Osher Online - Spring 2021

Tuesday Courses

Virginia Woolf's Masterpieces: Mrs. Dalloway and To the Lighthouse

Tuesdays: March 9, 16, 23; April 6 (4 Sessions)

9:30 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. – Online


The course will explore Virginia Woolf's novels Mrs. Dalloway (1925) and To The Lighthouse (1927). Mrs. Dalloway follows the main character through a day in London in 1923, during the era following World War I and an influenza pandemic. Her experiences parallel those of a soldier who is suffering from PTSD. To the Lighthouse reveals Woolf reckoning with her childhood loss of her mother, her feelings about her authoritarian father, and the social and aesthetic influences of the Bloomsbury Group. The novels’ blend of modernist techniques and autobiographical feelings make them 20th century masterpieces.

Instructor: Timothy Materer is an emeritus English professor at the University of Missouri. He has written six books on modern literature and has received MU teaching awards.


200 Memorable Missouri Musical Moments

Tuesdays: April 13, 20, 27; May 4 (4 Sessions)

9:30 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. – Online


In celebration of the bicentennial of Missouri, Dr. Michael Budds initiated a project to identify 200 significant musical contributions of the state of Missouri (one for each year). The result is the new publication, 200 Memorable Missouri Musical Moments: Photographs, Commentary, & Video Clips, by Dr. Michael Budds and Elisabeth Roberts. In this course, participants will experience highlights from the project while learning about the rich musical traditions in Missouri. Each week will highlight a particular musical tradition, to include fine art, folk, jazz and popular music.

Instructors: Elisabeth (Libby) Roberts is the interim director for the Budds Center for American Music at the University of Missouri. She completed her M.A. in Musicology in 2020, under the guidance of Drs. Judith Mabary and Michael Budds, and holds a M.M. in Composition from MU (2020) as well as a B.A. in the same from Belhaven University (2014). Roberts focuses her research on the cognitive aspects of musical preferences and the compositional process, with completed or ongoing studies in both historical and empirical considerations.

Judith Mabary is an associate professor in musicology for the MU School of Music. She received master’s and doctoral degrees in musicology from Washington University in St. Louis, as well as a master’s in vocal performance from MU. Her research interests center on Czech music of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, namely the life and works of Antonín Dvořák, Zdeňek Fibich, Bohuslav Martinů, and Vítězslava Kaprálová, as well as the genre of Czech melodrama. She is currently working on a book on the history of Czech melodrama.

Rusty Elder is an adjunct professor for the MU School of Music and has taught college courses exploring a myriad of musical subjects for more than 20 years. A student of Dr. Michael Budds, Elder has instructed classes in American music, jazz history, opera and musical theater, women in music, world music and rock & roll, among others. Elder has served as music program coordinator at Stephens College, where he was selected by his students to receive awards for distinguished teaching and advising.

Meet the UM System Presidential Engagement Fellows

Tuesdays: March 9, 16, 23; April 6, 13, 20, 27; May 4 (8 Sessions)

10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. – ONLINE


The University of Missouri System is proud of the excellent teaching, breakthrough research, creative achievements and meaningful engagement of our faculty. The Presidential Engagement Fellows program was established to share these accomplishments with the citizens of Missouri in their own communities. This effort allows our faculty to make personal connections and fulfill our important mission to disseminate and apply knowledge for the benefit all Missourians.

This amazing group of University of Missouri System faculty members is excited to share how their teaching, research and expertise benefits Missourians. Eight of the current fellows—representing all four of the UM campuses—will present about their creative achievements.

March 9: “It’s Happening Here?!”: Human Trafficking in Missouri

In this session, Dr. Preble will give an examination of the landscape of human trafficking in the state of Missouri based on a recent needs assessment and a preliminary prevalence rate study.

Instructor: Kathleen M. Preble (MU), Ph.D., MSW, focuses her areas of inquiry on human trafficking, sex work and gender-based violence. Her research interests seek to increase our understanding of these complex phenomena leading to empowering prevention, intervention and aftercare service delivery. Dr. Preble is an assistant professor at the University of Missouri Columbia School of Social Work.


March 16: From KGB Files to Love Letters and Diaries: Using Every Kind of Archive to Write Nonfiction

In this lecture, Dr. Šukys will offer stories, tips and advice from her research experience in archives. Using examples from her recent books, Epistolophilia and Siberian Exile, she will share how to go about piecing a life together, fragment by fragment.

Instructor: Julija Šukys (MU) is an associate professor of English and creative writing and a senior editor at Assay: A Journal of Nonfiction Studies. She holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of Toronto. Dr. Šukys is an award-winning author who works with emerging writers of nonfiction to help them craft literary texts from memory, experience and research.


March 23: Medical Sexism

How can we learn to identify, diagnose and solve problems of medical sexism? Medical sexism, which imposes a gendered hierarchy in the doctor’s office, can lead to illness, injury and even death. Dr. Delston will discuss the role of cancer screenings in contraception access and show how it is connected to larger issues of biased care in the medical field.

Instructor: Jill B. Delston (UMSL) publishes primarily in social and political philosophy and applied ethics. Her monograph is entitled, Medical Sexism: Contraception Access, Reproductive Medicine, and Health Care (Lexington Books, 2019). Delston has won UMSL's Legendary Triton Award, the Emerson Excellence in Teaching Award and the College of Arts and Sciences NTT Faculty Member of the Year. She received her B.A. from St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Philosophy from Washington University in St. Louis.


April 6: Meet the Learning Machine: How Artificial Intelligence is Transforming Our World!

Artificial Intelligence (AI), in the form of Machine Learning (ML), has already transformed medicine, retail sales and other industries. It is about to enter all our lives, whether we want it or not! In this session, we will quickly develop a basic understanding of AI and its advantages, applications and difficulties.

Instructor: J. Scott Christianson (MU) is an associate teaching professor of management at the Trulaske College of Business, where his interests are focused on the impact of technology on society. Prior to joining the college, Christianson was a business owner with decades of experience in videoconferencing technology, project management and information technology. He has worked on hundreds of information technology projects and remains actively involved in information technology initiatives and startups.


April 13: Rekindling Communally-bonded Schools to Improve Black Students’ Educational Experiences

This talk unveils the historical and theoretical background of powerful African-American school communities, illustrates how social and educational policies weakened these relationships and provides strategies that rebuild the relationships that contemporary Black students have with their schools and communities.

Instructor: Jerome E. Morris (UMSL) is the E. Desmond Lee Endowed Professor of Urban Education at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. He was recently awarded the prestigious Lyle M. Spencer Research Award from the Spencer Foundation to investigate the development of his theory of communally-bonded schooling. Dr. Morris is the author of Troubling the Waters: Fulfilling the Promise of Quality Public Schooling for Black Children and Central City’s Blues: A Song of Race, Place, and Life in the Housing Projects of the Urban South (publication forthcoming).


April 20: Natural Disasters and National Priorities.

Why does it seem that catastrophes like firestorms, floods, tornadoes, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis are on the increase? Should we be worried in Missouri? This presentation will explain the fascinating connections between theories, predictions and entities that ultimately decide what risks are acceptable.

Instructor: J. David Rogers (S&T) is a professor and Karl F. Hasselmann Chair in Geological Engineering at the Missouri University of Science & Technology. His research has focused on geoforensic studies of natural and man-caused disasters and innovating suitable emergency mitigation schemes. Rogers received his training in geological and civil engineering from Cal Poly Pomona (BS 1976) and U.C. Berkeley (MS ’79; PhD ’82). He served on Berkeley’s civil engineering faculty for seven years prior to accepting his current position at S&T in 2001. 


April 27: Keep the Cameras Rolling:  The Pedro Zamora Way

This talk is about the making of a documentary by students and faculty from the Department of Political Science and the Jonathan B. Murray Documentary Journalism Center at the University of Missouri. This is the story of the third season of the MTV show, The Real World, which was set in San Francisco and featured a cast that included Pedro Zamora, an HIV-positive Cuban immigrant. During the shooting of the season, his health rapidly deteriorated, but he also met his partner, Sean Sasser, and they participated in a commitment ceremony on the show. Pedro died on the night the last episode of his season was broadcast. The show got worldwide attention and had an impact on the opinions of multiple generations about HIV/AIDS, LGBTQ people and same-sex marriage. Dr. Horner will be talking about Pedro's story and the production of this documentary and showing some clips from the movie.

Instructor: Bill Horner (MU) is a Curators’ Distinguished Teaching Professor and a recipient of the William T. Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence. He currently serves as the director of undergraduate studies for the Political Science department at MU. Dr. Horner studies American and Missouri politics, with a special eye on the impact of news and entertainment media on politics.


May 4: Live in Harmony with Natural Disasters

By many measures, 2020 has been disastrous. Leaving the pandemic alone, hurricanes in the Atlantic are so numerous that we’ve run out of letters in the Latin alphabet to name them; Hurricane Zeta was the 27th hurricane this year. This is the year with the most number of hurricanes in American history, and more hurricanes may still come. Fires in California burned more than 4 million acres. In the first nine months of this year, at least 188 people were killed in 16 weather disasters, which each cost $1 billion or more. If our future were a movie, this year would just be the short trailer. Global warming will continue and climate change will follow. We will face more powerful hurricanes, more intense wildfires and more prolonged heat waves. Dr. Yan will talk about how to live in harmony with natural disasters by preparing the public psychologically, preparing the city physically and preparing the government financially through interdisciplinary research.

Instructor: Guirong (Grace) Yan (S&T) is the director of the Wind Hazard Mitigation (WHAM) Laboratory at S&T, with the mission of taming winds to achieve community resilience and making “tornado alley” and hurricane-prone areas a better place to live. She is passionate about mitigation of hazards induced by extreme winds (tornadoes and hurricanes) and achievement of community resilience. She believes community resilience is a matter for the entire community.


"Never Explain a Joke": Comedy in Poems



The American Presidents

Tuesdays: March 9, 16, 23; April 6, 13, 20, 27; May 4 (8 Sessions)

3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. – Online


This class is part of an ongoing series that examines the lives of the American presidents in chronological order. We will begin with Franklin Roosevelt and proceed to Gerald Ford. The emphasis of the course is to attempt to discover who the people were who became president and what circumstances propelled them into politics. We will consider family trees, childhood, education, work experience, marital experience and home life as well as the core principles that influenced their decision to seek the presidency.

Instructor: Dr. Jay Ward was born in Springfield, Mo., and raised in Lexington, Mo. He was an undergraduate at Northwestern University and received a medical degree from the University of Missouri. Upon retiring from medicine after 30 years, he received a master’s degree and doctorate in U.S. history from the University of Missouri.


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