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ILR Course Descriptions - Fall 2023

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The Arts & Crafts Movement (first four weeks)

Instructors: Wes Clarke, Beth Cox, Andrew Richmond
Schedule: 3 to 5 p.m. Mondays, September 25-October 26
Location: Thomas 125, with a Zoom option
Fee:  $1
Description: The Arts and Crafts Movement was a significant trend in the decorative and fine arts that began in Britain in the late 1800’s, moved throughout Europe, and had a major influence in America in the early 20th century. It evolved as a reform movement in response to the industrialization and mass production of objects, decorative arts, furniture, ceramics and fine arts. Beth Sears Cox, Professor Emeritus, WVUP, will provide an overview of the return to traditional craftsmanship, simplicity, and a respect for beauty in nature and materials. Individual vs. historical style and the importance  of the movement in early 20th century America will be introduced. Archaeologist Wes Clarke, will discuss the objective of the movement to return individual artistic expression to the furnishings of everyday life. In Class 2 he will provide a brief review of pottery history and technology, the role of ceramics in the movement, and the fluorescence of American art pottery in Ohio workshops. In Classes 3 and 4, historian Andrew Richmond will look at the philosophy and aesthetic of the Arts and Crafts Movement with emphasis on handcrafted works such as metalware and glassware. He will address the use of understated design and color. The enduring furniture styles and craftsmanship of the early 20th century were ultimately copied in a more affordable manner, yet the spirit of the movement can still be seen in mechanized production today.

Four Foreign Films about Food and Family (second four weeks)

Instructor: Dave Cress, PhD, Retired Physicist
Schedule: 2:30–5 p.m., Mondays, October 23–November 13
Location: Thomas 124
Fee: $15
Description: In this four-week course, we will watch and discuss foreign films that explore the relationship between food and family: Eat Drink Man Woman (Taiwan, 1994), Babette's Feast (Denmark, 1987), Tampopo (Japan, 1985), and Chocolate (2000). We will consider how food is used to express love, identity, and culture. We will also explore the ways in which food can be a source of conflict and tension within families. The films in this course are all highly acclaimed and have been praised for their cinematography, acting, and food scenes. They are also all very different, offering a variety of perspectives on both food and family.

Founding Principles of Our Republic (first four weeks)

Instructor: Kevin Ritter, M.A., Political Science
Schedule: 3–5 p.m., Tuesdays, September 26–October 17
Location: Thomas 125
Fee: $15
Description: This course will trace the history of the founding documents of our republic from the Declaration of Independence to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Living Democracy, Engaging Citizens (second four weeks)

Instructors: Betsy Cook, Joy Cowdery, and other presenters
Schedule: 3–5 p.m., Tuesdays, October 24–November 14
Location: Thomas 124
Fee: $15
Description: During this four week class we will examine the terms democracy and republic. By looking at the Federal and State government, we will answer the question “What are we?” Through video interviews, speakers and activities, we will discover how our County and Municipal governments work.  The third week will look at a country divided and how the terms Critical Race Theory and Woke are used, or perhaps misused, today. Finally, we will explore how each of us, as a citizen of a democracy, can become involved to make a difference. Democracy is a fragile thing and needs each of us.

Banned and Challenged Books (first four weeks)

Instructor: Nicole Livengood, Ph.D., Marietta College
Schedule: 3–5 p.m., Wednesdays, September 27–October 18
Location: Thomas 124
Fee: $15
Description: This class will explore contexts for Banned and Challenged Books. After an overview of book bans worldwide, the course will turn to American books bans and challenges in the last few decades and examine key themes and subjects that meet resistance in American schools and libraries. 

Curating Your Life (second four weeks)

Instructor: Suzanne Schultz
Schedule: 3–5 p.m., Wednesdays, October 25–November 15
Location: Thomas 124, with a Zoom option
Fee: $35
Description: Stop living by default and start living by intention. In this four-week class we will audit different aspects of our lives in order to reimagine and reinvent ourselves for the lives we are living today. The fee includes the book “Cookin’ Up Your Retirement Plan,” by Marcia Mantell
Special Guests: Marcia Mantell, President of Mantell Retirement Consulting; Fabiana Marangon Torres, Owner of Lady M’s Organizing; Marie Aspling, Postural Expert and Owner of Balans Organic Spa

Artificial Intelligence You Can Use Today (eight weeks on Zoom)

Instructor: Ted Goertzel, Ph.D., retired Rutgers professor
Schedule: 3–5 p.m., Thursdays, September 28–November 16
Location: Zoom Only (instructions will be provided)
Fee: $30
Description: Exciting new artificial intelligence programs - ChatGPT, Bard, New Bing and others - are easy to use and produce astonishing, human-like results. In this course we will learn about what people around the world are doing with these programs including writing any kind of document, drawing pictures, study aids, life coaching, vacation planning, inventing recipes, resolving disputes, shopping, and much more. We will have the opportunity to use the programs and share our results.  The only computer skill required is typing text into a box or dictating it into your phone.

Confrontations with the Reaper: A Philosophical Study of the Nature and Value of Death (eight weeks)

Instructor: Lawrence McKenzie, Instructor of Philosophy and Ethics at WVU Parkersburg
Schedule: 3–5 p.m., Fridays, September 29–November 17
Location: Thomas 124, with a Zoom option
Fee: $30
Description: What Is Death? Do people survive death? What do we mean when we say someone is dying? Presenting a clear and honest discussion of some classic philosophical questions surrounding death, this course examines the great metaphysical and philosophical questions and moral problems surrounding death.