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Registration is required to attend all Osher Institute offerings. The fall 2020 semester is taking place fully online with livestream and recorded class options.

Registration for the fall 2020 semester opened on Tuesday, August 4.

To register:

Fall 2020 Catalog Available Now

Thank you for accessing the online version of the fall semester catalog!

Hard copy catalogs were mailed to members on Tuesday, July 14.

Please note: The Osher Institute office and the Yanke building are closed to the public until further notice. If you would like another copy of the fall semester catalog, we are happy to mail you one. Please contact the Osher Institute office at
osher@boisestate.edu.

Additional Information

Visit the Registration Information page to view our policies and updates for the fall 2020 semester.

Visit the Presenter Biographies page to learn more about our presenters.

Fall 2020 Offerings

Starting in August

Access to The Great Courses Plus

We have extended our partnership with The Great Courses Plus, an online video-on-demand platform offering thousands of college-level videos and lectures. Register for this offering to receive a unique login for your own account with The Great Courses Plus at a significantly discounted yearly rate. Please note: It will take two weeks to process your account information after you register.
Dates valid: August 1, 2020 – July 31, 2021
Cost: $35

100 Years of Women's Suffrage

The ratification of the 19th Amendment—the right to vote for American women—marked the achievement of a long-sought goal in their march toward gender equality and represented one more step in the nation’s quest for democracy. Dr. David Adler tells the story of the path to this historical landmark which was littered with noble ideals, stirring speeches, and great sacrifices in the shadow of political corruption, sexism, selfishness, and double-dealing.
Presenter: Dr. David Adler, President, Alturas Institute
Date and time: Tue., Aug. 18, 10 a.m.-noon
Cost: Included with membership

“A Republic, If You Can Keep It”

Benjamin Franklin’s stern reminder to citizens of the fragility of the republic, and their responsibility to “keep” it, is often repeated but little understood and appreciated. This reminder is captured in James Madison’s observation that the greatest difficulty we face in a republic is persuading the government to obey the law, a concern reverberating across our nation. This course will examine the founders’ creation of a constitutional toolkit designed to maintain the republic, why Americans need to better understand the virtues and values of constitutional government, the role and responsibility of the citizenry in holding the government accountable, and the critical need to expand civic education across the nation. Please note: This course features additional time for Q & A with the presenter.
Presenter: Dr. David Adler, President, Alturas Institute
Date and time: Tue., Wed., Thu., and Fri., Aug. 25, 26, 27, and 28, 10 a.m.-noon
Cost: $45

50 Years of NPR

National Public Radio (NPR) is an independent, non-profit public media organization that is home to some of the most preeminent journalists. The year 2020 marks 50 years as an organization with over 120 million Americans interacting with NPR every month. This lecture will celebrate this significant anniversary and answer questions including: How does this media organization work? How does this loose federation of more than 1,000 stations carry out journalism? What have you always wanted to know about our local affiliate, Boise State Public Radio?
Presenter: Tom Michael, General Manager, Boise State Public Radio
Date and time: Mon., Aug. 31, 10 a.m.-noon
Cost: Included with membership

Starting in September

Cheatgrass in North America

This lecture will present the history of cheatgrass in North America, take a close look at its growth and biology, and examine what the future looks like for lands dominated by cheatgrass.
Presenter: Dr. Roger Rosentreter, retired botanist, Bureau of Land Management
Date and time: Tue., Sept. 1, 10 a.m.-noon
Cost: Included with membership

Reading and News Reporting in the Digital Age

Reader’s Corner is a weekly radio show that features lively conversations with leading writers, including winners of top literary prizes and best-selling authors. Host Dr. Bob Kustra joins us to share stories of his interviews, provide a preview of upcoming interviews, and explain how Reader’s Corner is produced and delivered to radio and podcast listeners. He will also share his experience reading novels of up-and-coming authors, his critique of the role Amazon.com plays in the life of the book and its author, and provide specific recommendations for your reading list.
Presenter: Dr. Bob Kustra, President Emeritus, Boise State University
Date and time: Wed., Sept. 2, 10 a.m.-noon
Cost: Included with membership

The Dawn Mission

It is the coolest mission you’ve never heard of. From 2007-2015, NASA’s Dawn mission visited two bodies in the asteroid belt to begin to understand the evolution of the planets in the solar system. This lecture will explore findings from this mission including how Ceres and Vesta, the largest “fossils” from the earliest days of planet formation, were found to have formed quite differently from one another. We will also look at how Dawn made engineering history by using ion propulsion to be the first deep-space mission to go into orbit around two separate bodies.
Presenter: Chuck Folkner, retired Principal Systems Architect, Starbucks Coffee Company
Date and time: Wed., Sept. 2, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Cost: Included with membership

China Between 1956 and 1976

Mao Zedong and his allies ruled China between 1956 and 1976. During this time, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) stumbled into modernity, including becoming a nuclear power and hosting U.S. President Richard Nixon. But with many of its triumphs came unspeakable sorrows brought on by policies including the Great Leap Forward (1959-1962) and the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (1966-1976). This course will examine the PRC during these two momentous decades of its history. Please note: This is a recorded offering. Dr. Woods has offered to host a livestream Q&A session on Thu., Sept. 24, from 10 a.m.-noon. All registered members will receive the link to attend the Q&A session prior to Sept. 24.
Presenter: Dr. Shelton Woods, Professor of History, Boise State University
Date and time: Thu., Sept. 24, 10 a.m.-noon
Cost: $45

The Women’s Rights Movement

This lecture will provide a general overview of the development of the women’s rights movement, the temperance movement, and the suffrage movement from Colonial America through the early 20th century. Suffrage in Idaho will be highlighted, including how the efforts of key players brought suffrage to the state and extended it nationwide. The emergence of women’s groups and progressive era philanthropy will also be discussed.
Presenter: HannaLore Hein, State Historian, Idaho State Historical Society
Date and time: Fri., Sept. 4, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Cost: Included with membership

The Art and Times of Sandro Botticelli

Explore the life, times, and art of Sandro Botticelli, an artist who is recognized as one of the best painters of the Renaissance. This lecture will examine his works from Florence and Rome, provide insight into his portraits and their subjects, and explore the meaning behind Botticelli’s mythological and religious paintings. Prior knowledge of art history or the Renaissance is not required. Inquisitive and inquiring minds are welcome!
Presenter: Paul Penland, JD, retired trial attorney and Art History major, Boise State University
Date and time: Tue., Sept. 8, 10 a.m.-noon
Cost: Included with membership

How June Cleaver Got Her Pearls: Making the Perfect Family

Ward and June Cleaver, parents on the sitcom Leave it to Beaver, were portrayed as the typical 1950s suburban parents. June is particularly remembered as the picture-perfect housewife who cleaned house wearing pearls, a form-fitting dress, and high heels. Where did this “perfect family” idea originate? This course will trace this idea back to English works written in the 1700s, move rapidly through Victorian literature with its “angel in the house” motif, and glide into post-war America with its fantasies of perfect housewives who created an ideal environment where their husbands and children thrived.
Presenter: Dr. Ann Campbell, Professor of English, Boise State University
Date and time: Thu., Sept. 10, 17, and 24, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Cost: $35

Page to Stage in a Pandemic at Boise Contemporary Theater

Originally conceived as an examination of upcoming plays at Boise Contemporary Theater (BCT), we have adjusted this course to account for current events. This course will investigate two of the scripts that are slated to be staged at BCT prior to their scheduled performance dates. We will analyze the text, contextualize the plays historically, politically, and socially, and discuss the artistic and economic decisions behind the BCT stagings. We will also spend time discussing the state of the theater in the current pandemic. What are theaters doing to cope? What creative concepts have emerged from companies across the country? How do theaters plan for a possible page to stage to screen theatrical experience? And finally, what might theater look like moving forward?
Presenter: Jessica Ires Morris, Adjunct Faculty of Theater, Boise State University
Date and time: Mon., Sept. 14, 21, 28, and Oct. 5, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Cost: $45

Sleep Physiology and Healthy Sleep Habits

This lecture will examine the basics of sleep physiology, healthy sleep habits, how insomnia develops and is maintained over time, and how insomnia is treated with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I). Dr. Davis will also provide practical recommendations for how you can adapt strategies from CBT-I to use on your own and how individuals may be able to reduce dependence on medications for sleep.
Presenter: Dr. Kyle Davis, Staff Psychologist, St. Luke’s Center for Lifestyle Medicine
Date and time: Tue., Sept. 15, 10 a.m.-noon
Cost: Included with membership

The Art of Jazz in Boise

The Boise Jazz Society is a Boise State University community engagement partnership that supports jazz performance, jazz education, and the promotion of jazz as a living American art form. This lecture will provide a glimpse into the upcoming 2020-2021 season and the world-class jazz artists who are scheduled to participate.
Presenter: Dr. Mike Samball, Executive Director, Boise Jazz Society at Boise State University
Date and time: Tue., Sept. 15, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Cost: Included with membership

Beyond the Peregrine: 50 Years of Raptor Conservation

Since its founding in 1970, The Peregrine Fund has been working to conserve raptors worldwide. Best known for the successful recovery of the Peregrine Falcon, they now have active projects in 27 countries. This lecture will focus on what has taken place since the founding of the World Center for Birds of Prey in 1984. From Harpy Eagle conservation in Panama to saving vultures across Africa, the presenters will delve into the lesser-known stories of tenacity and hope that have come to define The Peregrine Fund.
Presenters: Tate Mason, Director, World Center for Birds of Prey, and Dr. Munir Virani, Vice President and Global Director of Conservation Strategy, The Peregrine Fund
Date and time: Wed., Sept. 16, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Cost: Included with membership

Race, Class, Gender, and Rock n’ Roll

American popular music is a rich locale for exploring tensions between conservatism and transgression, especially as these concepts relate to the performance of gender, race, and class. In this course, we will view, listen to, and critique numerous performers and performances —most known, but some less so—to better understand those moments during which the materials for constructing our complex identities were expanded and/or constrained.
Presenter: Dr. Mary Rohlfing, Visiting Associate Professor of Communication, Boise State University
Date and time: Fri., Sept. 18, 25, Oct. 2, and 9, 10 a.m.-noon
Cost: $45

Passion to Action: The Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial

The seeds for constructing a memorial to human rights in Boise were first planted 25 years ago when the national exhibit “Anne Frank in the World” was brought to Boise. Today, the Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial is recognized as the only Anne Frank memorial in the United States and one of the few places in the world in which the entire text of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is publicly displayed. It is also identified as an international Site of Conscience. This lecture will provide more insight into the Anne Frank memorial, including how and why it is a call to action.
Presenter: Dr. Dan Prinzing, Executive Director, Wassmuth Center for Human Rights
Date and time: Tue., Sept. 22, 10 a.m.-noon
Cost: Included with membership

All About WWAMI

For 48 years, WWAMI has helped Idaho’s citizens access world-class medical education through the University of Idaho and the top-ranked University of Washington School of Medicine. This enduring public university partnership allows Idaho medical students to access high-quality and innovative curriculum for the more affordable price of in-state tuition. Idaho WWAMI students complete their initial 18 months of medical training at the University of Idaho’s Moscow regional campus, and then have the opportunity to complete the majority of their clinical training requirements within Idaho’s communities. More than half of Idaho WWAMI graduates continue to practice medicine in Idaho, helping ease the state’s physician shortage, particularly in rural communities.
Presenters: Mary Barinaga, MD, Assistant Dean for Regional Affairs, University of Washington School of Medicine, and Ted Epperly, MD, GME Coordinator, Idaho State Board of Education
Date and time: Wed., Sept. 23, 10 a.m.-noon
Cost: Included with membership

The Evolution of Gastrointestinal Medicine

Advances in medicine have significantly changed the diagnoses and treatments of gastrointestinal diseases. This lecture will explore the latest in gut microbiome, colon cancer screening and treatment, minimally invasive surgery, diverticular disease, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and anal rectal disease.
Presenter: Shauna Williams, MD, board-certified Colon and Rectal Surgeon, Saint Alphonsus Health System
Date and time: Fri., Sept. 25, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Cost: Included with membership

Chinese Mining in Idaho

Chinese miners first arrived in Idaho in the 1860s and became familiar faces in Idaho’s mining camps, communities, and towns. This lecture will present the miners’ roots in southern China, the unique skills and expertise they brought with them, their everyday struggles and triumphs, and how their contributions and descendants continue to enrich Idaho’s history, culture, and society. Traditional Chinese Idaho mining and gardening knowledge, the archaeology of daily living, and culinary traditions will be featured.
Presenter: Dr. Pei-Lin Yu, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Boise State University
Date and time: Sat., Sept. 26, 10 a.m.-noon
Cost: Included with membership

Recreation in the Boise Foothills

The Treasure Valley is fortunate to have recreation areas right in its backyard. This lecture will introduce the Ridge to Rivers trail system and the Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area, providing information on each organization’s history, special projects, and future plans.
Presenters: David Gordon, Program Manager, Ridge to Rivers, and Susan Saad, Director of Community and Customer Relations, Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area
Date and time: Tue., Sept. 29, 10 a.m.-noon
Cost: Included with membership

An Inside View of Socialism Through Eight Russian Novels

The word socialism attracts a lot of commentary and opinions and, where Russia is concerned, is sometimes mixed up with the word communism. This course will not attempt a discussion of the political theories of socialism. Instead, it will show the lived history of what became socialism through eight novels that span the pre-Revolutionary and post-Soviet periods. Members may read ahead or read along with the course, but prior knowledge of the text is not necessary to attend the course. List of novels: Oblomov by Ivan Goncharov; What is To Be Done? by Nikolai Chernyshevsky; The Naked Year by Boris Pilnyak; Envy by Yurii Olesha; Red Cavalry by Isaak Babel; Heart of a Dog by Mikhail Bulgakov; Sonechka by Lidiia Ulitskaya; The Heart of Parma (untranslated) by Aleksei Ivanov.
Presenter: Dr. Megan Dixon, Professor of Geography and Environmental Studies, The College of Idaho
Date and time: Tue., Sept. 29, Oct. 6, 13, and 20, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Cost: $45

Elephants and Rhinos

This lecture will provide an overview of elephants and rhinos with an emphasis on behavioral and physical characteristics, where these animals occur, and their importance to us.
Presenter: Harry Peachey, General Curator, Zoo Boise
Date and time: Wed., Sept. 30, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Cost: Included with membership

The Channeled Scablands

Extending from western Montana, across Idaho’s Panhandle, and through Washington state, the Channeled Scablands is an expansive, rugged terrain made of dissected volcanics, dry waterfalls, and sandy, streamlined hills that resemble enormous underwater ripples. This assemblage of unusual features looks like the geological wreckage of a biblical flood—but from what source? This lecture will discuss the culture, geology, and impact of the Channeled Scablands and how uncovering its story not only shifted our paradigm about Earth’s geology, but changed our thinking about the history of Mars. Please note: This lecture is pre-recorded for the Osher Institute membership. No livestream option is available.
Presenter: Dr. Brian Jackson, Associate Professor of Physics, Boise State University
Dates available: Sept. 30 – June 30, 2021
Cost: Included with membership

Starting in October

Global Conflict in the 21st Century

This course will assess the likelihood and probable causes of a major global conflict in this century. Topics to be discussed include geostrategic competition between the U.S. and China, Russian ambitions in Eastern Europe and beyond, and long-simmering regional tensions in the Near East and South Asia. We will also assess the potential for war fought over unconventional issues, such as water shortages or the effects of climate change, and how such a conflict might unfold in an age of cyber warfare and machine intelligence. Finally, the course will offer some thoughts on the ultimate societal costs of a 21st-century world war.
Presenter: Ralph Bild, retired CIA Intelligence Analyst and high school economics and history teacher
Date and time: Thu., Oct. 1, 8, 15, and 22, 10 a.m.-noon
Cost: $45

The Campus Free Speech Crisis

Universities are the traditional forum for academic inquiry and free expression. However, universities are also communities that must balance free speech rights with issues of civility, respect, and human dignity. This course will examine the current free speech crisis on university campuses and the tensions between free expression and inclusion. Where should that balance be drawn? This topic will be considered from both a legal and a social standpoint. What is the current law? What should it be?
Presenter: Susan Park, JD, Chair, Department of Management, Boise State University
Date and time: Thu., Oct. 1 and 8, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Cost: $25

Women of Power in Myth

This course will explore diverse myths from a variety of eras and cultures to better understand the roles powerful women play in these ancient stories. Of particular interest to us will be goddesses, witches, and disenfranchised daughters. We will explore how women of power have been portrayed in myths, what this says about gender dynamics in the cultures from which the stories evolved, and how our inheritance of these ancient stories has shaped our own culture. Finally, we will take a brief glimpse at contemporary feminist re-tellings of ancient myths that seek to give center stage to once-peripheral female voices.
Presenter: Tracey Kindall, history teacher, North Fork School
Date and time: Fri., Oct. 2, 9, 23, and 30, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Cost: $45

The Monsters That Saved Hollywood

Facing bankruptcy in 1930, Universal Studios put their fate into the clammy hands of Dracula, Frankenstein, The Wolf Man, and other horror icons. The success of these films saved the studio and sparked a decade of spectacular Hollywood monster movies. Awaken the spirit of cinematic scares and unearth the secrets of things that go bump at the box office with this salute to the titans of terror. Just in time for Halloween!
Presenter: Lance Thompson, President, Idaho Media Professionals
Date and time: Mon., Oct. 5, 12, and 19, 10 a.m.-noon
Cost: $35

Spider Biology for Arachnophobes

Spiders are highly evolved invertebrates in our local landscapes and habitats and are important members of our living communities. This lecture will enlighten members on the basic biology of spiders, as well as describe some of the common spiders observed in Boise area homes and gardens. Discussion will include how to identify and avoid spiders of medical importance as well as common sense tips on ways to keep spiders out of our homes. Non-arachnophobes are welcome to attend as well.
Presenter: Ben Simko, retired Program Manager and Staff Entomologist, Idaho State Department of Agriculture
Date and time: Tue., Oct. 6, 10 a.m.-noon
Cost: Included with membership

Hawthorne, Melville, and Whitman

This course will focus on American writers Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, and Walt Whitman. Along with covering basic biographical and historical contexts, the course will address their artistic theories and spiritual beliefs, philosophical and political allegiances, key themes such as good and evil, self-realization and society, democracy and American identity, and the technical innovations underlying their contributions to the literary period known as the American Renaissance. As time and discussion permit, the course will also delve into the compositional histories of their major works, including source appropriation and the literary influence of Shakespeare and the Bible upon their thought and writing, and their struggles against the censorship of publishers and the condemnation by the critical establishment of their time period.
Presenter: Dr. Steven Olsen-Smith, Professor of English, Boise State University
Date and time: Wed., Oct. 7, 14, 21, and 28, 10 a.m.-noon
Cost: $45

Trauma Surgery

As a field, trauma surgery typically only advances during war when medical professionals learn from high-volume military contexts and translate those lessons back to civilian scenarios. This lecture will provide an overview of trauma surgery and critical care, convey a history of surgical advances, and present real case examples with photos and videos. Please note: This lecture will include images that may be disturbing to some individuals.
Presenter: Rishi Rattan, MD, Associate Professor, Department of Surgery, University of Miami
Date and time: Wed., Oct. 7, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Cost: Included with membership

How Vaccines Work

This course will outline the immune system’s structure, function, and fundamental response to antigens. A range of vaccines will be presented, including those for smallpox, polio, measles, flu, and emerging diseases. We will also consider factors affecting immunity such as age, route of immunization, and vaccine design. This course will not offer medical advice but will rather enable members to understand the basic mechanisms that enhance or undermine protective immunity.
Presenter: Dr. Laura Jenski, retired Vice President for Research, University of South Dakota
Date and time: Mon., Oct. 12 and 19, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Cost: $25

Is This Pain Arthritis?

Rheumatology is a medical specialty focused on the diagnosis and treatment of conditions and diseases that involve the joints, muscles, and bones. The most common concerns are osteoarthritis, the general breakdown of joint cartilage over time, and rheumatoid arthritis, systemic swelling in all or most joints at once. This lecture will focus on early signs and symptoms, best treatment, and current research and approaches to this disease.
Presenter: W. Patrick Knibbe, MD, Rheumatologist, St. Luke’s Health System
Date and time: Wed., Oct. 14, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Cost: Included with membership

Thinking like a Terroirist: What Makes Good Wine Grapes?

This lecture will present an overview of the natural environmental factors such as soil, geology, and climate (i.e., terroir) that are key determinants in how, what, and where wine grapes grow. We will focus on the role these factors play in the quality of each vintage’s harvest and provide examples from the local to the global.
Presenter: Dr. David Wilkins, Associate Professor of Geosciences, Boise State University
Date and time: Thu., Oct. 15, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Cost: Included with membership

Hearing Loss and Treatment

This lecture will discuss issues related to the ear including hearing loss, ringing, and dizziness. Causes and treatment options for each issue will be discussed.
Presenter: Ryan Van De Graaff, MD, Physician, Southwest Idaho Ear, Nose, and Throat
Date and time: Fri., Oct. 16, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Cost: Included with membership

Too Fit to Fall: Exercise and Parkinson’s Disease

Many people with Parkinson’s disease (PD) experience falls that can lead to devastating consequences such as hip fractures, immobility, and reduced quality of life. This lecture will discuss the pathophysiology of PD and its impact on functional mobility, including fall risk. We will discuss methods to assess and treat balance deficits, explain how to determine whether or not individuals are at risk for future falls, describe the current evidence about reducing falls in PD, and discuss ways to improve balance and mobility.
Presenter: Dr. Evan Papa, DPT, Assistant Professor and Program Director of Physical Therapy, Idaho State University
Date and time: Thu., Oct. 22, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Cost: Included with membership

Agricultural Pesticides

Join Dr. Cynthia Curl as she describes her research to understand and measure the changing use patterns of pesticides in agricultural production. This lecture will include a discussion of our evolving understanding of the toxic potential of various classes of pesticides and how genetic modification has changed the way we grow and protect our crops. We will also discuss pesticide exposures among consumers and farmworkers and how alternative production systems, such as organic, can potentially affect these exposures.
Presenter: Dr. Cynthia Curl, 2016 Osher Faculty Grant Recipient and Assistant Professor of Community and Environmental Health, Boise State University
Date and time: Fri., Oct. 23, 10 a.m.-noon
Cost: Included with membership

Trauma in the Criminal Justice System

Trauma does not just exist on military battlefields. It can occur in every stage of life and can lead some to find themselves in contact with our criminal justice system. A deeper understanding of trauma helps us understand the lives of offenders, the experiences of victims, and the jobs of criminal justice actors such as police, correctional officers, and victim service providers. This lecture will discuss the various sources of trauma in society, how it alters brain and biological functioning, and the very real consequences it has on the lives of those who have experienced it. Finally, we will discuss what “trauma-informed care” is and why it is a critical component of our justice system.
Presenter: Dr. Jessica Wells, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice, Boise State University
Date and time: Mon., Oct. 26, 10 a.m.-noon
Cost: Included with membership

Screenwriter to Novelist: Adventures in Storytelling

Act One: chase your hero up a tree. Act Two: pelt stones at him. Act Three: get him down. Since Aristotle’s Poetics, the “three-act” has ruled story structure in the western world—but what can it tell us about writing a novel or screenplay today? Drawing on her own transition from screenwriter to novelist, Samantha Silva will explore how the two forms diverge, how one illuminates the other, and what she has distilled along the way about writing stories with stakes and drive, putting characters under pressure, and making sure the DNA of a story lives and breathes on every page.
Presenter: Samantha Silva, author and screenwriter
Date and time: Mon., Oct. 26, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Cost: Included with membership

The History of the Broadway Musical

From the minstrel shows and burlesques of the mid-1800s and the Tin Pan Alley shows of the early 1900s to the premiere of Showboat in 1927, the work of Rodgers and Hammerstein in the 1940s and 50s, and blockbuster modern productions like Phantom of the Opera, Les Misérables, Wicked, and Hamilton, musical theater is an exciting part of American culture and history. As with any art, the evolution of musical theater also teaches us a lot about ourselves and how our views of the world as a nation have developed over time. Join Eric Collett for a fascinating look at the composers, performers, and shows that have been delighting audiences for almost 200 years.
Presenter: Eric Collett, owner and principal, A Mind for All Seasons, LLC
Date and time: Tue., Oct. 27, 10 a.m.-noon
Cost: Included with membership

Andy Goldsworthy: The Art of Nature

Andy Goldsworthy uses the natural world as his primary art material and the earth itself as his canvas. He creates magical work using a wide variety of objects including stones, flowers, branches, leaves, and even icicles. For his transitory works, Goldsworthy carefully searches and prepares the materials and combines them into both delicate and monumental works. This lecture will provide an in-depth journey into the work and processes of this unusual artist.
Presenter: Susie Fisher, artist and retired high school art teacher
Date and time: Wed., Oct. 28, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Cost: Included with membership

Clinical Ethics

Join a team of Clinical Ethics Consultants from St. Luke’s Health System to gain a more comprehensive understanding of clinical ethics in the healthcare field. This lecture will begin with an introductory overview of ethics, followed by what you need to know about advance care planning and related ethics topics. We will discuss clinical ethics cases in the headlines, how an ethicist views those dilemmas, and conclude with a panel discussion with clinical ethics consultants.
Presenters: Rick Bassett, MSN, APRN, Adult Critical Care Clinical Nurse Specialist, St. Luke’s Health System, and Alex Chamberlain, MDiv, MA Bioethics, Manager of Clinical Ethics, St. Luke’s Health System
Date and time: Thu., Oct. 29 and Nov. 5, 10 a.m.-noon
Cost: $25

History of the South Fork of the Boise River

The South Fork of the Boise River is valued as one of the best fishing streams in southwest Idaho. It also has an interesting geologic history, is dammed by what was once the highest earth-fill dam in the world, was the site of an incredible saga of survival at Reclamation Village, and contains the only metamorphic rock formation close to Boise. The picturesque Smith Prairie is an integral part of the South Fork story as it was the source of massive basalt lava flows that formed natural dams on the river. This lecture will take you on a journey to Anderson Ranch Dam, down the South Fork, and up to Smith Prairie to see how the story unfolds.
Presenter: Steve Cox, Board President, Idaho Museum of Mining and Geology
Date and time: Fri., Oct. 30, 10 a.m.-noon
Cost: Included with membership

Starting in November

New Approaches in Memoir

The genre of memoir is evolving. During memoir’s resurgence in the nineties, we grew to expect book-length narratives that promised hard-won wisdom. But recent memoirs have broken with this approach—in structure, style, and content. They have adopted inventive forms, incorporated other genres, and found new ways to convey discovery. This lecture will survey a number of memoirs and examine the trend toward more experimental approaches. We will look at how authors use different structures and story-telling techniques to enhance their particular story. Participants will gain an appreciation for how memoir is adapting to changing cultural norms as well as an exciting, new reading list. Time will be allowed at the end of this lecture to respond to questions.
Presenter: Susan Rowe, MFA
Date and time: Mon., Nov. 2, 10 a.m.-noon
Cost: Included with membership

The Story, Symbolism, and Art of The Godfather

This course will provide a screening and accompanying discussion of the cinema masterpiece, The Godfather, with a focus on the film’s story structure, conflict, characters, theme, tone, and symbolism. It will also discuss the film’s history, production, and why it has become an icon in modern society. For those who love the movie and movies in general, this course will provide a deeper understanding of why the film is cinema art as well as entertainment.
Presenter: Patricia Marcantonio, author, screenwriter, and journalist
Date and time: Wed., Nov. 4, 11, and 18, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Cost: $35

Beyond Books: The Role of Idaho Libraries Today

This course will provide background on Idaho’s libraries and the role they play in our lives today. From reducing social isolation in rural communities to serving as a lifeline for some of our most vulnerable populations, libraries play a crucial role in strengthening society. Explore the challenges and trends of a modern public library and learn what the Idaho Commission for Libraries does to build the capacity of over 850 public, school, academic, and special libraries to better serve their communities.
Presenter: Stephanie Bailey-White , Idaho State Librarian, Idaho Commission for Libraries
Date and time: Fri., Nov. 6 and 13, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Cost: $25

The Future of Nuclear Energy is Small

Countries around the world are investing in nuclear energy to provide clean, reliable electricity while reducing carbon emissions. The next generation of nuclear reactors are smaller than what exist today, and Idaho National Laboratory (INL) is at the forefront of this technological shift to smaller, more modular reactors. In addition to working with industry leaders to develop the next generation of nuclear technology, INL has been identified as a proposed building site for the first Small Modular Reactor (SMR) in the United States. Join Dr. George Griffith of INL as he explains this proposed SMR, why countries such as India and China are investing heavily in nuclear energy, and the role INL is playing in the future of this energy source.
Presenter: Dr. George Griffith, Acting Manager, Nuclear Plant Design, Idaho National Laboratory
Date and time: Mon., Nov. 9, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Cost: Included with membership

ICOM: Idaho’s First Medical School

Join Dr. Tracy Farnsworth, President and CEO of Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine (ICOM) for an overview of the college as Idaho’s first medical school. Dr. Farnsworth will also discuss the U.S. healthcare system and its challenges, issues, and opportunities for improvement.
Presenter: Dr. Tracy Farnsworth, President and CEO, Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine
Date and time: Thu., Nov. 12, 10 a.m.-noon
Cost: Included with membership

The Role of Environmental Law in Conservation

Advocates for the West has spent the last 17 years fighting in federal court for conservation issues affecting the West’s public lands, water, and wildlife. This course will present specific federal laws, including the Clean Water Act, National Environmental Policy Act, and Endangered Species Act, and give examples of cases in which the organization successfully applied the law to protect the West. Key casework discussions will include halting Midas Gold and other mining exploration operations in Idaho and protecting the Columbia River Basin’s wild salmon and steelhead habitat.
Presenter: Laird Lucas, JD, Founder, Advocates for the West
Date and time: Thu., Nov. 12 and 19, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Cost: $25

Defining Terrorism

On September 11, 2001, the United States and, in many ways, the world was changed completely by acts of terrorism. Following this terrible event, terrorism became a mainstream buzzword. Despite the longstanding significance of terrorism, we still lack a universal definition. Why is that? This lecture will examine the definition of terrorism according to federal statute and federal agencies, academia, and mainstream media and compare these definitions to real-world situations. The processes of radicalization and deradicalization will be discussed, as well as what it means to declare a war on terror.
Presenter: Daniel Amoruso, Adjunct Faculty of Criminal Justice, Boise State University
Date and time: Mon., Nov. 16, 10 a.m.-noon
Cost: Included with membership

The Spartans

From the sixth to the fourth century BC, Sparta was the oddball state of the Greek world. It was feared, admired, and puzzled over by other Greeks. The Spartans’ fame as warriors came as the result of long and brutal military training. Women enjoyed an amount of freedom unprecedented in the Greek world. Revolts by slaves, who vastly outnumbered the Spartans, were a constant worry. This lecture will examine the fascinating tensions in the society of Sparta, its unusual constitution, and its history from origins to decline.
Presenter: Dr. Richard Leahy, Professor Emeritus of English, Boise State University
Date and time: Mon., Nov. 16, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Cost: Included with membership

Analyzing the 2020 Election

Join Dr. David Adler for an analysis of the historic 2020 presidential election. This special Osher Institute-exclusive event will focus on the key social, economic, and political factors that shaped and influenced the outcome of the presidential race, offer insights into the changing nature of Congress and its impact on the U.S. Supreme Court, and share empathy for that lump in your throat—be it one of sorrow or gratitude. The implications of the election for the future of American Constitutionalism and the nation’s foreign and domestic policy will also be discussed. Strap yourselves in for a riveting account of an election that promises to change the direction of America.
Presenter: Dr. David Adler, President, Alturas Institute
Date and time: Mon., Nov., 23, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Cost: $25

SIGs on Hiatus

Special Interest Groups (SIGs) will not take place during the fall 2020 semester. We look forward to SIG meetings resuming in spring 2021 if the global health climate allows it.

In the meantime, we encourage you to take advantage of our partnership with The Great Courses Plus to continue building your knowledge in these areas.

Learn more about The Great Courses Plus under the “Starting in August” header on this web page.

Stay Connected

Osher News: Read our monthly e-newsletter to stay up-to-date on events, newly added offerings, important membership information, and more.

Facebook: Like us on Facebook! Discover curated articles, see sneak peeks of the next catalog, and get real-time updates on Boise State campus news and Osher Institute offerings.

Virtual Social Hours: Join Director Dana Thorp Patterson for biweekly virtual social hours. Great conversation is always supplied—we just need you to join us! Dates for each social hour are announced in Osher News.

Osher on Demand: Visit our blog, Osher on Demand, to access a wide variety of online resources including recorded lectures from Osher Institute presenters, curated TED Talks, and more!

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