Senior College

Spring 2018 Courses
All retired individuals are welcome to register for spring 2018 Senior College courses through the University of Iowa Center for Advancement. You can meet new people and hear from talented instructors who will share their expertise.
If you have questions about the Senior College program, please contact Mallory Cornilsen at 319-335-3305 or 800-648-6973.

Session 1
Thursdays, Jan 18, 25; Feb 1, 8

Musical Theater: An Interactive History of the Great American Art Form

Time: Noon-1:50 p.m.
Where: Coralville Center for the Performing Arts
1301 Fifth St., Coralville
Registration Deadline: Jan 11
Class Limit: 120

An art form born in America, the musical is now among our greatest achievements and most beloved exports. From its roots in classic theater, vaudeville, and musical revues, musical theater has grown to tackle nearly every subject and tell stories from all walks of life. In this class, we will chart the history of the musical and learn about the work of some of the greatest theater makers in our history. There will be opportunities for willing class members to perform; others are welcome to sing along if they like.

INSTRUCTOR: Christopher Okiishi is a writer, performer, director, and producer of theater. His work has been seen at City Circle Acting Company, SPT Theatre, Coe College, and Riverside Theatre and in Los Angeles and New York. He also is a psychiatrist who lectures regularly across the country.

Session 2
Wednesdays, Feb 14, 21, 28; Mar 7

Historic Preservation: From Basics to Battles

Time: 9:30–11:20 a.m.
Where: Johnson County Extension and Outreach Building, Johnson County Fairgrounds
3109 Old Highway 218 S., Iowa City
Registration Deadline: Feb 7
Class Limit: 64

What makes a building historically significant enough to be on the National Register of Historic Places? Why is preservation so political? Beginning with the 19th-century emergence of the preservation movement, this course will explore the architecture that gains the attention of preservationists and offer an overview of the regulatory system and its major players. Iowa City’s preservation efforts since the 1960s will be examined, focusing on several local controversies. Preservation battles won and lost, as well as worthy but endangered property types, will also be discussed. A preservation architect and expert in rehabbing historic buildings will join us to discuss frequent “brick-and-mortar” issues.

INSTRUCTOR: Jan Olive Full is a co-founder and former managing member of Tallgrass Historians, a historic preservation firm specializing in history, architectural history, and archaeology. She is the author of dozens of preservation studies and National Register nominations. Her primary interests focus on preservation of small-town main street districts and commercial buildings.

Session 3
Thursdays, Mar 1, 8, 15, 22

Back-and-Forth: My Literary Collaborations

Time: 2–4 p.m.
Where: Senior Center, Room 202
28 S. Linn St., Iowa City
Registration Deadline: Feb 22
Class Limit: 50

The primary text will be After the Fact: Scripts & Postscripts, a back-and-forth of 90 paragraphs written between the course instructor and poet Christopher Merrill. Prose poems? Lyrical nonfiction? Emotive journalism? We’ll consider Segues and Annie-Over, the instructor’s earlier collaborations with William Stafford. If we have time, we’ll turn to a second exchange in progress with Merrill called If & When. Class members should purchase After the Fact. Fair warning: The course will include digressions for instruction or amusement.

INSTRUCTOR: Poet Marvin Bell taught 40 years for the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and still teaches for the brief-residency M.F.A. program at Pacific University in Oregon. Bell has published 24 books and served as Iowa’s first poet laureate. He has collaborated with poets, dancers, photographers, musicians, and composers.

Session 4
Tuesdays, Mar 6, 13, 20, 27

Geographic Information Sciences: Tools, Theory, and Hands-On Mapmaking in the Digital Age

Time: 10 a.m.–Noon
Where: Jessup Hall, Room 243
5 W. Jefferson St., Iowa City
Registration Deadline: Feb 27
Class Limit: 30

Global positioning systems (GPS) identify our location, and geographic information systems (GIS) pinpoint us on a map. But this technology can be used for so much more. Maps made with these tools can include social, physical, and demographic data that can help analyze relationships such as those between intensive livestock operations and neighbors’ health, ocean temperature and global climate, or criminal activity and various socioeconomic conditions. We will examine the theory behind state-of-the-art tools for collecting, analyzing, and visualizing geographic information and engage in hands-on mapmaking in the UI’s GIS laboratory. Students should be able to use a PC and a computer mouse.

INSTRUCTOR: Adam Skibbe is the GIS administrator for the UI Department of Geographical and Sustainability Sciences and chair of the UI GIS Technical Advisory Committee. His focus is on supporting undergraduate education through teaching and mentoring, and his research interests include the application of GIS to contemporary environmental and social issues.

Session 4 is now full. If you would like to be added to a wait list for this class, email the session number, your name, and your phone number to Mallory Cornilsen at

Session 5
Thursdays, Mar 22, 29; Apr 5, 12

Other Worlds in Space: Modern Astronomy from the Perspective of Exoplanets

Time: 10:30 a.m.—12:20 p.m.
Where: Seamans Center, Room 2217
103 S. Capitol St., Iowa City
Registration Deadline: Mar 15
Class Limit: 72

One of the most amazing recent developments in science has been the discovery of exoplanets, planets beyond the solar system. Two decades ago, there was not a single known exoplanet. Today, several thousand exoplanets are known. This course will explain how these planets were found and what they reveal about the relationship between stars and planets and about the possibility of life elsewhere in the universe. Students will also learn about the planets in our own solar system, the nature of our sun, how other stars resemble and differ from our sun, and our current understanding of the extent and age of the universe.

INSTRUCTOR: Steven Spangler is a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. His research interests include radio astronomy, the physics of ionized gases (plasmas), and solar astronomy. Before coming to theUI in 1982, he worked as a scientist at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Charlottesville, Virginia, and Socorro, New Mexico.

Session 5 is now full. If you would like to be added to a wait list for this class, email the session number, your name, and your phone number to Mallory Cornilsen at

Session 6
Mondays, Apr 2, 9, 16, 23, 30

“Very Tragical Mirth”: Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Time: 10 a.m.–Noon
Where: Coralville Public Library, Schwab Auditorium
1401 Fifth St., Coralville
Registration Deadline: Mar 26
Class Limit: 120

These two familiar plays are closely connected—written around 1595 and both dealing with “star-crossed lovers.” How does Shakespeare turn this subject first into a tragedy of youth and age, with comic characters quite prominent, and then into a glorious comedy, which includes a parody of Romeo and Juliet but also darker issues and questions? We’ll look at both plays, first separately, then together. The fifth class session will include a discussion of the performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which will be performed in late April at the university. *Please note: This class will be videotaped.

INSTRUCTOR: Miriam Gilbert is professor emerita of English, having taught at the UI from 1969 to 2013. She still enjoys studying and teaching Shakespeare and going to see Shakespeare in performance, especially in her second home, Stratford-upon-Avon.

Session 6 is now full. If you would like to be added to a wait list for this class, email the session number, your name, and your phone number to Mallory Cornilsen at

Session 7
Tuesdays, Apr 10, 17, 24; May 1

Indelible Mark: The Story of Our Campus, Its Architecture, and Its Resurgence

Time: 3:30–5:20 p.m.
Where: Seamans Center, Room 2229
103 S. Capitol St., Iowa City
Registration Deadline: Apr 3
Class Limit: 35

This course will explore the history of the University of Iowa through its noted architecture. It will examine the effects of the disastrous flood of 2008 and the campus’s remarkable recovery. Participants will learn how our campus came to be and how it has come to represent the creativity and perseverance of our university and our community. The last class will include a campus tour. There may also be some enjoyable out-of-class “homework.” By the end of this course, students will know more about this fascinating campus, no matter how long they may have been here.

INSTRUCTOR: Rod Lehnertz is university architect and senior vice president for finance and operations at the UI. He previously directed planning, design, and construction for UI Facilities Management. He has co-authored a book celebrating UI’s architecture. Born and raised in Iowa City, Lehnertz has worked for the UI for 23 years.

Session 7 is now full. If you would like to be added to a wait list for this class, email the session number, your name, and your phone number to Mallory Cornilsen at

Session 8
Mondays, Apr 16, 23, 30; May 7

Discovering Steve Smith: How a Friendship Unfolded in the Archives

Time: 1–3 p.m.
Where: University Capitol Centre, Room 2520D
200 S. Capitol St., Iowa City
Registration Deadline: Apr 9
Class Limit: 60

Archives, like museums and libraries, are repositories of knowledge. They contain unique unpublished documents, and their curators constantly seek out new holdings that shed light on previously unknown subjects. One such subject is UI student Steve Smith, who in the mid-1960s burned his draft card, was beaten severely by white supremacists in Mississippi, and led a weeklong hunger strike in downtown Iowa City in support of civil rights. This course will explore what archives are, how collecting strategies affect our body of knowledge, and how the friendship that developed between a UI archivist and this nearly forgotten student activist opened doors to additional related collections.

INSTRUCTOR: David McCartney has been the UI archivist since 2001. He is responsible for collecting, preserving, and providing access to university records of historical value. McCartney has master’s degrees in history and library science from the University of Maryland at College Park and a B.A. in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Session 9
Wednesdays, Apr 18, 25; May 2, 9

Clinical Anatomy: A Blueprint for the Human Body

Time: 2–3:50 p.m.
Where: Medical Education and Research Facility, Room 1117
375 Newton Road, Iowa City
Registration Deadline: Apr 11
Class Limit: 50

The human body is an amazing self-repairing mechanism that lasts each of us for a lifetime. Clinical anatomy is the discipline that correlates form with function at the macroscopic (as opposed to genetic or microscopic) level. This course will use a systems approach to introduce students to basic concepts of clinical anatomy, terminology, and function in selected regions of the body, such as the joints, heart and blood vessels, gastrointestinal tract, muscles, lungs, and lymph nodes. The emphasis throughout will be on providing a kind of blueprint or “user’s guide” to the human body.

INSTRUCTOR: Carol Scott-Conner, M.D., Ph.D., is professor emerita of surgery at the UI. She is the author or editor of more than 10 textbooks on surgical anatomy or technique and is a recipient of the Honored Member award from the American Association of Clinical Anatomy.

Session 9 is now full. If you would like to be added to a wait list for this class, email the session number, your name, and your phone number to Mallory Cornilsen at

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