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Living a LearningLife

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Join us for free at our annual Sampler!

LearningLife Sampler.JPGIt's not just kids who are returning to school come September; LearningLife is also headed back to the classroom with a full slate of fall programs.

The new season kicks off on September 20 with the annual LearningLife Sampler, a free event designed to give people a "taste" of what's to come in the following months. Held at the Continuing Education and Conference Center on the St. Paul campus, the Sampler features three "mini-courses," which will highlight several of the upcoming fall offerings.

Says Margy Ligon, the College of Continuing Education's director of personal enrichment programs, "the Sampler is a great way for people who are new to LearningLife to get a sense of the diversity and quality of our offerings, and to hear from some of our very accomplished instructors."

"Of course," she adds, "it's also enjoyed by individuals who are quite familiar with our programming. Spend an evening with some new friends, get a chance to learn some new things...it's always one of our most popular events of the year."

As an added bonus, this year, every Sampler attendee will receive a coupon for 15 percent off the registration fee for a LearningLife short course, presentation, seminar, workshop, or special event during the 2011-12 season. (Some restrictions apply--call for details.)

Three intriguing topics

This year's event spans the course of human history, with participants looking at the art of the Middle Ages, discovering the ancient world through archaeology, and investigating the history of American political parties.

Art of the Middle Ages.JPGThe short course series Getting to Know the Art of the Middle Ages, led by art historian and educator Allan Kohl, will take participants on a tour of the rich variety of visual art created in the Middle Ages, from catacomb mural paintings and barbarian metalwork to early Irish manuscript illuminations; Gothic cathedrals and stained glass to rich tapestries.

Political science professor Kathryn Pearson's Saturday morning seminar Reading the Tea Leaves features a discussion of the history, evolution, and current state of American political parties, and includes an examination of third parties asking whether contemporary movements such as the Tea, Green, and Independence parties differ significantly from their political predecessors.

Archeology 101, featuring professor and archeologist Steven Derfler, will "dig into" the discipline of archaeology, focusing on the methods developed for the ancient world and the origins of civilization.

Archaeology 101 Egypt image Credit James Byrum, wikimedia commons.jpgThe course will also look at how the process has become a collaborative endeavor, incorporating geography, geology, paleontology, botany, metallurgy, numismatics, and osteology to uncover the mysteries of our past.

Says Ligon, "with the new course formats and the breadth of topics covered this season, we really have something to fit a variety of schedules and wide ranging interests. I encourage people to come out on September 20, get a taste of what's coming up, and see what else they might like to explore this fall."

Registration for the free event, which is from 6:30-8:30 p.m., is available on the LearningLife Web site or by calling 612-624-4000.

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