Academic Year 2020 Courses

Academic Year 2020 Courses

Our courses provide opportunities for our members to delve more deeply into fascinating subjects, hear from outstanding teachers, and have fun as well: no exams, no grades, but ample opportunities to participate in discussions.

The courses vary a great deal in length, but the donation we ask for each course is the same — $20/person/course. Because the lecturers are not compensated (except for the pleasure of having truly interested and interesting students), your contributions are used for scholarships for re-entry and transfer students.

For all course registrations, you will receive an email acknowledging your acceptance in the course. For on-line registrations, it will be automatically generated and sent shortly after you register. For mail-in registration, we manually send you an email confirmation. In either case, later you will receive a letter from the university acknowledging your donation.

You will not be charged if you can't enroll (because the course is full), and if you sent a check it will be returned.

You must be a OLLI member to sign up for Courses!

→ Courses are limited to 2020 members of Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UCSC. If you wish to join, go to our home page and use the section titled Join OLLI at UCSC or Renew Your Membership.  

Due to the Coronavirus there are changes to the schedule of courses.  Most courses are postponed until the fall.  There one class shown below, that have gone online for summer plus Ronnie's short commentaries.    Also below is a hint at some of the courses for the fall.

Online Courses:

2017 A Survey of Ecology
Short commentaries by Ronnie Gruhn

The OLLI Board has decided that there will be no fees for our classes this summer.  If you already paid a fee for this class it will be credited to future classes.  

To enroll in online classes you must write an email to Barry Bowman ( telling him of your interest.  You will then receive an invitation before each class.

Courses to hopefully complete next Fall:

Fred and Ginger:   one more movie.
Major Supreme Court Decisions that Changed America:  Arthur Rolston has presented one thought provoking class so far.
Scheduled courses hopefully postponed to the Fall
Beyond the Binary:  New Ways of Thinking about Sex and Gender  Mary Crawford's
Recurring Courses
International Affairs, Fall 2020
Modern Molecular Biology

New Fall courses (so far).  Lots of classes coming up.

Dante:    Many of you may remember Margaret Brose's class on The Inferno.  She is planning to share more of her understanding of Dante with us.
Frank Capra:     Bill Park will be showing and discussing films by this director of the thirties and forties.  Here is a quotation by Capra.  "Film is one of the three universal languages, the other two: mathematics and music."
A Primer on Climate Change: Roger Knacke, who has kept us informed on all things astronomical, is preparing a course that will give us a deep understanding of climate change.
The Beauty of Mathematics:  Solving Equations: Peter Farkas has been in Princeton this year, thinking about challenging  classes for us.
Plus classes by Leta Miller, Dale Johnson, Aimee Zygmonski -- subjects to be announced.  

More information on the courses will be updated as it is released.  All documentation will be updated when the fall course schedule is better defined.  Thank you for your patience.  All fees for existing classes will be honored. 

There is no registration for online courses.

University Calendar Courses are shown below.  

If instead of registering for courses on-line, you want to print, fill-out, and mail a paper registration form, then click here to print the registration form. Download the form to your computer, print it, fill it out, and mail it as directed on the form.


Courses Table of Contents

2013 Major Supreme Court Decisions that Changed America

Wednesdays: The three classes are postponed.  Watch for an update on the reschedule.     10 am To 12 pm
Location:  Museum of Art and History 705 Front St
Instructor:  Arthur Rolston

Some Supreme Court decisions are simply more important than others due to their impact on ordinary Americans’ economic, social, cultural, and/or political lives.  We’ll look at a number of them over the course of American history and place them in historical context as both indicators and agents of cosmic changes in American life. 

The first class on March 4th will look at Dartmouth College vs. Woodward (1819) and Charles River Bridge vs. Warren Bridge (1837) in the context of the social, transportation, and early industrial revolutions during the first half of the 19th Century.  Next, on March 11th we’ll focus on Dred Scott vs. Sanford (1857) and the coming of the Civil War.  Then on March 18th we’ll address Brown vs. Board of Education (1954) and America’s Second Reconstruction.  Finally, our last class on March 25th will examine the influence of the libertarian resurgence in three cases: District of Columbia vs. Heller (2008) on the Second Amendment; Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission (2010) on corporations and free speech; and Obergefell vs. Hodges (2015) on marriage equality.


While there’s no assigned reading, Google searches of the cases will lead to numerous links to the Court’s majority and minority opinions.

Arthur Rolston is new to Santa Cruz, arriving in 2017, and this is his first time teaching for Olli. He has a JD from UC Berkeley (1967), and a PhD in History from UCLA (2006). Prior to moving to Santa Cruz Arthur practiced law in Los Angeles for over 30 years and then taught history at UCLA as an adjunct lecturer from 2006-2016.

2014 Santa Cruz Shakespeare 2020

Tuesdays: The four classes are postponed.  Watch for an update on the reschedule.  10 am -12 pm
Location: Museum of Art and History, 705 Front St.
Instructor:  Michael Warren
The four lectures will be devoted to the plays of the 2020 Santa Cruz Shakespeare season, Twelfth Night and The Tempest.
Twelfth Night is the last of Shakespeare’s “romantic” comedies, a subtle and witty exploration of the complexities and illusions of love and desire in a story that includes the separation and reunion of brother/sister twins, cross-dressing, gender confusion, and mistaken identity.  The Tempest, probably his last singly-authored play, is an experimental work that, with its location on a mysterious island, combines a revenge plot, political drama, romance, low comedy, magic, nonhuman spirits, visual spectacle, and song and dance to create a profound philosophical extravaganza.  For the first class members of the course should read the first three acts of Twelfth Night.

Michael, a very knowledgeable and entertaining Shakespeare scholar, will discuss with us the two plays that Santa Cruz Shakespeare will be presenting next summer. Over the years our members have found that taking this class greatly enhances their understanding and enjoyment of the plays.

Professor Warren is emeritus professor of literature at UCSC and Textual Consultant and Dramaturg to Santa Cruz Shakespeare since its inception, earlier as Shakespeare Santa Cruz.

2015 Beyond the Binary:  New Ways of Thinking about Sex and Gender

Thursdays: All postponed watch for an update --  April 2, 9, 16, 23    10 am -12 pm
Location:  Museum of Art and History 705 Front St.
Instructor: Mary Crawford

Gender used to seem so simple. Men were manly and women were womanly, and everyone was (assumed to be) heterosexual. But John Wayne and Marilyn Monroe are long gone, and today more and more people are claiming a spectrum of gender identities and sexual orientations. In reality, intersexed, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and nonbinary individuals have existed throughout history and across cultures. In this course, we will explore the biological, psychological, social, and cultural factors that influence the formation of gender identity, sexual orientation, and gender expression. We will address questions such as, what are the psychological effects of intersex conditions on identity? Is there a difference between gay behavior and gay identity? Is there a gay gene? How does the psychosexual development of gay men and lesbians differ? We also will explore transgender and nonbinary identities. If time permits, we will learn about societies other than our own that allow for the existence of not two but three sexes (female, male, and… another). Throughout the course, there will be plenty of time for questions and discussion. My perspectives will be grounded in empirical social psychology, and I will engage in a critical analysis of recent and current research.

If you have been curious about why some individuals want to be addressed as “they,” or unsure about the meaning of new terms like cisgender, gender nonconforming, genderqueer, and nonbinary, this course will add to your understanding of the complex factors that contribute to making each of us a gendered and sexually oriented human being.

Mary Crawford, PhD is Emerita Professor of Psychology and Women’s Studies at the University of Connecticut. Her research has focused on women and gender, particularly in contexts of health, sexuality, and communication. A Fellow of both the American Psychological Association and the American Psychological Society, she has authored more than 120 journal articles and chapters and written/edited 10 books including a widely adopted text for students, Transformations: Women, Gender, and Psychology. (3rd Ed, 2018).


2017 A Survey of Ecology

4 Tuesdays: June 9, 16, 23 and 30 11:00 am to 12:45 pm
Location:  Online course
Instructor: James Estes

Scope of the class: The broad goal of ecology is to describe and understand the distribution and abundance of species. In this course we will explore the history and substance of ecology as a scientific discipline.   The lectures will build on concepts, embellished extensively with storytelling.

Jim received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota in 1967 and a doctorate from the University of Arizona in 1974.  He worked as a research scientist for the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the US Geological Survey.  After retiring from federal service in 2007, Jim joined the faculty of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California at Santa Cruz. He retired from the University in 2018. Jim is an internationally known expert on species interactions, especially those involving predators. He has published more than 200 scientific articles and several books and monographs including a co-edited volume with John Terborgh (Trophic Cascades: Predators, Prey and the Changing Dynamics of Nature, Island Press) and his memoir (Serendipity: An Ecologist’s Quest to Understand Nature).  He has served on the editorial boards of various scientific journals. Jim is a Pew Fellow in marine conservation, a Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. He received the Western Society of Naturalist’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011 and the American Society of Mammalogists’ C. Hart Merriam Award for excellence in research in 2012.