Classes

Winter 2018: Bonus Session

Winter Birding

Mondays, February 26 – March 26
9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

Enjoy the end of winter with a series of field study classes that will bring us to different bird watching venues. Participants will observe a wide variety of waterfowl and other birds that spend the winter season in Virginia and are not present in the warmer months. The James River and Henricus Parks are tentative venues. The complete list of sites will be sent to registrants. If a suitable location can be found, we will also have a special evening walk to observe Woodcock. The first class is at Byrd Park.

Instructor: Paul Bedell, a lifelong birder and naturalist, is principal double bass with the Richmond Symphony.

The Life and Operas of Giuseppe Verdi

Tuesdays, January 30 – February 27
1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

By the time of Verdi’s birth, opera was completely ingrained into Italian culture and was the essential form of entertainment. Verdi brought Italian opera to unequaled heights, while preserving a quintessential characteristic of Italian art – functionality married to beauty. Verdi was a great dramatist and a great melodist at the same time, whose artistic evolution never ceased across the 50-year span of his career. This course will analyze five of his main operas: Nabucco, I Lombardi, Macbeth, Il Trovatore, and La forza del destino.

Instructor: Rita Paolino is a native Italian who has been working as an instructor of International Studies and Italian language at VCU since January 2014. She holds two masters degrees: one in international relations from Ohio University and one in music from the music conservatory of Campobasso, Italy.

Conversations for 2018

Wednesdays, January 31 – February 28
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

The new year promises numerous major new cultural amenities– a re-imagined Monroe Park, “The Pulse” transit system, and continued development along the downtown riverfront. Edwin Slipek, VCU adjunct professor and Style Weekly architecture critic, will host a conversation each week for five sessions with the planners, architects, landscape architects, developers and curators of new projects that should enrich our community. Come with your ideas and questions! And since it’s February, it’s all on campus and indoors at the Depot.

Instructor: Edwin J. Slipek Jr. is a VCU adjunct faculty member, an architectural historian, and senior contributing editor at Style Weekly.

Theater In-Process: The Flight of “Wings”

Thursdays, February 1 – March 1
1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

WINGS is an inspiring and haunting chamber musical about a female aerial daredevil facing a life-changing medical crisis, starring award-winning Richmond actress Bianca Bryan. Class participants will be given an insider’s view of the production as it develops at Firehouse Theatre, blocks away from VCU Campus (parking available at the Lowe’s on Broad Street, directly across from the theater). Course will include conversations with the director, designers, and performers who are creating the production and will also explore themes like aging, managing crises, and coping with cognitive processing issues. Class fee includes a ticket to a performance of the show (opening February 17th).

Instructor: David Timberline has been an arts journalist and theater advocate for nearly 20 years, writing for Style Weekly, 64 Magazine, and Backstage. He has been recognized for excellence 5 out of the past 6 years by the Virginia Press Association and won an Annenberg Fellowship in 2011.

Pilgrimage as Migration

Tuesdays, February 6, 13, 27 and March 6 and 13; no class on February 20
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Despite the urgency of today’s headlines, migration has been a constant of human history, over millennia shaping the world as we know it. An enlightening lens on migration is pilgrimage, an important religious act is all major world religions. This course will explore some common threads linking pilgrimages throughout history with a focus on the St. James Way – El Camino de Santiago. Since medieval times, the basilica of Santiago de Compostela and the many miracles ascribed to it have drawn pilgrims from across the world to walk across northern Spain for hundreds of years, leaving indelible imprints on the region’s famed wine, cuisine, and landscape.

Instructor: R. McKenna Brown is professor of World Studies and Executive director of Global Education at VCU. A linguist and anthropologist, he has lived and worked in Spain and Latin America, and coordinated VCU’s partnerships with universities in Spain.

Spring 2018: Session 1

How To Form and Maintain Good Character That Leads To Happiness

Mondays, March 12 – April 9
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

This seminar is a practical-application examination of character useful for parents and grandparents (as exemplars and as teachers of youth), for those who reflect on their own character, for those interested in the topic of character, for those who are curious about seeking and finding happiness, and for those concerned by the current evidence of lack of character in our society that impacts on the health of our Republic.

Instructor: Dr. Peter R. Greer is a widely-experienced educator who has served as a teacher, superintendent, elected school committee member, private school headmaster, university dean, and as U.S. Deputy Undersecretary of Education in the Reagan Administration. His three private school campuses together were recognized as a “National School of Character.” He designed a one-semester course on character for the major charter school company, Imagine Schools. He has taught school parents about building character at home. Five of his schools earned “National Blue Ribbon School” distinction. Phi Delta Kappan once listed him as one of the nation’s best superintendents. He has consulted in Lithuania, Brazil, Taiwan, and the United Arab Emirates.

Brown v. Board of Education in Virginia: Its History and Its Impact

Mondays, March 12 – April 9
1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Learn about the role of Virginia in the Brown v. Board of Education decision, how the state responded to the ruling, the processes whereby school desegregation occurred in Virginia, and the decision’s many legacies.
This class traces the history of school desegregation in Virginia, from roughly the 1930s to the present day. We’ll start with a discussion of education in Virginia during the Jim Crow Era, and will consider African American efforts to obtain better educational opportunities for their children in the years before Brown v. Board of Education. We will then examine Virginia’s role in Brown v. Board of Education, as home to one of the five lawsuits that made up the case. A discussion of the Commonwealth’s response to the case, the era of massive resistance, and the implementation of Brown v. Board of Education in Virginia will follow. Finally, we will consider the overall impact and legacies of Brown v. Board of Education.

Instructor: Brian Daugherity is an associate professor of history at Virginia Commonwealth University. His research focuses on the civil rights movement in Virginia. He is the co-editor of With All Deliberate Speed: Implementing Brown v. Board of Education (2008), and the author of Keep On Keeping On: The NAACP and the Implementation of Brown v. Board of Education in Virginia (2016).

Emergence of a New Nation: U.S. History 1860-1900

Tuesdays, March 13 – April 10
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Subjects covered in the course include the Civil War, Reconstruction, Triumph of the Industrial Revolution, The Last Frontier, Revolt of the Farmers, The Political Story 1876-1896, The Gilded Age, Foreign Affairs 1866-1896, The Spanish American War.

Instructor: Harold Greer, VCU professor emeritus who taught in VCU Department of History.

The Operas of Mozart -Part 1

Tuesdays, March 13 – April 10
1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Part 1 will focus on the most personal and autobiographical of Mozart’s operas, Cosi’ Fan Tutte. This is one of the three operas that Mozart wrote with the master librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte. Cosi’ fan Tutte is a masterpiece of comic opera and this study of it will establish an operatic vocabulary with which to measure and study Mozart’s other operas.

Instructor: Rita Paolino is a native Italian who has been working as an instructor of International Studies and Italian language at VCU since January 2014. She holds two masters degrees: one in international relations from Ohio University and one in music from the music conservatory of Campobasso, Italy.

The “Seven” Hills of Richmond

Wednesdays, March 14 – April 11
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Like Rome, Richmond is said to be built on seven hills. How many are there really? What and where are they? What is their history and how are they used today? From classroom sessions and field explorations we shall make our own determinations (Note: All on-site inspections will be on level ground).

Instructor: Edwin J. Slipek Jr. is a VCU adjunct faculty member, an architectural historian, and senior contributing editor at Style Weekly.

The “Seven” Hills of Richmond

Thursdays, March 15 – April 12
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Like Rome, Richmond is said to be built on seven hills. How many are there really? What and where are they? What is their history and how are they used today? From classroom sessions and field explorations we shall make our own determinations (Note: All on-site inspections will be on level ground).

Instructor: Edwin J. Slipek Jr. is a VCU adjunct faculty member, an architectural historian, and senior contributing editor at Style Weekly.

Theater Nuts-and-Bolts

Thursdays, March 15 – April 12
1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

What are all the pieces that need to fall in place for a professional theater production to come together? What does a director actually do? What’s the difference between a set designer, scenic designer and production designer? How do you design sound? This class will answer these questions and many, many more as it gives participants a close-up look at what theater professionals do and how they do it. Class will take place at Firehouse Theatre, blocks away from VCU Campus (parking available at the Lowe’s on Broad Street, directly across from the theater).Class fee includes a ticket to a performance of the mainstage drama “An Oak Tree” (opening April 5th).

Instructor: David Timberline has been an arts journalist and theater advocate for nearly 20 years, writing for Style Weekly, 64 Magazine, and Backstage. He has been recognized for excellence 5 out of the past 6 years by the Virginia Press Association and won an Annenberg Fellowship in 2011.

Spring 2018: Session 2

Spring Birding

Mondays, April 16 – May 14
9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

Spring heralds the amazing migration of our feathered friends as they make their way from their winter homes to their summer destinations. We will visit different sites each week as we identify our resident species, those arriving to breed locally, and others making their way farther north.

Instructor: Paul Bedell who is principal double bass with the Richmond Symphony and a lifelong naturalist and birder.

Anticipating Elderhood: The Ageism Antidote

Mondays, April 16 – May 14
1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Our culture and our communities need Elders! There are some roles that only Elders can fulfill. In this workshop we will learn about the dangers of ageism and how ageism interferes with the anticipation of elderhood. You will learn how you can join the social movement to “Disrupt Ageism”! We will dialogue on the whole person lifespan approach to aging and the journey of growing older which includes the Beauty, Freedom, Gifts, as well as Tasks of Elderhood! Explore “Blue Zones” around the world where citizens live longer. Guided by the tasks of Elderhood and the Power 9 principles, we will plan our “next chapters” by envisioning our own personal “Blue Zones”. As we discover the characteristics that contribute to longevity in “Blue Zones” and participate in group dialogue and creative activities we will think creatively about your own personal “blue zones” and plot an intentional course into and through elderhood!

Instructor: Dr. Ayn Welleford received her B.A. in Management/Psychology from Averett College, M.S. in Gerontology and Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from Virginia Commonwealth University. She has taught extensively in the areas of Lifespan Development, and Developmental Gerontology, Geropsychology, as well as Ethical Decision Making and Human Values. As an educator, researcher, and previously as a practitioner she has worked with a broad spectrum of individuals across the lifespan. As Associate Professor and Chair of VCU’s Department of Gerontology, she currently works to #DisruptAgeism while “Promoting Optimal Aging for Individuals and Communities” through her Teaching, Scholarship, and Community Engagement. Outside of the classroom, Dr. Welleford provides community education and serves on several boards and committees.

The Aging Mind: Keeping Our Wits as We Age

Tuesdays, April 17 – May 15
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

This short course will examine changes in the aging mind of adults 50 and older. We’ll take a look at key areas that undergo changes affecting older adults and positive strategies to maintain and even boost our cognitive abilities and general well-being. We’ll examine how aging affects memory, our senses, social interactions, perception, intelligence, skills, wisdom and mood. The overriding theme of the course will be how to use our understanding of the changes in the aging mind to help us age well. Our discussions will be based on selective readings from the insightful and enjoyable book The Aging Mind: An Owner’s Manual by the noted gerontologist Patrick Rabbitt.

Instructor: Tim Donahue is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at VCU where he teaches courses in psychology and conducts laboratory research on medications used in the treatment of depression and schizophrenia. Tim has earned the following degrees from VCU: a PhD in Biopsychology, Master of Science: Psychology and, Master of Education. He also holds a Master of Arts: Humanities from the University of Richmond, and a Bachelor of Arts: Humanities & Behavioral Studies from St. Mary’s Seminary University (Maryland). He recently completed a Certificate in Aging Studies from the Gerontology Department (VCU) School of Allied Health. He has a particular interest in the growth and development of the mind throughout the life-span and the underlying neurological and physiological mechanisms that affect changes in cognition, mood and social interactions.

The Operas of Mozart -Part 2

Tuesdays, April 17 – May 15
1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Part 2 begins by looking at Mozart’s earliest works and discusses his apprenticeship in the art of opera composition. We will see how he gave an increasingly important role to the orchestra as a genuine partner to the singers enhancing the dramatic content. We will focus on the Abduction, the Marriage of Figaro and the Don Giovanni.

Instructor: Rita Paolino is a native Italian who has been working as an instructor of International Studies and Italian language at VCU since January 2014. She holds two masters degrees: one in international relations from Ohio University and one in music from the music conservatory of Campobasso, Italy.

Court End and North-of Broad– Once and Future

Wednesdays, April 18 – May 16
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

As the City of Richmond embarks on plans for a new Coliseum and the redevelopment of its environs, this course will examine one of our most historic but fragmented downtown neighborhoods.

Instructor: Edwin J. Slipek Jr. is a VCU adjunct faculty member, an architectural historian, and senior contributing editor at Style Weekly.

Thinking about Politics: Western Political Philosophy through the Ages

Thursdays, April 19 – May 17
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

This course will engage seminal thinkers in the canon of Western Political Philosophy, investigating key arguments and ideas in addition to discussing their contemporary relevance.
The course aims to enlarge your understanding of household names – like Plato, Augustine, and Machiavelli – while adding perspective to how we think about politics.

Instructor: Dr. Christopher Burdett received his Ph.D. from the University of Virginia, where he completed his dissertation on education, identity, and imperialism in late 19th-century France and England. He holds an M.A. in European Affairs and International Economics from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and a B.A. in Government from the College of William and Mary. Since the spring of 2006, Dr. Burdett has been an instructor in Political Science at VCU.

Theater In-Process: Piecing Together “Preludes”

Thursdays, April 19 – May 17
1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Broadway composer David Malloy came to prominence with the award-winning musical NATASHA, PIERRE, AND THE GREAT COMET OF 1812 that starred Josh Groban. His latest work is PRELUDES, a dynamic musical fantasia about the classical composer Rachmaninoff that mashes together multiple musical styles including classical, folk and electro-pop. This wide-ranging course will explore the musical development of Malloy, delve into the history of Rachmaninoff and watch an actual production come together at Firehouse Theatre, blocks away from VCU Campus (parking available at the Lowe’s on Broad Street, directly across from the theater). Class fee includes a ticket to a performance of the show (opening May 25th).

Instructor: David Timberline has been an arts journalist and theater advocate for nearly 20 years, writing for Style Weekly, 64 Magazine, and Backstage. He has been recognized for excellence 5 out of the past 6 years by the Virginia Press Association and won an Annenberg Fellowship in 2011.