We are so pleased to be offering a series of new classes for ESI College Online’s January-February 2022 term, serving those age 60 and older. Registration is open; classes begin January 11.

Course Listings

(click on the course titles for details)

Allison Jacobel. Sea Change: Paleoceanographic Reconstructions for Climate Prediction, Tuesday, January 11, 10:30-11:45 a.m. ~ $10

Frankie Dunleavy. Film Discussion: Teens in the 2010s, Wednesdays, January 12, 19 & 26, 1:30-2:45 p.m. ~ $30

Jessica Teets. Digital Surveillance in China, Thursday, January 13, 10:30-11:45 a.m. ~ $10

Ellery Foutch. Chasing Butterflies: American Artists’ Pursuit of Natural History, Thursday, January 20, 10:30-11:45 a.m. ~ $10

Andrew Munkres. The Life of Bees, Tuesday, January 25, 10:30-11:45 a.m. ~ $10

Tom Hanley. Challenges Bring Opportunities: The Evolution of Policing at a Time of Social Change and Conflict, Thursday, January 27, 10:30-11:45 a.m. ~ $10

Robert Wyatt. Lerner & Loewe, Tuesday, February 1, 10:30-11:45 a.m. ~ $10

Rebecca Starks. Writing Memoir with Grace (Paley), Wednesdays, February 2 & 9, 1:30-2:45 p.m. ~ $20

Paul Christensen. Book Discussion: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Thursdays, February 3, 10, 17 & 24, 10:30-11:45 a.m. ~ $40 (plus cost of book)

Carol Milkuhn. Book Discussion: Stegner’s Angle of Repose, Tuesdays, February 8, 15 & 22, 10:30-11:45 a.m. ~ $30 (plus cost of book)

Susan Evans McClure. The Clean Water Act at 50, Wednesday, February 16, 1:30-2:45 p.m. ~ $10

Bill Schubart. Economic Growth and Community Well-Being: An Exploratory Conversation, Wednesday, February 23, 1:30-2:45 p.m. ~ $10


Please Note

  • We use an online registration system named “Wufoo” that provides an easy-to-use form to select your classes.
  • Please sign up at least 48 hours in advance so we can be in touch with you about the class.
  • Some classes have limited enrollment; others have readings. 
  • Each person in your household must register separately. If you share the same email address, simply fill out a separate form for each person.
  • The registration system calculates the amount owed on a per person basis ($10 per session, per person). The total cost for your classes will be listed when you complete your registration. 
  • Some courses may require you to purchase books that will be available at the Vermont Book Shop at a discounted price.
  • After you submit your form, you will receive an automated email confirmation from “Elderly Services-ESI College <no-reply@wufoo.com>.”

Payment Options

  • You may pay by check. Please send it (within a week of registration) to:
    Elderly Services-ESI College, P.O. Box 581, Middlebury, VT 05753 
  • Or, you may make a debit/credit card payment via PayPal, as you complete the online registration form. You do not need a PayPal account to use this feature.

Connecting Online

  • To participate you’ll need a computer, tablet, iPad, Chromebook, or smartphone with Zoom set up on it. A device with a webcam is preferable so that people can see you. 
  • We email you a Zoom link for each class in the morning of each day’s class.
  • We don’t want technology to be a barrier! Please call us (802.388.3983) or email (college@elderlyservices.org) to learn more and schedule an appointment as we would be happy to help.

Day-of-Class Technical Support

  • We have technical support for every class session. 
  • If you bump into any issues on the day of the class, please do not hesitate to call our support line at 802.349.2686. Please note: This is a new support line number we use only during class sessions.

We look forward to seeing you online!

Dana Perzanoski
Geetha Wunnava
Jeff Rehbach
Anya Schwartz
Kristin Bolton

Course Listings for January-February 2022

Sea Change: Paleoceanographic Reconstructions for Climate Prediction
Instructor: Allison Jacobel
Date: Tuesday, January 11
Time: 10:30-11:45
Cost: $10

Description: The oceans are threatened by climate change, and understanding how they will respond to higher CO2 levels has never been more important. Past changes in the ocean’s carbon cycle can provide data to check and improve models that help us predict future changes. These data can also help us balance Earth’s carbon budget by showing where and how much carbon was stored in the ocean at times when the Earth has been much colder. This talk provides an introduction to the tools and techniques Allison and her students use in their research, including recent oceanographic expeditions, and the scientific questions they are working to answer at Middlebury.

Instructor: Dr. Allison Jacobel studies Earth’s past climate and changes in its oceans as an Assistant Professor of Geology at Middlebury College where she teaches courses including “How to Build a Habitable Planet,” and “Earth’s Oceans and Coastlines.” Her research interests are united by three features: they 1) further our investigation of the coupled ocean-atmosphere system, 2) employ novel proxies and techniques and 3) help improve predictions of future climate change. The scientific questions she finds most compelling go beyond reconstructing paleoclimate; they elucidate the underlying drivers and mechanisms of change in the climate system. Allison earned her Ph.D. in Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University and the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, and was a Voss Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Brown University, where she continues to hold an appointment as a Visiting Scientist.


Film Discussion: Teens in the 2010s
Instructor: Frankie Dunleavy
Dates: Wednesdays, January 12, 19 & 26
Time: 1:30-2:45
Cost: $30

Course Description: The teen years are tough at any time; are they different now than they were for us? Join us to discuss three films that capture these tumultuous years for teens coming of age in the last decade: Eighth Grade (January 12), Lady Bird (January 19) and The Spectacular Now (January 26). All three films have endearing protagonists that bring to life the challenges of family, friends, school and plans for the future. Please watch each film twice and jot down comments and questions you have. 

Please note: All films are rated R and include strong language, some sexual material involving teens, brief graphic nudity and alcohol use involving teens. They are available for free via kanopy.com through your local public library or through your favorite streaming service.

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, Vt.


Course: Digital Surveillance in China
Instructor: Jessica Teets
Date: Thursday, January 13
Time: 10:30-11:45
Cost: $10

Course Description: Increasingly China is deploying digital surveillance tools for social control, including millions of cameras in public places, facial recognition software, and the use of AI (artificial intelligence) to link collected data to individuals. Currently this information is used in urban grid management which is tasked with social control in assigned communities; however, the goal is to construct a social credit system where digital surveillance creates a credit score for each individual which then facilitates things like travel outside of hometown, apartment rentals, school admission, even appointments at the hospital. This system aims to create a citizen score measuring the good activities (volunteering or donating) and the bad (attending a protest or buying alcohol) where the state can read citizenship and reward or punish accordingly.

Instructor: Jessica C. Teets is an Associate Professor at Middlebury College, and Associate Editor of the Journal of Chinese Political Science.  Her research focuses on governance in authoritarian regimes, especially the role of civic participation.  She is the author of Civil Society Under Authoritarianism: The China Model (Cambridge University Press, 2014) and editor (with William Hurst) of Local Governance Innovation in China: Experimentation, Diffusion, and Defiance (Routledge Contemporary China Series, 2014), in addition to articles published in The China Quarterly, World Politics, Governance, and the Journal of Contemporary China.  Dr. Teets is currently working on a new book manuscript (with Gao Xiang) on local governance under Xi Jinping, and a forthcoming edited volume developing a theory of how to lobby dictators (with Max Grömping).


Chasing Butterflies: American Artists’ Pursuit of Natural History
Instructor: Ellery Foutch
Date: Thursday, January 20
Time: 10:30-11:45
Cost: $10

Description: Why have so many artists, from the early nineteenth century to today, been drawn to butterflies? Titian Peale’s sketches, oil paintings, and elaborate specimen boxes encased and displayed butterflies between panes of glass in dazzling patterns. Sherman Foote Denton’s family’s mail-order company manufactured display mounts that promised to “make each specimen a picture.” Painter Willard Metcalf purchased dozens of Denton-patented mounts in which to display his own collection. Contemporary artist Margarita Cabrera hand-crafted copper monarch butterflies, evoking migrations and exchanges between the U.S. and Mexico. This talk explores artists’ pursuit of butterflies and their experimentations with representations that capture not just their intricate wing patterns but their symbolic associations as well.

Instructor: Ellery Foutch is an Assistant Professor in the American Studies department at Middlebury College where she teaches classes on the art and material culture of the United States. After earning her PhD in the History of Art from the University of Pennsylvania, she held postdoctoral teaching fellowships at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and The Courtauld Institute of Art (London). She completed her MA at the Williams College Graduate Program in the History of Art and her BA at Wellesley College. She has published articles on patents for portable magic lanterns as illuminated, wearable technologies (for Modernism/Modernity, 2016), nineteenth-century glass ballot boxes and political transparency (for Common-place, 2016), artists’ natural history collections (Flora/Fauna 2017), and tableaux vivants (for Art History Pedagogy & Practice, 2017).


The Life of Bees
Instructor: Andrew Munkres
Date: Tuesday, January 25
Time: 10:30-11:45
Cost: $10

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 the president of the Vermont Beekeepers Association and is a sought-after speaker at local and national conferences. From his treatment-free apiary, Lemon Fair Honeyworks, located in Cornwall, he sells raw honey and honeycomb, nucleus colonies and queens.


Challenges Bring Opportunities: The Evolution of Policing at a Time of Social Change and Conflict
Instructor: Tom Hanley
Date: Thursday, January 27
Time: 10:30-11:45
Cost: $10

Description: We’ll look at the evolution of policing from the 1950s to the present time, an evolution driven by social conditions and conflict but always seeming to be a step behind. Ever-growing and urgent challenges demand our attention every day and force us to continue efforts to define what policing is: homelessness and the migration of homeless into our community; people with addiction and mental health issues in the aftermath of ‘mainstreaming’ and the under resourcing of services; burgeoning national and international fraud that defies boundaries; identity theft and ransomware, and other social issues.

Instructor: Tom Hanley, a 47 year policing veteran has seen it all. He has served as the Middlebury Chief of Police for close to 30 years. In addition, Tom has had a 40-year stint coaching hockey, baseball and basketball giving him the added advantage of knowing how to build a strong team, serving him well in building the Middlebury Police Department. Recently, Tom was honored as the Emergency Director of the Year by the Vermont Emergency Management Agency for his humor and steadfast, efficient and calming management of the trying COVID-19 pandemic, Tom has raised a family of four children and was one of seven children growing up, giving him a first-hand understanding of life when dealing with the human issues that arise every day in his policing job. Chaos, tumult, conflict, heart-break, tragedy and yes, occasionally joy, are all part and parcel of Tom Hanley’s daily work.


Lerner & Loewe
Instructor: Robert Wyatt
Date: Tuesday, February 1
Time: 10:30-11:45
Cost: $10

Description: In temperament, personality and background, Lerner and Loewe were perhaps the most dissimilar of all songwriting teams, two men who somehow accommodated their often tempestuous relationship to generate brilliantly crafted musical productions: the mystical Brigadoon, Paint Your Wagon, their salute to the California gold rush, My Fair Lady, the film (and later musical) Gigi, and finally Camelot, which partnered Brits Richard Burton and Ms. Andrews with Robert Goulet.  Learn the origins of enduring songs like “Almost Like Being in Love,” “Thank Heaven for Little Girls,” “I Could Have Danced All Night,” “If Ever I Would Leave You,” and “They Call the Wind Maria.” Enjoy clips from the film adaptations, explore personal correspondence and testimonials, and probe the collective genius that allowed a Viennese tunesmith and a silver-spooned New Yorker to transcend their cultural and attitudinal differences.

Instructor: Robert Wyatt is a Steinway Artist who has performed throughout the United States and internationally, gathering critical acclaim for sensitive and colorful solo and chamber music recitals. He delights audiences with a rare blend of pianistic savvy and engaging storytelling that makes each performance a creative event.


Writing Memoir with Grace (Paley)
Instructor: Rebecca Starks
Dates: Wednesdays, February 2 & 9
Time: 1:30-2:45
Cost: $20

Description: Acclaimed short story writer, Grace Paley (1922-2007) was a Vermont poet laureate, a teacher, a mother, and a dedicated feminist and anti-war activist. Born in the Bronx to Jewish socialist immigrants from Ukraine, she lived in New York before moving in 1988 to Thetford Hills, Vermont, where she had spent summers since the early 1970s. We will use her work to inspire us in writing the stories of our own lives. In the first session, we will look closely at some very short Grace Paley stories. Between sessions, participants will work on short memoir pieces of their own (autofiction and poetry are also welcome) guided by or in response to what is “inimitable” in Paley’s work. In the second session, participants will share and receive group feedback on one of these pieces.

Instructor: Rebecca Starks is the author of the poetry collections Fetch, Muse (Able Muse Press, 2021) and Time Is Always Now, a finalist for the 2019 Able Muse Book Award, and she received Rattle’s 2018 Neil Postman Award for Metaphor. She grew up in Louisville, Ky., earned a Ph.D. in English from Stanford University, and works from Richmond, Vt., as a writing consultant and workshop leader. For the past seven years she has enjoyed leading workshops for the Burlington Writers Workshop, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UVM, Wake Robin, and independently.


Book Discussion: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Instructor: Paul Christensen
Dates: Thursdays, February 3, 10, 17 & 24
Time: 10:30-11:45
Cost: $40 (plus cost of book)

Description: Mark Twain’s novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, is considered one the great classics of American literature. As Hemingway noted, American novels ever since its publication can trace their heritage back to this source. He’s probably right. The unforgettable tale of reconciliation between the son of a drunkard and a runaway slave adrift on the Mississippi river captures the essence of what it is to be an American. Our seminar will consider the great power of Twain’s prose, his stunning cast of characters, and the wisdom of this masterpiece. The course will be over four sessions and will include open discussion and an occasional background lecture.

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 and studies of the American poets Charles Olson and Clayton Eshleman.


Book Discussion: Stegner’s Angle of Repose
Instructor: Carol Milkuhn
Dates: Tuesdays, February 8, 15 and 22 
Time: 10:30-11:45
Cost: $30 (plus cost of book)

Description: A review in The Boston Globe describes Stegner’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel as “an iconic novel of the West and an American masterpiece—a deeply moving narrative of one family and the traditions of our national past.” We’ll discuss how this novel portrays America coming of age, and how, in writing a biography of his grandmother, the main character unearths his own life experiences. Finally we’ll look at how his discoveries relate to our society today.

Instructor: Long fascinated by the connection between the past and the present, Carol Milkuhn has explored this interest through prose and poetry. Her novel, A Tapestry of Queens, focuses on the impact of Tudor royalty on future generations. And her forthcoming poetry chapbook, Modern Tapestries, Medieval Looms, also explores historical events, crossing centuries to make connections. A retired English teacher, Carol holds a Master’s degree from the University of Michigan and has studied at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.


The Clean Water Act at 50
Instructor: Susan Evans McClure
Date: Wednesday, February 16
Time: 1:30-2:45 
Cost: $10

Description: 2022 marks the 50th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, the nation’s first comprehensive legislation protecting water quality. Life in the Champlain Valley has always been and continues to be deeply connected to the water of Lake Champlain. This monumental legislation expanded federal protection of the waters of the United States, paving the way for policies, protections and funding dedicated towards clean water. Subsequent amendments to the Act strengthened protections for Lake Champlain, creating the Lake Champlain Basin Program and helping to protect the water of the lake for generations to come. Susan Evans McClure, Executive Director of Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, will discuss the founding, the impact, and the legacy of this watershed legislation on our watershed.

Instructor: Susan Evans McClure is the executive director of the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum. She leads the talented team of educators, curators, museum professionals and archaeologists as they explore the relationship between the land, the people and the water of the Champlain Valley. Previously, Susan was director of programs and audience development at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, where she launched the Smithsonian’s first brewing history research and collecting initiative. Her research focuses on the field of public history, connecting people with the past in ways that are relevant to their lives today outside the walls of the classroom.


Economic Growth and Community Well-Being: An Exploratory Conversation
Instructor: Bill Schubart
Date: Wednesday, February 23
Time: 1:30-2:45
Cost: $10

Description: Vermonters pride themselves on their communities. What are the indicators you would choose to measure and reflect the well-being of your community? Is economic growth in and of itself the best measurement of community well-being? In exploring these questions together we will discuss these four areas. First we’ll gauge the importance of the strength of the community in terms of gathering places, town governance participation, walking, biking, trail water amenities. Then we’ll look at economic indicators, for example: household income, poverty, home ownership, local businesses, census indicators, and retirement security. We’ll also consider environmental indicators such as shoreline health, air quality, soil quality, and zoning. Our fourth measure will be population health indicators such as healthcare accessibility, obesity, longevity, and the well-being of children. We look forward to a lively discussion of what keeps our communities thriving.

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 and has written five books of fiction.