The Lifelong Learning Institute returns this fall! While the Spring 2020 LLI term had to be cancelled due to the coronavirus, the online Fall 2020 term begins on September 28.

Courses are taught by volunteers, including professors, practitioners and others in a non-competitive environment, with each class meeting for approximately two hours. Online registration begins on August 17. Join us for the second term of this exciting new program for the community of lifelong learners 55 and older.

My Favorite Lecture

Ohio Wesleyan professors share their expertise on a number of topics.
Monday Sept. 28 and Tuesdays, Oct. 6, 13, 20, all from 10:00 am – Noon

September 28: “A Survey of Public Opinion Survey Methods”
Scott Linder, Professor of Computer Science and Mathematics
(note this session is offered on Monday, while remaining courses are offered on Tuesdays)

  • As Summer 2020 approaches its merciful end, we find ourselves increasingly deluged with media reports on an impending election, and with this we are presented with a parade of public opinion survey results sometimes referred to as the horse race. Election cycles bring polls into the public spotlight, but in fact random sample surveys form the backbone of social science research (marketing, comparative sociology, psychology, etc.), and they play a crucial role in the medical and biological sciences. But, how are these surveys conducted? Are they trustworthy? How can we discern high quality polls from low quality polls? And, how do opinion polls sometimes miss the mark so badly? In this discussion, we'll describe how better quality national survey polls are conducted. We'll learn precisely why a random sample of just (say) 1,200 people selected from our entire country is able to provide a very precise estimate, but also how and why such surveys sometimes miss so badly. We'll discuss the distinction between random error and systematic error, and why the latter is always the larger concern and describe clever methods pollsters use to get around difficult survey challenges. Time allowing, we'll talk about Congress' historical refusal to allow random sampling methods to impact official decennial Census results, and what this means for you and your community. And, we'll hold some surveys of our own along the way.

October 6: “Life as a Mystery Writer”
Lynette Carpenter, Professor Emerita of English

  • What it is like to spend your days thinking about creative ways to kill people, and then writing about it? An overview of what’s involved—research (all theoretical), plotting, composition, editing, publishing, and promotion—by a 25-year veteran who has transitioned from traditional to independent publishing is in store in this session.

October 13: “Drinking from a Fire Hose”
Jo Ingles, Instructor, Journalism Department and Media Adviser

  • “Drinking from a fire hose” is the analogy public radio reporter/producer Jo Ingles gives for doing her job this year. Listen to her talk about reporting amidst an international pandemic, racial protests, a shakeup in state government, and a hotly contested November election. Ingles will talk about what it's like behind the microphone these days.

October 20: “Four Dead in Ohio: Kent State and the Antiwar Movement Fifty Years Later”
Michael Flamm, Professor of History

  • Fifty years after the bloody tragedy at Kent State in May 1970, it remains a vivid symbol of the deep divide generated by the Vietnam War. Explore the emergence and impact of the antiwar movement, the events and legacies of a fateful day.

October 27: “Rockin' the Free World! How the Rock and Roll Revolution Changed America and the World”
Sean Kay, Professor of Politics and Government, Director of International Studies Program

  • In this discussion, Professor Kay will discuss his recent book, built on interviews with major rock and roll artists and industry leaders, that surveys the impact of rock and roll historically and today advancing liberty and democracy, human rights, equality and justice, and peace - while enhancing education and the role of non-profit activism.  Kay will also discuss major changes in the music industry that now undermine this inherent power to advance progress and opportunities for the future of one of America's strongest "soft power" assets advancing change at home and its image abroad. 

LLI Evening

A potpourri of subjects is offered in single evening sessions.
Tuesdays, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

September 29: “Hitler’s American Models: What the United States taught the Nazis”
Pete Kakel, Ph.D., research historian and lecturer, Johns Hopkins University

  • As historians are beginning to show, Hitler and other Nazis often drew on American precedents for inspiration and ideas to guide their thinking and policy decisions. This talk will focus on recent research that addresses a number of disturbing questions: (1) How did the precedent of American race laws and practices influence Nazi racial laws? (2) How did the American eugenics movement shape Nazi programs of sterilization, euthanasia, and genocide? (3) How did American westward expansion and its brutal treatment of American Indians guide Nazi empire-building? (4) What does seeing America through Nazi eyes tell us about our own history?

October 6: “Saving Wildlife Around the World: A Message of Hope”
Michael Kreger, Ph.D., Vice President of Conservation, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

  • Threats to life on Earth are seemingly insurmountable and accelerating – climate change, poaching, habitat loss – just to name a few. We often discuss the “Sixth Mass Extinction.” While these problems are very real, there is still reason for hope. The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium lead or support over 110 projects around the world to save species and habitats. From recovering hellbenders and fresh water mussels in Ohio to corals in the Florida Keys to Asian elephants in Sumatra, polar bears in the Arctic, and Tasmanian devils, the Zoo invests over six percent of its budget (all privately raised funds) in conservation. For 30 years, the Zoo has worked with local people in Rwanda to help them improve their lives while protecting the mountain gorillas they share the land with. As a result, the mountain gorilla population is on the rebound. Come hear a story about how we are helping move people from conflict with wildlife to coexistence.

October 13: “The Church and the Israeli – Palestinian Conflict: Working for Peace in the Holy Land”
Skip Cornett, Lutheran Clergy, Ohio Coordinator of Churches for Middle East Peace

  • Explore the beginnings of Zionism as a political movement, Palestinian immigration, and the war between the Arabs and the Jews in the 1940s, all marking the post-Holocaust era and an evolving relationship between Christians and Jews. Today’s controversies with Israeli settlements, the Oslo Peace Accords, the Two State Solution between Israel and the Palestinians, and the role churches have played in working for peace will also be examined.

October 20: “A Nickel Tour of the Universe”
Tom Burns, Professor of English, Ohio Wesleyan University and Retired Director of Perkins Observatory

  • We'll start from planet Earth and work our way upward and outward to the edge of everything that is, a place we call our Universe. We'll have only two hours to do it, so you'd better fasten your safety belts!

October 27: “Scientific Evidence of Life After Death”
Barry Bates, M.D., psychotherapist, author, free-lance photographer

  • Religions offer beliefs in an afterlife. Based on his personal experience, this retired physician and previously practicing psychotherapist will discuss his investigation of scientific studies that show support for consciousness survival after physical death.

Science in Action

Presentations by Ohio Wesleyan faculty are designed for all, regardless of background in science.
Wednesdays, 10:00 am – Noon

September 30: “Neuroplasticity: How Experience Changes your Brain for Better or Worse”
Kira Bailey, Assistant Professor of Psychology

  • The human brain has the amazing ability to change its structure and function based on our experiences. Professional athletes and world-class musicians, as well as students of all ages, depend on neuroplasticity to perfect their behavior. Neuroplasticity helps us adapt to changing environments, learn new skills, and recover from injury or disease, but it can also lead us to become stuck in maladaptive habits. This lecture will explore the effect that different experiences have on the brain.

October 7: “What’s All the Fuss about Climate Change?”
Nathan Rowley, Assistant Professor of Geology and Geography

  • Humans have been determined to unequivocally affect changes in the global climate system, and have named this period: The Anthropocene. To better understand human's impacts at the global scale, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a group of 2500+ of the world's leading scientists, collects scientific information and shares this with the global community. Results from the IPCC will be explored including: what we know (scientific observations), what we expect (future climate model scenarios), and how this may impact the anticipated 8,000,000,000+ people living on our planet by mid-century. It's not all doom-and-gloom, but action must be taken to prevent the worst-case scenarios.

October 21: “It’s About Time”
Barbara Andereck, Professor of Physics and Astronomy

  • What is time? We talk about time all the time, with ‘time’ being the most commonly used noun in the English language. But do we really know what it is?

Tuesday, 10:00 am – Noon

November 3: “How to Make a Dog and Other Pets through Accidental Evolution”
Shala Hankison, Associate Professor of Zoology

  • Our pets often become our friends and family and meaningfully impact us in measurable ways, both physically and emotionally. New understanding of genetics and developmental biology have provided insights the history of our oldest domesticated animal, dogs, and led to insights on our other furry friends. This lecture will demonstrate what we know about dog evolution and how we know it, and also highlight a few other recent findings as well.

Healthy U

Learn proven strategies to manage chronic health conditions.
Thursdays, 9:30 am – Noon; Oct. 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 and Nov. 5
Laura Smith, Assistant Administrator, SourcePoint Enrichment Center
Kristen Kennedy, SourcePoint Volunteer

  • The Healthy U Chronic Disease Self-Management program helps participants learn proven strategies to manage chronic health conditions and feel better every day! Participants will improve their abilities to manage symptoms, communicate better, and achieve personal goals in order to take back control of their health.

Note: Enrollment is limited to 15 participants for this 2.5 hour course.

Book Discussion: “How to Be an Antiracist” by Ibram X. Kendi

This book invites a new way of thinking about racism and inspires action toward creating an antiracist society.
Fridays, 9:30 am - 11:30 am; Oct. 2, 9, 16, 23, 30.
Lisa Ho, Assistant Director, OWU Office of International and Off-Campus Programs
Jim Mendenhall, OWU ‘73, Retired Development Officer

  • Recent events spotlight the legacy of racism in our society and challenge us to consider solutions to combat it. "How to Be an Antiracist," being read and explored in communities around the country, invites a new way of thinking about racism and inspires action toward creating an anti-racist society. Each week will consist of a general overview of assigned chapters led by moderators followed by small group breakout discussions of questions provided in advance. The final class will explore options for addressing racism with community representatives.

Note: Registrants will need to acquire a copy of the book either through the Delaware County District Library or a bookstore for the discussion.

Lifelong Learning Institute Contact Information


Ohio Wesleyan University
61 S. Sandusky St.
Delaware, OH 43015


Email or call Debbie Lewis at 740-368-3078.