Learning and Teaching with the Center for Life Long Learning

The Center for Life Long Learning (CLL) invites members of the Leisure World community who have an interest in teaching to consider joining us to give new courses or single lectures for the Leisure World community. The topic for the course or lecture can be within the instructors’ areas of interest and expertise (perhaps something to do with their profession, hobby, or other interests). CLL instructors come from a very wide range of backgrounds – from college professors to attorneys to government officials to business people. As long as someone has an interesting topic and a desire to teach, CLL would be delighted to consider their becoming an instructor in the program.  Please complete the form below, click on the submit button, and you will be contacted by someone from CLL.  Please continue reading about CLL below the form.  

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Presenters may give one-time lectures or longer classes presented weekly for an appropriate number of weeks. If you are interested in discussing the possibility of giving a lecture or class, or if you know of someone who might be interested, please contact JoAnn Gellman.


A History of CLL Courses

CLL has been providing courses and lectures to the LW community since May 19, 2003 when Don Eisen gave the first course on “Staging the American Family.”  This has been followed by 113 courses on topics that include “The Birth of Mathematics” (the late James Hummel), “Meeting Socrates” (William Fee), “Chinese Language and Culture” (Charles Yang), “Supreme Court and Constitution” (Richard Thornell),  “What to do With the Deficit” (Elizabeth Hawkins), “Great Decisions” (David Frager), “Tango: The Myth and the Passion” (the late Louis Feldner), and many others too numerous to cover here (but see the CLL web page for a full list of past courses – www.cllmd.com). 

 CLL has also offered 35 individual lectures since 2006 covering topics that include terrorism, writing a novel, physics without math, veterans, energy, and more.  These one-time lectures are always well attended and they can be used by potential instructors to explore ideas for courses they might want to give later.

CLL courses and lectures have been given by 29 different people. The record is held by Don Eisen who has given 14 courses, all focusing around theater and plays.  The subjects that Don has taught reflect his background as the founding chair of the Department of Theater and Dance at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.  

While the majority of CLL courses and lectures have focused on the arts and humanities, the late James Hummel, a math professor at the University of Maryland, gave seven different courses focusing on various aspects of mathematics. 

It is important to note that one does not have to be a college professor or teacher to give courses in CLL – and in fact many of the most interesting courses and lectures have been by people with varied backgrounds, and not necessarily on the areas of their life’s profession. For example, George Birnbaum, a retired chemist, has given a series of popular courses on biographies of interesting people.  Similarly, CLL president Fred Shapiro worked in business for most of his career, but he has given a wonderful set of courses on his passion – photography.  

What Courses are Appropriate for CLL

CLL is open to courses on any topic that interests and excites potential teachers. CLL is, however, particularly interested in adding new courses in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) areas since, overall, they have been rather underrepresented in the past and these are some of the most exciting growth areas of the 21st century.  Moreover, since the number of women teaching CLL courses or lectures has been far fewer than their representation in the overall LW population, CLL particularly encourages women to become instructors.

CLL welcomes most any topic for its courses and lectures. The major “criterion” for selection of courses and lectures are those that are interesting and they are given by people with a passion to teach about the topic.  CLL has found, over the years, that almost any topic offered gets a highly receptive and interested audience.  

In thinking about a topic, possible instructors might reflect on a comment made by Don Eisen who said that “I almost always try to pick one that affords me an opportunity to explore a subject I haven’t had the opportunity to explore before, or to explore an old friend of a topic from a new perspective, or more in depth than previously possible.”  So if anyone at LW has something in the back of their mind they would like to explore, perhaps they could do so by teaching with CLL.

The “Level” of CLL Courses

People who have not taken CLL courses may be wondering about who takes the classes.  In fact, the students in CLL courses and lectures are highly varied, but they tend to be smart people from very diverse backgrounds – accountants to zoologists, and virtually everything in between.  As a consequence, courses are aimed at a broad audience and try to provide enough background to ensure that everyone gets as much out of the course as possible. 

In addition, courses can be in any format that best suits the instructor and topic.  Some people may prefer lecture style with slides (or, these days, PowerPoint), while others may prefer informal presentations.  However, a hallmark of CLL courses and lectures is that they do best when they include discussion, questions, and debate.