Acadia Senior College

Course offerings

Fall class registration is now closed.

Winter course brochures will be mailed in mid-October.

Online registration for winter courses opens on Wednesday, November 1, at 10:00 am, (paper registrations will be processed one week later), and registrations close on November 29. 

Winter courses will run between January 8 and March 16, 2018.

(Did you know we offer easy, confidential scholarships from our scholarship fund? Contact the office for information!) 

A Comedy Tonight!

Mary Burnard

Site: Parlor Room in Congregational Church, 29 Mount Desert Street, Bar Harbor
We will be discussing ancient Greek and Roman comic plays and answering questions about who the playwrights were, how and when those plays were produced, who the actors were, and what those ancient Greek and Roman audiences found funny. We will then board a time-travel machine to enjoy the complete 185 BC play Pseudolus by the leading musical comedy playwright Plautus. Two modern playwrights and a composer/lyricist will channel Plautus so that you can enjoy his delightful musical. Bring popcorn and candy and be prepared for some fun! (5-15 students)
Registration closed Details

Capitalism and Democracy in Dark Times

John Buell

Site: The Undercroft of St. John Episcopal Church, 315 Main Street, Southwest Harbor
Capitalism and democracy were once regarded as complementary progressive forces. Today, both are in crisis, their compatibility questioned, and their future in doubt. Democracy appears headed for an extreme form of authoritarianism (if not fascism), and capitalism morphing into a kleptocracy benefiting a tiny elite. How did we arrive at this juncture? Is revolution possible or desirable? Are there strategies that might yield a more just and moral future? (4-20 students)
Registration closed Details

Dark Passage: An Introduction to Film Noir

Steve Powell

Site: Birch Bay Village Inn Library, Village Inn Road, off Crooked Road, Hulls Cove
From the early 1940's to the late 1950's Hollywood produced a number of uniquely stylish dark melodramas. French film critic Nino Frank coined for them the term film noir in 1946. But what exactly constitutes a film noir? Some are strangely dreamlike, others brutal and violent, mildly erotic or morally ambivalent. Many are marked by an unconventional visual style. In our course we'll decide for ourselves what these films say to us and how they say it by viewing and discussing as many as we can. So prepare for a few weeks of guns, dames and hats. (5-17 students)
Registration closed Details

Europe From Luther to the Great War

Harald Paumgarten, Jim Clunan

Site: Maine Sea Coast Mission, 127 West Street, Bar Harbor
This course is a broad review of the sweep of European history since the end of the medieval period, covering the religious conflicts, dynastic wars, overseas expansion, technical and scientific advances, political revolution and counter-revolution. We will take particular note of the emergence of England, Germany and Russia, and the decline of Spain, France, Sweden, Poland, the Ottomans, and the Hapsburgs. The class will be conducted as a seminar and discussion. (5-20 students)
Registration closed Details

Exploring the World of Viruses

Phil Grimley

Site: Wolf Conference Room, 2nd floor of Lisa Stewart Women’s Health Center, 330 Main Street, Bar Harbor
Virus infections of cells began soon after life appeared on Earth, and viruses are totally reliant upon cells for propagation. In this course, lectures and illustrations suitable for non-scientists will explain the basics of virus transmission and protective mechanisms that guard us against dangers to our health. Many advances in the biomedical sciences, including cancer research and genomics, have resulted from virus studies. We will trace this fascinating history and envision future developments. Texts and charts in PowerPoint format will be accessible for review. (6-25 students)
Registration closed Details

Geology of Mount Desert Island

Duane Braun

Site: The Undercroft of St. John Episcopal Church, 315 Main Street, Southwest Harbor
The geology of Mount Desert Island will be explored from the time when MDI was a part of the Gander terrane attached to another continent, through the development of MDI as a large volcano, to the age when glaciers sculpted the present landscape. Each session will start with a lecture-and-question period from 9:30 to 10:30 am. Then from 10:30 to noon or so, we will take a field trip to examine the earth material and landform evidence for the geologic evolution of MDI. The lectures may be attended without going on the field trips. (5-18 students)
Registration closed Details

Narcissus, Narcissism, Psyche, and the Power of Myth

William Bigelow

Site: Mellon Room in the Northeast Harbor Library, 1 Joy Road, Northeast Harbor
For the first two weeks, we will explore the ancient myth of Narcissus, the psychological diagnosis of narcissism, and the manifestations of each in our culture and our time. For the following four weeks, we will read, watch, and discuss Bill Moyer’s classic interviews with Joseph Campbell, entitled The Power of Myth, and reflect on the wisdom that myth has to offer us in 2017. No previous knowledge of mythology or psychology is needed. (3-15 students)
Registration closed Details

Observing Birds, Counting Blossoms - Becoming a Citizen Scientist

Hannah Webber, and Seth Benz

Sites: Sound School House, 373 Sound Drive (Route 198), Mount Desert (last class will be a field trip to the Schoodic Peninsula).
We hear about citizen science all the time, but what does it really mean? How can anyone get involved? Students will dig into citizen science, learning its history (emphasizing the role of citizen science in Acadia National Park, in the first class session) and participate in hands-on work experiences (in the second and third session), using citizen science tools, primarily computers and on-line apps. The final class session will be a field trip to Schoodic to put the skills learned to work, collecting citizen science data. Students will be most successful using their own smartphones or tablets. Participants should have and bring a smartphone; however, there will be some tablet computers for classroom use. (5-12 students)
Registration closed Details

Palliative Care - Serious Illness and the End of Life Cancelled

MDI Palliative Care Advisory Group

Site: Maine Coast Heritage Trust, Route 102, Somesville
Are you mortal? Do you know and love people who are? This course will incorporate a wide variety of topics and formats designed to get participants thinking and talking about end of life issues. We will explore healthcare options for living with a serious illness, demystify advance directives, explain the difference between hospice and palliative care, and facilitate conversation about what is important and meaningful to you. (8-15 students)

Playing Traditional Music on the Tremolo Harmonica Cancelled

Ray Lambert

Site: Harbor House, 329 Main Street, Southwest Harbor
The course instructor, Ray Lambert, will demonstrate and teach techniques to play traditional Québecois and Celtic music on the harmonica, particularly the tremolo harmonica. He will also explain the mechanics, advantages, and disadvantages of various harmonicas. Students should come to class with at least one tremolo harmonica, preferably in the key of G. A second harmonica, in the key of D, would also be useful. The recommended model is Hohner 455 Echo Celeste Tremolo, available from East Village Music Store,, (212) 991-4930, for $20.99. Also, a digital or tape recording device is strongly recommended. Ray will provide scores of a few tunes, but he emphasizes playing by ear. (3-6 students)

The Art of Human Engagement: “Know Thyself”

Steve Perrin

Site: Parlor Room in Congregational Church, 29 Mount Desert Street, Bar Harbor
We will explore and share our decades of life experience by attempting to turn our consciousness “inside out,” rediscovering how each of us has achieved engagement with others and with our surroundings. Are our interactions governed by habit and routine, by social conventions and ingrained orthodoxy, or do we struggle toward a conscious process of perception and judgment leading to decision and action? What governs which situations elicit a rote response, vs. bringing our more considered judgments to bear? As we share our experiences of engagement, we may achieve greater self-knowledge as well as a more appreciative understanding of others. (3-12 students)
Registration closed Details

The Great Debate: Edmund Burke and Thomas Paine on the French Revolution

David Einhorn

Site: Birch Bay Village Inn Library, Village Inn Road, off Crooked Road, Hulls Cove
This course, team taught by Michael Blythe and David Einhorn, will examine the origin of our Left/Right political discourse and traditions through the prism of the debate between British statesman Edmund Burke and American political philosopher Thomas Paine on the subject of the French Revolution. (8-15 students)
Registration closed Details

The Novels of Patrick O’Brian

Ward MacKenzie

Site: Clark Room in Southwest Harbor Public Library, 338 Main Street, Southwest Harbor
Our course will cover the novels H. M. S. Surprise and The Mauritius Command. The stories are fictional, but all of the sea battles are historically accurate. O’Brian’s novels provide insight into the social, political and military challenges facing England in the early nineteenth century. (5-10 students)
Registration closed Details

Topics in Human Evolution

Peggy deWolf

Site: Clark Room in Southwest Harbor Public Library, 338 Main Street, Southwest Harbor
Traditionally, human evolution was explored through fossil evidence to understand physical changes over time, and also through the study of non-human primate behavior to gain insight into the roots of human social behavior. More recently, the study of human evolution has been informed by many disciplines, foremost by genetics. This course will include both genetic understanding and fossil evidence to provide a comprehensive understanding of human evolution. (5-14 students)
Registration closed Details

Trees & Shrubs for the Landscape

Valencia Libby

Site: Wolf Conference Room, 2nd floor of Lisa Stewart Women’s Health Center, 330 Main Street, Bar Harbor
This course is a study of trees and shrubs useful in landscape design, focusing on their proper culture, identification, and seasonal interest. We will highlight native plants vs. invasive species and study the new list restricting the sale of invasive plants in Maine. The course ends with a field trip to see plants in a natural landscape. (6-16 students)
Registration closed Details