Fairfield University’s Open MINDS Institute is an exploratory “classroom without walls,” presenting weekly topical seminars and workshops guided by master professors.
During Fairfield's Open MINDS Institute courses, participants will experience academic excellence through open-ended lectures and interactive conversations in classes that are entirely participatory and seek ongoing dialogue between students and instructors.
Courses run for five weeks and are held on campus. Enrolled participants are also given special access to Quick Center lectures and performances. The Spring 2018 course selections include:
"Beyond the Headlines: Is American Democracy in Danger?" with instructor Gayle Alberda, PhD
Today’s political discourse includes pundits, journalists, and elected officials weighing in on whether President Trump is hurting American democracy. Is democracy in the United States in peril? This course will take participants on a journey to decide for themselves.
By the end of the course participants will walk away with a better understanding of how American democracy functions, the challenges it faces, and ways to help it thrive. Classes will be held on Tuesdays, 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., from February 13 until March 13, 2018. Dr. Alberda is an assistant professor of politics at Fairfield.
"Everything You Wanted to Know about Opera (But Were Afraid to Ask!)" with instructor Erik Novoa
Opera continues to captivate audiences because it presents the essence of humanity—complex emotions overlaid through social interactions. In our exploration of opera, we will examine some of the most well-known melodies in the upcoming season from Live at the Met as well as other essential works.
We will also engage in participatory discussions about why opera is or is not relevant today. Can audiences still connect with the storylines and thematic issues presented? Do we see our own reflection in characters on stage? By the conclusion of these seminars, opera may just earn a permanent place in your heart. Classes will be held on Thursdays, 10 am to 11:30 am, from March 1 until March 29, 2018. Eric Novoa is a nationally ranked dancer and owner of SwingShoes Entertainment, LLC.
"Protect What You Love: Environmental Challenges in 2018’s Anti-Science Age" with instructor Richard E. Hyman
Participate in a highly interactive forum, focused on examining threats and opportunities in today’s seemingly unfriendly ocean environment. We will study global, national, and local perspectives on environmental challenges such as Connecticut’s Long Island Sound Blue Plan, and the Atlantic Canyons and Seamounts.
Discussions will encourage students to share their knowledge and questions, and help them decide and strengthen their own personal positions. The class will hear from subject matter experts, and will conclude with an optional field trip, related to the course, to be selected by the class. Classes will be held on Mondays, 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm, from March 5 until April 2, 2018. Richard E. Hyman is an advocate of environmental education and author of FROGMEN, a memoir about working for Jacques Cousteau aboard Calypso.
"Biblical Stories in Western Art: A Visual Journey through Time and Scripture" with instructor Rev. Peggy Hodgkins
If you ever had your curiosity piqued about the stories depicted in the beautiful paintings found in the great European museums, and if you always wished you had taken a college course in Biblical literature, this five-week series is for you.
You don't need to be a Bible scholar or even a believer to appreciate this seminar as we explore the wonderful legacy of these Bible stories through the golden thread of western art and civilization. Classes will be held on Tuesdays, 10:00 am to 11:30 am, from April 10 until May 8, 2018. The Rev. Margaret (Peggy) Hodgkins is an Episcopal priest and the 25th rector of Trinity Church in Southport, Conn.
The Open MINDS Institute is Connecticut’s innovative learning center for curious minds of all ages. Five-week courses cost $290 each. Quick Center members pay just $275 each. Enroll in two or more courses and enjoy a discounted price of just $250 per course. For more information, or to register for one or more courses, click here.