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The mission of Senior College is to provide high-quality educational opportunities for seniors. Courses cover a wide variety of topics in the humanities, sciences, and the arts and are taught by emeritus and current University of Iowa faculty members and others.

Senior College is run by a committee of retired UI faculty and staff members. The volunteer committee works in cooperation with the Association of Emeritus Faculty and the University of Iowa Retirees Association and contracts with the Center for Advancement to host this webpage and handle registration.

FALL 2021 COURSES

Nine different courses are being offered from August through early December. Some courses have more than the traditional four sessions, and some meet for less than two hours. The fee for each course is $30. Please review all courses before registering. Detailed information about each course and instructor can be found by clicking on the "More" arrow in the gray box and is also available in the course catalog (PDF) below.

Two of this fall's classes will meet in person, and the others will be offered by videoconferencing, using Zoom. Information on Zoom can be found in the Zoom Guide (PDF) below.

Once you have made your selections, use the "Register Now" button below. After you register, you will receive a confirmation email within 24 hours.

If you have questions about course registration or would like to receive email updates for future sessions of Senior College, please contact the UI Center for Advancement at 319-467-3893 or via email at alumni.seniorcollege@foriowa.org.


Course 1

Frank Sinatra

INSTRUCTOR: Timothy Hankewich

Dates: Thursdays, August 19, 26; September 2, 9

Time: 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.

Location: Zoom

Registration Deadline: Registration is now closed

Ring-a-ding-ding! Join us for an overview of the music and career of Frank Sinatra. Discussions will include his early, formative years with Tommy Dorsey, his artistic development during World War II, his cinematic achievements, and finally the pinnacle of his career during his years in Las Vegas with the Rat Pack.

INSTRUCTOR: The 2021-2022 season marks Timothy Hankewich's 16th year as music director of Orchestra Iowa. Recent guest appearances have included performances with the Victoria Symphony as well as a tour throughout the Czech Republic and Slovakia with the Moravian Philharmonic and the Slovak State Orchestra. Previously Hankewich was the resident conductor of the Kansas City Symphony.

Registration for Course 1 is now closed.


Course 2

Dostoevsky at 200 and the Enduring Legacy of The Brothers Karamazov

INSTRUCTOR: Anna Barker

Dates: Wednesdays, September 1, 8, 15, 22, 29

Time: 3:30 - 5:00 p.m.

Location: Zoom

Registration Deadline: Registration is now closed

The 200th anniversary of Fyodor Dostoevsky's birth will be the focus of this fall's UI Main Library Gallery exhibition "From Revolutionary Outcast to a Man of God: Dostoevsky at 200" curated by Anna Barker. This five-week course will complement the exhibition and offer an in-depth reading of Dostoevsky's final masterpiece, The Brothers Karamazov. We will consider Dostoevsky's life, including his imprisonment and years of hard labor in Siberia, his gambling addiction, and his marriages, and will follow his literary development from early publications, Poor Folk and The Double, to Crime and Punishment, The Idiot, and Demons. For our reading of The Brothers Karamazov, the Pevear and Volokhonsky translation is recommended.

INSTRUCTOR: Anna Barker is an adjunct assistant professor of Russian and comparative literature at the UI. Her interests include Russian cultural history, Russian literature, and 19th-century European literature, art, and music. She has organized several literary celebrations, including public readings of Don Quixote, Moby-Dick, and War and Peace.

Registration for Course 2 is now closed.


Course 3

Saturday Showdowns: Understanding Big Ten Football

INSTRUCTOR: Don Patterson

Dates: Thursdays, September 23, 30; October 7, 21

Time: For details, click on "More."

Location: For details, click on

Registration Deadline: Registration is now closed

Class Limit: 175

Times & Locations:

  • September 23, 30; October 7: 3:00 – 5:00 p.m., Coralville Center for the Performing Arts, 1301 Fifth Street, Coralville
  • October 21: 5:00 – 7:00 p.m., Stew and LeNore Hansen Football Performance Center, 992 Evashevski Drive, Iowa City

This course is designed to enhance students' appreciation for and understanding of Big Ten football. The evolution of this ultimate team sport will be addressed, but more time will be dedicated to how the game is organized and played. Terminology will be explained, and students will learn about game strategy and the development of specific game plans. A look at the world of analytics will offer valuable insights, rarely available to fans, into the science of winning. Finally, analysis of selected video from the previous Hawkeye game and a brief preview of the upcoming game will be provided.

INSTRUCTOR: Don Patterson, the only assistant coach who was at the UI for all of Hayden Fry's 20 legendary years, coached Division I football for 37 years. As head coach at Western Illinois University, he led the Leathernecks to their only #1 national ranking. He is now a radio and TV analyst for college football.

Registration for Course 3 is now closed.


Course 4

Building Broadway

INSTRUCTOR: Evan Hilsabeck

Dates: Mondays, October 4, 11, 18, 25

Time: 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Location: Coralville Center for the Performing Arts, 1301 Fifth Street, Coralville

Registration Deadline: Registration is now closed

Class Limit: 150

During the first decades of the 20th century, new, stunningly beautiful theaters—including most of the 41 houses that shimmer near Times Square today—were rising almost monthly in New York City. This course will unravel Broadway's little-known history, including the now-lost theaters and early entrepreneurs of the 19th century, the development of vaudeville, the rise of powerful theatrical promoters such as the Shubert brothers, and the 50-year life of one of Broadway's grandest theaters, the Casino. The pre-1940 first Golden Age of Broadway, when promoters engaged in a battle for bigger houses, brighter stars, and more captivating shows, will also be explored.

INSTRUCTOR: Evan Hilsabeck, managing director at the Coralville Center for the Performing Arts, is a lifelong collector of artifacts related to Broadway's forgotten history. He is passionate about the stories hidden in the dusty playbills, photographs, faded press clippings, and archival documents of New York's early Broadway theaters.

Registration for Course 4 is now closed.


Course 5

Public Health: History, the College, COVID-19, and Beyond

INSTRUCTOR: Jeffrey Dawson

Dates: Wednesdays, October 6, 13, 20, 27

Time: 4:00 - 6:00 p.m.

Location: Zoom

Registration Deadline: Registration is now closed

Although public health principles and initiatives have existed for centuries, the COVID-19 pandemic has recently raised interest in public health as a field. In this course, we will briefly review the history of public health and then highlight several significant activities in the five departments of the UI College of Public Health: Community and Behavioral Health, Epidemiology, Biostatistics, Health Management and Policy, and Occupational and Environmental Health. We will show how multidisciplinary approaches are used to address important health issues such as COVID-19, other infectious diseases, cancer, cardiovascular disease, rural health, aging, and driver safety.

INSTRUCTOR: Jeffrey Dawson, associate dean for faculty affairs and professor of biostatistics in the UI College of Public Health, received his doctoral degree from Harvard University. He has collaborated with UI faculty members across the health sciences and in engineering, education, law, and business.

Registration for Course 5 is now closed.


Course 6

The Senses: Our Windows on the World

INSTRUCTOR: Carol Scott-Conner

Dates: Fridays, October 8, 15, 22, 29

Time: 10:00 a.m. - noon

Location: Zoom

Registration Deadline: Registration is now closed

The senses of sight, hearing and balance, taste, smell, and touch, along with other senses of the skin and joints, are vital windows on our world. Each session will begin with a detailed discussion of the anatomy (structure) and physiology (how things work) of a particular sense organ, offering information that is not only inherently fascinating but clinically relevant. Comparative anatomy will be used to show examples of adaptation to varied environments. We will also discuss how things can go wrong and how disorders are treated.

INSTRUCTOR: Carol Scott-Conner, MD PhD, is professor emeritus of surgery at the University of Iowa. She is a recipient of the Honored Member award from the American Association of Clinical Anatomy and is a founding member of the American College of Surgeons Academy of Master Surgeon Educators.

Registration for Course 6 is now closed.


Course 7

Rivers Run Through It: Iowa Agriculture, Hydrology, and Water Quality

INSTRUCTOR: Chris Jones

Dates: Tuesdays, October 19, 26; November 2, 9

Time: 10:00 a.m. - noon

Location: Zoom

Registration Deadline: Registration is now closed

This interactive course will focus on watershed science, water-quality monitoring, and factors important for Iowa, the Corn Belt, and the Gulf of Mexico dead zone. A geologic history of Iowa and its landscapes will lay the groundwork for a discussion about how Iowa was transformed to a working landscape since 1840. Issues related to municipal drinking water, such as nitrate impairments in the Des Moines River, biodiversity of streams, and rural groundwater will be covered. Students will learn how scientists delineate a watershed, techniques for water monitoring, and the water-quality parameters that are important for the integrity of surface water and groundwater.

INSTRUCTOR: Chris Jones is a research engineer with IIHR—Hydroscience & Engineering at the University of Iowa. He manages IIHR’s water-quality sensor network, deployed at 60 Iowa sites. He holds a PhD in chemistry from Montana State University and previously worked at the Des Moines Water Works and the Iowa Soybean Association.

Registration for Course 7 is now closed.


Course 8

Paradigm Shift: How Innovations in Science and Technology Shaped the History of Art

INSTRUCTOR: Lauren Lessing

Dates: Mondays/Wednesdays, October 25, 27; November 1, 3, 8, 10, 15, 17

Time: 3:00 - 4:00 p.m.

Location: Zoom

Registration Deadline: Registration is now closed

Although frequently characterized as polar opposites, art and science are bound together. We will focus on artworks from the collection of the UI's Stanley Museum of Art ranging from the Neolithic period to the 20th century to uncover how artists, like scientists, use investigation and experimentation to innovate and discover; how technological innovations have made new forms of art possible; and how scientific discoveries have changed the ways that we see and represent the world around us. From the development of ceramic and bronze to the invention of photography and electric power to cosmologies stemming from physics and psychology, science has driven the history of art.

INSTRUCTOR: Lauren Lessing, the director of the UI Stanley Museum of Art, holds a PhD in art history from Indiana University and has taught and published on a wide range of subjects related to the art and material culture of the United States from the 17th century to the present.

Registration for Course 8 is now closed.


Course 9

Electric Cars, Trucks, and Buses: State of the Art and Future Vision

INSTRUCTOR: Kelley Donham, Thomas Toms, David Osterberg, Robert Mutel, Joel Donham

Dates: Mondays, November 15, 22, 29; December 6

Time: 10:00 a.m. - noon

Location: Zoom

Registration Deadline: Monday, October 25

Electric vehicles are here! What kinds are there, and how do they work? How does a consumer choose one, and what are the negatives and positives of owning and living with them? Are they a solution to our climate-change crisis? In addition to learning about electric cars for personal use, students will learn about other electric vehicles used for public and private transportation systems, such as buses, garbage trucks, and delivery vehicles.

INSTRUCTORS: Kelley Donham is professor emeritus in the UI College of Public Health. Thomas Toms is a retired electrical engineer who has worked in the energy production and transmission systems industry. David Osterberg is an environmental public policy specialist and professor emeritus in the UI College of Public Health. Robert Mutel is professor emeritus in the UI Department of Physics and Astronomy. Joel Donham is an environmental engineer and planner for the nonprofit company the Center for Transportation and the Environment.


Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact the UI Center for Advancement in advance at 319-335-3305 or 800-648-6973.


Senior College Committee

Emil Rinderspacher, Chair 
Tom Rocklin, Vice Chair 
Warren Boe 
Gayle Bray 
Holly Carver 
Kelley Donham 
Lesanne Fliehler 

H. Dee Hoover 
George Johnson 
Frank Mitros 
Mary New 
Pam Willard 
Nancy Williams 

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An Iowa law professor shares his insights into what the storming of the Capitol by pro-Trump insurrectionists could mean for America. Derek T. Muller Members of Congress evacuated the House and Senate chambers on Jan. 6 as a mob of supporters of President Donald Trump raided the U.S. Capitol to protest the certification of the 2020 presidential election results. Following a Trump rally, rioters scaled walls, broke windows, and gained access to the Senate floor and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office. At least five people died in the clash between rioters and law enforcement. Iowa Magazine interviewed Derek T. Muller, a professor and election law expert at the University of Iowa College of Law, to learn how these events could affect our democracy's future. Is there any precedent in American history for what's occurring during this transfer of power? It's hard to find any historical comparisons to 2021. In 1860, the election of Abraham Lincoln was enough to cause secession. And other presidents have been fairly sore losers, leaving town without attending the inauguration. But there's never been a sustained attempt like this by a president to seek to overturn the election results, to deny the legitimacy of the president-elect's victory, or to incite a mob to 'fight' for him like this. Was the Capitol breach a threat to democracy? Political violence is a great danger to democracy. We rely on the public's trust in the legitimacy of elections. Storming the Capitol and disrupting legislators during their official business of counting electoral votes is a worrisome sign for future elections. What crimes could those who stormed the Capitol be charged with? Rioters might be charged with assault or vandalism. More serious might be seditious conspiracy, defined as seeking to hinder or delay the execution of any law of the United States or by force taking away property. What is the 25th Amendment, and could it be applied to this situation? The 25th Amendment is a mechanism to ensure a transition of power in the event the president is unable to discharge his duties. It has been used twice for a temporary and voluntary transition of power when a president has undergone surgery. Another untested provision allows the vice president and a majority of the cabinet to write to Congress that the president is unable to perform his duties, in which case the vice president immediately becomes acting president. The president could then assert that no inability exists, and the vice president and the cabinet could argue again that he is unable. Congress would need to vote within 21 days by a two-thirds vote in both houses that the president is unable in order for the vice president to continue his duties. If invoked, the assumption is it would 'run out the clock' until Jan. 20. The provision was principally designed for situations where the president was incapacitated, like an assassination attempt in which he slipped into a coma. It would be a novel and significant thing for the vice president and cabinet to invoke it in cases like this. Do you think President Trump's role in the Capitol riot could lead to impeachment? Impeachment seems unlikely because Congress is not in session and would need to move quickly. The House could adopt articles of impeachment by a simple majority vote. The facts are straightforward, so there wouldn't need to be an extensive investigation to gather facts. It would then go to the Senate for a trial, which could remove the president by a two-thirds vote. It could also bar him from serving in any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States, effectively preventing him from becoming president again. It's also possible, if untested, to impeach him after he has left office, which would allow Congress to vote to bar him from future government service. Do you think the events that unfolded at the Capitol on Jan. 6 might lead to any changes in federal election law? It remains unclear how Congress might respond to this as a matter of federal election law. The Electoral Count Act of 1887?the statute under which Congress was counting electoral votes?allows objections like those lodged in Congress, and a small change in the future might make objections harder. In a broader sense, Congress might be more inclined to support H.R. 1, an omnibus election bill that requires independent redistricting commissions and campaign finance changes, but it's not clear if those changes could pass the filibuster in the Senate or would instill public confidence in elections. Statehood for the District of Columbia, after experiencing an out-of-control riot like this with fewer resources than it needed, may also be a more pressing issue and would add two senators and one representative from the District to Congress. What might the events of Jan. 6 mean for the future of our elections? It will take a long time to assess the fallout of these riots. Distrust in our elections is very high among a significant segment of the population right now, and some Republicans in Congress are encouraging that distrust. It is very hard to think of a productive way forward if the losing side in an election cannot accept losing.

Past Dance Marathon participants who spent 24 hours on their feet For The Kids (FTK) are invited to join the Dance Marathon Alumni Group (DMAG).

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