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Spring lifelong learning offerings from ASU span Valley

January 05, 2009

The digital entertainment revolution, wine, and the cosmos are just a few of the topics addressed by Spring 2009 short courses, lectures and workshops from Arizona State University’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.

Most programming this spring takes place in February, March and April. The Institute provides educational and cultural programs for Valley residents age 50 and above.

The Osher Institute’s four Valley locations include Sun City Grand, ASU’s West campus in northwest Phoenix, Tempe Connections at the Tempe Public Library, and ASU’s Polytechnic campus in Mesa. Also, through a partnership with the Phoenix Art Museum, a five-part workshop entitled “Mother Nature, Father Time” will be offered at the museum.

“We’re seeing growth at all of our locations, and we expect to enroll more than 1,200 lifelong learners this year,” says Diane Gruber, ASU Osher Institute director. “Our students tell us that the quality of the offerings, combined with the reasonable price and member benefits, make the ASU Osher Lifelong Learning Institute one of the best lifelong learning offerings in the Valley.”

Courses are taught by ASU professors, emeritus faculty, and top community instructors. Spring 2009 titles include “Digital Lifestyles,” “Rediscovering Three Famous Forgotten Wines,” “From Quarks to Cosmos,” “Understanding Modern Jazz,” and “Sacred Ground: A History of Native Americans of the Southwest.” Other courses focus on topics such as science, history, finance, comparative religion, writing, and genealogy.

Gruber, a faculty member in ASU’s Department of Communication Studies, will teach an Osher Institute class this spring that focuses on “Current Controversies in Film.”

The ASU Osher Institute also will participate in this year’s ONEBOOKAZ reading of Alberto Rios’ Capirotada. ONEBOOKAZ is a statewide program in which Arizonans share the reading and discussion of a common book addressing the Arizona experience.

While most Osher Institute offerings require a registration fee, there will be free Wednesday night movies and a free lecture series in Sun City Grand. The free lectures focus on topics including Al Jolson, sustainable service, and consumer credit scores.

Gruber says the positive response around the Valley to ASU Osher Lifelong Learning Institute offerings has prompted plans for additional growth. “We hope to expand our offerings to the Scottsdale and downtown Phoenix areas during 2009,” she says.

ASU Osher Lifelong Learning Institute programs are funded in part by the Bernard Osher Foundation, which supports university-quality educational offerings for mature students interested in learning for the love of learning. ASU is one of 18 colleges and universities across the United States to have been awarded a permanent Osher Foundation endowment to sustain and support its programs.

Registration procedures vary by location; details are available at or by calling (602) 543-6440.