SMCM To Offer Community Classes at Wildwood - Southern Maryland Headline News

SMCM To Offer Community Classes at Wildwood

Classes on China, Politics of the American Presidency, and Art at Wildewood Community Center Beginning January 23

Frank van Aalst, Professor of World History will teach Understanding China I: Cultural History starting January at Wildewood Community Center.
Frank van Aalst, SMCM Professor of World History, with China’s terra cotta soldiers in Xi’an. Van Aalst will teach two courses on China at Wildewood’s Community Center beginning Jan. 23, as part of St. Mary’s College of Maryland’s new Grace and John Horton Explorations in Learning program. (Photo courtesy of SMCM)

ST. MARY'S CITY, Md. (Dec. 13, 2007) - Starting in January, the Office of Lifelong Learning & Professional Programs at St. Mary's College of Maryland will offer a new program of non-credit classes at Wildewood Village Community Center in California, Maryland. Courses on art, presidential politics, and Chinese culture will be offered for a fee of $75 per class. The courses are open to the public and scheduled for both day and evening sessions. The timing and level of the classes are tailored to appeal to senior adults.

The courses will focus on contemporary issues and follow the successful programs done at Asbury Solomon retirement community in Solomons, Maryland. The Wildewood courses will be open to the entire Southern Maryland Community. Lectures will be presented by College faculty.

The program is named in honor of Grace and John Horton, whose tireless efforts were crucial to the creation and success of the College's pilot program at Asbury. John Horton, who died last June, moved with his family to St. Mary's County in the late '70s after a long career in the Central Intelligence Agency where his last position was chief of the Soviet Division.

After building a house near Sotterley, the Hortons became active in the local community. Grace Hor-ton was a charter member of the SMC League of Women Voters and served two terms as presi-dent. She was appointed by the County Commissioners to the Human Relations Board and later to the Affordable Housing Study group. She was a founding member of Health Share and a trustee of Sotter-ley.

John Horton's interests and expertise led him to environmental matters. He was active in the local Si-erra Club and a member of the Elms Board. In the '90s he was instrumental in getting the state of Maryland and St. Mary's County to designate as wild lands 2000 acres on the St. Mary's River. In l996, he became the second recipient of the Sierra Club's Bernie Fowler Award. Throughout this period, he wrote three espionage novels and a war memoir.

The courses scheduled for the spring semester are:

Understanding China I: Cultural History
Frank van Aalst, Professor of World History

It is increasingly important, as China's economic and political power increases in the world, that Americans understand the people with whom we interact in the workplace, in the marketplace and at the bargaining table. This course will address the diversity which the Chinese inherit from their cul-tural history. Topics will include Land and People, Grand Public Works, System of Government, the Arts, Science and Technology, and Social Stability. Professor van Aalst has recently returned from leading a group on China's Silk Road.

January 23 - February 28
Two sessions available: Wednesdays 7- 9 p.m. or Thursdays 10 a.m. - Noon

What Is Art; What Is Beauty?
Alan Paskow, Professor of Philosophy

When we look at a work of art, what do we contact beside the material object? Does it tell us some-thing about what is important about the world, or is it only pleasing to our senses? What is the best way to understand the effect that art has on us? How is it to be interpreted? How is it to be evaluated? What role do historical conventions play in our experience of artworks? We will take examples pri-marily from painting as bases for our reflections and discussion. This is not a course in art history or criticism. We will deal instead with issues that are foundational to these disciplines.

January 24 - February 28
Thursdays 7- 9 p.m.

Understanding China II: Entering the Modern World
Frank van Aalst, Professor of World History

China's history during the time that Europe became modern is a dramatic account of success and fail-ure pre-dating the contemporary success that places it in the ranks of the superpowers. This course will consider that history, including topics such as China's Response to the West, Attempts at Reform, the Communist Experiment, After Mao, America's Workshop, and Current Conditions. Professor van Aalst has recently returned from leading a group along China's Silk Road, including its modern loca-tions of Beijing, Suzhou and Shanghai.

March 12 - April 17
Two sessions available: Wednesdays 7 - 9 p.m. or Thursdays 10 a.m. - Noon

The U.S. Presidency
Professors Tom Stevens (History), and Todd Eberly and Michael Cain (Political Science)

The executive branch of the federal government as it exists today is a combination of the definition contained in the U.S. Constitution and the experience acquired in the nation's history since 1789. This course will begin with a consideration of the constitutional provisions establishing the presidency and will proceed on a historical journey to examine how the exercise of presidential responsibilities through time has further shaped the nature of the office as we perceive it in our own time. In consider-ing this issue, we will focus on the major forces influencing presidential leadership - politics, econom-ics, personality, foreign affairs, etc. The first segment will focus on the intentions of the founding fa-thers and the first presidents; the second will focus on the 20th century; and the final session will con-sider the issues in the current campaign.

March 13 - April 17
Thursdays 7- 9 p.m.

To register, call 240-895-2200, e-mail kjgrimes (at), or download the brochure and application at .

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