Emeritus Society Fall 2023

  • Emeritus Society Fall 2023

About the Emeritus Society

The goal of the Emeritus Society is to provide stimulating noncredit opportunities for adult learners of all ages. The program provides a learning environment that affirms the unique attributes that the adult learner brings to the classroom – delight in the joy of learning, intellectual savvy, and substantive life experience. Students are encouraged and supported in pursuing their intellectual interests with like-minded peers. Our college-level courses are designed to satisfy a hunger for intellectual nourishment without the pressure of tests and grades.

This spring the program is excited to offer courses and lectures taught by outstanding instructors noted for their scholarship and engaging classroom style. We hope you will find one or more of interest and join us.


Please be sure that the email address you provide is current. That email will be used to send you a course confirmation with more details and invite you to enter Zoom meetings (if applicable). In the weeks before classes start, you will be sent an introduction to Zoom materials. In addition, staff will be available a half-hour before the first class for orientation help. 

Emeritus Society courses are open to people of all ages and educational backgrounds. The program is a self-supporting arm of the University. Class fees, not tax dollars, are used to meet costs for the program. The cost of each course depends on the number of sessions.  Courses consist of 3–8 sessions at $20 per session

You are registered only when payment is received. Register early to avoid inconvenience. Late registrants could miss important announcements such as last-minute changes in location. Instructors may not have enough materials for those registering late. Registration is on a first come, first served basis. If the class you want is filled, we keep a waiting list. Partial registrations to attend portions of the classes cannot be accepted. Detailed information on class location and parking will be supplied upon confirmation.


Please note: The charge will appear on your statement as being from Emeritus Society or SERVE, Inc.


To receive a refund, a written request must be received prior to the first class meeting. A $5 processing fee will be deducted from the refund. Cancellation requests received after the first class meeting but before the second meeting will receive a full refund minus a $15 cancellation fee.  ALL written requests should be emailed to emeritus@serve.org or mailed to:

Emeritus Society
5900 Summit Avenue, #201
Browns Summit, NC  27214


If you experience any issues registering please call (336) 740-0211 or email us at emeritus@serve.org.


    Emeritus Society Kick Off - Course is FULL

    Christian Nationalism in the United States:  Historical Roots, Contemporary Impact, and the Intersection of Race, Religion, and Politics

    Course Details

    This lecture delves into the complex phenomenon of Christian nationalism in the United States, exploring its historical roots, its profound impact on contemporary U.S. politics and culture, and the intersection of racial, political, and religious ideologies. Christian nationalism, the fusion of religious identity and nationalistic sentiment, has left an indelible mark on American society and politics. By tracing its historical trajectory from the colonial era to the present day, the lecture highlights key moments such as the First and Second Great Awakenings, which solidified the integration of Christian values into the fabric of American society and its political discourse. The lecture also examines the interconnectedness of race and Christian nationalism, exploring how this ideology has often been used to promote and justify white supremacy. In addition to its historical context, the lecture explores the contemporary impact of Christian nationalism on U.S. politics and culture. It examines its influence on policy debates, electoral strategies, and the formation of social movements. It also raises thought-provoking questions regarding the compatibility of Christian nationalism with the core principles of Christianity, particularly in relation to issues of social justice, compassion, and inclusivity. By critically examining the history, racial dynamics, and theological implications of Christian nationalism, this lecture seeks to foster a nuanced understanding of this influential and controversial ideology and its implications for American society.

    Monday, August 21, 1:00 – 2:15 pm
    Holy Trinity Episcopal Church
    No Charge, but for planning purposes registration is requested

    John Senior (Ph.D. Emory University) directs the School of Divinity’s Art of Ministry program, which includes its field education curriculum. His research and teaching focus on pastoral formation for ministry, field-based learning, ministry leadership in both ecclesial and public settings, and the role of theological education in preparing leaders for a wide variety of institutional contexts. Trained in Christian ethics and the sociology of religion, Senior is also interested in political theology and ethics and earth-centered approaches to ministry and the moral life. He is the author of A Theology of Political Vocation: Christian Life and Public Office (Baylor University Press, 2015) and is currently working on a book project on emerging patterns and practices of leadership in ministry. Senior is an ordained Teaching Elder in the Presbyterian Church (USA).

    Rivals: A History of Global Power

    Course Details

    Have you ever wondered why our world is the way it is? Why do the same nations always appear in the headlines? Why are they constantly competing for greater authority and influence? And how do these geopolitical battles affect our day-to-day lives? This course addresses such questions. Over the span of three weeks, we will look at the history of three of the most significant countries on the world stage: China, Russia, and the United States. We will focus on their political histories, journeys toward global dominance, and interactions with one another in order to better understand how their pasts have influenced our present world. By the end of the course, students will be able to identify key individuals, ideas, and events that have shaped the globe, and why it is vital to understand how foreign affairs affect all of us.

    1. China
    2. Russia
    3. United States

    Mondays, 2:00 – 3:30 pm
    August 28 – September 18 (no class September 4)
    Holy Trinity Episcopal Church

    Joseph A. Ross, Ph.D., double-majored in history and philosophy at Western Carolina University, where his instructors inspired him to become a college professor. He has been teaching college courses since 2007 and regularly works with UNCG’s honors college students, in addition to serving as a Teaching Assistant Professor at UNC Chapel Hill. His primary interests are in the development of human rights and global justice, with an emphasis on the Nuremberg War Crimes Trial. He has taught numerous surveys of American, European, and Asian history, as well as thematic courses on Just War Theory, critical thinking, and information literacy. Dr. Ross has received funding support from the Mellon Foundation Initiative and the Harry S. Truman Library Institute. He most recently served as a Charles E. Scheidt Faculty Fellow in Genocide and Mass Atrocity Prevention at Binghamton University’s Institute for Genocide and Mass Atrocity Prevention (I-GMAP). In his free time, Dr. Ross enjoys spending time with his wife and four children, hiking, and playing basketball.

    Health News


    Course Details

    We make decisions every day about medical and health issues that affect us.  We are bombarded with advice about what we should do, what we should eat, which preventive medications we should take, etc. It’s difficult to know what information is trustworthy and what is exaggerated or even “fake news.” The goal of this class is to discuss some of the recent developments in biomedical science and health, and to understand how those developments affect our own lives. The topics will depend on recent advances and will also depend on the interests of the participants in the class.  For most topics, the Cannons will provide (via email) a recent article from the New York Times or a similar source, for participants to read.  If you have ideas for topics of particular interest to you, send them in advance of the class to Janne Cannon at jgc@med.unc.edu /No expertise in science or medicine is needed in order to join the discussion.

    Wednesdays, 1:00 – 2:30 pm
    August 23 – September 27
    Holy Trinity Episcopal Church

    Janne Cannon (Ph.D., UNC-Chapel Hill) is a Professor Emerita of Microbiology and Immunology in the School of Medicine at UNC-Chapel Hill.  Her research and teaching at UNC-CH focused on genetics and on infectious diseases.  After retiring from UNC-CH, she taught a course for several years on “Plagues” for undergraduates in the Honors Program at UNCG; she also teaches courses on science and health for the Shepherd’s Center and the UNCG Emeritus Society. Rob Cannon (Ph.D., University of Delaware) is a Professor Emeritus of Biology at UNCG. His research and teaching were focused on microbiology, immunology, and virology.  He also taught for the Honors Program and was the graduate director for the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MALS) Program.  This fall will mark 51 years of teaching at UNCG for him. He’s a private pilot, and dreams of being the Chief Test Passenger for Boom Supersonic when they come to Greensboro.

    Well Crafted NC:  Beer and Brewing in the Triad


    Course Details

    The North Carolina Piedmont Triad may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think “North Carolina beer,” but it was home to one of the state’s earliest brewery operations, to the state’s largest brewery operations, and to some of the state’s earliest craft brewpubs. In this class, we will explore the impact of beer and brewing on the region from the 1700s through today. Along the way, you will learn about people like Brother Heinrich Feldhausen, who was the brewer and distiller for the Bethabara community in the 1750s until he was expelled because he “yielded to carnal desires and fell into all kinds of sin and shame.” You will be introduced to C.C. Shoffner, who opened numerous saloons up and down Greensboro’s Elm Street (including one in a building that is now home to Little Brother Brewing). You will meet Patricia Henry, a Bennett College graduate who became the first African American woman brewmaster at a major brewery in the United States. Then after we explore some vital state and local legislative changes, we will learn about the people and businesses driving the Triad region’s craft brewing boom of the 2010s. Ultimately, we will learn how integral beer history is to North Carolina history – and to American history in general.

    1. Beer and Brewing in Early NC
    2. Saloons and Prohibition
    3. Big Beer and the Birth of the Brewpub
    4. The craft beer boom and craft beer in the Triad Today
    5. OPTIONAL- Onsite brewery tour, beer tasting, meet w/ local brewer

    Tuesdays, 2:00 – 3:30 pm
    August 29 – September 26
    UNCG Campus - School of Education Building

    Erin Lawrimore (MS, University of Texas) is the co-founder of Well Crafted NC (www.wellcraftednc.com), a project focused on documenting the history of beer and brewing in North Carolina. She co-authored North Carolina Triad Beer: A History. She is a Professor and University Archivist in the UNC Greensboro University Libraries, and she also teaches in the Lloyd International Honors College.

    Un Grand Tour: France and its Regions

    Course Details

    France is consistently ranked as the most visited country in the world, though many visitors may never venture outside the capital city to discover the various sides of l’Hexagone. However, each region of France has its own specific identity shaped by its geography, history, and traditional ways of life. This course will take you on a cultural tour of the major regions in France, discovering the specific charms of each. Participants will gain a deeper understanding of French culture and geography as they learn how each region contributes to or differs from our concept of French culture.

    1. Intro and overview of French regions and culture, spotlight on Paris
    2. The North: Brittany & Normandy
    3. The East: where France meets Germany
    4. The Loire Valley: land of kings and queens
    5. Central France: the Auvergne and the Rhone valley
    6. The Southwest: Occitanie & Basque Country
    7. The Southeast: Provence and the Cote d’Azur
    8. Corsica and closing

    Thursdays, 4:00 – 5:30 pm
    September 7 – October 26
    Holy Trinity Episcopal Church

    Monica Scovell (Ph.D., UNC Chapel Hill) is the current Director of Experiential Learning at Elon University, focusing on high-impact learning opportunities for students away from campus. She has previously served as the Assistant Director of Study Abroad at UNC Greensboro specializing in Western Europe, as well as a Teaching Fellow of French Language at UNC Chapel Hill. She has 12 years of classroom experience, including time teaching French in the Unites States and English abroad. She has spent a lifetime studying French language and culture, has lived there multiple times, and is passionate about sharing this love with others.

    Introduction to Group Storytelling - Course is FULL

    Course Details

    Stories give our lives meaning. We tell them every day about everything that happens. Was Uncle Ralph’s late arrival at the wedding a slight, or did he get stuck in traffic? The story we tell about this defines his behavior for us. We explain our lives to ourselves through these stories. But our stories can isolate us. They can contribute to the lack of connection we feel with our fellow human beings. Shared stories, stories that we create together, can help us overcome this fragmentation. That is why we tell group stories. We tell them to overcome the incoherence of modern life. We tell them to enter into community and restore our integrity. We listen and respond with intent, not to prove our prowess as storytellers, but to find community through group mind. The story passes from one person to the next. Each person contributes the next small part of the story, a piece that continues the narrative. The narrative element supports the group and provides a framework through which we connect around a common theme. This workshop introduces group storytelling and explores group mind through hands-on activities and side coaching. We will begin with a simple review of classic story structure and then dive into telling group stories. Please come prepared to listen, and to be changed.

    1. Introduction to storytelling and telling our first group stories.
    2. Practice and more practice.
    3. Deepening the stories and making them more coherent.  

    Monday, Wednesday, Friday 10:30 am – noon
    September 11 – 15
    Holy Trinity Episcopal Church
    No Charge, but for planning purposes registration is requested

    Dr. Bruce Kirchoff is Emeritus Professor of Biology at UNCG. During his career he won the UNC Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching, the Charles Edwin Bessey Teaching Award from the Botanical Society of America, and the Innovations in Plant Systematics Education Prize from the American Society of Plant Taxonomists. He studied scientific communication at the Alan Alda Center for Scientific Communication and teaches it through the UNC Greensboro Speaking Center, where he is a Faculty Fellow. He has taught storytelling workshops at the UNCG Project Space, the Greensboro Public Library, and the Chennai (India) Online Storytelling Festival. He was the faculty advisor for the UNCG Improv Comedy Club and taught storytelling improv to UNC students through this club.

    The Search for Intelligent Life in the Universe

    Course Details

    Are we humans alone in the Universe? That is the big question we will examine together. We’ll explore current scientific views of origins: how the Universe, our solar system, life, and humans came to be. We will take a journey through the various factors that will determine the likelihood of finding another planet with intelligent life in our galaxy. Along the way, we will look at current projects that are helping us answer some of our questions, like the rovers searching for evidence of past water and life on Mars, the TESS space telescope looking for Earth-like planets around other stars, and the various searches, using radio telescopes and other means, listening for alien communications. Finally, we will investigate claims that Earth has been visited by alien life already.

    1. The Galactic Context for Life
    2. Lifestyles of the Stars
    3. Are Earths Rare?
    4. The History of Life on Earth
    5. Intelligence, Civilization, and Technology
    6. Fermi problems and the Drake Equation
    7. SETI and CETI
    8. Are They Already Here? 

    Fridays, 3:00 – 4:30 pm
    September 15 – November 3
    Holy Trinity Episcopal Church

    Jeff Regester (MS, University of Arizona) teaches physics and astronomy at High Point University, where he also coaches the high-power rocketry team and manages the Physics department’s shop and makerspace. His current research focuses on fluid dynamics and also ground-based telescope observations of asteroids in support of NASA spacecraft missions. He is a former archaeologist and Navy officer, and although he aspired to be an astronaut the closest he ever got was flying on NASA’s “Vomit Comet” zero-g aircraft. He is married, lives in Greensboro, and has two children who mercifully just graduated from college.

    The 13th Century: Defining Europe

    Course Details

    In the long arc of medieval European history, roughly 500-1500, the 13th century was especially turbulent.  But it constitutes a critical hinge in European and, indeed, in world history, since out of this turbulence came geographic, economic, political, social, and cultural features that define Europe on an enduring basis.  We will look at the various military, political, economic, religious, and intellectual enterprises responsible for the century’s turbulence and try to explain the extraordinary dynamism manifested in every area throughout the 13th century.

    1. Backgrounds: Territorial Organizations, Institutional Structures, and Medieval “Types”
    2. Commerce and its Impacts
    3. Extending Borders and Boundaries
    4. Church Law, Royal Law, and the Bases of Authority
    5. Contesting Christianity: Orthodoxy and Spirituality
    6. The Pursuit of Power: Popes and Kings in Conflict  

    Tuesdays, 10:00 – 11:30 am
    September 19 –October 24
    Holy Trinity Episcopal Church

    Stephen Ruzicka (Ph.D., University of Chicago) is Professor Emeritus of History at UNC Greensboro.  He is the recipient of the Alumni Teaching Excellence Award.  As an ancient historian, he writes about the 4th century B.C., but he likes to talk about everything.

    Beatlemania - History of the Fab Four

    Course Details

    In the summer of 1957, two teenage boys named John and Paul met over a rock ‘n’ roll performance at a church just outside of Liverpool, England. The rest, as they say, is history; the Beatles were born. Little did they know that this impromptu meeting would change the course of rock music forever and help kick off an international cultural revolution. They would go on to become the most influential, revered, researched, and copied band in rock music history. They didn’t just have a finger on the pulse of the music and culture of the day; they were the pulse. Because of them, rock music, fashion, social attitudes, and even hairstyles would change forever. Their unique sound, lyrics, and style innovated, set trends, and taught us to love and explore. Want to know more? Come join us and learn how the Beatles changed everything! 

    1. Baby Beatles: The Teddy-Boy Days
    2. Coming to America
    3. Mid-Term Maturity
    4. Oops! Now it’s all this
    5. The Later Years: A Coming of Age
    6. Where Are They Now: The Legacy

    Thursdays, 10:00 – 11:30 am
    September 21 – November 2 (no class October 12)
    Holy Trinity Episcopal Church

    Brian Carter (DMA, University of Michigan) is a Lecturer at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro School of Music and an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Music at Elon University.  Prior to recently returning to his home of Greensboro, he was a professional opera and classical concert singer, and a Clinical Assistant Professor of Music at Washington State University where he specialized in Vocal Studies and Literature, and History of Rock Music.

    Eighteenth-Century Visual Art: Freedoms, Pleasures, Consequences

    Course Details

    Europe and the American Colonies in the eighteenth century brought new societies into being. The art of these societies, conforming to its “where and when” could be either novel or determined to retreat to revered traditions. Without question, the “new” art was a thoughtful rejection of cultural histories. However, the resurrected traditions, beyond their appearances and claims, also wore the scent of their innovative societies. The seventeenth century did not return: omelets cannot be unmade, eggs un-broken. We are the heirs to what occurred; all about us in the eighteenth century.

    1. France: The Sun King Sets and New Art Dawns
    2. Austria, Russia, Germany, Italy: Competitive Grandeur and a Genre to Entrance
    3. England: The Academy and the Rascal
    4. English Colonies in America and the Mother Country: Family Difficulties
    5. France: How Conservative Style Severed Heads
    6. Summation: A New World (ours) Begins from the End

    Mondays, 2:00 – 3:30 pm
    October 2 – November 6
    Holy Trinity Episcopal Church


    Richard Gantt (MS, UNC Chapel Hill, MFA, UNC Greensboro) is retired from the UNC Greensboro Department of Art where he taught art history for more than 30 years. His many research interests include architecture, landscape, and urban design of 17th-century France, and 17th and 18th-century architecture, urban planning, and nationalist agendas in early modern London.

    An Unlikely Hero's Quest

    Course Details

    Known as “the Main Street across America”, the Lincoln Highway was the first transcontinental road for automobiles in the country. Opened in 1913, the highway brought prosperity and explosive growth to small towns across the country. It allowed greater access to commerce, construction, education, and employment, while supporting society’s transition into the future of automobiles and expanded travel. From Amor Towles, author of New York Times bestseller A Gentleman In Moscow, comes Lincoln Highway, a great American Road novel that takes us on a joyride from the plains of Nebraska to the majestic Adirondacks. Set in 1954, the book takes place over the span of ten adventure-filled days in which an eclectic cast of characters makes you laugh, captures your heart, and fills you with nostalgia for the wide-open road. In a tale reminiscent of Huckleberry Finn and The Odyssey, travel alongside four adolescent boys hounded by destiny as they set off to discover what it means to live into the mythic unfolding of their own lives. Throughout this 4-week course, we’ll celebrate the power of story and dive into both the literal and metaphorical liminal spaces of the human journey. Towles invites his readers to explore perspectives from various socio-economic upbringings and the impact of progress on America’s rural culture. We will come to know the characters as if we were in the passenger seat of their Studebaker, cruising downside streets, back alleys, and dirt roads on their way to God knows where. And in a nod to American mythologist Joseph Campbell, we’ll examine the hero’s quest that echoes within us all as we make our way home. This interactive course is largely discussion-based mixed with literary activities to encourage interpersonal reflection and individual storytelling. You are encouraged to read the first few chapters before our first session.

    1. Call to Adventure
      1. Novels of the open road as quintessential American literature  
      2. Historical look at the Lincoln Highway  
      3. Discussion of opening chapters
    2. Crossing the Threshold
      1. Literary archetypes and modern myth-telling
      2. Meet the cast of characters
      3. Trials by fire- the role of conflict in narrative
    3. Descent to the Underworld
      1. What makes a hero?
      2. Systemic oppression and class division of the 1950’s
      3. Discussion of middle chapters
    4. The Return Home
      1. A journey of transformation- what does redemption look like
      2. Telling our own stories
      3. Discussion of the novel’s resolution

    Wednesdays, 10:30 – 12:00 pm
    October 4 – 25
    Holy Trinity Episcopal Church


    Claire Birchenough (MS, Missouri Baptist University) is a former high school ELA and Advanced Placement teacher, a creative writer, and literary enthusiast. She currently runs her own writing consulting business assisting clients with diverse projects including curriculum development, book editing, and website and marketing content. A St. Louis native, she moved to North Carolina with her husband in 2018 after falling in love with the rich heritage and natural beauty of the state. Most weekends you'll find her gardening, camping somewhere along the Blue Ridge or reading a good book in her hammock.

    Once Upon All Time: A Brief History - Course is FULL

    Course Details

    Combining history, science, philosophy, and anthropology, this three-part course will trace the origins and development of the universe/us as understood by multiple traditions before continuing our exploration of life on Earth and the making of our modern world. Join me in this sweeping look at the ways in which we know what we know and the stories we create as part of understanding who we are and where we might be heading.

    1. Creation stories: frameworks and methodologies from across the world
    2. Life as we know it: carbon-based biology and the environments we make
    3. We are all Africans: our courageous, curious, and creative selves

    Fridays, 12:30 – 2:00 pm
    November 3 – 17
    UNCG Campus - School of Education Building
    No charge, but for planning purposes registration is requested

    Omar H. Ali is Dean of Lloyd International Honors College and Professor of Comparative African Diaspora History at UNC Greensboro.  A graduate of the London School of Economics and Political Science, he received his Ph.D. in History from Columbia University.  A world historian with a focus on the global African Diaspora, he is a former Carnegie Foundation North Carolina professor of the year.


    Why Retell a Story?

    Course Details

    This three-week class concentrates on one good, long (not too long!) novel, Demon Copperhead, by Barbara Kingsolver, which just won the National Book Award! The title is a twist on Dickens’ David Copperfield, and Kingsolver uses the old story about a poor boy to tell a new one about a poor boy, full of the kind of tragedy and drama and comedy that’s in all of Dickens. The Appalachia Kingsolver reveals is not unfamiliar to many of us. But Kingsolver gives us new insights into a place both beautiful and broken, with children growing up alone, and parents taken by poverty, illness and addiction. Our work will be to gather ideas about the sometimes hilarious and sometimes horrific characters and situations Kingsolver writes about, and to explore the arguments the book makes. We’ll read some of Dickens too, so that we come to see how and why an old tale can be made new, and why it must be told again now. It’s not a requirement, but you might want to be at least part of the way into the book before class begins. I will send along Dickens’ excerpts so you can find some links.

    1. Week 1
      1. Dickens’ London—Kingsolver’s Appalachia: the muckraking novel
      2. The cast of characters in Demon Copperhead
      3. Discussion of the first chapters
    2. Week 2
      1. Why is Appalachia so poor?
      2. Social historians, journalists, and poets speak
      3. Discussion past midpoint
    3. Week 3
      1. The Lowest Point and then…Finale
      2. How a plot works
      3. What Kingsolver wants from an audience. What would Dickens do?
      4. Novel’s climax and end

    Wednesdays, 10:30 – 12:00 pm
    November 1 – 15

    Hephzibah Roskelly (Ph.D., University of Louisville) is a Professor Emerita of Rhetoric and Composition.  She is the recipient of the Alumni Teaching Excellence Award and the UNC Board of Governor's Teaching Excellence Award.

    Adverse Weather and Class Cancellations

    When the university closes due to adverse weather (such as ice and/or snow, or other conditions) Emeritus Society classes are cancelled as well. Details can be found on the UNCG homepage (www.uncg.edu) or by dialing one of the following numbers:

    Adverse Weather Line (336-334-4400)

    Campus Switchboard (336-334-5000)

    Details are also available on the Triad’s four television stations: WFMY-TV (News 2), WGHP-TV (Fox 8), WXII-TV (News Channel 12) and WXLV (ABC 45). Some area radio stations also have information.

    When the university decides to remain open but Emeritus Society classes are cancelled, you will be notified of the cancellation by Serve, Inc.


    Registration Instructions:  You do NOT need to log into the site.

    1. Choose a course from the drop down menu under Course.
    2. Choose the number of registrations for that course.
    3. Click Add to Cart.
    4. If you need to add more courses, click the back button on your browser.
      1. Repeat steps 1 - 3.
      2. Click the back button on your browser to add more, or proceed to step five if you are finished adding courses to the cart.
    5. Once you are finished adding courses to the cart, click Checkout.
    6. On the Payment page, fill out all of the billing information.
    7. Click Continue to Payment.
    8. Choose your payment option.
    9. Click Pay now.



    $ 60.00

    Type Course
    Organization store.servecenter.org