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Previous Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) classes

Following is a list of OLLI classes Rick Warm has offered over the past several years:

Eldership: Leadership in the Second Half of Life 

Becoming an “elder” has lost most of its meaning in our culture. Yet eldership presents the promise of wise leadership for the greater good. Many key thought leaders, from psychologist Carl Jung to contemporary theologist Richard Rohr, have pointed toward the two halves of life and their corresponding tasks and gifts. Only those in the second half of life can bring the necessary wisdom of a true elder and mature leader. This course will explore the potentially transformative nature of aging, becoming an elder, and the importance of developing wise leadership in the second half of life.


Eldership 2.0 - The conversation continues

Becoming an “elder” has lost most of its meaning in our culture. Yet eldership presents the promise of wise leadership for the greater good. Continuing our exploration of the topic, we will take a more focused look at the concept of eldership from different authors and perspectives, with the goal of creating an intentional eldership stance and practice. This course will explore the potentially transformative nature of aging and the importance of developing wisdom in the second half of life. Please join us whether you have taken the previous eldership course or not.


Older and Wiser: Wisdom in the 21st Century

The topic of wisdom has become in vogue in recent years. There has been extensive empirical research on the subject as well as increased availability of wisdom literature and philosophies from different cultures. Excitingly, there is increased evidence that both individuals and humankind in general can actually become wiser. This class will explore the notion of wisdom from different perspectives and examine various possibilities for developing wisdom—understanding that becoming “wise” is not the point of the journey.


The Good Life

What does it mean to live the good life? Is the good life different now than it was earlier in our lives? How does the pursuit of happiness and the yearning for meaning affect the way we live our lives? Does the good life include a responsibility to society? In this class we will examine what it means to live “the good life” from different perspectives, including the lens of positive psychology, the wisdom of Aristotle, and modern research on happiness. We will also discuss the impact of virtue and morality on our quest for the good life.


The Second Half of Life

Many key thought leaders, from Carl Jung to theologian Richard Rohr, have pointed towards two halves of life and their corresponding tasks and gifts. They note that only those in the second half of life can bring the necessary wisdom, maturity and eldership. Many are stuck in the first half, never realizing that there is a second half of life. Rohr writes,“If you realize that there is a further journey, you might do the warm-up act quite differently, which would better prepare you for what follows.” This class will explore what the second half of life means.


Beyond the Hero: Further Journeys into the Second Half of Life

At OLLI we are fortunate to have a number of classes that deal with the Hero’s Journey. The hero’s journey is an important mythic concept and perhaps the greatest and most tested model of change that we know. But it also has its limitations. Some see the journey as an overly masculine way of dealing with the world. Others see it as as a model for the first half of life. In this class we will examine our development beyond the heroic. We will use myths, fairy tales, and other texts to better understand how age and experience often call us to something deeper and wiser.


Topics in Wisdom — Wisdom as a Spiritual Quest

This class is a continuing exploration into wisdom and aging. Wisdom is a complex and multifaceted concept that can best be explored through group discussions and personal reflection. Each semester we explore wisdom from different perspectives. This session we will consider wisdom as a spiritual journey, using the lens of myth, religion, and psychology.


Topics in Wisdom — Perspectives from the Great Religions

This class is a continuing exploration into wisdom and aging. Wisdom is a complex and multifaceted subject which we explore through group discussion and personal reflection. Each quarter we examine wisdom from different perspectives. This session we will consider wisdom through the lenses of the great religions of the world and their sacred texts. We will explore each traditions’ understanding of wisdom, how it is cultivated, and the implications that it has for our contemporary world.


Topics in Wisdom — “Elder Tales”

This class is a continuing exploration into wisdom and aging. Wisdom is a complex and multifaceted concept that can best be explored through group discussions and personal reflection. Each semester we explore wisdom from different perspectives. This session we will look at the wisdom of elder tales, fairy tales that feature older protagonists. Elder tales present an alternative to the dominant heroic perspective and the unrealistic “happily ever after.” According to psychiatrist Allan Chinen, elder tales offer “a new image of maturity, centered around wisdom, self-knowledge, and transcendence.


Topics in Wisdom — “Elder Tales” part 2

This class is a continuing exploration into wisdom and aging. Each semester we examine wisdom from different perspectives. This session we’ll look again at wisdom through elder tales — fairy tales featuring older protagonists. Elder tales present an alternative to the dominant heroic perspective and unrealistic “happily ever after.” According to psychiatrist Allan Chinen, elder tales offer “a new image of maturity, centered around wisdom, self-knowledge, and transcendence.” Though this is the second part of a class first offered last year, it presents new material and is open to everyone.


Topics in Wisdom — Exploring Character

With the release of David Brooks’ The Road To Character, the importance of character has reemerged. But what is character? Is character learned, developed or is it inherent in our disposition? Does it change as we age? And what is our responsibility, if any, in developing character in others? We will explore the topic through various readings including Brooks, Aristotle, positive psychology, and more. In-class discussion will be the focus as we examine character, particularly in the second half of life, and through our role as elders in society.


Topics in Wisdom — Exploring Character Through Movies, part I

What is character? Is character learned, developed or is it inherent in our disposition? Does it change as we age? And what is our responsibility, if any, in developing character in others? This session we will further explore the topic through movies. Each week a different film will serve as the basis for discussion of specific character strengths and virtues using the VIA classification and survey. Participants should be prepared and able to watch several movies at home over the course of this session.


Topics in Wisdom — Exploring Character and Aging through the Movies

This class will look specifically at character as it relates to getting older — and getting older as it relates to character. Each week a different film will serve as the basis of discussion as we examine character through the lens of “conscious aging” — the development of wisdom and the tendency towards inner growth versus the more common “successful aging” model which focuses on maintaining physical and cognitive abilities. We will use the VIA classification and survey of character strengths and reference James Hillman's work on character as well.


Topics in Wisdom — Spirituality and Aging (first edition)

What is spirituality? Does it change as we age? How do we grow deeper in spirituality and wisdom as we grow older? Using Fowler's Stages of Faith Development model and Moody's Five Stages of the Soul we will explore spirituality, the stages of spiritual growth, the connection to the aging process and of course the development of wisdom. Each week we will look at readings, films, short stories or myths as we try to understand how to develop more spiritually as we age.


Topics in Wisdom — Spirituality and Aging part 1

What is spirituality? Does it change as we age? How do we grow deeper in spirituality and wisdom as we grow older? Using PhotoVoice (a form of participatory photography and action research) we will explore what spirituality means to each of us individually and attempt to find an acceptable definition. Then, as time allows, we will begin to discuss such topics as religion vs. spirituality, mature spirituality, spirituality as a journey, stages of spiritual growth, and of course the connection to aging and the development of wisdom.


Topics in Wisdom — Spirituality and Aging part 2 - The Adventure Continues

Picking up where we left off with part 1, we will continue to explore the questions: What is spirituality? Does it change as we age? How do we grow deeper in spirituality and wisdom as we grow older? Grounded with an understanding of what spirituality means to us individually, we will begin to examine stages of spiritual growth (such as Fowler, Erickson, and Jung) and their connection to the aging process. We’ll also supplement our discussions with readings, films, short stories and myths. Please take part 1 first.

About OLLI

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Cincinnati provides opportunities for lifetime learning and social interaction to the mature residents of Greater Cincinnati.


OLLI is open to everyone aged 50 or older. The only prerequisite is enthusiasm for learning. For a payment of $90 per quarter, you may enroll in multi-week courses for only $5 each and as many one-time programs as you like for no additional charge. Classes meet in fall, winter, and spring.

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