Duke’s Osher Courses Explore Duke Campus History, Journalism, The Global Rise In Tourism – And Much More

Preview what’s ahead for community of learners

Duke’s Osher Courses Explore Duke Campus History, Journalism, The Global Rise In Tourism – And Much More
One course focuses on African-American architect Julian Abele, chief designer for Duke’s West Campus, including Duke Chapel, as well as for many East Campus buildings. Photo by William Snead

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Duke will offer 159 courses during its fall semester beginning on Sept. 9, including a class exploring an African-American architect’s grand scheme for the Duke University campus and the popular “Symposia: Scientific Excursions and Diversions,” featuring Duke, UNC-Chapel Hill and N.C. State faculty speakers. The line-up includes seven evening classes and four that meet on weekends. Registration opens on Aug. 6 and 7.

OLLI at Duke's other fall offerings range from “Modernism and the Mexican Aesthetic” to “Lincoln’s Real Virtues,” from “Fall Crops at the Duke Campus Farm” to “Sci-Fi Goes to the Movies.” For the full list of September-early December courses and registration details, click here

It's all part of a national network of 123 campus-based chapters, each unique, but joined by a common commitment to learning for the love of it. Instructors, many of them volunteers, share their expertise and passions in courses spanning such diverse topics as art, finance, film, health, politics, music, dance, history, technology, writing and more. There are no tests, papers or grades. The classroom environment is casual and informal.

William “Bill” King, the Duke University archivist emeritus, will share the once hidden story of Duke’s design by Philadelphia architect Julian Abele (1881–1950), a highly educated African-American architect in the Philadelphia firm of Horace Trumbauer. “Common attribution honors his design of the Gothic West Campus,” King says, “but this skilled architect also designed the Georgian style East Campus.”

The course, “Julian Abele: The Design of Duke University and the Price of Prejudice,” will meet over three Tuesday afternoons. King will discuss Abele and his work by placing him in the context of his time, noting some of the racial challenges he faced, and will include a walking tour of the main quadrangle of the West Campus. King is the author of “Julian Abele and the Design of Duke University: An Extended Essay,” which is available only through Duke University Stores.

In another new course this fall, “Burning Issues in Journalism,” former Chicago Tribune correspondent and editor Timothy J. McNulty will explore “the biggest seismic shift in news since the invention of the printing press,” taking stock of the digital information revolution and considering the current state of journalism.

Ruth Caccavale, who works in the education department of Duke’s Nasher Museum of Art, will lead the course, “Art & Women: An Examination of 19th- and 20th-Century Western Women Artists.” Expect discussions on interdisciplinary trends of feminist scholarship in art history and consideration of the issue of differences between art made by women and art made by men.

An author, blueberry farmer and retired Duke University medical researcher, Celine Koropchak, will share practical tools to help guide OLLI members on their personal journeys. In her course, “Practical Wisdom: How to Be Your Authentic Self in This Changing World,” Koropchak will use writings from her own book, “One with All of Thee: Growing Your Sacred Connection,” and other spiritual books as a jumping-off point for reflective discussion on how to live a more mindful life in harmony with nature and those around us.

Conscious aging is the focus and goal of a course offered by Dr. Michael McLeod, who practiced medicine at Duke for 33 years and for 15 years taught medical students how to build trust with patients. “In the last third of our lives, we face both challenges and opportunities,” McLeod says. “Do we view this third chapter as a time of learning and growth, or is it a time of decline and physical/emotional suffering? Research shows our answers to this question impact our health and ultimately our longevity.”

At a time of strained relations between the intelligence community and President Trump, Kim Kotlar is offering a two-class seminar to introduce OLLI participants to the importance of the U.S. intelligence community in protecting the nation and the mechanisms used for oversight and management. Kotlar brings more than 40 years of public service and private sector experience, including diverse executive leadership positions that have resulted in lasting contributions to the National Security Agency, Department of Defense and other federal agencies.

OLLI members who take Robert Healy’s new course, “Tourism & the World’s Special Places,” will interact with the question of whether tourism is ruining the planet’s special (and sometimes remote) places, such as Antarctica, Galapagos, the Amazon, Stonehenge, even our U.S. national parks, both biologically and socially -- or is it providing needed political and financial support. Healy, a professor emeritus at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment, has published extensively on tourism, protected areas and regional economic development.

In addition to the classes, OLLI sponsors social events, guest speakers, short trips and a host of book clubs, the OLLI Harp Ensemble, and other special interest groups. OLLI, a Duke continuing studies program, serves more than 2,600 members in the Triangle.

For more information about OLLI at Duke course offerings, go to http://www.learnmore.duke.edu/olli/.