Course Descriptions: Fall 2018

More information on most courses, including schedule and recommended books, can be found online as indicated at the end of each description.

*FiftyNorth is the new name for the Northfield Senior Center
x

Esam Aal & Rafi Dworsky: People of the Book

4 Mondays (Oct. 8 – 29), 9:30-11:30
New Perspective Senior Living (Faribault)
Enrollment limit: 30

This course will feature a review of Jewish religion, a somewhat more detailed account of the nature and history of Islam, and finally an account of the current dispute in Palestine between Muslim Palestinians and Israelis.

For further information, click here.

Esam Aal came to Minnesota from his native country, Egypt, in 1969. He completed an MA in Special Education at the University of Minnesota and an MA in Counseling Psychology at the Alfred Adler Institute. He worked as a special teacher (horticultural therapist) at Faribault Regional Treatment Center until his retirement in 1998. A practicing Muslim, Esam has been an active member of the Twin Cities’ Muslim community serving on the Council of Trustees of the Islamic Center and as its Communication Director.

esam.m.aal@gmail.com

Rafi Dworsky began his cantorial career at the age of 11, well before he chanted his Bar Mitsvah. He was an itinerant cantor in his college years, traveling all over the United States and Israel, and since 1989 has worked primarily for Congregation B’nai Emunah (Children of Faith) in Tulsa, Oklahoma where he goes every year to chant the High Holiday services of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. He received his BA in sociology from Columbia University in New York in 1970, an MA in Music from the University of Minnesota in 1985 and an MA in Communication Disorders from the University of Minnesota in 1989. He currently works as a Speech Pathologist, a cantor, and occasionally as a folk-singer. His speech pathology clinic in Faribault provides services in Southeastern Minnesota.

info@southernslp.com

Dan Sullivan:  Myths and Controversies in American Higher Education

8 Mondays (Sept. 17 – Nov. 5), 1:30-3:30
FiftyNorth* 106
Enrollment limit: 18

This course engages a series of myths, counter-intuitives, and controversies in American higher education such as:  Why does college cost so much?  Why can’t a college be more like a firm?  Isn’t intercollegiate athletics in elite private colleges and universities the paradigm for what should be?  Why can’t anyone say with good evidence if students leave college with better higher-order skills than when they arrived?  Is it a liberal arts education – or a liberal education – that students need for work, life and engaged citizenship in the 21st century?  What are free speech and academic freedom, exactly, in the collegiate context – are trigger warnings appropriate?  Why is it that the wealthiest colleges and universities educate the smallest number of low-income students?  Classes will involve readings and their discussion.  

This course is a repeat of one offered in 2017.

For further information, click here.

Daniel Sullivan is President Emeritus of St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York, and former chair of the board of directors of the Association of American Colleges and Universities.  In June, 2013 he and his wife, Ann, moved back to Northfield where he began his career at Carleton teaching sociology from 1971-1986.

dsullivan@stlawu.edu

—————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

Richard Jorgensen:  No Conflict – Toward a Congenial Conversation between Science and Faith

4 Tuesdays (Sept. 11 – Oct. 2), 9:30-11:30
Faribault Senior Center
Enrollment limit: 20

The class will review the history of both the positive connections and the sources of conflict between science and faith.  That this conflict is ill-founded and unnecessary is a major thesis of the course.   Along the way the class will seek an open-minded review of the contributions of theology, science, philosophy, psychology, and “the New Atheists;” and consider such questions as “What does the Bible really say about creation, and why do Adam and Eve get all the attention?”, “How far back does science go?”, “Why are so many religious people afraid of evolution?”, “Is the universe eternal?”, and, the old standby: “What was there before there was something?”  Does science have all the answers? Does faith? Or is it a conversation?  Each session will be a combination of an introductory presentation and informal discussion.

Although the instructor is a Christian theologian, his intention in this course is not to persuade anybody toward a particular religious viewpoint (or toward religion at all), but rather to see if his fellow students agree with his thesis that science and faith are partners, not opponents, in the search for truth.

For further information, click here.

Richard Jorgensen is an ordained minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Having served congregations in Minneapolis and Anchorage, he retired in 2013, after twenty-four years as senior pastor of First English Lutheran Church, Faribault.  He currently serves part-time as pastor of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church on German Lake, Waterville.

jorgabcd@gmail.com

Gerald Hoekstra:  Bach’s Church Music (2 sections)

8 Tuesdays, 9:30-11:30 and 1:30-3:30
Village on the Cannon
Enrollment limit each section: 18

When, in 1723, Bach landed the post of Director of Music for the churches of Leipzig, he had finally arrived in a position that allowed him to develop to the fullest his talents as a composer.  Before this he had been employed as an organist and court musician, posts that offered him few opportunities to write church music, and he was known primarily as a virtuoso keyboard player and composer of fine instrumental music.

Chief among Bach’s responsibilities in Leipzig was to provide music for the choirs of the city’s main churches.  He plunged into this new task with great enthusiasm, and between 1723 and 1728 he produced five yearly cycles of Kirchenmusik (church music, or sacred cantatas), as well as motets, settings of the passion story, and other sacred works.  This body of music contains some of the richest and most beautiful music in all of the sacred repertory.

In this class we will examine Bach’s sacred music in the context of the composer’s life, Lutheran theology and liturgy of the time, and communal life in early eighteenth century Leipzig.  Preparation for class: listening to selections of music and short readings.  Participants must have access to a computer.

For further information, click here.

Gerald Hoekstra taught music history at St. Olaf College for 33 years before his retirement in 2014.  In addition to teaching classroom courses in in music history, he directed the St. Olaf Early Music Singers and the Collegium Musicum, ensembles that performed music of the Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque Eras.

hoekstra@stoaf.edu

—————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

Perry Mason:  Socrates Confronts the Gods

8 Tuesdays, 1:30-3:30
FiftyNorth* 106
Enrollment limit: 18

Upon its emergence in classical Greece, philosophy almost immediately clashed with traditional piety and beliefs about the gods.  Most famously, Socrates was tried, convicted, and executed on charges of impiety and of corrupting his young followers by his practice of philosophy.   We will look at “the case of Socrates” from a variety of viewpoints so as both to try to determine what was actually at stake in this ancient clash and to illuminate contemporary issues of our own having to do with philosophy and religious practice and belief.  Readings will include writings of Hesiod, Aristophanes, Xenophon, and Plato. 

This is a repeat of a course last offered in 2011.

For further information, click here.

Perry C. Mason is a Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at Carleton, where he taught philosophy of religion and ancient Greek philosophy for over thirty years.

pmason@carleton.edu

Gary WagenbachCorals and Coral Reefs – What do they tell us about human impact?

8 Wednesdays, 1:30-3:30
Village on the Cannon
Enrollment limit: 20

A detailed look at the scientific background for recent headlines such as “Great Barrier Reef: More Than 90 Percent of Marine Ecosystems Suffering from Coral Bleaching”. Coral reefs are among the most complex and productive biological systems on the planet.  Warm water events trigger the headlines shown and make connections with global warming. What is the nature of a coral? What is a healthy reef? What do studies of ancient reefs tell about the history of our planet? Humans have lived among reefs for a long time, their livelihoods entangled with reefs, especially by means of fishing.  It turns out fish play a key role in promoting reef health.  Weather, climate, disease, and humans have affected Pacific, Caribbean, and Atlantic coral reefs.  Join Gary for an exploration of the many connections (including hyperbolic geometry) we all have with coral reefs. Go snorkeling on a reef sometime, and I hope you can do so, your understanding of what you are seeing will be  enhanced as will your understanding of climate change in the Anthropocene. 

This is a repeat of a course previously offered in Spring 2017.

For further information, click here.

Gary Wagenbach taught biology and environmental studies at Carleton College, including leading off-campus trips to study coral reefs.  He also has taught and participated in several CVEC courses and volunteers  locally  and,  occasionally, at a K-12 school in Yangon, Myanmar.

gwagenba@gmail.com

—————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

Kerry Hjelmgren:  Planning for a Good Death

4 Wednesdays (Oct. 3 – 24), 1:30-3:30
Rice County Historical Society
Enrollment limit: 30

This course will help participants understand our relationship to death as individuals and as a society, explore our own definition of a good death, and learn how to meaningfully engage in and complete the process of advance care planning.  We will explore personal values, beliefs, and goals, and how they help us define our preferences for end of life care and comfort.  Participants will also have the opportunity to complete a health care directive or revise a previous version.  Sessions will include a combination of large and small group discussions, lectures, video, and self-reflection activities.

For further information, click here.

Kerry Hjelmgren is the Honoring Choices Advance Care Planning Coordinator for Faribault & Owatonna with Allina.  Her mission is to increase awareness and educate individuals and families about the importance of advance care planning through interactive engagement opportunities.  Kerry is certified as a Respecting Choices Advance Care Planning Facilitator and Facilitator Instructor.

kerry.hjelmgren@allina.com

Jim McDonnell:  The Literature of Northern Ireland 1966-98

8 Wednesdays, 1:30-3:30
FiftyNorth* 106
Enrollment limit: 18

Northern Ireland was constantly in the news between the 1960s and the 1990s because of the apparently endless violence that seemed to be a way of life there. What is perhaps less known is that the same period was one of remarkable literary activity. The most famous representative of this creative period is the Nobel Prize winner, Seamus Heaney, whose books of poetry often became international best-sellers. However, his outstanding achievement was by no means an isolated one. As Heaney constantly affirms, nobody is an island in Ireland, and it takes a creative community to nurture an individual talent. Many of his contemporaries are among the greatest poets, dramatists, and writers of fiction in the English language. This course obviously cannot do justice to such a diverse achievement, but it will attempt to convey a sense of how the fraught conditions of Northern Ireland inspired some of its noblest spirits to cherish and express the enduring values that human beings should live by.

This is a repeat of a course offered in 2012.

For further information, click here.

Jim McDonnell retired from the Carleton English Department in 2007 after teaching there for 38 years. He spent most of his early childhood in rural Ireland and returns there frequently.

jmcdonne@carleton.edu

—————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

Don Barry:  A History of Mathematics from 30,000 BC to 300 BC

8 Thursdays, 9:30-11:30
FiftyNorth* 106
Enrollment limit: 18

The first 25,000 years will fly by, but there are still interesting archaeological finds to mull over as we consider the progress of the human race towards an understanding of its ability to think theoretically.  We will look at the rise of numerical symbols, mathematical operations, and school in Mesopotamia and then turn our attention to the early mathematics of Egypt, India, China, Neolithic England, and the Mayans.  We will end in Greece looking at the contributions of Pythagoras and Euclid.  Along the way we’ll bump into philosophical musings, ponder the mathematics of beauty, and briefly consider the more flamboyant theories of our mathematical development.  Since our interest will be in the origin of mathematical ideas and procedures, very little mathematics will be assumed.  We will develop most of what we need, trying to do so as we believe it might have been done so long ago.  Reading material will be made available in pdf form via email.  

This is a repeat of a course offered in 2017-18.

For further information, click here.

Don Barry majored in philosophy at Carleton, earned an M.Div degree from Yale, and then discovered that his heart lay in teaching high school mathematics.  He taught for 7 years in mission schools in Turkey and then 34 years at Phillips Andover Academy.  Along the way he wrote lots of problems for math contests and became fascinated by the history of mathematics, particularly the origins of the Pythagorean Theorem.

donbarry5@gmail.com

Jerry Mohrig:  The History and Chemistry of Chocolate

8 Thursdays, 1:30-3:30
Village on the Cannon
Enrollment limit: 18

We will examine the allure and romance of chocolate while probing the history of cacao from the Mayas and Aztecs to its embrace by 18th century Europeans and finally to modern America. We will also explore where chocolate comes from, its constituents and chemistry, its health effects, and how chocolate’s many varieties are manufactured. The class will hold a chocolate tasting session and may also take a field trip to a chocolatier in the Twin Cities. Four predecessors of his course have been taught by Jerry in the past, the most recent in 2017. Past students have suggested that it’s time to give other CVEC students the opportunity to learn more about one of our favorite foods.

For further information, click here.

Jerry Mohrig taught at Carleton College for 36 years and is an emeritus professor of chemistry.  He has also been an amateur historian most of his life and believes that there is nothing wrong with having fun while learning the chemistry and history of chocolate. 

jmohrig@carleton.edu

—————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

Roxy Scott Barry and Don Barry:  Our Turkey

8 Fridays, 1:30-3:300
Kildahl Park Pointe
Enrollment limit: 18

This course is in part a personal course about Turkey.  One of the instructors grew up in Turkey, and both of them taught school there for seven years.  To a large extent this will be an anecdotal class, about growing up in a Turkish village and the instructors’ experience in Turkey.  The course will also look at the history of the founding of the Turkish Republic, Turkish culture, the weaving of carpets and kilims, the role and history of American missionaries in Turkey (including Carleton’s significant involvement), Turkish aesthetics and art, the place of Islam in Turkey, and current issues facing the country. The course will end with a Turkish meal prepared by the participants (with help, of course).

For further information, click here.

Roxy Scott Barry was born and raised in Turkey, attending primary school in the village in which her parents were missionary teachers, and then middle and high school in a mission school for girls in Istanbul.   She majored in art history at Carleton and earned an M.Ed. degree at Goucher College, after which she taught 6th grade mathematics  in Turkey.  Subsequently she was the director of the Summer Opportunities and Gap Year office at Phillips Andover Academy for many years.

Don Barry majored in philosophy at Carleton, earned an M.Div degree from Yale, and then discovered that his heart lay in teaching high school mathematics.  He taught for 7 years in mission schools in Turkey and then 34 years at Phillips Andover, from which he retired in 2014.

rbarry288@gmail.com, donbarry5@gmail.com

 

LaVern Rippley:  The German Bauhaus Architectural Movement

8 Fridays, 1:30-3:30
FiftyNorth* 106
Enrollment limit: 18

“The Bauhaus” (for short) was a German architectural movement that began in Weimar and spread to to Berlin and to Cambridge, Mass., Chicago, and even Minnesota.  Buildings, art works, and objects created by the Bauhaus – Walter Gropius, Mies van der Rohe, Marcel Breuer, Oskar Schlemmer, Moholy Nagy and many others – resulted in the most celebrated art movement ever.  Called the ‘Crucible of Modernism’, this movement still exerts a powerful impact on today’s tools of mechanization by design and invention.  In its meager 14 years of existence (the same duration as the Weimar Republic), it transformed our physical and mental landscapes.  This course focuses on German history in the 20th century, the role of youth and revolution, invention vs. tradition, the right vs. the left in politics, the movement’s ‘happier shores’ move to the United States, and its dominance in our postmodern world.  Field trips will be taken to Minneapolis, St. Olaf, and Collegeville.

For further information, click here.

LaVern Rippley retired from the St. Olaf German Department in 2017 after 50 years teaching German studies, history, literature, language, sixteen Interim study tours circling the Baltic Sea, and, not least, the German Bauhaus.

rippleyl@stolaf.edu