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January 2023 PVSC Winter Zoom courses!

Registration is open for all PVSC and MSCN members for Penobscot Valley Senior College Winter courses - all on Zoom. If you are a current member of a MSCN college, please email Sheila at pvscmaine@gmail.com if you wish to take a course or One-Day Presentation. Leave your name, mailing address, email, phone number and name of your college so that the membership fees can be adjusted. You will then be able to register online or mail in a check. All courses are $30. Our final one-day presentation is free with membership. All PVSC Zoom events are recorded and emailed to registered participants to view for two weeks.


Course Title: Life Jacket

Instructor: Ardis Mayo

Thursdays 1:30-3:30 January 26, February 2, 9,16, 2 March 2

Course Description: This Zoom course examines not only the problems short term or long term that arise with caregiving, but more importantly helps you identify the strengths you already possess to get through some stormy times.

The course is not limited to people who may currently be caregivers but also people who have been caregivers for children and parents in the past and want to explore the experience further. While excerpts from "Life Jacket" are written for caregivers of someone with dementia, the content can be applied to any of life's great challenges. A parent of a child with various special needs, particularly as that child becomes an adult, would also benefit from this course.

Class will be reading sections of an unpublished book by Ardis Mayo, responding to the questions it raises, and sharing your insights with others in the class on a weekly basis. Though you may still be at sea at the end of 6 weeks, you will have resources that will keep you from feeling as if you are drowning—thus the “Life Jacket” title.


Instructor’s Biography: Ardis Mayo identifies herself as a writer, fiddler and lover of fine chocolate [we can relate to the love of chocolate!]. She is a retired pastor of the United Methodist Church with a background in Hospice Nursing as well as caregiving—from both sides of the bedrail.


Course Title: Heterodox Economics (Modern Money Theory)

Instructor: Mark Dempsey

PVSC Assistant: Bill Fackenthall

Wednesdays 1:00-2:30 PM (EST); 10:00-11:30 AM (PST)

February 15, 22, March 1, 8, 15, 22

Course Description: Heterodox economics and Modern Money Theory (MMT) predicted the Great Recession. Orthodox, economists from right (Mankiw) to left (Krugman) did not. MMT offers some surprising remedies to current social problems, providing seldom-heard solutions for National “Debt.”

So, it’s not about business as usual. Participants will get about 60 pages of material (maximum 20 pages of reading per class, usually much less), for class discussion background. [Mark will send a link to the pdf of the reading on Dropbox)

People who have taken the seminar and/or read the material have said “I’ll never look at the economy the same way again.”

The Seminar is Zoom only and will be held as a simulcast with the Renaissance Society, a west coast Senior Educational College affiliated with the California State University, Sacramento. Each session will be recorded and emailed to students for later viewing.


Instructor’s Biography: A former technical writer, Mark Dempsey has a passion for economics and has studied several economic theories including Heterodox economics which he believes is the way things really happen in a modern economic society. He has taught this seminar several times at the Renaissance Society in California and one time at Penobscot Valley Senior College. He will be visiting us again with a joint session that should be of interest to all Maine Senior Colleges who want to know how the real world of economics works.


Course Title: Experimenting with Collage - (5 spots remain!)

Instructor: Kal Elmore

Tuesdays 10:00-12:00 January 24, 31, February 7, 14, 21 (5 weeks)

Course Description: Simple materials become complex images and simple images can communicate big ideas! A collage is an artwork created from a combination or collection of things. Usually 2-dimensional, the collaged items are secured to a stiff backing material. Participants in this class will learn a few basic techniques and will explore collage options based on some project themes. Warning: collage can be addictive! Once you get started, it’s so hard to stop. Making art can be so much fun!

If you have taken this class before you are welcome to join in and continue to

experiment with collage techniques. Please try to gather materials for the first class. Kal will talk more about materials and processes when class meets.

Materials list will be sent after registration, or check the list online at https://pvsc.myrec.com


Instructor’s Biography: Kal Elmore taught art at Bangor High School for about 25 years but is now happily retired and enjoys teaching in other settings. She has always worked to encourage the best possible outcomes for all of her students and will continue to do so through workshops, classes, and private lessons. With her experience in teaching many different media, Kal helps her students to develop new skills and understandings. Her own work involves mostly printmaking and collage, but she also enjoys watercolor painting and book arts. This is Kal’s fourth Art course for PVSC on Zoom.


Course Title: “Is This a Private Fight?”: Irish Writers in a Postcolonial World (8 spots remain!)

Instructor: Kay Retzlaff

Fridays 1:30-3:30 January 27, February 3, 10, 17, 24, March 3

Course Description: The island of Ireland has produced two Nobel-prize-winning poets and short story writers galore renowned the world over. We will read some representative works of William Butler Yeats, Roddy Doyle, Claire Keegan, Melatu Uche Okori, Paula Meehan, and Seamus Heaney, put these folks into their historical context, and have some great discussions about the wry world the Irish find us in.

Texts/Materials: Kay has talked with UMA-Bangor librarians about what she can provide from printed works. She will scan in some stories, provide URLs for others. Participants should not have to purchase anything.


Instructor’s Biography: Kay Retzlaff loves all things Irish, including the food. She wrote her dissertation on the Táin Bó Cúailgne (The Cattle Raid of Cooley), a twelfth-century Irish epic. She has also published Ireland: Its Myths and Legends, and most recently, Redefining Irishness in a Coastal Maine City, 1770-1870: Bridget’s Belfast. Kay took UMaine students to Ireland on travel study trips for many years. Kay's enthusiasm and her PVSC offerings are always well-attended, and well-loved.


Final January One-Day Zoom Presentation (free with a PVSC or MSCN membership.)

Title: "Where have all the Birdies Gone?"

Presenter: Barbara Snapp

Tuesday January 17th 4:00-5:00 PM

Since 1970, we have lost 1 in 4 birds across the globe. In Maine, some of the biggest declines have occurred among wood thrushes, white-throated sparrows, and rusty blackbirds. What has caused the losses? Why are some species more affected than others? What is the role of climate change? And last, but not least, what can be done to reverse the trend?

Barbara Snapp has taught and researched in science for over 45 years since receiving her PhD in biology from Cornell University. Her research focused on the ecological and evolutionary adaptiveness of life – especially the ecology and behavior of birds. She most enjoys interweaving basic themes to build a multidimensional understanding, bring science into human life, history, and culture.



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