Great teachers join us for ESI College, offering everything from one-hour lectures to six-week courses.

You can view the current season of ESI College classes here. [ You can also download and/or print out a PDF version. ]

Once you’ve selected a course, or courses, print and fill out the ESI College application form (PDF) and send it to Elderly Services-ESI College, P.O. Box 581, Middlebury, VT 05753. The form has information on registration deadlines for each season of classes.

ESI College Winter 2019 / January to March

Book Group: Two Contemporary Novels, Then She Found Me and How It All Began

Time: 10-11:30 a.m.
Date: Mondays, Jan. 14, 21, 28
Cost: $80 includes both books

** NOTE: This class is full, but you can still
sign up for a spot on the waiting list. **

Description: This book group focuses on two delicious novels that explore how coincidence adds zest to living: Then She Found Me (1990) by American novelist Elinor Lipman and How it All Began (2011) by English novelist Penelope Lively. Both these contemporary novelists have a deft touch and invent vivid characters. And both these novels reward their readers with delightful romps through coincidence, romance and the vagaries of modern life and
personality.



Instructor: After earning his Ph.D. at Stanford, Professor Emeritus of Chinese John Berninghausen established Middlebury College’s Department of Chinese Language and Literature. Along with teaching Chinese, he led popular seminars on Western and Asian literature. An avid reader, he collects Chinese paintings and is a world traveler.
Refugees or Labor Migrants? Anthropology of South-North Migration

Time: 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Date: Mondays, Jan. 14, 21, 28
Cost: $60

Description: In this course we will look at what anthropologists and other researchers can tell us about the migration streams from Central America, Africa and the Mideast that are capturing so much media and political attention.



Instructor: David Stoll teaches anthropology at Middlebury College. He is the author of El Norte or Bust! How Migration Fever and Microcredit Produced a Financial Crash in a Latin American Town (2013).
The Amazing Geological History of Vermont

Time: 10-11:30 a.m.
Date: Wednesdays, Jan. 16, 23, 30
Cost: $60

Description: The rocks beneath our feet in Vermont tell a story of 500-million-year-old oceans, major volcanic eruptions, tectonic plate collisions, and mountain building. These long-lived geological activities led to the creation of bedrock, including slate, marble, soapstone and granite, all important industries in Vermont. We will explore these topics plus answer your burning questions about what’s in your backyard!



Instructor: Ray Coish, a native of Newfoundland, is Professor Emeritus in the Geology Department at Middlebury College. Before retiring in 2016, he taught courses on earthquakes and volcanoes, the geology of Vermont, and the planets. His research focuses on ancient volcanoes and the tectonic evolution of Vermont.
Goldberg Variations

Time: 10-11:30 a.m.
Date: Thursdays, Jan. 17, 24
Cost: $40

Description: Johann Sebastian Bach wrote what came to be known as the Goldberg Variations in 1741. It has been called a Rubik’s Cube of music. We’ll investigate this monumental and dazzling work in some detail, and listen to a recording of the entire set along the way. (Eastview residents may have seen this course in September.)



Instructor: Jerry Shedd is a retired music teacher, co-conductor of the Middlebury Community Wind Ensemble, and member of the Vermont Symphony Orchestra Chorus. He has conducted local theater productions and has taught ESI courses on various music dramas, symphonies and requiems, as well as how to play the recorder.
The New World We Face: America Alone

Time: 1:30-3 p.m.
Date: Wednesday, Jan. 30
Cost: $20

** NOTE: This class is full, but you can still
sign up for a spot on the waiting list. **

Description: America’s role in the world is changing at a breathtaking rate, posing acute short- and long-term challenges. We will explore this dangerous new situation in which China strives to dominate the Eurasian landmass, Russia has re-emerged as a major player, and Europe is adrift, divided and lacks direction. The fateful question for America is—what can be done … in the short and longer term. (Rescheduled from November 2018; only a few spots remain.)



Instructor: George Jaeger served as an American career diplomat during the Cold War. He was, among other assignments, staff director of the President’s Advisory Committee on Arms Control and Disarmament, a senior negotiator of the Helsinki Final Act, consul general during Quebec’s independence crisis, and deputy assistant secretary general of NATO. Before he retired he taught as diplomat-in-residence at Middlebury College.
Inside the Hive: The Fascinating Life of Bees

Time: 10-11:30 a.m.
Date: Thursday, Jan. 31
Cost: $20

Description: Honeybees are a vital part of our agriculture system, pollinating one third of our crops, yet they’re struggling to survive. Learn more about the fascinating life of bees, their complex social structure and communication, the challenges they’re facing, and what beekeepers are doing to save them. Back by popular demand!



Instructor: Andrew Munkres is a beekeeper and a beekeeping instructor in Green Mountain College’s Sustainable Agriculture program. From his treatment-free apiary, Lemon Fair Honeyworks, located in Cornwall, he sells raw honey and honeycomb, nucleus colonies and queens. Vice president of the Vermont Beekeeper’s Association, he is a sought-after speaker at local and national conferences.
The Gothic Humor of Flannery O’Connor

Time: 10-11:30 a.m.
Date: Mondays, Feb. 4, 11, 18
Cost: $70 includes book, Flannery O’Connor: The Complete Stories

Description: Through selected short stories we will explore the unique, sometimes surreal, perspective on the modern South of one of the region’s most inventive observers. Her stories feature serial murderers, crazed evangelists, hypocrites and misfits, all struggling to understand the mystery of their faith and spirituality.



Instructor: Paul Christensen taught contemporary literature at Texas A&M University and coordinated its creative writing program. His short stories have appeared in national journals and reviews, and he is the author of two memoirs as well as studies of the American poets Charles Olson and Clayton Eshleman.
The History of Photojournalism from the Crimean War to Today’s Instagram Posting

Time: 1:30-3 p.m.
Date: Tuesdays, Feb. 5, 12, 19
Cost: $60

Description: Over three small group sessions, retired National Geographic photographer Jim Blair will lecture and lead discussions on relevant and important photographs, from the Crimean War, through Vietnam and the civil rights movement, to the present day. Blair will also examine the development and explosion of the iPhone, which allows all of us to be witnesses to history.



Instructor: James Blair was a staff photographer for National Geographic Magazine for 32 years, with 46 articles carrying his byline and more than 2,000 of his photos appearing within its covers. His photographs are represented in the permanent collections of the National Portrait Gallery and the Museum of Modern Art. He will have a one-man retrospective exhibit at the Middlebury College Art Museum from May 24-August 11, 2019.
Campaign Finance Reform and the First Amendment

Time: 10-11:30 a.m.
Date: Wednesdays, Feb. 6, 13
Cost: $40

Description: In this class we will study the major First Amendment cases impacting efforts to curb campaign financing abuses and analyze where the Supreme Court may be headed in the future.



Instructor: A Middlebury College graduate, Bill Sessions received his law degree from George Washington University Law School. He has worked as an Addison County public defender, taught at Vermont Law School, had a private law practice, and as a judge served on the U.S. Sentencing Commission and the U.S. Judicial Conference. He is currently a U.S. District Court Judge and a Visiting Judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.
Perennials Group: Happiness Is a Choice You Make

Time: 1:30-3 p.m.
Date: Wednesdays, Feb. 6, 13, 20
Cost: $75, includes book

** NOTE: This class is full, but you can still
sign up for a spot on the waiting list. **

Description: This small discussion and support group will continue with aspects of life for those who are active and over 70. The proposed text is Happiness is a Choice You Make, by John Leland. We have focused on the dark side of aging but now will discuss what we do with the challenges we are given.



Instructor: Elise Blair trained and worked in the Netherlands as an industrial social worker. She became a psychoanalyst in Washington, D.C., and had a private practice for 30 years. She played a large role in the Washington Center for Psychoanalysis as a teacher, board member and president. She is a member of the American Psychoanalytic Association.
What Is This Thing Called Jazz? The Great American Songbook, Broadway and Hollywood

Time: 1:30-3 p.m.
Date: Thursday, Feb. 7
Cost: $20

Description: Popular songs written between the 1920s and the 1950s have come to be called The Great American Songbook. Most of the songs were written for either the Broadway stage or the sound stages of Hollywood, and became part of the foundation of jazz. Dick Forman will explore these threads in a session that will include a reflection on the Songbook, an explanation of what jazz is all about, plenty of time to sing some great old songs, and a chance to hear those songs transformed into jazz.



Instructor: Dick Forman is Middlebury College’s Director of Jazz Activities. As a jazz piano player, he has led his own combo, The Dick Forman Jazz Group, for decades. The Group has appeared in concerts and regional festivals, on public radio and at countless private functions.
Writing Your Life Stories

Time: 10-11:30 a.m.
Date: Wednesdays, Feb. 20, 27, March 6, 13
Cost: $80

Description: Have you ever thought about writing your memoir or autobiography? Have you been working on it? Do you just want to make the time to write some of the important stories about your life? This course, comprised of four writing workshops, will be a chance to get started writing, or to share what you’ve done so far and get inspired in a supportive and instructive environment.



Instructor: Professor of Education John Clarke taught at UVM for 25 years, and then worked at Mount Abraham High School in the Pathways program. The author or editor of five books, he received his A.B. at Princeton, M.A.T. at Harvard, and his Ed.D. at Northeastern University. He is a wood sculptor and writer, as well as a teacher.
Book Group: Little Women, Reconsidered

Time: 10-11:30 a.m.
Date: Mondays, Feb. 25, March 4, 11, 18
Cost: $90 includes Penguin Classics edition

Description: Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women is often treated as a children’s book. Yet many of the themes have a richness that only adults can appreciate, whether it’s the nature of courtship and marriage, the complexities of family life, choices about work, or surviving hardship with courage and grace. Come join us as we reconsider Little Women in light of our own lives and choices. Students should read the first five chapters before the first class.



Instructor: Frankie Dunleavy graduated from the University of London, where she majored in French and minored in English. In addition to those subjects, she has also taught Latin, Spanish and German in England, France, Germany and, most recently, Middlebury, Vermont.
The Twenty-First Century: The Shape of Things to Come

Time: 1:30-3 p.m.
Date: Wednesdays, Feb. 27, March 6, 13
Cost: $65

** NOTE: This class is full, but you can still
sign up for a spot on the waiting list. **

Description: This small seminar will address the critical issues we face on the global stage: climate change; arms control in a world of accelerating technological change; and America’s changing world role. Through lecture and discussion, the seminar will explore the implications of each issue for this country and humanity in general. This seminar has essential readings prior to each class.



Instructor: George Jaeger served as an American career diplomat during the Cold War. He was, among other assignments, staff director of the President’s Advisory Committee on Arms Control and Disarmament, a senior negotiator of the Helsinki Final Act, consul general during Quebec’s independence crisis, and deputy assistant secretary general of NATO. Before he retired he taught as diplomat-in-residence at Middlebury College.
Creating the Impossible: Stories from a Master Woodworker and Designer

Time: 1:30-3 p.m.
Date: Thursday, Feb. 28
Cost: $20

Description: In 20 plus years as a woodworker and designer, Ken Schoen turned seemingly impossible ideas into functional, artistic, architectural masterpieces in wood. He created nonlinear designs, a double helix staircase, and other bizarre requests for Wall Street tycoons and famous personalities. Using his skill as a storyteller and photos of his marvels, Schoen presents the challenge of puzzling through these almost inconceivable designs to create useful, beautiful pieces of art.



Instructor: With a bachelor’s degree in English literature and theater arts, and a master’s in community mental health, Ken Schoen has a 45-year career path that has included commercial fisherman in Alaska, master woodworker, and psychotherapist. Ken now coaches the boys’ varsity tennis team at MUHS, plays cello, and coordinates activities at Elderly Services Inc.
Thomas Jefferson: Slavery and Christianity

Time: 10-11:30 a.m.
Date: Tuesdays, March 5, 12
Cost: $40

** NOTE: This class is has been postponed
to the spring term of ESI College, in May.
The class is also full, but you can still
sign up for a spot on the waiting list. **

Description: Based upon our close reading of Jefferson’s written words, we will discuss Jefferson’s controversial beliefs and opinions on two crucial topics of his day—and ours. The class will have a small amount of reading for both sessions.



Instructor: John McWilliams is retired College Professor of Humanities at Middlebury College. He taught courses in the History, History of Art, Religion, and English & American Literatures departments.
Reading Emily Dickinson

Time: 1:30-3 p.m.
Date: Monday, March 11
Cost: $20

Description: In this class we’ll read five to six of Emily Dickinson’s poems together. John Elder will provide some guidance through lecture and then facilitate discussion about each poem with the class.



Instructor: John Elder retired from Middlebury College in 2010 after 37 years of teaching English and Environmental Studies. He has also often taught at the Bread Loaf School of English and the Writers’ Conference. He lives in Bristol and runs a sugaring operation in the hills of Starksboro with his wife and sons.
Winter 2019 ESI College Courses

- Two Contemporary Novels, John Berninghausen | Mondays, January 14, 21, 28, 10-11:30 a.m.
- South-North Migration, David Stoll | Mondays, January 14, 21, 28, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
- Geological History of Vermont, Ray Coish | Wednesdays, January 16, 23, 30, 10-11:30 a.m.
- Goldberg Variations, Jerry Shedd | Thursdays, January 17, 24, 10-11:30 a.m.
- America Alone, George Jaeger | Wednesday, January 30, 1:30-3 p.m.
- The Life of Bees, Andrew Munkres | Thursday, January 31, 10-11:30 a.m.
- Flannery O’Connor, Paul Christensen | Mondays, February 4, 11, 18, 10-11:30 a.m.
- History of Photojournalism, James Blair | Tuesdays, February 5, 12, 19, 1:30-3 p.m.
- Campaign Finance Reform, Bill Sessions | Wednesdays, February 6, 13, 10-11:30 a.m.
- Happiness Is a Choice, Elise Blair | Wednesdays, February 6, 13, 20, 1:30-3 p.m.
- This Thing Called Jazz, Dick Forman | Thursday, February 7, 1:30-3 p.m.
- Writing Life Stories, John Clarke | Wednesdays, February 20, 27, March 6. 13, 10-11:30 a.m.
- Little Women, Frankie Dunleavy | Mondays, February 25, March 4, 11, 18, 10-11:30 a.m.
- The 21st Century, George Jaeger | Wednesdays, February 27, March 6, 13, 1:30-3 p.m.
- A Master Woodworker, Ken Schoen | Thursday, February 28, 1:30-3 p.m.
- Thomas Jefferson, John McWilliams | Tuesdays, March 5, 12, 10-11:30 a.m.
- Reading Emily Dickinson, John Elder | Monday, March 11, 1:30-3 p.m.