A Community of Scholars: Opportunities Abound at Siegal Lifelong Learning Program

Travel through Cuba with an expert on Latin-American culture. Audit a college course on ancient philosophy. Or dive deep into opera with a lauded music critic.

These are just a few of the stimulating options available to Judson Park and Judson Manor residents through the Siegal Lifelong Learning Program at Case Western Reserve University.

Part of the one-of-a-kind partnership between Judson and Case Western Reserve, Siegal offers a wide variety of innovative and engaging courses, events, and programs aimed at adult learners. Designed to break down walls between academia and the broader community, Siegal’s programming sets national standards for the highest quality university-based continuing education and provides a chance for residents to interact with internationally renowned scholars, share in cutting-edge research and be involved in ongoing conversations about history, current events and our collective futures.

While fees apply to some classes, a number of lectures are free and residents of all backgrounds are invited to attend. In addition, Judson is committed to assisting its residents through the registration process, underwriting the fees for most Siegal programs, and providing transportation to campus when needed.

“The university resources are impressive,” points out Kathy Gill, Siegal’s director of marketing. “Our programs are a way to keep the community of lifelong learners connected to the scholarly thought process.”

While literally dozens of programs, courses, lectures and events are available through Siegal, here are a few highlights:

Course Audit Program for Senior Citizens

This program allows seniors ages 65 and older to audit any of the hundreds of undergraduate classes offered on the Case Western Reserve campus, with the prior approval of faculty members. Beyond a chance to delve into the college curriculum, the audit program provides a wonderful opportunity to exchange ideas with members of the younger generation.

“Most faculty members welcome adult learners into their classes,” says Gill. “The faculty realizes that seniors’ life experience adds great value to their classroom discussions. And for the seniors, the multigenerational contact can be energizing.”

Off-Campus Studies

The term “book club” doesn’t do justice to these lively discussion groups based on meaningful examination of common reading. Siegal Lifelong Learning provides a discussion leader for each course, which are eight weeks long and meet for 1.5 hours per class in locations throughout greater Cleveland. Current discussion groups are delving into topics ranging from the life of Italian painter Caravaggio to the challenges of life in the Middle East.

This spring the course “Hollywood and the Blacklist” is being offered at Judson Manor.  “The Middle East: Courage and Challenge” is being offered at Judson Park.  We are happy to assist anyone in finding a course nearby based on their interest,” says Lorraine Nelson, Siegal’s program administrator.

University Farm Program

Adult learners can explore nearly 400 acres of forests, ravines, waterfalls, meadows and ponds on Case Western Reserve’s University Farm in Hunting Valley. Classes held on the property take advantage of the spectacular landscape for inspiration and as a setting for learning about everything from container gardening to painting.

Since fall 2013, the farm has provided a 30-passenger bus to transport students, faculty and staff to the farm for weekday courses, recreational activities, and volunteer work.

Senior Scholars

Senior Scholars is an 11-week program that meets three afternoons per week and features academic lectures by university faculty and local experts on a variety of topics. While the format is lecture style, the sessions are informal and interactive. “These are very social events that underscore the sense of ‘community’ in the phrase ‘community of learners,’” says Gill. “Our senior learners have proven to be very engaged and ask great questions.”

Among the current lecture topics, you’ll find Southern Literature of the 20th Century, Issues in American Politics, and a course on Victor Hugo’s Notre Dame de Paris. Classes are held at the College Club, less than two miles from Judson Manor and walking distance from Judson Park.

Travel Program

The world really is your classroom when you travel with Case Western Reserve faculty members. Between the small-group format and the faculty’s special expertise, the tours provide access to “things and places the usual tourist never gets to see,” says Gill. That’s certain to be the case with an upcoming trip to Cuba. Set for Dec. 10 to 19, 2016, the tour will be led by Damaris Punales-Alpizar, Case Western Reserve assistant professor of Spanish.

Ms. Punales-Alpizar currently serves as director of the study-abroad program in Cuba at Case Western Reserve and has published numerous articles on Spanish, Latin American and Cuban literature and culture. “It’s a unique opportunity to really get behind the scenes and learn from an expert in the field,” says Ms. Gill.

To Opera, with Love

Taking full advantage of Cleveland’s cultural jewels, Siegal programming often includes studies of music and art. One upcoming class promises to be a particular crowd pleaser: “To Opera, with Love,” a four-week session led by musician, journalist and renowned music critic Donald Rosenberg. “Students just rave about his classes,” says Nelson. The class will meet Friday afternoons from 2 to 4 p.m., April 8 through 29.

Click here to learn more about other benefits available to Judson Manor and Judson Park residents through Judson’s new partnership with Case Western Reserve University.

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