Finished Projects in Bonsai Class
Photos by Clarence Smith
Ted Robinson helped rescue JFK on PT-109
Photo by Richard Fuller

Friday Afternoon and Saturday Seminars

These seminars take place on the CSUS campus on Friday afternoons or on Saturdays. Most Friday times are from 1 to 2:45 p.m., unless otherwise noted (look carefully for seminars that have different starting times). They run for the entire semester, from Sept. 4 through Dec. 4. There are no seminars on Nov. 27.

There are also two seminars on Saturdays, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. They will run from Sept. 5 to Dec. 5 and are drop-ins with no registration required. Jump to them.

You must sign up with the leader for all the Friday seminars. There are two ways to register: You can call or email the leader right now or you can contact the leader at the Rendezvous on Aug. 28.

Please do not sign up for more than one Friday afternoon seminar, unless you are on a waiting list. If you get into the class you want, please let leaders of your other wait-list classes know that you are no longer interested! Also, inform the leader if you are dropping a seminar (so those on the waiting list can be added).

Many of these classes encourage participation. You may be asked to make a presentation on the topic or secure an outside speaker or help in some other way. Here are some technical tips for presentations. It will be noted in the writeups below if no participation is required.

Contact the leader now or at the Rendezvous for more information about a seminar.

Each seminar has a Style immediately following its name, defined as follows:

Friday Seminars


Active Retirement Investing (L)
Alpine 148

Marsha Holland

An in-depth look at financial topics for those who are retired or soon will be. Assess your portfolio and see if it is suitably allocated for your needs. Whether you are investing on your own or would simply like to check on how your advisor is doing with your portfolio, you'll find this class very enlightening and useful. Bill Bailey, class leader, has over 34 years in the financial arena. His latest book is Wealth Strategies: Investing for your Retirement. Wealth Strategies classes offered last fall and spring are NOT a prerequisite. Contact: Marsha Holland.

Patty Irene

All Things French, Part Deux (2) (P)
Alpine 144

Patty Wood, Irene Sadler

Here's another chance to continue your learning about "All Things French!" In this seminar, members will develop presentations of their choosing on a myriad of topics such as places special to them that they have visited in their travels (or wish to visit), the current political scene in France, French wine routes, French art, American cemeteries in France, among others. A suggested topic list will be provided. Example presentations could include a review of the Tour de France bicycle race, famous monuments in France, popular French festivals, etc. You do not need to know French to take this seminar. This is a participatory class.


Beginning Intermediate Spanish: Reading And Speaking (P)
Douglass 107

Melody Flores

This seminar provides a casual environment to support and develop existing Spanish reading and speaking skills. Participants will need a basic understanding of Spanish vocabulary, grammar and sentence structure. Each week, the seminar will include two parts. During the first part, participants will share in reading aloud from a textbook novel selected by the class. During the second part, participants will share individual writings on various topics to improve writing and speaking skills. Class size is limited to 10. There will most likely be two books purchased during the semester at $6 each. This is a participation class.


The Bill Of Rights (L)
Douglass 106

Eric McElwain

Every American's life is impacted by the 10 Constitutional Amendments that make up the Bill of Rights. We will learn why the Bill of Rights was written into the Constitution, how it has been interpreted over the years, and what it means now. Major historical as well as recent important Supreme Court cases will be discussed. There is no outside reading or preparation required, but seminar members are expected to participate in a class discussion after each lecture. The lectures will be presented in simple straightforward language that can easily be understood without the need for a law degree.


Brits, Soulsters, Folkies & Cali (Pop Music 1964-69) (L)
Alpine 122

Graham Edmondson

Weekly topics include: British Invasion, Motown Soul, Atlantic Soul, California Sound, Garage Rock, Folk Rock, Blue-Eyed Soul, Singer-Songwriter, and Beatles/Rolling Stones. The seminar follows Bob Lang's Real Rock 'n' Roll both chronologically and organizationally. Class will be half Powerpoint slides and discussion and half music and videos. No presentations required.

The Cathedral (D)
Mendocino 1003

Jon Courtway

To step inside a Gothic cathedral is to experience the visual essence of Christianity as:

  • centers of ecclesiastical authority;
  • marvels of architectural genius and innovation;
  • places to instruct communities about Christian values, and
  • sites of political, cultural, intellectual, and economic importance.

Cathedrals possess a spiritual, artistic and historical grandeur that deserves to be experienced and felt by everyone. This DVD course will tour Saint-Denis and Notre Dame, Chartres, Amiens, Laon, Reims, and follow the spread to Germany, Italy, England, Spain, The Czech Republic and the New World, including modern neo-Gothic buildings of today. Class discussion after each 30-minute presentation.

Nancy Al

The California Gold Rush (P)
Alpine 156 NOTE Location Change!

Nancy B. Samuelson, Albert Wolfgang

Come explore the enduring fascination of the California Gold Rush. Who started the Gold Rush? Where did the 49ers come from and how did they get here? This was one of the largest human migrations in the history of the world. What effect did this event have on U.S. history? What did the Gold Rush do to the California Indians and the environment? Did the Gold Rush push us closer to the Civil War? Join us and learn more about this adventurous and violent time. Member presentations are encouraged.

Classical Music Seminar, Music Through The Ages, 1600-1926 (L)
12:30 to 2:45, Capistrano 223

Bob Seyfried

This semester will be split into the four individual segments, each consisting of one musical period, three sessions long. We will begin with the Baroque and move on to the Age of Enlightenment, Romantic Period and end with the Post-Impressionistic Period. Each musical period will be devoted to no more than three or four of the most important composers of that particular period and we will concentrate on the composers' lives, the history of their period and each composer's most significant works. As before, we will rely first on live presentations from faculty, friends and students. However, we do have some wonderful DVDs that will be shown throughout the semester. The fee for this seminar will be $20 from both leaders and attendees and all donations will be given to the CSUS music program selected by the attendees.


Critical Thinking (D)
Mendocino 3011

Richard Kowaleski

Hone your ability to think critically about politics, consumer affairs, relationships, alternative medicine, investments and more. Spot the logical fallacies so common in emotional appeals. Richard has taught at the U. S. Air Force Academy and California State University, Sacramento. He shows you in a very entertaining manner how to think clearly and logically about the most important issues. Richard offers the seminar each fall, and it is very popular, so register early by email before the class is full. Don't wait until the Rendezvous. Members are encouraged to buy the text, do the weekly homework and participate in the discussions, but they do not make presentations.

Decisive Decades: The United States 1890-1920 (P)
12:30 to 2:45, Alpine 218

Ed Speegle, Al Wickers

Often referred to as The Progressive Era, these were decades that transformed American Life in many ways. The U.S. entered the world stage, reform was a byword in all sectors of life, and momentous events and new inventions changed the culture. A multimedia seminar incorporating lecture, participant presentations, DVDs and discussion. Presentations are not required but are encouraged. Extensive discussion periods of topics presented.


Economics For The 99 Percent: Why Did Wall Street Recover And Main Street Remain Troubled? (L)
Alpine 236

Duane Campbell

We will study and discuss the causes and consequences of the Economic Crisis of 2007- present. Topics include the Crisis, reforms? Greece, Neo Classical Economics, Keynes, Bernie Sanders, Warren v. Clinton economics, Republican economics, pensions, Social Security and austerity programs using videos, presentations, and dialogue. This is economics as if people mattered. See: the class website. Limited to 30.

Exploring Our Differences (D)
Amador 152 NOTE Location Change!

Richard Pitcher, Keith Dilday

Birth control/abortion, Israeli/Palestinian relations, environmentalism/global warming, wealth concentration/poverty, and women in leadership; religious, political, cultural and compensation issues will be among the topics explored. Speakers and panel members will bring different traditions and sets of values as well as the sources that they find authoritative in shaping their positions. Presenters during the course of the seminars will include Protestant and Catholic Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Sikh as well as non-religious viewpoints and values. Each week following the presentation will be class discussions on the presentations, our viewpoints and what we find authoritative in shaping our viewpoints and values.

Great American Trials (L)
Brighton 214

Joel S. Primes

Since the settlement of Jamestown in 1607, literally millions of civil and criminal trials have been conducted in American courts. This class will discuss the most significant cases, in a manner for lay persons. Students will have an opportunity to research and make a presentation. In some cases the student will be a juror. Students will have the opportunity for research or reading assignments regarding cases. One student will read and report on the trial in John Grisham's recent book, Sycamore Row. A summary of the case will be presented with questions about its significance on the American judicial system, political controversy, historic or legal precedent. Each case will begin with a set of facts about the trial. This is followed by a narrative explaining the circumstances that led to the trial and the result.

Sandy Judy

This Seminar has been Cancelled !! The Great Plains (P)
Humboldt 202

Sandy Lockwood, Judy Hollis

Join us in our investigation of the Great Plains, that vast area in the middle of our country that encompasses all or part of 21 states. We left many areas untouched in our previous seminar, so we are returning to the scene. We will explore the features of the land, learn about its history and contributions to our country, explore cultures and characters, and discover why so many of our ancestors lived there, and what drove them, and some of us, to leave. Be ready to share your experiences and research topics through seminar presentations. Limited to 50.

Homer: The Iliad And The Odyssey (D)
Douglass 109

Tom Slakey

The first assignment will be Iliad, books 1 to 4, about 75 pages. Participants are expected to have read the assignments and to come prepared for discussion. Class size is limited to 15. I will be using the Fagles translations, available in paperback, but other translations are also welcome.

Iran (P)
Amador 151

E. C. "Vick" Vickland

This seminar is for people, like the seminar leader, who know very little about Iran, but want to learn and understand its history, politics, culture, government structure and operation, etc. This will be a group effort, with participants expected to research a topic of interest, report to the class and participate in discussions. We will view Jon Stewart's movie, Rosewater, among other presentations. Limited to 25.


Memories And Memoir: Writing Personal Histories (P)
Calaveras 141; NOTE: Room Change!

Kimberly A. Edwards

Whether you're writing your life story for children or grandchildren, or trying your hand at fiction or commercial memoir, how you experienced life at an early age influences what you write. Following in the style of Renaissance's Writing Personal Histories seminar (led by Fred Chapman), this class will encourage participants to produce and read aloud up to 800 words weekly in a safe environment. Presentations by fellow participants and follow-up discussions will help you to see what works and to provoke ideas for future stories. Participants can share distant or recent personal experiences. Writers at all levels and of all genres welcome. Limited 15.


The Northern Renaissance (L)
Mendocino 3013

Ed Sanborn

This class will cover the time period between 1400 and 1700. It will cover the Renaissance in France, Germany, England, and especially Holland. This class will primarily be lecture/discussion although anyone who would like to present a particular topic within the larger topic would, of course, be welcome.

Reading Like A Writer III (D)
Alpine 212

Ron Tochterman, Rosemary Kelley

Read stories (by, among others, Alice Munro, Flannery O'Conner, and Ernest Hemingway) closely to understand what makes them great, focusing on the tools of the writers' craft: style, diction, detail, dialogue, etc. Objective: To become better (more discerning) readers. "Part of a reader's job is to find out why certain writers endure." Text: Best American Short Stories of the Twentieth Century, EXPANDED EDITION, Edited by John Updike. Recommended: Reading Like a Writer, Francine Prose, Harper Perennial 2008. Prerequisites: None.


The Story Of Human Language (D)
Mendocino 1005 NOTE: Location Change!

Marty Keale

There are over 6,000 languages in the world today, and many more than that have already become extinct. What were (and are) the natural processes that cause languages to continually evolve (and disappear), and what is the relationship between the evolution of human languages and the development of human societies? This course will provide insight into the answers to those questions. We will use DVDs by John McWhorter, Professor of Linguistics at UC Berkeley and Cornell. His style of presentation is both intellectually stimulating and humorous. Following each 30-minute DVD presentation, we will have a facilitated 30-minute class discussion.

This seminar has been cancelled! A Study Of Our U.S. Vice Presidents (P)
Brighton 114

Marian Kile

We have had 47 different Vice Presidents of the United States, yet many of us don't know much about most of them. We had 30 VPs who never became Presidents. Can you name half of them? Did you know that our eleventh VP had counties named after him (Dallas) in five different states? Did you know the seven of them died while serving as a VP? One was only in office 46 days (King). We will study the VPs who never became President. Together we will learn about the men, their families, their early life and their life after the White House.

Joyce Doris

The Turbulent '60s: War And Peace And Everything In-Between (P)
Brighton 110 NOTE Room Change!

Joyce Mundel, Doris Janes

Bra Burnings and Draft Card Burnings, Vietnam War, Peace Corps, Cuban Missile Crisis, Flower Children, Campus Teach-ins, Rock 'n' Roll, Sit-ins, Freedom Rides, Feminist Movements, Three Shattering Assassinations, and much more. Class members will help by researching and making presentations on the topics listed above, and any additional topics they wish to include.

Vintage British Movies (D)
12:30 to 2:45, Douglass 212; NOTE: Room Change!

John Ling

This course will encompass a wide-ranging collection of British-made films from the 1930s through the 1950s. Literary sources for the movies include G. B. Shaw, J. B. Priestley and W. Somerset Maugham. They include broad comedy, war and serious drama. An informal discussion about the merits of each film will follow after its showing. Audience participation is warmly encouraged and should help in the overall enjoyment of each movie. Movies to be shown: Pygmalion, Major Barbara, Trio, Quartet, An Inspector Calls, Jericho, School for Scoundrels, The Doctor's Dilemma, The Sea Shall Not Have Them, Night Train to Munich, Androcles and the Lion, The Danger Within.


Volcanoes I Have Known—Personally! (L)
Solano 2002 NOTE Room Change!

Richard Fuller

Just back from trips to Vesuvius, Etna, Stromboli, Shasta, St. Helens and Rainier, Richard Fuller is fixated on volcanoes, and wants to share with you mountains that explode, extrude, emit and destroy places like Pompeii, Santorini, Spirit Lake, Mount Mazama, Kona Coast and Yellowstone. In his wild youth, Richard climbed Lassen thrice, was blown off Shasta by 100 mph winds, failed Kilimanjaro when his companion felt her arms fall off, was crowded off the trail to Fuji-san, and had live lava block the road to Halemaumau Fire Pit. Stories, movies, DVDs, photos, maps, charts, and Vulcanologists' and HATS !


Watercolor Painting (A)
Kadema 170

Doyle Crawford

Describe your own creative ability through the beauty and excitement of transparent watercolor painting. Ability to draw is helpful, but this semester is for beginning to advanced students. Members of the class will do some instruction in principles and elements of design. Students may choose their own projects. Class members will critique completed paintings, if desired; guests and experienced artists will be invited.


Water In California (L)
Alpine 204

David Abelson

Water In California: "Out Here, Whiskey's For Drinkin' and Water's For Fightin'…" (Mark Twain). Water is essential for all life on this planet. The story of water in California is colorful, complex and controversial. This seminar explores many water topics, including:

  • Where does water come from? Where does it go?
  • What service(s) does water provide?
  • How is water captured, controlled and regulated?
  • Why is water such a contentious issue?
  • How will California resolve its many conflicts over water?

So, if you've got "water on the brain," this class is definitely for you! David Abelson will lead the seminar.

Kurt Nancy

The Western Tradition, Part 2, The Reformation To Modern Times (L)
Brighton 114 NOTE Location Change!

Kurt Findeisen, Nancy Findeisen

The seminar features illustrated lectures by renowned historian Eugen Weber, who in his acclaimed public television series presents a tapestry of political and social events woven with many strands—religion, industry, agriculture, demography, government, economics and art. The video lectures include a virtual visual feast of more than 1,300 images from the Metropolitan Museum of Art portraying key events that shaped the development of Western thought, culture, and tradition. Each class session will include two, 25-minute videos of Professor Weber's lectures followed by class discussion about the historical period covered and its influence on our modern world. Participants will be asked to participate in discussions. Part 1 is not a prerequisite for enrolling in Part 2.

Peggy David

Wild Women Of The West (P)
Alpine 235

Peggy Krong, David Lockwood

What do Aimee Crocker, the Unsinkable Molly Brown, Georgia O'Keefe and Sally Ride all have in common? They are women who lived, worked, created and broke barriers in states west of the Mississippi. In Wild Women of the West, we will explore the lives and accomplishments of women, some naughty, some nice, all interesting movers and shakers in such disparate fields as the fine arts, politics, business and theoretical and applied sciences. This will be a participatory class with some guest speakers.


Writing Personal Histories (P)
Calaveras 134

Frederick Chapman

If you always wanted to write a series of short stories about your life, but never got around to actually writing, this is the class for you. Writing styles are not taught or critiqued. However, presentations by fellow participants will prompt recall of memories and help generate ideas for your own stories. Each short story, or portions of longer tales read over several sessions, should not be much longer than 800 words. Participants will be expected to write a story and read it each session, but participants should attend even if not making a presentation for a particular session. Limited to 15 participants.


Writing Personal Histories, Section 2 (P)
Calaveras 135

Patrick Crowley

On a weekly basis, attendees are to write personal pieces that can be read in 7 or 8 minutes to other members of the class (no assignments turned in). Stories should have a beginning, middle and end and be complete. If longer pieces are to be read, there should be a reasonable break to be continued in the next session. Pieces should be based on your life experiences directed to your family and friends. Limited to 15 participants.

Saturday Seminars

David and Mike
The Boys of Spring Saturdays:
David Warren (left) and Mike Harkins
Photo by Roberta Gleeson

Memorable Moments In History (L)
10:30 to 12, Mendocino 1003

Doris Keller

We all remember exactly at least one time where we were when a Big Event happened that seemed to stop the world and other such events have happened throughout the ages. We will be showing DVDs produced by the BBC using actual film, or reenactments; most segments detail two somewhat related events. Each segment will be followed by a class discussion of the events. A listing of the topics for each week can be found in the catalog on page 26 and here. For more information, contact Doris Keller only by e-mail, NOT telephone, or attend the Rendezvous on Aug. 28.

America's Musical Origins (L)
Preview: 12 noon, class 12:30 to 3, Mendocino 1003

Mike Harkins

You are welcome to have lunch (either brown bag or something from campus eateries) right after the morning seminar while I play music and videos before class starts at 12:30 p.m.

The diverse music of America continues to be its most popular export. By studying recordings of greatest influence, we will explore the evolution of America's many music styles from their European and African origins. From "penny broadsides" of the colonies and "slave hollers" of the rural south, we will trace the evolution of jazz, blues, folk and country to their modern forms. We will track jazz ensembles to big swing bands; rhythm and blues to rock and roll; soul to disco; urban funk to rap; and rock to its many spin-offs (such as metal, punk and grunge). No presentations required.