Course Descriptions

Spring Classes 2022

Join us for classes this April at Adrian District Library, 143 E. Maumee, Downtown Adrian. Classes will be held in the lower level of the library. There is a $35 registration fee for classes. You may take one or all for this amount. Classes are 90 minutes long.

Registration is now closed.

Great Cities of the Middle Ages – Highlighting Baghdad & Kaifeng
Tuesday mornings at 9:00 a.m., April 5, 12, 19 and 26

Instructor: Dr. Michael McGrath

April 5: Intro to urban history with review of the great cities of the ancient world: Rome, Byzantium, Alexandria and Xi’an (aka Chang’an).
April 12: How and why did Baghdad get so large?
April 19: What was city life like for ordinary people?
April 26: What did these two cities produce in terms of culture, literature, philosophy, science, medicine, and technology?

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.

Exploring the River Raisin
Tuesday mornings at 11:00 a.m., April 5, 12, 19 and 26

Instructors: Stephen May and Meija Knafl

No oars or lifejackets required! This class will examine our watershed, its history, importance, influence, issues, problems and potential. A major watershed of Southeast Michigan, it is a contributor to the environment of Lake Erie and Northwest Ohio, as well as the environmental and agricultural issues, problems and remedies as we travel the Raisin.

About the Instructors
Stephen May, Executive Director of the River Raisin Watershed Council since 2015, served in the Lenawee County Drain Commissioner’s Office for 27 1/2 years, the last 18 1/2 years as Drain Commissioner. His career in water resources has spanned over 45 years, beginning in March 1975. Stephen is currently a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in the State of Michigan.

Meija Knafl is the Outreach Coordinator for the River Raisin Watershed Council. Her previous work includes 3 years as an Outreach Assistant with the City of Ann Arbor Natural Area Preservation where she led volunteer stewardship workdays and worked as part of the controlled ecological burn crew. Before that she spent 3 summers working for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, where she worked with children and the public leading science communication and contributing to aquatic macroinvertebrate surveys. 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!

Tuesday afternoons at 1:00 p.m., April 5, 12, 19 and 26

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.

Explorations in Psychology
Tuesday afternoons at 3:00 p.m., April 5, 12, 19 and 26
Instructor: Dr. Gordon Hammerle

April 5: Psychology’s Greatest Hits – A look at the most influential studies in the field. At this session, participants will be asked to submit ideas for Week 3 topics.
April 12: Thinking and Memory – Memory can be so impressive at times, but very frustrating at others. Research on memory, as well as problem solving and thinking will be presented.
April 19: Human Sexuality – Issues chosen by the class. Topics may include sexual orientation, gender identity, sex and aging, pornography, atypical sexual behavior, etc.
April 26: Participants’ Choices – Continuation of topics from earlier sessions or a new topic based on interests of the class.

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.

Wednesday afternoons at 1:00 p.m., April 6, 13, 20 and 27

Instructor: Florian Berdyck
April 6: The Progressive Era – Capitalism, Property and the Average Man
April 13: Temperance – The Evil of the Saloon Industry
April 20: Prohibition – Church and State vs. Everyone Else
April 27: Alcohol Taxation and Fiscal Reality – This session will narrow in on Michigan’s employment in the alcohol industry and value to the state’s economy.

About the Instructor
Florian Berdyck graduated from Geneva College in 1971 with a B.A. in English Literature and minors in German, History, and Speech, and also from the University of Missouri School of Journalism. He has experience in newspaper reporting and writing, as well as industrial technical writing.

Wednesday afternoons at 3:00 p.m., April 6, 13, 20 and 27

Instructor: Robert Ploegstra, PhD

Dr. Ploegstra and this class will enthusiastically tackle this incredibly complex and fascinating play filled with characterizations that are out of this world. Join the discussions about ghosts, madness, revenge and death.

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 proud of his Frisian heritage.

A Portfolio of Black and White Photography
Thursday mornings at 9:00 a.m., April 7, 14, 21 and 28

Instructor: Dr. Robert Gordon

This course will feature four of Bob Gordon’s black and white portfolios.

April 7: The Parks of Lenawee
April 14: Candid Portraits
April 21: The Streets of Paris 2017
April 28: Detroit Pre-World War I Immigrants, Portraits & Interviews

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

Lenawee at War 1861-1865
Thursday mornings at 11:00 a.m., April 7, 14, 21 and 28

Instructors: Jim Malarney and Dave Maxwell

This course will discuss Lenawee County’s Civil War regiments and the people who volunteered to serve their country as matters of patriotic duty. Without much knowledge about what lie ahead, they served some of the war’s major battles and many were injured or killed serving in the Union Army. Michigan was well represented in the war: 31 infantry regiments, 11 cavalry regiments, 1 artillery regiment, 1 engineer regiment and 2 sharpshooter regiments. Focusing on the men who served in the 4th Michigan, 18th Michigan, 26th Michigan and the Berdan Sharpshooters, the history of the units’ battles and their personal stories and courage are worth learning and honoring today. This is designed to be an interactive course and participants are encouraged to share their knowledge and curiosity about the people who fought to contain the war to the south.

About the Instructors
Jim Malarney and Dave Maxwell are enthusiasts who have studied Lenawee County’s Civil War regiments and the people who volunteered. Jim will lead 2 sessions, concentrating on Hudson volunteers and the Berdan Sharpshooters, and just maybe, the burning of the Sultana. Dave will focus on the 4th Michigan – its formation in Adrian, its major battles, and stories of its members.

How to Think About God *CLASS IS FULL*
Thursday afternoons at 1:00 p.m., April 7, 14, 21 and 28

Instructor: Mark Schersten

An overview of how philosophers from antiquity to the modern age have dealt with the existence of and nature of God. The first two sessions will focus on rational arguments for the existence of God, including Thomas Aquinas’ “Five Ways.” The last two sessions will examine two fundamental challenges to the existence of God – the problem of divine foreknowledge and human freedom, and the problem of evil.

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


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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