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OLLI offers summer school opportunities

  • The Summer Lecture Series is live-streamed from the Dartmouth College campus to OLLI at Granite State College. Members attending in Concord fully participate in the question-and-answer part of the program through an arrangement with Osher at Dartmouth. Courtesy

For the Monitor
Published: 6/24/2019 11:57:18 AM

OLLI at Granite State College is experiencing the same thing as most of the local schools are experiencing – summer vacation! Unlike the local school experience, OLLI’s students are not celebrating freedom from the classroom; they are looking for ways to continue the learning!

So OLLI is offering some summer school opportunities. OLLI, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, is the organization dedicated to “learning for the fun of it” for adults age 50 and above. Long past the age of being eager to get out of school, OLLI members relish the chance to experience a wide variety of courses, often with subject matter they never considered interesting. But, for a small investment in course fees, they usually find that some combination of the instructor’s passion for the topic, freedom from tests and homework and, surprisingly, the topic turns out to be fascinating. Add to that, the company of fellow students who share life experiences and love of discussion and OLLI education fills a very special spot in the lives of OLLI members.

Two summer series will be available starting in July. The first will meet twice a week for two weeks in July – a production of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. The four classes will explore American history through the eyes of artists whose work is found in the museum. After an introductory class which covers analysis, interpretation and critique of art works, the remaining three classes will divide the view of American history into Early America, Wars at Home and Abroad and Contemporary America. The history/art course is limited to 30 and will be open to members only at a cost of $35.

The second summer program is a six-week series of debates sponsored by Osher at Dartmouth. The debates are live-streamed to OLLI sites in Concord, Portsmouth and Conway. Both members and nonmembers are invited to attend the entire series for $95 or choose individual debates for $20 each. Entitled “Critical Thinking for the Preservation of Our Democracy,” the format of this series is different from the last 22. Rather than presenting a lecture on each topic, each session will offer two international experts to speak on both sides of an issue, demonstrating critical thinking in action.

The series is a timely response to the current contentious environment in the U.S. Osher at Dartmouth says, “There has been a sharp decline in critical thinking – listening thoughtfully and evaluating different points of view objectively on an issue. Rather, partisan and often uncivil tribal loyalty is dominating the discourse, and Americans are more and more getting their information and opinions from media vehicles that already agree and reinforce their going-in opinions. Other points of view are ignored.”

The debate format will include a moderator for each. Topics to be covered, one each week, include Freedom of Speech, Gun Rights, Affirmative Action, Freedom of the Press, Individual Privacy and Voting Rights.

“Freedom of Speech” on July 11 will feature two Yale College and Law School professors, Owen Fiss and Akhil Reed Amar, with moderator David Bisno who is a constitutional law scholar. Both speakers have elite resumes including clerkships for Supreme Court justices and both are considered among the foremost scholars in constitutional law. Dr. Fiss had worked for the House of Representatives impeachment inquiry on Richard Nixon and testified in the Bork hearings. Dr. Amar has won awards from both the American Bar Association and the Federalist Society and he has been cited by Supreme Court justices in more than 35 cases, more than any other in his generation. Besides appearing on many TV programs from Fox News to MSNBC, he also served as consultant to the TV show, The West Wing. Both are authors of many books.

Running Thursday mornings from July 11 through Aug. 15, the debate series will lead right into the beginning of the Fall Term which promises 77 courses in Concord covering the full spectrum of OLLI subject areas: history, art, politics, science, performing arts, travel, health, law, personal enrichment, fitness and more. Courses are also available at OLLI’s other sites: Manchester, Greater Seacoast area and Greater Conway. More information about OLLI, the summer series and course offerings is available on or by calling the OLLI office at 513-1377.

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