Course Information

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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.

Monday Courses

  • Biological Aging: Turning Back the Clock (9:30-11:00)
  • Inside a Criminal Trial (10:00-11:30)
  • MU College of Arts & Science Potpourri (1:00-2:30)
  • U.S. in the 20th Century (3:00-4:30)

Biological Aging: Turning Back the Clock is Fun!

Mondays: Sept. 12, 19, 26; Oct. 3 (4 sessions)
9:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
ONLINE ONLY
Semester Course Fee: $40
Premium Members: Unlimited classes; no additional fees
Topic: Body, Mind & Soul

Weeks One through Four of the semester

Have you ever wondered why some people just don’t seem to age? What is their secret? DNA methylation is unraveling the mysteries behind biological aging. In this four-week course, we will explore the links between our DNA, aging, mind and overall health. Over thousands of years, culture and traditions have passed on several insights into how to age optimally, but is there real value in this information age for these practices? How might they help people stay younger longer? During these sessions, learn how the practices of mindfulness, flow and “HiLife” can benefit the body and mind and reverse aging.

Instructor: Anand Chockalingam is a professor of medicine at MU and has been based in Columbia since 2006. His major emphasis is cardiomyopathy, mental stress and holistic interventions. He collaborates with Siddha doctors, exercise and nutrition experts and psychologists to optimize lifestyle. He has pioneered a unique Heartful Living cardiac wellness program both in the U.S. and India for improving health through deeper self-inquiry and is the founder of HiLifeJourney, a nonprofit online initiative taking cardiovascular prevention to cardiac patients globally.


Inside a Criminal Trial

Mondays: Oct. 10, 17 (2 sessions)
10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
HYBRID
Semester Course Fee: $20
Premium Members: Unlimited classes; no additional fees
Topic: Politics & Intrigue

Weeks Five and Six of the semester

Objection, Your Honor! A criminal trial is the most high-profile part of any criminal case. These two sessions will explore everything from the logistics leading up to a trial, and what happens during the trial all the way up to the verdict, the most commonly raised objections in criminal prosecutions and their basis in the law as well as privileged communication.

Instructor: Judge Patricia Joyce is a retired presiding judge from Jefferson City, Mo. She has served for 26 years trying a wide variety of cases, including jury trials. Prior to her election to the bench in 1994, she was an assistant prosecuting attorney for 12 years.


MU College of Arts and Science Potpourri Series

Note: Number of sessions updated on 9/8/22. This is now a four-week course, not eight-week.
Mondays: Sept. 12 & 26; Oct. 17 & 24 (4 sessions)
1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
HYBRID
Semester Course Fee: $60
Premium Members: Unlimited classes; no additional fees
Topic: Current Events & the World Around Us

Stay up-to-date on cutting-edge academic topics by signing up for this fascinating course, wherein MU faculty members from the College of Arts and Science will present on their current research and educational pursuits.

The College of Arts and Science uses a liberal arts and science foundation to encourage people to think for themselves, come to their own conclusions and make meaningful contributions to society.

Coordinator: Cooper Drury serves as dean for the College of Arts and Science at the University of Missouri and is a professor in the Truman School of Government and Public Affairs. Dr. Drury earned his B.A. and M.A. from Michigan State University and his Ph.D. from Arizona State University. His primary research and teaching interests focus on foreign policy, specifically, the causes, outcomes and consequences of economic sanctions.

Sept. 12: The Chemistry of NASCAR. The word NASCAR creates images of loud cars, country music, and well, rednecks.  And though in some respects it is those things, there exists a tremendous amount of science behind going fast.  This talk will focus on some chemical aspects of racing, from combusting fuel to synthesizing rubber, to making the tracks safer. The instructor will also conduct demonstrations that will help make the chemistry of NASCAR come alive. 
Instructor: Steven Keller grew up in the great Pacific Northwest and graduated from Pacific Lutheran University (B.S.) and the University of California-Berkeley (PhD).  Steve has been on the faculty of the Department of Chemistry at MU since 1995 where he currently serves as Associate Professor, Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies, and since 2015 director of the Missouri Scholars Academy. Steve’s time away from campus is focused on being husband to Amanda and dad to Lindsay (12) and Liam (5), brewing some beer, and watching a bit of soccer (he is the cousin of Kasey Keller, former goalkeeper for the U.S. National Soccer team). 

Sept. 26: Creative Methods in Research with Indigenous Peoples: Making a Children’s Book for the Cheslatta Carrier Nation in British Columbia, Canada. In recent decades, social scientists working with Indigenous communities have discovered the many ways that creative methods (e.g., art, music, dance) can facilitate cross-cultural dialogue and understanding by tapping into our shared human capacity for creativity. This presentation will tell the story of a children’s book that Instructor Soren Larsen co-produced with the Cheslatta Carrier First Nation in British Columbia, Canada, along with two students from the University of Missouri. They made the children’s book at the 2018 Cheslatta Camp Out, a multiday outdoor gathering held in the Traditional Territory. The presentation will show how doing art together in place helped the team discover the book’s storyline—a story almost lost to the community—and why social scientists are increasingly using art as a place-based research technique.
Instructor: Soren Larsen is professor of Geography at Mizzou. His research and teaching interests are focused on the human relationship with place and landscape. His most recent book, Being Together in Place: Indigenous Coexistence in a More-Than-Human World was published by the University of Minnesota Press in 2017. The research described in this presentation was made possible by generous support from the American Council for Learned Societies and the MU College of Arts and Science.

Oct. 17: Dissident Culture at the Iron Curtain: the View from Both Sides of the Berlin Wall. Among the Cold War’s most famous symbols, the Berlin Wall fenced in the enclave city of West Berlin from 1961 to 1989. On either side of this concrete barrier separating the Communist East from the capitalist West, artists and intellectuals both critiqued the geopolitical conditions that had militarized their divided city and brought the world to the brink of nuclear war, and imagined how things could be different. In this presentation, we will trace the emergence of counter-cultural scenes in both East and West Berlin, paying careful attention to how the fascist past, the Cold War present, and the potentially apocalyptic future were represented in the painting, cinema, and literature of Berlin in the 1970s and 1980s—and think about what became of this art, and these artists, after the Wall fell in 1989.
Instructor: Seth Howes is associate professor of German in MU’s School of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures. His research and teaching focus on cultures of the Cold War, with particular emphasis placed on underground music, experimental art, and avant-garde theater—all matters that are discussed in his first book, Moving Images on the Margins: Experimental Film in Late Socialist East Germany (2019). At MU since 2014, he has been honored with awards both for teaching and service. 

Oct. 24: The Perfect Storm: A Subcultural Analysis of the QAnon Movement. In this study, we examine the social phenomenon known as “QAnon” as a contemporary moral panic. While QAnon is typically thought of as an exclusively online cultural phenomenon, and thus easily dismissed, it has played a significant role in promoting physical acts of violence such as the attack on the U.S. Capital on January 6th, 2021, and several other murders. We utilize a qualitative analysis of 300 hours of QAnon-related content found online, documentary films produced by and about the subculture, participant observation in Q-related message boards, and analysis of media content. As we argue, the widespread beliefs held by QAnon supporters were only possible due to the confluence of feelings of distrust in government and other public officials, purveyors of QAnon that profited in the movement’s success, and a populist digital media environment in which extremist ideas are housed and promoted. Were it not for algorithms that boosted QAnon content, it is unlikely the movement would have gained such momentum.
Instructor: Christopher T. Conner, PhD., is a non-tenure track teaching assistant professor of Sociology and has been at Mizzou since 2019. While here he has published three anthologies, eight peer-reviewed papers and chapters—on LGBTQIA issues, QAnon and subcultures. He is also a contributor to The Conversation and Salon. He has taught nearly 22 different courses including Sociology of Sport, Criminology, Drugs and Society and many others. He is publishing a book on the history of electronic dance music with Rowman and Littlefield, coming out this fall.


The United States in the 20th Century

Mondays: Sept. 12, 19, 26; Oct. 3, 10, 17, 24, 31 (8 sessions)
3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
HYBRID
Semester Course Fee: $60
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 fall, he will focus on the interwar period, the era from the end of WWI to the beginning of WWII. Topics he’ll cover will include the economic growth and social changes of The Roaring Twenties, causes and effects of the stock market crash (specifically the Great Depression and Roosevelt’s New Deal) and the lead-up to Pearl Harbor.

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.

Tuesday Courses

  • Cosmologies, Origin Stories & Myths (9:30-11:00)
  • Birds, Beans & Barbecue - Part 2 (1:00-2:30)
  • Beyond A Christmas Carol (1:00-2:30)

Cosmologies Old and New: Origin Stories and the Interpretation of Myths

Tuesdays: Sept. 13, 20; Oct. 4, 11, 18, 25; Nov. 1 (7 sessions)
9:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
HYBRID
Semester Course Fee: $60
Premium Members: Unlimited classes; no additional fees
Topic: U.S. & World History

No class during Week Three of the semester (Tuesday, September 27)

What is the meaning of life? For thousands of years, humans have pondered this question. This course will consider how ancient and contemporary cultures have used narratives to frame their meanings of the universe, life and the human place. Specific regions and historical contexts will be taken into consideration as factors for the shaping of such narratives. We will look for wisdom from the past and how it influences modern meanings.

Instructor: Larry Brown is a retired MU assistant professor of human geography, having earned a Ph.D. in Policy Studies, an M.A. in Geography, a Masters of Divinity and a B.S. in Sociology. Brown is a professional storyteller and an ordained minister with standing in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). He is a frequent MU Osher instructor for topics related to cultural and political geography, Missouri history and religious studies.


Birds, Beans and Barbecue – Part Two*

Tuesdays: Sept. 13, 20, 27; Oct. 4 (4 sessions)
1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
ONLINE ONLY
Semester Course Fee: $40
Premium Members: Unlimited classes; no additional fees
Topic: Local Flavor

Weeks One through Four of the semester

Using Zoom and a road map, columnist and avid birder Bill Clark will continue his exploration of Missouri’s birding hotspots and the best small-town restaurants that are nearby. These virtual trips will take you all across Missouri to unique birding spots as small as a half an acre or as large as 30,000 acres. The class will be geared to luring backyard birders to venture a bit farther afield, and Clark will provide driving directions to each stop.

*NOTE: Even those who did not attend Part One of Bill Clark’s adventures will benefit from this course.

Instructor: Bill Clark is one of two persons in the state who has birded more than 1,130 Missouri Department of Conservation sites, state parks and state historic sites. Clark also maintains a list of small-town eateries covering all 114 counties in the state. Clark was a Major League Baseball scout and continues his work as a columnist, having written almost 800 local bird columns in the past two decades.


Beyond A Christmas Carol

Tuesdays: Oct. 11, 18, 25; Nov. 1 (4 sessions)
1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
HYBRID
Semester Course Fee: $40
Premium Members: Unlimited classes; no additional fees
Topic: Literature, Art & Religion

Weeks Five through Eight of the semester

Most everyone is familiar with A Christmas Carol, which has become a standard feature of the Christmas season, but did you know that Charles Dickens actually wrote five Christmas tales? What of the other four? Were they too socially conscious and satirical for them to have become as popular as the more sentimental A Christmas Carol? This course will explore the four: The Chimes, The Cricket on the Hearth, The Battle of Life and The Haunted Man to consider why they may not have gained the same status as A Christmas Carol and how Dickens’ vision of his work changed in the 1840s as he matured as a writer. Join us as we explore a new story every week.

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.

Wednesday Courses

  • New Kids on the Clock (9:30-11:00)
  • Regenerative Agriculture (9:30-11:00)
  • Who Wrote the Hebrew Bible (and Why?) (10:00-11:30)
  • Studio of the South: Van Gogh, Gauguin, Cezanne (1:00-2:30)
  • Ancient Egypt (1:00 – 2:30) (1:00-2:30)
  • The American Presidents (3:00-4:30)

New Kids on the Clock – With David Lile

Wednesdays: Sept. 14, 21, 28; Oct. 5 (4 sessions)
9:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
HYBRID
Semester Course Fee: $40
Premium Members: Unlimited classes; no additional fees
Topic: Local Flavor

Weeks One through Four of the semester

Who are the newest managers, directors and administrators of local governments, departments, agencies and institutions? They are not "kids"; they are professionals who happen to be younger than a typical Osher participant. Each week, retired KFRU talk-show host David Lile will conduct an interview to introduce each leader and then facilitate a question-and-answer time between class members and that week's official. We look forward to welcoming our very own Columbia mayor, Barbara Buffaloe, on Sept. 14; Columbia Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Brian Yearwood on Sept. 21; the interim head of Columbia Parks and Recreation, Gabe Huffington, on Sept. 28; and City Manager De’Carlon Seewood on Oct. 5.

Instructor: David Lile hosted KFRU's “Columbia Morning” radio program for over 25 years. He interviewed hundreds of local and national guests. Now retired, Lile still welcomes the opportunity to keep connected to the community.


Importance of Regenerative Agriculture in Transforming our Food and Agricultural Systems

Wednesdays: Oct. 26; Nov. 2 (2 sessions)
9:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
HYBRID
Semester Course Fee: $20
Premium Members: Unlimited classes; no additional fees
Topic: Current Events & the World Around Us

Weeks Seven and Eight of the semester

In the 21st century, there is a critical need to achieve an increase in food production while reducing the environmental impact of agriculture and preserving natural resources under a changing climate and a projected increase in the human population. In the last few years, in the face of these challenges, regenerative agriculture has received a surge of mainstream attention from major corporations, farmers, researchers and policymakers. This course will examine the state of food and agricultural systems in the face of the global climate crisis and increasing food insecurity, the important roles of different players—from farmers to major corporations—in transitioning to more resilient food production systems and how regenerative agriculture can help mitigate challenges farmers experience, especially from extreme weather events and soil degradation. During this course, there will be an opportunity to engage with farmers from Central Missouri who have transitioned from conventional to regenerative farming systems and to learn about the benefits they are seeing from such a transition. Learn what role consumers can play within the regenerative agriculture movement to help create more equitable and resilient agricultural and food systems.

Instructors: Kelly Wilson is assistant director for MU’s Center for Regenerative Agriculture. She is an interdisciplinary researcher focusing on the intersections of identity, food security and agriculture. She works with populations across the agricultural value chain in the U.S. and Sub-Saharan African to generate innovative solutions to complex global challenges. Wilson has a Ph.D. in Agricultural Extension and Development, a master’s degree in International Agricultural Development and a B.S. in Anthropology from UMass-Amherst.

Michael Chippendale is an emeritus faculty member in the Division of Plant Science and Technology at MU. He received his doctoral degree in entomology from the University of Wisconsin. He taught and conducted research at MU focused on the relationship of plant-feeding insects to their host plants and also served in the college’s administration. He brings many years of experience in the agricultural and life sciences to apply to the issues surrounding the linkage between food production and conserving natural resources.


Who Wrote the Hebrew Bible (and Why)?

Wednesdays: Sept. 14, 21, 28; Oct. 5, 12, 19, 26; Nov. 2 (8 sessions)
10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
HYBRID
Semester Course Fee: $60
Premium Members: Unlimited classes; no additional fees
Topic: Literature, Art & Religion

The earliest books of the Hebrew Bible (known also as the Old Testament) were compiled circa the seventh century B.C.E. The way the Bible interprets the texts and narratives that came from earlier centuries, such as the Davidic period (10th century B.C.E.), gives us clues to the identities of its authors and editors and what their intentions might have been. This class will explore the stories of creation; of the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; the national and religious leaders, Moses, Aaron and Joshua; and the Kings of Judah: Saul, David and Solomon. Topics will include: Why are there two accounts of creation and two of the flood? Why is God (and presumably the author of the story) so ambivalent about Moses’ leadership? How do the biblical authors feel about the establishment of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah? Of the Temple in Jerusalem? Instructor Tim Materer will be using Richard Friedman’s translation, The Bible with Sources Revealed (HarperOne, 2003) for the first five books [of Moses]. Students may use any copy of the Bible.

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.


Studio of the South: Van Gogh, Gauguin and Cézanne

Wednesdays: Sept. 14, 21, 28; Oct. 5 (4 sessions)
1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
HYBRID
Semester Course Fee: $40
Premium Members: Unlimited classes; no additional fees
Topic: Literature, Art & Religion

Weeks One through Four of the semester

In February 1888, Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh departed Paris for Arles in the south of France, hoping to establish an artists’ community. In a letter of March 1888, he wrote: "Perhaps there'd be a real advantage in emigrating to the south for many artists in love with sunshine and color." For Van Gogh, Paul Gauguin and Paul Cézanne, the Provence region, imagined as the antidote to cosmopolitan Paris, exerted an irresistible attraction. This course explores the lives and work of these three pioneering artists of the late 19th century in the context of the landscape and culture of Provence.

Instructor: James Terry is an archaeologist and art historian. He has worked on excavations in Israel, Cyprus, Jordan and Tunisia, and he has led study abroad tours in southern France and Mexico. He holds a Ph.D. in Classical Archaeology from the University of Missouri-Columbia and has taught art history at Stephens College for 24 years.


Ancient Egypt

Wednesdays: Oct. 12, 19, 26; Nov. 2 (4 sessions)
1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
HYBRID
Semester Course Fee: $40
Premium Members: Unlimited classes; no additional fees
Topic: U.S. & World History

Weeks Five through Eight of the semester

For over 3,000 years and through 30 dynasties, ancient Egypt has existed as two lands (upper and lower) and two geographies (red land and black land). Join us as we look into the fascinating history of this kingdom of the ancient world.

Oct. 12: Pyramids, Pharaohs and Catfish. To kick off the course, we will discover the sources for our knowledge about ancient Egypt, explore Egypt’s prehistory and delve into the early dynasties of the Old Kingdom, its pharaohs and pyramids.

Oct. 19: Temples, Gods and Mummies. We will take a look at the temples of the pharaohs and Egyptian gods, learn about the most important of the gods, including their depictions and myths; find out the meaning of individual pharaoh’s names; and discover how mummies were made and why they were so central to the Egyptian afterlife.

Oct. 26: Daily Life Along the Nile. What was life like for commoners? Pharaohs? What was it like for women? Was there any social mobility? We will explore the daily lives of Egyptians along the NIle River and delve into their ancient writing systems: hieroglyphs, hieratic, demotic and Coptic.

Nov. 2: Egypt’s Golden Age—The New Kingdom. We will take a quick look the Intermediate Periods, the Middle Kingdom and the greatest time of all, the New Kingdom, where Egypt reached its zenith both along the Nile and in conquered territory. We will study the obelisks, from their creation to where they are now, look at the king lists and discuss why not every pharaoh is included. We’ll also learn about the Hyksos and Sea Peoples.

Instructor: Valerie Hammons taught courses in Latin, world history, American history and newspaper for 27 years at the junior high and high school levels in Kansas and Missouri. Her passion has always been anything in the Classical world. Hammons is retired and serves in many capacities for the MU Museum of Art and Archaeology, including as a board and committee member and docent. She also leads tours of the Maplewood House at the Boone County History and Culture Center.


The American Presidents

Wednesdays: Sept. 14, 21, 28; Oct. 5, 12, 19, 26; Nov. 2 (8 sessions)
3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
HYBRID
Semester Course Fee: $60
Premium Members: Unlimited classes; no additional fees
Topic: U.S. & World History

Dr. Jay Ward’s popular series attempts to discover who the men were who became president and what circumstances propelled them into politics. He looks at each president’s family tree, childhood, education, work experiences, marital experiences and home life as well as the core principles that influenced their decision to seek the presidency. This fall, Dr. Ward will introduce us to Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, James Garfield, Chester Arthur, Grover Cleveland, Benjamin Harrison, William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft.

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.

Thursday Courses

  • Elections 2022 (9:30-11:00)
  • Walking & Literature (10:00-11:30)
  • TED Talks - Watch & Discuss (1:00-2:30)
  • Legal or Not: Get Dressed! (1:30-3:00)
  • Democracy Lab 7 (3:00-4:30)

Elections 2022, Public Policy and Partisanship

Thursdays: Sept. 22, 29; Oct. 6, 13, 20, 27; Nov. 3, 10 (8 sessions)
9:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
HYBRID
Semester Course Fee: $60
Premium Members: Unlimited classes; no additional fees
Topic: Politics & Intrigue

Starts during Week Two and extends one week beyond the end of the semester

One of the most important rights of American citizens is the right to vote. This course will focus on the 2022 elections: the November 8 general election, the primary elections in Missouri and other states and the Columbia city elections. Some of the public policies to be covered include inflation and the economy; crime and unsafe streets; abortion; the border; education and critical race theory; LGBTQ rights; foreign policy and the war in Ukraine; and Donald Trump, election procedures and January 6th. The intense partisanship of numerous voters and candidates will determine a great deal of votes and issue preferences.

Instructor: David Leuthold is a retired professor of political science and the author of books on elections in Missouri and California. He has been teaching Osher classes for the past 12 years, focusing especially on elections and public policies.


Walking and Literature

Thursdays: Sept. 15, 22, 29; Oct. 6, 13, 20, 27; Nov. 3 (8 sessions)
10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
ONLINE ONLY
Semester Course Fee: $60
Premium Members: Unlimited classes; no additional fees
Topic: Literature, Art & Religion

“Me thinks that the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow,” wrote Henry David Thoreau. Walking and writing have long gone together. You might be surprised how many authors saw and still see walking as central to their writing process and how many integrate the experience of walking into their texts. Walking is such a central human experience that some anthropologists have argued that our turn toward bipedal walking was a crucial evolutionary step and one of the distinctive traits of our species. This course will explore the many ways that writers have thought about walking, what it expresses about our humanity, how it empowers some and disempowers others, and how it explores our relationship to the natural (and not-so-natural) environment. Throughout the semester, we will study the writers Thich Naht Hahn, Henry David Thoreau, Edgar Allan Poe, Teju Cole, Brent Staples, Molly McCully Brown, Cheryl Strayed and David Sedaris.

NOTE: Registrants are encouraged to purchase or have available Teju Cole's novel Open City. The instructor will supply weblinks or PDFs for all additional readings for the semester.

Instructor: John Evelev is professor of English at the University of Missouri. His main research area is American literature, and he is the author of Tolerable Entertainment: Herman Melville and Professionalism in Antebellum New York and Picturesque Literature and the Transformation of the American Landscape, 1835 to 1874. He enjoys teaching Osher courses and likes to foster lively discussions in his classes.


TED Talks – Watch and Discuss

NOTE: Schedule updated on 9/8/22

Thursdays: Sept. 15, 22, 29; Oct. 6, 13, 20, 27; Nov. 3 (8 sessions)
1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
HYBRID
Semester Course Fee: $60
Premium Members: Unlimited classes; no additional fees
Topic: Current Events & the World Around Us

You might be familiar with TED talks. TED.com (Technology, Entertainment and Design*) features short web-based videos on compelling topics presented by some of the best minds in the world. For each session, the group will watch the video together and then join in a discussion and dialogue led by an experienced facilitator. Zoom in. Watch. Learn. Discuss!

*TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less). TED began in 1984 as a conference where technology, entertainment and design converged, and today covers almost all topics—from science to business to global issues—in more than 100 languages. Independently run TEDx events help share ideas in communities around the world.

Instructor: Jeanne Dzurick moved to Columbia several years ago and has been an insurance executive, financial advisor and the business owner of Divorce Consultants, where she worked as a trained mediator with attorneys and their clients to facilitate a fair and mutual agreement regarding asset division and support. Dzurick has a strong desire to share these presentations from some of the world’s greatest innovators and speakers and discuss their content with other lifelong learners.

Sept. 15: War in Ukraine and What It Means for the World Order (Ian Bremmer)
Russia's invasion of Ukraine has created previously unthinkable changes in geopolitics, seemingly overnight. In this vital conversation, political analyst Ian Bremmer takes a closer look at the global implications of the war, including NATO and the EU's renewed sense of purpose, the spiral of escalation, energy politics and the significant, potentially permanent shifts in the world order.

[Added] Sept. 22: Not a TED talk: An Interview With a Ukrainian in Moscow — Andrii
Want to hear about the Ukrainian war and life in Russia from someone who is not a journalist or political pundit? Instructor Jeanne Dzurick will interview Andrii, Ukrainian-born, who has been working and residing in Moscow until the recent conflict. This is an open-ended interview and discussion regarding the past political environment in Russia and the events leading to the current situation.

[Date Change] Sept. 29: The Future of U.S. Reproductive Rights after Roe v. Wade
The recent leak of the U.S. Supreme Court's draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade—the nearly 50-year-old ruling to legalize abortion nationwide—has left many wondering what happens next for reproductive rights in the country. In a thoughtful, at times contentious conversation between legal historian Mary Ziegler, activist Loretta J. Ross, legal scholar Erika Bachiochi and journalist Joshua Prager, a diverse panel of speakers explores what a reversal of Roe v. Wade would really mean and shares their ideas for a path forward for reproductive rights in the U.S.

[Date Change] Oct. 6: How We Can Face the Future Without Fear Together (Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks)
It's a fateful moment in history. We've seen divisive elections, divided societies and the growth of extremism—all fueled by anxiety and uncertainty. "Is there something we can do, each of us, to be able to face the future without fear?" asks Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks. In this electrifying talk, the spiritual leader gives us three specific ways we can move from the politics of "me" to the politics of "all of us, together."
Dare to Refuse the Origin Myths That Claim Who You Are (Chetan Bhatt)
We all have origin stories and identity myths, our tribal narratives that give us a sense of security and belonging. But sometimes our small-group identities can keep us from connecting with humanity as a whole—and even keep us from seeing others as human. In a powerful talk about how we understand who we are, Chetan Bhatt challenges us to think creatively about each other and our future. As he puts it: it's time to change the question from "Where are you from?" to "Where are you going?"


Oct. 13: Biomimicry Action (Janine Benyus)
Janine Benyus has a message for inventors: When solving a design problem, look to nature first. There you'll find inspired designs for making things waterproof, aerodynamic, solar-powered and more. Here she reveals dozens of new products that take their cue from nature with spectacular results.
Biomimicry’s Surprising Lessons as Nature’s Engineers (Janine Benyus)
In this inspiring talk about recent developments in biomimicry, Janine Benyus provides heartening examples of ways in which nature is already influencing the products and systems we build.

Oct. 20: The Power of Cartoons (Patrick Chapatte)
In a series of witty punchlines, Patrick Chappatte makes a poignant case for the power of the humble cartoon. His projects in Lebanon, West Africa and Gaza show how, in the right hands, the pencil can illuminate serious issues and bring the most unlikely people together.
A Free World Needs Satire (Patrick Chapatte)
We need humor like we need the air we breathe, says editorial cartoonist Patrick Chappatte. In a talk illustrated with highlights from a career spent skewering everything from dictators and ideologues to selfies and social media mobs, Chappatte makes a resounding, often hilarious case for the necessity of satire. "Political cartoons were born with democracy, and they are challenged when freedom is," he says.

Oct. 27: Older People Are Happier (Laura Cartensen)
In the 20th century we added an unprecedented number of years to our lifespans, but is the quality of life as good? Surprisingly, yes! Psychologist Laura Carstensen shows research that demonstrates that as people get older they become happier, more content and have a more positive outlook on the world.
Why We Should Embrace Aging as an Adventure (Carl Honoré)
We need to feel better about aging in order to age better, says writer and activist Carl Honoré. How? In this spirited talk, Honoré offers a set of simple solutions to combat ageism—as well as a host of trailblazers and changemakers who came into their own later in life, from artists and musicians to physicists and business leaders.

Nov. 3: Live Drawing of the Human Experience (Jarett Krosoczka)
In this live drawing performance and poignant autobiographical journey, author and illustrator Jarrett J. Krosoczka sketches some life-shaping moments, showing us how drawing and storytelling can help us honor and remain close to those we've lost.
How Visual Storytelling Creates Better Health Care (Sam Hester)
Comics creator Sam Hester is part of a growing movement within health care: graphic medicine. In short, literally drawing attention to a patient's needs and goals with pictures to foster better and more accessible caretaking. Hester shares how illustrating small details of her mother's medical story as she struggled with mysterious symptoms alongside her Parkinson's and dementia led to more empathy, understanding, communication and peace of mind.


Legal or Not: Get Dressed!

Thursdays: Oct. 13, 20, 27; Nov. 3 (4 sessions)
1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
ONLINE ONLY
Semester Course Fee: $60
Premium Members: Unlimited classes; no additional fees
Topic: Body, Mind & Soul

Weeks Five through Eight of the semester

Human beings wear clothing. We may ask the following questions: Who made it? Did you buy it? May I wear it? Will we throw it away?

Studies of dress codes are still with us, but they were a very big deal for our ancestors. In this class, first we will look at a few historic laws of dress, then spend time discussing how we have been joyfully breaking down all those "dos and don'ts" in the 20th and 21st centuries. We'll also discuss how clothes may "make us happy." Class participation is most welcome. Speak up and have fun!

Instructor: Patti Doyle taught costume design in theatre 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.


Democracy Lab 7

Thursdays: Sept. 15, 22, 29; Oct. 6, 13, 20, 27; Nov. 3 (8 sessions)
3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
ONLINE ONLY
Semester Course Fee: $60
Premium Members: Unlimited classes; no additional fees
Topic: Politics & Intrigue

Limit: 25 Students

Referred to as the great experiment, American democracy has been tested as we strive to become a more perfect union. We have witnessed deep divides in our country, and now more than ever, it’s important to be able to see things from a variety of perspectives. Join us for the seventh semester of Democracy Lab, where we will explore some of the most difficult issues of our political times while also exploring the factors that threaten and those that can strengthen our democracy. The hypothesis of Democracy Lab is that dialogue plus critical thinking improves our democracy, and this class stresses both. This class emphasizes small group interactive dialogue on assigned questions and bridging partisan divides. If you enroll, please be prepared to be an active participant!

Note: New participants are welcome, and preference for enrollment will be given to those who enrolled in a previous session of Democracy Lab.

Instructor: Sarah J. Read teaches Public Policy Dispute Resolution at the MU School of Law and has more than 25 years of experience in resolving complex issues as an attorney, mediator, facilitator and consultant. Reed is a frequent speaker and writer on issues related to civic engagement and has led several dialogue-based courses at Osher. She received her B.A. degree, cum laude, from Yale University and her J.D. degree with the Order of the Coif from the University of Wisconsin.

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


Sept. 16: Celebrating 75 Years of Performing Arts at Stephens College
HYBRID

The new and now co-ed Conservatory of Performing Arts at Stephens College is delighted to announce its 2022-23 season at this session. Guest artists and directors will join in to discuss their upcoming productions and experiences that are sure to make the 75th season one to remember!
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.


Sept. 23: NO POTPOURRI OF THE ARTS SESSION; JOIN US FOR THE OSHER FALL FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGN KICKOFF BREAKFAST.


Sept. 30: University Concert Series 2022-23: Adaptations Onstage
ONLINE ONLY

The University Concert Series is in its 115th season and is excited to offer a wide variety of pieces this year. This presentation will highlight the creators behind the arts and the wide variety of ways that novels, memoirs and other stories come to life onstage.
Instructor: Lainie Vansant holds a Ph.D. in Theatre and Performance Studies from the University of Missouri. She is also a playwright, director, actor and the outreach and development coordinator for the University Concert Series.


Oct. 7: Visual Thinking Strategy and Art
ONLINE ONLY

Visual Thinking Strategy (VTS) uses visual images to improve critical thinking by enhancing the skills of observation, interpretation, analysis and synthesis. Instructor Robin Blake returns to share a sequence of artwork from a variety of artists and historical periods that participants will study and discuss in a facilitated, systematic approach. The format will prioritize active participation by attendees.
Instructor: Robin Blake is a docent at the MU Museum of Art and Archeology. Dr. Blake has presented VTS sessions for [email protected] previously, most recently in summer 2022.


Oct. 14: Meet the Beatles (Again!)
HYBRID

Get a chance to enjoy the Fab Four, once again! We'll discuss George, Paul, John and Ringo — not only the cultural impact of the group, but the musical one, as well. We will see and hear a lot about their early days, their movies, their solo careers and all things Beatles. We will follow their journey, and the instructor hopes you will bring lots of questions and your memories to the presentation.
Instructor: Dr. Pete Zambito is assistant teaching professor of Music and assistant director of Athletic Bands at the University of Missouri. He teaches courses in musicology, composition, theory, percussion, band and writing. He is an active composer, percussion performer and podcaster, hosting Pete's Percussion Podcast since 2016.


Oct. 21: A Fiction Writer's Journey
HYBRID

This session will focus on the literary career of Phong Nguyen, from his first collection of stories (Memory Sickness, a work of dirty realism) to his most recent novel (Bronze Drum, a work of historical fiction) and everything in between. This is a panorama of a fiction writer's journey, rather than a snapshot of his work at one moment in time.
Instructor: Phong Nguyen is the author of two story collections and three novels, including most recently Bronze Drum (Grand Central Publishing, 2022), which has been reviewed favorably and featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, NPR, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Publisher's Weekly, etc. He is currently the Miller Family Endowed Chair of Literature and Writing at the University of Missouri, where he teaches fiction writing.


Oct. 28: Art of the Northern European Renaissance
ONLINE ONLY

Beginning around 1400 and extending for almost two centuries, artists in lands that are now part of Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium produced work that departed dramatically from the preceding Gothic and medieval traditions. This presentation will focus primarily on paintings (with a few prints) and feature works by Jan van Eyck, Robert Campin, Dieric Bouts, Albrecht Dürer, Lucas Cranach, Hieronymus Bosch, Pieter Bruegel and others.
Instructor: Robin Blake is a docent at the MU Museum of Art and Archeology. This presentation will be very similar to one he gave at Osher in January 2020.


Nov. 4: Author Visit: A Perfectly Ordinary Paradise: An Intimate View of Life on Brawley Creek
ONLINE ONLY

In this lecture, biologist and wildlife photographer John Hess will discuss A Perfectly Ordinary Paradise: An Intimate View of Life on Brawley Creek, his beautiful new book about the extraordinary lives of ordinary creatures. Centered around the natural life along a small section of land in Central Missouri, on a tiny tributary that eventually drains into the Missouri River, he explores a synthesis of science and aesthetics—reason and emotion—and the power of that combination to reintroduce us to a world from which we have become estranged. Hess uses his intimate photography of Brawley Creek to illustrate that life in everyone’s backyard is complex and beautiful.
Instructor: John Hess is an emeritus professor of biology at the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg, where during his 30-year career he taught ecology, ornithology, evolutionary biology and genetics as well an occasional advanced photography class in the Department of Graphics. His photographs have been exhibited widely. Hess is also the author of The Galápagos: Exploring Darwin's Tapestry.


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


Sept. 16: Welcome to Columbia's Agriculture Park
HYBRID
Learn more about Columbia’s Agriculture Park and the organizations that help to operate and deliver programs here: Columbia Farmers Market, Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture (CCUA) and Columbia Parks & Recreation. We will do a deep dive into CCUA and the wide range of hands-on education and outreach that happens throughout the community.
Instructor: Adam Saunders is the capital campaign director for Columbia’s Agriculture Park. The son of two teachers, he considers himself an informal teacher and lifelong learner. Saunders has been involved in community organizing, urban agriculture and environmental protection in Columbia, Mo., since 2005, when he was a student. He lives in Columbia with his wife, Adrienne, and two young kids, William and Maggie.


Sept. 23 : Taking Charge of Your Philanthropy: Aligning Your Financial Goals with Your Passions for Maximum Meaningful Impact
HYBRID
In this session, participants will learn about emotional vs. rational decisions and how they can affect your personal philanthropy, how thoughtful planning can maximize the impact of your philanthropy, philanthropy definition(s) and tax-advantaged strategies for increasing the impact of your giving.
Instructor: James Preston has nearly 25 years of experience working as a gift planner helping people maximize the impact of their giving. Since 2019, he has been the assistant executive director and chief development officer for MU Extension & Engagement and has served in University Advancement since 2005.


Sept. 30 : Exploring Missouri’s Soils, HYBRID

UPDATE: This session has been postponed by the instructor and will be offered in a subsequent Osher semester. Stay tuned!

Doug Wallace will describe and illustrate soil principles, processes, types and applications for accessing soil information for land users in Missouri. Participants will also learn what soil is, understand how soils differ and form, and what resources you can access for personal soil information.
Instructor: Doug Wallace has B.S. and M.S. degrees in forestry from the University of Illinois. From 1975 to 1978, Wallace was a field ecologist for the Illinois Natural Areas Inventory. Upon completion of the inventory, he began working for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) – Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and served in several locations and positions throughout Illinois, Missouri and Nebraska, including as state staff forester in Columbia, Mo., and NRCS national agroforester in Lincoln, Ne. He is currently retired.


Oct. 7 : The Dark Web
ONLINE ONLY
We hear of the Dark Web in the news but know little about it. In this session, we'll learn how to access and navigate the Dark Web and what technologies are used to hide one's location and identity on the internet. We will also discuss some of the "famous" Dark Web sites and the tools that law enforcement uses to track down criminals on the Dark Web.
Instructors: J. Scott Christianson is an associate teaching professor of management at the Trulaske College of Business, where his interests are focused on the impact of emerging technology on society and geopolitics. He has worked on hundreds of information technology projects and remains actively involved in information technology initiatives and startups.
Jake Rice is a recent graduate of the University of Missouri with a major in business, a minor in information technology and certificates in both sales and cyber security. He is an open-source intelligence (OSINT), malware, exploitation and social engineering aficionado and wannabe. When not in front of a computer, he enjoys outdoor activities to make up for sitting in front of a computer as much as he does.


Oct. 14 : Reproductive Rights in the U.S.–100 Years of History
HYBRID
The battle over reproductive rights is not new. From the Comstock laws that began in the late 1800s that prohibited the sending of contraception and information through the mail, through the overturning of Roe v. Wade, we will explore laws that restricted women's reproductive rights as well as those that granted access to them.
Instructor: Margie Sable taught social work at the University of Missouri for 25 years. Her research focused on reproductive health care, including the barriers to accessing care faced by low-income and underserved populations. Before her tenure in academia, she worked as a counselor at an abortion clinic, as the obstetrics social worker at the University of Missouri Hospital and Clinics and as the chief of the Bureau of Perinatal and Child Health at the Missouri Department of Health. She holds master’s degrees in social work and public health and a Doctorate of Public Health.


Oct. 21 : If You Can’t Beat’ em, Then Eat’ em! (Asian Carp)
HYBRID
Asian carp were imported into the U.S. as a biological control mechanism for improving water quality. Subsequent flooding allowed for their dispersion throughout the Mississippi River Basin, causing serious problems for native fish and recreational boaters. If the ‘Menace of the Midwest’ enters the Great Lakes, they will disrupt a multibillion-dollar fishing industry. The supply of fish is much larger than current demand, so additional markets are needed. One possible solution includes human consumption, but carp are regarded as “trash” fish and simply thrown into landfills. This is a classic example of wanton waste.
Instructor: Dr. Mark Morgan is an associate professor in the School of Natural Resources at the University of Missouri. He teaches classes and conducts research on the social aspects of natural resources management. Among his most noteworthy accomplishments are studies on fish and fishing, including the use of Asian carp as a hunger relief strategy.


Oct. 28 : "Fright Night" Friday Movies
ONLINE ONLY
Remember those scary movies that used to be on TV late at night, mostly around Halloween? Those beloved “Fright Night” films were not gruesome but were certainly thrilling, just the kind of movie that kept us in front of the TV long after our parents had gone to bed. From the late 1950s to the early 1970s, old horror movies shown every Friday night were a TV staple. In this session, we will look at some of the better-constructed films of that golden age and at the writers, actors and directors that made them. We will also discuss some of the women with creepy stage names, like Vampira, Elvira and Zelda, who hosted those late night “shock theaters.”
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, Mo.


Nov. 4 : Managing the Learning Machine, HYBRID

UPDATE: This session has been postponed by the instructor and will be offered in a subsequent Osher semester. Stay tuned!

Artificial Intelligence, in the form of machine learning (ML), has already transformed medicine, retail sales and other industries. In this course, students will learn how to think about the implications of the widespread adoption of ML for their fields of interest as well as for government and society. Students will get hands-on experience with ML, allowing them to understand the power of—and problems with—this technology.
Instructor: J. Scott Christianson is an associate teaching professor of management at the Trulaske College of Business, where his interests are focused on the impact of emerging technology on society and geopolitics.