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, 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 Fall 2018 / September-November

Writing Memoir: How, Why and For Whom?

Time: 10-11:30 AM
Date: Mondays, September 17 & 24
Cost: $40

Description: This two-session course will explore memoir writing. After a discussion of the history and purpose of the memoir and reviewing some examples, each student will write their own one-page memoir. On day two, we will hear and discuss one another’s memoirs.



Instructor: Bill Schubart has served as Board Chair at Vermont Public Radio, UVM Medical Center, Vermont Digger, and Business Roundtable. Educated at Exeter, Kenyon, and UVM, he co-founded Philo Records and Resolution, Inc. Bill currently chairs the Vermont College of Fine Arts Board and has written five books of fiction.
An Introduction to the Wondrous Worlds of Islamic Art

Time: 10-11:30 AM
Date: Wednesday, September 19, at Elderly Services; Wednesday, September 26, at Middlebury College Museum of Art
Cost: $40

Description: This fall, the Middlebury College Museum of Art presents an exhibition of Islamic art, spanning 1,400 years of art from around the world. In the first class, Ata Anzali provides context for the art and its role in Islamic cultures and religion while Cynthia Packert will discuss some individual works in the exhibition. At the second class, Cynthia Packert introduces the exhibition at the museum.





Instructors: With a Ph.D. in Art History from Harvard, Middlebury College Professor Cynthia Packert has taught Asian art for 29 years. She has lived and traveled in a variety of countries, mostly in Asia, as a child. Her current research focuses on Hindu art and architecture in north India. Ata Anzali is an Assistant Professor of Religion at Middlebury College whose research interests include early modern developments of Sufism in Persia, the early history of Islam and the Qur’an, Persian culture and civilization, and modern religious reform movements in the Middle East.
Inside ENIGMA: Cracking the Secret German Codes of WWII

Time: 1:30-3 PM
Date: Thursday, September 27
Cost: $20

Description: The German military used Enigma cipher machines to encode all of their important communications. The breaking of these Enigma codes is credited with shortening the war by two years, saving thousands of lives, and perhaps keeping Hitler from developing the atomic bomb. This talk will explain in detail how the Enigma works and trace the fascinating history of the cracking of the Enigma codes. The real story behind the Imitation Game movie will be explained



Instructor: Tom Perera is a retired Professor of Neuroscience who specialized in research on the coding of information in the human brain and nervous system. He has been hunting for, collecting, researching, restoring and writing about Enigmas and their history for over 25 years. He located and restored the Enigma that stars in the Imitation Game. He provides extensive Enigma information through his Enigma book, his lectures and his website: www.EnigmaMuseum.com.
Long Shadows Left by the Vietnam War: Three Narratives Depicting America’s Involvement in Southeast Asia

Time: 10-11:30 AM
Date: Mondays, October 1, 8, 15, 22
Cost: $110 (includes 3 books)

Description: Class book list: The Quiet American by Graham Greene (1955), The Ugly American by Burdick and Lederer (1958) and The Things They Carried by combat veteran Tim O’Brien (1990). Each work of fiction casts up its own distinctive shadow while also shedding some light. Now half a century after the height of America’s involvement in Vietnam, we will discuss the differing perspectives provided by three works of literature and the passage of time.



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.
Fall Photo Workshop

Time: 10 AM-noon
Date: Tuesdays, October 2, 9, 16
Oct. 2, 10 AM-noon at Elderly Services (morning only)
Oct. 9, 10 AM-noon photo shoot at a location; optional: 1:30-3:30 PM at Elderly Services
Oct. 16, 10 AM-noon photo shoot at a location; optional: 1:30-3:30 PM at Elderly Services

Cost: $60 for morning classes only; $100 includes afternoon classes, too

In this course you will become more familiar with features of your digital camera; improve the design, composition and aesthetics of your photos; and learn how to create, transfer and store digital images. The course includes field trips so you can get out to take photos in the fall.

In the optional afternoon sessions the class will utilize Adobe Photoshop Lightroom for cataloguing, rating, developing and printing digital images. Additional program features can be included at the request of class members: slide show creation, book layout and printing and preparing images for the Internet.

Students will need a digital camera that can be manually adjusted. Student who choose to do the afternoon workshop will need a laptop with Adobe Lightroom downloaded.



Instructor: Will Costello is a professional photographer who has been teaching classes in digital photography and web development at CCV since 2005. He has a B.A in Biology and Environmental Science from Central Connecticut State University and a Master's in Education from Saint Michael’s College. He taught science and information technology at Rutland and Champlain Union Valley High Schools for 28 years.
Chilean Politics and Artistic Expression

Time: 10-11:30 AM
Date: Thursday, October 4
Cost: $20

Description: Traumatic social events ripple through collective memory. The human rights violations of Pinochet's regime in Chile affected not only the victims and survivors, but the following generations, though in different and sometimes contradicting ways. Chilean artists have explored these tensions by questioning constructions of history, memory and identity. This presentation explores how those creative undercurrents - and the political and intellectual discourses around them - have informed Miranda Hardy’s artistic work.



Instructor: David Miranda Hardy is a Chilean filmmaker with an MFA in Film from Temple University. A Fulbright recipient, David has taught in Chile, Cuba (EICTV) and in the USA, where he is Assistant Professor in the Department of Film and Media Culture at Middlebury College. His work explores interactions between the present and historical memory and the intersection of art and politics. His recent TV show Bala Loca, a 10-episode miniseries, is currently playing on Netflix.
Why We Should Read Toni Morrison Today

Time: 10-11:30 AM
Date: Thursday, October 11
Cost: $20

Description: Writer Toni Morrison has consistently called her readers to account as makers of the American racial landscape. In our current cultural moment, when the escalation of racist thoughts and actions threatens to further rend the social fabric of our communities, when people stay silent out of fear of misspeaking or being misunderstood, when individuals believe themselves powerless in the face of “what has always been,” Morrison’s bold exploration and explanation of these questions offers us a much-needed guidance towards deeper understanding and mutual respect.



Instructor: William R. Nash is Professor of American Studies and English and American Literatures at Middlebury College. The author of Charles Johnson’s Fiction and co-editor of Charles Johnson, the Novelist as Philosopher, Nash’s current research explores the role and function of scrapbooks in the anti-slavery struggle.
The Inherent Paradox in Going with the Grain: A Presentation on Woodworking and Life

Time: 1:30-3 PM
Date: Thursday, October 18
Cost: $20

Description: In this class we will explore the process of researching and creating a vast array of complex forms in wood. From nonlinear furniture designs to a 2.5 year project constructing a DNA molecule double helical staircase, the journey is packed with stories and hands-on examples and photos. You will be able to experience the satisfaction and thrill of creating your own curling waves of beautiful paper thin wood. You will leave this experience inspired anew about the joy and beauty found in the process of observation, creation and living.



Instructor: With a Bachelor's Degree in English Literature and Theater Arts, and a Master's Degree in Community Mental Health, Ken Schoen’s 45 year career path has included being a commercial fisherman in Alaska, a master woodworker, and a psychotherapist. Currently Ken coaches the Boys’ Varsity Tennis Team at MUHS, plays cello, and coordinates activities at Elderly Services, Inc.
Religion and American Politics in 2018

Time: 10-11:30 AM
Date: Wednesdays, October 24 & 31
Cost: $40

Description: Ahead of the 2018 midterm elections, this course will consider the role that religion is playing in U.S. politics. Is religion becoming a stronger or weaker force in national politics? What should we make of the support President Trump receives from evangelicals? What role have religious groups played in the protest movements that have arisen since he was elected? Will religion make any notable difference in the midterm elections? And is all this religion in politics a troubling violation of the “separation of church and state”?



Instructor: James Calvin Davis is a professor of Religion at Middlebury College, where he teaches ethics and American religious history. He is the author/editor of two volumes on Roger Williams, the Puritan defender of religious freedom. His most recent book is In Defense of Civility: How Religion Can Unite America on Seven Moral Issues that Divide Us.
Being Mortal: A Book Discussion with the Perennials

Time: 1:30-3 PM
Date: Wednesdays, October 24, 31, November 7
Cost: $70 (includes book)

Description: Formerly called “The Golden Years,” the “Perennials” is a small ongoing discussion group about different aspects of aging. We will read Atul Gawande’s book Being Mortal, which shows how the ultimate goal is not a good death but a good life, all the way to the very end. We will talk about our worries and our wishes about the end of life, and how they reflect upon our day-to-day choices in living.



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.
A Citizen’s Guide to Water Quality Problems and Solutions

Time: 1:30-3 PM
Date: Thursdays, October 25 & November 8
Cost: $40

Description: The value of good water quality to people, the environment, and the economy is evident as we face substantial costs of cleaning up Vermont's surface waters. How much nitrogen is too much? When and why does sediment become a pollutant? Who assesses the water quality of our lakes and streams? What's at stake besides human health? This two-session course will survey the major causes of water pollution and explore the mechanisms, effects, and treatments of different types of water quality impairment.



Instructor: Carol Harden (B.A. Middlebury College; M.A., Ph.D. University of Colorado) is Professor Emerita of Geography at the University of Tennessee, where she taught courses in physical geography, water resources, climate change, and natural hazards. In “retirement,” she is editor-in-chief of the international journal, Physical Geography, and chair of the Geographical Sciences Committee of the U. S. National Academies of Sciences.
Faulkner: A Second Look

Time: 10 AM-noon
Date: Mondays, October 29, November 5, 12, 19
Cost: $90 (includes book)

Description: Spurred by the insightful and spirited discussion of Absalom, Absalom!, Chuck Burdick and Carol Milkuhn return to Faulkner's fictional world of Yoknapatawpha County, Mississippi. To underscore the literary techniques and themes that link most of Faulkner's work, this course begins with a short story, "The Bear.” Next, we’ll turn to The Sound and the Fury, a novel that explores the downfall of an old southern family - a downfall seen from four different points of view. Come ready to participate!





Instructors: A retired teacher of American Literature, Carol Milkuhn received her Masters Degree from the English Department of the University of Michigan and has publishing a novel and a poetry chapbook. Charles (“Chuck”) Burdick earned his B.A. in English from Middlebury College and his M.A. from Rutgers. He taught English and writing at Milton, Exeter, and Princeton Day School, and has led numerous book discussion courses for ESI College.
The New World We Face: America Alone

Time: 1:30-3 PM
Date: Wednesday, November 14
Cost: $20

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 reemerged 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.



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.
The 2018 Midterm Elections: Results and Consequences

Time: 1:30-3 PM
Date: Thursday, November 15
Cost: $20

Description: Why did the November 6 elections for the U.S. House and U.S. Senate turn out the way they did? What will be the consequences of the election results on politics in Washington in the next two years, and on the 2020 presidential election?



Instructor: Eric Davis (B.A., Brown University; M.A., Ph.D. Stanford University) is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Middlebury College. From 1980 to 2008 he taught courses on American politics. Since retiring, he has continued to be a close observer of Vermont and national politics, writing a column for the Addison Independent and providing analysis for local and national print and broadcast media.
Understanding Chimpanzee Behavior

Time: 10-11:30 AM
Date: Wednesday, November 21
Cost: $20

Description: Ever since Jane Goodall carried out her groundbreaking research on chimpanzees, scientists have been deepening their understanding of chimp behavior and intelligence. Join John Lower as he shares stories and visuals from his recent work as a wildlife photographer, researcher, and conservationist of endangered East African chimpanzees from the wild, tropical forests of Uganda.



Instructor: John Lower graduated from Middlebury College with a degree in Neuroscience. He has done research at the NYU Center for Neural Science, the Neuroscience Institute at NYU School of Medicine, and the Bottlenose Dolphin Research Institute. Most recently he studied and photographed chimpanzee behavior at the Kibale Chimpanzee Project in Uganda, a long-term research project jointly funded by Harvard, Tufts, and the University of New Mexico. Currently he teaches biology at Noble and Greenough School in Massachusetts.
Fall 2018 ESI College Courses

• Writing Memoir, Sept. 17, 24
• Islamic Art, Sept. 19, 26
• Cracking WWII German Codes, Sept. 27
• Book Group: Vietnam War, Oct. 1, 8, 15, 22
• Fall Photo Workshop, Oct. 2, 9, 16
• Chilean Politics & the Arts, Oct. 4
• Toni Morrison, Oct. 11
• Woodworking & Life, Oct. 18
• Religion & 2018 American Politics, Oct. 24, 31
• Discussion Group: Being Mortal, Oct. 24, 31, Nov. 7
• Water Quality Problems & Solutions, Oct. 25, Nov. 8
• Book Group: Faulkner, Oct. 29, Nov. 5, 12, 19
• America Alone , Nov. 14
• 2018 Midterm Elections, Nov. 15
• Chimpanzee Behavior, Nov. 21