University of Minnesota offers unique classes

Published 8:11 pm Monday, November 12, 2018

MINNEAPOLIS — University of Minnesota officials hope to engage community members through a unique array of course offerings, including the physics of superheroes, obscure red wines and the forgotten gods of Scandinavia.

The courses are part of the LearningLife program in the College of Continuing and Professional Studies, the Minnesota Daily reported .

The program aims to highlight “the knowledge, resources and everything that goes on in the university,” said Program Director Anastasia Faunce.

Email newsletter signup

“There’s so much (at the university), it’s like a microcosm of the world,” she said. “There are so many people doing so many different things that we’ve got a wealth of research and scholars at our disposal.”

The program features more than 70 courses, seminars and one-day immersions with varying fees.

“We really just try to do a full breadth of topics, and that way we’re kind of feeding most people’s needs,” Faunce said.

The courses are led by faculty members who have special interests outside their fields.

“It’s just fun, you get a different level of questions; you get some different levels of engagement,” said James Kakalios, a physics professor who taught a seminar on superheroes in October.

Most student participants are community members, Faunce said. The program has some regular members who will bring their children or grandchildren to events, she said.

“The demographic for LearningLife skews a bit older; it’s not traditional degree-seeking student age,” Faunce said.

Cynthia White, 68, said she regularly participates in the program because it allows her to interact with university professionals.

“Being able to take classes at the University of Minnesota, both known for its research as well as its academics, has been just a tremendous opportunity for me,” White said.