Belfast Senior College announces Fall Registration

Courtesy of: Belfast Senior College

Belfast.  Senior College of Belfast announces the start of Fall 2017 term registration. The fall semester begins on Thursday, September 21st and ends on October 26th. All classes will be held at the University of Maine Hutchinson Center on Route 3 in Belfast.


The Belfast Senior College located at the Hutchinson Center offers a wonderful, stimulating and fund environment for exploring new ideas, learning more about our world, expanding one's love of nature, or developing new skills.


Thursday Morning Classes, 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.

Chaucer’s Tales

Juliet Baker, instructor. Chaucer’s Tales can’t fail to entertain with their faithfully drawn characters, tight and suspenseful structures, and their bits of epic, of courtly love, of tragedy, along with some raucous comedy. In this course, we will read Chaucer’s Prologue and five of his characters’ stories. We’ll quickly find that Chaucer’s stories are also our stories! Juliet Baker has taught at Senior College for almost ten years— courses such as The Bible In/As Literature, Heaney's translation of Beowulf, The Prophets' Influence on Later English Poetry, Dickens in Novels and Film, A Feminist Reading of Jane Eyre, Middlemarch, the Mesopotamian poem, Gilgamesh., and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.


Intermediate Conversational French: Part VII

Lila Nation, instructor. If you feel you have a solid foundation in basic French grammar and a strong desire to strengthen your speaking skills, you will find this course fun and rewarding. We constantly review spoken verb tenses and grammatical concepts, as well as common expressions and idioms, and are continuously building vocabulary and creating personalized conversations. Lila Nation has been teaching French for 35 years at both high school and university levels, as well as giving private lessons. She holds a Masters in Teaching French and a Certificate de phonétique.



Mike Shannon, instructor.  IF EVER A SEASON COMMANDED ATTENTION, AUTUMN IS IT! This class is about both the beauty and the challenges of the fall season. When much of today's reality is focused on living with technology, it is up to us to engage in a meaningful dialogue with the places where we live. The wildness of mid-coast Maine will be our home ground. Its possibilities will surprise and delight us! We will learn to identify common species, sharpen our observational skills, and arouse our kinship with all life. Mike Shannon is a lifelong naturalist, storyteller, educator and Registered Maine Guide. He is retired from Unity College, where he taught ornithology and ecological education.


Introduction to Genealogy

Rick Davis, instructor. Are you curious about who your ancestors were and where they came from? This class will help you get a start on answering these and other questions about your roots. It is meant for beginners and will focus on research in the U.S., especially New England, using readily available online and printed sources. Rick Davis has worked on his own genealogy for thirty years and has helped many friends and acquaintances dig into their ancestries. He has published articles in The Maine Genealogist, the New Hampshire Record, and the most recently published volume of Maine Families in 1790. He is currently President of the Wawenoc (Belfast) Chapter of the Maine Genealogical Society.


Elizabeth II, Prince Phillip, and the House of Windsor

Peter Reilly, instructor. This course will not only cover the life and family of the current Queen, but also look in to all that makes up the British Monarchy -- its history, traditions, relevance, and impact on British life. Planning a small wedding, or perhaps a casual dinner party? This may not be the course you need! Peter Reilly has presented a number of well-received classes at Senior College on a variety of topics. He holds a BS and an MBA from Monmouth University.


Expanding Our Drawing Skills

Sandi Cirillo, instructor. Through exercises assigned in class, homework and weekly critiques, students will continue to explore their inner selves to gain confidence and clarity in their drawing skills. Students can work in their own areas of interest, with guidance from the instructor, and will be expected to create several finished drawings by the end of this class. Sandi Cirillo is a lifelong artist and earned both her bachelor's and master's degrees in art education from Nazareth College, in Rochester, New York. An accomplished fiber artist, she has taught fiber workshops to adults and children all over the Northeast and in North Carolina. She also teaches drawing, fiber, and art history classes at Senior College.


Evolution of the American Palate: 1900 to the Future

Harry Kaiserian, instructor. Just what is wrong with Wonder Bread? When did Pizza Hut become a “bistro” and McDonalds a “café”? Molecular Gastronomy? What’s that? Do people really eat Spam? Our text for this course, “The United States of Arugula,” tells the marvelous story of how we have changed our eating habits since the 1900s. How did technology, globalization and “the contributions of some outsized, opinionated iconoclasts who couldn’t abide the status quo” all come together to evolve into the wonderful and eclectic cuisine of America in the 21st Century? If we keep on the present course, where do we go from here? Harry writes a cooking column for 3 weekly newspapers including the Blue Hill Packet and has published a cookbook titled “The Best of K’s Kwisine.” He has been cooking since he was eleven years old and has been writing about food for over thirty years.


The Past, Present, and Future of Human Rights in International Relations

Bob Rackmales, instructor. The time frame for this course runs from opening of the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal on November 20, 1945, to its 75th anniversary in 2020. It was first at Nuremberg that legal concepts such as "crimes against humanity" and "genocide" became incorporated into international law. Nuremberg was followed by a long series of international treaties covering such matters as torture, protection of civilians in wartime, economic and political rights, rights of children, refugees and many others. This was accompanied by rapid growth in the number and membership of non-governmental organizations around the world monitoring governments' performances in these areas, such as Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch. But the growth of a legal framework for incorporating human rights into international relations has not been universally welcomed. The recent strengthening in some countries of opposition to the liberal world order, which promoted the expansion of human rights, has raised questions about their future. Bob Rackmales served as Director of the State Department's Office of Human Rights, 1986-87, and has dealt with government officials, dissidents and human rights advocates in such countries as Turkey, Russia, Colombia, Peru, and Nigeria. He is a member of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations and of the American Historical Association.


Thursday afternoon classes 1:00-3:00p.m.

Capturing Your Family Stories

Melinda Regnell, instructor.  Oral family histories used to be passed down to future generations by "elders" at family gatherings. But today, many families are spread all over the State, the Country or even the World -- and all those funny, sad, and inspiring memories can no longer be shared in person. In this course, you will learn how easy it is to capture your stories, pictures, and memories in print (both hard copy and online) to ensure your extended family shares them for generations to come. Regnell has over 20 years of experience writing and publishing blogs, articles, and technical training content. She has a Masters Degree in Adult Education and has had an extensive career writing and teaching for several global corporations. She has also taught classes at the University of New Hampshire, the University of Southern Maine, and Colby College.


African-American Experience through Literature

Wendy Kasten, instructor.  Responding to requests for courses on diversity, this course is the first in a series of exploring African-American history and culture during slavery and following emancipation primarily through two award-winning novels “Copper Sun” by Sharon Draper, and “The Land” by Mildred Taylor, plus a variety of other print and online resources which will be read together during the course. Wendy C. Kasten has taught several other very well received classes at Senior College. She is a retired Professor of Literacy in Teacher Education. One of her recent lines of inquiry has been to provide diversity information and experiences to teachers to better serve the diverse students arriving in K-12 schools. She has co-authored 8 books (one on teaching literature in classrooms) and many articles.


Beginning Conversational French: Starting Over!

Lila Nation, instructor.  Beginning French will focus on basic French sentence structure, vocabulary, and building your confidence to continue speaking. Lila has been teaching French conversation for 35 years at both the high school and university levels, as well as giving private lessons. She holds a Masters in Teaching French and a Certificate de phonétique, has lived in Paris, has visited France nineteen times and St. Bart's twice, and has gone to Québec more times than she can remember. Bienvenue à tous! All are welcome! By the way, Lila loves to sing, and will have you strengthening your conversational skills through song so be prepared!

Creating with Collage

Deborah Stevenson, instructor.  The art form of collage goes back one hundred years, beginning with Picasso, adopted by surrealists, employed by mid-century modernist painters, becoming a staple in popular culture across all mediums. It has grown in popularity over the decades as a truly unique form of expression. There will be printed material such as magazines on hand, and you are invited to bring your own as well. Deborah Stevenson is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and spent the first half of her adult life as an actor before deciding to begin a family and pursue painting. She has been making art, exhibiting, and teaching for over 30 years. In 2010, she moved to NYC to concentrate on her own work in the dynamic and diverse communities there. A recent transplant to Belfast in 2014, she now does workshops and has her own studio here from which she participates in the international collage community, showing and publishing her work.

Children of Abraham: Islam, Judaism, and Christianity

Arlin Larson, instructor.  In addition to their prominence in current world affairs, the three Abrahamic religions are the most prominent in the United States. The three form a natural triad in virtue of their monotheistic character, origins in the Middle East, and claim to a common founder (Abraham). Immigration and the emergence of African-American Islam have combined with geo-politics to make understanding of these religions essential. They also hold in common an ambivalent attitude toward the others, territorial rivalries, and important impacts on Western culture. The course will note similarities and differences, sketch relevant histories, and lay out basic beliefs. Rev. Arlin T. Larson received a B.A. in Religious Studies from the Univ. of Redlands, and Master of Theology and Doctor of Ministry degrees from the Univ. of Chicago Divinity School. He is the retired minister of First Congregational Church in Searsport. He approaches these religions not as an academic Specialist, but as a working pastor and teacher who believes that for many reasons we must come to terms with our troubled religious “family.”


Music in the Movies: The History of Musicals

Neal Harkness, instructor.  As soon as movies could talk, they sang. The Musical, as a distinct form of cinema has a long and storied history, beginning in the 1930s and continuing until the present day. From Fred Astaire to Frozen, we will explore the full range of song and dance on film. We will learn about the great directors, stars, composers and musicians who have made the Movie Musical one of the most enduring genres in cinema. Neal Harkness has been a fan and student of American popular music his whole life. He has written on the subject for a number of publications and is currently a rock music programmer on community radio station WERU-FM. For Senior College at Belfast, he has put together and presented a series of very well received courses on the history of rock and roll over the last several years.

Intelligence Wars at Home and Abroad

Dick Topping, instructor.  Charges of Russian interference in the 2016 Election have focused attention once again on secret intelligence and covert action -- who engages in such operations, who issues their marching orders, and who oversees their implementation? The past 70 years have produced some shadowy successes, ghastly failures, and, more often, uncertainties and/or heated controversies over specific programs. Dick Topping has been a student of Soviet/Russian, and East European affairs for over 50 years. After having been stationed in West Berlin at the height of the Berlin Crisis (1961 – 1962), he spent 30 years with the CIA, serving as a senior analyst for Soviet/ Russian domestic and foreign affairs. He retired in 1995, and has lived in Belfast for 22 years. Dick graduated from Lehigh University in 1959; he received his M.A. in Government from Columbia University in 1964 and a certificate from its Russian Institute in 1965. He has previously taught courses at Senior College on U.S. National Security Issues, Russian and East European Affairs, and Berlin's troubled history (1870-1990).



Please register early for the classes you would like to take in order to avoid disappointment. Registering early also helps us to determine the number of textbooks needed for some of the classes. For more information: or 338-8037



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