Still learning from Brandeis professors

an alumni class watches a presentation in Slosberg
Learners of all ages visited campus for Alumni College.

By Brian Klotz

Every year, members of the extended Brandeis community -- alumni, members of the Brandeis National Committee and friends -- return to campus for Alumni College, proving that education does not end when you receive your diploma.

“I really enjoy it,” says Clare Tully ’80, P’16. “It’s great to see so many eager students hungry for learning, whether they are 75 or 17.”

At Alumni College, held annually on the Friday of Reunion weekend, Brandeis professors and others lecture on the topics of their expertise. This year’s event featured eight classes, ranging from the role of chemistry in sustainability to what the classics can teach us about leadership.

“I love the variety of topics,” Tully says. “I find myself learning new things that help in my career and life.”

This year, Tully introduced a lecture by Ingrid Schorr, director of the Office of the Arts, who presented on “Wide-Awakeness: How the Arts Open up the World.” One of the concepts Schorr explored was “visual-thinking strategies.” In this inquiry-based teaching method, students are shown a piece of art without context and asked to comment on what they observe and what specifically in the piece drew them to that conclusion. The instructor avoids inserting information and encourages conversation and critical thinking among the class.

“I will view art in a different way now,” says Tully, a frequent visitor to the Rose Art Museum.

Like Tully, Jon McIntyre ’88 attends Alumni College every year. A software developer who majored in math and computer science, he enjoys having the chance to attend lectures by professors he never had or in subjects outside his field of work. For example, this year McIntyre attended “The Anatomy of Musical Theater Songs,” presented by Neal Hampton, associate professor of the practice of music and conductor of the Brandeis-Wellesley Orchestra. For McIntyre, who is a member of a singing group, it was a unique opportunity to learn from an accomplished conductor and composer.

“There are only so many things you come across in your job,” he explains. “This is a great way to learn more.”

Serena Gober ’07, president of the Brandeis Alumni Club of South Florida, returned to campus to celebrate her 10th Reunion and experience Alumni College for the first time. “I kept hearing alums talk about it,” she says, “people who come back every year for it.”

Of particular interest to Gober was the lecture “Student Debt: The Size of the Problem and Possible Solutions,” by Mike Coiner, professor of economics at Brandeis International Business School. “It’s very relevant to my class year,” she says, “being an issue that affects so many of us.”

Reflecting on Alumni College and its focus on lifelong learning, Gober believes it is a program characteristic of her alma mater.

“Brandeisians tend to be people who just enjoy continuing to learn.”


Categories: Reunion, Events
Date: June 9, 2017