Workshop for Seminar Coordinators
Seminar leaders learn everything they need
at August Workshop
Workshop Tech
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for New Online Signups
Photos by Jeff Hendy


At the heart of the Renaissance Society are the myriad seminars that we members ourselves devise and run.

Seminars fall into two categories:

  • Those that require registration ahead of time. These include all of those on Friday afternoons, some of those on Friday mornings and noon, one on Saturday and most of the off-campus seminars.
  • Those that are drop-in seminars; that means you can attend any ones you want without notifying leaders. These include many of the Friday morning and noon seminars, one Saturday seminar and one group of one-day off-campus seminars. The Friday afternoon Forums also fall in this category.

Read this page and the linked pages to make sure you understand the different kinds of seminars.

Here's how Renaissance Society seminars work:

The centerpiece of the seminar program is the full day of activities on Fridays, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., through the fall and spring semesters. These seminars are held in classrooms at California State University, Sacramento (CSUS).

In the morning and noon on Friday, members have many choices each week. Some morning and noon seminars don't require signups and allow members to drop in whenever they like the topic. These include the morning Travel and Adventure, Mini-Seminars and Documentaries. There are other morning and noon activities, ranging from the lively discussions of Cracker Barrel to use of smartphones and tablets and the exercise of ballroom dancing. Some require registration; read the descriptions carefully!

The core afternoon seminars are held from 1 to 2:45 p.m. on Fridays (some start earlier). You must register for these. These seminars cover a wide range of topics chosen by leaders who are members just like you. Members sign up for the entire semester, 12 or 13 weeks. In many of these seminars, members are expected to lead and participate in group discussions. They are also expected to volunteer to do research and make a presentation on some aspect of the topic. Other seminars are taught by members, some retired teachers, who prefer to lecture. Others use movies to provide content and stimulate discussion.

There are also two Saturday seminars on campus; one requires registration and one is a drop-in. See the seminar schedule for details

Fridays close with the Forum from 3 to 4 p.m. Invited outside guests talk about a topic of interest, such as state politics, health or culture.

The off-campus seminars are held in other locations and on other days. These feature a huge variety of topics, from bridge and foreign language practice to writing and dinner groups. Most of these are semester-long and some continue from semester to semester. These semester-long ones require registration; some of them are closed to new members.

There are also two groups of one-day, off-campus seminars; the 15 Symposia require registration but the Nine Wednesdays at ACC do not. Read the schedule carefully!

The off-campus locations can be members' homes, public libraries, private meeting rooms or (in the case of the popular Walkabouts hiking seminar) in public parks.

These seminars will not happen without members' participation. Check out the Participation page.

There is now a page devoted to helping seminar leaders. You will find there the Seminar Leaders' Handbook and other things to help anyone leading or considering leading a seminar.

Want to see what kind of seminars have been offered in recent years? Here is a list of recent seminar topics. Another help can be utilizing online courses as a starting place for a seminar.