Seminar workshop
Seminar workshop
Seminar Leaders Learn Everything
Useful at Workshop
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 but four of those on Friday afternoons, some of those on Friday mornings and noon, the three Saturday morning seminars and most of the off-campus seminars. Registration can be done in one of three ways: Online (preferred), through calls or emails to the leaders or at the Jan. 25 Rendezvous.
  • Those that are drop-in seminars; that means you can attend any sessions you want without notifying leaders. These include many of the Friday morning and noon seminars, four Friday afternoon seminars, the Saturday afternoon seminar, one off-campus seminar and four different series of one-day off-campus Mini-Seminars. The Friday afternoon Forums also fall in this category.

Lots of choices once again this semester (and that's a GOOD thing!). Confused? Read this page and the linked pages carefully to make sure you understand the different kinds of seminars!

When you are ready, this is the link for Online Seminar Registration. There are also multiple links to the registration site on the various seminar pages. If you have not yet joined or renewed, you can sign up for membership there at the same time. If you have joined or renewed already, have your membership number handy (but you can look it up there). Note: There are some seminars for which online registration is not available and you must contact the leader; they are indicated on the specific pages to the left.

You can also call or email seminar leaders; their contact information is available in the mailed Catalog and also on the online registration link or by calling the office at 916-278-7834. And you also can register at the Jan. 25 Rendezvous.

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). This semester's Friday seminars begin on Feb. 1 and go until May 3.

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 and Mini-Seminars. 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 dancing and yoga. Some of these seminars do not last the full semester. 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, except for four that are drop-ins. Note: There are also 10 seminars that don't last the entire semester! Again, careful reading is essential!

These seminars cover a wide range of topics chosen by leaders who are members just like you. Members sign up for the entire semester, 13 weeks for most this time. 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 four Saturday seminars on campus. See the Saturday 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. Registration is not required, but the room frequently fills up.

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. Almost all semester-long ones require registration; some of them are closed to new members.

There are also five groups of one-day, off-campus seminars. The 18 Symposia require online registration. The Wednesday Mini-Seminars at Franklin Library, the Monday Mini-Seminars at Arden-Dimick Library, the Monday Mini-Seminars at Carmichael Library and the Tuesday evening Mini-Seminars at Colonial Heights Library are drop-ins with no registration required. 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.