Aging and Making Everyday Decisions

Sessions: 1

Class Day and Date(s): Tuesday, 10/29             Class Time:  10am-12pm

Cost: $10 member/$50 non-member

Description:  This class is an informal lecture with class discussion about how we make decisions and how to be more deliberate with our decision-making techniques.  The class is based on cognitive psychology and management research but designed for practical problem solving.

Instructor(s): Hank Kniskern is on the faculty at the Gabelli School of Business at Roger Williams University. Previously he taught at the Naval War College.

Aging and Making Decisions – the Myths and Dilemmas

Sessions: 1

Class Day and Date(s):  Tuesday, 11/5     Class Time:  10am-12pm

Cost: $10 member/$50 non-member

Description:  Over time, the chore of making decisions seems to get more complex. This class examines the psychology of how we arrange and think about things. During our informal discussion we will challenge the myths and identify techniques to help us manage life’s dilemmas.   The class is based on cognitive psychology and management research but designed for practical problem solving. 

Instructor(s): Hank Kniskern is on the faculty at the Gabelli School of Business at Roger Williams University. Previously he taught at the Naval War College.

Aging Fully

Sessions: 3

Class Day and Date(s):  Tuesday, 9/24, 10/22, 11/26                           Class Time:  1-3pm

Cost:  $30 member/ $80 non-members

Description:  Coping with change is difficult, no matter how old you are. The particular challenge for older adults is the sheer number of changes and transitions that start to occur—including children moving away, the loss of parents, friends, and other loved ones, changes to or the end of your career, declining health, and even loss of independence. It’s natural to feel those losses. But if that sense of loss is balanced with positive ingredients, you have a formula for staying healthy as you age.  These sessions will give participants an opportunity to learn up to date strategies for aging fully in the 21st century. 

Instructor(s):  Carmela A. Geer is by profession, an educator and advocate of thirty five years . A consultant and trainer for the past twenty years. She currently serves as the Executive Director of the Edward King House Senior Center in Newport, RI. A resident of Middletown, RI, she is connected to her community by her involvement in various town wide organizations and initiatives.

Aging, Happiness and  Making Decisions

Sessions: 1

Class Day and Date(s):  Tuesday, 11/26             Class Time:  10am-12pm

Cost:  $10 member/$50 non-member

Description:  This class explores the interconnection of aging and ways your confidence in decision can reduce anxiety. The goal is manage situations to improve the quality of life and sense of happiness.  The class is based on cognitive psychology and management research but designed for practical problem solving. 

Instructor(s):   Hank Kniskern is on the faculty at the Gabelli School of Business at Roger Williams University. Previously he taught at the Naval War College.

Alban Berg: “Wozzeck”

This program has been cancelled due to circumstances beyond our control.  We apologize for the inconvenience.

Classic Lit Redux: Henry James Daisy Miller

Sessions: 2

Class Day and Date(s): Tuesday, 11/12, 11/19  Class Time:  10am-12pm

Cost: $20 member/$60 non-member

Description:  Henry James, 1848-1916, (who grew up in Newport and often returned) is an early modernist writer whose works commented on the Gilded Age in which he lived, specifically on the emerging character of “the American” as those men and women stepped out on a world stage. His long novels—which are extremely dense going—advanced the craft of fiction immensely and are still studied by would-be novelists. Daisy Miller, one of his shorter works, is one of his studies of the American girl (or woman) whom he recognized as quite a different social being than her European counterparts. Was he right? Read, come, and discuss.  Eileen Warburton will provide background, biography, and historical context while guiding the discussion with questions and themes.

Instructor(s): Eileen Warburton holds the PhD in English and American Literature from the University of Pennsylvania and is the author of many books and articles, including the critically acclaimed 2004 biography of modern English novelist, John Fowles. She has taught literature at URI, BU, and Bryant and specializes locally in researching Newport history.

Current International Affairs in Review

Sessions: 8

Class Day and Date(s): Wednesday, 9/25, 10/9, 10/16, 10/23, 10/30, 11/6, 11/13, 11/2

Class Time:  12:45-2:45pm               Cost: $80 member/$120 non-member

Description:  Currently in its 14th year, this is a workshop-style survey and discussion of current international events. We start with country, region and political organization reviews during the first hour,  often utilizing guest lecturers from the Naval War College and other sources.  These topics will add to an understanding of the current events being discussed  in the second hour of each session when we will be examining the events of the previous week.

Instructor(s): Ron Becker, a graduate of Reed College, is a retired actuary with over 35 years of technical and administrative experience in the life insurance industry with a life-long interest in history and politics.

Ben Riggs, is a retired business executive who has served as chief executive of U.S. divisions of several foreign-owned conglomerates.  After graduating from Boston University, he served for seven years as a Naval Aviator, remaining in the Naval Reserve until retirement.  His knowledge and interest in international affairs arose from both his military career as well as numerous business dealings in Europe, Japan and the Middle East.

Do It Yourself Consumer Law

Sessions: 4

Class Day and Date(s): Monday,10/21, 10/28, 11/4, 11/18     Class Time:  10am-12pm

Cost: $40 member/$80 non-member

Description: This course seeks to explain, in non-technical terms, the major provisions of federal and state law protecting consumers in their disputes with online and brick-and mortar businesses, banks and other financial institutions, public utilities and government agencies. We will also talk about practical ways you can utilize the rights these legal provisions give you as a consumer, without hiring a lawyer, to resolvedisputes you may have. The presentation will describe a number of actual consumer disputes and will show how they were settled by do-it-yourself means.  The classes will be partly lecture and partly discussion, with time for questions and input from class members. Come prepared to discuss your own consumer law problems or come just to listen.

Instructor(s): Roland Chase is a Lawyer (retired) and retired as Professor Emeritus at Roger Williams University; taught consumer law course at RWU and also taught week-long, non-credit “Do-It-Yourself Consumer Law” to adult Elderhostel students.

Israel from the 1890’s to the Present

Sessions: 2

Class Day and Date(s): Friday,10/11, 10/18           Class Time:  12:45-2:45pm

Cost: $20 member/$60 non-member

Description: Beginning in the 1890s the idea of creating a Jewish State gained adherents.  The first session will highlight the early history of the movement from the 1890s to 1948.  We will examine to what extent the Holocaust during WWII made it imperative that Jews have a homeland.  The second session will focus on the state of Israel itself from the 1948 War of Independence to the present, and will end with a discussion of the consequences of the latest election in April 2019.  The lecturer will also provide personal insights examining the evolution of his views regarding Israel from his first visit in 1972 through later visits.

Instructor(s): Mark Kanter has travelled to Israel since the 1970’s to visit family and learn about Jewish life outside the United States.  He graduated from Penn State in 19__ with a degree in industrial engineering and a minor in Middle Eastern History.  While at Penn State, he studied under  Dr. Arthur Goldschmidt, a noted Arab scholar, who had a profound impact on his perception of the Middle East. Mr. Kanter’s professional career includes 31 years at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center. 

Mental Health First Aid

Sessions: 4

Class Day and Date(s): Friday, 9/20, 9/27, 10/11, 10/18    Class Time:  10am-12pm

Cost: $40 member/ $80 non-member (includes class materials)

Description: Just as CPR helps you assist an individual having a heart attack, Mental Health First Aid helps you assist someone experiencing a mental health or substance use-related crisis. In the Mental Health First Aid course, you learn risk factors and warning signs for mental health and addiction concerns, strategies for how to help someone in both crisis and non-crisis situations, and where to turn for help. ***Although you are invited to attend any of the sessions you must attend all four sessions in order to receive a certificate.

Instructor(s): Anthony Pesare was a member of the R.I. State Police for 24 years, retiring as Major of Field Operations, second in command of the department. During his career, he worked with the Intelligence Unit, where he investigated organized crime activities. After leaving the State Police, he became Dean of the School of Justice Studies at Roger Williams University. In 2004, he left the University to return to law enforcement and retired as Chief of the Middletown Police Department in December of 2018. Chief Pesare is certified by the National Council on Behavioral Health to teach mental health first aid for adults and for the public sector.

The Chakra Energy System

Sessions: 4

Class Day and Date(s): Thursday, 9/26, 10/10, 10/17, 10/24                   Class Time:  12:45-2:45pm

Cost: $40 member/$80 non-member

Description: This six week program is a perfect way to begin exploring your energy or pranic body, enabling you to take the wisdom of these fascinating seven energy centers into your everyday life. Every aspect of who you are – physically, emotionally, and mentally can be attributed to the balance orimbalance of your chakras. We will cover the basic characteristics and functions of each chakra and which gentle yoga poses work to stimulate and balance each energy center. Chakra is a Sanskrit word meaning wheel or disk. No prior experience is needed. Please wear comfortable clothes and bring a yoga mat. You will have the opportunity to journal. You will find great enjoyment and deep personal growth in this program.

Instructor(s): Linda M. Morse is a professional level yoga teacher certified through the Kripalu Center in MA, teaching for the last twenty years. She owned and operated the Yoga Center in Melbourne, FL. With her relaxed and humorous approach, she hopes to inspire body-mind-spirit.

Sex and Gender in Renaissance Europe

Sessions: 2

Class Day and Date(s):Wednesday,10/9, 10/16               Class Time:  10am-12pm

Cost:$20 member/$60 non-member

Description: What does it mean to say that perceptions of sex and gender are socially and culturally constructed and vary from time to time and place to place? What does it mean to say that sex and gender can only be meaningfully understood when considered in their historical context? This course considers such questions via a close examination of sex and gender in Renaissance Italy (1300-1700).   Drawing from a variety of primary sources including archival documents, early modern manuscripts, and scholarly publications, we shall seek to understand how ordinary people of Renaissance Italy made sense of human sexuality, distinguishing characteristics among men and women, perceptions of proper behavior among males and females, and well-ordered relations between the sexes. We shall learn how men and women could conceivably lose “honor,” and possibly retrieve it, within the context of sex and gender. We shall investigate how the Roman Catholic Church, at a doctrinal level, and ordinary people, at the everyday level of life and living, tried to control the “quasi-magical” power of female fertility. We consider how phenomena such as witchcraft persecution and love-magic are arguably best understood through the analytical lens of gender. We shall learn about the institution of marriage, the significance of romantic love, and perceptions of sexual maturation, among the people of Renaissance Italy.  This seminar represents an exercise in social and cultural history. “Sex” is defined here as the biological categories of male and female. “Gender,” for our purposes, refers socially and culturally constructed ideas regarding the distinguishing characteristics of masculinity and femininity.

Instructor(s): John Visconti is a Social and Cultural Historian of Early Modern European History with an MA and a Ph.D. in his field. Dr. Visconti has a wide variety of teaching experience at the university and adult-basic education levels. John’s research interests include early modern medicine, natural philosophy, and the origins of Western science.

The Genius of Peter Sellers

Sessions: 4

Class Day and Date(s): Thursday, 9/26, 10/10, 10/17, 10/24                   Class Time:  12:45-2:45pm

Cost: $40 member/$80 non-member

Description: Considered by many to be one of the greatest comedic actors of all time, the enigmatic personality, Peter Sellers, created a body of work that spanned three decades and within that time (also) created some of the most memorable performances in the history of film. Most notably Inspector Clouseau and Dr. Strangelove. We will have the opportunity to watch six of his best and funniest films, including: “A Shot in the Dark” (1964 – the 2nd Pink Panther); “Being There” (1979); “Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb” (1964); “The Mouse That Roared” (1959); “The Lady Killers” (1955) and “The Party” (1968). Come and join the fun as we watch, laugh and discuss the films of Peter Sellers, who Turner Classic Movies calls “one of the most accomplished comic actors of the late 20th century.” You will leave this class with a smile on your face!

Instructor(s):  Brett Morse worked in the pharmaceutical industry for over forty years. He is a graduate of Bryant College, served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam era, and is a certified yoga instructor.

The Women of Belcourt Castle

Sessions: 4

Class Day and Date(s): Thursday, 10/31, 11/7, 11/14, 11/21                   Class Time:  12:45-2:45pm

Cost:: $40 member/$80 non-member

Description: This course will focus on eight women who summered or lived at Belcourt :  Caroline Perry Belmont, wife of August Belmont and daughter of Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry, a noteworthy American and Newport Society hostess at By-the-sea., Alva Vanderbilt Belmont of Marble House and Belcourt from 1892 to 1923 effectively changed the role of women in Newport Society. Her clever social prowess created a different perception of divorce. She helped secure votes for women.  Jessie Robbins Belmont, ca 1914 – 1920,  Mrs. August Belmont alias “Mrs. Metropolitan Opera”, ca 1920-1940, Elaine Guthrie Lorrillard, Newport Jazz Festival founder, 1954-1956, Nellie Ruth Fuller, 1956-1972, Ruth Betzer Tinney, 1956 to 1995, changed the course of Newport history. Harle Hope Hanson Tinney,1960-2012, a personal story, of 52 years residence in Belcourt Castle into the Millennium.

Instructor(s): Harle Hope Hanson Tinney is the last of the Tinneys of Newport. Now an accomplished author, tour guide, actress with stories that might otherwise be lost to the ages, Ms. Tinney brings her memories to life. Tales of castle women and her own stories of a full and varied life from a carefree girlhood at the seaside to the ownership of Belcourt Castle on Bellevue Avenue may change your perspective on the City by the Sea.

Two Sisters and their Sisters-In-Law (Renaissance Italy)

Sessions: 4

Class Day and Date(s): Friday, 10/25, 11/1, 11/8, 11/15     Class Time:  10am-12pm

Cost: $40 member/$80 non-member

Description: Continuing our study of the Italian Renaissance, we will focus on three principalities and their associated ruling families:  Ferrara (D’Este), Mantua (Gonzaga), and Urbino (Montefeltro).  Our entrée will be two sisters, Isabella and Beatrice d’Este.  Beatrice will marry Ludovico Sforza of Milan, while her sister Isabella will marry Federico II Gonzaga.  The latter marriage will result in the two sisters becoming sister-in-law to Elisabetta Gonzaga, who will leave Mantua to become the Duchess of Urbino.  Lucrezia Borgia joins the family when she marries Alphonso d’Este, who is the Duke of Ferrara and the younger brother of Isabella and Beatrice. Art, music and literature set against a background of geopolitical conflict.   

Instructor(s): John Del Negro is a retired attorney who is a graduate of George Washington University and the Cornell Law School. He is a frequent traveler to Italy, especially Florence, and speaks Italian. He has taught two prior courses on Renaissance Art for the Newport Circle of Scholars.

What Happens When We Die

Sessions: 3

Class Day and Date(s): Thursday, 9/19, 10/17, 11/21                  Class Time:  5:00-6:30pm

Cost:: Donations Accepted

Description: This program began in March 2016, and is conducted as the Rhode Island Chapter of the International Association for Near Death Studies (“IANDS”at The aim of the group is to explore and deepen our understanding of what has been learned about human consciousness from people who have had near-death experiences (“NDEs”) and have reported an amazing journey after they have been revived, along with the lessons they learned.  We will review and discuss actual documented experiences along with the findings of various researchers and scientists, all of whom have various theories about how this happens and what it can tell us about the transition from life as we know it, and what lies beyond. Some videos and guest speakers are utilized. This is not connected with any organized religion or religious belief. Some of the group’s current members include persons who have had NDEs, “after death” communications with loved ones, and related experiences of their own.

Instructor(s): Ben Riggs is a retired Naval Aviator and later business executive who has served as chief executive of several manufacturing companies. His knowledge and interest in NDEs evolved from the experiences of friends and family and subsequent participation with IANDS, which has included numerous national conferences, workshops, extensive study, and close collaboration with leading experts in the field.


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