LLARC Study Groups, Spring 2023

Welcome to LLARC! Study groups are typically led rather than taught by LLARC member volunteers or select Regis College faculty. Most use a seminar format, emphasizing discussion, usually with preparatory reading. There are variables, however, such as the amount and nature of weekly preparation, the opportunity or expectation for group members to give presentations, and the extent to which material is presented by the leader. Please read descriptions carefully for these details, and note any requested texts or materials that need to be obtained independently.

Study groups usually meet for 10 weeks, but not all, so please note the specific meeting dates given for each study group. Study groups will be held either online via Zoom, or in-person on campus. They will not be hybrid. Those who wish to participate in-person will need to be fully vaccinated with vaccination cards on file with LLARC.

Details

Study groups fill up quickly! Register as soon as you can for the best chance of getting into the study groups you want.

  1. Who may join? LLARC welcomes mature adults with a desire for learning.
  2. Choose from two levels of participation:
    1. Basic annual membership which includes the Lunch, Listen and Learn program
    2. Basic annual membership plus enrollment for the current semester for one or more study groups, up to four.
  3. You must be a member to enroll in courses and enjoy other benefits of membership. The membership fee of $75 is annual and is valid from September 1 to August 31.
  4. The semester tuition rate of $200 covers all your study groups for the semester. Space is limited in all classes, so enrollment is not guaranteed. Also, a study group may be cancelled if enrollment is insufficient. We strongly encourage you to make alternate selections in case your top choices are filled. You may select up to four study groups.
  5. After registering, students will receive further instructions about the payment process.
  6. Study group leaders will communicate any preparation necessary for the first class meeting.
  7. You are responsible for any additional cost of books and other materials if needed.
  8. Financial assistance is available. Please contact the LLARC office at 781.768.7135 for details.

Register for LLARC Courses

Download the full study group catalog

#3201 Creative Writing

Study Group Leader: Virginia Slep

Session Length: 10 weeks

Course Format: Zoom

Day and Time: Monday, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Start Date: February 27 / End Date: May 8 (No class on April 17)

Enrollment Note: This represents a continuation of the fall 2022 class.

Description: In this writing group, the creative talents of the participants will be encouraged by their peers. Members are invited to write in any genre: memoir, poetry, fiction, non-fiction, essay, humor or play. Handouts will be provided to stimulate writing. Participants are given time to share their writings with classmates if they choose. Sometimes in talking about someone else’s writing, we are able to clarify our own thoughts and abilities. This is a light-hearted, supportive, welcoming group whose members enjoy writing for the fun of it.

Leader: Virginia Slep holds a BA and an MA in English, and taught high school English for 35 years before her retirement. She has been teaching this writing class at LLARC since 2008. She writes a regular column for the North Reading Transcript. Virginia has a PhD in Clinical Hypnosis, and has a private practice in Wayland.

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#3283 Poston: An Update on the Japanese Internment Story

Study Group Leader: Mary Nowak

Session Length: Five weeks

Course Format: Zoom

Day and Time: Monday, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Start Date: February 27 / End Date: March 27

Course Description: What do you know (remember?) about Poston? In our previous study of the internment of the Japanese in World War II, Poston was one of ten camps. This time we'll study only this camp from opening to closing and even its use after closure. Japanese American groups have been at work researching, recording, preserving the history and memories relating to the camps. The information has been updated and the object of this study group is to use all this new (or new to us) information and materials to bring us up to date and to inform us about groups and websites that provide on-going information.

Leader: Mary Nowak has a BA and MA in American history from Boston University. She taught American history and U.S. and world geography in Brookline. She has led several study groups for LLARC on women in the Suffrage Movement, the Labor Movement, the Progressive Movement, the American Civil War, and America’s Internment of Japanese American citizens during WWII, as well as several variations of the same topics.

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#3284 Frances Perkins: The Woman Behind the New Deal

Study Group Leader: Mary Nowak

Session Length: Five weeks

Course Format: Zoom

Day and Time: Monday, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Start Date: April 3 / End Date: May 8 (No class on April 17)

Course Description: In your lifetime, did you benefit from a 40-hour workweek, a minimum wage, worker's compensation, child labor laws, Social Security, health insurance, etc.? If so, say thank you to Francis Perkins. What do you know about this woman who cared so much for people that she spent her career intent on making their lives better? What influenced her, motivated her, compelled her in her work for the American people? We are about to find out!

Leader: Mary Nowak has a BA and MA in American history from Boston University. She taught American history and U.S. and world geography in Brookline. She has led several study groups for LLARC on women in the Suffrage Movement, the Labor Movement, the Progressive Movement, the American Civil War, and America’s Internment of Japanese American citizens during WWII, as well as several variations of the same topics.

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#3268 Western Gunslingers: The Truth Behind the Westerns

Study Group Leader: Daniel Seligman

Session Length: 10 weeks

Course Format: Zoom

Day and Time: Monday, 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Start Date: February 27 / End Date: May 8 (No class on April 17)

Course Description: The course consists of ten PowerPoint seminars on the life and times of gunslingers who lived in the American West in the late 19th century. The intent is to present the unvarnished truth as far as it can be ascertained from historical records. Each seminar addresses a western figure in the following order: Wild Bill Hickok, Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, Buffalo Bill Cody, Annie Oakley, Jesse James, Billy the Kid, Belle Starr, Black Bart, Butch Cassidy. This study group was first offered last semester.

Leader: Daniel Seligman is a retired engineer with a lifelong interest in the American West. He has published a number of articles on western history.

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#3285 Mysteries: The Long and Short of It

Study Group Leader: Karen Mallozzi

Session Length: 10 weeks

Course Format: In-person, Regis College Fine Arts Center

Day and Time: Monday, 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Start Date: February 27 / End Date: May 8 (No class on April 17)

Course Description: This study group will explore the genre and makeup of selected mysteries and we will alternate between a regular length mystery and a short story mystery (or two). Reading ahead and taking notes is highly recommended. A list of discussion questions will be provided each week. All texts should be available through your library, or online.

Texts: The Barrister and the Letter of Marque by Todd Johnson; The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes by A. Conan Doyle; Disappearance of a Scribe by Dana Stabenow; Seasonal Work by Laura Lippman; Do I Know You by Sarah Strohmeyer; Miss Marple: The Complete Short Stories by Agatha Christie; The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman; Tales of Black Widowers by Isaac Asimov; A Promise of Ruin by Cuyler Overholt; The Darkling Halls of Ivy edited by Lawrence Block.

Short Stories: The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire; The Book Thing; The Tuesday Night Club; The Blue Geranium; The Acquisitive Chuckle; Go, Little Book; Requiem for a Homecoming.

Leader: Karen Mallozzi is a longtime study group leader and holds a BA from the University of Rhode Island and MA from Andover-Newton Theological School. She enjoys gardening, volunteering and, of course, reading!

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#3237 Current Events

Study Group Leader: Muriel Stern Riseman

Session Length: 10 weeks

Course Format: Zoom

Day and Time: Tuesday, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Start Date: February 28 / End Date: May 2

Course Description: Are you a person who is interested in world events and likes to have a conversation and exchange ideas about them? If you want to have a place to share your opinions and thoughts about topics in the news, LLARC has a course for you. It’s Current Events! Through a facilitated discussion, classmates express their ideas about recent happenings, while we listen, learn, and understand the basis for others’ opinions. The class discussion is facilitated with guidelines, to enable people to feel comfortable participating. Robust exchanges can happen within this framework. Class members are encouraged to give one short presentation during the semester, about a topic of interest to him/her. Usually, the talks are at the beginning of the class, while at the end of each class, we discuss recent events that have occurred during the previous week, day, or even hour!

Leader: Muriel Stern Riseman is a retired high school counselor who, while working, particularly enjoyed facilitating discussions between young people and adults. She continued this interest after retirement by leading community support groups. However, she is also a major “news junkie” and likes to absorb as much information as she can about what is happening in the world, share her perceptions, and hear/understand other points of view. For the past six years she has had the wonderful opportunity to promote conversations in LLARC Current Events study groups.

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#3286 Thirteen Days in 1962: The Cuban Missile Crisis

Study Group Leader: Bernard Shuster

Session Length: 10 weeks

Course Format: Zoom

Day and Time: Tuesday, 9:15 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.

Start Date: February 28 / End Date: May 2

Course Description: A potentially catastrophic event that is little understood and little remembered. In the fall of 1962, the Soviets moved offensive weapons including ballistic missiles into Cuba. The opposing leaders were JFK and Khrushchev. JFK’s task was to force the missiles out of Cuba without a nuclear war. JFK realized that air and ground strikes would kill thousands of innocent civilians. The emotional and moral makeup of the two leaders would prove decisive to the resolution of the conflict. There are several similarities and differences between this crisis and the present Ukraine conflict. Between the leaders, Putin and Zelensky and between the Russian and Ukrainian people.

Text: One Hell of a Gamble by Aleksandr Fursenko and Timothy Naftali

Leader: Bernard Shuster earned a BA in History at UMASS Amherst and an LLD at Boston University School of Law. He practiced law for several years as a partner in a Boston Law firm. He then founded and served as COO at a financial services firm. Bernie has led over 50 courses at LLARC and HILR.

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#3295 Genetics: From Mendel to Making Your Own Genes

Study Group Leader: Jim McLaren

Session Length: 10 weeks

Course Format: Zoom

Day and Time: Tuesday, 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Start Date: February 28 / End Date: May 2

Course Description: This study group will cover a history of genetics from Gregor Mendel’s discoveries in the 19th century to the present and beyond. The emphasis will be on modern genetics from the discovery of DNA to the present day. We will look at the importance of DNA sequencing and genomics in understanding evolution, human health and disease, genetic manipulation of domestic plants and animals (including humans), and new technologies (like CRISPR and the RNA vaccines we now take for granted).

Leader: Jim McLaren is a retired science teacher and Department Head from Newton South High School. He has co-authored several middle and high school biology textbooks. Since retiring, he has led five different science study groups for LLARC.

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#3287 And the Winner Is...Oscar Winning Films

Study Group Leader: Ronna Frick

Session Length: 10 weeks

Course Format: Zoom

Day and Time: Tuesday, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Start Date: February 28 / End Date: May 2

Course Description: This study group will examine ten Academy Award best picture winners, including some international films, and after viewing will analyze them through two lenses: aesthetic (What makes this film artful?) and cultural (In what ways is this film an expression of the social, moral, and political values of its culture and its time?). Through these lenses, we will at least attempt to answer the question – Should these movies have won the Oscar? Background information and study guides will be emailed each week. Class members may choose to watch the films together with the group on Zoom or view them on their own and join the group for the discussion on Zoom. Movies (subject to change): All the King’s Men (’49); Rashomon (’51); Midnight Cowboy (’69), Amadeus (’84); Cinema Paradiso (’89); Schindler’s List (’93); Shakespeare in Love (’98); The King’s Speech (2010); A Separation (2011); and Parasite (2019).

Leader: Ronna Frick retired after teaching high school English for over 40 years, as well as serving nine years as department chair at Wellesley High School. Having led many study groups for LLARC in literature and in film including among others Hollywood Film Genres, The Movies Take on the Issues, and Diverse Directors, she looks forward to another meaningful and fun experience with other lifelong learners in this study group too.

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#3288 "Pomegranate Means Grenade"

Study Group Leader: Pam Kyrka

Session Length: Five weeks

Course Format: In-person, Regis College Fine Arts Center

Day and Time: Wednesday, 9:15 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.

Start Date: March 1 / End Date: March 29

Course Description: “Pomegranate means grenade” so says poet Jamaal May, the author of the poem of the same name. While poetry can be soothing, relaxing, and perhaps an escape from the real world, this is not always the case. In fact, the poetry we will be reading and discussing could be considered seditious. These poems may have some seditious content, but also have a context the reader did expect in a poem. The poets have strong viewpoints, and their poems may contain powerful, and in some cases, disturbing images. But poetry, as does other literature, helps us to think more deeply and move us in ways we perhaps did not expect. So, poetry as sedition? Yes.

Text: Poems – Call Us What We Carry by Amanda Gorman. Additional selections will be provided by the study group leader.

Leader: Pam Kyrka is a retired English teacher who also writes children’s literature, including picture books and one middle grade and one young adult novel. She is presently working on her third novel. Having taught poetry for years, she recognizes the power it holds and the thoughts it provokes. She has also led a short story study group at LLARC for several years.

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#3289 The Revolutionary Samuel Adams

Study Group Leader: Jacob Miller

Session Length: Five weeks

Course Format: In-person, Regis College Fine Arts Center

Day and Time: Wednesday, 9:15 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.

Start Date: April 12 / End Date: May 10

Description: With high minded ideals and bare-knuckle tactics, Samuel Adams led what could be called the greatest campaign of civil resistance in American History. We will discuss the shrewd and eloquent man who supplied the backbone for our American Revolution. When Paul Revere rode to Lexington in 1775, it was to warn Samuel Adams that he was to be arrested for treason. He transformed himself from aimless son of a well-to-do family to tireless, beguiling radical who mobilized the colonies!

Leader: Jacob (Jack) Miller is a retired engineer having worked in the aerospace and computer industries. He has taught at local colleges and at LLARC. His LLARC study groups include John Adams, Theodore Roosevelt, Reconstruction and the Golden Age, Woodrow Wilson, Alexander Hamilton, and Making of the Modern Middle East.

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#3290 Reading "The Things They Carried" by Tim O'Brien

Study Group Leader: Dorothy Miller

Session Length: Seven weeks

Course Format: In-person, Regis College Fine Arts Center

Day and Time: Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Start Date: March 22 / End Date: May 10 (No class on April 5)

Description: At first blush The Things They Carried seems like a story about a 21-year-old drafted to go to Vietnam, a war he doesn’t support. However, the metaphors and archetypes make this book more universal. It raises many questions about the meaning of truth in this work of fiction, comprised of many short stories. The New York Times hailed it as “One of the finest books, fact or fiction, written about the Vietnam War.”

Text: The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien; Penguin Books edition, or the Mariner edition from Amazon.

Leader: This will be the second study group Dorothy Miller has led at LLARC. Previously she taught for forty years in the English Department at Boston College.

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#3291 The Brain

Study Group Leader: Tom Hall

Session Length: Six weeks

Course Format: In-person, Regis College Fine Arts Center

Day and Time: Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Start Date: March 1 / End Date: April 12 (No class on April 5)

Course Description: This course is based on the acclaimed PBS series – “The Brain – The Story of You.” Each week for six weeks we will watch an episode of the series highlighting a different aspect of the human brain, followed by a discussion of the video’s content. While we will explore some of the science behind how our brains function, the emphasis of the course will be on how our brains shape our humanity.

Leader: Tom Hall is a retired middle school and high school principal. He is also the author of six published novels. When he is not writing, taking LLARC classes, or being a study group leader, he is playing senior softball.

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#3296 Science in the News

Study Group Leader: Frank Villa

Session Length: 10 weeks

Course Format: Zoom

Day and Time: Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Start Date: March 1 / End Date: May 10 (No class on April 5)

Course Description: Discoveries and exploits in science fill the news. They enthrall the imagination but can cause bewildering questions about how they work and what they mean for the future. This study group will tackle a variety of topics from space travel to modern power sources, from genetic engineering to changing weather patterns, and shed light on issues of science and technology important to our understanding of the modern world. Join us as we discuss the most up-to-date science in a clear, concise manner that is both thought-provoking and fun.

Leader: Frank Villa has a lifelong interest in the natural sciences. He is a natural teacher who finds great joy in explaining complex principles and processes and bringing the latest quests and discoveries of science to a general audience. He has developed curricula and taught courses in many settings on topics as diverse as the formation of the universe, alternative energy sources, and human genetics.

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#3292-01 The Art of the Movies, Wed. Sect.

Study Group Leader: Steve Kendall

Session Length: 10 weeks

Course Format: In-person, Regis College Fine Arts Center

Day and Time: Wednesday, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Start Date: March 1 / End Date: May 10 (No class on April 5)

Course Description: Great cinematography is great art. After watching a film, we talk about how much we loved the plot, the characters, the scenery, the action, the music—but seldom the cinematography. Without the art, The Godfather, Lawrence of Arabia, Amelie, Slumdog Millionaire and even Ferris Bueller’s Day Off wouldn’t be as memorable. In this course, we’ll see a variety of film scenes each week and discuss them as if we were looking at any great artwork. We’ll even look at film stills as if they were paintings. You’ll learn where in the fine art world directors and cinematographers may have gotten their inspiration. Expect to see films differently— to appreciate great composition, color, depth, angles, and other elements in motion pictures. We will not watch entire films in class, and please note that each session is two hours in length.

Leader: Steve Kendall has led art history-related study groups for LLARC for the past 15 terms, and is a former recipient of the LLARC Bernie Shuster Award for teaching excellence. He has been a tour guide at the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum for 11 years, and prior to retirement was the president of an advertising and public relations agency.

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#3293 Three Heralding Books by Geraldine Brooks

Study Group Leader: Rachel Alpert

Session Length: Nine weeks

Course Format: Zoom

Day and Time: Thursday, 9:15 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.

Start Date: March 2 / End Date: April 27

Course Description: Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Geraldine Brooks is a master of historical fiction, weaving from bits of historical information gripping tales and fascinating characters. Her prose is gorgeous.

Texts: We will read and discuss three of her novels – March, a Civil War era novel for which she won the Pulitzer Prize; Caleb’s Crossing, set in 17th century Massachusetts; and People of the Book, which follows the famous Sarajevo Haggadah across 600 years of European history. Expect to read, enjoy and discuss about 100 pages per week.

Leader: Rachel Alpert has taught high school English and currently teaches law at Suffolk Law School. She has led lifelong learning courses on “Freedom of Speech,” “The Rise of Religion in the Supreme Court,” “Sex, Gender, Bathrooms and the Supreme Court”, “The Regulation of Food in the U.S” and on James Joyce’s Ulysses. She is an avid fan of great literature.

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#3294 Beginning the Search for Your Family History

Study Group Leader: Dick Sullivan

Session Length: Five weeks

Course Format: In-person, Regis College Fine Arts Center

Day and Time: Thursday, 9:15 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.

Start Date: March 2 / End Date: March 30

Course Description: This is a course for beginners in their genealogy quest, and for those who are curious about or contemplating starting an organized search for their ancestors. The course would cover: How would I start my research? What kind of records should I search for? Who has the records that I would need to succeed in this effort? How would I locate records in Massachusetts and in other states/countries? How could I analyze and summarize my findings? No one will be required to share family information with the study group or subscribe to a fee-based online data provider. DNA-based research analysis will not be covered.

Leader: Dick Sullivan’s interest in discovering family histories comes from twenty years of research for family and friends across five states and in eight countries. He holds an AB in Psychology from Holy Cross, a Masters in Education from Boston College; and a Masters in Public Administration from Northeastern University. He taught thirteen years at the Boston University School of Business in the Department of Organizational Behavior.

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#3292-02 The Art of the Movies, Thurs. Sect.

Study Group Leader: Steve Kendall

Session Length: 10 weeks

Course Format: In-person, Regis College Fine Arts Center

Day and Time: Thursday, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Start Date: March 2 / End Date: May 11 (No class on April 6)

Course Description: Great cinematography is great art. After watching a film, we talk about how much we loved the plot, the characters, the scenery, the action, the music—but seldom the cinematography. Without the art, The Godfather, Lawrence of Arabia, Amelie, Slumdog Millionaire and even Ferris Bueller’s Day Off wouldn’t be as memorable. In this course, we’ll see a variety of film scenes each week and discuss them as if we were looking at any great artwork. We’ll even look at film stills as if they were paintings. You’ll learn where in the fine art world directors and cinematographers may have gotten their inspiration. Expect to see films differently— to appreciate great composition, color, depth, angles, and other elements in motion pictures. We will not watch entire films in class, and please note that each session is two hours in length.

Leader: Steve Kendall has led art history-related study groups for LLARC for the past 15 terms, and is a former recipient of the LLARC Bernie Shuster Award for teaching excellence. He has been a tour guide at the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum for 11 years, and prior to retirement was the president of an advertising and public relations agency.

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