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WISE COURSES

Our Spring 2019 course registration is underway . Our course offerings are listed below.

The WISE catalog is available as a downloadable and printable PDF fileWe also have a two-page course list that you can share with family and friends, showing them the variety of courses available to WISE members.

You must be a WISE member to register for these courses. Log in and, if needed, renew your membership. If you are new to WISE, go to our Member Benefits page to join. Once you've decided on the courses that interest you, you can register online or you can mail in your choices, along with your membership dues, using our registration form.

You can register for any courses, even after classes have started. (If you join a course after the first class, check with the group leader for any materials you have missed.)

Please read the course description carefully before you register for a course.

Please do not register for courses if you're not sure that you'll be able to attend all of the class meetings. If a course fills, someone else might not be able to get into the course.

If a course is full, please register anyway. You'll be added to the waitlist. Spaces can and do open up. In addition, if a course is very popular, we'll try to offer it again soon. If you're on the waitlist, we will give you preference for the repeated course.

Registration Practice

The courses shown in this section give you a chance to try out the online registration system before the start of actual course registration.
  1. Click on either of the two courses below.
  2. Click on the Register link in the lower left.
  3. Enter your name, email address, and other information.
After you've completed your registration, you'll receive an email that confirms that you are registered for the course.
If you have further questions, see the How to register for courses page or contact the WISE office for further help.

For your registration practice

Note: some courses have WISE members who are preregistered. These are people who were on the waitlist for the previous offering of the course. 

Whenever possible, if a course has a large waitlist, we will try to repeat the course. So, if the course if full, be sure to sign up anyway.

The date and time for D3. Wills, Trusts and Asset Protection Planning (REPEAT) (Rivard) has changed to Tuesday mornings at 9:45 AM. 

Session C

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Session D

Monday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Upcoming classes

    • 01/28/2019
    • 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
    • Kennedy 119, Assumption College
    • 18
    Register

    This course entry is for testing purposes only. This is only a test. If this was an actual WISE course, you'd see a real course description, followed by a biography of the group leader and a list of required readings (if any). 

    This is a test of the WISE course registration system.

    GROUP LEADER My Chaos Monk

    By the way, 

    Barking Pumpkin Records is an American independent record label based in California, United States, that specialized in mail order releases. The label was founded in 1980 by Frank Zappa, who named it after his wife's smoker's cough when she tried to quit the habit.


    • 01/28/2019
    • 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM
    • Kennedy 119, Assumption College
    • 45
    Register

    This course entry is for testing purposes only. This is only a test. If this was an actual WISE course, you'd see a real course description, followed by a biography of the group leader and a list of required readings (if any). 

    This is a test of the WISE course registration system.

    GROUP LEADER My Chaos Monk



    • 02/04/2019
    • 03/04/2019
    • 5 sessions
    • Worcester Jewish Community Center (JCC), 633 Salisbury Street, Worcester
    • 1
    Register

    We will be exploring an often under-explored book of the Bible, the Song of Songs or Song of Solomon, which is essentially love poetry often allegorized by both Jews and Christians to refer to the Love of God for Israel and for the Church, respectively.  Yet this is hardly “agape” love – it’s young, passionate, sensual love.  What does this poetry suggest about the Maker of Heaven and Earth?  What does it suggest about the ways that “religious” people have often talked about human sexuality?  We will have some lively conversations to consider this.

    GROUP LEADER:  The Reverend Dr. Richard Simpson is an Episcopal priest, currently serving on the staff of the Bishop of Western Massachusetts.  Prior to that he served as rector of St. Francis Church in Holden for more than fifteen years, during which time he also taught Introduction to Bible classes to Assumption undergraduates, and, over the past two decades, to many WISE classes as well..

    REQUIRED BOOK:  Any translation of the Bible

    • 02/04/2019
    • 03/04/2019
    • 5 sessions
    • AC - Kennedy Building Rm. 119
    • 10
    Register

    We sometimes hear comments about “quantum leaps,” “entanglement,” and “quantum healing.”  We casually use smartphones and other technological wonders that couldn’t even have been imagined as recently as our own childhood days.  Yet the scientific basis for advances in Quantum Mechanics is still not well understood, even by the scientists themselves.  Why does nature behave so counter-intuitively on the sub-microscopic scale, compared with the way we see things on our everyday human scale?  Topics will include waves and particles, Schroedinger’s Cat and quantum entanglement, and “Reality” at the atomic scale.  No special background and no math will be required - just your own healthy curiosity.  Let’s venture into the quantum world together!

    GROUP LEADER:  Les Blatt is Emeritus Professor of Physics and Education at Clark University.  His research interests include work in experimental nuclear physics and astrophysics as well as modern approaches to learning science.  His WISE courses are typically interdisciplinary explorations, where scientific ideas intersect with other areas of human interest.

    OPTIONAL BOOK:  Beyond Weird by Phillip Ball, ISBN 978-1847924582

     

    • 02/04/2019
    • 03/04/2019
    • 5 sessions
    • AC - Kennedy Building Rm. 119
    • 0
    Join waitlist

    What is a building trying to tell us?  This course explains how esthetic, historical, technical, political, and even philosophical and religious considerations need to be kept in mind in shaping the “message” that a building tries to communicate.  During the course we will focus on a few major buildings with reference to other related buildings.  The buildings are the Parthenon (Athens), Hagia Sophia (Istanbul), Notre-Dame Cathedral (Paris), Washington, DC Urban Plan (Pierre L’Enfant), Carpenter Center (Le Corbusier, Cambridge, MA), Beth Shalom Synagogue (Frank Lloyd Wright, Elkins Park, PA)

    GROUP LEADER: Father Richard Lamoureux, AA, is Vice President for Mission at Assumption College. His graduate degrees are in theology and art history, with a dissertation on 15th century Italian architecture. His interests now are Michelangelo (sculpture and architecture) and 20th century architecture, especially Frank Lloyd Wright. He views architecture as the embodiment of human communities.

    NO REQUIRED BOOKS
    FOR THE FIRST CLASS:  Read the article by Professor James Ackerman which will be sent in digital form prior to the beginning of class.

     

    • 02/05/2019
    • 03/05/2019
    • 5 sessions
    • AC - Plourde Recreation Center Conference Room
    • 0
    Join waitlist

    You might have consulted a YouTube video to fix a toilet, check a recipe or tune a banjo. What looks like fun is part of a larger trend in education and business training. From a TED talk, you learn how a brain researcher describes her own stroke.  A Khan Academy course will teach you the basics of statistics.  Skype screen-sharing lets your tech-savvy niece help you add photos to the family history you’re writing. No longer do we study for 16 or 20 years, expecting to master a field.  We learn what we need to know when we need to apply it.  This course will show you how that’s working in schools, in business, and in your own lives.

    GROUP LEADERKarl Hakkarainen has taught numerous WISE courses on music, technology, history, law, and journalism. Karl also serves as Technology Adviser to WISE.

    NO REQUIRED BOOKS
    • 02/05/2019
    • 03/05/2019
    • 5 sessions
    • AC - Kennedy Building Rm. 119
    • 4
    Register

    This course will appeal to scientific novices.  We will learn how our bodies function and how infectious diseases impact our lives in ways that allow us to be healthier.  Our exploration will include activities to reinforce our learning.  We will look at four topics in biology: human heart and circulatory system, disease transmission, vaccination and herd immunity, superbugs, bacteria with resistance to multiple antibiotics and gene editing with CRISPR.

    GROUP LEADERJane Crooks (B.S. Biology, University of Notre Dame. M.A. Secondary Education, Tufts University) is a former middle school science teacher.  She currently works with at-risk college students as an academic coach and teaches WISE science classes.

    NO REQUIRED BOOKS


    • 02/05/2019
    • 03/05/2019
    • 5 sessions
    • AC - Kennedy Building Rm. 119
    • 0
    Join waitlist

    Landscape painting was the first uniquely American art, beginning with the Hudson River School artists such as Thomas Cole and Fredrick Church.  Explore the Luminist paintings of Martin Johnson Heade and Fitz Henry Lane reflecting the coast of New England.  The landscapes of Winslow Homer, George Bellows, and Georgia O’Keeffe illustrate the expressiveness of the late 19th and 20th centuries.

    GROUP LEADERMartha Chiarchiaro has brought history to life through the art of the times for more than 30 years. She received her Master’s degree in the History of Art from Williams College and has taught a variety of art history courses at the Worcester Art Museum and Worcester State University. Martha has provided numerous talks on American painting, with a special fondness for American landscapes.

    NO REQUIRED BOOKS

    Note: several WISE members who were on the waitlist for the Fall offering of this course are preregistered for this offering. 

    Whenever possible, if a course has a large waitlist, we will try to repeat the course. So, if the course if full, be sure to sign up anyway.

    • 02/06/2019
    • 03/06/2019
    • 5 sessions
    • LOCATION: Worcester Jewish Community Center (JCC), 633 Salisbury Street, Worcester
    • 0
    Join waitlist

    Christianity is a religion over 2000 years old.  The religion itself is a great storehouse of art, literature, music, history etc., but that is not the same as the multiple theological traditions and spiritual practices that developed out of this deep well, to say nothing of the many denominations. The course will examine Christianity as an historical phenomenon, and from there look at the development of denominations, different strands of theology and spirituality.  If you think there’s simply a “thing” called “Christianity,” this course will invite you into the complexity of the Christian Faith, but also its most simple tenets.

    GROUP LEADER: Tim Burger is rector of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Worcester.  He studied at the University of GA (Literature and Philosophy; The General Seminary, NYC (Divinity); Union Seminary, NYC (Religion and Literature); and is currently working on his MFA at Sewanee: The University of the South.

    REQUIRED BOOK: Christianity, A Very Short Introduction. 2nd Edition. Linda Woodhead.

    NO REQUIRED BOOKS

    Note: several WISE members who were on the waitlist for the Fall offering of this course are preregistered for this offering. 

    Whenever possible, if a course has a large waitlist, we will try to repeat the course. So, if the course if full, be sure to sign up anyway.

    • 02/06/2019
    • 03/06/2019
    • 5 sessions
    • The Willows, Great Room, 101 Barry Rd. Worcester
    • 0
    Join waitlist

    Throughout our history thousands of American citizens have divorced themselves from the primary culture and sought life in a closed community. We will study the reasons for such a choice, whether ideological, financial, personal dependency, or attachment to a charismatic leader who makes all decisions for the group. Specific cults and sects studied will include Shakers, Mormonism, Heaven's Gate, the Manson Family, Branch Davidians, Jonestown among others.

    Group Leader: Margaret Watson is a product of the Big Ten, having received her bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Michigan and then pursuing further graduate study at Ohio State University. She is Professor Emerita from Quinsigamond Community College, serving both on the faculty and the administration in her thirty six years tenure there.

     

    NO REQUIRED BOOKS

    • 02/06/2019
    • 03/06/2019
    • 5 sessions
    • AC - Plourde Recreation Center Conference Room
    • 0
    Join waitlist

    *A 10 week course (register for both C9 and D9)

    The question of what is important in life has many answers.  In the first nine weeks we will consider a number of these questions.  Then, in the final week we will consider what is important in old age.  Topics will include: sacrificing one’s life, love, being good and being rich, competition and cooperation, spectator or activist, disagreement over values, comfort versus being in harmony with nature, and autonomy. 

    GROUP LEADER: Born in Germany, Richard Schmitt was forced to leave because he was Jewish.  He emigrated to the US and earned degrees in Chicago and at Yale.  He spent many years teaching at Brown University and Worcester State College.  He has taught WISE classes for more than 20 years.

    REQUIRED BOOK:  Harry Frankfurt, The Important of What We Care About Group Leader will send the text to everyone before the beginning of the class.

     

    • 02/06/2019
    • 03/06/2019
    • 5 sessions
    • AC - Kennedy Building Rm. 119
    • 0
    Join waitlist

    Landscape painting was the first uniquely American art, beginning with the Hudson River School artists such as Thomas Cole and Fredrick Church.  Explore the Luminist paintings of Martin Johnson Heade and Fitz Henry Lane reflecting the coast of New England.  The landscapes of Winslow Homer, George Bellows, and Georgia O’Keeffe illustrate the expressiveness of the late 19th and 20th centuries.

    GROUP LEADER:  John S. Ross, III holds degrees from Yale University and the University of Virginia School of Law and served as Adjunct Professor of Law at Washington & Lee University.  He has taught a number of courses in the WISE Program on constitutional law topics.

    REQUIRED BOOK:  The Limits of Presidential Power: A Citizen’s Guide to the Law, by Manheim and Watts (2018).  ISBN 978-0-9996988< /p>D BOOKS

    Note: several WISE members who were on the waitlist for the Fall offering of this course are preregistered for this offering. 

    Whenever possible, if a course has a large waitlist, we will try to repea

    • 02/06/2019
    • 03/06/2019
    • 5 sessions
    • Mass Audubon Broad Meadow Brook Wildlife Sanctuary, 414 Massasoit Road, Worcester 01604
    • 0
    Join waitlist

    Over 50 kinds of animals are active in New England winters.  Their overnight activities are preserved in snow tracks and trails.  Even without snow there are many signs of wildlife to study.  We will learn to recognize and identify wildlife tracks and follow trails to see how they move, where they go, and what they eat. We will combine indoor slide presentations with short outdoor walks around the sanctuary grounds looking for signs of winter wildlife. Each session will cover a different group of animals that share similar tracks and trails.

    GROUP LEADERJoe Choiniere is Mass Audubon’s Central Sanctuaries Property Manager, dividing time between Worcester’s Broad Meadow Brook Education Center and Wildlife Sanctuary and Princeton’s Wachusett Meadow Wildlife Sanctuary. He has worked for Mass Audubon since 1975 at various sites and in different capacities, serving as Property Manager at Laughing Brook in Hampden, MA and Sanctuary Director at Wachusett Meadow. Joe is a lifelong naturalist and has a B.S. in Natural History from UMass/Amherst.

    NO REQUIRED BOOKS

    • 02/06/2019
    • 03/06/2019
    • 5 sessions
    • AC - Kennedy Building Rm. 119
    • 27
    Register

    Simon Kuznets pioneered the idea of measuring Gross Domestic Product and National Income Product Accounts in the 1920’s and 1930’s. Since colonial times, statisticians had been measuring various measures of the economy from employment to prices to import and exports.  Statistics are dry and boring, right?  Well, incredibly, these measures of economic well-being are increasingly the subject of partisan interpretation.  In this course we will look at the economic indicators ourselves to find real values and trends and explain them in layperson’s terms to try to make sense of the numbers.  We will look at present and historical GDP, employment and unemployment, inflation, consumer confidence, trade deficits and tariffs, budget deficits and national debt, stock and bond prices, housing prices, and more to see if we can uncover the truth.  What should be a dry straightforward subject turns out to be anything but that.

    GROUP LEADERWilliam O’Brien holds a PhD in Economics from Northeastern University and is Professor of Economics at Worcester State University.  His research interests range from public choice to the effect of taxes on economic behavior to the determinants of MCAS scores to globalization.  The subject of his PhD dissertation was public choice.

    REQUIRED BOOK:  The Secrets of Economic Indicators, 3rd Edition, Bernhard Baumol, Pearson Education FT Press, 2013.  ISBN 978-0132932073.

    • 02/07/2019
    • 03/07/2019
    • 5 sessions
    • AC - Plourde Recreation Center Conference Room
    • 13
    Register

    African societies in the post-colonial era have been troubled by various trials and tribulations, prompting distinguished writers to focus on the tragic consequences of the colonial heritage.  Meanwhile, there are quite a few writers whose comic visions and perspectives may remind us that you can only cry so long before you need to laugh.  In this course we will read and discuss texts by Cameroonian and Congolese writers with a genius for finding the comic potential in seriously problematic situations.  Topics we will discuss include humor, irony, satire, the comic imagination, colonial and post-colonial contexts, psychological colonization, immigration, deceptive appearances, the role of the unreliable narrators, the relationship between gender and comedy, the politically subversive potential of comedy, and comic traditions in literary history.

    GROUP LEADERDr. Lillian Corti obtained a doctorate in Comparative Literature from the City University of New York.  She taught at the University of Tulsa, Oklahoma; at Marien Ngouabi University, Brazzaville; and at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.  Her translation of the Congolese novel, Le Feu des Origines by Emmanuel Dongola was published by Lawrence Hill Books in 2001.  She has published various articles on African literature.

    REQUIRED BOOKS:  Beti, Mongo, Mission to Kala.  Mallory Classic African Writing, ISBN 10-1856571092.  Dongala, Emmanuel, Jazz and Palm Wine, University of Indiana Press, ISBN 10-0253026695.  Mabanckou, Alain, Blue White Red-A Novel, University of Indiana Press, ISBN 10-0253007919.

    OPTIONAL BOOKS:  Achebe, Chinua, Things Fall Apart.  Thiongo, Ngugi wa, The River Between.  Oyono, Ferdinand, Houseboy.

    • 02/07/2019
    • 03/07/2019
    • 5 sessions
    • AC - Kennedy Building Rm. 119
    • 8
    Register

    Considered among the earliest representatives of Baroque art, the painter Michelangelo Merisi, known as Caravaggio, emerged mid-to-late 16th century during a time of deep political, religious and social changes. During his brief and violent life, he combined the artistic legacies that preceded him into a revolutionary way of expressing stories and emotions using, among other techniques, the powerful use of light and darkness. We will cover the life, times and artistic legacy of Caravaggio, in the context of the Catholic Reformation and the age of Baroque.

    GROUP LEADERAntonella Doucette is an Italian native, residing in Italy for the first 28 years of her life.  The education she received there focused on the knowledge of Greek and Latin classic literature, philosophy, European history and art, as well as Italian language and literature.  She is currently a docent and member of the faculty at the Worcester Art Museum.  Recently she lectured at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

    NO REQUIRED BOOKS

    • 02/07/2019
    • 03/07/2019
    • 5 sessions
    • AC - Kennedy Building Rm. 119
    • 23
    Register

    The Taming of the Shrew may well have been Shakespeare’s first comedy.  Though brilliantly constructed, the play seems to have irritated many then and continues to do so now.  The problem is Katherine’s depiction both as a shrew and as a shrew in need of taming.  Yet Katherine (who refuses to be called “Kate”) prefigures Shakespeare’s strong, attractive comic women to come.  In fact, one is just around the corner: Beatrice, the shrew who steals the show from her sweet and compliant cousin, Hero, in Much Ado About Nothing.  In this class we will study both plays with special attention to how Shakespeare makes clear how much a woman’s shrewish behavior may only be so in the eye of the beholder.

    GROUP LEADER: Helen Whall received her Ph.D. from Yale University in 1976 and immediately joined the faculty of the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester Massachusetts. There she taught courses in Shakespeare, the Renaissance, Renaissance Drama, Law and Drama and Dramatic Comedy. She has published a book on Pre-Shakespearean drama and numerous essays on Shakespeare and his contemporaries as well as modern and contemporary playwrights. Professor Whall also served as the theater reviews editor for Theatre Journal.

    REQUIRED BOOK: A copy of Taming of the Shrew and Much Ado About Nothing Folger Editions (available for free on line) are preferable.             

    • 02/08/2019
    • 03/08/2019
    • 5 sessions
    • Southgate at Shrewsbury Retirement Community, 30 Julio Drive, Shrewsbury 01545
    • 9
    Register

    Given that The Beatles, from their first appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” on February 9, 1964, until their break-up, were only together for about five-and-a-half years, their influence on popular music and culture, and their continued popularity is quite astounding!  This course will concentrate on the lives, history and music of The Beatles - arguably the most influential contemporary music group of the 20th century. In addition to a discussion of their music and history, music videos will be presented, allowing participants to listen to some of their most memorable songs, while the video images will be used to further enhance the music.  Topics include the early years; the transition from a live band to premier studio band; the later years; the Beatles after the break-up; and their musical legacy - the British Invasion.

    GROUP LEADER:  Joe Corn spent most of his professional career working as an engineer.  He also taught in the NYC school system, Springfield Technical Community College, Penn State University, and worked as a technical instructor for Moore Products Co.  Joe has taught several music and technology courses for WISE and is a former WISE President.  He and his wife reside in Grafton.

    NO REQUIRED BOOKS    

    • 02/08/2019
    • 03/08/2019
    • 5 sessions
    • AC - Kennedy Building Rm. 119
    • 19
    Register

    Ever since Dorothy Gale awoke from her fabulous dream in “The Wizard of Oz,” and Alfred Hitchcock recruited surreal imagery from Salvador Dali for “Spellbound,” moviegoers have been intrigued by the medium’s use of the surreal and the dreamlike.  Join us as we consider the highly imaginative elements adopted by such visionary writers and directors as Guillermo del Toro; Guy Maddin; Terry Gilliam; Jean-Pierre Jeunet; Andrei Tarkovsky; David Lynch; David Cronenberg; Charlie Kaufman; and Michel Gondry.  As we view three films that illuminate the human condition through alternative modes of consciousness, we will consider some of the serious, satiric, and comedic purposes that lie behind filmmakers’ decisions to step outside of conventional reality.  We will also assess which of these artists of the cinema have been more successful in these pursuits.

    GROUP LEADER:  Jeff Long has offered film studies courses at WISE since 2014 and has been writing movie reviews for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette since 2008. He also taught film studies courses at Becker College and is the author of the reading guide Remembered Childhoods (2007).

    NO REQUIRED BOOKS

    • 02/08/2019
    • 03/08/2019
    • 5 sessions
    • AC - Kennedy Building Rm. 119
    • 41
    Register

    Most music lovers know one Smetana opera; Czechs know them all as the foundation of Czech nationalistic musical culture, encompassing comedy, tragedy, history, and legend.  The course will begin with his two early successes: comic (The Bartered Bride) and tragic (Dalibor).  Then a serious opera based on Czech history and legend (Libusse).  The last two weeks will briefly survey three late operas composed after he went suddenly deaf -- a folksy comedy (The Kiss) and two romantic operas (The Secret and The Devil's Wall.)  

    GROUP LEADER:  Steven Ledbetter has a PhD in musicology from New York University.  He taught there and at Dartmouth College for a decade, then spent 19 years as program annotator and lecturer at the Boston Symphony Orchestra.  In 1976, on a visit to Prague, he saw two of Smetana’s operas in their native culture and was hooked!

    NO REQUIRED BOOKS

    • 03/25/2019
    • 04/22/2019
    • 5 sessions
    • AC-Kennedy Building Rm. 119
    • 29
    Register

    The course will offer insights and promote discussion about the origins and status of social welfare policy in the United States.  Topics to be covered include: the philosophical basis of the concept of social justice; how social policy became public policy; and what factors influence our attitudes toward social and public policy. 

    Special emphasis will be placed on issues in the Greater Worcester area such as basic rights to housing; food; work; and the right to and work in a safe neighborhood.

    GROUP LEADER:  James Bourque was a social work administrator for almost 30 years including 25 years as CEO of the United Way of Monmouth County, NJ.  He worked closely with volunteers, local and state officials, and agencies identifying and defining emerging social policy issues and concerns, ultimately establishing programs and services that met the needs. After retirement, he taught Social Welfare Policy and other courses at Monmouth University, Smith College, and Wheelock College for 10 years.

    NO REQUIRED BOOKS

    • 03/25/2019
    • 04/22/2019
    • 5 sessions
    • AC-Kennedy building Rm. 119
    • 36
    Register

    The fine arts of China consist of brushwork: paintings adorned with poems and calligraphy.  Unfortunately, it is very difficult to fully appreciate them without a reading knowledge of Chinese.  On the other hand, it is very easy to appreciate Chinese decorative arts without knowing the language.  The Chinese elevated the decoration of useful objects to high art: objects on a scholar’s desk, vases, presentation pieces, carvings in many materials, furniture, clothing, grave goods to honor the dead, and more.  We will study many of these objects and how they were made in some detail.  An optional 6th class will review the Chinese decorative arts in the Worcester Art Museum.

     

    GROUP LEADER:  Professor of Biology Emeritus at Assumption, Paul Mahon holds a PhD in Neurochemistry from Clark University.  He has traveled to China a dozen times and has collected Chinese art for more than 40 years.  He is a Docent at the Worcester Art Museum (WAM).  Pieces from his art collection were exhibited at WAM.

    OPTIONAL BOOK: Any book on Chinese decorative arts would be useful, but not required

    • 03/26/2019
    • 04/23/2019
    • 5 sessions
    • AC-Kennedy Building Rm. 119
    • 8
    Register

    Attorney Rivard will offer a clear and concise primer in the basic legal planning for lifetime decision-making to protect you and your family with regards to health and finances; financing health and residential needs; protecting family members; and planning for death. We will discuss planning for second marriages and special needs beneficiaries, as well as avoiding probate.  The course will give you the knowledge to sort through the incorrect and conflicting advice you receive from many sources.  You will emerge with an understanding of the planning approach that is best for you and the next steps you should take.

    GROUP LEADER:  Attorney Brenda M. Rivard of O’Connor & Rivard Attorneys PC  is an experienced attorney who specializes in life/estate planning for all ages; specific elder law issues; probate estate administration; Medicaid planning and application; guardianships and conservatorships; and asset planning to maximize resources and preserve assets.

    NO REQUIRED BOOKS

     Note the change of day and time of this course. 

    • 03/26/2019
    • 04/23/2019
    • 5 sessions
    • AC-Kennedy Building Rm. 119
    • 2
    Register

    Throughout our history thousands of American citizens have divorced themselves from the primary culture and sought life in a close community.  We will study the reasons for such a choice, whether ideological, financial, personal dependency, or attachment to a charismatic leader who makes all decisions for the group.  Specific cults and sects studied will include Shakers, Mormonism, Heaven’s Gate, the Manson Family, Branch Davidians, and Jonestown, among others.

     

    GROUP LEADER: Margaret Watson is a product of the Big Ten, having received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Michigan and then pursuing further graduate study at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.  She is Professor Emerita from Quinsigamond Community College, serving both in the faculty and the administration in her thirty-six years tenure there.

    NO REQUIRED BOOKS

     

     

    • 03/26/2019
    • 04/23/2019
    • 5 sessions
    • AC-Kennedy Building Rm. 119
    • 13
    Register

    These classes will look at the concept of Enlightenment and Reason as the model for human progress and development.  We will ask several questions such as: What is progress?  What has been achieved?  How is this achievement connected to science and reason?  What is the future for human progress?  Topics that will be included are: health and wealth, democracy, rights and life, the environment, and peace and safety. The book of the same title, plus other writings will be used as the information source and guide for the class discussion.

     

    GROUP LEADER:  Pete Murphy retired from teaching Management in the Business Studies Department at Assumption College in August of 2011.  He came to Assumption after a long career in the international energy industry, managing a variety of business and technical organizations.  He continues to consult in the fields of energy and of venture capital.  He is a regular Group Leader with WISE

    REQUIRED BOOK:  Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress, by Steven Pinker, Viking 2018.

    • 03/26/2019
    • 04/23/2019
    • 5 sessions
    • AC-Kennedy Building Rm. 119
    • 36
    Register

    This course explores one of the alternative forms of early Christianity known as Gnosticism.  In sampling some of the many writings that never made it into Christianity’s “official” Scriptures or teachings, we will get to know how the Gnostics understood the life and teaching of Jesus and why this made them the black sheep of the early church.  Readings include the Gospel of Mary of Magdala as well as The Gospel of Judas.

    GROUP LEADER: Kathleen Fisher, Associate Professor of Theology, joined the Assumption faculty in 2002.  She specializes in early and medieval Christian history, with a great love for early Irish history - apparently they had their own brand of Celtic Gnosticism, as only the Irish could!

    REQUIRED BOOK:  Lost Scriptures: Books that Did Not Make It into the New Testament, Bart D. Ehrman, Oxford University Press, New Ed edition (September 15, 2005) ISBN: 978-0195182507.

    • 03/27/2019
    • 04/24/2019
    • 5 sessions
    • The Willows - Great Room, 101 Barry Road, Worcester
    • 0
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    This course will examine the “Movement” through a combination of class lecture and emphasis upon documentary film.  Significant period writings will also be utilized.  Topics include: Brown vs. The Board of Education; the murder of Emmett Till, Rosa Parks and the bus boycott; segregation in schools; Nashville, TN.-a segregated city; the Freedom Rides; events in Birmingham; the March on Washington; Freedom Summer; Selma; Voting Rights Act; and the Watts explosion.

     

    GROUP LEADER:  Leo Sullivan is a veteran WISE presenter having previously taught several courses on 20th Century American history topics.  His main area of interest and focus is the post-WW II period, 1945-1975.  He has an MA in American History from Notre Dame and is a retired school superintendent.

    REQUIRED BOOK:  Voices in Our Blood, ed. By Jon Meacham, Random House Paperback, 2003.  ISBN 11-375-75881

    REQUIRED READING:  Prior to the first class, read selections on pages 13-32, 75-104 and 167-202

     

    • 03/27/2019
    • 04/24/2019
    • 5 sessions
    • Worcester Jewish Community Center (JCC),633 Salisbury Street, Worcester
    • 2
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    Five great plays of the 1950s are examined to see if their perspectives on perennial problems speak to us today, more than 50 years later.  “Come Back, Little Sheba” is about abortion and alcoholism; “Death of a Salesman” is about the American Dream/nightmare; “Caine Mutiny Court Martial” presents a naval commander, insecure and mentally ill, breaking down during a typhoon; “Tea & Sympathy” gives the audience a prep school boy who is deemed homosexual because he has long hair and likes music—therefore he may be a communist; “A Streetcar Named Desire” also examines mental illness as personified by Blanche DuBois.

     

    GROUP LEADER:  Steve White majored in English at Brown and has an M.A. in English from Berkeley.  He is a card-carrying member of “The Silent Generation” of the 1950’s. He also taught these plays at Bancroft School during “The Age of Aquarius.”

    REQUIRED BOOK:  New Voices in the American Theatre, edited by Brooks Atkinson.  The Modern Library Random House, Inc.  ISBN: 978-039460-2585.

    • 03/27/2019
    • 04/24/2019
    • 5 sessions
    • AC - Plourde Recreation Center Conference Room
    • 0
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     *A 10 week course following C9 (register for both C9 and D9)

    The question of what is important in life has many answers.  In the first nine of the weeks we will consider a number of these questions.  Then, in the final week we will consider what is important in old age.  Topics will include: sacrificing one’s life, love, being good and being rich, competition and cooperation, spectator or activist, disagreement over values, comfort versus being in harmony with nature, and autonomy.

     

    GROUP LEADER: Born in Germany, Richard Schmitt was forced to leave because he was Jewish.  He emigrated to the US and earned degrees in Chicago and at Yale.  He spent a great many years teaching at Brown University and Worcester State College.  He has taught WISE classes for more than 20 years.

    REQUIRED READING:  Harry Frankfurt, “The Important of What We Care About.”  Group Leader will send the article to everyone before the beginning of the class.

    • 03/27/2019
    • 04/24/2019
    • 5 sessions
    • AC-Kennedy Building Rm. 119
    • 4
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