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Letters to the Editor
Click on the above link to let us know what you think!
Click on the link below to register for the next Lunch Colloquium on Monday September 15 at 11:30 am.
If you would like to find other EUEC members interested in taking a MOOC together, an OLLI course together, or possibly teaching together in an OLLI course, click on the following link to send an email:
This newsletter is sent to members and friends of the Emory University Emeritus College (EUEC). I hope the newsletter will help keep you informed about our activities and help you feel connected with our members throughout the U.S. On the left are links to our website and links to contact either me or Isha Edwards in the EUEC office.
With best wishes,
Gray F. Crouse
Message from the Director
This issue of the newsletter has a lot about OLLI. If the survey of recently retired faculty that I conducted earlier this year is any guide, a lot of you don't know about OLLI. I hope you will read the articles about OLLI and about the experiences of some of our members who have taught in OLLI. Even more importantly, I hope some of you will decide to teach a course in OLLI. Teaching is a great gift that we can offer to OLLI, to Emory, and to the Atlanta community; OLLI students very much want to hear from more emeritus faculty. We are offering some fellowships to encourage your participation. For those of you who no longer live in the Atlanta area, there are over a hundred OLLIs throughout the U.S., connected with various universities. You might want to see if there are any near you.
There is more in this issue than just about OLLI. Our Lunch Colloquium series starts next week, and there is information about our first colloquium, and a convenient link for you to click and sign up. This will be a great opportunity to hear about the Beckett Project and the contributions that many EUEC members have made to the project. Our Service Committee has made the news--check out what they have been doing, and see how many members you can spot in the news clip. In this issue we have a new feature--a book review by one of our members. The review is interesting because Stewart Roberts writes about a book on U.S. healthcare from the perspective of his own long career as a physician. I hope others of you will be inspired to provide similar articles!
If you would like to comment on an article or make a suggestion, please click on the Letters to the Editor link to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I thank Herb Benario, Gretchen Schulz, and John Bugge for help with proofing and editing.
"A Letter is not a Tweet": Emory's Editing of The Letters of Samuel Beckett
Read below about our first Lunch Colloquium of the fall semester on Monday, September 15 at 11:30 here at the Luce Center. You may also click on the link in the left column to register for the Colloquium.
OLLI Teaching FellowshipsIn order to encourage EUEC members to offer additional OLLI courses, EUEC will be offering a few EUEC-OLLI Teaching Fellowships this fall.
Who is OLLI?
When I began my position as Senior Director of Faculty Affairs in the Provost's office last fall, I talked with a number of faculty who had recently retired, and several mentioned "Ollie" and how good "Ollie" was. I had never heard of "Ollie," but thanks to Google, I discovered that "Ollie" was actually OLLI, and was an abbreviation for Emory's Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.
Click to read more below
Teaching at OLLI
As explained elsewhere in this newsletter, I believe EUEC members can contribute even more to OLLI teaching. There are eight EUEC members who have taught OLLI courses (Herb Benario, John Bugge, George de Man, Dorothy Fletcher, Trudy Kretchman, Stephen Margolis, Clark Poling, Michael Zeiler). There are many more EUEC members who could offer intellectually stimulating courses, and to spur that development, EUEC is going to offer OLLI Teaching Fellowships.
Click to read more below, including reports from members about teaching at OLLI
EUEC Service Committee in the News!
Our Service Committee was recently on TV. You can find out about the occasion, see the news clip, and discover how you could be a part of this committee in the article that follows.
OLLI Fall Course Schedule
A press release from OLLI gives information about OLLI, its location, and the courses as well as a link to the entire schedule. If there are courses you would like to take, but can't find, please encourage fellow EUEC members to teach them!Click to read more below
EUEC member Stewart Roberts writes about the book UNACCOUNTABLE What Hospitals Won't Tell You and How Transparency Can Revolutionize Health Care
by Marty Makary. Read below to see what one of our MDs thinks about this scathing analysis of U.S. hospitals and doctors.Click to continue reading below
Service Committee in the news, contd.
The goal of the Emeritus College Service Committee is to assist in matching members' interests with volunteer opportunities for service to the community and to the University.
At present, the main ongoing volunteer activity of the Committee is to sort and pack unused medical supplies one afternoon a month at MedShare (http://medshare.org). MedShare is a nonprofit organization located in Decatur that delivers surplus unused medical supplies and equipment to hospitals in more than 85 developing nations. These surplus supplies would otherwise end up in landfills. This year will mark the sixth year that members have participated in this activity going on the fourth Thursday of the month from 1-4PM. Members car pool from the Emory area and new volunteers are very welcomed. Contact Service Committee co-chairs, Marianne Scharbo-DeHaan (email@example.com) or Ali Crown (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you're interested in joining the group.
Recently, several Committee members were seen in a Georgia Public Broadcasting piece that highlighted the work of MedShare. It is now on U-tube at:
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"A Letter is not a Tweet": Emory's Editing of The Letters of Samuel Beckett
Speakers: Lois Overbeck, Managing Editor of The Correspondence of Samuel Beckett, Graduate School, and Brenda Bynum, EUEC Member and Professor Emerita of Theater
Lunch Colloquium, Monday September 15, 11:30 am, The Luce Center Room 130
The Letters of Samuel Beckett has been a project of the Laney Graduate School since 1990. From its inception, the editing project has included students in the research and all phases leading up to publication. More than 100 "Beckett Fellows" have enriched their graduate study with their involvement in the edition and have gone on use the model of this "humanities laboratory" in their own classrooms. The Emeritus College has joined the project as a cadre of volunteers who proofread the manuscripts. Editor Lois Overbeck will present an overview of the edition, so when the third volume is published by Cambridge University Press in November, you can celebrate with us, as "insiders" to the project. Brenda Bynum, chief cheerleader for all things Beckett, will introduce the talk, and share some of her favorite moments along the way.
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OLLI Teaching Fellowships
EUEC offers research fellowships in various forms to help foster members' research, and in this same spirit, we would like to support and encourage our members in their teaching. This is a pilot program, and the Executive Committee will evaluate its success after this trial. For this pilot, the rules are fairly simple:
- Any member is eligible, whether or not the member has taught in OLLI before. However, the course to be taught must be different from courses the member has taught before.
- Fellowships can be awarded to individuals. Applications from more than one EUEC member are encouraged, and applications from members representing more than one school are particularly encouraged.
- Each fellowship will be $250, on a per course basis.
- Applications should be sent to email@example.com and should include a list of those teaching the course, a short CV for each teacher, a title and short description of the course, and a brief outline of what will be covered in 8 classes of 1 hour each. A cover letter should outline the experiences and interests of the faculty and how those will contribute to the success of the course, as well as other information that might help the selection committee to evaluate the proposal.
- Those receiving an award will be designated a 2014 EUEC-OLLI Teaching Fellow.
- Applications will start being evaluated on October 6, but will be accepted after that date.
There is enormous talent in EUEC and many of you could offer courses that those in OLLI would be eager to take. I encourage you to think creatively about what you might offer, and read the other articles in this newsletter about OLLI.
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Who is OLLI contd.
I was not alone in the lack of knowledge about OLLI. Earlier this year I conducted a survey of recently retired faculty and nearly a third of them had also not heard of OLLI. Emory's program is one of 119 programs throughout the U.S. endowed by the Osher Institute. Click to read about OLLI: Osher Website. On their website is found the following:
There is considerable variation among the Osher Institutes but the common threads remain: non-credit educational programs specifically developed for seasoned adults who are aged 50 and older; university connection and university support; robust volunteer leadership and sound organizational structure; and a diverse repertoire of intellectually stimulating courses. The designation of each grantee as "The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of X" is a condition of the Foundation's grant-making as is the use of a logo which consists of a simple circle with the words "Osher Lifelong Learning Institute" arranged within.
John Bugge and I have had several conversations with OLLI leadership. There are several reasons we believe that a much stronger relationship between EUEC and OLLI is warranted:
1) OLLI is a part of Emory--included under ECE, Emory Continuing Education. Thus helping strengthen OLLI is one way of helping Emory University.
2) OLLI is very interested in making major expansions in courses. EUEC represents a tremendous resource for providing intellectually stimulating courses, and the OLLI Curriculum Committee is extremely interested in having greater participation of EUEC members in teaching.
3) More OLLI courses will in turn provide a greater choice of courses for EUEC members to take.
How can I help OLLI?
There are several ways that EUEC members can help OLLI:
- Teach! This is a real opportunity to think creatively about teaching. The course you teach doesn't have to be in your vocational subject--it can be in one of your side passions. Your students will not have to take a standardized test at the end of the course so you don't have to teach a certain curriculum. You also don't have to teach by yourself. This is a great opportunity to offer interdisciplinary courses. There are many topics of interest that span multiple disciplines and could be a way of getting to know EUEC members in other schools. Read the article elsewhere in this issue about OLLI teaching fellowships.
- Tell your friends and neighbors about OLLI. OLLI is trying to expand its reach, and in order to get a second endowment from the Osher Institute needs to have at least 1000 members. They are at present several hundred from that goal.
- Volunteer for one of the OLLI committees. Pat Miller (not our Pat Miller!) is the dynamic volunteer leader who has developed a plan to take OLLI to the next level of quality and activity. There are four committees of volunteers: Curriculum; two "growth committees," fundraising and endowment; membership and volunteer recruitment; and a hospitality and event-planning committee. Your participation on any of the committees would be welcome.
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Teaching at OLLI, contd.
What course should I teach?
Some of you have taught courses that with adaptation could be of interest to the OLLI audience. Others may not have taught courses at all, or may have taught only advanced courses of interest to a specialist audience. This is a chance to be creative! OLLI is interested in having faculty who teach their passion, even if that is not what they taught for a salary. Many of the pressing issues of today are inherently interdisciplinary and involve a combination of knowledge that very few individuals would possess (healthcare politics; healthcare ethics; climate change; all sorts of ethical issues [the Emory Center for Ethics taught a course in the Senior University at Mercer (!) that covered a wide range of ethics and involved 6 different faculty]; and many other areas that I am sure you could name). Some of the people on the OLLI Curriculum Committee did some brainstorming and came up with topics that they thought would be of interest. You can see those suggestions by clicking here, but the list is by no means exhaustive. If you are interested in getting together with other EUEC members to teach a course, but are unsure exactly what to teach or whom to teach with, click on EUEC-Courses to send an email stating your interest and asking for volunteers to teach with you.
At what level should I aim the course?
In general, the best advice is to plan the course as if you were teaching EUEC members not in your own area of expertise. You can read about EUEC members' experiences in teaching OLLI classes below and one theme is that of engaged and intelligent learners. OLLI students, after all, are paying their own money to take classes because they are interested in them and not because they want an A so they can go to medical school. Most OLLI students want to be challenged.
What is it like to teach an OLLI course?
Here are experiences from four of our members who have taught in OLLI:
From John Bugge:
And gladly wolde he . . . teche at OLLI
One day at the end of my class on Chaucer's Miller's Tale,one of my OLLI students, a gentleman of about my own vintage, came up and asked me if I'd actually conducted myself with undergraduates the way I'd done with his fellow seniors that day. I assured him I had, but I was puzzled by what he might have meant by the question. Was he alluding to my insistence that students read the poetry in the original Middle English, or (more likely), was he abashed to suspect that I had so freely conversed with undergraduates, too, about The Miller's Tale's notorious dirty bits? (Yes, to both questions, by the way.)
This was during the first of the four courses I have taught at OLLI in my specialty of medieval English literature, and the encounter was symptomatic of the odd dislocations one experiences when making the switch to a student population of one's own generational cohort. And I'm pleased to be able to say that there are a number of unexpected felicities that come with an over-50 student body.
For one thing, these people are all hungry for what you have to say, happy to be in your class, and enthusiastic about learning something new. The old bromide about how "Education is wasted on the young" was never entirely fair, but you're inclined see the larger truth behind it when you see how little of what you have to say in class escapes this group of elders. Furthermore, they are better than undergraduates in one significant respect: each comes to class armed with decades of the sort of life-experience that makes what the humanities and social sciences have to say about the human condition that much more accessible. (It doesn't hurt, either, that, as my near-contemporaries, they get my often very dated jokes.) Third, while a few sometimes didn't manage to do all the reading I'd assigned, I found that many went beyond the assignment and brought in extra material they'd researched on their own. Finally, and paradoxically, the ambiance in an OLLI class feels a lot more collegial than in a "college" class, for there's a more palpable sense of a shared intellectual enterprise when one is, as the instructor, only primus inter pares.
Still, it's not a perfect pedagogical situation. Sometimes you feel the students, especially those who haven't done the reading, are there just to be entertained - your lecture as performance. Moreover, even the apparently best prepared among them are not accustomed to the Socratic method; they were often uncomfortable when I'd ask a question in class, and they could be as timid about speaking up as any lowly freshman. And, since there are no tests or grades, you don't have any way to pressure them to get more deeply engaged. Maybe that's a good thing, of course, but it makes for a quite different classroom dynamic than one is used to. You might think that since these students are paying customers, they would be more assertive about getting their money's worth. But, then again, they don't pay all that much! The hour I spent on The Miller's Tale set each student back about $3.75 at the going rate then. The issue is not that I didn't see a penny of this myself (at the moment nearly all OLLI teachers are unpaid); it's that, paying less than what they would to park for an hour at Emory Hospital, OLLI students are perhaps not persuaded to see their hour in class as especially valuable.
But even without an honorarium - and this may change with more active participation by members of the Emeritus College - the experience of teaching bestows genuine spiritual value on those who do it. One benefit is simply the reward of teaching something that you know "cold": frankly, it's good for one's ego to be the expert again; retired academics need this blandishment as much as any other kind of retiree. But there is an autobiographical dimension as well: as a teacher you derive great satisfaction in revealing to others the professional concerns that have defined your life's work as an academic. You get to demonstrate why you chose to study what you did and to explain why it's so important that others understand your field the way you do. It's a worthy endeavor, and I hope that my colleagues in the Emeritus College will consider offering a course or two at OLLI as an important contribution to furthering the continued life of the mind among our membership.
From Clark Poling:
Last fall (2013) I taught a course for Emory's OLLI program, titled "Matisse and Picasso: A Rivalry." The subject must have struck a nerve favorably, since a lot of people signed up and some were turned away because the room wouldn't accommodate them. The students were very engaged, the staff offered good support, and I enjoyed the experience very much. I taught from PowerPoint presentations of digital images. Because of the size of the class, I mostly lectured, though there was some discussion based on texts by the two artists, and there were interesting observations and questions from the students. The course met one hour a week for six weeks.
I live in Oakland, CA, and was in Atlanta for only a few months, and I liked the opportunity to get a sense of the OLLI community at Emory and to contribute to it. I've taught in OLLI programs at the University of California, Berkeley, and at San Francisco State University, where the courses typically meet for two hours at a time, for six weeks. This schedule allows for a fuller offering of the course material, of course, but I found Emory OLLI's schedule adequate for presenting my subject.
Professor Emeritus, Art History
From Dorothy Fletcher
My husband, Bill, and I taught a course on Persian Miniatures in the winter term (Jan.-Mar.) this year. I had just retired from 45 years of teaching the previous August and Bill was coming back to teaching after a 40-year hiatus and a different career.
We found it to be a wonderful experience. The class enrollment started out with a surprisingly large roster of 27 people. This settled down to a regular attendance of 12-15. This group was comprised of people with an artistic background: artists, interior decorators, museum docents, and collectors, as well as people who had travelled to Iran or were of Iranian background. There was one very alert participant who was there just because a neighbor recommended the course. One of the joys, contrary to Emory experience, was that no one was buried in a laptop. They all paid attention and asked lots of good questions. They even applauded at the end of most sessions! The course evaluations were very gratifying. Some participants said they were there because they had been to the new Islamic Galleries at the Metropolitan Museum and wanted to know more. Others said they would visit the museum as a result of the course.
We got off to a bit of a rough start because the Executive Park facility was brand new and not all the technical kinks had been worked out. But we soon found a system that worked and had no further problems. Another installment of this course may be ready by January.
Senior Lecturer Emerita, Art History
From Herb Benario
I have taught in the OLLI program since 2006, focusing upon presenting courses on Latin literature and Roman history. Some of my subjects have been Vergil's Aeneid, the Emperor Augustus, Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Roman Women, and Fictional History, Historical Fiction. In one year I taught two courses on Jane Austen. I always enjoy talking about the classical field which has been part of my life for more than seventy years, and the people who have attended my classes are very nice. Their educational background is comparable to my own, regardless of field, and, unlike so many students of the last thirty years, they know who Churchill was if I mention him.
The classes are old-fashioned. Most of the time I talk, the others listen. I do not use a computer, I prefer to have a handout for each class which every person can take home. Quite a few people have taken just about every course which I have offered, and I rejoice to be able to call them friends.
The time span in which the course appears becomes the high point of my retirement leisure. I enjoy it all, and recommend participation in the program to others. Even in our sere years it is a source of pleasure to gain new enthusiasts for subjects to which we have devoted our lives.
Herbert W. Benario
Professor Emeritus of Classics
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OLLI Fall Course Schedule, contd.
Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) is a community outreach program of Emory Continuing Education (ECE). OLLI released its new Fall 2014 schedule of courses for students ages 50 and older beginning Tuesday, September 16, 2014 at olli.emory.edu.
Students can enroll in courses with topics including history, art, music, religion, science, technology, health/wellness, fitness and more. "We're extremely excited about our fall course lineup; we have more classes available now than ever before," said Jessica Wilson, Program Manager for OLLI at Emory.
OLLI at Emory is part of the national OLLI program featured at universities across the country, with classes focused on and dedicated to seniors. Courses are taught by instructors from a variety of backgrounds -- including academia, business, finance and law -- who share a passion for conveying their interpretations of a broad range of subjects often created exclusively for their own classes. Volunteer members also drive many of the program's functions, including curriculum selection and course creation, while others plan social events, special interests groups, and trips.
As part of ECE's recent move to 12 Executive Park Drive near the North Druid Hills exit of I-85, OLLI at Emory students have expressed enthusiasm about the new facility. "Since moving to our Executive Park location, OLLI members are especially pleased with the availability of covered parking, easy access to nearby restaurants, and the professional atmosphere of the new space," said Wilson.
The programs for those 50+ encourage the joy of education and the creation of new friendships with those who share the goal of learning. Classes are primarily held on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. with additional offsite satellite locations and time slots. Call 404-727-6000 (select option 2) or visit olli.emory.edu for more information or to enroll in fall courses in 2015. Click here to see a course listing for the fall.
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As a medical student involved in the care of an elderly woman who had refused surgery, Makary quit medical school in disgust when surgeons again prevailed upon her to undergo surgery, and she died of complications. He studied Public Health at Harvard, then returned to medical school with a more panoramic view of medicine, later enriched by his surgical training and practice at Johns Hopkins. He writes a no-holds-barred critique of the medical trade, its hierarchy and secrecy. Medicine lacks transparency and accountability. He believes quality standards for hospitals and doctors should be available to the public so that citizens may make more informed choices. (The book is praised by Michael M.E. Johns, M.D., Emory Chancellor - 2012.)
Why should a patient in Houston receive open-heart surgery and in San Francisco, an aspirin? Over the objections of hospital administrators, NY hospitals were required to list their death rates from heart surgery. The best hospitals were happy to do so; the poorest were publicly embarrassed. Administrators in hospitals with higher death rates were forced to become more clinically involved and increase staffing in their surgical intensive care units (SICU). The hospital receives additional income when there are patient complications. Additional staffing is expensive but reduces the post-op complications and death rates. The hospitals with the higher death rates improved through public disclosure of this one quality standard. Both hospitals and patients benefited. The New York State Patients' Bill of Rights is a superb document.
Item #9. "Receive all the information you need to give informed consent for any proposed procedure or treatment. This information should include possible risks and benefits of the procedure or treatment."
Hospital outcomes by specific conditions (risk-corrected) should be available on-line. Makary suggests quality standards for hospitals available on the internet might be termed:
A MEDICAL CARE DASHBOARD
- "Bouncebacks" (readmission within 90 d)
- Complication Rates (risk adjusted)
- Never Events (should never happen but do: retained sponge; operate on wrong side)
- Safety - Culture Scores (Would you have an operation in the unit of the hospital where you work?)
- Hospital Volumes (babies delivered/C-section rate)
- Transparent Records, Open Notes, and Video Recording.
Consumers should be able to discover those hospitals that offer ready access to their patients' written records. Public data are available for public schools, corporations, and Wall Street. Why not for doctors and hospitals, confirmed by independent auditors? Doctors may be involved in marketing their services in this fee-for-service medical world. All surgeons know other surgeons who should not be in practice. "If you are a hammer, you nail." A salaried doctor is more conservative with his patients' care, for he may not benefit financially by "doing" more tests, procedures, and surgery.
Americans spend one-third of their health care dollars on tests, medicine, procedures, and administration that does not improve health care outcomes (Institute of Medicine, Makary TIME 3-10-14). [The U. S. spends 18% of its GDP on health care, leaving 45 M citizens uncovered. France, rated number one internationally in health care, spends 12% of its GDP on health care and provides UNIVERSAL CARE for all of its citizens.] Some community hospitals are well-run medical care "machines," and may outperform academic medical centers of higher reputation. Even the best academic centers have foci of significant weakness. Outpatient procedures are profit centers with little oversight.
A patient's varicose veins in one leg may be totally destroyed by laser ablation surgery in 45 minutes as an outpatient procedure. Should not the patient be totally informed in writing well in advance of the procedure, informed of its Specific Indications, CONTRAINDICATIONS, Complications, Expected Outcomes, and Options?
As a doctor in retirement, having gained experience from three surgeries and their complications, I have learned that the medical profession should assume a more responsible role in informing and educating its patients. This should be done in writing, for a written statement lessens the unknowns for the patient and places the doctor in a more responsible and accountable position, "faced with the powerful stimulus of the fee-for-service world" (GLC). Verbal communication may be prejudicial and not present the whole picture for the patient. Should complications or errors follow, further patient education may be blanketed in silence and misinformation, the doctor and institution now faced with the two-year medical statute of limitations. "An INFORMED PATIENT is a MEDICAL TRUST. An uninformed patient is a body and a fee. In which patient camp would you rather be?" (SR). The current last-minute consent form may neither educate nor inform the patient, but secures a signature to protect the doctor and the institution. Were patients better informed, there would be fewer procedures and less surgery. Study and experience suggest the patient is better informed and educated about the risks and benefits of a proposed procedure (as is the citizen of New York State), along the following outline, copied to the patient:
THE INFORMATIVE PATIENT DOCUMENT
P - PROCEDURE - THE SPECIFIC PROCEDURE
I - INDICATIONS
C - CONTRAINDICATIONS
C - COMPLICATIONS
0 - OUTCOMES
____________ _____________ ___________ _____________
Doctor Patient Witness Date
The medically educated and informed patient is integral to lessening the secrecy and improving transparency within medicine and lowering costs. An informed patient/citizen can make better decisions about his or her health in this fee-for-service world.
Dr. Marty Makary concludes:
The increasing cost of health care is unsustainable ...The simplest economical solution to the problem of our complex system is to "empower patients with information." Transparency is the crucial prerequisite. Openness and accountability are values that Americans across the political spectrum agree upon. There will be ... another benefit to transparency: It can restore the respect of the public in what many perceive has become a secretive, even arrogant industry. With accountability, medicine can address the cost crisis, deliver safe care, and earn once more the trust of the communities we serve.
Stewart R. Roberts, Jr., M.D.
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Emory University Emeritus College
The Luce Center
825 Houston Mill Road NE #206
Atlanta, GA 30329