wiley. Artists Robert Duncanson, Henry Ossawa Tanner, Elizabeth Catlett, Charles White, Jacob Lawrence, Romare Bearden and others will be featured, with brief biographical sketches and representative artwork. Dr. Blake will teach online – the Osher staff will project the session in the Moss Building for those who prefer not to Zoom.

Instructor: Robin Blake is a docent at the MU Museum of Art and Archeology. This presentation will be similar in format to the one he presented previously for the Osher program on deaf American artists, with audience participation.


Learn How to Play Mah Jongg

Mondays: Jan. 9, 23, 30; Feb. 6 (4 sessions)
10:00 a.m. – noon
IN PERSON ONLY
Semester Course Fee: $50 ($40 course fee, plus $10 materials fee)
Premium Members: $10 materials fee
Topic: Hobbies & Games

Limit of 16 students; there is a $10 materials fee per student; each session runs for two hours

Mah Jongg is a Chinese gambling game played with three to four players. Skill and intelligence are required, but luck also plays a part. Some say Mah Jongg originated around the time of Confucius, about 500 B.C.E.; some even say that he invented the game that originally was exclusive to the royal class. Commoners who dared play faced decapitation. Eventually, the penalty was lifted, and the game became popular among all classes. The game was introduced to the U.S. in 1920, with English translations provided on the tiles. In the late 1920s, its popularity waned, but the game enjoyed a resurgence during the Depression apparently due to the mental stimulation it offered. Enthusiasts today invite you to learn to play and keep this ancient cognitive challenge alive and thriving.

Instructor: Dee Dee Strnad is a retired Columbia Public Schools teacher with a master’s degree in special education. She taught at West Junior High School for 19 years and has been playing Mah Jongg for about 20 years. She plays weekly with a group of friends and has taught the game to many retired teachers.


Missouri Treatment Courts: The Foundation of Justice Reform

Mondays: Jan. 9, 23, 30; Feb. 6 (4 sessions)
1:00 – 2:00 p.m.
ONLINE ONLY
Semester Course Fee: $40
Premium Members: Unlimited classes; no additional fees
Topic: Politics & Global Issues

Each session runs for one hour

About one in 10 American adults (20.2 million) have a substance use disorder. About one in five (43.6 million) have a mental health problem. Nearly 8 million of these individuals suffer from co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders. Tragically, people with these disorders are more likely to be incarcerated than treated.

Treatment courts are the single most successful intervention in our nation’s history for leading people living with substance use and mental health disorders out of the justice system and into lives of recovery and stability. Instead of viewing addiction as a moral failing, they view it as a disease. Instead of punishment, they offer treatment. Instead of indifference, they show compassion.

Treatment courts save lives every day. They employ a holistic approach that goes beyond simply treating substance use disorders. They improve education, employment, housing and financial stability; promote family reunification; reduce foster care placements; and increase the rate of mothers with substance use disorders delivering fully drug-free babies.

Instructors: Casey L. Clevenger, Drug Court commissioner, Division XII, was appointed on November 30, 2015. Division XII hears treatment court dockets in Boone and Callaway counties, including Drug, DWI, Mental Health and Veterans courts. Clevenger has a B.S. in criminal justice and political science from Ball State University and a J.D. from the Thomas Jefferson School of Law.

Katie Doman has been the Treatment Court administrator for the 19th Judicial Circuit in Cole County since June 2019 and oversees the Adult, Co-Occurring, Veteran and DWI treatment courts. Doman received a B.A. from Truman State University and has spent her entire career working in the criminal justice field.


It’s 2023 – What Is There to Wear?

Mondays: Jan. 9, 23, 30; Feb. 6 (4 sessions)
1:00 – 2:30 p.m.
ONLINE ONLY
Semester Course Fee: $40
Premium Members: Unlimited classes; no additional fees
Topic: Hobbies & Games

In this class, instructor Patti Doyle will look at the dos and don'ts of fashion. The instructor encourages participants to bring family photographs and/or published reports about today's or yesterday's clothing. We will look at the changes in Americans’ perception of style, comfort and of career wear after the pandemic lockdown. Other questions we will consider are “Does GenZ favor fast fashion, hand-me-downs, dump shopping circular wardrobes?”; “Do we?”

Designers and artists are creating clothing for the future. What might our great-grandchildren wear? We may finish the semester looking at current haute couture designs and asking “Who wears this?” The instructor hopes you will enjoy this class and will add to the conversation. After all, we all wear clothes!

Instructor: Patti Doyle taught costume design in theater departments from Michigan to Utah to California before settling here at Stephens College, where she taught and designed costumes in the Performing Arts Department for some 35 years. She also spent many summers designing costumes at Stephens’ Okoboji Summer Theatre. Throughout her career, Doyle has shown a love of history, drama and the arts of color and texture in the clothing people have chosen to wear throughout the ages.

Tuesday Courses

  • Reproductive Justice: It’s More than Abortion Rights (9:30 – 11:00 a.m.)
  • The Novels of Cormac McCarthy: Blood Meridian (10:00 – 11:30 a.m.)
  • Exploring the Digital Globe (1:00 – 2:30 p.m.)
  • The United States in the 20th Century (3:00 – 4:30 p.m.)
  • Islam and Divine (Sharia) Laws (3:00 – 4:30 p.m.)

Reproductive Justice: It’s More than Abortion Rights

Tuesdays: Jan. 10, 17, 24, 31 (4 sessions)
9:30 – 11:00 a.m.
ONLINE ONLY
Semester Course Fee: $40
Premium Members: Unlimited classes; no additional fees
Topic: Politics & Global Issues

This class is even more relevant after the Dobbs decision, though the instructor’s interest stemmed from reading the book Imbeciles: The Supreme Court, American Eugenics, and the Sterilization of Carrie Buck.

“Reproductive justice” has three tenets: (1) the right to bear children if you want, (2) the right not to bear children if you do not want to, and (3) the right to live in an environment that is safe and conducive to raising a family. This course will concentrate on the first two tenets by exploring the history of reproductive justice and where we are today. Topics will include involuntary and voluntary sterilization (Have you heard of the Rule of 120, where women were not allowed to choose voluntary sterilization until their age multiplied by the number of their children equaled 120?); the criminalization and imprisonment of pregnant women and those who have just given birth; abortion, including those accused of aborting when they have miscarried or have given birth to a stillborn child; and how racism, classism, sexism and other forms of oppression play roles in the mistreatment of pregnant women.

Lectures will be supplemented by class discussion of short readings weekly; and Jill Delston associate teaching professor in Philosophy at University of Missouri–St. Louis (UMSL), will guest lecture during one session.

Instructor: Professor emeritus of cultural diversity Nancy F. Browning taught “Cultural Diversity in Modern America” to thousands of students at Lincoln University. In her retirement, she attends Osher classes and facilitates the Diversity Book Club. Browning edits scientific grants and papers for an international clientele and writes children’s books. She enjoys reading, walking, singing, quilting and other needlework as well as spending time with friends, family, and her cat Mili.


The Novels of Cormac McCarthy: Blood Meridian

Tuesdays: Jan. 10, 17, 24, 31 (4 sessions)
10:00 – 11:30 a.m.
HYBRID
Semester Course Fee: $40
Premium Members: Unlimited classes; no additional fees
Topic: Literature, Art & Religion

This is the second of a three-course series on the novels of Cormac McCarthy and will focus on what most critics feel to be McCarthy’s masterpiece, Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West (1985). The novel was the author’s first to be set in the West, and it redefines the Western. Based on real characters and historical events, McCarthy intensifies these through his imagination and brilliant prose to make readers reassess the myth of the Old West. Our investigation of the novel will consider the typical Western of books and film in addition to how Blood Meridian compares and how the author uses historical materials.

Registrants are encouraged to borrow or purchase the Vintage Book edition of the novel.

Instructor: Clarence Wolfshohl is professor emeritus of English at William Woods University. His creative and scholarly writings have appeared in many small press and literary journals, both in print and online. He has published several chapbooks and small collections of poetry, most recently Armadillos & Groundhogs (2019). He has been active in Osher both as a student and teacher for several years.


Exploring the Digital Globe

Tuesdays: Jan. 10, 17, 24, 31 (4 sessions)
1:00 – 2:30 p.m.
ONLINE ONLY
Semester Course Fee: $40
Premium Members: Unlimited classes; no additional fees
Topic: Science & Technology

Since the simple days of email and web surfing, the “digital globe” has become a powerful force in our lives. In this course, we’ll explore the history of the internet, how it works now and how it might work in the future. We’ll also explore cybersecurity, hacking, social media, web 3.0 and the metaverse. The audience will have many opportunities to ask questions about how they can survive and thrive in the digital globe.

Instructor: J. Scott Christianson is an associate teaching professor of management at MU’s Trulaske College of Business, where his interests are focused on the impact of emerging technology on society and geopolitics. Before joining the College of Business, he was an entrepreneur with decades of experience in videoconferencing technology, project management and information technology. He currently serves as director for the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, helping students turn their ideas into profitable products and services. You can reach him at christiansonjs.com.


The United States in the 20th Century

Tuesdays: Jan. 10, 17, 24, 31 (4 sessions)
3:00 – 4:30 p.m.
ONLINE ONLY
Semester Course Fee: $40
Premium Members: Unlimited classes; no additional fees
Topic: U.S. & World History

Dr. Jay Ward continues his exploration of the United States in the 20th century. This winter, he will consider World War II, with a close look at the last year of the life of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The class will examine how not preparing for FDR’s obviously imminent death would affect his successor Harry Truman and the impending onset of the Cold War.

Instructor: Jay Ward was born in Springfield, Mo., and raised in Lexington, Mo. He was an undergraduate at Northwestern University and received a medical degree from the University of Missouri. Upon retiring from medicine after 30 years, he received a master’s degree and doctorate in U.S. history from the University of Missouri.


Islam and Divine (Sharia) Laws

Tuesdays: Jan. 10, 17, 24, 31 (4 sessions)
3:00 – 4:30 p.m.
HYBRID
Semester Course Fee: $40
Premium Members: Unlimited classes; no additional fees
Topic: Literature, Art & Religion

The class is meant for Osher students interested in learning about the religion of Islam, going beyond the basics. Islam is the “religion of ease” for every human being to practice anytime and any place and is derived from two sources, submission (taslim) and peace (salam). It is, in essence, a complete and integrated ideology that governs the relationship between man and the Creator as well as how human beings relate to one another. All the rules and regulations that were revealed by Almighty God were, are and will continue to the day of Judgment and are for the benefits of all, irrespective of color, ethnicity, language or creed. Sharia or divine laws came to help people, to inspire them, to solve their problems and to make sure that they will continue to live in peace and harmony.

Instructor: Rashed Nizam, a Brown University graduate, has been living in Columbia for more than 25 years. He’s a board certified ophthalmologist and is the founding director of Mid Missouri Eye Center in Moberly. He serves on the Religious Program Advisory Committee of the Missouri Department of Corrections, representing Muslims in the state of Missouri.

Wednesday Courses

  • Two Biblical Masterpieces: The Stories of Joseph and David (10:00-11:30 a.m.)
  • A Visit to Missouri Amish and Mennonite Communities (1:00-2:30 p.m.)
  • Renewables, Reliability and Rates—Electric Utility Fundamentals (3:00-4:30 p.m.)

Two Biblical Masterpieces: The Stories of Joseph and David

Wednesdays: Jan. 11, 18, 25; Feb. 1 (4 sessions)
10:00 – 11:30 a.m.
HYBRID
Semester Course Fee: $40
Premium Members: Unlimited classes; no additional fees
Topic: Literature, Art & Religion

This is a continuation of Dr. Materer’s fall semester Osher course, “Who Wrote the Bible (and Why?)”– although new students are certainly welcome! The stories of Joseph and his family in Egypt (Book of Genesis) and King David (1 & 2 Samuel, 1 Kings) deserve an independent treatment that concentrates on their literary qualities. The course will also examine how the ancient sources of these tales influence their telling and reflect their historical context, such as the accuracy of the Egyptian setting and the historicity of King David himself. Since we will be closely examining the texts, students should bring any Bible of their choosing to each class. For the story of Joseph, the instructor will be using Richard Friedman’s translation, The Bible With Sources Revealed (HarperOne 2003). For King David, he will be using Robert Altar’s The David Story (1999).

Instructor: Timothy Materer is an emeritus professor of English at the University of Missouri. He is an active scholar of modern poetry who has written six books on modern literature and has received MU teaching awards.


A Visit to Missouri Amish and Mennonite Communities

Wednesdays: Jan. 11, 18, 25; Feb. 1 (4 sessions)
1:00 –2:30 p.m.
HYBRID
Semester Course Fee: $40
Premium Members: Unlimited classes; no additional fees
Topic: Local Flavor (History & Life Skills)

Weeks One and Four will be presented online – the Osher staff will project these sessions in the Moss Building for those who prefer not to Zoom.

There are seven major plain Anabaptist religious traditions; this course will focus on the two most recognized by the general public: Amish and Mennonite. During weeks one and two, the instructors will review the history of their faiths, from their European origin, to prophets, religious persecution, movements between countries, and finally, their migration to the U.S. For over two centuries, their populations increased and distinct communities coalesced in many states of the eastern U.S. and Canada. The choices made by these communities to stay separate from mainstream society are many and include relying on private schools, German as a first language, conservative dress, restrictions on transportation (e.g., horses versus cars) and limits on communication (e.g., phone and computer use). Weeks three and four will focus on communities in Missouri, following the work of two Extension field faculty. The Mennonites of Morgan County have at least seven distinct church groups, and its combined population has been large after they first settled in that county in the 1970s. Auctions selling fresh produce have emerged as a unique business in many communities, and this will be reviewed, ending with a discussion of the Clark Amish community. Tips for visiting Clark or Morgan counties will be provided; both are less than an hour from Columbia.

Instructors: Caroline Brock, associate teaching professor in MU’s Division of Applied Social Sciences, teaches a variety of interdisciplinary writing intensive classes, including one called “Amish Communities.” She was a guest editor for the 2021 special issue of The Journal of Amish and Plain Anabaptist Studies on agriculture, the environment and plain people.

Joni Ross Harper is a natural resources field specialist for University of Missouri Extension. For almost two decades, Harper has been located in the heart of Mennonite country and has developed a rapport with a range of individuals, businesses and organizations.

James Quinn, retired horticulture specialist for University of Missouri Extension, led a grant-funded statewide project for five years focusing on vegetable growers selling to produce auctions. One outcome was a quarterly newsletter he coordinated from 2011 until retirement. He was lead author of an article in The Journal of Amish and Plain Anabaptist Studies titled “The Success of Plain People’s Produce Auctions and Partnership with Missouri Extension.”

Renewables, Reliability and Rates––Electric Utility Fundamentals

Wednesdays: Jan. 11, 18, 25; Feb. 1 (4 sessions)
3:00 – 4:30 p.m.
HYBRID
Semester Course Fee: $40
Premium Members: Unlimited classes; no additional fees
Topic: Local Flavor (History & Life Skills)

Electricity is one of our most needed “critical services” (those we cannot live without), and the operation of electric utilities has become more complicated as infrastructure ages, as renewable sources are introduced into the generation mix and as the methods of assessing charges continue to evolve. While electric utilities differ in size and structure, all electric utilities share basic similarities. This class will provide an understanding of key operational and financial issues impacting all electric utilities.

Instructor: Jim Windsor retired as assistant director of utilities for City of Columbia Utilities, where he was responsible for all the financial aspects of the water and electric utilities. His undergraduate degree is in planning and his master’s degree is in public administration.

Thursday Courses

  • A Day in the Life of… (With Bill Clark) (9:30 – 11:00 a.m.)
  • (CANCELED) In a Voice of Their Own: Women Writers of Spain in the 20th and 21st Centuries
  • Games Economists Play (1:00 – 2:30 p.m.)
  • The First Ladies of the United States (3:00 – 4:30 p.m.)

A Day in the Life of… (With Bill Clark)

Thursdays: Jan. 12, 19, 26; Feb. 2 (4 sessions)
9:30 – 11:00 a.m.
HYBRID
Semester Course Fee: $40
Premium Members:
Unlimited classes; no additional fees
Topic: Local Flavor (History & Life Skills)

Join in for face-to-face visits with instructor Bill Clark, who has been involved worldwide in four areas of life: baseball, weightlifting, birding and officiating. Clark will share what a typical day looks like in each of those four areas and how they have influenced his later life as a columnist. Each day will be a question and answer “bull session.”

Instructor: Bill Clark spent 36 years as a Major League Baseball scout; 70 years as an official in 20 different sports, from the local to the international level; 35 years as a gym owner; 63 years as a competitive weightlifter and administrator; 50 years as a birder; and 66 years as a newspaper and online columnist in Columbia.

In a Voice of Their Own: Women Writers of Spain in the 20th and 21st Centuries

Originally scheduled for Thursday mornings: (4 sessions)

THIS CLASS HAS BEEN CANCELED BY THE INSTRUCTOR, DR. MICHAEL UGARTE. HE HOPES TO TEACH IT IN A FUTURE SEMESTER.


Games Economists Play

Thursdays: Jan. 12, 19, 26; Feb. 2 (4 sessions)
1:00 – 2:30 p.m.
IN PERSON ONLY
Semester Course Fee: $40
Premium Members: Unlimited classes; no additional fees
Topic: Politics & Global Issues

Economics is often referred to as the “dismal science.” However, those who think of economics as dismal have never played the games economists play. This class will provide an opportunity to experience economics in new ways, using games, experiments, behavioral economics, game theory, movies, literature and other mediums as a vehicle for understanding economic concepts. In class, we will (1) play games that are used to teach economic concepts, (2) use movies and literature to find how economics is all around us, (3) explore game theory as a valuable tool for understanding human behavior, and (4) engage in economic experiments.

Instructor: Diane Suhler is a recently retired professor of economics/finance at Columbia College, where she taught for 20 years. She has taught classes, including “Macroeconomics and Microeconomics,” “Financial Markets,” “Corporate Finance,” “International Economics,” and “Investments.” She holds a Ph.D. in Finance from the University of Maryland and a master’s degree in International Affairs from Columbia University in New York. Suhler serves on several City of Columbia commissions and has done significant international work in Africa and Asia.

The First Ladies of the United States

Thursdays: Jan. 12, 19, 26; Feb. 2 (4 sessions)
3:00 – 4:30 p.m.
ONLINE ONLY
Semester Course Fee: $40
Premium Members: Unlimited classes; no additional fees
Topic: U.S. & World History

Dr. Jay Ward has constucted an entirely new course and will consider the significant women in the lives of the U.S. presidents. In most cases, the official hostesses in the White House were the wives of the presidents. In some instances, however, that was not the case, and those stories are often fascinating as well. The first series will include Martha (Patsy) Dandridge Custis Washington, Abigail Smith Adams, Martha (Patty) Wayles Skelton Jefferson, Martha (Patsy) Jefferson Randolf (daughter), Sally Hemings (enslaved person, mistress and mother of four of Jefferson’s children) and Dolley Payne Todd Madison.

Instructor: Dr. Jay Ward was born in Springfield, Mo., and raised in Lexington, Mo. He was an undergraduate at Northwestern University and received a medical degree from the University of Missouri. Upon retiring from medicine after 30 years, he received a master’s degree and doctorate in U.S. history from the University of Missouri.

Friday Value-Added Courses

  • Potpourri of the Arts (9:30-11:00)
  • Brown Bag Seminar Series (11:30-1:00)

Friday sessions are free of charge to all current Osher members: Premium, Semester and Basic. Sessions marked as HYBRID will allow participants to choose whether they attend via Zoom or in person. Osher members may reserve a seat in Moss A for these sessions by emailing the Osher staff at [email protected].

If you’re not a current member, but would like to attend one or more of these sessions, please consider joining at the Basic/Taste of Osher level (gives access to each semester’s Value-added Friday content and Osher clubs – for people who do not want to take a two-, four- or eight-week class).

Potpourri of the Arts

Fridays; 9:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

Each semester, Osher invites the movers and shakers of mid-Missouri’s arts scene to discuss, display, perform and showcase their work. Join us for this grab bag of arts topics.

Coordinator: Carolyn Dye

Jan. 13: Shakespeare, Spelling Bees, Song and Dance at Stephens College
HYBRID

Guest directors and staff from the Conservatory for Performing Arts at Stephens College will share an overview of spring productions at the Playhouse Theatre Company, including "The Merry Wives of Windsor", "The 25th Annual Putnam County" and the semester's closing production, "Curtain Up," celebrating the work in performing arts. 

Instructor:  Ruth Ann Burke is an alum of Stephens College and is currently the director of philanthropy for the Conservatory of Performing Arts and the executive director of the Okoboji Summer Theatre.

Jan. 20: His House of Sky: Author Ivan Doig’s Montana and His Writing Legacy
HYBRID

We’ll take a comprehensive look at Ivan Doig’s literary works and the life that fueled his ideas. Doig is perhaps best known locally as the author of The Whistling Season, chosen as the Daniel Boone Regional Library's One-Read selection in 2008. During his solo career as a writer, Doig wrote 16 books of fiction and nonfiction between 1978 and 2015. He also coauthored a number of historical texts.

Instructor: Yolanda Ciolli, committee chair for the Saturday Morning Book Talks, is an avid reader and small publisher and editor working with local and regional authors. Ivan Doig is one of her favorite and most recommended authors.

Jan. 27: 100 Years of T. S. Eliot’s Poem “The Waste Land”
ONLINE ONLY

In December, 1922, a poet from St. Louis, Mo., published the most influential poem of world literature in the 20th century. We will celebrate its 100 years by exploring the qualities that make it a modernist masterpiece: surreal images, mythic structure, hypnotic rhythms and its unsparing look at the disaster of World War I. We will also examine the deep personal emotions that make it a moving autobiographical poem. These include childhood memories of St. Louis, Eliot’s traumatic first marriage and his unfulfilled love for Emily Hale–from the time he met her in 1915 into the 1940s. Some 1,000 intimate letters he wrote to Hale, which were sequestered until 2020, give readers new insight into the personal depths of “The Waste Land.”

Instructor: Timothy Materer is an emeritus English professor at the University of Missouri. He has written six books on modern literature and has received MU teaching awards. He has frequently written and taught courses on T. S. Eliot.

NEW SESSION ADDED

Feb. 3: Friday Book Talk: Poet Justin Hamm
Justin Hamm starts off a new year of Osher Book Talks with his volume of poetry, Drinking Guinness with the Dead, published in 2022 by Spartan Press. Justin’s poetry/photography show Midwestern has traveled the Midwest region, appearing in a number of galleries over the last two years. In 2019, his poem “Goodbye, Sancho Panza” was studied by approximately 50,000 students worldwide as a part of the World Scholar’s Cup curriculum. He will be sharing his lovely, unique and clear voice with his readings, and his inspiring photographic views with a PowerPoint presentation.

Instructor: Originally from the flatlands of central Illinois, Justin Hamm now lives near Twain territory in Missouri. He is the founding editor of the museum of americana and the author of three collections of poetry prior to Drinking Guinness with the Dead.

THIS SESSION WAS ORIGINALLY SCHEDULED FOR FEB. 3

Feb. 10: True/False Film Fest 2023
HYBRID

Join T/F Artistic Director Chloe Trayner for a preview of this year’s film lineup, followed by updates and an overview of the 2023 edition. Q&A will be encouraged.

Instructor: Chloé Trayner is the artistic director of the Ragtag Film Society (RFS), overseeing the True/False Film Fest and the year-round Ragtag Cinema in Columbia. Prior to joining RFS, Trayner worked in the U.K., founding the Assembly Documentary Development Lab and working with organizations such as Open City Documentary Festival, Bertha DocHouse, BFI Future Film Festival and Wellcome Trust.

Brown Bag “Lunch and Learn” Seminar Series

Fridays; 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Brown Bag seminars are open to all Osher Premium and Basic members throughout the academic year. Semester members may attend for the semester in which they enroll. Feel free to nosh on your lunchtime treats (with or without your camera on!) during this “lunch and learn.”

Coordinator: Carolyn Dye


Jan. 13: Fly Girls
ONLINE ONLY
In this course, we'll take a close look at the Stephen's College Aviation Program from 1941 to 1961. When it was established, it was unique in the country. Sponsored by 12 airlines, it grew to have its own trainer aircraft, dormitory, hangar and classroom. At first, women were trained for jobs as “air hostesses” (what we would call “flight attendants” today) and various other aviation-related ground duties, such as radio operator, weather interpreter, etc. But there was so much demand for pilots in the 1940s that the program was soon expanded to include flight training. During WWII, a number of “Flying Susies” distinguished themselves in aviation. At the height of the program, it is estimated that 10% of all American women aviators had learned to fly at Stephens College. It's an amazing and inspirational story.

Instructor: Mike Trial graduated with a mechanical engineering degree from the University of Missouri in 1969, served in the army, then worked for 30 years as a civil engineer at various locations in the U.S. and overseas. He retired in 2003 and now resides on his family tree farm near Columbia.

Jan. 20: Missouri Trees
ONLINE ONLY
Instructor Kate Kammler will cover the varieties and characteristics of common trees, pruning and site selection.

Instructor: Katie Kammler has been a horticulture specialist with University of Missouri Extension since 2008. She received her bachelor’s degree from College of the Ozarks and her master’s from Southern Illinois University. She has worked in many different horticulture enterprises, including a nut tree farm, orchard, u-pick blueberries, greenhouses, commercial vegetable production, golf course and landscaping.


Jan. 27: Iceland Travel Talk
HYBRID
The land of fire and ice is a beautiful place to visit! Iceland has become quite the tourist destination with its impressive glaciers, magnificent lava fields and friendly people. In this travel talk, we will visit not only several of the tourist destinations, but also off-the-beaten-path locations such as the Westfjords. The talk will include multiple pictures and short video clips. Come join Megan on an adventure!

Instructor: Megan Lau-Sears developed a love for travel at a young age during family vacations all over the U.S. After college, she continued traveling as a wilderness instructor. Lau-Sears has visited Greece, Italy, Scotland, Ireland, England, New Zealand, Wales, Canada and Iceland. She has two bachelor's degrees in wellness and currently works as the lifestyle enrichment director at Lenoir Woods.

Feb. 3: What Is Behavioral Economics and What Good Is It?
HYBRID
Traditional economic models assume that all the "players" (i.e., consumers, business people, and regulators) are hyper-rational. Most, if not all of us, know otherwise. Behavioral economics resides in the overlap between psychology and economics. It acknowledges human cognitive limitations and uses those to better explain (some) economic decisions, unlike traditional models.

Instructor: John Howe is a retired finance professor who spent 28 years at MU and 41 years overall as a professor. He has written extensively about behavioral economics, including a book and producing a free monthly newsletter on the topic, both of which may be found on his website: jshowe.com.