Academic Year 2017 – 2018 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 2017–2018 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.

Courses Table of Contents

Click on links, below, for details:

1801 World Affairs: Fall 2017 Old Problems, New Developments
1802 Adventures in Local Government
1803 - Espressivo Fall 2017
1804 - The 3Rs of Retirement: Read, Reflect and Re-Invent
1805 -The Beauty of Mathematics: Numbers, Sets of Numbers, Infinities
1806 - Early Chinese Fiction
1807 - Creative Aging
1808 - Modern Molecular Biology – Year 8

1801 - World Affairs: Fall 2017. Old Problems, New Developments
September 12, October 17, November 14: 10 am-12 pm

Location: Fellowship Hall, Peace United Church, 900 High St.
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.
Please car pool if possible. The great crowd makes parking difficult.

1802 - Adventures in Local Government
September 14, 21, 28, October 5: 2-4 p.m.

Location: Museum of Art and History, 705 Front St. downtown Santa Cruz
Instructor: Mark Linder

Are you curious about how local government works and delivers vital services such as public safety, street repair, land use decisions? This four session seminar and discussion will consider issues facing local governments, how the work actually gets done, how your tax dollars are used, and the joys of public service. We will also discuss lessons learned and how you can get involved and influence the decisions local governments make that affect you. Bring your questions and share your experiences.
Course leader, Mark Linder recently retired after 30 years at an executive level in local government. He worked for Santa Cruz Metro Transit, Town of Los Gatos, City of San Jose, City of Cupertino, and City of Campbell. Mark also taught for 11 years as an adjunct professor for the San Jose State Masters in Public Administration program. Mark has his BA from Macaleser College and his MPA from San Jose State.

1803 - Espressivo Fall 2017
October 5, 12: 10 am-12 pm

Location: Music Room, Peace United Church, 900 High St.
Instructor: Michel Singher

"Michel Singher, Conductor of Espressivo, will explicate its upcoming program. Two of the works,
Edward Elgar's Introduction and Allegro and Bela Bartók's Divertimento, echo formally the third work Bach's Brandenburg Concerto Nr. 5, in that a smaller complement of players periodically emerges out of the ensemble to claim its own spotlight."

OLLI’s special relationship with Maestro Michel Singher and his ensemble — Espressivo — A Small Intense Orchestra — will continue this Fall. Our members have been thrilled with the three Espressivo concerts and with the three courses Maestro Singher has offered to OLLI members.

1804 - The 3Rs of Retirement: Read, Reflect and Re-Invent
Jill Steinberg, Ph.D. and Wendy Harrison

October 6, 13, 20: 10:00am-11:30am.
Location: 320 Keystone Ave., Santa Cruz.

When thinking about successful retirement, most people and the research literature focus on financial planning. Although having enough financial resources is necessary, it doesn't by itself lead to a successful retirement. Instead of emphasizing financial preparedness, this course deals with the personal and interpersonal factors in creating a successful retirement. We will:

  1. Identify the key factors associated with retirement adjustment and happiness
  2. Discuss how retirement impacts men and women differently and explore issues affecting couples and individuals “going solo” as well as some ways to resolve issues
  3. Discuss how to find one's purpose.
With all that one learns and the resources earned, one can have a successful retirement, but without reflection and planning, one's retirement can be disappointing.
This course will involve some readings to prepare us for a thoughtful discussion so that we can learn from each other – whether we are enjoying our retirement or planning for one, we can mentor each other so that we each 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:
Wendy Harrison is an OLLI member and a recently retired teacher who worked in special education for the Santa Cruz COE. She is interested in exploring what makes retirement a success. You can contact Wendy at:

Enrollment is limited to 12 people. To enroll in this class, contact Jill by email, shown above, and she will send you a coupon to enroll.

1805 - The Beauty of Mathematics: Numbers, Sets of Numbers, Infinities
October 26, November 2, 16: 10 am -12:00 pm.

Location: Museum of Art and History, 705 Front St
Instructor: Peter Farkas

We will define numbers: integers, fractions, all the numbers. Of course there are infinitely many integers, fractions, numbers. Can we quantify the magnitude of these infinite sets? To answer this, we will ask: how do we define infinite? Is infinite just plain infinite, or are there infinities of different magnitudes?
In the process of examining these concepts, we will occasionally give proofs, while being careful to not bore, and not be too formal. We will take small detours to amuse the mind. We will try to glimpse the beauty of mathematics you may have always wanted to grasp, but may have not had a chance to.

The only prerequisite to this class is curiosity about these topics. Nothing beyond elementary school
mathematics will be assumed

Course Leader: I am a lapsed mathematician. I have a Master degree in mathematics from the University of Bucharest, Romania, and a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. I started a bumpy academic career as a mathematician, but swerved at some point and became a software engineer. Throughout my software engineering career, my love and awe for mathematics has never cleared from my system. Now, in retirement, I am trying to steer back to mathematics a bit, doing what is most pleasant: solving little problems, and talking about subjects in Mathematics.

1806 - Early Chinese Fiction
November 1, 8, 15, 22: 10-12 a.m.

Location: Board Room, Museum of Art and History, 705 Front St.
Instructor: Dale Johnson

Earliest tales B.C. 200, down to stories dating from 1500 A.D.
1. Earliest tales of strange events
2. Two stories about the Knight-errant tradition.
3. Political intrigue and rescue of a bride.
4. Tales of Fox Spirits
5. Famous love story of Ying-ying.
6. A 17th century detective story.

Dale Johnson was Professor of Chinese at both Oberlin College and UCSC. He has engagingly demonstrated his love for and knowledge of Chinese literature in OLLI classes for the past four years.

Please register early so we can send you the stories.

1807 – Creative Aging
Oct 24, 31, Nov 7, 16, 21, 28: 2 – 4 pm

Location: Board Room, Museum of Art and History, 705 Front St.
Instructor: Helene Moglen

In this workshop, participants will write about their experience of aging: its complexities and contradictions, its frustrations, its pleasures. Participants will share and discuss their weekly writing with the group. A few brief readings will be suggested.
Workshop will be limited to eight participants. To enroll in this class send an e-mail to Lois Widom--- and she will send you a coupon to enroll.
Helene Moglen is Professor Emerita of Literature at UCSC, where she was also Dean of Humanities and Arts and Provost of Kresge College.. She is the author of several books and many articles about literature, feminism, education, competition, literacy—and aging.

1808 - Modern Molecular Biology – Year 8
Oct 14, 21, 28, Nov 4, 11: 10 – 11:30 am

Location: UCSC Campus, Physical Science Building, Room 240
Instructor: Barry Bowman, Jeremy Sanford, Rebecca DuBois, Martha Zuniga

What are viruses and how do vaccines prevent disease? Why has RNA, the cousin of DNA, become the focus of so much biomedical research? How can we identify and isolate the many types of cells in our blood that make up our immune system? These are some of the questions that UCSC professors will discuss in this year’s molecular biology course.
These talks are intended for general audience. A scientific background or knowledge of biology is not expected. Professor Barry Bowman, the course coordinator, will begin with a basic review of genes, proteins and cells. This will be followed by talks that focus on specific topics in molecular biology, as described below.

All classes will be presented on Saturday mornings at 10:00 – 11:30 AM on the UCSC campus. Free parking is available at the Core West Parking Structure and classes will meet in the Physical Science Building, Room 240.


October 14 Barry Bowman, Genes & Proteins, A Review

October 21 Barry Bowman, New Methods for Seeing Inside a Cell

October 28 Jeremy Sanford, RNA and Biomedical Research

November 4 Rebecca DuBois, Viruses and Vaccines

November 11, Martha Zuniga, Lasers and Lymphocytes: Insights into Immune Cell Identity and Function

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