Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

Osher Courses

Courses & Events

A required individual Osher membership fee of just $25 will be collected during the fall semester each year to grant participation in the Osher offerings for the next 12 months. Your paid membership allows you to attend Osher courses and special events. It also provides you access to several FREE activities including: the KU Osher Speaker Series; The Artistic Exploration Club; The Book Club; and The Osher Outings. We're excited to nurture your ongoing quest to learn as you engage with and contribute greatly to the world around you.


This course contains no sessions
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According to historians Antarctica was officially discovered in 1829 by Captain von Bellingshausen, a German sailing under the flag of the Russian empire. Among the seven continents it is fifth in size but is the highest, driest, and coldest of all continents. It is of interest for economic, scientific research and exploration. We will discuss what life is like there, its beauty, and dangers as well as scientific allure.


Instructor Bios:
Gisela A.M. Dreschhoff
has spent a total of 20 field seasons in both polar regions, Antarctic, and Greenland, studying the effects of solar particles on the polar atmosphere which leaves a signature in the ice to be studied in ice cores. Some of her honors include a mountain peak in Antarctic named the Dreschhoff Peak. She has been named Fellow of The Explorers Club and currently she has an adjunct appointment in geology and physics/astronomy at KU.

Ernest Angino is a retired professor of geology and civil engineering at the University of Kansas. He has spent more than 45 years studying energy resources and Antarctic geochemistry. Among his honors is the Angino Buttress, a mountain range in Antarctic. He has also worked in radiation science that led to the development of the Lithium Fluoride Dosimeter.

Randy Van Schmus is a retired KU geology professor (1967-2007). His specialty is measuring ages of old rocks, and he has done research in Africa, Antarctica, Brazil, Canada as well as the U.S.A. He also did research on meteorites while in the USAF.


Friday, August 2, 2024, Osher Institute, St. Andrews Office Facility In Person

From the first novel "Casino Royale" in 1953 to the 25th "authorized" film "No Time to Die," many of us keep coming back to the exotic locales, the Bond women, the latest devices from Q Branch, the supervillains with plans to conquer the world and their formidable enforcers. We'll look at the changes to Bond over the years, his cultural impact, and his continuing appeal.


Instructor Bio: Karl Menninger is retired from a legal career in federal and state government, mostly dealing with issues concerning persons with disabilities. He teaches courses on disabilities and the law and insanity defense at the University of Missouri - Kansas City School of Law.


July 26, 2024 to August 9, 2024, Northland Innovation Center In-Person

From the first novel "Casino Royale" in 1953 to the 25th "authorized" film "No Time to Die," many of us keep coming back to the exotic locales, the Bond women, the latest devices from Q Branch, the supervillains with plans to conquer the world and their formidable enforcers. We'll look at the changes to Bond over the years, his cultural impact, and his continuing appeal.


Instructor Bio: Karl Menninger is retired from a legal career in federal and state government, mostly dealing with issues concerning persons with disabilities. He teaches courses on disabilities and the law and insanity defense at the University of Missouri - Kansas City School of Law.


July 26, 2024 to August 9, 2024, Northland Innovation Center In-Person
The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at KU was established in 2004 by a grant for the Bernard Osher Foundation as an outreach program of the University of Kansas. Its mission is to offer noncredit enrichment courses and events to folks over 50 years of age, although we welcome learners of all ages. We rely on financial support from our members and the community to create a sustainable program. If you would like to support the Osher Institute, please click the link below. If you have questions, please contact Osher at osher@ku.edu. Thank you.


June 1, 2024 to August 16, 2024
To deepen any relationship requires us to increase our emotional intelligence. Yet it is remarkable how some people get entangled in each other's emotions. This course offers personal insights into your own emotional intelligence and the emotional intelligence of others. Come learn how to recognize emotions and understand what triggers them. 

Instructor: Don Booz is widely recognized for his coaching expertise in the Kansas City area and his ability to help people increase their emotional intelligence. He is a professionally certified coach who teaches people how to develop their emotional intelligence with increased self-awareness. He has mentored and coached CEOs, presidents, directors, managers and staff in a variety of academic and healthcare settings. Don coaches individuals on how to make a difference in this somewhat contentious time. He is a trainer, keynote speaker, workshop presenter and author.


July 16-30, 2024, KU Edwards Campus, 163 Regnier Hall, In Person and Online

The course considers the influences, aims, context, and legacy of one of the most iconic modern art movements. While the course focuses on Germanic painting, other examples of expressionist "expression" (e.g., literature and film) and centers of production (e.g., France, Scandinavia, and Russia) will also be examined.


Instructor Bio: Eliah Bures holds a doctorate in history from UC Berkeley. He is a fellow at Berkeley's Center for Right-Wing Studies and the author of multiple essays and scholarly articles on far-right politics.


July 15-29, 2024, Zoom Facilitated Sessions

Appetizers were originally introduced by the Athenians in the early third century B.C. These finger foods, sometimes called hors d'oeuvres, antipasti, tapas, or starters, range from very simple to very complex. Put down the fork and knife and discover the history of the small, but delicious, world of finger foods.


Instructor Bio: Chef Larry Canepa is a certified culinary educator with over 40 years of food and beverage experience and 20 years of teaching cooking, food and culture, and STEAM-focused classes. He has taught culinary classes at Le Cordon Bleu, the International Culinary School at the Art Institute, corporate wellness events, libraries, community centers and other venues.


July 17-24, 2024, Zoom Facilitated Sessions
The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Kansas offers noncredit short courses and special events developed especially for folks over 50. Give the gift of learning through an Osher Gift Certificate which enables the recipient to attend one Osher course for free! Our courses are taught two hours each week for three weeks. To give someone an Osher Gift Certificate, please click the link below. If you have questions, please contact Osher at osher@ku.edu.


This course contains no sessions

We'll focus on the career and achievements of 18th-century statesmen Benjamin Franklin and John Jay Next, we'll examine the careers of two 19th-century giants, Henry Clay and Daniel Webster. Finally, we move to the early 20th century and explore two American statesmen who occupied opposite sides of the political spectrum, Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson.


Instructor Bio: Robert Smith, Ph.D., is the director of the Fort Riley Museum. He has a doctorate in history from KSU and has published numerous articles on military history.


July 15-29, 2024, Osher Institute, St. Andrews Office Facility In Person

From the works of Albert Bierstadt and Thomas Moran to Charlie Russell and Frederic Remington, to the 19th-century illustrators like Theodore Davis, to the more modern artists like Phil Epp, Charlie Norton, Thom Ross, Wilson Hurley, and Harvey Pratt, we'll explore how the West has been portrayed and interpreted through art. Some of the artists will join our discussion.


Instructor Bio: Deb Goodrich, the host of the TV show "Around Kansas," and the Garvey (Texas) Foundation Historian in Residence at the Fort Wallace Museum, chairs the Santa Fe Trail 200. She has appeared in many documentaries including "The Road to Valhalla," "Aftershock," and "American Experience" on Jesse James, and the series, "Gunslingers" on AHC. She wrote and produced the docudrama, "Thof's Dragon."


July 17-31, 2024, Zoom Facilitated Sessions

What caused massive numbers of Irish, Germans and Italians to come to our shores in the 19th and early 20th centuries? What was the reaction of the native-born to these strangers? To what extent did the newcomers try to stick together, blend in, advance or return to their old country? What contributions did these immigrants, and their offspring make to this country?


Instructor Bio: Carl Graves, Ph.D., holds a master's degree in U.S. history from KU and a doctorate from Harvard. He taught at the university and community college levels, and at Kansas City's Pembroke Hill School.


July 12-26, 2024, Jayhawk Area Agency on Aging In Person

The American dream and hope of "leading a better, happier, richer life than your parents regardless of the circumstances of your birth" has energized Americans throughout our history. Today many Americans are challenged to pay their bills, find decent housing, and obtain health insurance. Today's high level of income inequality has led people to believe the American Dream is dead for many. The class will review what happened and how we might fix it.


Instructor Bio: Charles "Chick" Keller is a retired senior executive and retired professor. He worked 15 years each at Sprint, and Black and Veatch in strategic planning and strategic marketing rising to VP level both times. In 2000, he began a career as a professor in KU's engineering management program where he taught finance and strategic planning.


Thursday, July 18, 2024, KU Edwards Campus, 163 Regnier Hall, In Person and Online

We'll explore the early 20th century world of adoption in Kansas City and share adoptees' and birth mothers' heartwarming and sometimes heart wrenching stories. Ranging from 1908 until 1969, these voices express the common need to know "Who am I" longing for medical history, fear of hurting adoptive parents, and guilt for being forced to give up a baby. One voice is of a Willows baby who grew up to be the governor of Kansas.


Instructor Bio: Kellee Parr holds bachelor's degrees in agriculture and education plus a master's degree in adult and occupational education from Kansas State University. He has taught elementary school for many years in Topeka and now writes science curriculum for Nancy Larson Publishers.


July 17-31, 2024, Leavenworth Council on Aging - In Person

We'll look at books that explored: politics, drugs, expanding consciousness, feminism, the sexual revolution, and the Vietnam War and discuss how accurately they reflect that time 60 years later. Books discussed include: "The Making of the President 1960," "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test," "The Greening of America, Dispatches, Slouching Toward Bethlehem," "Helter Skelter, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" and "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest."


Instructor Bio: Karl Menninger is retired from a legal career in federal and state government, mostly dealing with issues concerning persons with disabilities. He teaches courses on disabilities and the law and insanity defense at the University of Missouri - Kansas City School of Law.


July 15-29, 2024, Osher Institute, St. Andrews Office Facility In Person
With the help of an inexpensive app, we can shoot and edit film-quality videos with our smartphones, easily up to the standards of social media, commercial and brand video work, and documentary and narrative film work. Gain the control and capabilities of professional cinematographers and design the look, color, lighting and framing of every single shot in a smartphone film. This course is suitable for aspiring filmmakers, entrepreneurs, video storytellers, social media content creators and content producers. Note: Students will be required to purchase and install the Filmic Pro app on their phones. You can purchase it directly through your mobile device or on your home computer, through either the Google Play Store (Android) or through the App Store (iPhone). 


Instructor: Stephen Knifton is an Emmy-award winning TV news producer, credited for creating and producing engaging and highly rated news programming. Steve moved onto the digital content world and created work for museums, engineers, architects, designers, hospitality + tourism and business development clients. For the past few years, Steve has (remotely) taught video storytelling and smartphone filmmaking at a number of colleges. Steve lived and worked in both New York and Toronto and teaches in both Canada and the U.S.


July 16-30, 2024, Zoom Facilitated Sessions
By 1966 the Beatles grew tired of their grueling concert schedule often fraught with life-threatening audience responses, and as their music moved from craft(perfecting the set formula) to art (creating novel music) they stopped performing live. What surprised many was the studio recordings from 1967 to 1969 became even more revolutionary and influential.

Instructor Bio: Steve Lopes, A.E., B.A., M.A., M. Ed., was an educator for 15 years prior to 30 years of advocating for teachers as a Kansas-NEA organizer. He enjoys researching rock 'n' roll history and sharing it with Osher participants.


July 18, 2024 to August 1, 2024, Washburn University Henderson Learning Center Room 021

We are most familiar with the Odyssey as a classic hero's journey. Though this epic has many layers to it, the purpose and presence of the sacred feminine is one layer that has been overlooked. This course traces the role of the sacred feminine in helping Odysseus return home through each female character, revealing the true character and purpose of each.


Instructor Bio: Shari Tarbet has been an educator for over 30 years, she holds a master's and doctorate in Mythological Studies and Depth Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute, and a bachelor's in English/History Education, and BSJ Broadcast Journalism from University of Kansas. Her writings and lectures cover a wide variety of topics on myth, dreamwork, the Bill of Rights, and the sacred feminine.


July 18, 2024 to August 1, 2024, Zoom Facilitated Sessions

We'll focus on the generation of young leaders who served. We'll examine the military exploits of Western Theater generals William T. Sherman, Benjamin Grierson, Judson Kilpatrick, and John Schofield. Then we turn to the Eastern Theater to study Union generals Winfield Hancock, John Gibbon, George McClellan, Alfred Pleasonton, and Joshua Chamberlain. Finally, we learn about George Custer, Philip Sheridan, and Darius Couch.


Instructor Bio: Robert Smith, Ph.D., is the director of the Fort Riley Museum. He has a doctorate in history from KSU and has published numerous articles on military history.


July 16-30, 2024, Brewster Place Event Center In-Person
How did a boy from a small town in Ohio, having very little formal education and attending school for only a few months, become the most prolific inventor of the 19th and early 20th century? We'll seek the answer to this question and study the impact that this genius continues to exert on our lives today.

Instructor Bio: Paul Post, a native Kansan, received a B.A. in history from KSU and a law degree from the KU Law School in 1974. Now retired from the practice of law, he is a member of the Shawnee County Historical Society and an amateur beekeeper. He has authored essays on the history of SBA Hill/ former Menninger Campus in Topeka; Topeka's Bates Family; The Fred Harvey Company; and on Duke Ellington.


June 27, 2024 to July 18, 2024, Northland Innovation Center In-Person
How did a boy from a small town in Ohio, having very little formal education and attending school for only a few months, become the most prolific inventor of the 19th and early 20th century? We'll seek the answer to this question and study the impact that this genius continues to exert on our lives today.

Instructor Bio: Paul Post, a native Kansan, received a B.A. in history from KSU and a law degree from the KU Law School in 1974. Now retired from the practice of law, he is a member of the Shawnee County Historical Society and an amateur beekeeper. He has authored essays on the history of SBA Hill/ former Menninger Campus in Topeka; Topeka's Bates Family; The Fred Harvey Company; and on Duke Ellington.


June 27, 2024 to July 18, 2024, Northland Innovation Center In-Person