The Oak Ridge Institute for Continued Learning is celebrating 25 years of “enriching lives through lifelong learning” with 75 classes for the fall term, ranging from history, music and from art to finance, religion, literature, language, science and health.
Most classes are conducted in person and are held primarily at the Oak Ridge Branch campus of Roane State Community College, 701 Briarcliff Ave.; a few are online via Zoom, and two are hybrid courses (in-person and Zoom). There will also be trips (at an additional cost) to a museum, two playhouses and the Alex Haley Farm in Clinton, now owned by the Children’s Defense Fund.
The fall catalog is posted on the ORICL website www.roanestate.edu/oricl. The registration form and the calendar are also posted there. Online registration opens August 9.
The fall term runs from Monday, September 12 to December 2. The registration fee for three terms (fall, winter-spring and summer) is $150; by paying online or by check included with the paper form sent by mail, you will become a member of ORICL for one year, and you can take as many courses as you want, a bargain compared to most others continuing education programs in the nation.
Mail your form and check to ORICL, RSCC, 701 Briarcliff Ave., Oak Ridge, TN 37830. For more information, contact the ORICL office at (865) 481-8222 or [email protected]
ORICL offers many history courses, including World History, Famous Americans “you should know better”, Biographies of Important Native Americans (Hybrid Class), Ancient Scottish History, United States and the Holocaust, as well as the history of the Ukraine-Russia relationship.
Regional and local history classes focus on gold mining, the Civil War, the Oak Ridge-University of Tennessee partnership, Secret City stories, the history of cross-cultural encounters in two atomic cities ( Oak Ridge and Los Alamos), the unsung scientific heroes in the history of Oak Ridge in the 20th century and the Alvin Weinberg Archive Project.
Additionally, there is a lesson on the history of the Tennessee River Valley from the perspective of indigenous peoples, including the Yuchi Indians who built the temple mounds at the nearby John Knox Center (tour destination class for registrants only). Additionally, a class will hear and discuss Heather McGhee’s bestselling book “The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together.”
Music lessons will focus on the Oak Ridge Chorus and Roane Choral Society Christmas Concert; bluegrass innovators, presented by folk music duo Elza Gate; and the lives and achievements of classical musicians Robert and Clara Schumann.
Art classes (for a fee) at the Oak Ridge Art Center will include jewelry making, viewing films about artists, visual journaling, and learning from a master potter how to make trays for entertainment and gnomes as Christmas decorations. Art classes held on the Roane State campus will include a watercolor workshop and Zentangle, a relaxing method for drawing beautiful pictures with structured patterns.
Finance courses will teach you about investing in stocks, new tax laws, cryptocurrency, inflation, and fraud, including how to protect yourself from the latest scams.
The recent decline of religion in the United States and the related role of politics will be addressed in a series of five lectures (in-person and online).
If you enjoy reading and discussing books, ORICL has book groups for Fiction, Science Fiction and Fantasy, Non-Fiction, Classic Literature, Mysteries and Non-Fiction. . Other literature courses will focus on poetry, reading Shakespeare and Greek plays, writing memoirs and stories from the Jewish tradition.
Language courses will include an introduction to linguistics and reading and speaking lessons in Latin, Spanish, Russian and Ukrainian.
Want to learn more about how to make Oak Ridge a better place to live? Consider taking courses on the Fundamentals of Oak Ridge Municipal Government and the Oak Ridge Fund for Community Excellence.
For those of you interested in science and technology, a course examines how flowers communicate with their pollinators, primarily birds and bees. The tech book club will focus on the book “The Myth of Artificial Intelligence: Why Computers Can’t Think Like We Do” by Erik Larson. The Friday Lecture Series class presents presentations by area researchers.
To improve the body and mind, you can take classes on aging, Body Mender fitness exercises, critical thinking, problem solving, using divination cards, and completing cryptic varietal crosswords. Many students report feelings of goodwill after taking the regularly offered Benevolence and Kindness Unlimited course based on the teachings of Buddhism.
Other enjoyable ORICL activities include walking around town learning the history of Oak Ridge and joining a conversation circle about knitting and crocheting.