LEWISTON – The Senior College program at the University of Southern Maine/Lewiston-Auburn College will offer 12 new courses for the spring semester, April 2 through May 25.

Now in its eighth year, the program will include courses of such diverse nature as an introductory study of the brain and human behavior, the Spanish language, the films of Alfred Hitchcock, the Shakers of Maine, American history of the Civil War and creating the Constitution.

Open to persons age 50 or older and their spouses, the courses will be presented by peers, with no entrance requirements, grades or tests. After an annual membership fee of $25, valid through May, course fees, which include the cost of most books and materials, will be $25 each for the first two courses and $10 for each additional course. All classes will be held during the day at L-A College on Westminster Street unless otherwise noted.

“Biology and Human Behavior”: An introduction to neurobiology, the course will focus on three major areas of study: how the brain works, how the brain influences events throughout the body and how the biology of the brain influences individuality and behavior.

Classes are scheduled from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. eight Mondays. Instructor Charles Plummer is a frequent presenter at Senior College and is a retired educator and administrator with 30 years in the Auburn school system.

“Communicating in Spanish”: The course will build on last semester’s basic instruction and provide more listening and speaking skills at the elementary level. The provided text will assist students in building a vocabulary of Spanish words and phrases that can be applied to everyday use.

The eight-week course will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. Mondays. Instructor Beth Convey was educated in Puerto Rico and has tutored students in Spanish for many years.

“Writing Our Stories”: Write a life story for posterity and fun. Share memories from the past with new and old friends and family. Class sharing will be optional and grammar will not be corrected. It is a writing group rather than a study class. No previous writing experience is required.

Held on Tuesdays from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., the group will be led by Ila Green whose education includes 65 years of living with extended family members and 35 years of working in Maine schools as teacher and guidance counselor.

“The Essential Hitchcock”: Film buffs will see eight movies created by legendary director Alfred Hitchcock. The course will present some of his most acclaimed films, including “The Lady Vanishes,” “Foreign Correspondent,” “Notorious,” “Dial M for Murder,” “Rear Window,” “To Catch a Thief,” “North by Northwest” and “Psycho.”

The films are scheduled for Tuesdays from 1 to 3:30 p.m. Informational handouts and a biographical text will be provided. Instructor Ralph Tuttle is a member of the board of directors and has hosted several film courses for Senior College.

“The Shakers: Four Centuries in Maine”: The United Society of Shakers has been part of Maine’s cultural and religious heritage since the 1780s. The course will provide an opportunity to learn more about the community through lectures, illustrated talks, interviews with Shakers and brief readings.

The four-week course, scheduled for 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Wednesdays from May 2 to 23, will be conducted by Leonard Brooks, director of the Shaker Museum and Library in New Gloucester.

“American Civil War: Forged in Fire and Fury”: The course will focus on the personalities and accomplishments of the leaders of the rival Union and Rebel armies and on the failures and successes during America’s bloodiest war.

Classes, scheduled for 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Wednesdays from April 4 to 25, will be led by Dennis Sweetser, retired Edward Little High School teacher, who has taught Senior College courses on Maine and the Civil War and the American Revolutionary War.

“After the Revolution….What?”: The American colonists have won the war but governing is weak under the Articles of Confederation. The course reveals the struggles by the nation builders to create a Constitution that could meet the needs of the new nation.

The course is scheduled for 1 to 3 p.m. Wednesdays, April 4 to 25 and will be conducted by Robert Gilbert, retired educator and administrator with the Auburn school system. He is a member of the board of directors and has previously taught early American history courses at Senior College.

“Exotic Places of the World”: Hong Kong, Bangkok, the Mediterranean area and the Holy Lands, Kenya, Scandinavia and Canada are among the exotic locations provided to the classroom traveler.

It will be presented on eight Thursdays from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. by instructor Alan Elze, a retired Navy veteran and world traveler. He has degrees in history, religion and museum science; and recently presented a Senior College course on Ancient Roman history.

“Comfort Food Made Simple – Men Welcome”: The course is designed for men and women to share the secrets of cooking made simple. Attendees will cook and join in discussion about kitchen tools, cookbooks, Web sites and recipe sharing.

The course will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. for six Thursdays, April 5 to May 10. Instructor Cathy Thorpe is a cooking hobbyist and lifelong student of the kitchen arts and is a former Senior College board member.

“Reader’s Theater”: An introductory course for those with little or no acting experience as well as for others with some exposure to the stage, the Reader’s Theater will provide opportunities to read published monologues, essays, short scenes or 10- minute plays. No memorization is required, just have fun and be part of the show. The course is scheduled for eight Thursdays from 1 to 3 p.m.

Instructor Hugh Keene taught science in the public schools for 38 years. The former director of dramatics for Edward Little High School for more than 60 student productions, he is a member of Senior College board of directors.

“Beginner Bridge”: The course will teach all the essentials, from the game’s vocabulary, how to bid and respond, tactics of partners, playing of hands to scoring. Scheduled for six Fridays from April 6 to June 1 from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., the course will be presented by Claire Lyons, who travels to compete in bridge tournaments.

“Six Opera Composers: Their Lives and Works”: John Serrage will continue to share his love of opera with a new course that provides in-depth biographies and opera excerpts from composers Rossini, Mozart, Verdi, Wagner, Strauss and Korngold. Class sessions will include video and audio recordings.

The course is scheduled for eight Fridays from 1 to 3 p.m. Serrage’s avocation is music and his background includes piano and organ studies. A retired pediatrician, he has been a church organist for more than 15 years.

Senior College at USM/L-A is a member of the Maine Senior College Network, an organization of the state’s 14 senior colleges providing a curriculum of learning opportunities for persons age 50 or older.

It is an initiative of the Osher Learning Institute at USM and an affiliate of the Elderhostel Institute Network.

For more information on courses and enrollment, call 753-6510 or visit the Web site at usm.maine.edu/lac.

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