College offers learning in retirement

All classes for the Winter 2021 Term of the Institute for Learning in Retirement of Marietta College will be offered on Zoom. Program Director Martha McGovern says, “We are pleased that Zoom delivery enables us to offer challenging courses while protecting our community’s health.”

The Institute for Learning in Retirement is a community-based organization of retirement age people who share a love of learning.

The ILR Board made the firm decision to continue, as in the fall term, to go virtual in order to provide planning certainty for instructors and participants and to comply with the campus and community safety precautions required by the pandemic.

The Winter Term will run from Jan. 11 through March 5, and classes will be held 3-5 p.m. on Zoom. Cost will be $20 or $30 per course. To register for courses, go online at https://www.marietta.edu/ilr. Click on Register to enter the ILR storefront, select the course(s) of your choice, and proceed to checkout. Pay by using your VISA, Mastercard or Discover card. To participate, enrollees in ILR will need to click on the Zoom link emailed to them by the instructor. The connection to Zoom is free.

Here are the course descriptions:

Mondays – What’s Happening Down on the Farm? A review of agriculture in the 21st century, led by Instructor Jim Moon, BS Chemistry, Iowa State University. This course will look at the history of farming in America and will trace how we have arrived at the current state of agriculture. Some topics will be food supply production, the importance of fiber production, trends in the dairy industry, the impact of gene splicing on crop yields and pesticide use, the size of the agricultural industry and the survival of family farms. Cost: $30

Tuesdays – Gates on Recent U.S. Foreign Policy with Instructor Mike Smith, Professor Emeritus, Glenville State. This course will provide a forum for the discussion of the means and ends of U.S. foreign policy. In 2020, Robert Gates published a book about U.S. foreign policy in the post-Cold War world. Gates spent much of his working life as an intelligence analyst. He served on the National Security Council, led the CIA, and served Presidents Bush and Obama as Secretary of Defense. His book, “Exercise of Power,” describes and analyzes a number of U.S. foreign policy successes and failures since the Bush administration. The purpose of this course is to discuss selected chapters from his book. These include the first two chapters, which describe the instruments of foreign policy and the U.S. foreign policy process, and the last chapter, in which Gates offers recommendations for future U.S. foreign policy. Cost $30 (Enrollees are encouraged to purchase the book “Exercise of Power.”)

Wednesdays – Gardening Gone Viral will be led by Marcus McCartney, OSU Agricultural & Natural Resources Extension Educator. In 2020, our society experienced a phenomenon because of COVID-19 and stay-at-home orders. What was this phenomenon? A resurgence of interest in gardening! With citizens looking for new hobbies, backyard gardens exploded. As a result, garden centers had trouble keeping up with the demand for transplants and seeds in the spring and canning supplies in mid-summer. This course is also a response to seekers of gardening skills and knowledge. Participants will learn about such topics as soils, ornamentals, woody ornaments, container gardening, entomology (insects), organic and non-organic pest control and plant pathology. Cost: $30

Thursdays – Conspiracy Theories and the People Who Believe Them

Ted Goertzel, Professor Emeritus, Rutgers University at Camden will be the instructor. Goertzel says that participants will examine old and recent conspiracy theories (e.g., Protocols of the Elders of Zion, Anti-Vaxxers, the 911 Truthers and QAnon), the psychology of the people who believe them, and their impact on political and social life. Conspiracy theories, which can be found on both the right and the left, rely on arguments that can be persuasive despite their logical and empirical flaws. Of course, real conspiracies do exist, and participants will discuss ways to distinguish plausible and testable claims from implausible and groundless supports. Short videos from conspiracy theory proponents and possibly some live interviews will be included. Cost: $30

Fridays – Henderson Hall at the Hub of History will be the topic explored by Randy Modesitt, Henderson Hall director. Henderson Hall, an historic place museum in Boaz, West Virginia, was built by George Washington Henderson in 1859. Participants will experience a virtual tour of Henderson Hall, which is filled with priceless artifacts, and will include a look at its expansive grounds. Cost: $20 *Note that this is a four-week course to be held Feb. 12, 19, 26, and March 5.


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