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  November 2015

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Winter Registration

Holiday Party

Director's Message

"Portrait of Italy" Info Session

Faculty Profile: Pierluigi Serraino 

Volunteer Profile: Nancy Spaeth

OLLI Field Trips

Perception and Deception

Big Give

Faculty News

Research Info

Lunch Bunch

Member Benefits

Susan Hoffman

Business and Operations Manager
Lisa Hardy

Classroom and Facilities Coordinator
Eric Anthony

Communications Coordinator
Jennifer Monahan

Curriculum Coordinator
Kate Hoshour

Research Program Associate
Cheryl Brewster

Program Assistant
Jason Gant

Register Now for Winter 2016

We have wonderful offerings this Winter in writing, literature, history, science and law. We have a lot of popular instructors lined up, including Beverly Allen, Bruce Elliott, Didier de Fontaine and Yan Linhart, Peter Ralston, Alex Saragoza, and Marjorie Shultz... as well as Pete Elman, who returns with a course on the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Full course descriptions are available at  olli.berkeley.edu .

If your OLLI membership expires on December 31, 2015, you will need to log in ( olli.berkeley.edu/user/login )and renew your membership before registering. If you have not taken OLLI courses since Summer 2014, you will need to create a website account and purchase a membership before you can register for classes. As always, you can call us at 510.642.9934 between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Mark Your Calendars: 
OLLI Holiday Party Dec. 2

All current OLLI @Berkeley members are invited to join us for some holiday cheer! 

Wednesday, December 2
3:00 - 5:00 p.m.
The OLLI offices (1925 Walnut St, Berkeley)
Light refreshments provided

Many thanks to the Member Services Committee for their help in organizing this event!

Director's Message
susan hoffman Every 18 months, the Bernard Osher Foundation holds a national gathering of the OLLI network and invites two people from each of its 119 institutes. This year, Cheryl Brewster (member services and strategic planning co-chair) and I attended the three-day event held in Charlotte, North Carolina. The conference focused on best practices through large symposia, workshops and roundtable discussions. Packed full of insight, these sessions underscore how each OLLI is different -- as well as our commonalities.

This year, I was impressed with the collective wisdom OLLI directors have accrued about the demographic we serve. When Ina Jaffe, NPR's reporter covering the "aging" beat, asked for a name that we could call people over 50 years old, there were several polite rebuttals to dissuade her from coining a phrase or updating "senior" or "boomer." The challenge is to not reduce all of the complexity and diversity that comprises our demographic, our life stages, lifestyles, backgrounds and experiences. 

Substantively we gathered dozens of ideas and made many comparisons. A few of the key lessons we made concerned outreach into new communities, online registration / database / website solutions and more examples of engaged learning strategies. We also learned that OLLI @Berkeley is twice the size of the median OLLI (which is 1060 members) and that nationally OLLIs serve over 150,000 people. The success factors that rise above all, collectively, seem to be alignment with the host university, fundraising beyond Annual Fund campaigns, effective management and recognition of volunteers... and the availability of parking and coffee.

Susan Hoffman

"Portrait of Italy" Info Session November 17
 Want to learn more about our upcoming "Portrait of Italy" tour led by Dr. Beverly Allen in May 2016?

Join us for an information session on Tuesday, November 17 from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. in 41B University Hall. Dr. Allen will give more information about the trip, and representatives from Cal Discoveries will be on hand to answer logistical questions.

The tour will take place from May 14 through May 30. OLLI members and their traveling companions have first priority for registration, so this is an excellent opportunity to explore Italy with fellow OLLI students and a professor emerita of Italian.

For more details about the trip, go to olli.berkeley.edu/travel .

Faculty Profile: Pierluigi Serraino

Pierluigi Serraino Pierluigi Serraino
is teaching a class this Fall on "California Modernism and the Making of Modern Architecture." For our Winter term, he will offer a class on "Creativity in Architecture," examining Donald MacKinnon's studies of creativity at UC Berkeley in the 1950s, which analyzed the traits of a number of famous architects and other creative luminaries. Mr. Serraino is the author of an upcoming book on these studies.
Interview by Jennifer Monahan, OLLI Staff

What brought you to California?
I first visited California as a teenager, and when I moved to Los Angeles in 1994 I idealized it as the perfect place: tolerant, forward-looking... Now I have a more nuanced understanding both of California and of my hometown Messina in Sicily. Los Angeles is striking for its mindset of experimentation: there's a level of freedom there -- including the freedom to make mistakes -- that you don't find even in Northern California.
I first studied architecture at the University of Rome, which was very technically oriented and historically informed but more traditional. When I came to study at the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-ARC) - and then later at UCLA - I found a very different perspective.

What drew you to the mid-century modern aesthetic?
I've always been interested in modern architecture. It was a huge leap in an an area that had previously been stable for centuries in Western culture, and it's such an embodiment of that era's faith in technology and progress.
I became interested in architecture through architectural photography. Since architecture is site-specific -- you can't put a building in a museum! -- so much of what we know about architecture comes from photographs. And 10 different photographers will give 10 different expressions of a given building, which contributes to the viewer's endorsement or rejection of the building. I became interested in the architectural photographer Julius Shulman. I wrote my thesis about him at UCLA. Prior to meeting him, I had assumed there was a one-to-one correlation between the image and the building, when in fact the photographer controls so much about our experience and expectations of a space.

How did you first become interested in the research that was done on creativity at UC Berkeley in the 1950s?
My interest started when I met the son of one of the architects studied. He told me he had found the files on his father, and I started making phone calls...
The study was very tied into the Cold War. During World War II, Donald MacKinnon had worked with the Office of Strategic Services to screen potential spies and resistance leaders. After the war, he founded the Institute of Personality Assessment and Research, and in the immediate aftermath of Sputnik there was tremendous interest in identifying the personality traits of creative individuals.

What did the study reveal?
Of course, this study was rooted in the belief that science could tell us something clear and unequivocal about creativity. It was the first systematic study of its kind. MacKinnon and his team identified a number of factors that set innovative architects apart: their motivation, their family history, their relationships with parents and mentoring figures, their intelligence, and especially their courage. Not all of them were psychologically stable, but architecture was an element of integration for other areas of their lives. All of them had a strong sense of self, and a conviction about their expertise and the value of their perspective. These same findings were also true for other creative professions.
There are recordings of these experiments, including group discussions of these architects articulating why they do what they do. We will be able to listen to these in class. Overall, the study is a fascinating window - not only into postwar architecture, but also into the values system they all believed in during this period when United States was being mythologized as a superpower.
Although articles on this work were published at the time, no book-length study has been done until now. Due to guidelines around human subjects research, a lot of the material was confidential for 40 years, but those restrictions no longer apply so I was able to include a lot of the backstory in my book.

How closely were you able to work with the study organizers and participants?
I spoke over the phone with Wallace Hall, one of the scientists who organized the study, shortly before he died. I was able to track down Victor Lundy, one of the architects of the creativity study, who was 36 at the time and 92 today, and interviewed him over the phone. I also had a number of conversations with Ravenna Helson, who led the study of creativity in women mathematicians and was also involved in the administration of some of the tests for the architects' study. She was the quintessential primary source.

What stood out for you in writing about the study?
These architects' sense of conviction in the value of their perspective carried a strong message for me: to listen to yourself, and give yourself more credit for your uniqueness as an individual. We all have an inner voice when we're born, but as we grow older we are taught to conform, and we become regimented. It was very moving to see how much these architects held on to their sense of self in a system that wanted them to homogenize.

What do you like best about working with OLLI students?
No papers to grade! Also, my audience is informed and intellectually alert... and they are in the classroom only because they are interested in the topic. My particular topic helps people be active citizens: if you get informed about architecture, you can have more of a voice in your community.
Volunteer Profile: Nancy Spaeth

Nancy Spaeth by OLLI Volunteer Gale Lederer
"Everything is education," says Nancy Spaeth, this month's featured volunteer.  "But then, I've had an active career in education -- on both sides of the desk." On the student side of things, Nancy attended Smith College (with a junior year at the University of Geneva in Switzerland); Harvard, where she earned a master's degree in education; and UC Berkeley's School of Education, where she received an Ed.D. in administration. Her career as an educator includes teaching US history and French at Berkeley High School and serving as principal of Castro Valley High School, Associate Superintendent of Berkeley Schools, and Superintendent of Schools in Portola Valley. She retired in 2004, but continues to serve our community on the YMCA's board of directors, Head Start's oversight committee, and OLLI's curriculum committee.  

Nancy is enthusiastic about OLLI -- at present, she's taking four classes and greatly enjoying the reading. "Old as we all are, we're all so avidly interested in learning," she says. "You always see people taking notes and chatting about what they've learned." As much as she appreciates the UC professors who teach at OLLI, she's pleased that OLLI casts a wide net in its search for curriculum and instructors-and she's glad to see a few high school teachers up on the podium. As an ex-teacher, she's attuned to teaching excellence.  Like almost everyone else, she loved Pete Elman's rock 'n' roll extravaganza --and she adds enthusiastically that "not only was his material fascinating and his expertise undeniable, but his lessons were perfectly crafted."  

Nancy tends to go for history and political science, but deeply appreciated Peter Ralston's course on how the brain works: "It provided a good service for people concerned about growing older. He didn't dumb his material down, but he knew how to explain it to people without medical background." She also appreciated Harry Kreisler's "Conversations with History": "I learned about Elizabeth Warren before anyone in the US at large knew anything about her." She was amazed at all Tamim Ansary could pull together in his "Ripple Effects" class. "And," she adds, "I'll take anything from Linda Rugg."

"However," she reminds us, "in order to have this wonderful program we need our volunteers." 
OLLI Field Trips
Trumer Pils tour In mid-October, the Member Services Committee organized a tour and tasting at the Trumer Pils brewery in west Berkeley. The 30 spots available on the tour filled in a just few hours, prompting organizer Jerry Kaminski to remark " Who would have thought that free beer on Friday afternoon would appeal to senior learners?"  Look for other member outings in the Winter term.

Students in Jeff Hart's class "Natural History of the Golden State" went on a field trip to Staten Island, a sandhill crane roosting site in the Sacramento Delta. Many thanks to Dave Strauss for sharing photos!

sandhill cranes

Staten Island Field Trip
Perception and Deception: Understanding Misunderstandings Across Cultures
OLLI @Berkeley is proud to co-sponsor a talk, reception and book signing with Joe Lurie, Executive Director Emeritus at I-House
Tuesday, December 8, 2015 at 6:00 p.m. 
Commonwealth Club of California
555 Post St., San Francisco
Reception begins at 5:30 p.m. 

I nspired by a West African proverb that says, "The stranger sees only what he knows," Lurie shares a feast of cross-cultural stories and misadventures, exploring the deeper cultural messages that escape people who hear largely what they're used to hearing and see mostly what they're used to seeing. Gleaned from his years of research, travel and managing Berkeley's International House, Lurie's cross-cultural experiences reveal how perceptions and cultural filters affect the way people understand others.
OLLI @Berkeley members are eligible for discounted tickets ($8.00 instead of $20.00). When registering online, enter the promotional code "SpecialForLurie". OLLI members may also register by phone using the same promo code; call the Commonwealth Club at 415 597-6700. Learn more and purchase tickets at http://www.commonwealthclub.org/events/2015-12-08/perception-and-deception-understanding-misunderstandings-across-cultures .
This event is sponsored by UC Berkeley's International House, OLLI @Berkeley, and the NorCal Peace Corps Association.
Big Give November 19

Big Give banner November 19 marks the "Big Give," UC Berkeley's 24-hour online fundraising campaign. If you're a Cal alum or an OLLI donor, you may receive fundraising emails from UC Berkeley urging you to support the Big Give. We would like to gently encourage you to make your Big Give gift to OLLI @Berkeley: since we are a part of UC Berkeley, you can direct a Big Give gift in support of OLLI. We'll send more information as the date approaches.

Faculty News

Patricia Penn Hilden was in the East Bay Express recently for her involvement in UC Berkeley's Underground Scholars program, which works with formerly incarcerated students. Read article.

Philippa Kelly will give talks on music and musicality in Shakespeare prior to performances in Berkeley and San Francisco by the Baltimore Consort. Dates: November 21 and 22. More information at the San Francisco Early Music Society website. Learn more.

Kathryn Roszak is the Enrichment Lecturer for the "Paris Immersion" journey next April. See performances by the Paris Opera and Paris Opera Ballet. There are six spaces still available. Discount until  December 1 . Learn more

As part of an afternoon symposium on "Latino Public History," Alex Saragoza participated in a panel discussion -- along with several curators from the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History -- on " From Farmworkers to Winemakers:  Latinos and the California Wine Industry." 

Research Opportunity
A new volunteer research opportunity has been identified for OLLI members to provide feedback to a UC Berkeley College of Engineering and Computer Sciences team that is in the initial stages of developing technology-based options to help people who care for family members with various types of cognitive decline. 

The team would like to speak with focus groups of people who are current or former caregivers for loved ones with dementia or cognitive decline. No personal identification or clinical information will be involved.... only the opportunity to hear about and provide valuable feedback to these developers.  

Lunch Bunch
by Lucille Poskanzer, OLLI volunteer

85 C Bakery Café
21 Shattuck Square
Berkeley CA, 94704

This new place, very close to OLLI classrooms, offers spaciousness, quiet, good prices, and lots of tables for conversation, reading, or working on your laptop. It also offers scrumptious pastries and a variety of drinks, including many Asian-style options. What is does not offer are sandwiches, salads, or other savory items, so if you are in the mood for some decadence at lunch or early afternoon, it is worth a try. Popular with students, but there usually are quiet spots on the balcony.

Member Benefits

Members of OLLI @Berkeley have access to the full range of OLLI programming and receive a Student ID card that is honored for discounts at a variety of campus and community locations. See offer details on OLLI's website and be sure to show your OLLI student ID.  

OLLI members receive a $10 discount on a $50 Senior Citizen annual membership at CAA.

OLLI members can join the UC Botanical Garden as Cal Affiliates and save $15 on a $55 annual membership.

Berkeley Arts and Letters offers OLLI members a student discount on tickets purchased through their website.
Read more
Show your OLLI student card and get 10% off at:

2087 Addison St.

Five Restaurant & Bar
2086 Allston Way

Turkish Kitchen
1986 Shattuck Ave.

Le Petit Cochon
1801C Shattuck Ave.

Phil's Sliders
2024 Shattuck Ave.
Read more