Out of an abundance of caution related to COVID-19 (coronavirus) and following the recommendations of Governor DeWine, we have made the difficult decision to cancel in-person classes for the Spring term of the Lifelong Learning Institute (LLI) of Ohio Wesleyan University.  We look forward to offering additional LLI courses in the future.

Taught by volunteers, including professors, practitioners and others in a non-competitive environment, courses run from March 16-April 25, 2020 (unless otherwise noted) with each class meeting weekly for approximately two hours over the six-week period. New for the Spring term are the additions of Tuesday evening and Saturday morning classes. Courses will be held on the Ohio Wesleyan campus and other community locations as indicated. Online, telephone and mail registration begin on January 15th. Join the community of lifelong learners!

Women of Hitchcock

Mondays, 9:00 am - Noon

Tracey Peyton, Managing Director of the Strand Theatre

Peyton Ennis, Strand Theatre Projectionist, OSU Film Studies Major

The Women of Hitchcock will explore six films made by the Master of Suspense, and the talented actresses who starred in them. Hitchcock’s style and filmmaking techniques as well as the talent these actresses brought to the screen will be examined.  Come see the iconic films in Delaware’s historic theatre.

NOTE: This course will be held at the Strand Theatre with each session lasting 2.5 to 3 hours, based on the run time of the films. 

A Deep Dive into DNA Tools

Mondays, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Kelli Bergheimer, nationally recognized DNA testing/genealogy expert

If you have a DNA test, worked on your matches, and are wondering what other tools you can use to analyze your results, this class might be for you! This laptop workshop will cover Ancestry Thrulines, GEDmatch, DNA Painter, Genetic Clustering, and chromosome browsers. (This class is not for y-DNA or mt-DNA tests, just autosomal DNA.)  Required for class: laptop during class (not tablet); autosomal DNA test (Family Tree DNA, Ancestry, MyHeritage, 23andMe)--results loaded; and GEDmatch Tier One $10 membership for one month.

Note: Enrollment is limited to 20 participants.

The Long Road to Health Care Reform

Mondays, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Becky Cornett, Ph.D., community volunteer leader and former health care administrator, The Ohio State University

This 4-part course will be a consumer-oriented introduction and overview of health care reform. The need for health care reform is described well by the National Institute of Health Policy: "Healthcare reform refers to a process of changing the system and how it works to make it better for all Americans. Healthcare reform is not something that can happen overnight or that will be easy."  Quality, cost, accessibility, and waste are pressing issues that are important for all of us to understandSession topics are: Why We Need Health Care Reform:  An Overview; What is Value in Health Care?; Patient-Centered Care:  The Consumer Movement; and Trends and Issues:  Health and Health Care in 2030 and Beyond. 

Note: This is a four week course.

My Favorite Lecture

Tuesdays, 10:00 – Noon

Explore an array of topics with distinguished Ohio Wesleyan University faculty members.

March 17: “Love, the Devil, and Schubert: listening to Gretchen am Spinnrade”  

Tim Roden, Professor of Music

At the ripe age of 17, Franz Schubert crafted one of the most significant songs of the nineteenth century.  Based on a poem in Goethe's Faust, it explores love and passion in a dramatic setting of temptation and redemption.  Exploring the song's biographical and dramatic context as well as engaging in musical analysis opens up a deeper appreciation of this masterpiece in miniature. 

March 24: “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.

March 31: "East Asia's Past and Today's Problems"

Jim Peoples, Professor Emeritus of Sociology-Anthropology

We begin with a broad geographical and historical overview of East Asia, which includes the modern Peoples' Republic of China (PRC), South and North Korea, and Japan.   Events and social patterns in East Asia's past will help Americans understand many current issues and problems. We discuss why the PRC tends to "repress" its Muslim Uyghurs of the northwest, why relationships between Japan and South Korea are so often tense, and recent problems between the PRC and the former British colony of Hong Kong.  

April 7: “Think Before You Shoot!”

Justin Kronewetter, Professor Emeritus of Fine Arts, Director Emeritus of the Richard M. Ross Art Museum   

What is the simple thought process one should engage in prior to making a photograph?   Any photograph!   Learn about the basic principles a person should apply prior to tripping the shutter on his/her camera.  Participants in this session will view photographs that illustrate how both professional and amateur photographers applied the basic principles to create images which helped establish the standards by which all subsequent photographs are judged. Those who participate will end the session knowing there is a significant difference between being known as a photographer or being thought of as a mere camera carrier.  

April 14: "Failure is impossible?" - The 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendmen

Joan McLean, Professor Emerita of Politics and Government 

Buoyed by Susan B. Anthony’s charge that “...wherever women gather together, failure is impossible...” the women’s suffrage movement secured its goal. After decades of political activism, the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was officially adopted on August 26, 1920. Approaching the 100th Anniversary of women having the right to vote, we’ll gather together to discuss the impact of their vote on elections and public policy agendas.

Note: My Favorite Lecture is a 5 week course.            

Strangers in a Strange Land: Immigrants and Refugees 

Tuesdays, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Van Young, historian, President of Griswold History Study Group, Worthington 

Bob Gitter, Professor of Economics, Ohio Wesleyan University

Richelle Schrock, Associate Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies, Ohio Wesleyan University

With the topic of immigration frequently in the news, this course will address many related aspects including an historical overview; U.S. government statutes and practices such as quotas, naturalization, and green cards; and research on immigration patterns on the local and regional level as well as offer observations and experiences of recent immigrants in central Ohio.

LLI Evening

Tuesdays, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

The potpourri of subjects is offered in single evening sessions.

March 17: “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!

March 24: “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.

March 31: “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.

April 7: “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?                                            

April 14: “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

Wednesdays, 10:00 am - Noon 

Explore topics in science impacting our lives and our communities. Led by Ohio Wesleyan faculty from a variety of disciplines, the presentations are designed for all regardless of background in science.   

March 18: “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.

March 25: “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.

April 1: “What is (and isn't) Artificial Intelligence”

Sean McCulloch, Professor of Math and Computer Science

We have all heard the phrases "Artificial Intelligence" and "Machine Learning".  What do they mean?  What does it mean for a computer to be "intelligent" and how close are we really to having that happen?  In this presentation, we'll investigate some technologies that are sometimes described using these terms and discuss how they work, and what their prospects are for the future.

April 8: “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?

April 15: “Meet the Neighbors: Lives in a Springtime Woodland Pool"

Wendell Patton, Professor Emeritus of Zoology

Small vernal pools appear in some of our woods in December and dry up in June.  A surprising number of species, many of which only occur in this difficult habitat, live in the vernal pool at The Stratford Ecological Center on London Road.  The structure, food habits, and life cycles of common inhabitants are discussed, along with their interactions with fellow-pool dwellers and adaptations to their ever-changing pool environment.

April 22: “Earth Challenge 2020: A Citizen Science Initiative”

Citizen Scientists

April 22, 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. In recognition of this milestone, Earth Day Network, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and the U.S. Department of State’s Eco-Capitals Forum have launched Earth Challenge 2020 as the world’s largest coordinated citizen science campaign. Stay tuned for local event details. 

Phishing, Bots, and Bits: Technology Skills for 2020

Wednesdays, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Brian Rellinger, Associate Provost for Academic Support and Chief Information Officer

Ohio Wesleyan University

This seminar will cover the basics of using the internet safely, how to detect scams, the cloud, the use of smartphones, and general computer proficiency. We will explore cutting edge technologies, such as augmented reality, chat bots, 3D printing, and voice-assisted devices such as Amazon Alexa. Additionally, you'll get to meet some of the Information Systems staff and students, and tour the datacenter. No prior technical experience is necessary for this class.

Healthy U

Thursdays, 9:30 am - Noon

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.

CHESS: The Game, The History, The Culture

Thursdays, 10:00 am - Noon

Richard Vail, Central Ohio club level chess tournament director

This course is intended to stimulate interest in all aspects of the great game of chess.  Absolute beginners will learn how the pieces move and will be able to play chess from day one of the class.  The many benefits of chess as part of the lifelong learning process will be stressed.  Opportunities to participate in local chess activities will be presented with the possible formation of a Senior Level Chess Activities group as a result of the class.

Note: This course will be held at the Willow Brook Christian Village.

It’s a Small World After All

Thursdays, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Lisa Ho, Assistant Director, International and Off Campus Programs, Ohio Wesleyan University

Deanna Shine, Associate Director, International and Off Campus Programs, Ohio Wesleyan University

Ohio Wesleyan University students 

Many of you have traveled well beyond Delaware, Ohio to try different cuisines, lifestyles, shopping experiences, and yes, different languages, too.   And in those travels, you probably realized that more than the differences between us, the similarities we share as people create that small world feeling!   Did you know that Ohio Wesleyan is home to students from 41 states & territories and 31 different countries?   Did you also know that in the past year our students traveled to a total of 29 countries on 6 continents to study abroad, volunteer, intern, or conduct research?  Join some of these students, both international and those who have traveled internationally, as they present on their experiences abroad and share their insights into our world as they see it. They will also reflect on what it is like to live and go to school in a small town in the middle of Ohio.  The OWU Connection helps all students who want to experience a different culture and explore opportunities for experiential learning, creative projects, research, and internships - making our world smaller....after all."                               

Understanding the United States Constitution

Fridays, 9:30 am - 11:30 am

Scott Wolf, Partner, Firestone, Brehm, Wolf, Whitney & Young LLP

Trace the history of the U.S. Constitution through the challenges facing it today.  The course will move from the Articles of Confederation, the first written constitution of the United States, to the Bill of Rights and the subsequent 27 ratified amendments. How much do you know about this vital document?  

Note: This course will be held at the Willow Brook Christian Village.

LLI Saturday

“How Does Your Garden Grow?”

Saturdays, 10 am – 12noon

Delaware County Master Gardeners 

Looking for ideas, information and inspiration for spring gardening?  Delaware County Master Gardeners will offer a series of gardening topics to include intergenerational projects, native plants, bees and other pollinators, weed ID, herbs, and container gardens with a different topic presented each week. The sessions are designed for ‘green thumb’ beginners to seasoned gardeners.

march 14: “native plants”

Terri Litchfield, Delaware County Master Gardener

march 21: “weeds”

Nancy Reynolds, Delaware County Master Gardener

march 28: “All About herbs”

Susan Liechty, Delaware County Master Gardener

april 4: “gardening in containers”

Connie Emerson, Delaware County Master Gardener

april 11: “intergenerational garden projects”

Gayle O'Sullivan, Delaware County Master Gardener

april 18: “bees and other pollinators”

Randy Litchfield, Delaware County Master Gardener

Lifelong Learning Institute Contact Information


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


Email LLI@owu.edu or call Debbie Lewis at 740-368-3078.