All courses will meet at the Waters-Moss Memorial Wildlife Preservation Area, primarily in the Moss Building and occasionally in the Hillcrest Community Center unless otherwise indicated.

Contact Osher@Mizzou

Email or call 573-882-8189.

To register for classes, call 573-882-8189.

Tuesday courses

Spring 2018 Semester

Contemporary Culture and Indigenous Spirituality [8 SESSIONS]

9:00–11:00 a.m., Moss A
Tuesdays: March 13, 20; April 3, 10, 17, 24; May 1, 8

Given the current interest in primal cultural (earthcentered) practices, this course will consider indigenous spirituality through the examination of two case studies: Celtic Christian Spirituality (Irish) and Native American Spirituality (Lakota) in their historic Human Geography contexts.

Instructor: Larry Brown is a retired MU assistant professor of human geography with a doctorate in policy studies, master’s degrees in geography and in divinity and a bachelor’s degree in sociology. He is also a professional storyteller, past president of Missouri Storytelling and earned a certificate in Biblical Storytelling from the Academy for Biblical Storytelling. He is an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and a frequent presenter on topics of cultural and political geography, Missouri history and religious studies.

Helping Medicare Beneficiaries: Understanding Benefits and Upcoming Changes [8 SESSIONS]

9:00–10:30 a.m., Moss B
Tuesdays: March 13, 20; April 3, 10, 17, 24; May 1, 8

The goal of this course is to educate anyone involved in the care or planning related to a Medicare beneficiary in regards to the benefits avaiable to Medicare customers and, more importantly, how to utilize these benefits. By attending these sessions, you will gain a new insight into Medicare, Medicare-related programs and upcoming changes in 2018 and 2020 that will impact all Medicare beneficiaries. You will walk away with new methods and techniques to help Medicare beneficiaries fully utilize the benefits available to them.

Instructor: Dan Mangus has been involved with helping Medicare beneficiaries since 1982. He has trained thousands of agents to help them better assist their senior-aged and Medicare clients. Dan has real-world experience in helping clients explore healthcare options and providing them with tools and benefits to protect their health and finances. Most recently, he is the lead trainer on Medicare and health-related insurance products and vice president of sales for SMS - Senior Marketing Specialists in Columbia.

Before and After “How a Bill Becomes a Law:” The “How, What, Why and Why Not?” for Regular People [8 SESSIONS]

9:30–11:00 a.m., Hillcrest C
Tuesdays: March 13, 20; April 3, 10, 17, 24; May 1, 8

Active citizens seeking to be most effective in pursuing public policies to meet current and future challenges already know “how a bill becomes a law.” But, to be their most effective, have they given enough attention and effort to the “how, what, why and why not?” BEFORE and AFTER that bill becomes a law? Most of what affects policy happens in the stages of (1) defining what problems are and whether they merit public effort, (2) marshaling resources, understandings and energies necessary to implement successful bills as intended, (3) evaluating whether later results achieved those intentions and, if not, why not?, and (4) generating necessary feedback to maintain and extend the bill’s effectiveness in changing environments. While these stages receive extensive study from specialists, active citizens without advanced degrees in those fields, aka “regular people,” may desire more information about how to address those stages in their own planning, activity and understanding toward policy efforts. The sessions will offer some ideas to help those regular people and emphasize participant discussions to apply the information and ideas to topics of participant concerns.

Instructor: Michael Connelly, has served as associate professor at Southwestern Oklahoma State University; analysis director and executive director for state sentencing commissions in Oklahoma, Maryland and Wisconsin; provider of technical assistance on program evaluation for the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics; and board member for the Weatherford (Okla.) school board, the Okla. Community Theatre Association and the National Association of Sentencing Commissions. Michael is the author of two policy-related books and has a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Missouri.

From Birds to Birds of Prey to Falconry: A Study in Form and Function [8 SESSIONS]

11:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m., Moss B
Tuesdays: March 13, 20; April 3, 10, 17, 24; May 1, 8

Steve Heying engages participants in an open discussion of what he finds so fascinating about birds, especially birds of prey, which has led him to a lifetime of participating in the art of falconry. You might even get to meet a bird or two, in class!

Steve will discuss the following:

  • Birds — how attributes define the bird and its place in nature;
  • Birds of prey — divisions by type and flight style;
  • Buteos and one parabuteo;
  • Accipiters;
  • Falcons;
  • Falconry through time and the world;
  • Early experiences in falconry;
  • Current practice in the art of falconry.

A note from Steve: “This will not be a repeat of the Spring 2017 course, as I have so much ‘stuff’ to draw from to make the course significantly new, different and exciting!”

Instructor: Steve Heying started the practice of falconry in 1964 and has not been without a bird a day in his life since before the fall of 1968. In 52 years of practice of this sport, every day has been a new day.

French Conversation [8 SESSIONS]

11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m., Hillcrest C
Tuesdays: March 13, 20; April 3, 10, 17, 24; May 1, 8

Are you able to speak French well enough to be chatty, at a level somewhere between intermediate and fluent? Are there two or three years of French study or its equivalent somewhere in your high school and/or college history? Reinvigorate and polish your French skills, play along with enthusiasts, strut vocabulary and gesture and communicate with each other in a friendly, accepting setting. Speaking only French, you will read, act out and discuss passages from French literature, examine themes, imagine new endings and generally immerse yourself in the French language. There will be a choice of oral presentations and communicative activities relating to our reading and on various other topics of interest; some purely fun, but all encouraging serious communication. We end with a French film and a French déjeuner to which we all contribute.

Instructor: Aline Kultgen is a native French speaker who taught French in Ontario, Canada, and for the Columbia Public Schools for a total of 25 years. She has been teaching French at Osher since 2006.

The Life and Times of John Keats: Renewal or Revolt? [8 SESSIONS]

1:30–3:00 p.m., Moss B
Tuesdays: March 13, 20; April 3, 10, 17, 24; May 1, 8

The brief life span of poet John Keats (1795-1821) coincided with a period of history both significant and fascinating. The England he knew was a time of repressive conservatism and demands for reform, hardships of war and threats of revolution, victories at Trafalgar and Waterloo and defeats at Baltimore and New Orleans, the madness of an old king and the craftiness of his son, the enclosure of common farmland and industrialization in the cities. Across the English Channel, Britons witnessed the heroic promise of Napoleon and his subsequent tyranny and defeat. British literature saw numerous exemplars of change and challenge: Jane Austen, Walter Scott, Mary Shelley, and the “romantic” poets Wordsworth, Coleridge, Blake, Byron, Shelley and, of course, Keats. This course will focus on Keats’ biography, the historic background and the crafting of his now “classic” poems (with a few by his contemporaries). The eight sessions will be devoted to the decade of Keats’ childhood, his education and apprenticeship, his early poetry and critical reception, the “living year” (1819) emphasizing his major works (four sessions) and his death and eventual recognition in England and the U.S.

Recommended text: The Modern Library paperback of Keats’ works, introduced by Edward Hirsch.

Instructor: A retired English teacher, Ben Nelms has taught 8th graders, high school students and undergraduates, as well as master and doctoral students, in Tennessee, Texas, Iowa, Missouri and Florida. As professor emeritus of the University of Missouri and the University of Florida, he has served as a department chair and dean of the UF College of Education. Nelms has been studying and teaching poetry for 55 years.


2:30–4:00 p.m., Moss A
Tuesdays: March 13, 20; April 3, 10, 17, 24; May 1, 8

You might be familiar with TEDtalks. (Technology, Education and Design*) features short web-based videos on compelling topics presented by some of the best minds in the world. For each session, the group will watch the video together and then join in a discussion and dialogue led by an experienced facilitator. Come. Watch. Learn. Discuss!

March 13: We’re Building a Dystopia Just to Make People Click on Ads (Zeynep Tufekci)

We’re building an artificial intelligence-powered dystopia, one click at a time, says techno-sociologist Zeynep Tufekci. In an eye-opening talk, she details how the same algorithms companies like Facebook, Google and Amazon use to get you to click on ads are also used to organize your access to political and social information. And the machines aren’t even the real threat. What we need to understand is how the powerful might use AI to control us – and what we can do in response.

March 20: We Should All Become Feminists (Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie)

We teach girls that they can have ambition, but not too much… to be successful, but not too successful, or they’ll threaten men, says author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. In this classic talk that started a worldwide conversation about feminism, Adichie asks that we begin to dream about and plan for a different, fairer world – of happier men and women who are truer to themselves.

April 3: What We Don’t Know About Europe’s Muslim Kids (Deeyah Khan)

As the child of an Afghan mother and Pakistani father raised in Norway, Deeyah Khan knows what it’s like to be a young person stuck between your community and your country. In this powerful, emotional talk, the filmmaker unearths the rejection and isolation felt by many Muslim kids growing up in the West – and the deadly consequences of not embracing our youth before extremist groups do.

April 10: Can a Divided America Heal Itself? (Jonathan Haidt)

How can the U.S. recover after the negative, partisan presidential election of 2016? Social psychologist Jonathan Haidt studies the morals that form the basis of our political choices. In conversation with TED Curator Chris Anderson, he describes the patterns of thinking and historical causes that have led to such sharp divisions in America – and provides a vision for how the country might move forward.

April 17: Doesn’t Everyone Deserve a Chance at a Good Life? (Jim Yong Kim)

Aspirations are rising as never before across the world, thanks in large part to smartphones and the internet – will they be met with opportunity or frustration? As President of the World Bank Group, Jim Yong Kim wants to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. He shares how the institution is working to improve the health and financial futures of people in the poorest countries by boosting investment and de-risking development.

April 24: The New Generation of Computers is Programming Itself (Sebastian Thrun)

Educator and entrepreneur Sebastian Thrun wants us to use AI to free humanity of repetitive work and unleash our creativity. In an inspiring, informative conversation with TED Curator Chris Anderson, Thrun discusses the progress of deep learning, why we shouldn’t fear runaway AI and how society will be better off if dull, tedious work is done with the help of machines. “Only one percent of interesting things have been invented yet,” Thrun says. “I believe all of us are insanely creative… [AI] will empower us to turn creativity into action.”

May 1: My Wish: Use Art to Turn the World Inside Out (JR)

French street artist JR uses his camera to show the world its true face, by pasting photos of the human face across massive canvases. At TED2011, he makes his audacious TED Prize wish: to use art to turn the world inside out.

May 8: The Risky Politics of Progress (Jonathan Tepperman)

Global problems such as terrorism, inequality and political dysfunction aren’t easy to solve, but that doesn’t mean we should stop trying. In fact, suggests journalist Jonathan Tepperman, we might even want to think riskier. He traveled the world to ask global leaders how they’re tackling hard problems – and unearthed surprisingly hopeful stories that he’s distilled into three tools for problemsolving.

Facilitator: Jeanne Dzurick moved to Columbia several years ago and has been an insurance executive and financial adviser. She is co-founder of Divorce Consultants and works with attorneys and their clients to facilitate a fair and mutual agreement on asset division and support. After learning about TEDtalks, she felt a strong desire to share and discuss with other lifelong learners these presentations from some of the world’s greatest innovators and speakers.