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BSU Senior College

BSU Senior College: lifelong learning for mature adults

BSU Senior College

Important Notice regarding Senior College:

Registration for the fall remains open! We have new courses starting weekly. You can register anytime between today mid-November! 

To ensure the health and safety of our faculty, students, staff, and surrounding community, Bridgewater State University’s Senior College will continue to operate in a virtual learning format during the fall 2020 semester. BSU’s Senior College has invested in technology and instructor development to ensure we deliver the highest quality enrichment education to you virtually. We have nearly 30 courses planned for this fall, offered conveniently to you in the comfort and safety of your own home via Zoom. Zoom is a popular video conferencing platform because it's easy to use: once you're set up, you only need a few clicks to start talking to your peers and instructors online. It can be used on your smart phone, tablet, or computer. Senior College staff are happy to meet with you virtually to help you get started!

Once you register and pay online for the Senior College, we will be in touch with you via email to have you select your specific courses. For the affordable fee of $55, you can take as many courses as you like! If you have any questions please contact Jennifer Reid at or call 508.531.2570.

Keep Learning! Keep Growing!

Bridgewater State University’s new Senior College offers intellectually stimulating seminars and courses for mature learners (50+). Our six-week courses foster creativity, self-discovery and peer education.


Register today for just a single registration fee of $55 and enroll in as many courses as you like this fall. 

Led by Experts 

Courses led by BSU emeritus faculty, full and part-time faculty, and other distinguished educators in the sciences, social sciences, arts and humanities. Senior College is where adults can enjoy learning in a relaxed community of peers among leading scholars and experts who share their interests in exploring both current and historical topics and traditional disciplines. Our members come from all walks of life and bring diverse backgrounds to the classroom setting.

More Detailed Course Information

Registration for the fall remains open! We have new courses starting weekly. You can register anytime between today mid-November!

Please click on the links below for detailed course descriptions and instructor biographies and a printable schedule-at-a-glance.



Registration and Course Access

  1. Click on the Register Here button to register and pay the Senior College fee.
  2. Check your email: Within one business day an email will arrive a Zoom link and  instructions on access our virtual Seionr College courses via Zoom. 
    Please note: If may take one business day for the email to arrive in your inbox. 

Upcoming Events:

Know the 10 Signs
Monday, November 16, 2020, 10:30 am to 12noon
If you or someone you know is experiencing changes in memory, it's time to learn the facts.  Knowing the warning signs can help determine if you should speak to a doctor. Early detection matters. This event is offered in partnership with the Alzheimer's Association, Massachusetts and New Hampshire Chapter and is open to and free for all.

Please register for this no cost event by completing this online registration form. We will email you the Zoom link for this event 24 hours prior to the event.

The 2020 National Elections
Dr. Michael Kryzanek, Professor Emeritus, Political Science, Bridgewater State University
Weekly pre-recorded lectures will be emailed to you every Wednesday at noon.
(9/2, 9/9, 9/16, 9/23, 9/30, 10/7, 10/14, 10/21, 10/28, & 11/4)
Additionally, Dr. Kryzanek will offer to “live Zoom” conversations on Monday November 2, at 2 pm and Tuesday November 17th at 2 pm

The 2020 national elections are likely to be the most important exercise in popular participation in the modern history of the United States. On November 3rd millions of Americans will cast their ballots for national, state and local candidates and important ballot questions. But leading up to that momentous vote will be weeks of campaigning, policy recommendations, debates, and constant media analysis and scrutiny. In order to bring some clarity to this electoral process it is the intent of this video-based course to examine the many aspects and complexities of the 2020 national elections. 

Exploring Leadership: A Reflective Journey 
Christopher F. Ferraro, Assistant Director, Office of Residential Life & Housing, Bridgewater State University
Wednesdays, September 9, 23, October 7, & 21, 7 to 8 pm

Engage in a voyage of leadership in multiple venues such as history, business, entertainment, & day to day life. Through group learning & discussion, study leadership concepts along with evaluation of societal examples.  Apply course material to reflect on your leadership persona, including who you have been & an action plan for who you want to be in your personal and/or professional lives. 

Understanding Political Philosophies
Aeon J. Skoble, Department of Philosophy, Bridgewater State University
Mondays, September 14, 21, 28, and October 5, 10:30 to 11:30 am

George Orwell noted that words like "democracy" and "fascism" end up meaning, respectively, "things I like" and "things I don't like." But what really is it to be a supporter of democracy, or fascism?  This course will examine the actual workings of the major political theories.  What does it mean to be a socialist or a libertarian or an anarchist? Is there a difference between democracies and republics?   How do communism and capitalism differ? What do “liberal” and “conservative” mean? The course will be a mix of lecture and discussion.


A Panoramic View of The United States in the 1960's 
Dr. Erin Redihan      
Visiting Lecturer, History Department, Bridgewater State University
Mondays, September 21, 28, and October 5 & 19, 3 - 4 pm

This course will offer a panoramic look at a decade that looms large in American memory. Through a combination of lecture, discussion, and use of the Tom Brokaw documentary 1968, we will look back on the 1960s and arrive at some of the reasons why these years continue to evoke such strong nostalgia. Recommended reading will be James Patterson’s, The Eve of Destruction: How 1965 transformed America. The course will take a topical yet roughly chronological approach similar to how Patterson arranged his work.


Shaking the Tree: An Introduction to Genealogy Research
Dr. Cynthia B. Ricciardi, Visiting Lecturer, English Department, Bridgewater State University
Tuesdays, September 15, 22, 29, & October 6, 1:15 to 2:15 pm

This session covers the basics of how to begin and how to stay organized, understanding genealogical proof standards, using and evaluating sources, researching on the internet, and the value of exploring cemeteries. Handouts for research/record-keeping will be available.


Establishing a Safe Return to Global Travel
Gregory C. DeMelo
Director of Travel, Bridgewater State University
Tuesdays, September 15, 29, October 13, and 27, 4:15 to 5:15pm

The travel and tourism industry has drastically changed due to due the global pandemic caused by COVID-19. In this course you will learn about the current trends in the travel and tourism industry. You will discover important travel blogs including such topics as "5 Unbelievable U.S. Train Routes," "The Coolest Museum in Each State," “15 Most Beautiful Places in the US" and others. You will explore some of the instructor’s favorite international destinations and will learn how you can explore the world with BSU. 


Blogging: Be the published writer you always wanted to be!
Hank Sennott, Instructor, Communication Studies, Bridgewater State University
Thursdays, September 17, 24, October 1, & 8, 10 to 11am

Do you have great stories to tell? Advice on DIY projects?  Perspectives on issues that you want to share? Blogging gives you the opportunity to share your thoughts and ideas with an internet audience. This seminar will cover the basics of successful writing; the ins-and-outs of using blogging technology, and how to promote your site to an interested audience. When we're done, participants should have a blog site up and running.

The Angela Davis Moment: From #metoo to Black Lives Matter and Beyond
John J. Winters, Consultant for Creative Services & Publications and Visiting Lecturer, English Department Bridgewater State University
September 17, 24, October 1 & 8, 1 to 2 pm

Angela Davis is the godmother of modern activism. The course will examine the life events that shaped her, from growing up in “apartheid Birmingham,” to her involvement in the Black Power movement and arrest on capital crimes in 1970, to her subsequent half century of advocating for racial and gender equality, the abolition of prisons, and freedom for all oppressed peoples. Readings include Davis’ 1974 autobiography and selections from her fifty years of teaching and writing. Select video content will round out the course materials.

Wolf to the Modern-Day Dog: How Did We Get There? 
Mary Ellis, Assistant Administrative Dean of Undergraduate Studies, Bridgewater State University
Thursdays, September 17, 24 & October 1 & 8, 6 to 7 pm

In the 21st century we mainly think of dogs as pets. However, did you ever consider that canines are one of the most diverse and adaptable species of mammals on earth?  Each breed was specifically developed by man with an explicit job in mind. This course will look at how environment, man’s specific needs, and domestication shaped what we know as “the dog.”  This course will be presented in lecture and discussion format. Scholars will have the opportunity to ask questions that may arise while reading/watching material that explores how man shaped the modern-day dog to suit their environment. Thought provoking reading material will be provided.

Intercultural Communication
Dr. Jabbar A. Al-Obaidi, Professor of Communication Studies, Bridgewater State University
Thursdays, September 17, October 1, 29, & November 12, 6 to 7 pm

Intercultural Communication is a course designed to acquaint participants with the factors which affect interpersonal relationships among people of differing cultural backgrounds. Course objectives are to enable participants to become more sensitive to and tolerant of values and ideas expressed by others.

Personality and the Self 
Dr. Caroline Stanley
Associate Professor of Psychology, Bridgewater State University
Fridays, September 25, October 2, 9, & 16, 11am to Noon

Who am I? This course reviews various theoretical models (i.e., psychoanalytic, behavioral, humanistic) that can be used to understand one’s self. In doing so, we explore the tools that psychologists use to define and measure personality. This course also considers contextual factors (i.e., family, culture) that contribute to the development and expression of our personalities. In doing so, individuals will gain insight into their unique patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving.

Strategies for Eating Healthfully in Later Years
Dr. Kathleen Laquale, Professor, Movement Arts, Health Promotion and Leisure Studies, Bridgewater State University
Wednesdays, September 30, October 7, 14, & 21, 10 to 11am

It is well known that eating a variety of foods helps one receive all the nutrients required to help you stay active and independent. The problem is knowing how to accomplish that task during the aging process. The importance of nutrition in the older adult population is specifically critical in the prevention, development and progression of chronic disease such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke and osteoporosis.  All are common problems which can have devastating effects on functional capacity and quality of life. Thus, this course is designed for individuals who wish to reduce their risk of chronic disease by enhancing their nutritional knowledge regarding healthy eating and exercise.

Information Security and Cybersecurity: What do you need to know?
David Marion, Director of Information Security, Bridgewater State University
Wednesdays, October, 7, 14, 21 & 28, 4 to 5 pm

Information security and cybersecurity seem like they are all far too prevalent in the news cycles. How do you read a news story about cybersecurity and figure out what the story actually means? How do hackers break into email? What is a secure password? How can you spot a scam email? 

The History and Cultural Influence of Chinese Folk Dance
Cindy Li, Associate Librarian, Head of Emerging Technologies & Systems, Library Services, Bridgewater State University
Thursdays, October 8, 15, 22, & 29, 4:30 to 5:30 pm

In this course participants will learn about the influence, culture, and history of Chinese folk dance. The instructor will demonstrate some of the basic elements of Chinese Folk Dance and will analyze varied folk-dance styles, costumes and music. You will learn how to compare cultural differences among varied nationalities and will begin to understand the relationship between Chinese folk dance and other art forms such as Chinese opera. Participants watch videos, listen to the music, read online materials and perform themselves (if they are so inclined)! 

Election 2020    
Nan Loggains, History Professor, Bristol Community College
Wednesdays, October 14, 21, 28, & November 4, 11:15 to 12:15 pm 

This course is a for-week study of the 2020 election year. The course will consider the issues confronting American society and how they relate to the upcoming election. Topics covered include the electoral process, the candidates, the economy, foreign policy, the military, healthcare, energy, the environment, culture wars, civil liberties, socioeconomic policy, homeland security, and immigration. In addition, the course will examine the effect of the media on the 2020 races. Class discussion will be both in-depth and non-confrontational. The class will include short lectures, videos, in-class readings, and discussion.


The Art of Economics
Dr. Margaret Brooks 
Professor, Economics, Bridgewater State University
Mondays, October 19, 26, November 2, & 9, 10:40 to 11:40 am 

Economics is all around us, in ways we may not even see. In this course, we will examine how Economics concepts are expressed within art, music, photography, movies, architecture, and sports. By reviewing different examples of creative works each week, we will come to a better understanding of how Economics is a prevalent force in our lives.    

The Forgotten American Workhouse and Its Origins
Sandra Temple, Instructor, Senior College, Bridgewater State University
Mondays, October 19, 26, November 2, & 9, Noon to 1 pm

Before the Social Security Act of 1935, before Medicaid and Section 8 Housing, there was the poorhouse, or workhouse, the dreaded institution to which one had to go if no other support was available. The concept of the workhouse originated in England in the 17th century and was imported to America in the 1660’s by the colonists.  In this time of pandemic, high unemployment, and rising fear of mass evictions, perhaps it would be important to remind ourselves of how we once treated the poor and of how long these institutions survived, even into the 1970’s in places like Texas. This class is based, in part, on a History of Prisons course taught by this instructor for the Massachusetts Dept. of Correction at Norfolk State Prison.


Next Steps: Climbing Higher
Dr. Cynthia B. Ricciardi, Visiting Lecturer, English Department, Bridgewater State University
Tuesdays, October 20, 27, November 3, & 10, 1:15 to 2:15 pm

This session will expand our list of sources, and we will take a closer look at “ethnicity-specific” genealogy research, lineage/hereditary societies; the “brick wall” phenomenon, and the ever-expanding trend towards DNA-focused genealogy research.  Handouts for research/record-keeping will be available.

Path to a Healthier YOU! 
Mary Ellis, Assistant Administrative Dean of Undergraduate Studies, Bridgewater State University
Thursdays, October 22, 29 & November 5 & 12 6 to 7 pm

Holistic Wellness is a term that we hear an awful lot, but what does that really mean? This course will explore the concept of “whole person health” while applying and supporting each other on a personal health journey. Scholars should think about a health goal that they would personally like to work on (losing weight, stop smoking, increasing fruits and vegetables, increased moderate exercise, decreasing anxiety and/or stress, are some examples) as this course will help you devise a plan to become successful in your goal.  This course will be presented in a lecture style with many discussions with the group. 

The Olympics
Dr. Erin Redihan
Visiting Lecturer, History Department, Bridgewater State University
Mondays, October 26, November 2, 9, and 16, 3 - 4 pm
This course will offer a panoramic look at the Olympic Games, particularly in terms of their politicization. It is based largely on my own research on sport and the Cold War and will look at the Games from 1896 through the present, with special attention given to the role that the Cold War played.

Deja-Vu and Tricks of the Mind
Dr. Caroline Stanley
Associate Professor of Psychology, Bridgewater State University
Fridays, October 30, Nov 6, & 13, 11 am to Noon (please note, this course meets 3 times) 

This course provides an overview of memory, how it works, and how it plays “tricks.” It begins with a description of long- and short-term memory along with tips on how to improve memory. What follows is an explanation of how the mind can deceive us through forgetting, false memories, and experiences such as deja-vu.

Introduction to Microsoft Excel
Doug Sipiora, Systems Analyst, Information Technology, Bridgewater State University
Wednesdays, November 4, 18, December 2, & 9, 3 to 4 pm

Microsoft Excel is one of the most used software applications. You can use Excel to enter various types of data and perform financial, mathematical or statistical calculations.  This course will review creating a new Excel workbook, explore some of the different data types, and go over some of the functions that will help you to maximize the value of your data.  By the end of this course users will be opening Excel for simple tasks like preparing their weekly grocery list, to something more advanced like creating a monthly budget.

Coming to America: The Early American Immigration History
Charles Cox, Instructor, Senior College, Bridgewater State University
Wednesdays, November 4, 18, December 2, & 9, 10-11am

Wherever Americans have originally called home, by coming to the new world either by being forced to or by freely embarking on this adventure, they have shared three experiences. The first is the experience of the journey—the passage. Secondly, the adjustment to the harshness of the new world, both the natural wilderness and the reception of the indigenous people who were here before the Europeans.  And finally, the eventual adaptability to the new culture of which they became, over time, integral parts. It has always been the single most American experience of all the far-ranging experiences individual groups coming to this country endured. It was four hundred years ago when the first Europeans settled in what was then known as Anglo-America. We shall examine each chapter of this experience highlighting various groups through these four centuries to learn that, despite the long time frame involved, little has changed among all the groups who endure this experience.

Understanding Today's Media
Hank Sennott, Instructor, Communication Studies, Bridgewater State University
Thursdays, November 5, 12, 19, and December 3, 10 to 11am

Trying to make sense of how we receive and process all the information we are bombarded with today? How do you tell the real news from the fake? This seminar will trace the history of our exploding media universe; discuss examples of how current events are portrayed and offer suggestions about navigating the information overload.

The American Home Front During World War II    
Nan Loggains, History Professor, Bristol Community College
Wednesdays, November 18, December 2, 9, & 16, 11 am to Noon

This course is a four-week study of life on the American home front during World War II. The course will consider the issues and events facing American society during the war years. Topics covered include the draft, women’s roles, bond drives, migration, wartime boom towns, and rationing. In addition, the course will examine American culture during the period. 

Marine Conservation Challenges
Dr. Andrea Bogomolni
Thursdays, November 19, December 3, 10, & 17, 6 to 7 pm

As human populations grow and resources become more limited, our oceans are facing unique challenges to keep up with the demand.  These challenges come at the intersection of energy development, food systems, tourism, conservation and more.  In this course we will take an in-depth look at several of these issues to understand the complexities of each story and the work being done to balance the need for resources and the need for sustainable practices and healthy oceans. 

Choreographing and Performing Identity
Dr. Luis Paredes, Director, Institutional Diversity, Bridgewater State University
Thursdays, November 5, 12, 19, and December 3, 4:45 to 5:45 pm

Culture is rooted in the experiences of the body. Dance and the meanings associated with the performing body are difficult signifiers to discern. The senses developed or traced to any performing body are subjective. This difficulty is embedded in the nonverbal nature of dance and requires external analysis, albeit performances becoming records of short-lived events, exposing various interpretations. Employing theories from Anthropology, Sociology, and Cultural Studies, this course analyzes identity performances through an emphasis on African diasporic studies in Latin America. In the process of performing national identity reinventions and revivals, students will examine the black body, performativity, race-representations, gender, and the transnationalization of blackness.