Lifelong Learning adds offerings

Posted: February 8, 2013

The Winchester Star

Winchester — The Shenandoah University Center for Lifelong Learning is trying to make a difference in the community with its spring classes.

The spring schedule starts Feb. 18 with several new courses geared toward helping individuals improve themselves or the world around them, center coordinator Jo Miller said.

With class topics that include supervisory training, Spanish language skills, writing your memoirs, grappling with grief, and apocalyptic literature, people who believe “you never stop learning” will have plenty to choose from, she said.

“I am hoping I will reach the community and touch them in some way and will be making a difference,” Miller said of the schedule. “Plus a lot of them are just fun.”

The spring schedule includes 25 classes, ranging in length from one day to several weeks, she said. There also are more than 100 online career training programs.

One big addition is the First Line Supervision Certification course, a weeklong class that was about a year in the making, Miller said.

The class will be offered April 8-12 and focus on providing foundational principles in effective supervision for safety professionals, law enforcement, jailers and others in first-line jobs. It took a year to go through the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services to get certified to offer it, she said.

Rex Scism, president of MidWest Police Consultants in Columbia, Mo., will teach the class, which includes 34 hours focused on career development and two hours on cultural diversity.

“It is everything from performance appraisals and evaluations to knowing your subordinates and understanding the different personalities in the workplace,” Scism said.

This spring marks the first time the center will simultaneously offer a conversational Spanish course and an English as a Second Language basic communication class, Miller said.

“We want to make it a two-way street,” she said. “There is a need in this community for both sides to learn.”

People who are struggling with fertility or preparing for pregnancy are the focus of “A Fertile Life for You!” Registered nurse Anne Palmer teaches natural ways to “optimize chances of getting pregnant on their own” before turning to drug therapies or expensive treatments, Miller said.

Several writing and literature classes have been added to the schedule after a long absence, she said.

Instructor Candi Byrne will teach both “Writing: Life to Write — Yours!” and the one-day class, “Memoir Writing Workshop: Boot Camp!”

Diedra Kriewald, an SU adjunct professor of religion, will also teach two classes — “Literature: Apocalyptic — Could this nice-looking young man be 666?” and “Learning History Through Fiction.”

Apocalyptic literature as a genre only existed in the mainstream for about 300 years in the ancient world, Kriewald said. She will use several pieces of literature, especially the Bible, to explore an alternative idea to the one that they prophesy the end of the world.

Her class will discuss how apocalyptic literature such as the book of Revelation was “intended as a way of talking to people at the time who were living under oppression,” not “a kind of prophetic book to give information about the contemporary world.”

“Actually, the book of Revelation was written about the Roman empire as a way to help the young Christian community cope with the kind of oppressive circumstances they lived under,” Kriewald said.

Other class topics available this spring include computers, photography, cooking and gardening.

The second Mountain Dulcimer Festival returns May 17-19 to allow people to explore the dulcimer with expert guidance, Miller said.

During the weekend workshop, a concert featuring the guest artists will be open to the public. The concert will be held at 7 p.m. May 18. Tickets to the concert are $10.

Prices for the spring courses range from $55 for a one-day workshop on photography to $329 for the First Line Supervision Certification.

The center also continues its tradition of having free lectures in Stimpson Auditorium that are open to the public.

Jody Zogran will speak at 6:30 p.m. April 24 about being a nurse during the 1950s polio epidemic.

Peter Spiers, senior vice president of strategic outreach for Road Scholar, an educational travel nonprofit, will speak to people on the cusp of retirement about what to do with their lives. He will offer the lecture at 6:30 p.m. May 22 and at 1 p.m. May 23.


To register for a Center for Lifelong Learning course, contact 540-665-5442 or or go to

— Contact Laura McFarland at