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 spring the program is excited to offer eight courses taught by outstanding 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 Spring 2021 will be virtual via Zoom!

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 Spring 2021.


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:

African Americans in the Balance of Power: From the Black Populists to Black Lives Matter

Monday, January 18

11:30 – 12:30 pm

Online via Zoom


A MLK Day lecture by Dr. Omar H. Ali

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.  He is the author of In the Balance of Power: Independent Black Politics and Third-Party Movements in the United States.

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

My 10-Year Journey and the Discoveries I Made from Behind Prison Walls

A biographical narrative by Mark Hall

Friday, January 22

10:00 – 11:00 am

Online via Zoom

Mark Hall recently completed a 10-year prison journey that has given him a unique perspective into the world of criminal justice and social justice. At 50, after a life of privilege and career status, Mark was sentenced to prison for financial crimes.  He acknowledged his actions and sought to change his life. Now active with the Durham Rescue Mission, he has earned a Duke certificate in nonprofit management and will soon complete an MBA.. For additional information visit www.facelessnomore.org

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

International Politics, 2021

In the midst of a global pandemic and after four years of U.S. retreat from the leadership of the world order America created 70 years ago, it is a propitious moment to take a look at the state of contemporary international relations. In this class we will explore the causes and likely consequences of today’s power relationships and assess the direction of world affairs in key areas of the globe. We will analyze the current foreign policies of Russia, China, the United States, and key European nations. We will also look at the impact of exogenous factors such as the global pandemic, the rise of ultranationalism, and economic recession. Our topics will include:


  1. Is it 1890 again? The return to Great Power geopolitics.
  2. Who’s rising, who’s falling? Chinese and Russian foreign policy goals and strategies.
  3. Is Iran or Israel the greater threat? The revolution and evolution in Middle East politics.
  4. Can globalization survive pandemic and protectionism? The global economy and its impact on the North and the South.
  5. Will it be terrorism, regional war, or miscalculation? The Black Swans of international politics.
  1. Back to the future? Joe Biden and the liberal international order.


Tuesdays, February 9 – March 16

10:30 a.m. – noon

Online via Zoom


Jerry Pubantz (Ph.D., Duke University) is Professor of Political Science and founding dean of UNCG’s Lloyd International Honors College. He is the co-author or editor of six books on the United Nations and is currently writing U.S. Presidents and the United Nations: Internationalism in the Balance for Routledge Press. His other writings include works on the Middle East, American foreign policy, and human rights. Dr. Pubantz appears regularly on television and radio to discuss Middle East politics and international affairs. He has lectured at universities and colleges across the nation and internationally.

1942: The Turn of the Tide in WWII

The Second World War hung in the balance in 1942, the middle year of the war. Axis victories had been the rule until then and that continued in early 1942 as well.  But more importantly they began to lose – at Stalingrad, in the North Atlantic, at Midway and in the Solomon Islands, in North Africa, and in the air over Europe.  The tide turned in 1942 and the turning proved to be irrevocable.  This course examines the battles and campaigns in 1942 and the mobilization of the United States’ enormous economy which collectively marked this key year of the war.


  1. The Situation in January 1942: The Axis winning on all fronts.
  2. The Battle of the Atlantic and the Intelligence War.
  3. North Africa:  El Alamein and Torch.
  4. The Pacific:  The Battles of Coral Sea, Midway, and Guadalcanal.
  5. The Skies Over Europe:  The Beginning of the Allied Combined Bombing Offensive.
  6. The Situation by January 1943: The Axis run of victories had been stopped and the combination of US war mobilization and the growing power and competence of the Red Army established the foundations for final victory.


Mondays, February 8 – March 15

10:30 – Noon

Online via Zoom


Ron Cassell (Ph.D., UNC Chapel Hill) Associate Professor Emeritus of History and fellow of the Royal Historical Society has long had an interest in 20th century British political history.  He is a recipient of the Alumni Teaching Excellence Award.


Murder and More

Most murder mysteries invite readers to solve a puzzle. We play the detective’s sidekicks, collecting the pieces of the puzzle the author lays out—plot, suspicious characters, victim. The detective puts the pieces together, and we begin to see the picture of the evildoer emerging.  A good murder mystery satisfies; when the murder gets solved, the world is set right again. 

But some murder mysteries give us more than puzzles.  They comment on the world and ask us to see a new angle on history. They identify social problems and ask us to understand them.  They offer alternative stories about people.  When they’re good, these mysteries teach as well as delight us.

We’ll read four “mystery plus” novels during our six weeks together, two from mystery series and two stand-alone novels. They have different settings: 16th c. England, 1870s Washington, D.C., WW I  France, and post-Communist Poland. Each has murders and detectives, and  each gives us new insights about history and society and the human heart.


Our four novels:

Hagar’s Daughter, Pauline Hopkins.

Dissolution: A Matthew Shardlake novel, C.J. Sansom.

A Casualty of War: A Bess Crawford Mystery,  Charles Todd

Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead. Olga Tokarczuk 


  1. Didactic Fiction and the Mystery Novel. Your Favorites. 
  1. Hagar’s Daughter. Background and first 3 chapters.
  1. Hagar’s Daughter. Background for Dissolution. Chapter 1. 
  1. Dissolution.
  1. Bitter Truth. Background.
  1. Drive Your Plow. Final Comments. 


Wednesdays, February 10 – March 17

10:00 – 11:30 am

Online via Zoom


Hephzibah Roskelly (Ph.D., University of Louisville) is Professor Emeritus of Rhetoric and Composition. She is the recipient of the Alumni Excellence Teaching Award and the UNC Board of Governor’s Teaching Excellence Award. She has been a mystery fan since she read her first Nancy Drew novel at age 8.


Rock Music in the 1970s: Redefining Rock

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. The 60s had been a turbulent time in America. After a decade of politics, protests, drugs, civil rights, and the peace and love movement, fans of rock music were looking for something new and fresh. The 70s rose to the occasion in fine fashion. New musical styles blossomed that stretched the definition of what was considered rock music. From punk to progressive, hard to soft, soul to disco, the 70s had something for every rock music lover. Dust off your favorite polyester leisure suit, dig those flared-leg jeans out of the closet, and get ready to leave the 60s behind. Next stop: the exciting world of 1970s rock and roll!

(Note: Course may contain offensive language and material. It’s rock and roll!)

  1. Goodbye Hippies! Hello...Iggy?

  2. Back to the basics: The Punk Revolution.

  3. Experimental Assault: Art Rock Explodes.

  4. Hard and soft: Taking Rock to Extremes.

  5. Disco or Disc-No!

  6. Classic Rock Comes into its Own.


Thursdays, 10:00-11:30 am

February 11 – March 18

Online via Zoom


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.

Criminal Justice, Social Justice: Faceless No More

Recent events have highlighted problems with the criminal justice system and our larger social fabric, both locally and across the country. This 6-week online course will give you new insights and perspective about the situation. You’ll meet current and formerly incarcerated people, activists, and others who know the criminal justice system well. Expert speakers will discuss the human and financial costs of our system, the history of our laws, and new approaches. We will also examine our civil rights history, which is tied closely to the criminal justice system, and hear from people and organizations involved with civil rights landmarks. Class sessions will include presentations from Bryan Stevenson’s Equal Justice Initiative; Sister Helen Prejean, the subject and author of “Dead Man Walking”; and other engaging leading experts. All are welcome.

Lecture + Q&A; Facilitated discussion by Mark Hall. The course is subject to change due to unanticipated changes in the presenters’ schedules.

  1. Introduction
  2. Sister Helen Prejean, a leading American activist and advocate for the abolition of the death penalty.
  3. Melissa Radcliff, director of Our Children’s Place of Coastal Horizons Center, an advocacy and education program committed to the children of incarcerated parents and returning citizens.
  4. Brandon Garrett, professor of law at Duke University and faculty director of the Wilson Center for Science and Justice.
  5. Molly Gill, JD. Vice President of Policy for FAMM, a nonpartisan, nonprofit sentencing reform organization.
  6. Equal Justice Initiative, the organization founded by Bryan Stevenson, featured in the book and movie “Just Mercy.”


Fridays, February 12 – March 19

10:00 – 11:30 am

Online via Zoom


Mark Hall recently completed a 10-year prison journey that has given him a unique perspective into the world of criminal justice and social justice. At 50, after a life of privilege and career status, he found himself behind prison walls. During his time of incarceration, he made many discoveries worth sharing. For additional information visit www.facelessnomore.org


The Silk Road in China: A Journey of Culture and Connection

The Silk Road connected the East and West, running from China through the Middle East to the Mediterranean Sea. Its influence in cross-cultural fertilization and economic development was vast, but in this course, we
will focus on selected topics specific to China. At a time when tension between the United States and China is high, a study of the Silk Road and its importance to both East and West will afford us a better understanding and appreciation of the benefits, both economical and cultural, of connections and exchanges between the East, specifically China and the U.S.

The approach will include selected readings, a fiction film, documentaries, music, poetry (including live readings of short Tang dynasty poems in Chinese with English translations), an examination of artifacts, and a reading of The Travels, Marco Polo’s account of his arduous and perhaps mystical journey; it serves as a reflection of the West’s encounter with China and a link between these vastly different cultures.

Required Materials: Marco Polo: From Venice to Xanadu. Paperback – Illustrated, October 21, 2008 by Laurence Bergreen (Author). Available online. $20.00 Recommended: The Travels, by Marco Polo. Nigel Cliff, editor, translator. (Penguin Classics Hardcover edition). ISBN: 0241253055 • Available online. $25.00

  1. Historical Overview.

  2. Religion: Taoism and Buddhism.

  3. Contributions to the Silk Road during the Mongol Dynasty. Founded by Genghis Khan and expanded by Kublai Khan. Marco Polo served as a trusted advisor and administrator to Kublai Khan for 17 years.

  4. Music: Pipa, Wu Man Silk Road Ensemble, Yo Yo Ma and The Silk Road Ensemble as contemporary preservers of ancient music and instruments.

  5. Food: Xi’An as a cultural infusion of food. Noodles - Stretching the Noodle from Venice to Chang’An (Modern Xian).

  6. Discussion of Marco Polo: from Venice to Xanadu


Tuesdays, February 9 – March 16

1:30 – 3:00 pm

Online via Zoom


Anthony Fragola (MPW, University of Southern California) is Professor Emeritus of Media Studies. He was Visiting Scholar at Hong Kong Baptist University immediately after the “Handover” of Hong Kong to China and witnessed firsthand tensions during this period of transition. He is now focused on Chinese culture, including the study of Taoism, Tai Chi and Qi Gong to foster good health, mindfulness and healing energy for society and the planet.

The Modern History of Iran

Located in historic Persia, the center of numerous empires that rose and fell over many centuries, modern Iran has emerged as one of the most significant, influential and powerful countries in the Middle East and the world. This course will examine its modern history, looking briefly at its early roots, the rise of Islam and subsequent conversion to Shi’ism, and the impact on it of the European powers in the 19th century; the emergence of the Pahlavi dynasty in the early 20th century following World War I; the CIA-led coup d’état that overthrew Prime Minister Muhammad Mosaddeq in 1953; the “White Revolution” initiated by Shah Pahlavi that soon followed; the Islamic Revolution of 1979 that had a tremendous impact on the world; and, finally, we will wrap up the course with a look at the Islamic Revolution of Iran in the decades since the 1979 Revolution.

  1. Background: From Antiquity to the 20th Century.

  2. From Persia to Iran: Reza Shah Pahlavi.

  3. Muhammad Mosaddeq and “Operation Ajax” (1953).

  4. The “White Revolution” and its Aftermath (1960-1975).

  5. The Islamic Revolution and its Impact (1979).

  6. The Islamic Republic of Iran Since 1979.


Tuesdays, 1:30-3:00 pm

March 23 – April 27

Online via Zoom


Jeff Jones (Ph.D., UNC Chapel Hill) is Associate Professor of History. Jeff is a native North Carolinian (born in the mountains in Jefferson; grew up near Greensboro in Liberty, NC) and did all of his undergraduate and graduate work at UNC-Chapel Hill. He is currently 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.

Intro to Music: Where It All Began

Classical, Popular, Jazz, Country, Rock. Ever wonder where all of these styles of music came from? Are you a lover of music, but never had the opportunity to explore music beyond your childhood piano lessons and high school band? Ever heard people waxing philosophical over names like Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven, but always wondered what all the fuss was about? Then this is the course for you! This series will present an 

introduction into Western Art Music – the “classical” music from which much of our modern music grew.
We will explore basic musical concepts such as classical music genres, the instruments of the orchestra, and musical terminology while taking a walk through a thousand years of music history. If you’re a life-long listener and lover of music but always wanted to learn more, this is the course for you.

  1. Medieval/Renaissance Eras: And so it begins...

  2. Baroque Era: Back to Bach.

  3. Classical Era: Elegance Meets Angst.

  4. Romantic Era: It’s not just for lovers!

  5. Modern Era: Pain and Pleasure.

  6. The Modern-Modern Era: Tying the Past to the Present.


Tuesdays, 10:00–11:30 am

March 23 – April 27

Online via Zoom


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.