Course Descriptions

Fall 2022 Classes

Join us for classes this October at the Weber Center. There is a $35 registration fee for classes. You may take one or all for this amount. Classes are 90 minutes long. 

Registration has closed.

Eleanor and her Five Kings, Three Queens, Two Dukes and Everyone Else
Tuesday mornings at 9:00 a.m., October 4, 11, 18, 25
Instructor: Dr. Michael McGrath

Week 1: The medieval background
Week 2: Eleanor and troubadour poetry, Knights’ tales, and courtliness
Week 3: Henry II, the first English empire, foundation of our legal system
Week 4: Richard I and crusading, King John and the Magna Carta

About the Instructor
Michael McGrath, recently retired Adrian College professor, earned his PhD from Princeton University. He is well known to LLL students and always presents entertaining and educational classes. Michael has a wide range of experiences including military service and teaching many aspects of history.

Explorations in Psychology, Part 2
Tuesday mornings at 11:00 a.m., October 4, 11, 18, 25
Instructor: Dr. Gordon Hammerle
Week 1: Thinking, Problem Solving, Judgment, and Influence. We will look at how people solve problems, make judgments and are influenced by others and by the media.
Week 2: Continuation of Week 1 topics.
Week 3: Psychopathology- This will be an overview of behavior disorders, including obsessive-compulsive behavior, PTSD, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and antisocial personality disorder.
Week 4: Psychology’s Greatest Hits- We will examine some of the most influential and important studies in the field.

NOTE: This course is a continuation of the April 2022 class, but the content is different and it is not necessary to have taken the April course to enroll.

About the Instructor
Gordon Hammerle is a professor emeritus at Adrian College. He taught full-time from 1976-2012 and continues to teach part-time. He earned his B.S. from Denison University and his PhD from Indiana University.

Tuesday afternoons at 1:00 p.m., October 4, 11, 18, 25
Instructor: Charmaine Stangl

The great poet, Mary Oliver, said, “poems are not words, after all, but fires for the cold, ropes let down to the lost, something as necessary as bread in the pockets of the hungry.” If this seems true to you, maybe you’ve been in this class before! If it intrigues you, even a little, join us in discovering how true it is. And if you’ve found poetry confusing or difficult in the past, have no fear. In this class we learn from each other.

About the Instructor
Charmaine Stangl is a retired English teacher and life-long lover of poetry. She has taught in two high schools, a community college, two universities, and Lenawee Lifelong Learning.

Aristotle’s Moral Philosophy
Tuesday afternoons at 3:00 p.m., October 4, 11, 18, 25
Instructor: Dr. Mark Schersten

Following a brief overview of pre-Socratic Greek philosophy, we will examine the main ideas of Aristotle’s moral philosophy. Topics will include the ultimate goal of human existence: happiness, pleasure, and the good life; the nature of virtue as a means between extremes; courage as an exemplar of moral virtue; justice as the unifying virtue; three kinds of friendship.

About the Instructor
Dr. Mark Schersten taught philosophy at Siena Heights University for 27 years before serving as academic dean for five years. He holds degrees in philosophy from Augustana College, Claremont Graduate School and Marquette University. Mark and his wife Becky enjoy backyard gardening and traveling.

Potpourri – Unique Topics Each Week
Wednesday afternoons at 1:00 p.m., October 5, 12, 26

October 5: The Cannabis Industry from a Business Perspective
All things you need to know about the Cannabis Industry will be presented. Subtopics will include the types of licenses available, the different types of products produced, up-to-date insightful statistics and metrics, business requirements, regulation and compliance, along with business strategy. You will get to experience a rare insight into the fastest growing industry since the dawn of the internet.

About the Instructor
Eric Kennedy is the COO & Co-Founder of Highwire Farms. His hometown is Indianapolis, IN, and he holds a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from Purdue University. In 2015, Eric and his current business partner Tony started Urban Farms, which grew hydroponic leafy greens for high-end restaurants and farmers markets. They learned all the cutting edge techniques in order to” hit the ground running” should cannabis become legal in Indiana.In 2016, when an opportunity came to invest in a Michigan cannabis grow, they went for it. They purchased 14 acres near Adrian and started the journey into the commercial cannabis industry.

October 12: Rosie The Riveter
Claire Dahl’s presentation highlights the boldness, determination, creativity, and bravery of American men AND Women as they prepared for, and then valiantly fought, WW11. She will share the incredible history of the Willow Run B-24 Bomber Plant and the teamwork of the powerful Detroit auto industry. “We Can Do It” became the rallying cry for millions of women who had, until this time, never envisioned working on an industrial assembly line building weapons of war. She will honor the Original Rosies who worked the line. You will be amazed and energized by this chapter of American History.

About the Instructor
Claire Kitchin Dahl has been teaching American History since 1971.Armed with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and a Master’s Degree in Women’s History, she has always championed powerful women in our national narrative. Dressed in the iconic blue overalls and blending her love of history with the inspiring stories of Rosie the Riveter and the historic Willow Run B-24 Bomber Plant, she is a natural for the Yankee Air Museum’s Public Relations Committee.

October 26: Life Beyond the Taco
This session will provide a very brief overview of some still existing myths about Latinos today. The major focus will be on the Latino Firsts in Lenawee County. You will experience a Latino themed bingo game she developed as part of this session!!Who knows, participants may even win a prize or two!

About the Instructor
Idalí Feliciano is a retired educator who has lived in Lenawee County for 30+ years. She is involved in the community as an advocate for the children and youth, belongs to several organizations including 100 Women for Lenawee and the Adrian Morning Rotary. Idalí has also participated in several research projects focused on Latinos in Lenawee County

Lime Creek Civil War Memorial/Keeper of the Dead
Wednesday afternoons at 3:00 p.m., October 5 and 12
Instructor: Jim Malarney

Week 1:This memorial located in Medina Township is said to be the second oldest memorial located in Lenawee County. Containing the names of 33 local men who gave their lives for the cause of the Union, the class will gain insight into these men and the times they lived and the fate that was theirs. These men served in special units, fought in many famous battles, were captured, lost their lives in the explosion of the Sultana or to disease.
Week 2: This is the story of a 16 year old Dorence Atwater who lied about his age to become a Union Calvary soldier, was captured by the Confederates and held prisoner in the notorious Andersonville Prison. While there, he was ordered to keep a written list of the 12,460 prisoners who died at Andersonville. Under the penalty of death, he made an extra copy which he hoped to publish in the newspapers so families could learn their loved ones destinies.We will also discuss his challenges in attempting to publish the list plus his life after the Andersonville affair.

About the Instructor
Jim Malarney is a Civil War enthusiast who has studied Lenawee’s Civil War regiments and the people who volunteered. He is always happy to share his knowledge with others and to offer recognition to those who served.

2022 Supreme Court Decisions
Thursday mornings at 9:00 a.m., October 6, 13, 20, 27
Instructor: Dr. Robert Gordon

Week 1: What is the Supreme Court? What is constitutional authority, who gets nominated, who gets confirmed, what cases does it handle, how does it reach its decisions, what are the majority, minority, and concurring opinions, who writes the opinions, what is the responsibility of the Court’s law clerks, what is the effect of its decisions, what is the relationship of the Court to lower federal and state courts, can justices be impeached?
Week 2: Abortion Rights – In Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the court ruled a Mississippi law that bans most abortions after 15 weeks is constitutional and overturned the constitutional right to abortion established by Roe v. Wade in 1973.
Week 3: Separation of church and state_ In Carson v. Makin, the court ruled a Maine program that excludes religious schools from a state tuition program is a violation of the free exercise of religion.
Week 4: Second Amendment – In New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, the court ruled states with strict limits on carrying guns in public violate the Second Amendment.

About the Instructor
Bob Gordon was born and raised in Holland, Michigan. A 1963 graduate of Hope College, he earned his Master’s and PhD from Western Michigan University, teaching in Western’s history department from 1967-1976. From 1977-2013, Bob held numerous positions at Siena Heights, including director of advertising, dean of the college and provost, dean of the graduate college and library director. A self-taught photographer, he has had 30 plus exhibitions across the United States and published six books on photography. He has taught Lenawee Lifelong Learning classes for over a decade.

History of Book Banning
Thursday mornings at 11:00 a.m., October 6, 13, 20, 27
Instructor: Jennifer Wrzesinski

Week 1: Introduction to Book Censorship – What is censorship? Why do individuals, organizations and government challenge or ban certain books? A brief history of book censorship throughout the world including a review of the most frequently challenged/banned books in the world.
Week 2: Book Censorship in the United States 16th -17th Centuries – An in-depth look at book burning and banning in the 1600s and the 1700s in the United States.
Week 3: Book Censorship in the United States 18th-19th Centuries – An in-depth look at banning and challenges in the 1800s and 1900s, including the differences public libraries and school libraries face when addressing censorship issues.
Week 4: Current Trends in Book Challenges/Bans in the United States- An in-depth look at current book banning trends and why challenges /bans are on the rise in the United States.

About the Instructor
Jennifer Wrzesinski is the Director of the Adrian District Library, located in downtown Adrian. Before joining Adrian District Library, she spent eight years as the Head of Public Services for the Marshall District Library and began her public library career as a library assistant with the Capital Area District Library. Jennifer holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Health from Central Michigan University and a Master’s in Library Science from Wayne State University.

Water Power!
Thursday afternoons at 1:00 p.m., October 6, 13, 20, 27
Instructor: Meija Knafi

Week 1: The Physics of Water – Water is an incredible force of nature and influences the world around us every day in seen and unseen ways. We will explore the power of water and how it has shaped our region.
Week 2: The Chemistry of Water – How does water’s unique chemical shape influence the way it interacts with itself and with other molecules? What’s up with how water changes size when it freezes and how in the world can liquid ice be dry?
Week 3: The Glacial History of the River Raisin – After learning how water moves and interacts in the world through physics and chemistry, we’ll spend some time discussing these processes through the ages.
Week 4: Water and the Weather in the Great lakes Region – Water is present in nearly every kind of weather event occurring in our region, no matter what time of year. How do these events influence us today? Explore the power of water and its effect on our region.

About the Instructor
Meija Knafl is the Outreach Coordinator for the River Raisin Watershed Council. Meija earned her Bachelor’s in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Maine, is an accredited Associate Wildlife Biologist with The Wildlife Society, and is excited to put her previous experience to work for the good of the watershed and the communities it supports!

The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer (1387-1400)
Thursday afternoons at 3:00 p.m., October 6, 13, 20, 27
Instructor: Dr. Robert Ploegstra

This is a collection of stories about a pilgrimage to the shrine of Thomas Becket in Canterbury, Kent. The 30 pilgrims who undertake the journey gather at the Tabard Inn in Southwark, across the Thames from London and agree to engage in a storytelling contest as they travel. Most of the pilgrims are introduced by vivid brief sketches in the “General Prologue”. The pilgrimage made possible consideration of the relationship between the pleasures and vices of this world and spiritual desires for the next.

NOTE: Copies of this book will be provided.

About the Instructor
Robert Ploegstra, PhD, was born in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, attended Calvin College, Western Michigan University, and Michigan State University.A linguist, he is an expert in names, early European history, and a proud Frisian.


Sign up for our Email Updates

Previous Classes offered by Lenawee Lifelong Learning

Lore and Secrets of Chinese Writing Instructor: Dr. Michael C. McGrath

Six Great Ideas Instructor: Mark Schersten

Bill of Rights Instructor: Dr. Bob Gordon

The Short Story Instructor: Marilyn Kremer

The Tempest Instructor Dr. Robert Ploegstra

Poetry Instructor: Charmaine Stangl

Survey of Islamic Art & Architecture Instructor: Dr. Michael C. McGrath

Genealogy Instructors: Julie Olin and Bob Wessel

Fight or Flight: Response to a New World Instructor: Avani Pandya

Supreme Court Decisions Instructor: Dr. Robert Gordon

Arts and the Brain Instructors: Jann Battersby, Julianne Dolan, Pi Benio, Trudy McSorley

Spanish American War Instructor: Ray Lennard

Introduction to Meditation: Breathing, Posture, and Focus Instructor: Linda Polter

Hamlet Instructor: Dr. Robert Ploegstra

Judaism, Christianity, and Islam Compared Instructor: Dr. Michael McGrath

Here’s to Women Instructor: Marilyn Kremer

The History of Women in Science and Mathematics Instructor: Dr. Beth Lamprecht

The Crusades Instructor: Florian Burdick

The Reformation Instructor: Marilyn Kremer

How Advances in Science and Mathematics Moved Civilization Forward Instructor: Robert Xeras

Contemporary Islam Instructor Dr. Michael McGrathHistory of American Theater Instructor: Erik Gable

Shakespeare’s Macbeth Instructor Dr. Robert Ploegstra

Concerns in our Changing World

Local History Series

Mystery Trips