Mark your calendars! 10 new lifelong learning classes for Fall 2024! Registration opens July 8!

4 retired friends sitting outside on a porch smiling at the camera

Learning for a Lifetime at WSU

Lifelong Learning courses cater specifically to individuals aged 60 and above, offering both in-person and online options. The courses, taught by qualified university faculty, consist of four classes held once a week for four weeks, with each class lasting approximately two hours. These courses operate on an audit basis, allowing students to participate without paying tuition fees, and scholarships are available to cover application and course fees for those who enroll before a specified deadline. There are no textbooks to purchase as all required materials are provided by WSU, and there are no tests or grades. The coursework encourages cohort-based learning, offering seniors the opportunity to engage in genuine college-level learning experiences.

 

All course work will be offered in-person and online.

In person classes will be held from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. at the Wichita State University Metropolitan Complex located at 5015 E. 29th St. North. 

Online classes will be available. Students who select this option will receive a link via email each week to view the class on their own device. Students can watch the the recording at their convenience.

The schedule of courses can be found below. Live in-person classes will meet from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. Students who enroll in the online option can access the classes online anytime.

Courses

The Changing Nature of Warfare I

Mondays, August 5, 12, 19 & 26 | 1-3p
This course delves into the intricate and evolving nature of warfare over the past three decades by focusing on two significant conflicts: the Bosnian War and the ongoing conflict in Palestine. This course will examine the causes of these wars, the developments and their lasting impacts, through which students will gain a deeper understanding of the socio-political dynamics, international interventions and the profound human impact of these conflicts, equipping them with the analytical skills to assess contemporary and future conflicts.
In this class, students will...
 - Identify ideas, behaviors and policies of the major parties to each of these wars and of outside powers including the U.S. and NATO/EU nations toward the wars and those fighting them.
 - Identify the facts of these wars and the ramifications, in one case after almost 30 years and in the other yet to be determined: who did what when and what were the outcomes.
 - Learn through primary source documents, snippets of documentary footage, photographs and lecture about these two devastating anti-civilian wars.
Instructor: Dr. Gretchen Eick, Lecturer, Department of History, Wichita State University

American Art: Cassatt, Eakins and Homer

Tuesdays, August 6, 13, 20 & 27 | 1-3p
This course explores the lives and works of Mary Cassatt, Thomas Eakins and Winslow Homer, focusing on the development of American art in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Students will study their contributions to printmaking, pastel, watercolor and photography, gaining deeper appreciation through visual analysis and interpretation. The course situates these works within their social and cultural contexts, examining the relationship between artistic processes and underlying concepts. Optional: Students are encouraged to view the artists’ work at the Wichita Art Museum for a richer understanding of the course material.
In this class, students will...
 - Gain a deeper appreciation of the art through visual analysis and interpretation skills.
 - Learn to situate the works of art in their social and cultural contexts.
 - Understand the relationship between artistic process and a work’s underlying concept, and where appropriate, contexts associated with the work.
 - Identify and analyze the formal elements of a particular art form using vocabulary and critique appropriate to that form.
 - Demonstrate knowledge of diverse artistic traditions and materials in northern Europe during the fifteenth through seventeenth centuries.
Instructor: Dan Kirchhefer, Lecturer, College of Fine Arts of Art, Design and Creative Industries, Wichita State University

Kansas Rocks! The Geology of Kansas

Wednesdays, August 7, 14, 21 & 28 | 1-3p
The history of the Earth has been divided into segments – eons, eras and periods – to make studying and understanding our geologic past more manageable. Rocks from almost all periods are found in Kansas, indicating a rich and active geologic history from the formation of Earth to present-day. Find out why Kansas Rocks!, geologically speaking, as we explore the state when it was hot, underwater and covered in ice. We’ll be making stops along the way to see major landforms, meet some ancient creatures, learn why we have earthquakes and find out why geology and plate tectonics are the reasons for our state’s natural resources.
In this class, students will...
 - List the eons, eras and periods of geologic time.
 - Describe the theory of plate tectonics.
 - Relate geologic landforms and features in Kansas to plate tectonics.
 - Discuss how and why Kansas came to have the natural resources it does.
 - Compare and contrast Kansas’ Permian ocean with Kansas’ Cretaceous ocean.
Instructor: Heather Merchant, Lecturer, Department of Geology, Wichita State University

Forgotten Film Genres

Thursdays, August 8, 15, 22 & 29 | 1-3p
This course explores 20th-century narrative film genres in the United States, focusing on those that have been forgotten in mainstream cinema. Students will engage in discussions to define film genres versus trends and examine recent nostalgia or novelty films that echo past genres. The course will also delve into the societal contexts and cultural shifts contributing to these forgotten genres. Through this course, students will gain knowledge of diverse film genres, their characteristics and specific elements.
In this class, students will...
 - Demonstrate knowledge of the characteristics of a film genre.
 - Provide examples of diverse film genres in the United States during the 20th century.
 - Identify and discuss the elements of specific film genres.
Instructors: Dr. Jennifer Friend, Dean, College of Applied Studies, Wichita State University; & Tim Friend, Instructor, College of Applied Studies, Wichita State University

From Vinyl to Viral: A Musical Time Capsule

Mondays, September 9, 16, 23 & 30 | 1-3p
This engaging course takes you on a captivating journey through the history of American popular music. Explore how music has evolved from vinyl records to digital streaming, uncovering iconic genres, artists and cultural movements along the way. Whether you’re a music enthusiast or a curious learner, discover the fascinating stories behind the songs that shaped generations in this immersive exploration of musical history.
In this class, students will...
 - Trace the evolution of popular music from its early roots in the 20th century to the present day, exploring key milestones, genres and influential artists.
 - Examine the cultural and societal impact of popular music movements such as rock ‘n’ roll, punk, hip-hop and electronic dance music (EDM).
 - Analyze how advancements in technology, from vinyl records to digital streaming platforms, have shaped the production, distribution and consumption of popular music.
 - Identify significant musical trends, innovations and collaborations that have left a lasting imprint on the landscape of popular music worldwide.
Instructor: Steve Hatfield, Lecturer, School of Music, Wichita State University

Jukebox Musicals: From Concept to Controversy

Tuesdays, September 10, 17, 24 & October 1 | 1-3p
This course will explore the type of musical theatre now known as the “Jukebox” Musical.  Although terminology for different types of musical theatre has evolved over the years, the term probably became most prominent with the success and popularity of Mamma Mia in a London production in 1999. Today’s Broadway is heavily dominated by this form and it has evoked both criticism and praise from the theatre goers. 
In this class, students will...
 - Explore how and why the “Jukebox” musical developed.
 - Discover its impact on today’s Broadway and why it’s so popular.
 - Explore the historical context of popular music and how it was integral to the  formation of Musical Theatre, one of American’s unique art forms. 
 - Explore the love/hate relationship between audience members and theatre critics concerning this art form.
Instructor: Linda Starkey, Retired Faculty, Lecturer, School of Performing Arts, Wichita State University

A History of Serial Fiction

Wednesdays, September 11, 18, 25 & October 2 | 1-3p
What is it about the phrase “to be continued” that makes us want to read (or watch or listen) to more? Why do cliffhangers pack such a punch? In this course, we’ll explore the appeal of seriality through a history of serial fiction. From ancient bards and eighteenth-century newspapers to Victorian bestsellers and WWII radio shows, we’ll investigate the surprising flexibility and entertainment of serial storytelling. Because serial fiction has often been brushed aside by scholars as “low brow” and “unserious,” our course will face this critique head-on and study the enduring value of popular literature. In doing so, we’ll study just what makes the serial form so engaging for so many audiences. 
In this class, students will...
 - Develop foundational skills in literary analysis.
 - Evaluate a narrative form, its aims and its methods.
 - Analyze the historical development of serial fiction.
Instructor: Dr. Katie Lanning, Assistant Professor of English, Department of English, Wichita State University

Presidential Campaign Communications

Mondays, October 21, 28 & November 4, 18 | 1-3p
This course critically examines the theory and practice behind the communicative aspects of modern presidential campaigns. Students will explore topics such as political persuasion, advertising strategies, the dynamics of political debates and the significance of political conventions. Through this exploration, students will learn how modern campaigns for the presidency operate in the realms of persuasion, debate, advertising and conventions, both theoretically and in practice.
In this class, students will...
 - Articulate the theory and practice of modern campaigns for the presidency in the areas of persuasion, political debate, advertising and political conventions.
Instructor: Dr. Jeffrey Jarman, Professor and Director, Elliott School of Communication, Wichita State University

*No class Monday, November 11*

Next Year Country: Survival on the Plains of Kansas

Tuesdays, October 22, 29 & November 5, 12 | 1-3p
This course delves into the dynamic narrative of Kansas during the pivotal sixty-year period from 1870 to 1939, tracing its evolution through a myriad of changes and challenges. From the era of Cattle Drives and town boosterism to the revolutionary advent of aviation and the harrowing struggles of the depression and the Dust Bowl, students will explore the rich tapestry of Kansas history. We will also identify the diverse array of people and communities that populated Kansas in the post-Civil War era, examining how the state navigated through droughts, legislative hurdles, technological advancements and economic downturns.
In this class, students will...
 - Identify the people and communities in Kansas in the post-Civil War era and how Kansas evolved over the next 60-75 years through drought, legislative challenges, technology and finally the struggles of the depression and the Dust Bowl.
 - Understand the unique role of the Kansas story within the larger national context during this evolving period. 
 - Examine the scholarship that already exists regarding this often forgotten period in Kansas history. 
Instructor: Ken Spurgeon, Lecturer, Department of History, Wichita State University

The Geology of National Parks of the World

Wednesdays, October 23, 30 & November 6, 13 | 1-3p
From Aruba to Zimbabwe, this course will explore the geology of national parks around the world. In the United States, our National Park system was established in 1872 with the creation of Yellowstone National Park. Since then, nearly 100 countries have established National Park systems, which provide visitors with some of the most spectacular scenery the world has to offer. Many of these parks were designated due to their inspiring and unique geologic features and are locations of ancient and often ongoing geologic events. Join us as we take a trip around the world to visit National Parks in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Americas and Oceania, while we learn how to recognize geologic features and interpret the story behind the scenery.
In this class, students will...
 - Recognize the physical geology behind the scenery in parks.
 - Explain the formation of geologic features using plate tectonics. 
 - Analyze why most parks are found along plate boundaries.
 - Identify potential impacts of human activity on parks.
 - Define basic geologic terms and processes.
Instructor: Heather Merchant, Lecturer, Department of Geology, Wichita State University

 

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FAQs

How do I register?

There are four ways to register.

  1. Fill out the form you received with the catalog in the mail and mail the form back to us.
  2. Download and print the PDF form, fill it out, and mail the form to us.
  3. Download the fillable PDF form, fill it out, and email the form to us.
  4. Call 316-978-3264 to register over the phone. 
Where are the classes?

In person classes will be held at the Wichita State University Metropolitan Complex located at 5015 E. 29th St. North, Wichita, KS 67220.

Can I register if I am not over 60?

Students who are younger than 60 years of age can enroll in these courses, but will pay regular tuition and fees. If you're younger than 60 and have NOT previously been admitted to WSU, you can apply here. If you've already been admitted as a student at WSU, you can register for these classes through the myWSU portal. You will need the CRN number for the courses in which you would like to register. The CRN number and additional details for each course can be found in the course brochure. Once you are registered, all you need to do is show up at the first day of class and present a Medicare card or driver's license to validate age. In addition, you will be required to pay all fees (via check or cash only) at your first class (if applicable).

How do the online classes work?

Students who choose the online class will receive a link each week by email. Click the link view the class on your own device at your convenience. You can choose to watch the class at the scheduled live time or you can watch the recording at a later date or time that is more convenient for you. 

Are the same courses offered each semester?

We do not typically repeat classes semester to semester. Each fall and spring brings new options for our learners. Several of our instructors teach classes each semester, so if you like a particular instructor, make sure to check back in because they might be teaching another class the next semester. 

What types of courses are offered?

All Lifelong learning courses are lecture-based. Topics include arts, art history, history, science, literature, political science, philosophy, music and many more! 

1098-T Tax Form

Please be aware that you will be receiving a 1098-T tax form from WSU. Even though you are auditing the classes and some of the fees could be scholarshipped by the University, we are required by the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) to provide you with a 1098-T form. For more information regarding the 1098-T, please visit www.wichita.edu/1098t.

Auditing Classes

The information on this page applies only to the courses offered at the designated locations. For information on senior citizen audits of credit courses located on the main campus or satellite locations, please visit their registration page.

Stay Updated

Please enter your contact information below to be added to our Lifelong Learning email list.  We will inform you of new classes as they become available.

 

Contact Us

WSU Lifelong Learning

 

lifelonglearning@wichita.edu | 316-978-3264

1845 Fairmount Street, Box 136, Wichita, KS 67260-0136

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Wichita State University is committed to meeting the personal, educational, and career needs of adults of all ages.

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