LearningLife offers a wide-ranging, innovative portfolio of high-quality noncredit offerings for those who seek learning experiences that are academically rigorous, intellectually challenging, and both personally and professionally enriching.
Taught by University faculty, and scholars and professionals from the community, LearningLife’s quarterly roster of short courses, seminars, and one-day immersions are an invitation to take part in rich, meaningful experiences that highlight the knowledge resources of the University within a community of engaged and active learners.
Subject areas include, but are not limited to: World View, History and Society, Science and the Environment, Literature and Reading, Art and Design, and Living Well.
The world of paradoxes, beginning with Philetas of Cos in ancient Greece and fast-forwarding to the exquisite philosophical musings of Homer Simpson, is the basis of this challenging (but fun!) whirlwind course. No prior mathematical or philosophical experience necessary; only a desire to dig deep, think hard, and laugh out loud.
Passion! Seduction! Betrayal! Jealousy! What is it about Bizet’s Carmen that makes it one of the best-loved and most widely performed operas ever written? And what has happened to Carmen, the character, over time? Do modern audiences perceive her as a loathsome seductress or the innocent victim of a crazed stalker? Join musicologist Daniel Freeman to deconstruct and savor the mystique of Bizet’s masterpiece.
Does an apple a day really keep the doctor away? Says who? Learn to separate fact from fiction as you build a foundation of reliable, time-tested information about nutrition, sleep, and physical activity. Participants will also have the opportunity to assess their current health behaviors in order to create personalized goals that work with, not against, daily schedules and life scenarios.
Warblers and thrushes and vireos—Oh my! It’s the time of year bird lovers and watchers wait for—spring migration season. Part evening lectures, part field trips, this course will take you to some of the Twin Cities’ best birding locations and provide practical experience for finding and identifying—by sight and by song—dozens of songbird species that inhabit our fair North Star State.
Dramatic cliffs, pounding surf, and fog-soaked redwoods: California’s Highway 1 is not only one of North America’s most scenic drives, it’s also a yellow brick road for oenophiles. From south to north, we’ll taste our way along this vino-centric highway, and discuss how the topography, geography, and history of California’s extreme coast have helped to shape one of the world’s great wine regions.
We are living in the golden age of historical, narrative nonfiction, and this summer, LearningLife is offering you a comfy chair in which to read the best of the best. Participants will be introduced to three true tales of crime, medicine, and ethical ambiguity. Murder? Cloning without consent? Political assassination? Check, check, check! Readers, it’s going to be a helluva ride.
Renowned for its natural beauty and connections to prominent people, Lake Minnetonka has a history rife with myths, opulence, people (both celebrated and forgotten), and defining moments (both nefarious and triumphant). This course dives deep into those waters and includes a 90-minute, narrated tour aboard the Lake’s aquatic phoenix, the mighty Steamboat Minnetonka.
Are you ready to dive into creativity? To take up charcoal or pencil, flip to a fresh sheet on your drawing pad, and begin to investigate the observed world through art? Join us for an intensive, immersive mini-plunge into the world of drawing. No experience necessary, just the desire to learn and create.
A talented dancer, a transcendent singer, and a gifted Method actress, Judy Garland was the embodiment of the “triple threat.” A performing virtuoso by the age of 13, Garland went on to become one of the most versatile performers of the 20th century. This course celebrates the Minnesota native by examining (and enjoying) her films, concerts, TV appearances, and recordings.
If you were to name the “best” jazz, rock, and R&B albums made in the 50s, 60s, and 70s, what albums would you pick? Moreover, how would you define their musical influence and predecessors? Chances are, you would cite the blues. This multimedia course explores specific landmark recordings in jazz, rock, and R&B, all of which share strong roots in, and pay homage to, the blues.
Published in 1907, American philosopher and psychologist William James’s Pragmatism, inspired some of the most progressive reformers of the 20th century, not to mention legions of writers, artists, physicists, and physicians. This course explores James’s influential treatise; its legacies for U.S. politics, society, and culture; and the value it holds, if any, for people today.
Structured like a monthly book club, this course explores three novels (Gilead, Home, and Lila) by Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Marilynne Robinson. The author wrote each of these books, sequentially and intentionally, as a meditation and exploration of grace in everyday life and among everyday people.
Led by architectural historian Larry Millett, this course provides a richly illustrated armchair tour of the homes and architectural styles that make Minnesota’s housing stock so rich and diverse. In addition to learning about the construction and original owners of the homes, you will also hear about the current owners who are dedicated to restoring these historical treasures.
One of the most difficult issues of the human condition, this course looks at suicide from a psychological perspective, including its historical foundations, risk factors, warning signs, and tools and methods for intervention. We will also discuss suicide’s taboos, myths (and facts), as well as the “senselessness” felt by those in its wake, and what life can be like for those who no longer want to live.
Your cat has a velvet pillow and a monogrammed bowl. You spend hundreds of dollars a year on grooming and medical care. She’s part of the family! You even rely on her to dispose of that pesky little mouse that keeps breaking into your bag of rice—wait! Why does the cat matter more than the mouse? Aren’t they both animals? Why do you feel one way about Muffy and another about Mousey? Find out June 25.
With patience and persistence, an educated public, and a commitment to preserve invaluable aquatic resources, Dr. Peter Sorensen believes we can slow the menace of AIS in our beloved Minnesota rivers, lakes, and streams. In this seminar, he will detail the myths and facts of AIS, and underscore the priorities critical to the success of new, highly targeted prevention and control schemes that can help preserve Minnesota’s waterways for future generations.
Similar in spirit to Independence Day in the United States, Bastille Day is a festive event rife with fireworks and patriotic processions in Paris, throughout France, and in numerous countries throughout the world, including the United States, where more than 50 cities hold annual celebrations. Join us for a look at the history of La Fête Nationale—its memorials, tributes, and merriments.
Ancient Mediterraneans saw bolides, those bright meteors with long, glowing tails, as dragons of the sky. The Egyptians called the sudden showers of rock and light “stones from heaven.” Join the University of Minnesota’s Curator of Meteorites for this seminar on meteorites, those intriguing “clocks in the rocks” that tell us so much about the history, and future, of our solar system.
“Scratch a Minnesotan and the farm is just underneath” is a popular saying in our fair state, and Minnesota barns are a testament to our pioneer spirit and deep attachment to the land. Join us for this one-day historical tour of the fabulous barns that dot our ever-changing landscape, from Otter Tail, to Carver, to Brownton Counties.
From velvet ants to Morpho butterflies to caddisflies, insects come in a remarkable array of sizes, colors, and shapes, often exhibiting bizarre biologies and behaviors. How have these evolutionary wonders thrived in a world of near-constant ecological chaos? Join insect taxonomist Ralph Holzenthal for a remarkable journey inside the University of Minnesota’s world-renowned insect collection.
This immersion represents the opportunity to experience, firsthand, the architectural potential to be found in urban and suburban dwellings that have been transformed through renovation. Led by two architectural professionals, you will tour four renovation projects that illustrate the pros and cons of each design solution, and why the designers and home owners ultimately selected one solution over another.
Long-Beaked Sedge, Big Bluestem, Bellflower, Columbine, and Nodding Fescue…these are just a few of the numerous native plants and grasses that make our great state a truly wondrous place to live. Yet, years of mismanaged landscaping, public and private, have left our landscape lacking. How can we restore and reclaim Minnesota’s natural beauty, one backyard at a time? Find out in this timely immersion.