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December 2010 Archives

mondale_jacobs_original.jpgThe LearningLife Forum: Witness to History series will kick off 2011 with a true Minnesota luminary: former U.S. Vice President, Senator, and Ambassador Walter Mondale.

Mondale will be interviewed by the Humphrey Institute's Larry Jacobs. Jacobs is director of the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance at the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, an expert in American political history and policy, and the author of 10 books.

Many LearningLife participants will know that this will not be the first time the two have teamed up: Mondale and Jacobs have been Headliners and Great Conversations presenters, and each spring for the last several years, Mondale and Jacobs have co-taught a popular undergraduate course at the U focusing on national security issues and public policy.

Says director of LearningLife programming Margy Ligon, "When [they] spoke at a Headliners event last year, the audience gave them a spontaneous standing ovation. As one participant said, 'the Mondale/Jacobs Headliners event was simply extraordinary. I actually had tears in my eyes because of the privilege of hearing Mondale speak in such an intimate, informal setting.'"

by Megan Gerst Rocker

This winter, LearningLife short course participants can go around the world in a day--or two or three, if they wish.

Aaron Doering.jpgFebruary 24 kicks off Adventure Travel: Three Stories, a miniseries-style short course featuring speakers and instructors who travel to exotic parts of the world as an integral part of their lives and work.

The miniseries is a new format for LearningLife: the course as a whole is unified by a common theme, but each night of the course features a stand-alone topic and participants have the option of registering for one, two, or all three of the meetings. (See end of story for registration links to each meeting.)

Says LearningLife program director Lara Roy, "Depending on their schedules and/or interests, people can get a taste of a theme...or savor the whole experience."

The first session (February 24) features Aaron Doering (pictured), U of M associate professor and designer and founder of the GoNorth! Adventure Learning Series and the new Earthducation Series.

Doering, who has dogsledded and skied thousands of miles across the Arctic in order to educate students and bring attention to global climate change and sustainability, will showcase his adventure learning programs, which he began in 2004.

"As a former social studies teacher, I recognized early on that students and adults around the world needed an opportunity to learn about global climate change, sustainability, and the impact each individual is having on this issue," he says.

"During my morning run years ago, I had an epiphany: educators needed to tie real-world experiences to a curriculum that affords collaboration among learners in an online learning environment... thus, 'adventure learning' was born."

Since then, Doering has led online education programs from such locales as Russia, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Greenland, and Burkina Faso, Africa.

The amazing peaks of the Himalayas will be the destination on March 10, as longtime Star Tribune columnist Jim Klobuchar describes how he got his start in adventure travel, visiting such exotic locations as the Andes and the Himalayas.