Academic Year 2016 – 2017 Courses

Our courses provide opportunities for our members to delve more deeply into fascinating subjects, hear from outstanding teachers, and have fun as well: no exams, no grades, but ample opportunities to participate in discussions.

Spring Birds Around Monterey Bay, 2015
The courses vary a great deal in length, but the donation we ask for each course is the same — $20/person/course. Because the lecturers are not compensated (except for the pleasure of having truly interested and interesting students), your contributions are used for scholarships for re-entry and transfer students.

For all course registrations, you will receive an email acknowledging your acceptance in the course. For on-line registrations, it will be automatically generated and sent shortly after you register. For mail-in registration, we manually send you an email confirmation. In either case, later you will receive a letter from the university acknowledging your donation.

You will not be charged if you can't enroll (because the course is full), and if you sent a check it will be returned.

You must be a OLLI member to sign up for Courses!
Courses are limited to 2016–2017 members of Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UCSC. If you wish to join, go to our home page and use the section titled Join OLLI at UCSC or Renew Your Membership.

If instead of registering for courses on-line, you want to print, fill-out, and mail a paper registration form, then click here to print the registration form. Download the form to your computer, print it, fill it out, and mail it as directed on the form. Click here to print the registration form addendum.

Courses Table of Contents

Click on links, below, for details:

1709 Yoga for Seasoned Adults: Abbey Asher

1710 – Opera: Miriam Ellis

1711 – Shakespeare: Michael Warren

1712 – Espressivo: Michel Singher
1713 – Gravity: Roger Knacke

1714 - Mark Twain: Forrest Robinson

1715 – 2017 World Affairs Update: Ronnie Gruhn

1716 -- The Biochemistry of Food: Barry Bowman

1717 -- Graduate Course -- Advanced 3Rs of Retirement

1718 -- Spotlight - Theater and its Elements!

1719 -- Spring Birds Around Monterey Bay

1709 - Yoga for Seasoned Adults
Jan 17, 24, 31, Feb 7, 14, 21 10 am – 11:15 am

Location: Yoga Santa Cruz, 428 Front St.
Instructor: Abbey Asher

The practice of yoga has been medically proven to enhance balance, protect joint health, inhibit weight gain, improve emotional well-being, and much, much more. Now, OLLI members are invited to their own six-week introductory Iyengar Yoga class, taught by UCSC’s Abbey Asher. Students will learn basic postures, improve strength and flexibility, and be introduced to the philosophy that underlies this ancient practice.
Abbey Asher has studied and practiced yoga in the US and in India. She’s been teaching for 15 years at UCSC and at Yoga Center Santa Cruz. She is passionate about yoga and looks forward to sharing her love of this practice with you.
“Yoga is a gift for older people. One who studies yoga in the later years gains not only health and happiness, but also freshness of mind since yoga gives one a bright outlook on life. One can look forward to a more healthful future rather than looking back into the past. With yoga, a new life begins, even if started later. Yoga is a rebirth which teaches one to face the rest of one’s life happily, peacefully and courageously.”
Geeta S. Iyengar

1710 – Opera - Out of the Shadows
February 6, 13, 20,27, March 6 1 pm - 3 pm

Location: Lounge, Peace United Church
Instructor: Miriam Ellis


An integral part of opera since the art form's earliest days, the chorus is often overlooked or underestimated in performance, despite its valuable contributions to development of character and/or plot. We will be examining the history, form, and function of this important element of lyric theater and consider choral excerpts, ranging from works by Monteverdi, Purcell, Mozart, and Gluck, through examples from Verdi, the Romantics, French, German, & Russian composers, and conclude with verismo excerpts of the 20th century. We will also have a brief look at the challenges and experiences of choristers in one of the major houses in the US.

Miriam Ellis, Ph.D, has offered classes for Lifelong Learners and OLLI for many years, both before and since her retirement from UCSC, where she taught French language and theater, as well as other courses, for over 30 years. In 2001, with Language colleagues, she founded The UCSC International Playhouse (now the Miriam Ellis International Playhouse), which will be presenting its 17th annual season of multilingual theater in May, 2017. Her new book, The Flexible Figaro (with co-author Sherwood Dudley), an innovative piano-vocal score of Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro, has recently been published.

1711 – Shakespeare
February 28, March 7, 14, 21 10 am – 12 pm

Location: Museum of Art and History
Instructor: Michael Warren

We are fortunate to again have Prof. Michael Warren, a very knowledgeable and vastly entertaining Shakespeare scholar, presenting a course for us. He will be discussing the two plays that Santa Cruz Shakespeare will be presenting next summer. The plays will be announced before the beginning of this course. His courses for OLLI for the previous six years have been enthusiastically praised by our members.

The four lectures will be devoted to the plays of the 2017 Santa Cruz Shakespeare season: The Two Gentlemen of Verona and Measure for Measure. Two Gentlemen is one of the earliest of the Shakespeare plays, a lively comedy of male friendship, young love, and betrayal. Measure for Measure is a great play that is performed too rarely. Written around the same time as Othello, it is a comedy both deeply serious and very funny, an unromantic exploration of sexual desire, law, justice, and mercy in a tough urban setting.

We will devote the first meeting and half the second to Two Gentlemen; the remaining hours will be devoted to Measure for Measure. Members of the course should read the first four acts of Two Gentlemen for the first class.

Michael Warren is Emeritus Professor of English Literature at UCSC. He serves as Textual Consultant and dramaturge for Santa Cruz Shakespeare. He is a past president of the Shakespeare Association of America.

1712 – Espressivo
March 9, 16, 23 10 am – 12 pm

Location: Music Room, Peace United Church
Instructor: Michel Singher

OLLI’s special relationship with Maestro Michel Singher and his ensemble — Espressivo — A Small Intense Orchestra — will continue this Spring. Our members have been thrilled with the three Espressivo concerts and with the three courses Maestro Singher offered to OLLI members.
In this course Michel Singher will introduce the Espressivo orchestra concert of March 30th--"An American Heritage." He will elucidate a work each by Charles Ives, Ned Rorem and Aaron Copland. In an additional talk, he will give an insider's view of what a conductor does.

1713 – Gravity
March 23, 30, April 6, 13, 20 10 am – 12 pm

Location: Museum of Art and History
Instructor: Roger Knacke

This course will explore our ideas about gravity, its role in the Universe, and the recent remarkable discoveries about Black Holes and Gravitational Waves. No background in Science is necessary.
Meeting 1. Newtonian Gravity
2. Einstein’s Relativity Revolution
3. Black Holes and their Role in the Universe
4. The Mystery of Dark Matter
5. Gravitational Waves
Dr. Roger Knacke is Emeritus Professor of Physics and Astronomy, Penn State Erie, where he retired as Director of the School of Science in 2010. His research interests are in interstellar matter and planetary atmospheres.

1714 - Mark Twain
April 24, May 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 10 am – 12 pm

Location: Lounge, Peace United Church
Instructor: Forrest Robinson

We will read Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn closely and critically. I want to give special attention to the ways in which the novels afford us a window on key issues and problems in the America of their day.
Forrest Robinson is POrofesor Emeritus of Distinguished Professor of Humanities Emeritus. He taught at UCSC for 44 years in literature and American Studies. He has written extensively about Twain and has offered both graduate and undergraduate courses on him and his work. OLLI students were very appreciative of his class on Melville's Moby Dick in the Fall.

1715 – 2017 World Affairs Update
February 21, March 21 1 pm – 3 pm

Location: Fellowship Hall, Peace United Church
Instructor: Ronnie Gruhn

We are very fortunate to have Ronnie Gruhn, Professor Emerita of Politics at UCSC, as one of our teachers. She has a passionate and undiminished interest in reading, writing, and talking about world affairs. Her courses offer powerful insights into what is happening today. Ronnie has been very generous in sharing her knowledge with OLLI members, and her past courses have been exceedingly well attended.

1716 -- The BioChemistry of Food
February 18, 25, and March 4 10:00 am to 12:00 pm

Location: Physical Sciences Building, Rm 240 UCSC
Instructor: Barry Bowman

In this course we will look at food from the perspective of a biochemist. What is the chemical composition of different types of food and how are these chemicals processed in our body? Why do some foods have more calories (energy) than others, and what exactly is a calorie? What kinds of molecules are vitamins and what is their function?

Barry Bowman is Emeritus Professor of Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology at UCSC. He has taught biochemistry at UCSC for more than 30 years.

This course would address questions such as
- How do we convert food to energy?
- What are the basic chemicals in our food?
- What are vitamins and what is their function?
- Why do we need omega3 fatty acids?

1717 -- Graduate Course -- Advanced 3Rs of Retirement
March 3, 10 and 17 11:30 am to 1:00 pm

Location: 320 Keystone Ave., Santa Cruz, Ca.
Instructor: Jill Steinberg

This is The Graduate Retirement Class for students who have already taken the introduction course and want to reconnect, share their experiences and further their exploration and learning in this advanced course on successful retirement.

We will:
1. identify what each of us has learned, issues that have emerged, and what we've wondered about since our last class.
2. explore in depth a more longitudinal and resource perspective on retirement -- so that we each can best prepare and deal with major changes that come during this developmental stage - e.g., social connections, going solo, health, finding and re-finding purpose.

The course will involve readings and other resources to prepare us for a thoughtful discussion so that we can continue to learn from each other -- we can mentor each other so that we can have the best retirement possible.

Jill Steinberg is an OLLI member, Emeritus Professor, SJSU, Clinical Psychologist, Author and Founder of You can contact Jill through her website or at:
You cannot register online. You must register with Jill Steinberg and send in a registration form with payment which you can download as shown above or get the form from Jill when you attend the first class.

Enrollment is limited to 12 people.

1718 -- Spotlight - Theater and its Elements!
March 15, 22, 29. April 5, 12, and 19 10:00 am to 12:00 pm

Location: Lounge at the Peace United Church, 900 High Street, Santa Cruz
Instructor: Margot Hoffman

Exposes students to dynamic discussions and engaging activities to learn about all elements of theater! In a student-driven learning environment students will explore the vocabulary, major players, history and fundamentals of theater and performance that spark their own interests. Through scene study, fun improvisation, and skill-based games, students will reconnect with their creative impulses and improve self-confidence. With specific emphasis on imagination and collaboration students will learn skills transferable to their everyday lives. No memorization required. Come and play an active role in the creative process and learn about what interests you in theater!

*Additionally this year, we will be including a small ‘performance presentation’ at the end of the course. You do not have to participate in the presentation to take this course and as a reminder there are other ways to take part in performance that is not acting. Again, no memorization is required.

Margot Hoffman, theater enthusiast and rogue explorer, has been an arts educator in Santa Cruz County for 4 years. She is involved with a variety of theater professionals and arts endeavors around Santa Cruz. She is an International Thespian of the CA Thespian Society and received the Presidential Scholarship of the Arts at George Washington University. She has performed at the Broadway Playhouse, on Cabrillo Stage, with the Shakespeare Theatre Company of DC, and in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland. She is currently an associate teaching artist at West Performing Arts, which puts on more than 80 children’s shows a year.

1719 Spring Birds Around Monterey Bay
April 3, 10, 17, 24 8:00 am

Location: To be determined, the first class will meet in the front parking lot of the UCSC Arboretum
Instructor: Prof. Todd Newberry

Professor Todd Newberry, a UCSC professor emeritus, lifelong birdwatcher, and author of “The Ardent Birder,” has again agreed to teach his very popular lifelong birdwatching course, Spring Birds around Monterey Bay.
Todd emphasizes how to look for and listen to birds, and you will finish the course with a new awareness of the natural world. It will involve easy walking, but a considerable amount of standing absolutely still. If this is a problem, bring a small folding chair. Also, remember to bring binoculars.This class will meet on four Monday mornings promptly at 8:00 a.m.Please enroll in this course only if you will be able to attend all four classes. The first class will meet in the front parking lot of the UCSC Arboretum, and Todd will arrange meeting places for subsequent classes.
This course is limited to 12 students. In order to be fair, the only way to enroll in this class is to send an e-mail to Lois Widom, ( ). If you are among the first 12, she will send you a registration form. She will also create a waiting list.
You cannot register online. You must register with Lois Widom and send in a registration form with payment which you can download as shown above or get the form from Lois.**

Courses given, academic year 2016 - 2017

Courses given, academic year 2015 – 2016

Courses given, academic year 2014 – 2015

Courses given. academic year 2013 – 2014

Courses given, previous academic years