Upcoming events

    • 02/01/2021
    • (EST)
    • 04/19/2021
    • (EDT)
    • 10 sessions
    • https://assumptionwise.org/Course-Zoom-Links
    • 41
    Register

    Set in fourteenth-century Florence during the bubonic plague, Giovanni Boccaccio’s Decameron begins with a haunting description of the plague-stricken city. The story continues with an introduction to ten young people who meet at a church one morning and decide to evade the black death by leaving town. Sojourning within out-of-town estates, they spend their afternoons telling stories so that paradoxically the grim opening scene of the novel ushers in a collection of entertaining, often hilarious and sometimes bawdy stories. A great treasure of World Literature, The Decameron has inspired works by Geoffrey Chaucer, Marguerite de Navarre, William Shakespeare, Gotthold Lessing and Charles Perrault. We will read the basic story plus a selection of tales told by Boccaccio’s charming young refugees from the plague.

    ZOOM LINK: Available on website to paid and registered members

    CLASS LIMIT: 95

    INSTRUCTOR:  Lillian Corti, has a degree in Italian and French from Brooklyn College and a doctorate in Comparative Literature at the City University of New York. She taught Italian at the Foreign Language Institute in New York and taught literature in translation at Tulsa University, the University of Alaska Fairbanks and in Macerata, Italy for a Study Abroad program. 

    REQUIRED BOOK: Giovanni Boccaccio, The Decameron, translated by G.H. McWilliam, Penguin Press. ISBN: 9780140449303


    • 02/03/2021
    • (EST)
    • 04/21/2021
    • (EDT)
    • 10 sessions
    • https://assumptionwise.org/Course-Zoom-Links
    • 24
    Register

    All of us are “elderly.” But what does that mean? People experience these years of their lives differently. Inspired by different readings, the group will explore different aspects of aging, advantages and disadvantages. We will share our experiences and consider different ideas about enhancing the advantages of old age and minimizing the effects of the losses we unavoidably experience.

    ZOOM LINK: Available on website to paid and registered members

    CLASS LIMIT: 95

    INSTRUCTOR:  Richard Schmitt, was born in Germany and forced to leave because he was Jewish. He emigrated to the US and earned degrees from Chicago and Yale. He has taught philosophy for 65 years at various colleges including Brown University and Worcester State University. He is 93 years old and has taught WISE classes for more than 20 years.

    REQUIRED BOOKS: The Death of Ivan Ilych by Leo Tolstoy, The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway and Being Mortal by Atul Gawande. Please select any edition or format.


    • 03/22/2021
    • (EDT)
    • 04/19/2021
    • (EDT)
    • 5 sessions
    • https://assumptionwise.org/Course-Zoom-Links
    • 38
    Register

    This course will look at how the South’s military defeat in the American Civil War was transformed into the ostensible moral and cultural views of the “cause” and how they have come to shape current American political, economic and social divisions. Topics will include KKK, Plessy v. Ferguson, the New Deal.

    ZOOM LINK: Available on website to paid and registered members

    CLASS LIMIT: 95

    INSTRUCTOR Dr. Jed Watters, is a former Assumption University history professor, retired naval officer and veteran of Selma and Vietnam. He has provided instruction for WISE courses for several years.

    NO REQUIRED BOOKS



    • 03/22/2021
    • (EDT)
    • 04/19/2021
    • (EDT)
    • 5 sessions
    • https://assumptionwise.org/Course-Zoom-Links
    • 13
    Register


    What do John Williams, Max Steiner, Maurice Jarre, Elmer Bernstein, Jerry Goldsmith, Dimitri Tiomkin, John Barry, James Horner, Alfred Newman, Andre Previn, and Vangelis all have in common? They have all written some of the most memorable music for films - from Titanic to Exodus. From Star Wars to Gone With the Wind. From On the Waterfront to The Magnificent Seven to Mission Impossible. This course will examine the lives and notable contributions these and other great composers have made to our most beloved films.

    ZOOM LINK: Available on website to paid and registered members

    CLASS LIMIT: 95

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

    NO REQUIRED BOOKS


    • 03/23/2021
    • (EDT)
    • 04/20/2021
    • (EDT)
    • 5 sessions
    • https://assumptionwise.org/Course-Zoom-Links
    • 16
    Register

    Massachusetts is blessed with a varied topography and underlying geology that sets the state for incredible habitat diversity and, in turn, biodiversity. This class will survey the major habitats of Massachusetts, considering the natural and anthropogenic forces that shape the landscape, the unique characteristics of each habitat type, their flora, fauna, and conservation challenges including climate change.

    ZOOM LINK: Available on website to paid and registered members

    CLASS LIMIT: 95

    INSTRUCTOR: Martha Gach, is Education Manager and Conservation Coordinator at Mass Audubon’s Broad Meadow Brook Conservation Center and Wildlife Sanctuary and an instructor at Worcester State University. She has a PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and taught in the Peace Corps in Central Africa.

    NO REQUIRED BOOKS



    • 03/23/2021
    • (EDT)
    • 04/20/2021
    • (EDT)
    • 5 sessions
    • https://assumptionwise.org/Course-Zoom-Links
    • 20
    Register

    This course will provide a brief introduction to the human immune system, which protects us from a wide range of pathogens and foreign substances. Effective immune responses require the coordinated activities of multiple kinds of white blood cells, including lymphocytes that produce antibodies. Vertebrates are unique in possessing and adaptive immune response in addition to the more widely distributed innate immune system. Following an initial exposure to a foreign agent, an adaptive immune response becomes stronger as more potent antibodies appear. The immune system can also overreact, with some negative health consequences. We’ll use the COVID pandemic as an organizing point for some of these discussions.

    ZOOM LINK: Available on website to paid and registered members

    CLASS LIMIT: 95

    INSTRUCTOR: Clare O’Connor received her Ph.D. from Purdue University and did postdoctoral research at Caltech and UCLA. She was a research scientist at the Worcester Foundation for Experimental Biology for 11 years, before becoming a Biology professor at Boston College. She taught courses in biochemistry, genetics and cell biology for 23 years before she retired.  

    BOOKS



    • 03/23/2021
    • (EDT)
    • 04/20/2021
    • (EDT)
    • 5 sessions
    • https://assumptionwise.org/Course-Zoom-Links
    • 66
    Register

    Marshall McLuhan, 1911-1980, was born more than a decade before his city, Edmonton, Alberta, had a radio station. He left this world at the start of the Internet age. In that time, he chronicled and prophesied, distilling his long discourses into tidy aphorisms (probes, he called them), only to flip them on their heads. “The medium is the message” became The Medium Is the Message. Advertising is at once a cruel drug and our most enduring art form. Education now moves from discrete and unrelated subjects to broad, integrated pattern recognition. “You don’t like those ideas?” he reminded us. “I got others!”

    ZOOM LINK: Available on website to paid and registered members

    CLASS LIMIT: 95

    INSTRUCTOR:  Karl Hakkarainen is the Technology Adviser for WISE. He has taught courses covering a variety of topics including politics, digital literacy, social networks, history, music, and intellectual property law. He enjoys spending time with his granddaughters who ask him for advice about computers and cellphones. 

    OPTIONAL BOOK: Understanding Media: The Extension of Man, Marshall McLuhan, ISBN: 978-0262631594.



    • 03/24/2021
    • (EDT)
    • 04/21/2021
    • (EDT)
    • 5 sessions
    • https://assumptionwise.org/Course-Zoom-Links
    • 12
    Register

    Much fine art is the art of storytelling. In this online class, we will view objects in WAM’s collection virtually and learn how to read visual stories narrated by artists from ancient Athens and Rome to colonial America.  Enter these storied worlds and deepen your appreciation of them.  We will view art of ancient Greece and Rome, the Middle Age, Renaissance, Colonial and early 19th century America and 19th and 20th centuries in America and Europe.

    ZOOM LINK: Available on website to paid and registered members

    CLASS LIMIT: 95

    INSTRUCTORS: Virginia (Ginny) Powell-Brasier was a high school teacher of English and German for 32 years. A big fan of the German Expressionists, she is currently a docent at the Worcester Art Museum.

    Bill Shelley is a retired software engineer with a lifelong love of art and history.  Since becoming a docent at the Worcester Art Museum, he has enjoyed sharing these interests with others on museum tours and classes.

    NO REQUIRED BOOKS



    • 03/24/2021
    • (EDT)
    • 04/21/2021
    • (EDT)
    • 5 sessions
    • https://assumptionwise.org/Course-Zoom-Links
    • 40
    Register


    The 1913 Armory Show, also known as the International Exhibition of Modern Art, was the first large exhibition of modern art in America. We’ll learn how the exhibition came about to tour in New York, Chicago, and Boston. We’ll also explore what American and European works of art were “modern” in 1913. The impact of the Armory Show on contemporary and future American artists will also be examined.

    ZOOM LINK: Available on website to paid and registered members

    CLASS LIMIT: 95

    INSTRUCTOR: Martha Chiarchiaro, received her Master’s degree in the History of Art from Williams College and teaches a variety of art history courses at WISE and other local organizations. She enjoys delivering courses related to specific periods, artists, and activities that provide a more in-depth look at the life and times of the people who are part of the exploration. 

    NO REQUIRED BOOKS


    • 03/24/2021
    • (EDT)
    • 04/21/2021
    • (EDT)
    • 5 sessions
    • https://assumptionwise.org/Course-Zoom-Links
    • 46
    Register

    Life in America changed profoundly after World War II, with the birth of the modern suburb. In some ways, the Government planned for suburbia with FHA and VA loans encouraging home ownership, and the GI Bill making veterans upwardly mobile. Cars made the suburbs reachable; Levittown and other developments supplied desperately needed housing. Many women left the workplace and raised the generation of Baby Boomers. And there were always outsiders, African Americans and Bohemians trying to break into or out of the suburbia.

    ZOOM LINK: Available on website to paid and registered members

    CLASS LIMIT: 95

    INSTRUCTOR: David Nevard attended UMass-Amherst and worked as an IT professional for over 30 years. Since retirement, David has been an instructor at WISE and other organizations. His courses have included Europe’s Lost and Found: Displaced Persons after World War II; Jackie Robinson and the Integration of the Red Sox; A Massachusetts Regiment in the Civil War; and The Berlin Wall

    OPTIONAL BOOK: The Fifties, by David Halbersta,; Villard 1993. ISBN: 9780679415596. Also available in Paperback, Kindle, and Audible.  



    • 03/25/2021
    • (EDT)
    • 04/29/2021
    • (EDT)
    • 5 sessions
    • https://assumptionwise.org/Course-Zoom-Links
    • 46
    Register

    We’ll explore and enjoy other places through the works of some of the great travel writers. How is it that they can take us away with words alone? Perhaps we’ll figure that out by looking at short works of some of the greats such as Paul Theroux, Freya Stark, Pico Iyer, and Jan Morris. Each session will include brief discussions about the idea of travel writing, including its development, genres, problems and purposes. We will enjoy closely comparing reactions and savoring the trip.

    ZOOM LINK: Available on website to paid and registered members

    CLASS LIMIT: 95

    INSTRUCTOR: Rosemary McCarthy has a Master of Arts in Journalism from the University of Nevada, Reno where she was also Assistant Professor from 2002 - 2012 and taught an undergraduate Travel Journalism course for several years. She also has broadcast experience in television and radio.  

    NO REQUIRED BOOKS



    • 03/25/2021
    • (EDT)
    • 04/29/2021
    • (EDT)
    • 5 sessions
    • https://assumptionwise.org/Course-Zoom-Links
    • 53
    Register

    Shakespeare is best known for his plays but many a suitor still turns to his sonnets when trying to win over a beloved. Scholars still argue about the arrangement of his 154 sonnet sequence as well as their autobiographical significance. Who is the young man the speaker addresses? Who is the dark lady? Did Shakespeare invent them? This class will review how England adopted the European sonnet form. We will then study carefully 20 sonnets selected from across the story Shakespeare tells.

    ZOOM LINK: Available on website to paid and registered members

    CLASS LIMIT: 95

    INSTRUCTOR Helen Whall, After finishing her Ph.D. at Yale University, Helen joined the faculty at The College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA. There she taught Shakespeare and the Renaissance as well as modern drama. Since retiring in 2017, Helen has offered several courses for WISE.

    REQUIRED BOOK: Any edition of Shakespeare’s complete sonnets (can be found available online).

    FOR THE FIRST CLASS: Read Sonnets 3, 12, 17 and 18



    • 03/25/2021
    • (EDT)
    • 04/29/2021
    • (EDT)
    • 5 sessions
    • https://assumptionwise.org/Course-Zoom-Links
    • 47
    Register

    The Second Amendment protects the right to bear arms, but its scope is a subject of vigorous debate. While gun ownership and gun violence have increased in the United States in recent years, gun control initiatives have gained little traction. This class will examine the history of the Second Amendment, various gun control measures enacted or proposed by the states and the federal government, and how the Supreme Court and lower federal courts have interpreted the scope of the Second Amendment. A major focus will be the Supreme Court’s landmark 2008 decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, in which the Court recognized an individual right of gun ownership under the Second Amendment, and subsequent decisions by state and federal courts.

    ZOOM LINK: Available on website to paid and registered members

    CLASS LIMIT: 95

    INSTRUCTOR:  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 several courses for WISE on constitutional law topics.

    REQUIRED BOOK: Guns and Control: Nonpartisan Guide to Understanding Mass Public Shootings, Gun Accidents, Crime, Public Carry, Suicides, Defensive Use and More, Smith, 2020. ISBN: 9781510760073.

    OPTIONAL BOOKS: Gun Fight: The Battle Over Gun Rights in America, Winkler, 2014. ISBN: 9780393077414. The Second Amendment: A Biography, Waldman, 2014. ISBN: 9781476747453.



    • 03/26/2021
    • (EDT)
    • 04/30/2021
    • (EDT)
    • 5 sessions
    • https://assumptionwise.org/Course-Zoom-Links
    • 31
    Register

    This course does not expect students to know or remember any mathematics or physics! Much of the discussion will be descriptive or involve “thought” experiments. Time and distance formulas will be presented and well explained to make some concepts clearer, but students will not be expected to derive them or manipulate them. This course will explain many of the astounding and transformational discoveries of Albert Einstein. The concepts covered include Special Relativity, General Relativity, Black Holes, gravity’s effect on time, cosmology, the “Big Bang,” Time Dilation and Tidal Forces.

    ZOOM LINK: Available on website to paid and registered members

    CLASS LIMIT: 95

    INSTRUCTOR:  Dr. Lawrence Lifshitz, received a BA in Physics from Harvard University in 1980 and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from UNC in 1987. He taught courses at UMass Medical School from 1987-2020. His specialty areas are computer vision, computer graphics, mathematical modeling, and bioinformatics. Over the years, he has continued to read about topics in physics such as Relativity and Black Holes. 

    NO REQUIRED BOOKS


    • 03/26/2021
    • (EDT)
    • 04/30/2021
    • (EDT)
    • 5 sessions
    • https://assumptionwise.org/Course-Zoom-Links
    • 62
    Register

    Famed American Protestant theologian H. Richard Niebuhr (1894-1962) wrote a book titled Christ and Culture in 1951 in which he set forth the five attitudes throughout history that Christians have adopted toward culture. This seminal work remains a classic articulation of what Niebuhr calls the “enduring problem” of how the church should relate to the wider culture. This course will analyze and discuss the five different positions that Niebuhr discovers in church history, evaluating their strengths and weaknesses.

    ZOOM LINK: Available on website to paid and registered members

    CLASS LIMIT: 95

    INSTRUCTOR Rev. Dr. Gary Shahinian is the Intentional Interim Pastor of the Federated Church of Charlton. He most recently completed 20 years of service as the Senior Pastor of Park Congregational Church in Worcester. He has a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Vrije Universiteit and taught courses at Redeemer College in Ontario, Dordt College in Iowa and Worcester State University.  

    REQUIRED BOOK: Christ and Culture, H. Richard Niebuhr, Harper & Row. ISBN: 9780061300035



    • 03/26/2021
    • (EDT)
    • 04/30/2021
    • (EDT)
    • 5 sessions
    • https://assumptionwise.org/Course-Zoom-Links
    • 23
    Register

    Late winter is a great time to study trees. The fifty common native trees in our area provide shade and habitat for backyard wildlife and are the primary components of forests for native wildlife. Trees are easy to learn to recognize and identify by their winter characteristics of bark and twigs. By early spring, many trees will begin to flower.

    ZOOM LINK: Available on website to paid and registered members

    CLASS LIMIT: 95

    INSTRUCTOR:  Joe Choiniere is a lifelong naturalist with a BS in Natural History from UMass/Amherst. He has taught hundreds of natural history classes and workshops and has been an instructor for Fitchburg State University.

    OPTIONAL BOOKS: Bark: A Field Guide to Trees of the Northeast by Michael Wojtech, Tree Identification Book: A New Method for the Practical Identification and Recognition of Trees by George Symonds and Stephen Chelminsk.