Spring Course Offerings

Welcome to the Spring session of Senior College at Belfast which begins on Thursday March 23. Classes run for six consecutive Thursdays, ending on April 27. All of our classes will be offered at the Hutchinson Center on Route 3 in Belfast. Please register early for the classes you would like to take to avoid disappointment.

Please note that you will be responsible for purchasing the text if one is required for your course.

The fee is $35 for each six week course, and $30 for each special one day class. You must be a member of a Maine Senior College to take a course. The membership year runs from Aug. 1 to July 31, so if you did not take a class this past Winterim or Fall, please make sure to pay your membership fee. Take a look at all the classes, and after you’ve decided on the ones you are interested in, fill out our quick and easy registration form. No login necessary.

Morning Classes

Creating with Collage

Instructor: Deborah Stevenson

  • Thursday Morning
  • 9:30 – 11:30 AM
  • Bring scissors and a glue stick

The art form of collage goes back one hundred years, beginning with Picasso, adopted by surrealists, employed by mid-century modernist painters, becoming a staple in popular culture across all mediums. It has grown in popularity over the decades as a truly unique form of expression. People use it for personal reflection as a sort of a visual journal; they use it to make political statements; they use it to create comical images…there is no limit to the things that people can say in collage. We’ll also talk about the incredibly robust life collage has on the internet and learn about all the different sites there are to explore and to join for sharing with others around the world.

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J.S. Mill: On Liberty, Ethics, and Knowledge

Instructor: Sara Shute

  • Thursday Morning
  • 9:30 – 11:30 AM
  • Download Course Outline *

Nineteenth century British philosopher J.S. Mill is still widely read, mostly for two brilliant essays which we will study in this class: “On Liberty,” about the limits of society over an individual’s freedom of thought, speech, and action, and “Utilitarianism,” an argument for and discussion of what is still the dominant ethical theory in western thought (viz., “Utilitarianism”). In addition, we will look at Mill’s arguments about the limits of human knowledge to see whether and to what extent his theory of knowledge fits with his ethical theory.

No prior knowledge of philosophy required and no text required.

* Click for course outline

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Intermediate/Advanced Drawing

Instructor: Sandi Cirillo

  • Thursday Morning
  • 9:30 – 11:30 AM
  • Class size limited to 14
  • Required materials fee *
  • Class full, registration closed.

In this course, our focus will be on expanding the basic skills we have learned and experimenting further with various drawing materials to find out with what we are most comfortable. Guided by one-on-one instruction, students will work independently on weekly projects to hone their skills in specific areas of interest to them. Black and white drawing will be emphasized, but exploration of color will be encouraged. Weekly critiques in class will allow students to share their thoughts about their work. Homework assignments will also be given on a weekly basis. A required $7.00 fee per student materials will be collected on the first day of class by the instructor, and will be used to purchase special art supplies needed for this class. Students should bring their own sketchbooks on the first day of class.

Required materials fee: $7.00 to be collected at the first class.

N.B. This course is designed for students who have taken a basic drawing class either at Senior College or elsewhere, or who have already developed a basic proficiency on their own. It is not an introductory drawing course for those who have never tried their hand at drawing.

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Beginning French: Starting Over

Instructor: Lila Nation

  • Thursday Morning
  • 9:30 – 11:30 AM
  • Class size limited to 15
  • Class canceled due to illness

Starting over! In the past, we have used Essential French for this course, but even though it has some interesting dialogues and good explanations of grammatical points, the instructor feels that it attempts to cover too much information too fast. This semester the course will be taught using handouts, and progress at a much more moderate pace. Essential French, however, is available for $15.00 through bookstores and Amazon should you care to purchase it as a reference. “Beginning French” will focus on basic French sentence structure and vocabulary to help you feel confident to continue in this beautiful language.

There is no prerequisite and no text is required.

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Writing Flash Fiction

Instructor: Cathy Lickteig Makofski

  • Thursday Morning
  • 9:30 – 11:30 AM
  • Text Required *

Flash fiction and nonfiction stories are complete narratives of fewer than 1500, 1000, 500, or even 300 words. The word “flash” might suggest that these stories are written in a hurry, during a burst of an idea. That’s only partly true. The idea may appear in a flash, with sound and lights, but turning this into a brief, tight, complete and memorable story doesn’t happen quickly. All writing is hard work, but when writers limit their stories to 500 or 1000 words, they must maximize every word and, at the same time, maximize everything left out of the story. This is not easy, but you might find it rewarding. During this six-week class, we will study the flash fiction/nonfiction genre, its popularity and challenges and discuss guidelines for writing flash stories. We will also read and discuss flash stories that have been published. In addition, I will ask each of you to write a few flash stories and read them to the group during the semester.

* Required text: 35 Tips for Writing a Brilliant Flash Story: a manual for writing flash fiction and flash nonfiction, by Kaye Linden. ISBN-13: 978-1519394897, $5.38

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Exploring Homer’s Odyssey

Instructor: Elizabeth Garber

  • Thursday Morning
  • 9:30 – 11:30 AM
  • Text Required *

The Odyssey means so much more to me now than it did in high school. It’s a love story about middle age, of a war-weary hero’s struggles to return home to his wife who reared their son on her own for nearly twenty years. The Epic asks vital questions that still speak to us: What is it to “journey” and lose hope of finding home? What is it to be the one left at home? What does it take for a boy to become a man without a father? I will introduce you to many facets of the Epic to increase your enjoyment and deepen your understanding of the formulaic language of Epic, key Greek concepts, ancient Greek culture and mythology.

Students are asked to read one of the following excellent verse translations: Robert Fagels, Stephen Mitchell, Robert Fitzgerald, and Richmond Lattimore. Avoid older translations which often have quaint or antiquated language or prose translations without the awareness of modern research in the oral tradition of epic poetry. Listening to the Odyssey read aloud is a great way to learn about the book as an oral text. Read aloud to each other!

Please read Books 1-4 of the Odyssey in advance of the first class.

*Required text choices: Fagels, ISBN: 0149268863; Mitchell, ISBN: 145167418X; Fitzgerald, ISBN: 0374525749; Lattimore, ISBN: 006124418. Robert Fagels’ translation is available on CD and on Audible. If you have another translation you love, bring it to class as well.

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Down East Experience from 1614 to the Present

Instructor: Barbara LeGendre

  • Thursday Morning
  • 9:30 – 11:30 AM
  • Text Required *
  • Class size limited to 20
  • Class full, registration closed.

See Maine in a new light, a mix of literature and history. Learn what it was like through letters, poetry, fiction, and journals. Re-acquaint yourself with Hawthorn, E.B. White, Laura Beam, Rachel Carson, Harriet Beecher Stowe, John Cole, Carolyn Chute, and others.

*Required text: The Maine Reader: Down East Experience; Charles & Samuella Shain, eds. ISBN: I-56792-078-o, $20.00

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Afternoon Classes

Fundamental Spanish

Instructor: Paul Garcia

  • Thursday Afternoon
  • 1:00 – 3:00 PM
  • Text Required *

Fundamental Spanish focuses on basic elements, giving emphasis to spoken language skills. One goal will be “thinking on one’s feet” –viable self-expression. Classroom practice spans the gamut from traditional through situational exercises and “total physical response” techniques.

The textbook: The story of the textbook begins when I had been teaching for years at the college level. One morning before class at Husson, I asked a nursing student what the textbook had cost her. I routinely received annotated instructors’ textbooks from publishers for free; the cost hadn’t concerned me as it was between the bookstore and student. The nursing student told me $87.00. During the following days, I reflected on students working nights and weekends to pay for their education. With my years of teaching high school and college Spanish, I could easily put together a first-year college text during the summer, and I did. That was the first edition which I’ve re-edited over and over since then. I’ve used this text with Adult Ed Spanish classes for probably 20 years now. The students, many elderly, some without much academic preparation, have told me how helpful the book has been in learning and enjoying a once formidable foreign language. I’ve followed up on their suggestions. Students’ questions, asked in the course of hundreds of classes, have been integral to the textbook’s design.

*Required text: Spanish for Today, $15.00, available from the instructor

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What’s New, Old, and Better in Photography—Refreshed!

Instructor: Paul Sheridan

  • Thursday Afternoon
  • 1:00 – 3:00 PM

Here’s a chance to catch up on the world of photography. Things keep changing; new technology is invented, photographers die or younger ones discover their life’s calling, or we discover something we never expected (sound familiar?).

Using slide shows, books, and film clips, we will look at a mixture of work by recently deceased, and newly beginning photographers as well as a few surprising revelations.

We will also study a few of the images in-depth to better understand the choices made by the photographers and learn how we can improve our own photographic eyes in terms of composition, cropping, exposure, lens choice, etc.

No previous photo classes are necessary. No camera is required, just your curiosity!

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Intermediate French: Part VII

Instructor: Lila Nation

  • Thursday Afternoon
  • 1:00 – 3:00 PM
  • Class size limited to 15
  • Class canceled due to illness

Many members of this class have been working together for the past three years, but don’t feel that you need to have participated to jump in! If you feel you have a solid foundation in basic French grammar and a strong desire to strengthen your speaking skills, you will find this course challenging, fun, and rewarding. We constantly review spoken verb tenses and grammatical concepts, common expressions and idioms, and are continuously building vocabulary.

Prerequisite: three years of high school French or equivalent

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Music and the Movies

Instructor: Neal Harkness

  • Thursday Afternoon
  • 1:00 – 3:00 PM

Even before the technology for sound films existed, movie makers understood the power of music to enhance their storytelling, manipulate their audiences; stir emotions, and add depth to the themes of their work. In this course, we will follow the history of movie soundtrack music from the days of player pianos and small town orchestras to today’s high tech accompaniments. We will learn how music is used to set mood, enhance characterization, and advance narrative, and we will get to know the great film composers. This course will not cover the genre of movie musicals or documentaries which will be covered in a future course.

No text required.

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Marilynne Robinson’s novel, Lila

Instructor: Arlin Larson

  • Thursday Afternoon
  • 1:00 – 3:00 PM
  • Text Required *

Marilynne Robinson’s novel, Lila, is the third in a trilogy that began with her Pulitzer Prize winning novel, Gilead. The three novels explore the inner lives and relationships among the families of the Rev. John Ames and Rev. Robert Boughton, the Congregational and Presbyterian ministers of Gilead. At the heart are the characters’ search for acceptance, forgiveness, and meaning in their lives.

Lila is John Ames’ enigmatic second wife who appears in Gilead seemingly out of nowhere late in his life. She has apparently led a hard life, is unlettered but eager to learn, and is simultaneously attracted to him. She overcomes his reticence simply by saying, “I think you should marry me.”

In this third novel, Lila tells us everything her husband, Ames, doesn’t know in Gilead. Lila has led a hard-scrabble and hair-raising life beginning with being kidnapped/adopted by drifters who rescue her from an abusive father. The drifters function as an informal family and undergo many of the horrors and ordeals that desperate people do. One of the women, Doll, becomes mother to Lila. A link throughout the story and clue to its nature is the razor-sharp knife Lila holds obsessively close even after settling down.

*Required text: Lila, Picador Paperback ISBN 978-1-250-07484-3

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Brief History of Canada

Instructor: Ron Jarvella

  • Thursday Afternoon
  • 1:00 – 3:00 PM
  • Text Optional *

We will look at Canada from the point of view of its closest neighbor and leading trading partner, us, reviewing the twin cultures that make Canada unique with emphasis on both the advantages and disadvantages of that relationship. Most Americans know where Canada is and that’s about it. Canadians are a proud people with a complex history. It’s time we learned more about our friend and ally.

Optional text: The Pelican History of Canada, by Kenneth McNaught. ISBN: 978-0140149982 (used in good condition available from Amazon), $6.49.

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One-Day Classes

The American Musical Abroad

Instructor: Richard Brown

  • Tuesday April 11, 2017
  • 9:30 am to 3:00 pm
  • Bring a bag lunch

The Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical Evita was filmed in 1996 with Madonna giving perhaps the best performance of her life in the title role. The Argentinean actress who took Juan Peron from an Argentinean jail to the presidency was said to not be able to act but more than capable of seducing a nation. Unlike many adaptations of musicals this award-winning movie is superb.

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May All Your Real Estate Dreams Come True

Instructor: Martha Laitin

  • Wednesday March 29, 2017
  • 9:30 am to 3:00 pm
  • Bring a bag lunch
  • Class size limited to 20

This class will include considering options for aging in place, downsizing to a condo or smaller homer, or moving to a warmer climate. We will explore, among other topics, the implications of gifting property to children, taxes, and the current real estate climate in our area. We will also study special considerations involved in choosing a condo, as well as pointers for creating a perfect transition from one home to another, including how to choose a broker, prepare a home for sale, set an appropriate list price and negotiate selling price. There will be plenty of time for discussion and a packet of hand-outs will be available.

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Let’s Learn to Draw: A Beginner’s Class

Instructor: Sandi Cirillo

  • Friday April 28, 2017
  • 9:30 am to 3:00 pm
  • Bring a bag lunch
  • Class size limited to 12
  • Required materials fee *

If you’ve ever caught yourself doodling, you are indeed drawing. Drawing is the oldest form of written communication and is easily a favorite leisure activity. In this class, you will explore your creative side as you learn to create a good composition using techniques such as shading, contrast, perspective, texture, movement, etc. We’ll be experimenting with different drawing materials as well so y ou can see which you like best (or least). Drawing still lifes and landscapes are only a small part of this class.

*Required materials fee of $8.00 will be required for this class and collected by the instructor at the beginning of class.

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It’s All About Fibers

Instructor: Sandi Cirillo

  • Wednesday May 17, 2017
  • 9:30 am to 3:00 pm
  • Bring a bag lunch
  • Class size limited to 12
  • Required materials fee *
  • Class full, registration closed.

In this one-day workshop, we’ll be learning about different kinds of fibers and how to create art using those fibers. Silk fiber will be explored as we create silk paper suitable for use in stamping, journal making, cards and books. Wool fiber will be explored as we challenge ourselves using wet and dry felt-making techniques. Lastly, cotton fiber will be used to create collages on canvas, using cotton and other man-made and natural fibers. This exploration of fibers will not only expand your knowledge but will also challenge you to look at these fibers in new and creative ways.

Required materials fee of $ 10.00 payable to the instructor, is required for this class. Please bring any embellishments (yarns, buttons, beads, etc.) to class if you have them at home.

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