8-week semester begins on Monday, September 13, 2021
Registration opens on Wednesday, July 14 at 9:00 a.m.

We are pleased to present these descriptions of our fall courses, arranged by subject area.

The schedule of class meeting times can be found HERE with additional information included in each listing below. All courses meet for 8 weeks unless noted in the course descriptions, and all courses for fall semester 2021 will be offered online-only via Zoom.


About Courses on Zoom:
Most courses will be offered in the Zoom Webinar format, although some will be presented as Zoom Meetings – and the course descriptions below list the format for each particular course.

In Webinars, students will see the instructor and their materials on the screen; but the students will not be on camera, and their microphones will be muted. The Webinar format offers increased security, fewer accidental interruptions, and larger capacity for registrations (which means no wait lists for courses in the Webinar format).

The Zoom Meeting format is the one that most people are familiar with: students are seen on camera in tiles across the screen, and they can control their microphones so they can interact with the instructor and each other. The instructor can share materials with the class. Courses offered in this format will have capacity limits, so interested students are encouraged to register early.

Additional information about using Zoom will be shared with all students prior to the start of the semester.



Monitoring Local Government: An Investigative Journalist’s Guide
Brant Houston
Tuesdays, 1:30-3:00
September 14 through November 2
Format: Webinar

This course will provide a window into how to monitor and interpret local government activities, using the tools of investigative journalism. We will explore how to find information and data that is already available on the local government agencies, but may be difficult to locate. Sessions will focus on using the Freedom of Information Act to obtain information that is not online, and how to collate information and data to measure how well an agency is performing and how efficiently tax revenues and fees are being spent.

Instructor: Brant Houston is a professor and the Knight Chair in Investigative Reporting at the University of Illinois. He is the author of The Investigative Reporter’s Handbook and Computer-Assisted Reporting: A Practical Guide. He served as executive director of Investigative Reporters and Editors, an association of 5,000 members, for more than a decade and was an award-winning journalist at daily newspapers and more recently at nonprofit newsrooms. He is a co-founder of the Global Investigative Journalism Network, which has more than 180 nonprofit newsrooms as members. He has taught numerous well-received courses at OLLI, with students noting the wealth of journalistic resources he includes in his exceptional presentations.


A Changing Middle East
Janice Jayes
Tuesdays, 11:00-12:30
September 14 through November 2
Format: Webinar

As the U.S. scales down the War on Terror model of engagement it initiated two decades ago, it is leaving behind a dramatically different Middle East. Russia has returned to exercising a robust role in the region, China is pursuing the Belt and Road Initiative – a 21st century Silk Road, the UAE and Israel have emerged as major players in the use of AI in foreign policy, and Turkey and Egypt are competing in North Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean. This class examines the way state actors are reinventing the region.

Instructor: Janice Jayes teaches in the history department at Illinois State University. She enjoys looking at contemporary world affairs as both a historian and political scientist. Her current research interests are on the transformation of non-state actors in the last two decades and the way this is upending the twentieth century model of state-centered world order. She looks at the way these transformations affect many regions, but concentrates on the Middle East, North and Central Africa, and North America. Her OLLI courses have been among the most well-received and highly enrolled offerings of recent years. One student in her spring 2019 course on Yemen commented, “This is the best class I have ever taken at OLLI” and another noted simply, “She is the best of the best.”


The World after COVID: Prospects, Dangers, Temptations
Richard Tempest
Tuesdays, 3:30-5:00
September 14 through November 2
Format: Webinar

From the Justinian Plague (541-549 AD) to the Spanish Flu (1918), pandemics have caused upheaval on the vastest of scales. History teaches that if there is one thing we can be certain of, it is that the post-COVID world will be a very different place. This course will examine the likely outcomes of the COVID-19 emergency at home and abroad. Our two primary lines of inquiry will be the geopolitical and geocultural, with a focus on how the global changes already under way, and those that are yet to come, will impact Americans’ private and public lives.

Instructor: Richard Tempest is a Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Illinois and a Senior Editor at the Journal of Political Marketing (Chicago). He holds a BA, MA, and PhD from the University of Oxford and has published on Russian and world history and culture in English, Bulgarian, Russian, and French. His study Overwriting Chaos: Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s Fictive Worlds (Boston: Academic Studies Press) came out in 2019. The focus of his current book project is the dynamics of charismatic leadership in the twenty-first century. His numerous OLLI courses and lectures have had extremely strong reviews for his deep knowledge of the subject and engaging presentation style.



Countercultures in the Movies, 1930s-1960s
Sandy Camargo
Wednesdays, 11:00-12:30
September 15 through October 6 (4-week)
Format: Meeting

This is a 4-week course that meets during the first half of the semester. Another course, on early Romanticism in music, taught by Cathrine Blom, meets in this time slot during the second half of the semester. That course requires a separate registration.

Unlike independent and experimental films, mainstream commercial films are designed to appeal to broad audiences. As a result, representing potentially explosive social and cultural issues becomes a problem to be solved by filmmakers as much as a banner to be waved. We will look at examples where commercial cinema and non-mainstream values intersected in the United States and Europe from the 1930s through the 1960s. Important institutional contexts will include the functions of stars and marketing, as well as the stylistic innovations that were a major source of these films’ critical and commercial appeal.

Instructor: Sandy Camargo was a Senior Lecturer and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Cinema Studies at the University of Illinois. She has recently retired, after 17 years of teaching film studies at the U. of I. (plus 13 years before that at the University of Missouri). She has taught courses on film analysis; film style; genre theory; crime films; film in Australia, Britain, Canada, and Ireland; countercultures in the movies; and American film since the 1950s. She presented a well-received course on film style in spring 2021, after having taught several thought-provoking international film courses between 2010 and 2012.




Fred Christensen
Wednesdays, 1:30-3:00
September 15 through November 3
Format: Webinar

This course will examine the Civil War’s most famous battle, its aftermath, its human cost, and its significance. We will begin with a look at the nature of 19th-century warfare and the military and political situation in early summer 1863. Then full and detailed coverage will be given to the ten days of retreat and pursuit after the battle. The course will consider the options, choices, and possibilities open to Lee and Meade during those days of the battle and its aftermath. The history of Gettysburg is full of dramatic events and controversies, and we will address many of them here.

Instructor: Fred Christensen is a former history instructor at the University of Kentucky and assistant professor of military science at the University of Illinois. He teaches noncredit classes for OLLI and other venues, in five areas of history and archaeology: Britain, Germany, early America, Israel/the Holy Land, and military history in general. This is his 28th OLLI course since 2008. Students regularly praise his detailed, richly illustrated presentations and well-chosen supporting materials.


Walt Whitman and 1860s America
Connor Monson
Thursdays, 9:00-10:30
September 16 through October 7 (4-week)
Format: Webinar
This is a 4-week course that meets during the first half of the semester.

In this course, we will cover the life and times of the transcendentalist poet, Walt Whitman. Through Whitman’s story, we will get a glimpse into four different aspects of the Civil War-era United States that illustrate how the nation was rapidly changing. The lectures will start in 1860 when Whitman published his first reprint of Leaves of Grass up to mid-1865 when he wrote his moving elegy to Abraham Lincoln, “O’ Captain, My Captain!” We will discuss the rapid shifts in literature, immigration, abolitionism, military service, international relations, medicine, and national politics.

Instructor: Connor Monson is a graduate student at the University of Illinois pursuing library science and public history, with plans to complete a Ph.D. in American History and teach at the undergraduate level. His undergraduate major was in American History with a focus on the mid-19th century. He has published a senior honors thesis as well as two peer-reviewed articles with the digital history organization Sourcelab; all three articles concern American political movements and parties. He currently serves as Sourcelab’s Vice-Chairman. Connor has taught history courses at Parkland College community education for nearly two years. His first two OLLI courses, in 2020-2021, received enthusiastic evaluations for the fascinating and well-constructed presentations and his deep knowledge of the subject matter.




Edith Wharton, The House of Mirth **Course registration closed. Course is full.
Parley Ann Boswell
Thursdays, 11:00-12:30
September 16 through November 4
Format: Meeting

In 1897, Edith Wharton and her friend Ogden Codman Jr. published a book on interior design called The Decoration of Houses, in which they challenged the excesses of 19th-century house design favored by the moneyed class of New York. Eight years later, Wharton challenged the same excesses and values of the wealthy class she knew so well with another book about a house, this time a novel that made her famous: The House of Mirth. To begin, we will read an earlier Wharton novella, The Bunner Sisters (1892). Then we will experience gilded New York with Lily Bart, a 29-year-old society beauty who needs to find a rich husband. We will tend to our exquisite Lily carefully, as she tries to thrive in this 1905 hothouse of mirth.

Any edition of The House of Mirth will do for this class.

Instructor: Parley Ann Boswell graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign just months after Francis Ford Coppola’s masterpiece The Godfather Part II was released. Now Professor Emerita of English, at EIU she taught Film Studies and American Literature – from colonial through early 20th century – for thirty years. This is her seventh OLLI course, and her courses receive exceptional reviews for being well-organized, interesting, and informative. A recent student noted, “I have always loved Edith Wharton, but I know so much more now.”


Art of Spanish Colonial South America
Bernard Cesarone
Wednesdays, 3:30-5:00
September 15 through November 3
Format: Webinar
This course was originally scheduled to be offered in fall 2020, and we are delighted to offer it this semester.

This course surveys the art of the Viceroyalty of Peru (Spanish colonial South America), one of the great cultural mixings in the era of globalization. After providing historical and artistic background on the Spanish and Inca cultures, the course examines the art of the viceroyalty from the conquest (1533) to independence (ca. 1820). Topics covered include missionizing art and architecture; the arrival of European painters; the development of local indigenous schools of painting, especially the Cuzco school; artistic developments during the Enlightenment, and the indigenous response to them; and mural painting in indigenous villages.

Instructor: Bernard Cesarone retired in 2015 after a career working on information and data projects in the UI’s College of Education. During this time, he pursued his decades-long interest in art, receiving a doctorate in art history, with a specialization in Spanish colonial art, though his interests range widely, to India, northern Europe, and elsewhere. He has owned and operated a gallery showing folk art from India and Latin America, and he has curated exhibitions of folk art at KAM and at the Tarble Arts Center at EIU. He has taught courses at EIU and at OLLI, where his courses in 2013-2014 received strong evaluations for his detailed, informative visual materials.




Women in Medicine
Néstor A. Ramírez, MD
Mondays, 1:30-3:00
September 13 through November 1
Format: Webinar

This course offers an exploration of the difficulties, blocks, discriminations, and prejudices faced by women in their attempts to enter the medical profession, with a survey of some of the “firsts” achieved by women here, in other countries, and in diverse medical fields. We will also review the mistreatments and injustices inflicted upon women as patients due to misconceptions about their physiology and psychology and to extreme misogyny and male chauvinism.

Instructor: Néstor A. Ramírez was born in Bogotá, Colombia, completed his medical studies and internship in Bogotá, and later spent seven years in the jungle area of southeast Colombia as a general practice physician with the Territorial Health Service. He came to the U.S. and did a General Pediatrics residency at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and Le Bonheur Children's Medical Center, both in Memphis, Tennessee. Afterwards, he held a fellowship in Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine at the Regional Medical Center of the University of Tennessee. He came to Illinois in 1986 and started working as a neonatologist, first in Champaign, then in Springfield, and later in Chicago, until 2016. He worked as a physician reviewer for Blue Cross/Blue Shield until October 2017. He retired from active practice, but has continued his involvement in organized medicine at the county, state, and national levels. He was President of the Illinois State Medical Society in 2017-2018 and has been elected to be the Trustee for Region 5 (21 counties in Central and South-Central Illinois) for three years (2019-2021). His recent OLLI courses and lectures on medical topics have received extremely positive reviews for his engaging presentation style and the useful information he provides.

We Are All Immunologists Now **Course registration closed. Course is full.
Ed Roy
Mondays, 9:00-10:30
September 13 through November 1
Format: Webinar

The COVID-19 pandemic has made everyone aware of the importance of the immune system. This course will provide the basics of how the immune system works. Cells of the immune system are incredibly diverse, and they constantly protect us from infectious disease. Cells of the immune system act as a mobile nervous system, detecting danger, responding to the danger, healing wounds, keeping a balance between our cells and the other life forms within our bodies. The immune system also deals with rogue cancer cells, and recent work has shown the therapeutic potential of enhancing immune responses to cancer. The course will emphasize responses to infectious disease and cancer immunotherapies.

Instructor: Ed Roy is an emeritus professor of Physiology at the University of Illinois. He received his Ph.D. from UMass Amherst and did postdoctoral work at The Rockefeller University, studying the neuroscience of hormones. He joined the U. of I. Psychology Department in 1979. In 1993 he redirected his research from neuroscience to the immunology of cancer. With support from an NIH Re-Entry Grant, he re-trained as an immunologist, and moved his academic position to the Medical School, where he taught immunology to first year medical students. He began a long collaboration with David Kranz, a T cell biochemist also interested in therapeutic applications of T cells. He taught his first OLLI course, a well-received offering on immunotherapies for cancer treatment, in fall 2020.

Bringing Balance, Flexibility, and Calm to your Life with LV Chair Yoga™
Robin Goettel
Monday, 10:00 – 11:30
October 11 – November 1 (4-week)
Format: Meeting
This is a 4-week course that meets during the second half of the semester.

The pandemic may have heightened emotions of anxiety, sadness, and loneliness. This often results in issues we have within our physical body, such as increased heart rate, shallow breathing, and muscle tightness in jaw, neck, shoulders, and back. Practicing chair yoga is a form of self-care that can address many health issues, while improving balance, flexibility, and inner- and outer-strength. This yoga class creates a safe environment by teaching proper ways to do poses and adapting them to individual challenges and varied levels of flexibility.

At the beginning of each class there will be a presentation focusing on topics including finding contentment; responding to stress through mindfulness; bringing balance to your life; garnering gratitude; and improving posture. In each class, students will practice yoga postures with Robin for 50 minutes while sitting in a chair. Robin has been teaching chair yoga on Zoom for several months and is well-acquainted with this format.

Instructor: Robin Goettel has practiced many styles of yoga for 45 years. Since retiring, she became more involved in promoting wellness as a certified Lakshmi Voelker Chair Yoga™ teacher. She received additional training by participating in a National Yoga Alliance Conference and continues to glean the latest research from the International Association of Yoga Therapists. Robin has taught chair yoga classes since 2014 at five senior facilities/fitness centers in C-U. Through her OLLI Chair Yoga classes over the past 5 years, her students have noted that the postures and breathing techniques they learn have created a sense of calm, happiness, and balance to carry into their daily lives.



The Interplay between Music and Society – Early Romanticism
Cathrine Blom
Wednesdays, 11:00-12:30
October 13 through November 3 (4-week)
Format: Webinar
This is a 4-week course that meets during the second half of the semester. Another course, on countercultures in film, taught by Sandy Camargo, will meet in this time slot during the first half of the semester. That course requires a separate registration.

Focusing on the Romantic Period, ca. 1730-1900, this course will address the question of why composers wrote certain kinds of music during specific time periods. We will concentrate on the most important composers of the period: Schubert, Schumann, Chopin, Mendelssohn, Weber, and Brahms, and show how they changed the scale and scope of music – striving for the sublime, emulating painting and literature, and becoming autobiography, poetry, and folktales in music.

Instructor: Cathrine Blom earned her Ph.D. in musicology at the University of Illinois, where she also earned a B.A. in psychology with a minor in music. She also has a working background in physics, participating in Norway on analysis of CERN experiments prior to coming to the U.S. At Illinois, she co-taught the primary introductory music classes for majors several times, and received an honorary mention for the Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award in the College of Fine and Applied Arts. Her OLLI courses on both music and science topics are highly regarded; one recent student noted, “She made a very difficult topic much easier to understand.”

Jazz as Protest – Still the Voice of the People
Jenelle Orcherton
Tuesdays, 9:00-10:30
September 14 through November 2
Format: Meeting

Jazz has a long history of being music of protest and the soundtrack for a social justice movement. This class will touch on some pivotal pieces and musicians who have taken a claim in the movement, which in recent years has grown in volume, intensity, and urgency. Artists will include Nina Simone, Art Blakey, John Coltrane, Charles Mingus, James Brown, Gil Scott-Heron, Kamasi Washington, and Jon Baptiste.

Instructor: Jenelle Orcherton is a jazz performer and educator, with training in Education and a recent Masters' in Jazz Performance from the University of Illinois. She is the Artistic Director and Founder of the Champaign-Urbana Jazz Festival just celebrated its fifth successful season. She has served on many jazz and community organizations including the Saskatoon Jazz Society, Music Defying Boundaries, and most recently, the Urbana Public Arts Commission. Jenelle has over fifteen years of education experience and is passionate about giving all audiences the opportunity to engage with jazz. She receives enthusiastic reviews for her OLLI music courses, with students citing her knowledge of the subject and lively in-class discussions.



A Rabbi Encounters Tribal Nations Philosophy and Religion in The Metaphysics of Modern Existence by Vine Deloria, Jr.
Rabbi Norman Klein
Wednesdays, 1:30-3:00
September 15 through November 3
Format: Meeting

Our course will explore the subject matter and point of view of this seminal writer of the Lakota Sioux who became by default, and in all modesty, one of the most outspoken and yet respected presenters of a new synthesis of Western and traditional Indigenous American religious and philosophical thought. While we will cover a variety of different tribal ways of thinking, and refer to a number of other works by Deloria and other writers, the course will focus on and discuss the text of The Metaphysics of Modern Existence. Among the many philosophers and thinkers Deloria reacts to are Paul Tillich, Teilhard de Chardin, Claude Levi-Straus, and C. G. Jung. We shall explore and debate his comparisons between Western Thought and Tribal Peoples Thought, keeping in mind that Deloria provides a window into, but not a summary of, all Tribal Peoples’ thinking.

The 2012 edition is available inexpensively on Amazon if the class member chooses to purchase it; however, the instructor will provide in-class excerpts to explain and discuss.

Instructor: Norman Mark Klein is retired as the emeritus rabbi at Sinai Temple in Champaign after serving as the interim rabbi at temples in Canada and Florida. Before becoming Rabbi Emeritus at Sinai Temple, Champaign, IL, he served as rabbi from 1995 to 2013. Rabbi Klein was ordained at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1985 and was rabbi at temples in Pennsylvania and Texas between 1985 and 1995. Rabbi Klein came to rabbinic school at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion with an interest in literature, having done graduate work at Indiana University, Bloomington (A.B.D. in the Ph.D. program of the English Department, with a minor in film production), his thesis work on the subject of the interaction of character and place in contemporary novels set in exotic places. His rabbinic thesis focused on a contemporary Israeli novel. A representative review from a recent course noted that he is “very knowledgeable and good at leading discussions.”




Astronomy 101: A Retiree’s Guide to Backyard Skywatching
David Leake
Fridays, 10:00-11:30
September 17 through November 5
Format: Webinar

Learn the basics of practical backyard astronomy in this series focusing on the casual skywatcher. Learn how to use a star chart, locate constellations and planets, why the Moon changes phase, and how to observe meteor showers. There will be optional activities to do and observations to make on your own. There will be a session on buying a telescope and a session devoted to your astronomy questions.

Instructor: David Leake has been sharing the stars with the community since he saw his first constellation in 5th grade. He retired in the summer of 2019 after 30 years at the William Staerkel Planetarium at Parkland College, the last 20 as director. There he taught Physics and Astronomy in addition to welcoming over 20,000 school children to the planetarium. In 2005, Dave won the ICCTA outstanding faculty member award, the first Parkland faculty to win the state award. Dave was instrumental in working with local entities to acquire “dark sky park” status for the Middle Fork River Forest Preserve. His first OLLI course on the cosmos, in fall 2020, received high marks for his vast knowledge of the subject matter and engaging presentations.

Mammals, Mammary Glands, and Milk: It’s All about Lactation
Walter Hurley
Mondays, 3:30-5:00
October 11 through November 1 (4-week)
Format: Webinar

This is a 4-week course that meets during the second half of the semester.

Everyone is mesmerized by the newborn animal trying to get milk from its mother. We often readily associate with other mammalian species, being one ourselves. We have developed many relationships with a range of mammals over millennia, relying on them for food, fiber, power, and other resources. This course is intended as an introduction to fundamental concepts and perspectives that will help us better understand the diversity of mammals, the lactation process, and the production of milk. A comparative approach will be central to this brief exploration of mammals, mammary glands, and milk.

Instructor: Walt Hurley is a Professor Emeritus of Animal Sciences at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He has served on the faculty in Animal Sciences for 38 years. His area of research has been lactation biology and mammary gland biology, particularly with respect to dairy cattle and swine. He has taught a number of undergraduate courses at Illinois, including his long-standing course on the biology of lactation. He has previously taught and lectured at OLLI on basic concepts principles about milk, its composition and production, and its use by humans, receiving strong reviews for his thorough knowledge of the subject.


Blueprint: Take On a Life of Your Own
Lindsay Haitz and Gina Johnson
Mondays, 11:00-12:30
September 13 through November 1
Format: Webinar

After 2020, many of us realized that we cannot take our mental health and wellbeing for granted. This series will guide you to know yourself, accept yourself and be yourself in all situations. We will train skills in the following areas: emotional awareness, self-regulation, self-talk, optimal mindset, habit formation, recovery (self-care). Additionally, you will develop your "blueprint motto" to represent your life principles, purpose and vision. This course is designed to be interactive and our goal is to create an emotionally and psychologically safe environment to support your individual growth.

Instructor: Lindsay Haitz is a licensed professional counselor and Associate Certified Coach who holds a Master’s in Mental Health Counseling from Lee University in Tennessee. She has worked at the Harvard Medical School and the College of Medicine at the University of Chicago, and she is currently a Career Services Specialist at Disability Resources and Educational Services within the College of Applied Health Sciences.
Gina Johnson holds a Master’s in Social Work from the U. of I. and is a licensed clinical social worker and certified trauma therapist. She served on the Board of the Urbana Business Association from 2018 to 2020, and she is a current Board member of 40 North/Champaign County Arts Council. This is their first OLLI course.