Spring, 2020 classes are cancelled
On-going groups are self-directed learning communities sponsored by CSC. Participation is free – do not call URock to participate. To join, contact the listed facilitators.
Challenge of Change
We provide a venue for community conversation to discuss economic, ecological, and cultural challenges facing our society. We seek better alternatives in a respectful and positive way. Participants share responsibility for topics, provide resources, and may invite guest speakers. We gather twice monthly at the Friends Meeting House in Damariscotta. Contact Jon Olsen, 549-7787 or email@example.com or Susan van Alsenoy, firstname.lastname@example.org
New Class Adventures
Registration begins March 10
First session is April 6
A Megalithic Journey
8 Tuesdays, 10:00 – Noon, April 14 – June 2
You have heard of, and perhaps visited Stonehenge, but do you know that many other prehistoric stone structures and circles are found in Europe? Join us in a journey to some of the extraordinary monuments and ritual landscapes that five thousand years ago our ancestors created to order and shape their experience of the world. In the past seven years we have journeyed to megalithic sites across Europe, tramped through muddy fields in search of stones, taken a multitude of photographs, lingered amongst the stones, and pondered the interpretations of skilled and thoughtful archaeologists.
Archaeologist Barry Cunliffe wrote, It is part of the human condition that we feel the need to visualize the past. This is as true for us now as it was for the people who built these megalithic structures so long ago in our shared journey on earth. Both for those who study the stones professionally and for those of us who are fascinated amateurs, the surviving megaliths provide more questions than answers. What resonance do five thousand year-old megaliths and their environments have for us today? Come join us and discover what questions these magnificent creations may have for you. Class limit: 30
Instructor Lucie Bauer is a retired art historian whose expertise is in periods several millennia later than prehistory. She has taught in a wide variety of settings from the Ivy League to the Maine State Prison. Lucie was educated at Vassar and the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University. A former member of the CSC board and curriculum committee, she has taught many senior college courses. She joins her wife Annie Kiermaier in teaching this course.
Instructor Annie Kiermaier, LCSW, has retired as an international trainer for the Theraplay Institute in Chicago. Annie and Lucie have visited many prehistoric sites in the British Isles and Europe. Annie has a BA from Earlham College, an associate degree in nursing from the University of Maine at Augusta, and a MSW from the University of Maine at Orono.
Shakespeare’s Insights & Wisdom on Aging
4 Tuesdays, 10:00 – Noon, April 7 – May 5, No class April 21
Throughout the Shakespeare canon of comedies, tragedies, and histories, memorable characters in their senior years face dilemmas, choices, compromises, and consequences of their actions or the actions of the gods. We shall explore the experiences of many characters, and then focus specific attention on memorable seniors in As You Like It, King Lear, and The Tempest. As we find in King Lear,
The oldest hath borne most: we that are young
Shall never see so much, nor live so long.
This course promises to be fun and enjoyable. Class limit: 30
Instructor W. Joseph Coté is a trained classical actor who has performed in fourteen of Shakespeare’s great plays among other acting roles. His preparation for performance of these plays has given Joseph particular insights into the character and experiences of the older men and women brought to life by Shakespeare. Joseph is keen to spark the curiosity and awake a new dawn of appreciation for the world of Shakespearean imagination, even in the most stoically reluctant.
Techniques for Watercolor Painters
4 Wednesdays, 1:00 – 3:00, April 8 – April 29
There are many techniques that can be used to create a beautiful watercolor painting. This class for beginners will explore basic methods such as wet into wet painting, using different brush strokes, and special effects using sponges and salt. Art supplies needed for the first class include a pad of watercolor paper, watercolor paints in tubes or pans, brushes, pencil and palette. Class limit: 14
Instructor Cynthia Dias is a watercolor artist who has taught art and historically based classes for a number of years. In addition to her art work that features scenes of Maine and England, she creates textiles that are handwoven at her home in Newcastle. She has worked as a curator and director of various museums and illustrated a museum cookbook.
The Way We Were: Seeing 1820 Today
4 Wednesdays, 1:30 – 3:30, April 29 – May 27, No class May 6
This four- session Bicentennial course continues our look into the time, two hundred years ago, when Maine became a state. The first session will provide both content and logistical background; the other three will be “in the field” at three nearby sites in the Midcoast region. The sites will have both indoor and outdoor tour components. Participants will be given directions to the sites at the first meeting.
What remains? Where can we go to see the physical evidence of this time period? What examples of landscapes (roads, walls, cemeteries, town commons, fields, dam, mill, and wharf sites), structures, artifacts, and documents exist in our local communities, and what can they tell us?
Armed with those questions, and with the aid of local historical experts, we will experience full immersion in the surroundings of 1820. The instructor will provide tools for historical investigation so that we can begin to see the past in the present.
Our final framing question is this: By being in the actual places and encountering the actual things associated with our predecessors, what can we come to understand that we simply couldn’t grasp by any other means? Participation in the fall course is not a requirement for this new offering. Class limit: 40
Instructor Jayne Gordon taught the Maine in 1820 course in the fall and coordinated the Bicentennial lunch series in the winter. A member of the CSC Board, she chairs the Bicentennial Committee. Jayne was Executive Director of the Thoreau Society before becoming the first Director of Education and Public Programs at the Massachusetts Historical Society. She also served as director of the Alcotts’ Orchard House and Director of Education for the Concord Museum and the Walden Woods Project, and taught for many years in the graduate Museum Studies Program at Tufts. Jayne has led classes and seminars on the Concord Authors (Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne and the Alcotts) for decades, and has directed five National Endowment for the Humanities workshops for teachers from all across the country on both the American Revolution and Henry Thoreau. Recently retired, she has moved from Thoreau’s hometown to Damariscotta, and continues to serve on the Thoreau Society Board of Directors.
How to Cut & Prune Your Writing
6 Wednesdays, 3:15 – 5:15, April 22 – June 3, No class May 13
According to Nancy Thayer, “It’s never too late … in life or in fiction … to revise.” Given honest and constructive feedback, students will learn to “cut and prune” stories as they organize a kaleidoscope of random recollections. Memoir writing and supportive ways to deliver and receive constructive criticism will be discussed. Each participant will bring a completed story to class. The group will respond to the story, discussing memorable “hot spots” as well as places that could be stronger, funnier, or more real. No prior writing experience is necessary, just the desire to strengthen the impact of your writing. Class limit: 8
Instructor Caroline Davis Janover is an award-winning author of four novels and a play for children and young adults. A winner of the New Jersey Governor’s Outstanding Teacher Award, Caroline has spent her professional career working in public and private school education. Caroline has dyslexia and has lectured nationally on the creative strengths and academic challenges of children who grow up with learning and attentional differences. She is currently working (slowly) on a memoir.
Humans and the Ocean, Part II:
The great carbon dioxide experiment
4 Mondays, 10:00 – Noon, April 6 – 27
This course is a continuation and expansion of the fall 2019 course – Humans and the Ever-Changing Ocean. We shall examine what happens in the ocean as humans perform the “experiment” of adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. We begin with an overview of how organisms – from bacteria to dinosaurs – extracted huge amounts of carbon from the atmosphere and then buried it over many millions of years. Upon this scene, our course’s iconic duo from yesteryear – Mike Mulligan and Mary Anne – arrives to exhume this buried carbon at industrial scale. This stored-up carbon makes machines go and saves whales, but also releases a gas that can then affect the ocean in various ways. We will emphasize impacts such as making the seas warm, rise, and sour, and thus change the ocean’s suitability for various inhabitants. We will consider how such effects are predicted, tested, and documented. We will fit our discussion into the context of other ongoing changes in the ocean covered in last fall’s course, attendance at which is not a prerequisite for this course. Class limit: 27
Instructor Larry Mayer was a professor of oceanography at the University of Maine. He taught at the Darling Marine Center and elsewhere on topics similar to this course, in pre-K to senior college formats. His research field is marine biogeochemistry, which means that he wanders among the fields of oceanography, biology, geology and chemistry. He assists with citizen science efforts in lakes and estuaries.
“Sweet lovers love the spring”:
Love and Change in As you Like it and Selected Poems
7 Fridays, 1:00 – 3:00, April 10 – May 22
Spring is traditionally a time of lovers as well as of rebirth and change. Pastoral poetry often associates love with the beauty and real or apparent simplicity of nature in the springtime, but even love poems that move beyond the pastoral often entwine their imagery with the joys and pains of the season. Although the Shakespearean comedy As You Like It is the primary focus of this course, we will frame the play with assorted short samples of pastoral poetry as well as Shakespeare’s songs and other poems of love and spring time. Class members are encouraged to find their own examples too.
In the comedy As you Like it, Shakespeare uses and gently mocks the pastoral and courtly tradition. He exposes family jealousies, particularly that jealousy of goodness that seems to afflict certain Shakespearean characters, but he also demonstrates the strength of good and loyal bonds. Through the setting of the forest of Arden, he contrasts the corrupt world of the court with the natural world and explores the excesses of love, lust, and melancholy. He plays with disguises, reveals truth, and offers chances of redemption as assorted lovers indulge in folly and confusion and eventually sort themselves out with reasonable success. The play combines comic interludes with philosophy and with songs and poetry, and it is a delight to read. Greet the spring with Rosalind, Orlando, Jaques, Touchstone, and others. The Pelican edition of As you Like it by William Shakespeare has good footnotes without telling you what to think, and I strongly recommend it, but other editions are fine as long as they indicate the lines of the play. Class limit: 20
Instructor Ann Nesslage is a graduate of Vassar with a master’s degree in British literature from Bryn Mawr. Ann retired from Choate Rosemary Hall where she taught different levels of English including British literature and British studies. She also created electives including a course in early Irish and Welsh literature and mythology. Ann lives in Bremen, is an active gardener, reader, and writer.
20th Century America: Hub of Modern Art
8 Thursdays, 11:00 – 1:00, April 9 – May 28
Colonial and early postcolonial painting in America was basically British in style. Then the Hudson River School discovered the American outdoors, followed by the realization by the Ashcan school that urban slums and taverns have a mystique of their own. The 20th century was marked by the exploration of techniques and procedures of artistic expressiveness, and it was in New York where a profound transformation of artists’ and collectors’ approach to art took place and totally transformed public perception. Up until then, American artists went to Europe, notably Paris, to make art. Now, Europeans come to New York.
Trends in American “modernism” did not yield one coherent style, but aroused the desire for trials and challenges. Modernism was essentially conceived as a rebellion against academic and historicist traditions and against cultural absolutism. Superb works of art are made, albeit in a fluid variety of styles and aesthetic approaches. In this course we will examine the different trends and forms of modern art. Will any of them stand the test of time? Class limit: 20
Instructor Antoinette Pimentel has a degree in biochemistry, but grew up among pigments, easels, and brushes, since her father was an artist, a printer, and an engraver. Her travels made her turn to art as science requires a more sedentary life. She attended the Kunsternes hus in Oslo, Norway, and the Volksuniversiteit in Amsterdam, Nederland. She has taught history of art and art appreciation in a variety of settings.
Origins of Human Evolution – Part 2
9 Tuesdays, 2:00 – 4:00, April 7 – June 2
This course follows Part 1, offered last fall, and begins with the evolution of the protists, fungi, plants, and animals. Most courses in biology and evolution introduce students to descriptions of plant and animal life to explain how these forms developed. Unique, however, is the class which explores where our species came from as a primary topic. Still fewer courses provide insight into the behaviors, emotions, and potential horizons of our most human of species. This course is a narrative interactive experience, using biological stories woven into a chronological journal of life on Earth. We will study Darwin’s compelling theories of natural selection and transition of species across vast epochs. Referring to the fossil record, the course narrates the progression of simple animals into the extraordinary zoological diversification found in living fauna. We will analyze clues as to how organic entities interact, resulting in new layers of self-organizing complexity. Finally, we will trace potential evolutionary avenues to later-arriving families, seeking lessons to apply to human cultural dynamics. Class limit: 25
Instructor Bill Portela has an extensive background in systems engineering, human systems integration, and technical learning environments allowing him to weave evolutionary information into an engaging and coherent story. Bill is a certified science teacher, wildlife rehabilitator, breeder of draft horses, and Court Appointed Special Advocate. He has designed and delivered curriculum in Maine public institutions including elementary, middle, and high school as well as being adjunct faculty at the college level.
Yankee Cooking: Fact or Fiction?
6 Wednesdays, 10:00 – Noon, April 15 – May 20
We all know the icons of Yankee Cooking: chowder, baked beans, pot roast, lobster rolls, even Thanksgiving dinner. But when, where, and how did these and other dishes arise? Why did they come to symbolize the foodways of New England? What do they tell us about our cultural heritage?
To celebrate Maine’s Bicentennial, CSC instructor Nate Randall will present the origins of New England cookery and trace how it has evolved into our own time. Each class will begin with an illustrated talk providing historical context followed by a seminar format where class members will be invited to share memories of their family tables, “Yankee” recipes, and consider the survival of the concept into the twenty-first century. Online reading assignments will consist of extracts from 17th– and 18th– century historical sources. Class limit: 65
Instructor Nathan A. Randall (Nate) completes a decade of teaching for CSC with topics ranging from the music of Igor Stravinsky, American Popular Music, and Gilbert and Sullivan, to a demonstration course on Italian Cooking and a special holiday talk on the true origins of America’s Thanksgiving Holiday. Holding degrees in music history from Tufts, Smith College, and Princeton University, Nate also spent five years as sous chef in a restaurant, and has also maintained a lifelong interest in cooking and food traditions around the world. He previously was a lifelong learning teacher at the Princeton Adult School and Princeton Evergreen Forum, and has lectured for the English Speaking Union as well as Regent and Seabourn cruise lines. Professionally, he served as Artistic Director of Princeton University Concerts for 23 years.
Optimizing Brain Health:
Good News from Evidence Based Science
8 Thursdays, 2:00 – 4:00, April 9 – May 28
Advances in neuroscience have led to the understanding that the brain changes which lead to dementia usually occur 20 years in advance of symptoms and a diagnosis. An extraordinary amount of research is now focused on what we can do to prevent and even turn around early degrees of Normal Age-Related brain changes or a diagnosis of Mild Cognitive Impairment. There is very good reason to be optimistic!
One major paradigm-altering discovery has been the discovery of neuroplasticity. It is now proven that even aging adult brains can develop new synaptic connections in response to stimulation and will respond favorably to the health conditions of the body based on personal life practices. The purpose of this course is to dive into the current state of evidence-based science research on life practices and types of cognitive training to maintain optimal brain health. However, we all know that lifestyle changes can be challenging to implement, so we will also delve into research to successfully create those changes. With each class you will receive a PDF document with links to many researchers, books, articles and videos for your further research. Class limit 50
Instructor Steve Raymond began his healthcare career as a 23-year old registered nurse. He has specialized in senior care for the past 25 years, and says that, “Now as a 66-year old experiencing my own age-related changes, I am determined to apply the best available knowledge from researchers in longevity medicine, neuroscience, dementia prevention, older age physical performance, and Type 2 diabetes prevention. My passion and purpose are to spread the good news that we can have a great deal of influence in maintaining optimal cognitive health, and even reverse some early changes that may have already occurred.” Steve is the Admissions Director at the Lincoln Home in Newcastle, a frequent public speaker and aging activist, and the producer and host of the popular LCTV show Spotlight on Seniors.
Creating with Collage –
Explore, Express, Have Fun!
6 Tuesdays, 10:00 – 1:00, April 7 – May 12
Collage is the art of cutting paper up and gluing it together to make pictures. It is incredibly fun and addictive! Come join us in unleashing and expressing your spirit of play, as we explore the medium by doing a variety of exercises guaranteed to get your creative juices flowing. Creating pieces takes us painlessly into the territory of art basics, such as composition, texture, abstraction, color vs black and white. In addition to making our own collages, we will play with each other, by starting a piece and then passing it on to someone else to finish – the results are always a delightful surprise to all. This class is always a relaxing, social time, and we always take time to look at and share our thoughts about our work in a supportive, non-judgmental atmosphere. One of the many joys of this medium is that no prior experience is needed to jump in and have success right away. All you need is a pair of scissors, a glue stick, stuff to cut up, such as magazines, plain and colored paper, and a readiness to play! Class limit: 15
Instructor Deborah Stevenson was born in Washington, D.C., grew up in Tokyo, went to high school in Baltimore, and got her BA from Sarah Lawrence College in 1975. She lived for many years on the West Coast, returning to live in New York until 2015, when she relocated to Belfast. Deborah’s collage art has been featured in exhibitions and publications both here and abroad. She has been teaching art for many years, most recently as a guest artist at Shakerag Workshops, in Tennessee. With a background in both theatre and art, Deborah has a talent for working with people, putting them at ease and exciting them about their own abilities and strengths.
The Traditional Stories of Faust and Goethe’s Faust
8 Tuesdays, 10:00 – Noon, April 7 – May 26
Stories of a medieval alchemist and necromancer known as Johann George Faust developed in the late middle ages and were first published in the Faust Book of 1587. Christopher Marlowe developed a play from an English translation of this work, The Tragical History of Dr. Faustus, which was then taken by English actors to the continent and became the basis for plays put on by traveling troupes of German actors and puppeteers. Johann Wolfgang Goethe drew on this material for the two parts of his Faust, the iconic masterpiece of German literature, comparable to the Iliad and the Odyssey in classical Greek literature, Virgil’s Aeneid in Latin literature, Dante’s Comedy in Italian literature, and the plays of Shakespeare in English literature. Goethe continued to work on Faust from his early twenties until the year of his death at age 82. We will begin by tracing the development of the legend in the Faust Book, Marlowe’s play, and one of the puppet plays. We will then look at the various versions of Part I of Goethe’s Faust, and conclude by looking at the very different character of Part II. The recommended text, which we will use in class, is David Luke, Goethe. Faust: Part I and Goethe. Faust: Part II (two volumes, Oxford World’s Classics), ISBN 978-0199536214 and 978-0199536207. This is a revised version of the fall course. Class limit: 12
Instructor Byron Stuhlman is a retired Episcopal minister with a doctorate in theology and the author of six books. He was a member of the faculty of Hamilton College and the General Theological Seminary. Prior to moving to Maine, he taught at the Mohawk Valley Institute for Learning in Retirement (Utica, NY). Byron has served as the chair of the CSC board and chair of its curriculum committee as well as teaching a good number of courses.
Designing and Building Living Landscapes in Your Yard
7 Mondays, 9:30 – 11:30, April 6 – May 18
This course helps students understand the importance of building a yard or property as a habitat. By creating a healthy habitat, the landscape can provide all the necessary components to attract and sustain a variety of plants, pollinators, birds and other native organisms. Participants will understand what creates a “healthy eco-friendly habitat”: preparing the yard from the ground-floor up including soil, the basic steps to pollinator friendly gardens, best management practices to create strong yard environments, using no-till practices in gardens and containers, plants to attract and repel insects, identifying common bees in the yard, and attracting and keeping birds in the yard. Class limit: 30
Instructor Jean Vose has two major passions in life ~ gardening and beekeeping. She is a Master Gardener, Certified Horticulturist, and backyard beekeeper living in Nobleboro where she has created gardens to attract pollinators as well as the other beneficial creatures. The original homestead, established in 1910, features a farmhouse of that era bounded by more than 10 acres of open fields and mixed woods. The gardens feature vegetables, herbs, ornamental grasses, trees, and shady spots. Most of her gardens have been established for 20 years. She has been a backyard beekeeper since 1986. Since moving to Maine in 1998, she and her late husband began a beekeeping course which led to the formation of the Knox-Lincoln County Beekeepers (KLCB) in 2003. She is committed to conservation and other nature activities. She has been a “birder” for many years and in the winter, counts birds for Cornell’s Project Feeder Watch. She is a retired nurse and office administrator who shares her life with golden retriever Honey, kitty Arianna, and hives of honeybees.
Unscrewing the Inscrutable: George Herbert and John Donne
6 Tuesdays, 2:00 – 4:00, April 7 – May 19, No Class April 14
These two poets are sometimes treated as similar “metaphysical poets” whose major works were both published in 1633, after their deaths. Proper British gentlemen, they sought fame and power as courtiers, only to end up as Anglican priests known for their verses. But, in fact, their poems are very different and suffer from being lumped together. Their reputations have fluctuated wildly, negatively by Dryden and Johnson, positively by Coleridge and T.S. Eliot. The latter usefully noted that the difference is “not that between the violence of Donne and the gentle imagery of Herbert, but rather a difference between the dominance of intellect over sensibility and the dominance of sensibility over intellect.” Together we will try freshly to discover and appreciate the wit and values of their poems. Poems are available on the web and the initial assignment will be distributed by email before our first meeting. Class limit: 25
Instructor John Ward has been professor and chair of Kenyon College (Gambier OH) English Department and has served as Dean of Centre College (Danville KY). He earned his B.A. from Amherst College and Ph.D. from the University of Virginia, and has taught courses in 18th and 19th century British literature and the history of the British novel. He has published on 18th and 19th century British works as well as those of Vachel Lindsay and Robert Lowell.
Austen: Novels and Films
8 Tuesdays, 1:00 – 3:00, April 7 – May 26
We will read Sense and Sensibility and Mansfield Park, novels not covered in the Austen for Adults class during the last winter term. We will be viewing parts of various film versions of Austen’s novels and discussing the choices the writers and directors have made in bringing Austen to modern film goers. You need not have attended the Winter Term course in order to take this second part, but some knowledge of other Austen novels will help with the film discussion. For the first class, please read Chapters 1-22 of Sense and Sensibility. This longer reading assignment (the first volume in the original publication) allows us to see some of the film in the first class. Class limit: 23
Instructor Maryanne Ward is retired after a 40-year career in small college education. She chaired Kenyon College (Gambier OH) Humanities program and served as academic dean until moving to Centre College (Danville KY) as professor of English and chair of the Humanities program. Her area of special interest and scholarship is 19th century British literature. Among other topics, her publications have examined the relationship between literature and landscape, and painting.
Computers: Then, Now & Tomorrow
6 Wednesdays, 12:30 – 2:30, April 29 – June 3
In 1439 Gutenberg launched a revolution. His movable type and cheap printing methods made books readily accessible, thus spurring on the age of enlightenment and the scientific revolution. In our own lifetime Gutenberg’s achievement has been eclipsed by the computer revolution. In this class we will examine the roots of the computer revolution going back to Leibniz in the 17th century. We then consider modern computing with units on artificial intelligence, personal computers, the Internet, and collaboration tools such as Wikipedia. Finally, we speculate on the future of computing. Where is this going? Will humans be superseded by robots? What is the potential? What are the concerns? The class does not require a technical background. The focus will be on individual innovators and their contributions. Where available there will be videos letting them speak for themselves. Those who want greater depth on the computer history segments are encouraged to read The Innovators by Walter Isaacson. Through delightful anecdotes he makes the case for collaboration as the source for innovation. Class limit: 25
Instructor Mike Werner was for 30 years a professor of computer science at Wentworth Institute of Technology. His specialties were programming languages, graphics programming, and artificial intelligence. Mike and his wife live in Camden, Maine, except for the icier months spent in Medford, MA and San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Mike has taught senior college classes in all three locations. In retirement Mike continues to keep up with the field, focusing on societal impacts of computing, the loss of privacy, and the rise of cyborgs integrating human and computer capabilities.