OLLI Senior Seminars for April 2022

OLLI Senior Seminars for April 2022

Spring is finally here, bringing with it longer days, beautiful weather and six new OLLI Senior Seminar courses beginning in April that will help you feel more connected with everything and everyone around you. Each course will take place either in-person or online via Zoom and will explore a topic in art, health, history, literature or science.

The closest thing to traditional courses, OLLI’s Senior Seminars are as varied as their participants, offering seniors the chance to engage with fun, educational and inspiring concepts with people of a similar age. Courses typically run for four to six weeks, meeting for about two hours at a time, and are led by some of OU’s top professors.

OLLI courses tend to fill up quickly, and many are known to sell out, so be sure to sign up soon to reserve your spot. For information about course availability, please contact OLLI directly at (405) 325-3488.


April 2022 Senior Seminars

Oklahoma’s Geology, Minerals, Water and Environmental Issues

Ken Johnson

Fridays | April 1–22

10–11:30 a.m.


Find out how the geologic history of Oklahoma has affected issues related to our minerals, water and environment. The seminar will cover four Oklahoma topics:

  1. Geologic history: Major sedimentary basins are separated by important mountain ranges and uplifts. Most exposed rocks are of sedimentary origin, including sandstone, shale and limestone deposited in shallow seas that covered all parts of Oklahoma. Igneous and metamorphic rocks form much of the Arbuckle and Wichita mountains.
  2. Mineral resources: Production of petroleum, coal and nonfuel minerals (such as crushed stone, sand and gravel, iodine, gypsum, granite and shale) reached a value of about $20 billion in 2019, making the mineral industry the state’s largest source of revenue in recent years.
  3. Water resources: Surface water and groundwater are critical in supplying our domestic, municipal, industrial and agricultural needs.
  4. Environmental issues: Environmental issues include natural and man-made geologic problems related to earthquakes (natural and induced), caves/sinkholes, salt-water degradation of streams, strip mining and land reclamation, and the disposal of industrial and radioactive wastes.


What Makes a Photograph Interesting: Understanding and Appreciating Photographs

Charles Rushton

Mondays | April 4–25

2–4 p.m.


Designed for photographers, as well as anyone who enjoys looking at and learning about photographs, this course will help participants understand and appreciate what makes certain photographs stand out from the millions of average photographs taken every year. Using a variety of media, including videos and audio clips, PowerPoint presentations and still photographs, participants will see great photographs and hear famous photographers speak for themselves about their work.


Dr. Seuss Reconsidered

Timothy Jones

Wednesdays | April 6–27

3–4:30 p.m.


It was announced in March 2021 that six books by Dr. Seuss would no longer be published. How much do you know about Dr. Seuss, whose given name was Theodor Seuss Geisel? Many people have fond memories associated either with having Dr. Seuss books read to them or reading them to others. This class will include an overview of Dr. Seuss’ life and also consider how some of his illustrations might be problematic.


The Business of Business

Jim Watters

Wednesdays | April 6–27

1–2:30 p.m.


Opening and running a business is a notoriously volatile venture. With only 25% of businesses making it past 15 years, the odds are always stacked against the aspiring entrepreneur. What are the factors that keep companies operational? What pitfalls do many startups fall prey to? Join business expert Jim Watters as he discusses topics including business myths, customer loyalty, moments of business frustration, warning signs of business failure and how to build a business plan backwards.


Freedom Quilts: Secret Quilted Codes and The Underground Railroad

Sharon Schlicher

Wednesdays | April 13–May 4

2–3:30 p.m.


Freedom Quilts were a secret coding system kept by enslaved people, abolitionists and Underground Railroad Conductors. These quilted codes have come to light as an important contributing factor in the quest for freedom.

This course will involve examples of the 10 most important quilt blocks and their meaning, along with the knotted grid patterns that were vital to the mapping of the plantations. Quilt pattern codes were memorized by enslaved people for when their chance at freedom could be implemented. According to oral African traditions, many of these codes were utilized in pottery and basket weaving from the enslaved people’s mother countries.

The class will experiment with coding their own quilts and secret codes to make maps. Examples of patterns and quilt blocks will be provided. The class will learn about important people in the Underground Railroad and the modern-day women who have revamped the interest in understanding and honoring the Freedom Quilt traditions.


World Happiness

Michael Givel

Thursdays | April 28-May 26

10 a.m.–Noon


The use of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has become an orthodox and almost universal global approach, based on economic progress, to measure the well-being of nation-states. Recent critical assessments of GDP have noted that factors other than economics also matter, such as environmental degradation, use of renewable energy, women’s empowerment, literacy, leisure time, family life, volunteerism, health, political and civil rights, education, unequal distributions of income and wealth, and employment satisfaction. In relation to this and in this class, we will explore various Eastern and Western philosophical, historical and policy happiness trends and concepts around the world.

OU logo

Myk Mahaffey

Michael Mahaffey holds degrees in journalism and psychology. He is a writer and editor with more than a decade of experience writing for print and digital publications, including award-winning coverage of the rodeo industry. In his spare time, he writes fiction, in addition to tinkering with graphic design and photography.