The University sees as its members not only the students who resort to the chief center, but the other thousands on farms, in factories, in offices, in shops, in schoolrooms, and in homes who look to it for guidance and encouragement. It is fascinating to picture the possibilities of this widening sphere as it makes its way into every corner of the state.
--Former University President George Vincent (1911-1916), who oversaw the establishment of the General Extension Division (now the College of Continuing Education) in 1913
From its very beginnings, the College of Continuing Education has been one of the standard bearers for the University's outreach mission--bringing lifelong opportunities to people not just on campus, but in the far corners of the state, the country, and even around the globe. For 100 years, the College has provided individuals with access to experts who helped them to challenge their perspectives, change their lives, or transform their communities.
To celebrate those 10 decades of innovation and education, LearningLife's summer programming will feature A Century of Ideas, a series of seminars examining the defining moments and movements that made our society what it is today. Each two-hour event will highlight an individual decade and feature University faculty and prominent Twin Cities' experts.
"What better way to mark the College's past 100 years than by taking a look back at some of the seminal moments and innovations that have shaped our country's history? Our goal for the series is to explore radical ideas and innovations in different disciplines that not only transformed life during the decade in which they were first discovered, but have had an enduring legacy on how we live today," says Margy Ligon, director of personal enrichment programs for the College.
She continues, "This summer we'll cover breakthroughs in social history and music, science and technology, economics and medicine over the course of ten weeks. Whether it's the revolution in mass communications from the first experimental radio broadcasts at the turn of the last century to tweets from the Arab Spring at the beginning of this century; the politics of FDR's New Deal in the 1930s that are still being debated during this election cycle; or the nuclear arms race that started with the Manhattan Project in the 1940s and continues today in North Korea and Iran."
The series, which will replace Curiosity Camp during the 2012 centennial summer, begins July 10, with the 1910s and radio and the birth of mass communication. It runs through August 9--the 2000s and the global economic crisis. Each seminar is $50, and can be taken as a stand-alone course, although package discounts are available for individuals wanting to attend multiple events. All events are from 9-11 a.m. on the St. Paul campus, and include continental breakfast and parking.
"From the roots of early jazz music, to family life in the post-war, Mad Men era; the physics of the atomic bomb and the nature of radioactivity to the history--and controversy--of stem cell research, no matter what your interest," says Ligon, "there will be at least one 'decade' that will grab you. It's going to be a living history lesson led by foremost authorities on their subjects. "
And while A Century of Ideas will only run this summer, and regular LearningLife short course programming will return in the fall, the same spirit of lifelong learning that has been a College hallmark for 100 years will continue on, says Ligon. "One series could never begin to cover all the profound changes that have happened since 1913, so we'll continue to explore the key people and ideas of the past century during the coming academic year with specially designed LearningLife short courses and seminars."
For complete series details, course descriptions, instructor bios, and package discount details, visit the Century of Ideas website.