Tuesday Seminars

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Americans: Why We Are the Way We Are – America’s Story of Cultural Geography & Immigrant Pluralism

This seminar examines why there never has been one America, but several. We are a nation settled by many different people from distinct regions who brought with them unique religious, political, and ethnographic characteristics. This complex mix, along with the indigenous peoples who have been here for thousands of years, and African slaves we imported–all have created a permanent imprint on why we are the way we are. We’ve had a social system that for two centuries has remained stubbornly democratic in its politics, capitalist in its economy, libertarian in its laws, individualistic in its society, and pluralistic in its culture. But what is America, really–a ‘melting pot,’ a ‘multicultural salad bowl,’ a ‘cultural mosaic?’ 

  1. Indigenous People & Early Colonization–An Overview
  2. Four British Folkways Create a Lasting Impression
  3. Founding & Expansion of Eleven Cultural Nations
  4. Manifest Destiny–Slavery–Annexation: American-Indians, Africans, & Mexicans
  5. 19th& 20th Century Immigrant Pluralism
  6. American Identity Traits & Language

6 Tuesdays, January 16-February 20 9:30-11:30 a.m. at River Campus

Tim Hrastar has been actively involved in UDOLLI since 2005, is currently a member of the Board of Advisors, and has moderated 27 seminar programs over the years in American history, as well as discussion groups covering economic, social, and cultural issues. His career spans more than forty-five years as a self-employed communication and business development consultant, coach, and facilitator for professional service

firms–focusing on the legal profession, as well as an audio-visual writer-producer-director of corporate programs and conferences.


Intermediate iPhone

This hands-on seminar is for people who have taken the “Introduction to Apple iPhone” seminar or have an intermediate comfort level with the iPhone but would like to learn more of its capabilities and get more in-depth practice. Emphasis of this seminar will be on a deeper understanding of Settings and iCloud plus the built-in apps like Photos, Contacts, Calendar, News, Reminders, Maps, iTunes, Music, Safari, and Siri. Participants must bring  an iPhone 5s or later to each class with the latest operating system (IOS) and must

know their Apple ID and password. Students must have an email address and fill out a pre-seminar questionnaire.

6 Tuesdays, January 16-February 20 9:30-11:30 a.m. at River Campus Seminar limit: 20

John Bramhall retired from the Ohio Air National Guard, active in the Dayton area ballroom dance community, former computer programmer, and long-time iPhone, iPad, and Mac computer user. 


Coal Miner’s Granddaughter  NEW

This seminar will explore the history and legacy of coal mining in the U.S., focusing primarily on PA, WVA, and KY. The sessions will include: discussing life in the coal patch; the mining process itself; immigrant versus Appalachian miners; the development of coal barons and labor unions; and the Coal Police and mine wars.

  • 5 Tuesdays, January 16-February 13 9:30-11:30 m. at River Campus

Linda Mercuri Fischbach grew up in the coal mining town of Renton, PA. Her grandfathers, father, and 5 uncles were coal miners from 1903 to 1963, working at the Renton mine.


Legacy Writing

Do you have stories from your life you’d like to have in print but are not interested in  writing a full memoir? This class will focus on getting those stories ready to share. Each week we will write to a prompt, or two, and share and respond to those writings. We will also work together over the course of the seminar to write and revise at least one story for your legacy. Come prepared to write, learn, craft, and give feedback in each session. Some writing outside of class may be required to complete your story. We will meet socially after seminar ends to pick up printed anthology of our work. There will also be an opportunity to read from your work in an evening presentation at UDOLLI.

  • 6 Tuesdays, January 16-February 20 9:30-11:30 m. at River Campus Seminar limit: 14

Jude Walsh writes memoir, personal essay, fiction, and poetry. Her work has been published at Mothers Always Write, Indiana Voice Journal, Flights Literary Journal, The Manifest-Station, The Story Circle Network Quarterly Journal, and in the following anthologies: The AWW Collection (2014, 2015, 2016), The Anthology of Christmas Memories (2011, UDOLLI writers!), The Magic of Memoir (SheWrites Press, 2016), and Chicken Soup For the Soul: Inspiration for Teachers (CSS Press, 2017). She is a writer at The Good Men Project and Telling Herstories.


Jesus in Science Fiction

Back by popular demand, we bring back Dr. Jerome Stueart’s short course in the appearance of Jesus in Science Fiction. If you’ve taken the course before, surprise! We’ve got all new texts to look at. So don’t be worried if you have taken the course or haven’t taken the course, you can find all new texts here to play with. What happens when science fiction writers write about Jesus, about a Savior, about Gospel?

How does Jesus change? How does his gospel change and who is it for? Explore a reincarnating Jesus who must face Satan in every generation, the sister of Jesus born in the 20th Century, an alien insect who has a gospel for Earth, chimps who develop a theology that make them stronger, and a mission to Alpha Centauri that goes horribly wrong for a few Jesuit Priests trying to spread the gospel. This is not a class about finding the Bible or biblical truth inside a work of fiction—it’s much more. It’s about seeing what other authors do with the character of Jesus, and with the idea of “Gospel” when it is theirs to share in a completely new way. What of the Jesus we know survives? What part of the Gospel are science fiction writers spreading?

6 Tuesdays, January 16-February 20 9:30-11:30 a.m. at River Campus

Texts include: Moderator will provide you these two texts: Michael Bishop’s The Gospel According to Gamaliel Crucis; Robert Silverberg’s The Pope of the Chimps

You are responsible for buying these texts: James Morrow’s Only Begotten Daughter ($8-13, Also Kindle); Mary Doria Russell’s The Sparrow ($10-13, Also Kindle); AJ Langguth’s Jesus Christ (we’re talking to the publisher of Langguth’s classic to make sure it’s available for this class, so wait before buying); and, of course, a Jesus bio, the quick and easy JESUS: The Human Face of God by Jay Parini ($3-14). All of these texts can be purchased on Amazon.

Dr. Jerome Stueart is a full-time Lecturer at the University of Dayton and teaches science fiction, creative writing, and research writing. He is the editor of four anthologies of science fiction and fantasy, including Wrestling with Gods, an anthology of speculative stories about faith. He is also an author of a collection of short stories, The Angels of Our Better Beasts, which was long-listed for the Sunburst Award. He is working on a scholarly book about Jesus in Science Fiction.


Railroad Empire

The new exciting technology of railroads brought the developing United States together in the 19th century as never before by providing modern transportation and communication. It was also the growth industry of the century and created more jobs than any other industrial component. Modern management methods developed to handle far flung organizations with many different skill requirements. It was also the time of the railroad barons, watered stock, and union strikes. The seminar will also examine the growth and decline of railroads and interurbans in the Miami Valley. From embryonic growth to the golden age to the decline of rail, this seminar will provide a gripping overview of the railroad industry.

6 Tuesdays, January 16-February 20 12:30-2:30 p.m.  - OR - 3:00-5:00 p.m.
at River Campus

Paul Cooper is a retired Air Force pilot with a fascination with 19th century United States frontier history. He is a graduate of the University of Washington and has a master’s degree in history. Railroads have always interested him beginning with the stories his grandfather told him of his 40 years working for the Wabash. In addition to the many seminars in aviation and frontier history that he conducts for UDOLLI, he serves on the Board of Trustees for the National Museum of the Air Force Foundation and gives frequent tours at the museum.


The Best Baseball Films You May Have Never Seen: Part 3   NEW

Over the six-week seminar, Al will present another series of baseball feature films and documentaries that tell compelling human interest stories and historic events through  the lens of baseball, our national pastime. The films will present diverse topics and subject matter, including the heritage and legacy of Jewish baseball players, how Latinos shaped America’s game, the historic impact of the 1919 Black Sox scandal, the baseball legacy of a small town in Iowa, the controversial and legendary pitcher, Dock Ellis, and more. The films screened will stimulate discussion between class participants and moderator. The moderator will provide additional printed and online resources for individual exploration by participants.

6 Tuesdays, January 16-February 20 12:30-2:30 p.m. at River Campus

Al Turnbull is a 1969 UD alum. He is a collector of baseball films with over 250 titles from silent up to present day releases. He is interested in all aspects of baseball as a window to our history and culture through film, art, and literature. Al is a member of the Green Dia- mond Gallery, The Baseball Reliquary, the Reds Hall of Fame, the National Baseball Hall of Fame, and this year, he is on the three judge panel for the prestigious annual Casey Award, which selects the best baseball book published in 2017. He has been the bass fiddle player for The Corndrinkers, a local old-time country music band, for over 40 years. He is also a member of Sugar Grove, a Miami County bluegrass band.


What’s This Cloud I Keep Hearing About?  NEW

What and where is this Cloud everyone is talking about? How can I use it? Can I trust it? We will look at various Cloud providers like Amazon, Microsoft, and Apple and how we can use them to increase convenience and provide access to our “stuff”.

4 Tuesdays, January 16-February 6 12:30-2:30 p.m. at River Campus

Bob Sherman continues to teach part time at Sinclair Community College after retiring in 2016. He has served as Chair of the Computer Information Systems Department and has taught a wide variety of courses in the department. Bob completed degrees at UD and Miami University and did additional graduate work at the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT). He has facilitated over 20 courses on computer topics for UDOLLI over the past 15 years.


Creative Studio: Shoot, Process, Print! NEW

Express your passion and personal vision more effectively in your photography. Three photographers collaborate to offer accessible methods to improve our images at the source, through settings and processing, and in the finished product. Gain fresh ideas from conception and perception, to the printed photograph.  Cultivate intentional and creative approaches to your photography endeavor through mindful perception, choice, composition and design. Upgrade technical skills. Learn to shoot HDR. Make photos pop with our kickstart, using tips, adjustments, and processing tools to quickly enhance images, demonstrated using Photoshop Elements. Join our collaboration! Bring an open mind, an open shutter, and time to play.

6 Tuesdays, January 16-February 20 12:30-2:30 p.m. at River Campus Seminar limit: 17


  1. Independently use your choice of Digital Camera, ideally with tripod.
  2. Camera must allow you to control Aperture and Shutter Speed setting
  3. One or more hours a week outside seminar, to shoot and process new photographs each week
  4. Email/upload images to our class web album each week

Shulamit Adler, Ph.D., is a photographer and clinical neuropsychologist. Her celebration of the Miami Valley, lyrical flower images and animals-with-attitude can be seen in shows, installations, publications, and private collections around the region.

Stephen Goldberg retired from Eastman Kodak in 2015 as Director of Customer Solutions, InkJet printing division, Kettering OH. “Photography has always been a hobby of mine and learning to use Photoshop has given me a second chance to reclaim marginal photos, and also to make good photos superb.”

John Sheehan retired from Wright-Patterson AFB in 2006 as the Chief of Ground Safety for the Air Force Materiel Command. His active duty Air Force career included assignments in the United Kingdom and Turkey. He has taught photography in the Dayton area for over 20 years, conducting classes for the Greene County Career Center, Greene County Parks and Trails, the University of Dayton Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, the Dayton Metro Library System, and the Greene County Library System. He is the author of “Gunsmoke: USAF Fighter Gunnery Meet” published by Motorbooks International.


Movie Lovers: True WWII Story, Band of Brothers NEW

This is the true story of “Easy Company” (part of the 2nd battalion, 506th parachute infantry) of the 101st airborne division, as told through the HBO mini-series produced by Tom Hanks. If you have not seen this series and like WWII history, you will like this.

6 Tuesdays, January 16-February 20 12:30-2:30 p.m. at River Campus

Terry Hawk earned his B.B.A. from Ohio University and an M.B.A. from the University of Dayton. He worked in advertising and sales and taught school for 42 years. His lifelong love of movies has become a passion. He’s watched some movies as many as 10 to 20 times.


A History of Heaven  NEW

Where did the idea of Heaven or the idea of an “afterlife” come from? What is the ultimate destiny of the human person? Why should or would God “reward” a person for living a just life? In this six-week seminar, we will focus on the concept of heaven as it developed in Greek Philosophy, Judaism, and Christianity. Beginning with the philosophic speculation found in some of Plato’s dialogues (“Apology”, “Phaedo”, “Republic”) and moving into Judaism’s Second Book of Machabees and the Book of Wisdom, this course will consider the ways in which people began to think of a new form of existence with the gods or God after death. We will look at relevant passages in the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures, noting how ideas of a reward for living an ethical life developed in late Judaism and early Christianity. We will see how the Catholic Church developed her belief in “the resurrection of the body and life everlasting.” Church leaders, theologians, Christian philosophers, visionaries, artists, and poets made their respective contributions to what heaven might be like. We will see that a spectrum of concepts developed, from the minimalist view of a theocentric heaven in which the good person would be with God forever, to expansionist views that gave us entire heavenly cities complete with heavenly professions and tasks to keep us from becoming bored while in eternity. Add to that the view that heaven was all about happy family reunions with our loved ones. Why do believers want heaven to be real? Do people need to be promised an “eternal reward” to be good, keep the Ten Commandments, and attend church services on Sundays? Is God really offering us the bribe of eternal happiness for us to find the motivation to live up to the teachings of Moses, or Jesus, or Mohammed? What do you want Heaven to be like?

How have your views on the afterlife developed since you first learned about Heaven?  What would you do in and with your life if there is no Heaven? We will discuss how we were taught from the catechism,  who taught our religion classes, and the kind of input that came from our parents, rabbis, ministers, priests, and teachers. We will also discuss how the idea of heaven impacted us and other people we have known. As lifelong learners, we will have a lot to talk about. Perhaps some of us will conclude that we need the hope of Heaven in order to keep us on the straight and narrow path, “live rightly”, and find meaning for ourselves and the lives we live. Maybe there is no afterlife, at least not like the afterlife many people, popes, preachers, theologians, writers, and artists have imagined it. Perhaps some of us will conclude that there is no Heaven. Period! Join us and discover how your view of the next life falls short of, matches up with, or exceeds what may be the case.

6 Tuesdays, January 16-February 20 3:00-5:00 p.m. at River Campus 

Robert E. Obach, Ph.D., received his Bachelor of Arts degree in English literature from Loyola University Chicago, his master’s degree in religious education from The Catholic University of America, and his doctorate in religion and culture from Syracuse University.  His teaching experience includes elementary, high school, seminary, and university teaching, both undergraduate and graduate levels. He has taught a broad range of subjects,  including history, literature, religion, philosophy, and theology. Teaching since 1967, Robert has also worked in Adult Religious Education for the diocese of Memphis and the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. He taught philosophy and theology courses at Daemen College, Mount St. Joseph University, Xavier University, Wilmington College, Sinclair Community College, Antioch University, and is currently teaching in the Philosophy Department at the University of Dayton. He has published a number of commentaries on the Gospel accounts of Matthew, Luke, and John, and has also authored “The Catholic Church on Marital Intercourse: from St. Paul to Pope John Paul II.


Glimpses of the Civil War

Glimpses of the Civil War is a seminar that Rick Carlile has been moderating at UDOLLI for more than 10 years, with additions and modifications from time to time. It is impossible to cover the entire Civil War in 12 hours, so Carlile has picked topics of the Civil War which he believes would be most interesting to our students. These topics include: (1) general background; (2) military campaigns; (3) Gettysburg campaign; (4) Ohio in the Civil War; (5) potpourri of various topics; and (6) photography in the Civil War and visual tour of the Dayton Soldiers Home.

6 Tuesdays, January 16-February 20 3:00-5:00 p.m. at River Campus

Rick Carlile is a retired attorney. He has been a student of Civil War history and a collector of Civil War artifacts and photography for more than 40 years. Carlile received a B.B.A from Ohio University and a J.D. degree from the University of Michigan Law School. He has written articles for various magazines and has provided copies of the Civil War images in his collection for publication in numerous books and magazines, along with providing copies to various museums. Copies of Carlile’s photographs also appeared in Ken Burns landmark TV miniseries on the Civil War.


Creating a More Sustainable Garden  NEW

Sustainability is the new hot phrase, but it is perfect for this class. A sustainable garden works in harmony with nature, and many times, allows us to continue to enjoy the garden much longer. There are many techniques and design elements that will be discussed, as well as some fun selecting better plants. Participants are encouraged to share information in this class, and participate in “show & tell”.

6 Tuesdays, January 16-February 20 3:00-5:00 p.m. at River Campus Seminar limit: 20

Advance preparation: Participants should have pictures or basic information about their current garden/landscape.  We will utilize the information throughout the class. 

Yvonne Dunphe is an OSU Master Gardener, a graduate of Purdue University, and trained with David Jacke (Edible Forest Gardening). She has been employed with Five Rivers Met- roParks for 16 years, has been the Horticulture Consultant for Washington Township since 2003, and has been teaching classes in horticulture since 2002.