Emeritus Society

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 fall the program is excited to offer seven courses taught by outstanding UNC-Greensboro faculty noted for their scholarship and engaging classroom style.  All classes will meet online via Zoom. Program staff will offer technical support to students unfamiliar with this learning platform.

Emeritus Society courses are open to men and women 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.  Classes are $90 per course.


All class for Fall 2020 will be virtual!

We've updated our registration system to a system called RegPack, which is different from what we used for Fall 2019 and Spring 2020. You will need to create a new account. The person who creates the account is considered the primary and has the ability to register him or herself or another individual. One account can register one or more students, no need to create two accounts. It will save payment information, if you would like, to make the payment for each student easy, please follow the steps when prompted.


 Please be sure that the email address you provide is current.  That email will be used to invite you to enter Zoom meetings.  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. 

You are registered only when payment is received. Register early to avoid inconvenience. Late registrants could miss important announcements. Partial registrations to attend portions of the classes cannot be accepted. Detailed information on class location and parking will be supplied upon confirmation.


  1. Look through the course descriptions below this section
  2. Click "Register Here" linked below (browsers other than Safari, like Chrome or Firefox work best for registration)
  3. Create an account
  4. Register yourself
  5. Complete class selections
  6. Confirm selections
  7. Make a payment (save if you wish to register a friend or spouse)
  8. Repeat steps 4-7 for additional students (they do not have to create a separate account)
  9. You will receive a registration confirmation email and a payment confirmation email for each registration.

Register Here! 


Please note: The charge will appear on your statement as being from Emeritus Society or SERVE, Inc. We will not be accepting mail-in registrations for Fall 2020.


To receive a full refund, a written request must be received prior to the first class meeting. Cancellations after the first class but before the second will receive a full refund minus a $10 cancellation fee. After the second class meeting, no refunds will be given.


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


Click on the titles of the class to jump to their descriptions.


Special Event: Emeritus Kickoff Event

Philosophy, Science, and Race in World History

Wednesday, September 2
11:00 a.m. – noon
Online via Zoom

Omar H. Ali is Dean of Lloyd International Honors College at UNC Greensboro. A historian of the global African Diaspora, he was selected as The Carnegie Foundation North Carolina Professor of the Year.  

There is no charge for this course, but registration required.

Democracy in America

Democracy, almost all Americans would say, is the best form of government.  Why is this the case?  Perhaps, most Americans would say, because it means that everyone has a say—an equal say--in government.  Or, to put it another way, because it means that the will of the majority, rather than the will of some minority factions, determines laws and policies binding on everyone.  Or, to put it another way, because it is the only form of government that embodies the ideal of equality by ensuring that anyone’s vote is equal to anyone else’s vote regardless of socio-economic status.  On the basis of these criteria, is it possible to claim that the American government in practice is actually a democracy?  Has there ever been such a thing as democracy in America?  This class asks these questions and attempts to answer them by looking at American ideals and practices from colonial times to the present.

  1.  Democracy:  Definitions and Debates
  2. The Founding Fathers: The Constitution as Defense against Democracy
  3. The Democratic Surge: Economy, Society, and Politics in the Age of Jackson
  4. The View from Abroad: Tocqueville and the Democratic Impulse
  5. Expanding Democracy, 1865-1965
  6. Fighting Democracy 1965-2020
Tuesdays, 2:00 – 3:30 pm
September 22 – October 27 
Online via Zoom

Stephen Ruzicka (Ph.D., University of Chicago) is a Professor of History.  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.

Rock Music in the 1960s: From Coming of Age to Golden Age

The roots of rock music run deep in modern American history and culture. From the blending of different musical styles such as blues, country, jazz, and folk, to its connection to culture and politics, rock music has had a tremendous impact on our society. In the 1960s, that impact became even more pronounced as rock music became synonymous with one of the most turbulent and transformative decades in American history. Politics, protests, drugs, civil rights, exploration, peace, and love all became popular themes during the decade with rock music playing a role every step of the way. Add to that a generous infusion of talent from the UK, and you get what many consider to be a golden age of rock music. This series will be a continuation of the concepts introduced in last spring’s Rock Music: History and Social Analysis course, with a more in-depth focus on the 1960s. We will revisit many of the artists and concepts discussed previously and then go further in-depth to explore the ideas that made the 60s “The 60s”. (Note: Course may contain offensive language and material.  It’s rock and roll!)

  1. Transition: Boomers Come of Age
  2. Invasion: Rock is Reborn
  3. Soul and the Civil Rights
  4. Motown: The Softer Side of the 60s
  5. Folk Revolution
  6. Peace, Love, and Protest: The Hippie Counterculture

Tuesdays, 10:00 -11:30 am
September 22 – October 27
Online via Zoom

Brian Carter (DMA, University of Michigan) is a Lecturer at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro School of Music. 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. 

Pandemic Plagues: From the Black Death to COVID-19

The current COVID-19 pandemic is only the most recent of numerous global pandemics of infectious diseases that have occurred throughout human history.  Like COVID-19, those other diseases have had an enormous impact on social structures, economics, education, and many other aspects of people’s lives.  In fact, pandemic diseases caused by bacteria and viruses have shaped human history to an extent that’s rarely recognized.  In this course, we will focus on understanding why disease pandemics occur and how they eventually end, paying particular attention to the ways in which knowledge about past pandemics can be useful in understanding what’s happening today with COVID-19.

  1. Why do pandemics occur?  Basic principles of epidemiology
  2. The Black Death, mother of all pandemics
  3. Influenza pandemics in 1918, 2009, and other years.  Why is influenza, especially in birds, such a big concern among public health experts?
  4. Other pandemics or epidemics and what we can learn from them: smallpox, cholera, Ebola 
  5. COVID-19: How does this pandemic compare with previous ones and why has it been so difficult to control?  Can the lessons from previous pandemics help in creating a more effective response to the current one? 
  6. Future pandemics, which are inevitable: Can we predict what those future pandemics will be like?  How can we be better prepared for them?

No expertise in science or medicine is needed to join the discussion.

Mondays, 10:00 – 11:30 am 
October 5 – November 9
Online via Zoom

 Janne Cannon (Ph.D., the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) is a Professor Emerita in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Medicine and an Adjunct Professor at UNCG.   Her research and teaching at the School of Medicine focused on infectious diseases, especially sexually transmitted diseases, and on bacterial genetics.  At UNCG, she teaches courses for the undergraduate Honors program and the Emeritus Society. She also teaches classes for the Shepherd’s Center.

Lies, Conspiracies, and "Fake News"

With so much information available to us in the twenty-first century, how can we distinguish between what is true and what is false? How do we know which sources to trust? Can we really know anything at all, or is all information equally unreliable? This course provides an overview of the challenges we face in this age of digital information and how we can equip ourselves to face them. We will focus on information literacy and analytical reasoning skills, discuss the notion of confirmation bias, and practice fact-checking claims on social media in order to identify information that comes from the most objective sources.

  1. Information Overload and the Death of Expertise
  2. A Brief History of “Fake News”
  3. Confirmation Bias and Logical Fallacies
  4. The Dangers of Spreading Falsehoods
  5. Fact-Checking 101
  6. What Can We Do Now? 

Wednesdays, 2:00 -3:30 pm
September 16 – October 27 
(One skipped Wednesday TBA in October due to birth of child.)
Online via Zoom 

Joseph A. Ross (Ph.D., The University of North Carolina at Greensboro) is a historian of human rights, genocide, and international law, and the United States’ role in the world. His research examines a group of Americans who participated in the Nuremberg War Crimes Trial, and the North Carolina Humanities Council has chosen as a Road Scholar for his program, “Judging Nazis: John Parker’s Nuremberg Journey.” He has received support for his teaching from the Mellon Foundation Initiative.

Famous Thought Experiments in Ethics

 “Thought experiments” are fictional scenarios designed to test what people believe when it comes to tricky questions. Philosophers rely on thought experiments and other hypotheticals to help people move from unreflective, taken for granted “truths” into what the great British logician Bertrand Russell considers the “productive space of uncertainty” where authentic, creative thinking begins. Every week in this course we will engage with a different thought experiment in the domain of Ethics. Each has been selected because of its status as a “classic” in the field of philosophical ethics, as well as its connection to a major – and very thought-provoking – question regarding moral values and principled decision-making.

  1. The Ring of Gyges: Why do people want to be “good”?
  2. Trolley Problems: Which will you choose – the “Greater Good” or the “Golden Rule”?
  3. The Land of Equim: Is it right to privilege familiars over strangers?
  4. The Veil of Ignorance: How can we construct a fair society?
  5. The Experience Machine: What makes life worth living?
  6. Mystery Experiment to be chosen with class
Fridays, 10:00- 11:30 am

September 18 – October 23
Online via Zoom

Frances Bottenberg (Ph.D., Stony Brook University) is a Lecturer in Philosophy. She has research and teaching interests in phenomenology and existentialism, philosophy of art, and philosophy of education. Bottenberg is a native of Montreal, Canada, and is an avid Early Music musician.

Twentieth-Century U.S. Women's Biographies

Women have been full participants in the shaping of American history despite not always enjoying the benefits of full citizenship. This course will acquaint participants with the major issues and events of women’s history in the United States during the twentieth century. We will explore issues such as gender and race, suffrage, women’s labor and education, Second Wave Feminism, and social reform. To do this we will examine the lives of individual women, using their experiences as lens to contextualize larger issues in U.S. history. We will study women who made major contributions to the inclusion of women in the larger body politic.

  1. Ida B. Wells & Rebecca Latimer Felton 
  2. Jeannette Rankin and Progressive Women
  3. Ella Baker and Civil Rights
  4. Mary Brave Bird and the American Indian Movement
  5. Dolores Huerta and the Farmworkers Movement
  6. Shirley Chisholm and the Second Wave

Wednesdays, 10:00 – 11:30 am
September 23 – October 28
Online via Zoom 

Virginia Summey (Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Greensboro) teaches at the Lloyd International Honors College. Her dissertation focused on groundbreaking attorney and Judge Elreta Melton Alexander and the civil rights movement.  Currently, she is examining the role of white women in the North Carolina white Supremacy Movement from 1989 – 1900.  She lives in Winston-Salem with her husband, Graham, daughter, Hannah, and dog, Grits.

The Language of Protest

Protest speech has always been an invaluable part of civic life in our country. Whatever its causes and aims, throughout our history protest is provoked by the perceived need for change—for finding new direction or renewed purpose. And although we usually think of protest as the protest speech, protest is found in all cultural art forms—in essays and speeches of course, but also in literature, art and music.                

We’ll investigate protest language—or rhetoric—by reading a novel, a play, and speeches across the decades. We’ll listen to music and look at some visual art. We’ll use these pieces to speculate on how protest works and why it sometimes succeeds. 

Readings: Wiley Cash, The Last Ballad, Lorraine Hansberry, Raisin in the Sun


  • Maria Stewart, Speech at Franklin Hall (1834)
  • Jane Addams, “The Bayonet Charge” (1915)
  • Zora Neale Hurston, “Crazy for this Democracy” (1945)
  • John Lewis, March on Washington Speech (1963)
  • Ronald Reagan, Berlin Wall speech (1987)
  • Greta Thunberg at the UN (2019)
  • Philonise Floyd (2020)

Music and art including Dorothea Lange, Asher Durand, Woody Guthrie, and Bruce Springsteen 

Mondays, 2:00 – 3:30 pm
October 5 – November 9
Online via Zoom

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

History Behind the Headlines

Daily we are bombarded with surprising and sometimes alarming developments and challenges to the world we live in.  Join Dr. Jeff Jones as he brings to light the historical roots of one of our contemporary world’s crisis.  Given the rapid change of world events, the topic won’t be chosen until closer to the event.

Tuesday, September 15
10:00 – 11:30 am
Online via Zoom

No charge, but registration is required.

Jeff Jones (Ph.D., the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) is an Associate Professor of Russian-Soviet and contemporary world history at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. His book, Everyday Life and the ‘Reconstruction’ of Soviet Russia During and After the Great Patriotic War, 1943-1948, was published by Slavica Publishers in 2008, and he is currently completing a book entitled Smoke, Mirrors and Memories: Varying Perspectives of the Soviet-Afghan War, 1979-1989, forthcoming (hopefully) in 2022. He had an article, “Mothers, Prostitutes, and the Collapse of the USSR: Svetlana Alexievich’s Representation of Women in Zinky Boys” published in a 2017 special edition of Canadian Slavonic Papers dedicated to Alexievich’s work, and he has an article, “Cold War Crusader: Andrew Eiva, the KGB, and the Collapse of the USSR” forthcoming in Cold War History.