OLLI Outlook
Osher Lifelong Learning Institute @Berkeley

SAVE THE DATE: January 13, 2009 from 9:30 am - 12 noon
Winter 2009 OPEN HOUSE

In This Issue
Letter from the Director
November Calendar
Winter 2009 Sneak Preview
Fall Lecture Series
Interview with Professor Michael Thaler
Thoughtful Giving: Understanding Philanthropy
Interest Circles Update
The Lunch Bunch
Letter from the Director
Dear Members,

Thanks to everyone who took time to participate in the October feedback session or send emails. With your help, we are learning what works and what needs more attention. We hope to hear from all of you through the course evaluations.

The overwhelming message has been that this has been a tremendous term. There is incredible appreciation for our dedicated faculty who are passionate about what they are teaching. The joy of learning AND teaching.

I want to address a few of the comments. We are still working on the technical proficiency of our classrooms, that means insuring that our faculty are as comfortable in working the technology as the student assistants and OLLI staff who oversee the classroom. We all want the technology to enhance learning, not interfere it.

Members pay $10 an instructional hour for courses; the real cost of the program is close to $25 an instructional hour. We will continue to strive for quality and keep our dues and fees low. It cannot be compared to North Carolina, Minnesota, or many other places, where the faculty and/or staff are all volunteers.

As for the length of courses, we extend the learning of the six-week courses by supporting interest circles, where members together can continue exploring key topics. We have extended "Telling Your Story with Technology" to eight weeks (and thus added $35 to the course fee) and have tried offering four-week courses that meet for three hours each. There have also been a one-day course and two-week courses, but they are the exception.

Beginning this week, Edwin Epstein our faculty advisor will be chairing an advisory committee to enhance our science offerings. We are also continuing to hunt for the ideal facilities for our classes. Starting in the winter term, we will try something new to address the concern that people have about missing three classes in a term (due to care-giving, illness, or travel). Since it is a trial, we will allow all-inclusive members only the chance to make-up classes if they miss three classes in a session. It will not be transferable from term-to-term and will require that the all inclusive member notify the office by email when this option needs to be exercised.

I hope you will find at least one interest circle to bridge the time between the fall and winter terms.

Susan Hoffman
November OLLI Calendar
November 11 (Tuesday)
No Classes

November 12 (Wednesday) 1:30 - 3:30 pm
Beverly Crawford's class moved from November 5

November 12 (Wednesday) 4:00 pm
OLLI Social
The Jazz Cafe

2087 Addison Street at Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley

November  13 & 20 (Thursdays) 1:30 - 3:30 pm
Thoughtful Giving: Understanding Philanthropy Workshop with Bill Somerville        See details in article below

November 13 (Thursday) 7:00 p.m.

OLLI Instructor Clark V. Poling discusses and signs his book,
André Masson and the Surrealist Self
Diesel Bookstore
5433 College Ave, Oakland, CA 94618
Winter 2009 Sneak Preview
Schedule subject to change
10:00 am -12:00 noon   
Contemporary Issues in Physical Science
Richard Monson

12:00 -1:30 pm   
Joy of Singing
Lauren Carley

1:30 - 3:30 pm  
Shakespeare's Tragedies: A Reassessment
Hugh Richmond

1:30 - 3:30 pm   
Human Rights and Affirmative Action in the U.S.
Rita Maran

6:00 - 8:00 pm 
Telling Your Stories With Technology
David Casuto

10:00 am - 12:00 noon
American Indian Art and Culture
Lee Swenson

1:30 - 3:30 pm
Doing Justice to History
Tony Platt

1:30 - 3:30 pm
Terror in Our Time: Ian McEwan and the Modern Gothic
Claire Kahane

6:00 - 8:30 pm
Palestinian and Israeli Filmakers: Documentary Through the Lens of Hope
Janis Plotkin

10:00 am - 12:00 noon
Challenges Facing the Next President
Harry Kreisler

10:00 am - 12:00 noon
Six Questions for Modern Astronomy
Bethany Cobb

1:30 - 3:30 pm

What is Integrative Medicine and How Can We Use It?
Michael Thaler

1:30 - 3:30 pm
Tourist or Traveler?  The Impacts of Tourism in Mexico and Cuba
Alex Saragosa

6:00 - 8:00 pm
Jazz on Film and Video
Len Lyons

10:00 am - 12:00 noon
China's Neighbors: Two Koreas and Japan
Gloria Neumeier

10:00 am - 12:00 noon
Creative Expression through Art
Ava Charney-Danysh

1:30 - 3:30 pm
Hot Spots in Islam
Tamim Ansary

6:00 - 8:30 pm
Art of the Harlem Renaissance: American History Through Art
Susanna Lombardi

11:00 am - 1:00 pm
Five Personal Pieces: Experimenting with Autobiography
Deborah Lichtman

1:30 am - 4:30 pm
The Stories We Tell:  American Short Fiction 1945 - present
Wendy Martin
Fall Lecture Series
The last lecture of the fall series is:

Rosalind Franklin and the Discovery of DNA
Lecture by Lynne Elkin
Professor Emerita of Biological Studies
CSU East Bay

Monday, Nov 10 from 12:15 - 1:15 pm
Room 150 University Hall (2199 Addison St.)

Free for OLLI members and current UC Berkeley faculty, staff, and students with ID
$5 general admission
Interview with Professor Michael Thaler
by Bonnie Mager
Professor Michael Thaler has earned his unofficial title as a Renaissance man. He has led a multi-faceted life, studied and practiced in more than one field, and is now contributing fascinating courses to the OLLI @Berkeley curriculum.

Born in Eastern Poland, Dr. Thaler - or Mike, as he prefers to be called - endured both the Russian and German occupations of his country. Eventually, he was smuggled out to Austria and then to Canada. In 1956, he received his MD from the University of Toronto.

In 1967, Mike moved to San Francisco when he took a position at UCSF in pediatric medicine. As divisional chief in the areas of infant nutrition and liver transplantation, he also published 200 research papers.

When Mike retired from his full-time position in 1994, he turned his attention to another passion: science and history. This professor emeritus of pediatrics became a student again in a joint program at UC Berkeley and Stanford, earning a graduate degree in the History of Science.

Since earning that degree, Dr. Thaler has applied his extensive knowledge in articles on a wide range of subjects - from the Holocaust to the ethics of end-of-life care. He has offered courses at Sonoma State University and the Fromm Institute, and has also been teaching undergraduates for seven years at UC Santa Cruz, where he developed a course on issues of race in history.

In the winter quarter, Mike will teach an OLLI course on integrative and complementary medicine, an approach to health that is becoming more accepted in western circles. In this class, he plans to present information about Chinese medicine and related schools of thought so that his students can analyze these alternatives for themselves.

In the spring, Mike will present a course tentatively called "The Secret Life of the Brain." In this class he will pose many intriguing questions: What does it mean to have an emotion? How do the separate parts of the brain interact? What is the difference between the "mind" and the "brain"?

It is clear that Mike loves to teach, and he especially enjoys the conversational exchanges that arise in his Lifelong Learning groups. His enthusiasm for knowledge, for science, and for life is boundless. He is a treasure to the OLLI@Berkeley program!

Michael Thaler will be teaching  a course entitled
What is Integrative Medicine and How Can We Use It?
1:30 - 3:30 pm on Wednesdays this Winter 2009 term
Thoughtful Giving: Understanding Philanthropy
a course by Bill Somerville
Thursday, November 13 and 20  (2 class meetings) 
1:30 pm - 3:30 pm   
Room 41C University Hall, 2199 Addison St. at Oxford

Everyone gives --- with time, money, or things. The question is how to have an impact with your giving, especially at the end of the year.

This workshop is to help people develop the tools of understanding for thoughtful giving. Philanthropy can and should be fulfilling and satisfying for the donor regardless of the amount of money involved. At a time of the year when people focus their attention on giving, it is reassuring to have the skills to be able to think through one's giving so that it has significance.
Bill Somerville has been in nonprofit and foundation work for 48 years. He is the co-author of Grassroots Philanthropy: Field Notes of a Maverick Grantmaker available through Heyday Books or amazon.com, and founded Philanthropic Ventures Foundation in 1990 (www.venturesfoundation.org).

To register for the course, contact the OLLI office at 510.642.9934 or email us at berkeley_olli@berkeley.edu.  Enrollment will be limited to 30 people.  (There are 10 seats remaining).
Interest Circles Update
Diane and George Hersh (Membership Committee Co-Chairs)

Dear OLLI members:

We asked you if you would like to hold interest circles between the fall and winter terms, and you responded. They are:
  • National health insurance/care
  • Writers' workshop using exercises from Ursula K LeGuin's "Steering the Craft" and the "mandala" exercise from Susan Griffin's class
  • Financial crises (possibily with a UC Berkeley faculty member as advisor): A preliminary meeting will be held on Wednesday, Nov 12, from 10 am-12 noon at Room 41B University Hall
  • World affairs based on Harry Kreisler's "Conversations with History" interviews
  • Evolutionary psychology
  • Lunching adventures in the East Bay on Nov 21, Dec 4, Dec 19, and Jan 7
  • Talking about films (continuing from the summer) on Nov 12, 19, Dec 3, 17, from 3-5 pm at Room 41C University Hall
  • Shakespeare: Out Loud and Ruminated (continuing from the summer) on Nov 25, Dec 2, 9, 16, Jan 6, 20, from 10 am-12 noon at Room 41C University Hall (please read "Romeo and Juliet" for Nov 25)
Please go to SurveyMonkey at:


to let us know the interest circle(s) you are interested in and the dates and times you are available (Tuesdays, Nov 25, Dec 2, 9, 16, Jan 6, 20, from 10 am-12 noon or 1:30-3:30 pm; Thursdays, Dec 4, 11, 18, Jan 8, 15, 22, from 10 am-12 noon or 1:30-3:30 pm).

Groups will meet in one of the OLLI classrooms on the bottom level of University Hall. We need volunteers to be the coordinator/facilitator or liaison for some of the groups, so please let us know if you are interested in getting more involved.

We will send out a notice with the time and location for those groups that have a coordinator/facilitator and a time when most of the people interested are able to participate.

For those without internet access, please call the office to let us  know which interest circle(s) you are interested in.
The Lunch Bunch
by Lucille Poskanzer

Lucky House Thai Cuisine

Just a short stroll  down the street from your classes at University Hall is this simple and  friendly small restaurant with fresh delicious and inexpensive Thai food. Service is fast, and even when there's a crowd the wait is not long.  It's justly popular with both students and faculty.

The chicken won ton soup is a filling bowl full of fresh vegetables and flavorful broth, a great choice on a cold day. The noodle dishes are really good too, and they will tailor the degree of spiciness to your liking.

2140 University Avenue, between Shattuck and Oxford