Santa Clara University

Osher Lifelong Learning

Spring 2007   


  • Human Knowing
  • Psychology and the Law
  • China in Revolution: The Fall of Imperial China
  • Creative Nonfiction: Writing Our Lives
  • The 1950's: The Greatest Decade in Film
  • Drawing Nature with Pen and Ink
  • Astronomy: The Universe (from the Big Bang to the Big Church)
  • Science and Nature Writing
  • Politics of the Middle East
  • The Personal Balanced Sorecard: Individual Growth in the Santa Clara Tradition


  • Tao of Peace
  • Modern/Creative Dance
  • Dreamwork Series
  • Mothers and Daughters in Contmeporary American Short Stories
  • The Armchair Traveler: Antartica
  • Character and Culture: Conflict at the Foundation of Business Ethics
  • Oscar Wilde and The Importance of Being Earnest
  • Mini-Lecture series on India in conjunction with de Saissets' exhibition Minature Worlds: Art from India



Human Knowing--taught by Fr. James Felt
An exploration, from the point of view of philosophy, of what is going on as we encounter the world through our bodily senses and our minds.  We shall discuss what it is we sense, how we sense it, and what is involved in our knowing–-our understanding of what we sense.  Of particular interest will be two different types of sensing:  the relation of knowing to brain processes, and the relation between ordinary knowing and scientific and philosophic knowing.  These issues are discussed in the first part of Felt’s book, Human Knowing: A Prelude to Metaphysics (U. of Notre Dame Press, 2005), available in the campus store.

Psychology and the Law--taught by Mike and Eleanor Willemsen      
This five session course will introduce students to several key topics where psychological findings play a role in the legal process.  These topics will include: (1) Jury selection and dynamics; (2) Competencies (to stand trial, to testify, to manage one’s own affairs, to be executed) and the insanity defense; (3) Wrongful conviction due to eyewitness error or false confession; (4) Child custody and (5) The Death Penalty.

China in Revolution:The Fall of Imperial China--taught byAllison Rottmann
This is the first part of a series called China in Revolution, which will explore topics in 20th-century Chinese history.  This course will introduce students to the traditional Chinese form of government by an emperor in cooperation with a class of scholar-officials.  We will discuss the challenges to this imperial model of government in the 1800s, focusing on the Opium Wars, the Taiping Rebellion, and the Boxer uprising.  Students will also learn about the reform movements designed to save the imperial system and why they failed.  Finally, we will talk about the actual fall of the last dynasty, the Qing dynasty, in 1911, which opened the door to different forms of government.

Creative Nonfiction: Writing Our Lives--taught by Rebecca Black
In this course we will write our own life stories and abbreviated autobiographies using a series of simple, generative exercises.  In order to stimulate the substance and style of our writing, we will read short essays and autobiographical nonfiction by some of the best authors writing today.   These authors will serve as models and mentors for our own writing, as we read for clues, tips, strategies, and ways of reckoning with our own experience as we formulate our own lives on the page.  We will read and share our writing during workshop sessions with our classmates.

The 1950s:  The Greatest Decade in Film--taught by Mark Larson
This is the first part of a Film Odyssey series.  Students will explore the amazing variety of great films made throughout the world in the 1950s.  Musicals, dramas, westerns, and foreign films reached a unique peak in this era and this class will explore the cinematic themes and the filmmakers of this amazing decade.  Each class we’ll view a film and then follow it with a lively discussion.  Films by Renoir, Hitchcock, Preminger and others will be shown.

Drawing Nature with Pen and Ink--taught by Edward Rooks
This drawing course will introduce participants to basic techniques of line drawing and shading using pen and ink.  You will learn how to capture the posture and the proportions of birds and mammals using guidelines, so that your animals are recognizable and interesting to viewers.  We will also cover some of the basic skills of using perspective and composition.  The aim is to develop your basic drawing skills to encourage self-motivated exploration in drawing.

Astronomy:  The Universe (from the Big Bang to the Big Crunch)-- taught by William Pezzaglia
In just your lifetime our concept of the universe has evolved from thinking it’s just one disk of stars called the Milky Way Galaxy, to realizing there are billions of galaxies.  Recently our ideas about the nature and origin of the universe have been again challenged.  Is the universe expanding or contracting (and what does this mean?)  Is it mostly made of something called “dark matter”?  Is it finite or infinite?  Will it someday die or live forever?

Science and Nature Writing--taught by Sherry Booth
Writing about science and nature has burgeoned in the last two decades as interest in and concern about the environment and advances in technology have grown.  Questions about our relationship to the natural world—our obligation to it as well as our all-too-often unquestioning belief in its resilience—lead us into difficult but fascinating territory.
This course will focus on science and nature writing by some of the best thinkers today, writers who find ways to engage us, inform us, and ultimately shape our attitudes and actions.  We will be reading nonfiction essays, poetry, and a novel.  The format of the class will be that of a seminar, with each participant bringing a particular set of experiences and ideas to what should be lively and provocative discussions.

Politics of the Middle East--taught by Farid Senzai
Back by popular demand, this course provides an in-depth analysis of politics, economy, religion and culture of the modern Middle East. It reviews the recent historical development of the region by challenging the popular conception of the region as presented to a vast majority of us by the international media. In order to do this, regions must not be studied as separate states and their interstate relations, but as a whole that is fragmented and fractured due to historical reasons. We will shift back and forth between the two conceptual divisions and will look for patterns of similarity and difference while analyzing the region.

The Personal Balanced Scorecard:  Individual Growth in the Santa Clara Tradition--taught by William F. O’Brien
For over a decade, organizations of all types and sizes have used the Balanced Scorecard (BSC) as a measure of performance and success.  Utilizing a diverse set of interrelated metrics, the BSC provides the entity with an easy-to-interpret snapshot of its financial and operational achievements.  Now this acclaimed approach can be implemented in your own day-to-day life as a Personal Balanced Scorecard (P-BSC).  Discover how the P-BSC’s segments of Faith, Family, Future and Fortune relate to SCU’s values of Compassion, Conscience and Competency.



Tao of Peace--taught by Diane Dreher
Lao Tzu wrote Tao Te Ching over twenty-five centuries ago in ancient China, yet it holds valuable lessons for us today.  Inspired by the cycles of nature, the Tao offers a vision of life as process, a dynamic balance of energies within and around us.  In this class, you will learn Tao principles and practices for relieving stress, resolving conflict, restoring balance, and creating greater peace in your life.

Modern/Creative Dance--taught by Kristin Kusanovich
Description:  A gentle stretching and strengthening class of dance exercises designed to improve posture, breathing, flexibility and balance.  Students will have the opportunity to learn the concepts of modern dance, be introduced to some of the basic techniques and explore and invent their own movement.  Musicality and rhythm will also be emphasized.

Dreamwork Series--Jeremy Taylor
Do not be discouraged if you missed the classes last quarter, each lecture stands alone and you can join the group at any time.  How do dreams help us see into the mirror clearly and accept who we are?  From that acceptance can come creative ways to be our true selves in the world.  In this series of workshops, we will explore the ways we can help ourselves and each other by paying close attention to even the most mundane dreams.  Every dream comes to tell us something new and each dream aids our health and wholeness.

Mothers and Daughters in Contemporary American Short Stories by Women--taught by Marilyn Edelstein
In this course, we will read and discuss a select group of wonderful short stories by contemporary American women writers, focusing on the ways in which they explore the relations between mothers and daughters in terms of larger issues of family, society, and community.  We will read two stories for each session:  Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use,” Tillie Olsen’s “I Stand Here Ironing,” Lorrie Moore’s “How to Talk to Your Mother (Notes),” and Amy Tan’s “Two Kinds” (an excerpt from her novel The Joy Luck Club).  Powerful, moving, funny, and sad, these stories will give us the opportunity to consider innovations in style and theme in the work by some of the major writers on the contemporary American literary scene.

The Armchair Traveler:  Antarctica--taught by David Shortt
In this course we will travel to the bottom of the world.  Antarctica is a land of contrasts.  It is the driest desert on earth, yet it has by far more fresh water than any continent.  Home to relatively few species, it is abundantly rich in life.  It is bitterly cold but is experiencing rapid warming.  From the comfort of SCU, we'll explore the chilly Antarctic starting from Ushuaia, Argentina, "Fin del Mundo", the southernmost city in the world.  We'll travel by ship to the Falkland Islands to see nesting Rockhopper penguins and Black-browed albatross.  Braving the Drake Passage, infamous for having the worst weather in the world, we'll cross the Antarctic Convergence and view seabirds and icebergs.  Once we arrive at the Antarctic Peninsula, we'll encounter incredible vistas of snow and ice.  Chinstrap, Gentoo and Adelie penguins will greet us, unafraid of our presence.  We'll take cruises on "Zodiacs" - pontoon motorboats - to view icebergs up close.  And we'll learn to appreciate the beauty and fragility of this remote continent before returning to warmer climes. 

Character and Culture:  Conflict at the Foundation of Business Ethics--taught by Judith White
In this short course we will discuss the role of individual character and national and organizational culture in the practice of business ethics in today’s organizations.  In addition to reading a short article on the ethical challenges facing business managers, we will read and discuss two short business ethics cases:  one positive and one negative.  This course will rely heavily on participants’ contributions to discussions.

Oscar Wilde and The Importance of Being Earnest--taught by Andrew Garavel, S.J.     
A seminar offered in conjunction with the production of The Importance of Being Earnest at the Center of Performing Arts in June. Wilde subtitles his play “A Trivial Comedy for Serious People,” and it continues to delight audiences as both witty farce and lethal satire: the funniest thing created in 1895, with the possible exception of the Zeppelin. Our discussion will situate the play in – and against -- its late Victorian context, and will be supplemented by scenes from the marvelous 1952 film with Michael Redgrave and Edith Evans.

Mini-Lecture series on India in conjunction with de Saisset’s exhibition Miniature Worlds:  Art from India--taught by Dr. Gajra Sinha
The works in the exhibition span 500 years, from the 15th to the 20th centuries.  They include paintings and sculpture from the Leland C. and Paula Wyman collection.  There are five sections in the exhibition focusing on the themes:  Hindu and Jain Deities; Love; History; Heroes/Battles/Hunt; and Portraiture.  The museum will offer a public lecture on Indian art and host a community day celebrating Indian culture including music, dance, and food.  Osher members will have the opportunity to attend a morning of short lectures which will focus on Indian History, Religion, and Literature in order to gain insight into the sophisticated and elegant world in which the art of the exhibition emerged.

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