Acadia Senior College

Course offerings

Registration for Winter 2021 courses opens on December 2, 2020 at 10:00 a.m.

The Winter 2021 term runs from January 4 through March 12. Remember that you can take an online class even if you are away for the winter!

Winter 2021 course brochure button

Special Offers for Winter Term

View the details in the brochure or contact us for more information

Want more learning opportunities? As a member of Acadia Senior College you can also enroll in classes offered by other Senior Colleges in Maine, space permitting, paying only the course fees. Check out available online classes at other Maine Senior Colleges.

131/116: The 131 Women of the New (116th) CongressCancelled

James Clunan, Kathleen McQuaid

St. Mary’s Episcopal Chapel, 5 Kimball Road, Northeast Harbor
This class will investigate and discuss the prospects for bi-partisan cooperation among the 131 women in the newly elected 116th Congress. Each participant will closely follow the speeches, daily calendars, legislation advocated, and constituent services of two women - one Democrat, one Republican. Using this focused research, class members will initially deliver summary introductions of their “pair.” Subsequently, the class will analyze the chances for collaboration on major national issues, including modernizing American capitalism through universal child care and pre-K, an annual wealth tax, clean energy and infrastructure restoration, constraining giant corporations, and increasing workers’ bargaining power. The class will also consider their evolving views on major issues such as climate change, foreign policy, criminal justice reform, firearms legislation, and LGBTQ rights, among others.

A Brief History of the Dismal Science (Part 2): Value – The Original Problem of Economics

David Dawson

Church of Our Father, 91 State Highway 3, Hulls Cove
How are “things” valued and how are prices determined? Why are diamonds more valuable than water? This core question of economics has fascinated philosophers, scientists and economists for centuries and is still debated today. This class explores the evolution of theories of value beginning with Aristotle and The Scholastics (St. Thomas Aquinas) and running through the classical period (Adam Smith, et al.) and the “Marginal Revolution” (Jevons, Walras, et al.) to the highly mathematized market theory (Arrow, Debreu, Samuelson) that dominates much of academic economics today and the value of which is the subject of a great deal of debate (no math background required!). Finally, the class will try to decide if economics is more akin to science or religion.
Registration closed

A Close Reading of the Analects of Confucius

Hugh Clark

Library in St. Saviour’s Episcopal Church, 41 Mount Desert St., Bar Harbor
The class will closely read in English and discuss the most important text of the Confucian school of thought, incorporating a close examination of the Chinese text as well. Knowledge of Chinese is neither required nor expected, only a willingness to consider what it can reveal about the English text.
Registration closed

Beginning Italian: Level 2

Hank Schmelzer

Clark Room in Southwest Harbor Public Library, 338 Main Street, Southwest Harbor
This class will build on basics learned in the ASC Beginning Italian Level 1 class. Students will develop knowledge and use of present, future and past tenses and prepositions and pronouns. The class stresses reading and speaking abilities, while developing a broader appreciation of Italian culture. Prerequisite: knowledge of basic Italian grammar, such as simple use of the present, articles, and adjectives as well as basic vocabulary; ability to speak in simple phrases and pronounce accordingly.
Registration closed

Financial Workshop: Your Source for Financial EducationCancelled

Elise Frank

YWCA, 36 Mount Desert Street, Bar Harbor
Do you have the information you need to make decisions about your financial goals? Financial education is an important step to achieving a better future. This class will address such topics as key principles of saving and investing in “Foundations of Investing,” steps to take to prepare for retirement exploring “Retirement by Design,” how insurance can help protect against unexpected life events in “Ready or Not? Prepare for the Unexpected,” and learn about the basics of estate planning with “Preparing Your Estate Plan.”

Geology of MDI

Duane Braun , Ruth Braun

The Undercroft of St. John Episcopal Church, 315 Main Street, Southwest Harbor.
The geology of MDI will be explored from when MDI was part of the Gander terrane attached to another continent, through the development of MDI as a large volcano, to when glaciers sculpted the present landscape. Each session will start with a lecture and question period from 9:30 to 10:30 or so. Then from 10:30 to Noon or so, the class 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 field trips.
Registration closed

Hollywood Goes to War: Censorship, Propaganda and Profits During World War II

Steve Powell

Site: Birch Bay Village Inn Library, Village Inn Road (off Crooked Road), Hulls Cove
With limitations on film stock, lumber, material for costumes, fuel and tires; with nightly blackouts and travel restrictions; and with (eventually) 12 percent of all film industry employees in the armed forces, how did they cope? How did the movie moguls keep up with near-record attendance levels (as high as 90 million a week)? And then, there was this new government agency, the Bureau of Motion Pictures, looking over their shoulders, and amazingly, suggesting changes to their scripts and sometimes saying right out loud that this or that movie shouldn’t be made at all! Somehow, though, it all worked most of the time. Stories of the home front and of military action bolstered morale and resolve. Newsreels informed. Cartoons made people laugh. Class members will judge for themselves as they view some of the best of these. A “Further Reading and Viewing List” will be available, and, as usual, the class will be informal and fun.
Registration closed

How Nonprofits Work

Carolyn Ball

Clark Room, Southwest Harbor Public Library, 338 Main Street, Southwest Harbor.
You may volunteer for, participate in, or donate to a nonprofit but know little about it. This class will examine how this third sector is not quite a government and not quite a for-profit enterprise. How can the NRA, a union, a food bank and a credit union all be non-profits? Each participant will look at a chosen nonprofit to see how it is managed and what its IRS 990 reports reveal. The class will discuss whether nonprofits should be tax-exempt, whether high overhead is a concern for donors, and why nonprofit executive compensation has raised ethical, if not legal, questions. The class will also examine the role of nonprofits in politics.
Registration closed

I Think, Therefore I Am: What is Consciousness?

Robert Gallon

Birch Bay Village Inn Library, Village Inn Road (off Crooked Road), Hulls Cove
Is consciousness the product of an immaterial mind or is it produced by biological activities of the brain? Is it unitary or a collection of many brain processes? Can only humans be conscious? Is reality a construct of consciousness or does it have an independent existence? These are some of the questions the class will address in the context of what we know about how our brains work.
Registration closed

Improving Decision Making and Public Policy: Lessons from Behavioral Economics

Sheila Kirby

Clark Room, Southwest Harbor Public Library, 338 Main Street, Southwest Harbor.
Why do we sometimes fail to act in our own best interests? Traditional economic models of decision-making assume that people make decisions in a “rational” manner. These models work well – until they don’t. This course provides an introduction to a relatively new field – Behavioral Economics – that draws on the fields of economics, psychology, and neuroscience, to provide a better explanation of what influences the choices we make. Governments and companies all over the world are now using behavioral insights to design and improve their policies (often called “nudging”). This class will examine these efforts – successes, lessons learned, and ethical issues. There is no math prerequisite.
Registration closed

Introduction to Croquet

Fran Martin, Tina Hinckley

Manset Croquet Court, 14 Shore Road, Southwest Harbor.
Croquet is a game that can be played equally well by the young and old. Students will learn how to hold the mallet, the stance and swing, and how to shoot wickets. The rules of both American 6 Wicket Croquet and Golf Croquet will be taught. By the end of the first class, students will have played a round of Golf Croquet. By the end of the course, students will also be playing American 6 Wicket Croquet. Students will be invited to use the court outside of class time to practice and play.
Registration closed

Myth, Psyche, and Us

William Bigelow

Maine Coast Heritage Trust, 1034 State Highway 102, Somesville
Who or what are the gods and goddesses? Why do their stories, after 3,000 years, continue to connect us with wisdom and meaning? Using the insights of psychiatrists Carl Jung and Jean Shinoda Bolen, the class will explore mythology and what the gods and goddesses have to do with life in the 21st century. No previous knowledge of mythology or psychology is necessary.
Registration closed

Post-Impressionism and Beyond

Mary Burnard

Parish Hall in St. Saviour’s Episcopal Church, 41 Mount Desert St., Bar Harbor
This course will take an in-depth look at the artists and their art that were directly derived from the Impressionist artists and their discoveries about color theory. The class will look at and discuss questions about such artists as Toulouse Lautrec, Cezanne, and the Studio of the South -Van Gogh and Gauguain, along with the Pointillists and Les Nabis.
Registration closed

Prelude to the 36th America’s Cup

Nathaniel Fenton, Michael Hastings

Machias Savings Bank, 2nd floor, 96 Cottage Street, Bar Harbor.
Activities related to the 36th American’s Cup competition will begin this year and culminate with final races in the Hauraki Gulf, off Auckland, New Zealand, in March 2021. This course will focus on the history of the Cup, and will introduce students to past race sites (The Solent, Newport, San Diego, Fremantle, Auckland, San Francisco, Bermuda), vessel classes and designs (12-meter vessels, J boats, AC72’s, AC50’s), the formation of syndicates, and the personalities of famous defenders, challengers, designers, and skippers.
Registration closed

Selected Topics in Modern European History

Harald Paumgarten, Michael Blythe

Mellon Room, Northeast Harbor Library, 1 Joy Road, Northeast Harbor
This course will discuss the transformative effects of five “revolutions” – scientific, technological, economic, political, and social. The class will examine the paths from late medieval to modern, autocracies to democracies, reformers to revolutionaries, and their successes and failures. Particular focus will be on 17th century England, 17th and 18th century France, and 20th century Russia in the context of European advancement as a whole.
Registration closed

The Cubism of Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque

Mollie McNickle (Wheeler)

Harbor House, 329 Main Street, Southwest Harbor
Picasso and Braque did not intend their paintings of 1907-1914 to be incomprehensible. They were meant as daring experiments – some less successful than others – which the two young artists hoped would lead them to modern, flexible, and individualized replacements for what they perceived as the tired conventions of the 500-year-old Western pictorial tradition. This course will examine the gradual invention by Picasso and Braque of the revolutionary mode of artistic expression that became known as Cubism. We will consider the art historical impasse that drove them to revolution and then trace the protracted process of trial and error by which they eventually achieved a completely new formal language. This survey will provide students with sufficient knowledge of the novel vocabulary and syntax of Cubism to be able to “read” even the most abstruse Cubist compositions.
Registration closed

The Sources of Constitutional Conflicts

Richard S. Cohen

Harbor House, 329 Main Street, Southwest Harbor
Constitutional law conflicts significantly affect the resolution of public policy issues in the United States. This class will explore the history and sources of current constitutional issues in order to provide a foundation for informed analysis. Among the issues to be examined are gerrymandering for racial or political advantage, the Electoral College, the unitary executive, the Second Amendment, unenumerated constitutional rights, who wins when rights clash, the status of religious rights, impeachment, the emoluments clause and affirmative action.
Registration closed

Viruses and Vaccines

Phil Grimley

Lisa Stewart Women’s Health Center, 2nd floor, 330 Main Street, Bar Harbor.
Viruses must infect living cells to survive and propagate. They have successfully adapted to animals and plants over millennia of coexistence. Remarkably, two of the infections most dangerous to humans were controlled by vaccination even before the basic events of virus infections became known to scientists. This class will explain the events essential to any virus infection and how vaccines can serve to limit virus spread and speed recovery. Attention will be focused upon influenza, measles, polio, zika, hepatitis, the herpes family, and papilloma virus of cervical cancer. Problems of vaccine development for HIV and Ebola will be discussed.
Registration closed