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Learning Enrichment Programs through Creating Landscapes

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"Bollywood or Bust" is a course for adult learners that was taught in fall 2023

Creating Landscapes is a multi-faceted program that feeds the Meadville community's appetites in many ways. Founded by Prof. Jan Hyatt, a retired Dance instructor from Allegheny College, the program hosts a number of initiatives such as the community garden that brings members together in ecological activities from soil to plate. There have been summer creative arts camps for kids of all ages, and continuing enrichment learning programs for Honors students in local middle and high schools, as well as adult learners.

I have been teaching classes for the Creating Landscapes middle/high school students and for adult learners since 2016. In our first round, we explored "Global Popular Culture" -- a journey that took us across different countries and their unique responses to global issues and events as manifested in their art and artifacts.


Another course I taught on "Manufactured Lives" investigated how, in a hyper-mediated world, we are developing multiple malleable identities, redefining intimacy and relationships, grappling to understand the shifting values of the online world, and becoming transfixed by the constant need for shock and awe. 

A recent offering called "Seven Deadly Sins: Rethinking the World We Live In," took its inspiration from a quote by Dante Alighieri. "The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis," he wrote, in the thirteenth century. The course re-visited this statement in light of current global news and unfolding events, viewed through the l contemporary moral and ethical landscape. As a class, we critically analyzed contemporary social and political case studies, arriving at the new "sins" that they embody.

In the 2019-20 academic year, the focus was on exploring "How Great Minds Think Differently", with the high school cohort, and the "Culture of Objects", with adult learners.

With the post-pandemic revival of the adult learning courses, we studied Bollywood cinema and social issues in fall 2023, and "Where's the Beef?" or how advertising shapes culture in spring 2024.


It has been a privilege to meet the wonderful community members who participate in this program. One of them, Eleanor Davies, at 97 years of age, was my oldest student. She had a unique zest for life, missed just one class (because of surgery), and taught all of us a whole lot about the history of the town we're in, and that she had witnessed first-hand! Another great lady was Nancy Sheridan, whose lasting legacy will be the doors she opened to students from all walks of life. Thanks to a scholarship established by her, young women with intellectual ambition can get their first taste of higher learning at Allegheny College.

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Above: Coffee at the Sailor Moon Cafe, Tokyo. 

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Above: If social media sites could be matched with the Seven Deadly Sins, here's what that would look like.

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Above Left: Eleanor H. Davies (September 30, 1919 - May 30, 2017) -- a great lady, who at 97 years of age, firmly believed that you were never too old to learn new things.

Above Right: Nancy Sheridan (04 Aug. 1928 - 22 June 2022). A dynamo, who served Allegheny College for 42 years as a Psychometrist, Study Skills Counselor, Director of Student Services, Associate Director of the Learning Commons, and Director of Accommodations for Students With Disabilities. A lifelong lover of learning, she established the Nancy Sheridan Allegheny College Association Continuing Education Scholarship, and was also instrumental in the organization and participated in Allegheny's Elder Learning force, which offers free college lecture series to seniors in the community.

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