Courses


Winter 2017

Printable Registration Form

Six-Week Courses

$75 each

 - expandInequality: The Economics of Income & Wealth

Larry Fox, MBA
Mondays, 10:00am-Noon
January 23-February 27
CSUSB Palm Desert Campus

Inequality in the distribution of income and wealth is either good or bad, depending on why it arises and the degree to which it exists. This course, which is based on very recently published information, is designed to provide logical, informed ways of discussing how much and what kinds of inequality contribute to our societal well-being. We will also discuss how much inequality, as well as the basis of that inequality, undermines our societal fabric.

About the Instructor
Larry is a retired corporate manager and former turn-around chief executive who started and managed one of the very early hedge funds. When he retired from business he was appointed a professor of finance in the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. Larry is a self-proclaimed physics nerd, an avid hiker and so-so bridge player.

 - expandGreat American Playwrights

Dennis Gilmore, MA
Mondays, 10:00 a.m.-noon
January 23-February 27
CSUSB Palm Desert Campus

Playwriting is the art form in which the story is revealed to an audience through dramatic, comedic and/or musical interpretation by actors. Since the dawn of civilization, man has used theatre to reflect the human/social condition, inspire thought about social conventions and provide emotional catharsis. This course will explore selected works of six American Pulitzer prize winning playwrights and the circumstances that contributed to the unique “voice” of each.

About the Instructor
Dennis is executive director emeritus of the Henderson County Performing Arts Center in Athens, Texas. For 27 years, he led the theater in producing live programs and new program development, including youth and senior theatre companies. Dennis directed over 250 adult productions and more than 150 youth productions during his tenure. He was a professor of theatre and speech and was technical director of the theatre department for ten years at Trinity Valley Community College. He is also an accomplished actor, performing in many stage productions.

 - expandScience & Technology: Recent Developments

Robert Bernoff, PhD, professor emeritus
Mondays, 1:00-3:00 p.m.
January 23-February 27
CSUSB Palm Desert Campus

The rapid advance of new discoveries in science and technology has continued during the past year. We will discuss new developments in energy generation methods, genetic editing for prevention and treatment of diseases, and other advances that will change our daily lives. This new 2017 course is designed for non-technical adults. We will utilize diagrams, pictures and straightforward language to explain the very latest discoveries and how they will affect our lives and change our society.

About the Instructor
Dr. Bernoff taught chemistry at Pennsylvania State University in Abington for 30 years. He is the author or co-author of many publications about science education and is the joint holder of three U.S. patents. He has presented over 20 programs and workshops on effective techniques for teaching adults in the U.S., Europe, Japan, Korea, and Canada. Bob has developed considerable expertise in the teaching of science and technology to the layman, and has taught for the Osher Institute for the past several years.

 - expandRediscovering Pompeii: Exploring a Roman Ghost Town

Cash Baxter, MFA, producer, director, master teacher
Tuesdays, 10:00 a.m.-noon
January 24-February 28
CSUSB Palm Desert Campus

Pompeii, a Roman resort of the rich, was devastated by a violent eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 70 A.D., buried by ash and pumice, and forgotten for 1500 years. Pompeii's modern excavations began after the accidental unearthing by well diggers of nearby city Herculaneum in 1748. Explore the character of daily life two thousand years ago as presented in the excavated artwork from public squares, temples, private homes, public baths, merchant's shops and monuments from both Pompeii and Herculaneum.

About the Instructor
Cash Baxter is a fine arts painter, art historian and world traveler. He is an award-winning, internationally acclaimed Broadway producer/NY director whose career in show business spans 40 years. Chosen by Richard Rodgers to direct two Japanese productions of “The Sound of Music,” Baxter was awarded the Chunichi Theatre Award, the Japanese equivalent of Broadway’s Tony Award. He founded the Musical Theatre Workshop at Southern Illinois University, and was artist-in-residence at universities in New York, Illinois, Ohio, Massachusetts, California, and Texas. This is Cash’s 11th year teaching with the Osher Institute at CSUSB Palm Desert Campus.

 - expandNonviolence in Today’s World

Michael McDonald , PhD
Tuesdays, 1:00-3:00 p.m.
January 24-February 28
CSUSB Palm Desert Campus

In this course we will explore the topics that make up a typical peace studies class. A history of nonviolence will be presented, with an emphasis upon the life and teachings of Mahatma Gandhi. But the real goal of the class is to identify non-violent techniques, tactics and resources that could be of use to us in the difficult personal and political worlds we face in modern America.

About the Instructor
Dr. McDonald attended San Diego State University and the University of Hawaii where he earned his PhD in 1995. He reads Greek and is a specialist in Plato and Greek philosophy and drama. Michael has broad interests and has taught classes at CSUSB on Thomas Jefferson and early American history. At Prescott College in Arizona, he taught Western and Chinese philosophy, emphasizing the Chinese Book of Changes. Michael is a great believer in lifelong learning and has taken over sixty college level courses in the last ten years.

 - expandThe Old World: Classic Wine Regions of Europe

Shawn Richcreek, certified sommelier
Tuesdays, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
January 24-February 28
CSUSB Palm Desert Campus

Fantastic wine is being made all over the world today; from California to Canada and from New York to New Zealand. However, most of wine's culture, tradition, production techniques, laws and quality standards all developed in Europe over the last two thousand years. In order to fully appreciate all that is wonderful in the modern world of wine, it helps to have a basic understanding of the classic wine regions of the old world. This class will cover the wines, grapes and growing regions of France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Portugal in a fun and entertaining way.

About the Instructor
Shawn is the senior wine educator and store director for Total Wine & More in Palm Desert. Previously, he was the director of training and development for Bevmo, and also was a wine buyer for Cost Plus World Market. Shawn has worked on the retail side of the wine and spirits business in Southern California for over twenty years. He is a certified sommelier and a certified specialist of spirits. When he is not working or learning about wine, Shawn enjoys losing at basketball to his two teenage sons.

 - expandThe Tom Hanks Phenomenon

Frank Furino, TV & Film writer/producer, marketing executive
Wednesdays, 9:00 a.m.-noon
January 25-March 1
CSUSB Palm Desert Campus

Tom Hanks’ films have grossed over $8 billion worldwide. But more than that, his screen portrayals have touched our emotions from laughter to tears. Each of these six Tom Hanks films will profile a different side of his phenomenal talents. This class will include screening and discussion of the following films: You’ve Got Mail, Philadelphia, Apollo 13, Forrest Gump, Cast Away and The Road to Perdition. In addition to the film discussions, Frank will share his personal experience with Tom Hanks on the film, Apollo 13. Join us for this unique Osher experience.

About the Instructor
Frank brings twenty-five years of Hollywood experience to his Osher courses, including writer/producer credits for major hit shows Dynasty, Dallas, General Hospital, Falcon Crest, New Years Rockin’ Eve and more. He was also staff director with ABC News covering political conventions, space launches and major news events and later owned an advertising agency. He taught creative writing at UCLA and is a member of the Rancho Mirage Cultural Commission. Frank is a successful playwright and is currently working on his first novel.

 - expandThe American Conscience: The Mind of Abraham Lincoln

Kevin Peterson, BA, MA, private investor
Wednesdays, 1:00-3:00 p.m.
January 25-March 1

CSUSB Palm Desert Campus

Abraham Lincoln was many things: attorney, politician, commander in chief and president. His struggle with the great issue of American slavery led him to develop a uniquely American political philosophy; one grounded in both realism and morality. From the “House Divided” speech to the “Cooper Union” address, and then through his profound presidential writings and addresses, Lincoln redefined the American political philosophy. This course will explore the mind and perspective of Abraham Lincoln as he shaped a new American conscience.

About the Instructor
Kevin has had a lifelong, deep interest in American history, especially in the American Civil War and the life of Abraham Lincoln. He holds a bachelor's degree in history, a master’s degree in political science, and has done doctoral work in political science. Following a career of over 25 years as an investment banker, Mr. Peterson is now semi-retired and a private investor. Prior to moving to the Coachella Valley, Kevin also taught history courses for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Utah.

 - expandLong Story Short: Big Fiction Writ Small

Michael Craft, MFA, novelist
Thursdays, 10:00 a.m.-noon
January 26-March 2

CSUSB Palm Desert Campus

If you've ever thought of short stories as the novel's dwarf stepchild, think again. Countless great writers have preferred the pithy power of short fiction over the expansiveness of the novel. At each meeting, we'll listen to a podcast of a noted author reading a short story from The New Yorker's archives, which we will then discuss. In addition, we'll consider stories assigned for outside reading. While our primary focus will be the reader's appreciation and enjoyment, we will also explore some of the technical issues faced by fiction authors when thinking big and writing short.

About the Instructor
Michael is the author of more than a dozen published novels, three of which were honored as national finalists for Lambda Literary Awards. His award-winning short fiction has been published in British as well as American literary journals. His most recent project, Inside Dumont, is a novel told through "linked" short stories. Kirkus Reviews hailed it as "A delightful novel ... rollicking and engaging." He holds an MFA in creative writing from Antioch University, Los Angeles, and resides in Rancho Mirage.

 - expandThe Trickster in Mythology - CANCELLED

Catherine Svelha, PhD, mythologist, educator, storyteller, artist
Thursdays, 1:00-3:00 p.m.
January 26-March 2

CSUSB Palm Desert Campus

Come meet the Trickster, an important and puzzling figure in many mythologies around the world. The god of the crossroads, lies and mischief, he has been called Coyote, Raven, Eshu, Hermes, Loki and Krishna, to name just a few of his disguises. Each week will focus on a different aspect of the Trickster, drawing on myths and stories from various traditions. You will meet the Trickster and learn how to see his ongoing influence in these entertaining and thought-provoking lectures. Optional book: Trickster Makes This World: Mischief, Myth and Art by Lewis Hyde.

About the Instructor
Dr. Svehla creates story-based classes and programs that demonstrate the relevance of mythology to contemporary life. She is the founder of Mythic Mojo, where she consults with individuals on a range of mythological topics, and is the host of Myth in the Mojave, a weekly online radio show that reaches an international audience. She led the High Desert Mythological Roundtable from 2009-2015 and frequently encounters the Trickster in the desert near her home in Joshua Tree.

 - expandInternational Cinema

Mike Herbst, founding advisor, Cairo International Film Festival
Fridays, 9:30 a.m.-noon
January 27-March 2

CSUSB Palm Desert Campus

Explore and discuss a variety of lesser-known, but equally brilliant, films from a range of countries around the world. Each week features a different film. The screening begins with a short discussion of the director, the actors, the historical background of the country, and the political situation surrounding the film’s theme. There is a short discussion after the film as well.

About the Instructor
Mike grew up in Dresden, Budapest and Prague. He developed an early interest in cinema and began film studies in Berlin, where he supported himself writing film reviews. While in Berlin, Mike also started a career in international management with Lufthansa airlines, which later brought him to San Francisco. Mr. Herbst was involved in starting the International Film Festival in Egypt, and was later involved with the British Film Institute in London. He draws upon his extensive personal film collection for this Osher course.

 - expandNative American Literature

Gary Walker, MA, MEd
Fridays, 10:00 a.m.-noon
January 27-March 2

CSUSB Palm Desert Campus

We will explore the writers, themes, and successes of our literary lights who are Native Americans or write engagingly about Native American issues and culture. Featured authors will include Tony Hillerman (Navaho police novels), N. Scott Momaday and Sherman Alexte. We will also examine what IS an Indian and some of the myths, legends and half-truths about our first immigrants who dispersed to over 500 tribes, and the facts that are all but invisible in our educational curriculum.

About the Instructor
Gary has enjoyed fascinating careers as an award-winning educator, political speechwriter, playwright, director, producer, performer and entertainment journalist. He is a two-time recipient of the Desert Theatre League’s award for best original writing. Gary is in his twenty-ninth year teaching English and speech at College of the Desert. He also teaches courses at the Art Institute of California and writes the weekly “Curtain Time” column for Desert Entertainer magazine.

 - expandBest Picture Nominees from 1964: And the Winners Are…

Bernard (Butch) Epps, MFA
Fridays, 1:00-4:00 p.m.
January 27-March 3

CSUSB Palm Desert Campus

It’s Oscar season, so let’s take a look at some Academy Award nominees for Best Picture from Oscars past. In this case, 1964; a banner year for musicals, drama, foreign films and more as evidenced by the following list of best picture nominees: Dr. Strangelove, Becket, Mary Poppins, Zorba the Greek and My Fair Lady. We will watch these gems plus a Best Foreign Film nominee, and afterwards, we’ll discuss the aesthetics of each film, including their respective spiritual, moral and social quandaries. Come for the film, stay for the discussion. And the winner is…

About the Instructor
Butch received his MFA degree from the UCLA Department of Film and Television’s Independent Producers Program where he focused on story development and working with screenwriters. He served as the academic liaison to the high profile professional faculty, including studio heads, development executives and others. Since stepping away from the day-to-day rigors of the film industry, Butch has been teaching film appreciation courses while developing a book on Orson Welles’ Mercury Production of Citizen Kane.

Three-Week Courses

$50 each

 - expandTony Bennett Sings the Great American Songbook

Thomas Harris, MA, author, educator, journalist
Mondays, 10:00 a.m.-noon
March 13-27
CSUSB Palm Desert Campus

Tony Bennett is the greatest living interpreter of the songs of Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, Richard Rodgers, George and Ira Gershwin, and others of the 30s, 40s and 50s. He’s recorded an astounding 70 albums and has landed on the Billboard charts in every decade of his long career. At age 89, Tony earned his 19th Grammy. We'll discuss his amazing career, hear many of his great recordings and see a retrospective of his work in Clint Eastwood's production, The Music Never Ends. We’ll also view “Cheek to Cheek,” Tony's 2014 live performance with pop star Lady Gaga at New York's Lincoln Center.

About the Instructor
Tom was president of Golin/Harris Communications, one of the world’s largest international public relations firms. In 2000, he was awarded the Gold Anvil Award, the highest individual recognition presented by the Public Relations Society of America, and is the author of The World According To Me: The Best of the First 25 Years of the Thomas L. Harris Viewsletter, published in 2016. Harris was an adjunct professor at Northwestern University and has taught Osher courses on the Great American Songbook for years. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan and holds a master’s degree in communication from The University of Chicago.

 - expandHard Health Decisions: Cases From the Ethics Committee

Stewart Fleishman, MD, clinician, educator, research investigator, author
Mondays, 1:00-3:00 p.m.
March 13-27

CSUSB Palm Desert Campus

Patients, families and their providers make heart-wrenching choices every day about medical care. Health care facilities must have a mechanism to fully review these dilemmas giving everyone a voice, even if a patient can no longer speak for him or herself. This participatory course will review two actual situations each week (with details changed to protect privacy). We will discuss the situations as if you are members of an ethics committee with a focus on the basic principles of privacy, autonomy and “doing the right thing.”

About the Instructor
Dr. Fleishman is the author of Learn to Live Through Cancer: What You Need to Know and Do. He surveys cancer centers for accreditation by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer, and served as the associate chief medical officer and ethics committee chair of Continuum Hospice Care. Dr. Fleishman was among the first group of physicians board certified in hospice and palliative medicine, and has devoted his career to active symptom management for cancer patients. Dr. Fleishman also volunteers at the Coachella Valley Volunteers in Indio, providing primary care to the under-insured. Prior to attending medical school, Dr. Fleishman taught in the New York City public schools.

 - expandDigital Photography: Taking Great Pictures

Rita Enders, MA, educator, world traveler
Tuesdays, 10:00 a.m.-noon
March 14-28

CSUSB Palm Desert Campus

If you have never opened the manual that came with your digital camera, this is the course for you! Begin with learning good camera basics, surprising bells and whistles, buttons, apps and menus that are already on your camera. Whether you are using a point-and-shoot, smartphone, iPad/tablet or other pocket-size camera, this information will be invaluable. Add better picture taking tips and you are ready to capture precious lifetime memories.

About the Instructor
Rita completed her BA and MA at San Diego State University. She has taught multiple computer classes and computer programs for local students, Elderhostel students, and on board the MV Explorer as part of the Semester at Sea Shipboard Experience in 2003. Rita will be returning to Semester at Sea this fall as assistant executive dean. She has an extensive international travel background, including sailing around the world five times. For thirty years, Rita has resided in Palm Desert, except when she’s traveling the world or enjoying her northern lake home.

 - expandLawrence of Arabia: Fact & Fiction

Bernard (Butch) Epps, MFA
Tuesdays, 1:00-4:00 p.m.
March 14-28

CSUSB Palm Desert Campus

How does David Lean’s Academy Award masterpiece, Lawrence of Arabia (1962), starring Peter O’Toole, line up with the historical person T.E. Lawrence upon whom the movie is based? Join us as we watch a PBS documentary about the historical Lawrence in week one, and then screen the feature film over the remaining two weeks. We will not only analyze and discuss the poetics of the feature film, but also examine the creative decisions in “Hollywoodizing” Lawrence. Discussions will include Lawrence’s influence in laying the foundation for the modern Arab world of today.

About the Instructor
Butch received his MFA degree from the UCLA Department of Film and Television’s Independent Producers Program where he focused on story development and working with screenwriters. He served as the academic liaison to the high profile professional faculty, including studio heads, development executives and others. Since stepping away from the day-to-day rigors of the film industry, Butch has been teaching film appreciation courses while developing a book on Orson Welles’ Mercury Production of Citizen Kane.

 - expandPowers of Ten

Gary Smaby, artist, photographer, filmmaker
Wednesdays, 10:00 a.m.-noon
March 15-29

CSUSB Palm Desert Campus

This visually-rich course is inspired by a 1977 short film, Powers of Ten by legendary designers Charles and Ray Eames, that employed exponential powers to visualize the importance of scale and illuminate "the universe as an arena of both continuity and change." We will retrace the film's iconic nine-minute journey while making leisurely stops along the way to highlight recent advances in science and technology. Through the eyes of an artist, photographer, filmmaker and certifiable geek, we'll peer through telescopes and microscopes, meandering into the fields of art, astronomy, biology, particle physics, and mathematics, just to demonstrate "the effect of adding another zero."

About the Instructor
For over forty years, Gary Smaby's artistic eye has peered through a camera lens. His acclaimed body of work has been featured on gallery walls and album jackets. He has become internationally known and an oft-quoted observer on the leading edge of technology; serving as an advisor to premier research institutions like IBM's TJ Watson Lab and AT&T's Bell Labs and guest lecturer at NASA's Langley Research Center. Since 2009, he's been a visiting scholar/artist at UCSD and UCSB; most recently at UCSB's Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics. Smaby is a cum laude graduate of St. Olaf College with majors in East Asian studies and art.

 - expandDesert Discovery

Kerry Berman, certified interpretive guide
Thursdays, 1:00-3:00 p.m.
March 16-30

CSUSB Palm Desert Campus

This course will cover the creation of the Sonoran Desert 150 million years ago and the geological activity that followed. We will also cover the struggles and challenges that the Native American Cahuillas faced and how this harsh desert environment was tamed by the pioneers, culminating in one of the most famous vacation destinations in the world. Today, our desert is a unique environment that may be referred to as the renewable energy capital of North America, with the presence of wind, sun, hydro, bio-mass and geothermal alternatives. Discover why this is paradise found.

About the Instructor
Kerry is a retired real estate broker and mortgage banker. He moved to Palm Springs in 1973 after serving in the Marines and Vietnam as a tunnel rat. Playing tennis every day lost its luster and a friend mentioned the tour business. Now 10 years later, Kerry is considered one of the most knowledgeable certified interpretive guides in the desert. He teaches geology for the Living Desert University, is a hike leader for Friends of the Desert Mountains, and takes seniors and students on tours throughout the valley, in addition to giving private tours.

 - expandMormonism: How & Where It Started

Arlette Poland, JD, PhD
Fridays, 10:00 a.m.-noon
March 17-April 7 (no class on 3/31)

CSUSB Palm Desert Campus

Founded by Joseph Smith in New York during the early 1800s, the Latter Day Saint movement, commonly known as Mormonism, has grown substantially in both the United States and around the world. We will explore the early influences in Smith’s life as we uncover the inspirations and challenges he experienced in establishing this new community. The books, beliefs and historical development of the Latter Day Saints will be discussed with the intent to gain a more deeply informed view of what Mormonism is all about.

About the Instructor
Dr. Poland is a retired lawyer turned theologian and professor. She holds a BS in political science from UC Berkeley, an MA in religion from Claremont School of Theology, a Juris Doctor from San Francisco Law School and a PhD from Claremont Graduate University. She has been teaching at the college level for fifteen years and lecturing with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute since 2005. Her areas of specialty include Buddhism, Judaism, science and religion and world religions.

 - expandThe Art of Documentary Film

Dale Knorr, BA, retired TV/motion picture production specialist
Fridays, 1:00-3:00 p.m.
March 17-April 7 (no class on 3/31)

CSUSB Palm Desert Campus

This interpretive exploration within the documentary film genre will focus on the creative methods and artistic techniques that filmmakers use to communicate information and to tell their stories. We will view an eclectic collection of non-fiction and experimental documentary films that exist outside the boundaries of traditional documentary conventions. Class discussions will include a brief history of the genre, the use of production techniques to generate emotion and mood, and “the creative treatment of reality.”

About the Instructor
Dale received his BA degree in radio/television/film from Temple University’s School of Communication and Theater. His career in motion picture and television production spanned 35 years, where he worked in both the public and private sectors, as well as many network and independent freelance projects. Most recently, Dale was a member of the judging panel at the 2015 American Documentary Film Festival.

To submit a course proposal, please complete the Course Proposal Form.


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