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Courses

Fall 2018/Spring 2019 membership is $140 per person, per year, non-transferable, and members can register for a maximum of three full courses per semester. A full course is one 6–8-week course or two 4-week courses. Financial Aid is available.

Important dates:

  • February 7–March 1: Course registration
  • March 17-March 25: Add/Drop period
  • March 15: Orientation for presenters 

Spring 2019 Course Catalog

Classes run for four- to eight-weeks, as noted below. Classes are held on March 22- May 17 (no class April 19; Note that individual classes may vary slightly), on Fridays at 9:30am, 11:05am, 1:45pm and 3:20pm unless otherwise noted. 

The course developers and the presenters of are solely responsible for the content and the presentation of the course material. Vassar LLI does not preview or audit the content.

Spring 2019 Catalog (PDF)

Special Events. Registration for these events will happen two weeks prior to the event. We will contact you with an email at the time

Fusion Dance-Tuesday, March 28, 5:30pm

Special Events. Registration for these events will happen two weeks prior to the event. We will contact you with an email at the timeLimit: 15

This workshop will help participants understand and be inspired by different cultures through dance. The dances are: Flamenco (Spain), Bharatanatyam (India), West African, modern (USA) and Latin Caribbean. 

The goal is for students to learn the differences, similarities, histories and cultural aspects of each dance style. My aim is that each participant will leave with love, inspiration, understanding and excitement to learn more about cultures and dance. 

Presenter: Anna Mayta

Anna Mayta is a dance improviser, choreographer and creative movement teacher. She graduated from Empire State College in June 2001 with a BA in Dance in Education. November 2008 she got a certificate to teach yoga from Svyasa Swami Vivekananda Yoga University in Bangalore India. In 2006 she was awarded a dissemination award from the Dutchess County Arts Council in Poughkeepsie NY. She has traveled for her work to India. She taught for the National Ballet of Zimbabwe in Africa. She has performed all over the greater Boston Area. Currently, she is working in the Hudson Valley area.

The Song of Life Presentation-Thursday, April 18, 5:30pm Sanders Auditorium

Special Events. Registration for these events will happen two weeks prior to the event. We will contact you with an email at the timeLimit: 100

Documentary and Discussion: The WWII story of the Jewish community of the Greek island of Zakynthos. The mayor and the priest saved the entire Jewish community of the island, 275 Jews, from the Germans.

Presenter: Mimica Tsezana-Hyman

Mimica Tsezana-Hyman: I was born and raised in Athens Greece.
I attended Tel Aviv University.  As my family would not talk about the Holocaust years when I was growing up, I only found out about the WWII story of the Jewish community of the Greek island of Zakynthos when I was 19 years old. My father and his family were members of that community

I have been living in New York for the past 30 years with my husband and my two children and I have done 26 presentations of the documentary "The Song of Life" in colleges, schools, churches, synagogues and community centers around America. I was invited to be the keynote speaker in Washington D. C. at the OXI Day Foundation when Elie Wiesel received the Chrisostomos Award.

Maggazino Contemporary Italian Art Museum-Thursday, May 9, 10:30am

Special Events. Registration for these events will happen two weeks prior to the event. We will contact you with an email at the timeLimit: 30

Maggazino is a private initiative founded by Nancy Olnick and Georgio Spanu. Its mission is to create further recognition of Post War and Contemporary Italian Art in the United States through exhibitions and programs. The art collection began with gallerist Margherita Stein in Turin, Italy. Margherita was fascinated by work of the artists of the Arte Povera movement who opposed the commercialization of the art object and aimed to eradicate the boundaries between media as well as between nature and art. This beautiful space incorporates outdoor views with the art inside the walls, in a seamless and magnificent way.

Docent Guided Tour, Cold Spring, NY @ 2700 Route 9. There is a $10 suggested donation for this activity.
Producer: Diana Salsberg

Diana Salsberg is Chair of the Lifelong Learning Institute special events committee. Diana has a background in art, and worked for Jim Henson and the Muppets on a variety of projects including a film “The Dark Crystal,” and was also a Vassar College employee in the Development office.

Friday Courses, 9:30–10:45am

Eight-Week Course (March 22-May 17)

Classics of American Short Mystery

Friday Courses, 9:30–10:45amLimit: 30

We will explore the works of some of the Masters of American Literature through their mystery stories. We will read the work of Poe, O Henry, John Steinbeck, Pearl Buck, Willa Cather, Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, Ross Macdonald, Damon Runyon, Patricia Highsmith, Sue Grafton and many others. We will see the Puzzle and the Locked Room stories, the Character studies and just some of the most unique and best writing that American writers have produced in the last century.

Class participation is encouraged.

Steven Bassin

Steven Bassin is an attorney. He has also been teaching at various institutions since the 1970’s and has previously taught this course at the New School and at Bard. In the Spring of 2018, he taught a course on Sherlock Holmes at the Vassar Lifelong Learning Institute.

Women’s Studies at Vassar College

Friday Courses, 9:30–10:45amLimit: 35

Vassar professors who have been involved in the Women’s Studies Program or are otherwise involved in women’s issues will present their perspectives or their research.

  • March 22, Karen Robertson. Simone de Beauvoir The Second Sex
  • March 29, Anne Constantinople and Janet Gray. “The Transition to Co-Education at Vassar”
  • April 5, Abigail Baird. “Establishing Gender among Teenagers”
  • April 12, Kathleen Hart. “Literary Animal Studies and Gender”
  • April 26, Colleen Ballerino Cohen. “Women’s Issues in Ethnography and Cultural Anthropology”
  • May 3, Light Carruyo. “Lucy Maynard Salmon and the Sociological Imagination”
  • May 10, Denise A. Walen. Shakespeare’s Disappearing Women”
  • May 17, Susan Zlotnick. Reading Women’s Writing: Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’”

Four-Week Courses (March 22-April 12)

Bees and Beekeeping

Friday Courses, 9:30–10:45amLimit: 35

This course will explore bees and beekeeping. It will be based on our own study and experiences, our attendance at presentations by biologists and commercial beekeepers, and the input of other beekeepers. It will describe the different types of bees, their basic anatomy and physiology, their activities, the benefits of their products (honey and pollen), beekeeping, and the precarious status of bees. We will explain how to establish a hive and what the activities of a beekeeper are. We hope to instill an interest in bees that may result in attendees establishing their own hives. We certainly expect to, at the very least, nourish an interest in, and support of, bees before it is too late.

Presenter: Jim O’Brien

Jim O’Brien has four years of beekeeping and related experiences. Other beekeepers may participate, as available, adding more years of experiences, differing opinions and insights.

First Ladies of America & Their Lives

Friday Courses, 9:30–10:45amLimit: 35

We will continue our series with the next four First Ladies: Sarah Polk, “Accomplished Politician”; Margaret Taylor, “Woman of Mystery”; Abigail Fillmore, “Career Woman”; and Jane Pierce, “Puritan Heritage.”  We will bring forth their history and the part they played in the history of our country. We will learn who they were, where they came from and their contributions to our country as First Ladies. Their significance to our history will be brought forward and examined.

Presenters: Charles Ford and Jim Williams

Charles Ford, retired from NY Life, collects books and has always loved history.

Jim Williams, retired from IBM, also collects books, and has a library on many figures of our country. He and Charles Ford have been lecturing at the Mount, Marist, Maximum Security Prison Wallkill, NY and other venues since 2007.

Young Adult Literature post-Parkland

Friday Courses, 9:30–10:45amLimit: 24

Fiction for young adults has changed significantly in the last several years, more often referencing current political events and social movements than in the past. In this four-week class, we will explore four works of fiction written for a young adult audience, exploring some of these issues from a youthful perspective. These may include books addressing Black Lives Matter, Gun Violence, Immigration, #MeToo, and LGBTQ issues, among others.

Presenter: Julia Kessler

Julia Kessler worked as a school librarian-teacher in the Arlington School District for 28 years. She received a BA from Connecticut College and MLS from Syracuse University.

Four-Week Courses (April 26–May 17)

Garden Design with Native Plants

Friday Courses, 9:30–10:45amLimit: 15

This course will provide a brief overview of commonly accepted outdoor design principles, including order, unity, and rhythm as applied to scale, color, texture and other characteristics. From there, we will move beyond solely visual consideration towards an understanding of a garden’s connection to our local ecosystem and how that might work in terms of our outdoor spaces and our own connection to the land we live on. We will use slides to analyze existing native gardens and to examine some of the most popular and widely available native plants. Discussion of plant characteristics will include the degree of deer resistance of a given plant. Other plant pests and diseases are beyond the scope of this course. Depending on the weather and the desire of the class, we may visit some campus plantings composed primarily of natives.

Presenter: Carlie Graves

Carlie Graves has been gardening in the Hudson Valley for the last couple of decades and recently completed a Certificate in Landscape Design at the New York Botanic Garden.

The Joys of Collecting

Friday Courses, 9:30–10:45amLimit: 25

This course will present and discuss various aspects of collecting. We will look at the many principles that apply to any collecting field. The presenter has been a collector of various things for almost 70 years and will use his experiences as a springboard for discussion. To the extent possible, actual material will be brought to class.

Presenter: Arthur Groten

As a collector, Arthur Groten sought to build collections that are the best that can be formed in his areas of interest—philately, postal history, ephemera, and books—always thinking laterally to maximize the importance of a topic as an area appropriate for study. He is a member of numerous collector societies and has been president of some. His research has been recognized by his peers.

The Nature in Food

Friday Courses, 9:30–10:45amLimit: 20

We all intuitively understand our food comes from nature, but science and commerce sometimes obscure the connection. During the semester we will examine the composition, origin, and production process of four foods with social and historic significance. The goal is to gain an appreciation for how nature contributes to our health and wellbeing. The foods we’ll be exploring are: Sauerkraut, Bread, Beer, and Poultry.

Rob Cohen

Rob Cohen is a farmer who practices sustainable agriculture and a consultant focused on helping non-profit organizations leverage technology. His lifelong interest in science, history, and historic foods shaped his unique approach to staying connecting to nature while living and working in an increasingly unnatural environment.

Yoga Basics—for the Silver Tsunami

Friday Courses, 9:30–10:45amLimit: 20

An introduction to yoga and its many benefits for the body, mind, and breath. Every month new studies emerge from the scientific community, charting the health benefits of a yoga practice. They include improved flexibility and strength, protection of the spine and help with posture, boosting of your mood and focus, improved balance, release of tension, and improved sleep.

“Motion is Lotion for the Body,” especially for us silver tsunamis both physically and mentally. This basic class presents the foundation of a fun, gentle, intelligent asana (posture) sequence, suitable for all levels. Additionally, the class will guide you through body alignment, awareness of your breath work (pranayama), and relaxation techniques to possibly reduce everyday stress. Come in comfortable easy fitting clothing. Namaste!

Presenter: John Orcutt

John Orcutt: I’m proof positive that it is never too late to begin a yoga practice. I was about to turn 60 when I attended my first class. Always active, as a runner, swimmer, racquetball enthusiast and gym regular, yoga was not really on my exercise radar. However, once I took my first class I was hooked on yoga. I noticed the benefits almost immediately. I have been teaching now for over 3 years. I have completed over 500 hours of training, specifically in vinyasa yoga, senior and chair yoga, yin and restorative yoga. Hope to see you on the mat!

Friday Courses, 11:05am–12:20pm

Eight-Week Courses (March 22-May 17)

Growing up in 1950s Poughkeepsie

Friday Courses, 11:05am–12:20pmLimit: 8-20

A discussion course on what it was like growing up in Poughkeepsie in the 1950s, when children were free as the winds, got soakers in the crick, and there “weren’t no fences facin’.”… when the mountains were made of big rock candy, the bluebirds sang over lemonade springs, and the bulldogs all had rubber teeth. When the police or other adult men requested the boys stop for a word of conversation, they usually called us “Sonny.”

Times since such childhood lifestyles have followed the Hudson River down its quiet and usual route, and such are now wayward with the tide.

With a focus on Poughkeepsie - its unique geography/topography, and the ethnic diversity of its residents - the discussions will also explore the experiences of the class members who grew up elsewhere.

Presenter: Gary ClendennenDr. Gary Clendennen, a historian, attended Warring School on the North Side, Columbus School on the river side, and PHS on the South Side, each for four and one-half years. Soon thereafter he left the city, not to return for 49 years. In that time he visited seven continents, hitch-hiked in 16 countries, wandered so far and wide that he had to change his birthday, and wrote (journals among other things). He also played some form of baseball for 40 years. He is a veteran of Vietnam and he has three grandchildren in St. Louis.

Hudson Valley Environmental Organizations

Friday Courses, 11:05am–12:20pmLimit: 35

Representatives from selected environmental organizations in the Hudson Valley will define the role and activities of their organization and give an idea of a project or projects the organization has developed and brought to fruition.

  • March 22, Maija Niemisto, Education Director, Clearwater
  • March 29, Stuart Findlay, Aquatic Ecologist, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies
  • April 5, George Schuler, Director, Conservation Science and Practice, The Nature Conservancy
  • April 12, Asher Pacht, Director of Environmental Programs, Beacon Institute For Rivers and Estuaries
  • April 26, Linde Ostro, Vice President for Development, Riverkeeper
  • May 3, Frances Dunwell, Hudson River Estuary Coordinator, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
  • May 10, Jeffrey P. LeJava, Vice President & Associate General Counsel, Open Space Institute
  • May 17, Jen Rubbo, Manager, The Environmental Cooperative at the Vassar Barns

Writing Fiction, a Workshop For Creative Writers

Friday Courses, 11:05am–12:20pmLimit: 35

Do you have a story rattling away in your brain that just has to be told? After reading a compelling novel that you just couldn’t put down, do you say to yourself, “I could do that”? Are you tired of promising yourself, “Next year I’ll write my novel”? Don’t wait any longer.

Discover the literary techniques of popular fiction genres and learn how to create compelling plots and characters in your own unique voice. Develop your craft among a group of supportive fellow writers under the guidance of a published author. Get ready to roll up your sleeves and let your talent shine. Whether you’re working on a short story or a novel, this class encourages you to get your story out of your head and onto the page.

Presenter: John Essick

John Essick has been identified by Kirkus Reviews, one of the nation’s leading literary magazines, as “a writer to watch.” He uses his vast experience as a writer to craft wonderful stories with a unique blend of crime, mystery and humor. Last Respects is his first novel in the Wes Byrne series. His screenplay for the short film Wishing Well won the Best Science Fiction Screenplay at the Indie Gathering International Film Festival. He currently lives in the Mid-Hudson Valley region of New York State with his wife, stage director June Prager.

Six-Week Courses

Qi Gong and Healing Garden

Friday Courses, 11:05am–12:20pmLimit: 25

This is a two-course series: 

  • Qi Gong for Wellness (March 22–April 12): Qi Gong literally means “energy cultivation”. In the practice of Qi Gong we cultivate how we use our own innate energy, our Qi, Prana or Life Force, which in turn will enhance our health on all levels. The exercises are highly intentional, and through intention and breath we are able to manipulate the various subtle energies of the body, mind and spirit. Anyone at any age can practice Qi Gong regardless of their limitations whether mental or physical. Modifications will be presented depending on each individual’s range of motion and physical capabilities as Chair Qi Gong.
  • The Healing Garden: Spring Herbal Detox and Weight Loss  (May 3, 10): Spring Herbal Detox and Weight Loss. Each season prepares us for the next, this is why Spring is the optimum time to clean out the closets and tend to your internal Healing Garden by utilizing the detoxifying energy provided by plants. This class will simplify “the Spring Cleanse” with practical dietary and herbal advice.

Presenter: Lorraine Hughes

Lorraine Hughes is a Clinical Herbalist (Registered Herbalist) with her practice located in Fishkill NY: she is passionate in her belief that cultivating our life force (Qi) increases our vitality. Most people look outside themselves for the cause(s) of their dis-ease and off centeredness when in fact they fail to recognize that only THEY have the power to initiate wellness. They need to take ownership and become the catalyst. I like to use the analogy of “Fuel” being our Yin and the ignition being our energy (Yang & Qi) to execute our forward motion and creativity.

Credentials: Professional Member of The American Herbalist Guild
- Certified Qi Gong Instructor – HoldenQiGong
- Board Certified Reflexologist (ARCB)
- East West Certified Herbalist from the Professional Herbalist Course, The East West School of Herbology

- Professional Member of The American Botanical Council
- Trained in USUI /Tibetan Reiki Master Level III and Karuna Reiki 1 & 2

It’s the Law

Friday Courses, 11:05am–12:20pmLimit: 25

March 22–May 3

The course will examine four major topics within the American legal system:

  1. Order in the Court: the structure of the judicial system; the differences between trial and appellate courts; selection of judges.
  2. Here Come da Judge: what courts decide; the importance of precedent; the respective roles of judges, lawyers and juries; what happens at trials; the different standards of proof.
  3. It’s a Crime: traditional societal goals in criminal justice; Constitutional considerations in criminal justice; classifications of criminal conduct; culpable mental states (“mens rea”); plea bargaining.
  4. Let’s be Civil: brief history of the evolution of civil law system; the “common law” then and today; differences between civil law and criminal law; the differences between actions at law and equity actions.

The last 15 minutes of each session will be reserved for participants to raise issues, ask questions, or discuss any topic related to that day’s topic or generally to “the law”.

Presenter: Mickey SteimanMickey Steiman A.B. Colgate University 1968; J.D. Syracuse University College of Law 1972; Senior trial attorney, Office of Special Litigation, United States Department of Justice, Washington, D.C. 1972-1980; 35 years of private practice in Dutchess County; Adjunct Professor, Marist College, Poughkeepsie, NY (1982-1989)

Four-Week Courses (March 22–April 12)

Learning to Read Music Notation

Friday Courses, 11:05am–12:20pmLimit: 12

This four-week course will teach the basics of rhythm, pitch notation, and interval singing through the use of Kodaly-based solfege and hand signals. The class will be participatory, with students learning first how to imitate rhythms and simple tunes, and then learning how to read and write rhythmic and melodic notation. Pitch will be taught initially by a combination of orally taught solfege singing syllables and hand signals, and then students will learn to read music notation and learn basic music intervals. 

The class will be both focused and fun, and will NOT put pressure on students, but rather will encourage experimentation and group musical activities. No previous musical experience is necessary.

Depending on student interest and progress, this could be the first in a series of progressively more challenging courses on developing musical literacy.

Presenter: Laura Russell

Laura Russell received her Doctor of Music in Conducting from the Hartt School; her Master of Fine Arts from SUNY Purchase, and her BA from Brandeis University.

She has taught at the music conservatories of SUNY Purchase and the Hartt School, and locally at Marist College and Dutchess Community College. At these schools she conducted choral and instrumental ensembles as well as teaching ear training and music theory. Before teaching on the college level, she taught music and creative dramatics at Poughkeepsie Day School - from pre-school through 6th grade.
She enjoys working with both beginning students and accomplished musicians.

Laura co-founded the Hudson Valley Bach Festival in 2000 and will be conducting Bach’s Magnificat for choir and orchestra in Skinner Hall at Vassar College this coming June for the BachFest’s 20th anniversary. For many years she was Music Director and Conductor for the Hudson Valley Gilbert & Sullivan Society, performing many G&S and light opera shows at the Bardavon and other venues in the area. Laura has retired from college teaching and is currently Music Director at Christ Episcopal Church in Poughkeepsie where she directs a 25-person volunteer choir and runs the Concerts Con Brio music series

Mixed Media Collage

Friday Courses, 11:05am–12:20pmLimit: 12

Collage is a fine art composition of lines, shapes, colors, forms and textures. We will use a variety of papers, photos, fibers, paints, and inks to create a unique work of art. Inspired by the Masters of collage, such as Picasso, Braque, Matisse, and Romare Bearden, we will explore, discover, and create new ways of using media.

No previous art experience necessary. All materials provided.

Presenters: Ellen Metzger O’Shea and Carole Wolf

Ellen Metzger O’Shea has been an artist and art teacher in the Wappingers School District, at Barrett Art Center for over 30 years, and recently at The Fountains in Millbrook. She received her Master’s degree in art education from SUNY New Paltz, concentrating in Painting and Printmaking. Ellen maintains an atelier in the attic of her home in Poughkeepsie, and works daily in her studio. “As a teacher I work as a tutor, guiding my students in the development of their personal style”. Ellen has exhibited locally, in NYC and in Nantucket. She is a member of LongReach Arts Coop.

Carole Wolf earned her Master’s degree in Art Education from Queens College and also attended NYU and the Corcoran School of Art. She taught art in high school and at Dutchess Community College for over 25 years and in her studio at Mill Street Loft, an arts and educational center, and served as its Executive Director for 37 years. Carole has been an active member of Barrett Art Center, where she helped to create their School of Art and taught Printmaking. She currently maintains her studio at PUF Studios in Poughkeepsie and is a member of the LongReach Arts Coop.

Four-Week Courses (April 26–May 17)

Acupuncture: A 5000 year-old Healing Art

Friday Courses, 11:05am–12:20pmLimit: 25

This course is a series of interactive lectures and demonstrations on acupuncture and Chinese herbs and what they can do for you! It will explain how acupuncture is used to treat and heal illnesses and diseases for people of all ages. Arthritis, fibromyalgia, intestinal problems, sinusitis, asthma, allergies, sciatica and back pain are some of the common ailments which can be treated with acupuncture and Chinese herbs. Acupuncture is particularly successful when “Western” medicine and intervention fail, and does not have any of the side effects of drugs.

Presenter: Detlef (Ted) F. Wolf

Detlef (Ted) F. Wolf, L.Ac. is a licensed acupuncturist and Chinese herbalist who has been practicing for the last 25 years in the Hudson Valley. He has lectured extensively in colleges, schools, and health fairs, both locally and nationally. He recently taught at the Vassar Lifelong Learning Institute. During these years he has successfully treated many diseases and illnesses in both children and adults, using a holistic approach with acupuncture and Chinese herbs. Dr. Wolf has an office on Titusville Road in Poughkeepsie, New York.

Friday Courses, 1:45–3:00pm

Eight-Week Courses (March 22—May 17)

Animal Physiology

Friday Courses, 1:45–3:00pmLimit: 35

What regulates blood pressure? How do nerves convey information? Why does exercise shape muscle strength and performance? Why do we pee more when we’re cold? The human animal is a marvelous machine made up of intricately balanced and integrated systems. In this course we’ll take a look at some of those systems (circulatory, muscular, nervous, endocrine, etc.). The course will emphasize human physiology but will draw examples from other animals as well where they illustrate important points or are just too interesting to ignore.

Leathem Mehaffey

Leathem Mehaffey has an AB in zoology, Columbia University; MS in insect physiology, Fordham University; PhD in biophysics, The Ohio State University. Post-doctoral work, Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts Eye Institute. Taught at Vassar (Biology) 30+ years. Joint appointment at New York University Belleview Hospital Department of Ophthalmology. Primary research interest in sensory physiology, concentrating on vision.

Human Trafficking

Friday Courses, 1:45–3:00pmLimit: 35

This course will examine contemporary human trafficking/modern day slavery, types/terminology of human trafficking, and its scope both domestically and globally. Discussed are physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual trauma experienced by victims of human trafficking and methods used to recruit/control them, plus roles of government, media, religion, organized crime and culture in this complex human rights issue.

Objectives

  • Understand the scope/magnitude of human trafficking.
  • Recognize forms of human trafficking.
  • Understand the perspective of the victim/multiple needs of survivors.
  • Learn key terminology.
  • Identify signs/risk factors known to be associated with human trafficking.
  • Learn to effectively support anti-trafficking efforts.
Farah Zulaikha

Farah Zulaikha is a modern role model & fashion icon, a young UN Ambassador in anti-human trafficking/anti-domestic violence, an award-winning humanitarian, top model, writer, TV host, and classically trained violinist. Discovered by supermodel Tyra Banks as a young teen, Farah’s TV debut was on “The Tyra Show” with singer Rihanna. She has modeled for Versace, Roberto Cavalli, Salvatore Ferragamo and is the face of Tiffany & Co.’s special occasion gems. She is noted for her charity endeavors such as her co-ed residential program for human trafficking survivors, “The Farah Zulaikha Microenterprise Assistance Program,” which turns survivors of human trafficking into degree-holding CEOs. She has earned The United Nations Distinguished International Humanitarian Leadership Award, the Pancreum Diabetes Artificial Pancreas Award, the Couture Fashion Week Top Model Award and Hearst Media’s UGO.COM “Smartest Models In The World” list as No. 1.
Farah was a guest violinist at Carnegie Hall before a sold-out audience with conductor Mark Reineke & The NY Pops.
Farah also created a bestselling fragrance “Farah” by Farah, released at the Lord & Taylor flagship store NYC.
She was awarded the “RBRW Social Legends Award” for anti-human trafficking.

Understanding Movies II

Friday Courses, 1:45–3:00pmLimit: 35

This course continues to examine the use of film aesthetics by studying the narrative structures, stylistic techniques, thematic designs and formal principles of a variety of feature films. Topics covered will include genre, authorship, cinema self-reflexivity, and other theoretical and analytical approaches to the medium of film. Class meetings will include lectures and encourage discussion of the chosen films while providing close analysis of selected scenes.

Students will be asked to either screen chosen films on their own (via streaming, DVD, etc.), or attend a weekly group screening on Thursday afternoons/evenings prior to class on Friday.

It is not necessary for people to have taken the previous course in order to take this one.

Sybil DelGaudio

Sybil DelGaudio was Professor of Radio/Television/Film at Hofstra University and served for six years as Dean of its School of Communication. She is the author of journal articles and books on film history and theory and her production work has combined her interest in animation scholarship with a passion for documentary, resulting in two projects she directed for public television, Animated Women and Independent Spirits. Both films have been shown on PBS stations around the country as well as at international film festivals, garnering festival prizes, as well as an Emmy for Animated Women.

Six- and Seven-Week Courses

Bluegrass-Folk Music in Overdrive

Friday Courses, 1:45–3:00pmLimit: 35

April 5—May 17

Bluegrass is a distinct form of American roots music that derives largely from the music played by Bill Monroe and His Blue Grass Boys beginning in the 1940s. Monroe was influenced by many other musics, including old time Appalachian fiddle and African-American blues traditions. Since the first bluegrass recordings appeared, many other artists have contributed to the growth and development of the music. This course will trace the history and development of bluegrass by focusing on the instrumental and vocal techniques that make bluegrass distinctive. Each of the six class sessions will focus on one of the six bluegrass instruments-mandolin, fiddle, guitar, banjo, bass fiddle, and dobro (resonator guitar) and on bluegrass singing. The final class will bring all the instruments together for a performance that demonstrates how the instruments and voices work together to produce the bluegrass sound.

Presenter: Andrew Bing

Andrew Bing is a veteran bluegrass musician who has performed and recorded bluegrass and folk music in many groups in New York’s Hudson Valley and beyond for over 35 years. A student of dobro innovator and Seldom Scene founder Mike Auldridge, Bing also studied mandolin with Lou Martin and Frank Wakefield, and banjo with former Blue Grass Boy Bill Keith. He is an experienced lecturer on bluegrass, and, in a very different context, was Adjunct Professor (Federal Income Taxation) at the Albany Law School.

Stay Strong, Fit and on Your Feet

Friday Courses, 1:45–3:00pmLimit: 15

March 29–May 3

Poor balance and leg weakness are primary risk factors for falls among older adults. Evidence indicates that programs which incorporate balance, strengthening and flexibility exercises are effective in preventing falls. This class will combine all three exercise types for a comprehensive approach to fall prevention. Balance exercises will proceed from elementary to more challenging, depending on participants’ abilities. Elements of Tai Chi, yoga and physical training approaches to balance will be included. By the class’s end, participants will be able to practice a minimum of 4 Tai Chi forms. 

After exercising, participants will engage in a period of guided meditation, to help maintain focus during daily activities.

A doctor’s note is not necessary to attend this class. However, the exercises involve some bending, lunging, squatting and standing on one leg. Participants should seek the advice of their health care practitioners if they have any physical limits to exercise.

Presenter: Anne Lancellotti

Dr. Anne Lancellotti, PT, DPT, practiced physical therapy for thirty years before her retirement in 2014. For twenty-two of those years, she had a private practice in Poughkeepsie. Anne was a specialist in orthopedic physical therapy and taught therapeutic exercise for a variety of musculoskeletal problems. For fifteen years before her retirement, Anne worked to educate older adults in fall prevention. She also began to craft exercise and balance programs specifically aimed at fall prevention. For this class, Anne has synthesized her approach and added Tai Chi, which she has been studying recently at Omega and privately.

Presenter: Denise FecketterDenise Fecketter is a practitioner of the Asian healing art, Jin Shin Jyutsu. She also practices Qi Gong and Tai Chi. In 2017, she travelled throughout China for one month, where she studied both of these movement arts. Denise will bring her experience with these ancient healing practices to the balance portion of our exercise session. Anne and Denise have both recently been certified in teaching Dr. Paul Lam’s “Tai Chi For Arthritis and Fall Prevention.”

Four-Week Course (March 22–April 12)

Resilient Communities

Friday Courses, 1:45–3:00pmLimit: 35

Climate change calls us to think about what it takes for our communities to withstand extreme weather, power outages, and the more mundane stresses associated with the sense that something is just out of whack. A resilient community is one that bounces back from extreme events and maintains quality of life under pressure; it is also a community that is capable of effective action to reduce its footprint and build prosperity. The interdisciplinary field of resilience has come to life since Hurricane Sandy, integrating architecture, design, engineering, communications, and community development. This course reviews principles, success models, and strategies that can be applied in Hudson Valley communities. We will learn how to evaluate community vulnerabilities, develop resilience plans, and link resilience with local self-reliance and public health. Participants may sit in on one or more community workshops run by Sustainable Hudson Valley in Poughkeepsie.

Melissa Everett

Melissa Everett, PhD, is founding Executive Director of Sustainable Hudson Valley, a regional organization devoted to speeding and scaling action on climate change. She was part of the Rising Waters scenario planning initiative in 2008 to help the Hudson Valley identify climate change adaptation strategies. She produced a conference on resilience in 2013. She has developed a community assessment tool for energy security and emergency power. The author of three books and many articles, she holds a PhD in Sustainable Development from Erasmus University in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

Four-Week Course (April 26–May 17)

FDR: People and Events Shaping His Presidency

Friday Courses, 1:45–3:00pmLimit: 35In this course presenters Linda Bouchey and Al Vinck will examine two important people and two significant events that helped forge Franklin D. Roosevelt's Presidency. Topics include Eleanor Roosevelt: Humanitarian and Pioneer of Civil Rights; Louis Howe: The President Maker; He Rose From His Wheelchair to Lift The Nation From Its Knees; and FDR's Infamy: Japanese Internment during World War II.
Linda Bouchey and Al Vinck

Linda Bouchey and Al Vinck are retired Hyde Park educators, independent Roosevelt researchers and Roosevelt interpreters at Top Cottage, FDR’s Presidential Retreat. They were house managers and docents at Wilderstein Preservation and former Board Members for both the Roosevelt-Vanderbilt Historical Association and Wilderstein Preservation. They served as Co-Chairs of the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Educational Memorial, a permanent public exhibit at the original Franklin D. Roosevelt High School. Linda and Al continue to share their research and scholarship by presenting for local educational and historical groups, including LLIs at Bard, Marist and SUNY New Paltz, Roosevelt-Vanderbilt National Park Service, Hyde Park, Red Rock and Rhinebeck Historical Societies and the Hyde Park Retired Teachers Association.

Suggested reading: Hazel Rowley Franklin and Eleanor: An Extraordinary Marriage 

Friday Courses, 3:20–4:35pm

Eight–Week Courses (March 22¬–May 17)

Opera as Politics III

Friday Courses, 3:20–4:35pmLimit: 35

Opera has been a major art form in Western society for over 400 years, with much to say about politics. This course looks at opera in the context of important governmental, sexual, economic, religious and political issues. A close examination of significant operas and their political contexts, and a look at the current state of opera as a political vehicle are part of the course. We will experience operatic video performances in class as political themes are developed. No technical musical knowledge is required and familiarity with opera is not assumed.

Chuck Mishaan

Chuck Mishaan has been an opera aficionado since the days of the old Metropolitan Opera House. He has been a lecturer on music and opera at several area LLIs, the Bardavon Theater, and the Rhinebeck Chamber Music Society. He was an adjunct professor at NYU for many years, lecturing on technology and healthcare.

Vassar Science Sampler

Friday Courses, 3:20–4:35pmLimit: 35

Each week a different Vassar Science Faculty member will present a lecture. Members of the Biology, Chemistry, Earth Science, and Physics/Astronomy departments will participate.

  • March 22, Bill Straus. Biology, Sex, and Gender
  • March 29, Jeff Walker. Geologic History of the Hudson Valley
  • April 5, Chris Smart. New Carbon Nanomaterials for Medical and Energy Storage Applications
  • April 12, John Fronimos. Dinosaurs
  • April 26, Kelli Duncan. “Angry Birds” Brains: The role of steroids following Traumatic Brain Injury
  • May 3, Jose Perillan. Myth-Historical CRISPR Edits: Emerging Histories and Contested Futures
  • May 10, Leroy Cooper. Fundamentals of Epidemiology
  • May 17, Robert Augustine. The Structure of the Cytoskeleton
Producer: David Bloom

What is Crime?

Friday Courses, 3:20–4:35pmLimit: 30

The word crime is used in common parlance for dislikes, disagreements and bad manners. Crime is more than a word. Crime is a course of action that people enter when trying to get around the rule of law. Also, some sins are not crimes. Nonetheless, some crimes may be sins. This is a function of religious belief rather than a normative prescription of the law. This course will look at the legal definition of crime. Criminal behavior will be assessed, as there cannot be crime without someone
to commit it.

Ed ShaughnessyEd Shaughnessy is Professor Emeritus of Sociology and Law at the CUNY Graduate Center and John Jay College of Criminal Justice. He has taught at Bramshill, England, the National Police College, and The College of the Garda Siochana [Irish Police] in Templemore. He has written and lectured on the criminal law provisions of the U.S Bill of Rights, having published on the 1st, 4th and 6th Amendments.
Courses taught include: criminology, urban violence, terrorism, law and society, deviance and graduate courses on public policy. He has trained New York City police, NJ State Police, and NY State Police [Albany Academy]. He has taught corrections personnel in the NYS Dept. of Corrections and inmates at Riker’s Island, Greenhaven, Ossining [Sing Sing] and elsewhere. He was a consultant to the City of Poughkeepsie Police Dept.

Six– and Seven–Week Courses

Beginning Bridge

Friday Courses, 3:20–4:35pmLimit: 15

March 29–May 17

The fundamentals of bridge will be presented in a clear and easy format. Emphasis will be on learning and understanding bridge as opposed to memorizing a lot of laws and rules of bridge. Playing bridge can be fun in a social environment or hard work in a competitive environment. It’s similar to playing tennis with friends or competing in a tennis tournament. Each student will pursue their own personal objectives. Homework assignments will be optional for those who are interested in taking the extra step. We will use mnemonics such as BOSTON to help remember certain strategies. Bridge is good for keeping your memory sharp as you age; it helps with concentration, judgment, teamwork, analytic skills, and can be a source of lifetime enjoyment. We will cover point counting, bidding, responding, when to take risks, signals, conventions, leads, strategies, sacrifices and many other techniques.

Allen Fink

Allen Fink is an Honors Graduate of NJ Institute of Technology with a BS in Electrical Engineering and an MBA from Union College. He spent 30 years in IBM doing R&D for mainframe design. He is a Lead Auditor for ISO 9000 and is on the Board of Directors for AEA Quality Advantage Corp. Allen is an entrepreneur and previously owned four stores in the Galleria and South Hills Mall. He has owned the Philatex Co. for over 50 years which specializes in collectibles. He is a certified Olympic Level Table Tennis Coach and teaches at Vassar College.

Allen has a passion for studying and analyzing bridge. He enjoys thinking outside the box and inventing new techniques and strategies. He will use probability models and even poker skills if necessary to develop a path to a winning result. On the other hand, Allen is also passionate about teaching bridge to newcomers in order to make it simple and logical and not overwhelming to them. His goal is to get people to love the game of bridge.

Free Speech Ain’t Free

Friday Courses, 3:20–4:35pmLimit: 25

Mar. 22, 29, April 5, 12, May 10, 17

Thomas Jefferson considered that of all our constitutional amendments the First Amendment was most important because it provided the political rights necessary to a democratic society. This course focuses on the free speech clause as interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court in cases that raised important legal issues. But we will also examine whether some USSCT decisions fail to consider the consequences to individuals and the ramifications to public policy. No legal knowledge is required... but civility is a must.

Ernest Giglio

Ernest Giglio is a Professor Emeritus of Politics & American Studies and a Fulbright Exchange Scholar. He received his Ph.D. from Syracuse University and during his 30+ year career he has taught both in the U.S. and abroad. His signature course on film & politics has been presented to students in England, Finland and Switzerland as well as at the Rhode Island School of Design, Manhattanville College and Lycoming College. He has appeared on PBS, NPR and the BBC.

Women Artists Europe and US

Friday Courses, 3:20–4:35pmLimit: 35

March 22–May 3

This is a survey of women painters and sculptors, touching on artists from the 15th and 16th centuries through aspects of the 20th century. More emphasis will be on 19th and 20th century women in the arts as works by women in earlier periods were frequently ignored or suppressed. It is a slide lecture series.

Marilyn Price

Marilyn Price: I have a background in painting and fine arts. As an undergraduate I majored in painting at Cooper Union with graduate study at N.Y.U. and Columbia University where I also took courses in art history. I chaired the Art Department of Columbia Preparatory School in N.Y.C. for 29 years, where I taught painting, drawing, sculpture and ceramics, and A.P. art history. I also showed my paintings and ceramics in New York City. In 1994, my husband and I moved to the Hudson Valley, and I continue to work in both painting and ceramics.

Four-Week Course (March 22–April 12)

The Flu Epidemic of 1918

Friday Courses, 3:20–4:35pmLimit: 35

When influenza swept the globe in 1918, it killed nearly 675,000 Americans—more than all the U.S. battle deaths in all the wars of the 20th century. The story of this epidemic, which overlapped almost exactly with the final year of World War I, is full of drama—involving overworked doctors and nurses, army units decimated by the disease, women’s clubs organizing soup kitchens and home health services, military policies that kept the contagion spreading, and scientists working desperately to find a vaccine. This course will explore the impact of the epidemic on American society, the way the experience seemed to disappear from public memory as soon as it was over, and the chances of an equally devastating flu pandemic in the future.

Sandra Opdycke

Sandra Opdycke (BA, Vassar ‘57; PhD, Columbia ‘95) has published histories of the flu epidemic of 1918, the WPA of the 1930s, and Bellevue Hospital, as well as a biography of Jane Addams, an historical atlas of American women’s history, and several co-authored books and articles on social policy. She worked for a number of years at Hudson River Psychiatric Center, and later taught American History and Urban History at Bard, Vassar, and Marist Colleges. She serves as an occasional lecturer at the Center for Lifetime Studies, and has recently completed a book on the woman’s suffrage movement.

Four-Week Course (April 26–May 17)

Psychological Well-Being and Happiness

Friday Courses, 3:20–4:35pmLimit: 30

April 26, May 3, 10, 17

This timely course is the study of what is often a life changing examination of what determines life satisfaction and happiness. Positive Psychology refers to the “intentions, thoughts and actions” that have more impact on happiness than our personal circumstances and the condition of the world around us. Well-being and happiness can be increased at any point in life, resulting in emotional and physical improvements in health as well as increased life expectancy. Improvements in managing stress of any sort are also achieved. Through lecture, readings, discussion and individual exercises, life satisfaction and strategies to improve happiness are explored.

Denise Morett

Dr. Denise Morett is a clinical psychologist and best selling author with a 29 year career in the local Hudson Valley. She practices privately and consults to local hospitals, nursing homes and schools providing clinical services, lectures and training. She has taught psychology classes at the university level throughout her career. Her recently published best selling book “LIFELINE” deals with catastrophic stress and coping during the serious or life-threatening illness of a family member.

Dr. Morett’s study of and expertise in positive psychology concepts are helping individuals dramatically improve their lives

Off-Campus Courses

Caring for Caregivers (Wednesdays March 20–April 10, 1–3pm) at Hudson Valley Healing Center

Off-Campus CourseLimit: 20

Caring for Caregivers is a four-week course focusing on caring for the person who many caregivers neglect: themselves. We will focus on Meditation, Healthy Eating, Breathwork, and Fitness.

Producer: Elisa Gwilliam

Mindfulness has transformed Elisa’s life and she is very pleased to introduce these practices to others at the Hudson Valley Healing Center. After completing the MBSR practicum at U Mass Medical Center, Center for Mindfulness, Elisa continued her studies and is currently receiving mentorship through the University of California San Diego, Center for Mindfulness. She is also a graduate of the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. Elisa earned a Masters of Education with a focus on mindfulness. She is currently engaged in a doctoral program focusing on Transformational Learning and offers Salt Cave, Yoga, Lifestyle and more at her HVHC.

A Taste of Printmaking (Wednesdays April 24–May 15, 11am–12:15pm) at Poughkeepsie Underwear Factory

Off-Campus CourseLimit: 10

This course is an overview of the printmaking processes offered at PUF Studios, a community printmaking studio at the historic Poughkeepsie Underwear Factory, a project of the Mid-Hudson Heritage Center. The four classes will cover basic relief printing including woodcut, linocut, and other relief processes; intaglio printing such as etching, aquatint, engraving and collagraph; screen printing, including photo screen print, layered and transparent screen printing, as well as printing on textiles such as t-shirts; letterpress including photopolymer plates and typesetting, as well as monoprint and monotype. Each class will give an overview of the history of the process, materials and techniques employed, a demo and a brief hands-on opportunity for each participant. There will be a $5 materials fee for this course.

After each class students are welcome to enjoy a delicious lunch at PUF Studios in their charming vegetarian café, filled with art work and lots of community information.

Presenters: Anita Fina Kiewra and Carole Wolf

Anita Fina Kiewra, PUF Studios Manager, holds A.A.S., B.S., and M.S. degrees in Fine Arts and Art Education from Rochester Institute of Technology, Skidmore College and the College of Saint Rose. She has also done graduate work at Pratt Institute. Her work in printmaking is concentrated in intaglio and screen printing, although she also incorporates other techniques. Her current series of photo screen prints are focused on the sport of rowing, especially on the Hudson River, and have recently been exhibited locally. Anita is a member of the Tivoli Artists Gallery and the new Queen City 15 Gallery.

Carole Wolf will assist Anita in teaching this course. Carole holds a Master’s degree in art education, has taught art in high school and on the college level, is a member of LongReach Arts Cooperative, and currently has her printmaking studio at PUF Studios.