ILR Course Descriptions - Winter 2021

What’s Happening Down at the Farm

Instructor: Jim Moon, BS Chemistry, Iowa State University
A review of agriculture in the 21st Century, 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. In addition, the instructor will share his personal experience with specialty crop farming.

Cost: $30
Limit: 60 participants
Day & Time: Mondays, 3-5 PM
Dates: January 11, 18, 25, February 1, 8, 15, 22, March 1
Location: Zoom

Gates on Recent U.S. Foreign Policy

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 (43) 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 (41) 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. We will decide which five substantive chapters to discuss.

Cost: $30 (Enrollees are encouraged to purchase the book Exercise of Power)
Limit: 25 participants
Day & Time: Tuesdays, 3-5 PM
Dates: January 12, 19, 26, February 2, 9, 16, 23, March 2
Location: Zoom

Gardening Gone Viral

Instructor: 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, fruits, vegetables, cut flowers, herbaceous ornamentals, woody ornamentals, container gardening, entomology (insects), organic and non-organic pest control, and plant pathology.

Cost: $30
Limit: 60 participants
Day & Time: Wednesdays, 3-5 PM
Dates: January 13, 20, 27, February 3, 10, 17, 24, March 3
Location: Zoom

Conspiracy Theories and the People Who Believe Them

Instructor: Ted Goertzel, Professor Emeritus, Rutgers University at Camden
We 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 we 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. We will also consider how to interact with friends or relatives who advocate a conspiracy theory.

Cost: $30
Limit: 90
Day & Time: Thursdays, 3-5 PM
Dates: January 14, 21, 28, February 4, 11, 18, 25, March 4
Location: Zoom

Henderson Hall at the Hub of History (begins February 12)

Instructor: Randy Modesitt, Henderson Hall Director
Henderson Hall, a historic place museum in Boaz, West Virginia, was built by George Washington Henderson in 1859. This course will reveal how the Henderson family is tied to the founders of Williamstown and how the members of the family are connected to many of the major figures, events, and trends of the 18th, 19th, and early 20th Centuries in our country. Participants will also experience a virtual tour of Henderson Hall, which is filled with priceless artifacts, and its expansive grounds.

Cost: $20
Limit: 60
Day & Time: Fridays, 3-5 PM
Dates: Second 4-weeks of Winter Term — February 12, 19, 26, March 5
Location: Zoom


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