We are so pleased to be offering a series of new classes for ESI College Online’s November-December 2021 term, serving those age 60 and older. Registration is open; classes begin November 9.

Course Listings

(click on the course titles for details)

Paul Christensen: Book Discussion: Moby Dick. Tuesdays, November 9, 16, 23, 30 & December 7, 10:30-11:45 a.m. ~ $50 plus the cost of book

Rebecca Starks: Poetry Discussion: Fetch, Muse. Wednesday, November 10, 1:30-2:45 p.m. ~ $20 includes cost of book

Rich Wolfson: Can Nuclear Energy Solve Our Climate Crisis? Wednesday, November 17, 1:30-2:45 p.m. ~ $10

Susan Evans McClure: The Gunboat Spitfire: Local History with National Significance. Thursday, November 18, 10:30-11:45 a.m. ~ $10

Elise Blair: Aging Gracefully. Stupid Things I Won’t Do When I Get Old:  A Guide to Aging, by Steven Petrow with Roseann Foley Henry. Wednesdays, December 1, 8, 15, 1:30-2:45 ~ $30 plus cost of book

Tom Perera: WWII Spy Radio Operations and Cold War CIA “Bugs.” Thursday, December 2, 10:30-11:45 a.m. ~ $10

Kathleen Kolb: Forty Years Painting: From the Northeast Kingdom to Addison County and Beyond.Thursday, December 9, 10:30-11:45 a.m. ~ $10

Russ Leng: Intervention and Nation-Building in American Foreign Policy:  Past and Future. Tuesday, December 14th, 10:30-11:45 a.m. & Wednesday December 22, 1:30-2:45 p.m. ~ $20

Paul Forlenza: How Legislation in Vermont Becomes Law. Thursday, December 16, 10:30-11:45 a.m.~ $10

Robert Wyatt: The Holidays in Vermont. Tuesday, December 21, 10:30-11:45 a.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.

Technical Support

  • We don’t want technology to be a barrier! We have technical support for every class session and assistance if needed for remote registration. 
  • Call us at 802.388.3983 or send an email to college@elderlyservices.org.

We look forward to seeing you online!

Dana Perzanoski
Geetha Wunnava
Jeff Rehbach
Anya Schwartz
Kristin Bolton

Course Listings, November-December 2021

Course: Book Discussion: Moby Dick
Instructor: Paul Christensen
Dates: Tuesdays, November 9, 16, 23, 30 & December 7
Time: 10:30-11:45 a.m.
Cost: $50 plus the cost of book

Course Description: Moby Dick by Herman Melville may be the only real epic to be written in American Literature. Its protagonist, Captain Ahab, is the culmination of an ancient tradition of heroes beginning with Odysseus, the first individual in western literature, who then destroys himself in his obsession to conquer and defeat the will of nature in the form of a white whale. The crew that perishes with Ahab captures democracy in all its rawness and plurality of races and religions, and warns us of the tragedy of unbridled ambition and power. Copies of the book will be available through the Vermont Book Shop.

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.

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Course: Poetry Discussion: Fetch, Muse
Instructor: Rebecca Starks
Date: Wednesday, November 10
Time: 1:30-2:45 p.m.
Cost: $20 includes cost of book

Course Description: Rebecca Starks will read and discuss poems from her new poetry collection, Fetch, Muse, which tells in mostly nontraditional sonnets a narrative of integrating a dog with behavioral issues into a family and coming of age as a new parent, addressing along the way other loves, losses and questions of responsibility for those we care for. Students will pick up a copy of Rebecca’s book at Elderly Services to read beforehand, and are encouraged to come with questions for discussion regarding themes, formal choices, and the process of getting a book of poems into the world.

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. 

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Course: Can Nuclear Energy Solve Our Climate Crisis?
Instructor: Rich Wolfson
Date: Wednesday, November 17
Time: 1:30-2:45 p.m.
Cost: $10

Course Description: Nuclear power plants generate some 10 percent of the world’s electrical energy, and 20 percent of the United States’ electricity. Nuclear is one of two proven, utility-scale energy-generation technologies that doesn’t suffer from intermittency (the other is hydroelectric generation). And nuclear energy’s carbon footprint is far lower than that of fossil fuels. Given that fossil-fueled electricity generation accounts for about one-third of planet-warming global carbon dioxide emissions—a share that’s still growing rapidly—might we help alleviate the climate crisis by getting more of our electricity from nuclear? This talk explores that question, with a look at nuclear technology, its safety and its environmental impacts, its connection with nuclear weapons, and the prospect of building sufficient nuclear capacity to provide a significant drop in carbon emissions.

Instructor: Richard Wolfson is Benjamin F. Wissler Professor of Physics Emeritus at Middlebury College. Educated at MIT, Swarthmore, Michigan and Dartmouth, he’s particularly interested in presenting science to non-scientists. Rich has written a half-dozen books, including Simply Einstein: Relativity Demystified.

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Course: The Gunboat Spitfire: Local History with National Significance.
Instructor: Susan Evans McClure
Date: Thursday, November 18
Time: 10:30-11:45 a.m.
Cost: $10

Course Description: The first naval battle of the Revolutionary War took place right here on Lake Champlain in 1776. Today, the team at Lake Champlain Maritime Museum is working to preserve and share this important history with the public. Susan Evans McClure will share the story of the Battle of Valcour Bay, the building of Benedict Arnold’s fleet, and the subsequent search for the boats used in the battle, including the museum’s plans for the future preservation and access to the Gunboat Spitfire, which still sits on the bottom of Lake Champlain today.

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.

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Course: Aging Gracefully. Stupid Things I Won’t Do When I Get Old:  A Guide to Aging, by Steven Petrow with Roseann Foley Henry
Instructor: Elise Blair
Dates: Wednesdays, December 1, 8 & 15
Time: 1:30-2:45
Cost: $30 plus cost of book

Course Description: For his 50th birthday, award winning journalist Steven Petrow created a list of all the things he did not want to do when he became old. What evolved was a guide for aging that addresses the frustrations, worries and stereotypes that come along with it. As Andrew Weil, M.D., has said, “It is never too early to imagine what your life will look like as you age. … We are not hostages to our fate. … Petrow’s book will help you plan, think and redefine what it means to get older—and even laugh while doing it.” Copies of the book will be available through the Vermont Book Shop.

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.

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Course: Tom Perera: WWII Spy Radio Operations & Cold War CIA ‘Bugs’
Instructor: Tom Perera
Date: Thursday, December 2
Time: 10:30-11:45 a.m.
Cost: $10

Course Description: This talk will describe and show the desperate work by spies to detect, record and communicate critically important intelligence information back to the Allies while being ruthlessly hunted by direction-finding teams. Tom will also recount the role of the Enigma machine during the Second World War and the CIA’s latest hidden microphones (“Bugs”) as the Cold War advanced.

Instructor: Tom Perera is a retired professor of neuroscience who has been researching, collecting and restoring spy radios and German Enigma machines for over 50 years.

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Course: Forty Years Painting: From the Northeast Kingdom to Addison County and Beyond
Instructor: Kathleen Kolb
Date: Thursday, December 9
Time: 10:30-11:45 a.m.
Cost: $10

Course Description: Lincoln, Vt., painter Kathleen Kolb will share a chronological survey of her career as an artist through images of some of the paintings she’s done over the past 45 years. This will show the development of skill and ideas over time. It will include watercolors and oil paintings of the Vermont landscape, along with paintings done in Ireland and Newfoundland, and a selection of her paintings of people working in the woods.

– photo by Heather Henriksen

Instructor: Kathleen Kolb is a contemporary realist painter working in oil and watercolor. She focuses on landscape and is known for her dramatic handling of light. She has been in exhibitions at the Shelburne Museum, The New Britain, Conn., Museum of American Art, The Butler Institute of Art in Ohio, Burlington’s Fleming Museum and the Ballinglen Museum of Art in Ireland. Her work can be seen locally at Edgewater Gallery as well as at www.kathleenkolb.com

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Course: Intervention and Nation-Building in American Foreign Policy:  Past and Future
Instructor: Russ Leng
Date & Time: Tuesday, December 14, 10:30-11:45 a.m. & Wednesday December 22, 1:30-2:45 p.m.
Cost: $20

Course Description: Why did the U.S. intervene militarily in Iraq and Afghanistan, while avoiding doing so in the civil war in Libya, and abandoning its modest efforts in Syria? Why did it succeed in building robust democratic political systems in Germany and Japan after World War II, while failing to do so in Vietnam and in Afghanistan? What is likely to happen in the future? Our first class will focus primarily on intervention; the second class will turn to nation-building.

Instructor: Russ Leng is the James Jermain Professor Emeritus at Middlebury, where he taught international politics for 40 years before retiring. Since his retirement, Russ has taught courses to adults and undergraduates that blend political science with his love of diplomatic history. He has written extensively on international diplomacy, particularly crisis bargaining.

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Course: How Legislation in Vermont Becomes Law
Instructor: Paul Forlenza
Date: Thursday, December 16
Time: 10:30-11:45 a.m.
Cost: $10

Course Description: In this presentation Paul will describe the process involved in a legislative bill becoming law in Vermont. He will walk through each step of the process and talk about what is needed to successfully pass legislation, as well as describe where in the process legislation is likely to be defeated. 

Instructor: For 10 years, Paul Forlenza advocated for passage of health care, tax and trade legislation in Washington, D.C. He spent two years advocating for universal health care in the Vermont Legislature. Paul also worked with Latin American ministers to lower their countries’ import tariffs. For seven years, he was the vice president for Vermont Information Technology Leaders (VITL), working with state and federal governments to fund the use of Electronic Medical Records. Currently, he is on the Lincoln selectboard. Paul has a B.A. in Political Science and an M.S. in Information Technology from Union College in Schenectady, N.Y.

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Course: The Holidays in Vermont
Instructor: Robert Wyatt
Date: Tuesday, December 21
Time: 10:30-11:45 a.m.
Cost: $10

Course Description: You are invited to a festive holiday journey with a wide array of fine music and film all set to a collage of winter photographs by our own Trent Campbell. Judy Garland will sing “Have Yourself a Very Merry Christmas,” Charles Dickens will offer his A Christmas Carol, accompanied by Dylan Thomas reading his Child’s Christmas in Wales. Also present will be the Choir of King’s College and a plethora of recording artists, film stars and painters who will present you with an hour of holiday joy. Bring your own eggnog and cookies.

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.

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