Courses / Contemporary Issues

These courses are offered by the Quest Lifelong Learning Community. For more information on Quest, click here and also see more details at the bottom of this page.


Coordinators: Stephen Baker, Peter Weis

Natural barriers, including mountain ranges, rivers, and seas, have long been used to delimit territories that confine and define the collective identity of a political group. Landward boundaries are nearly always necessary to establish limits of governmental control and points of contact with neighbors that abut each other. Establishing these borders may involve dominance of one entity over another, imposition of a third party or, less frequently, mutual deference. We will discuss these commonplace and often crucially-placed lines on a map and what makes them newsworthy.


Coordinators: Phil Gisser, Sandra Abramson, Wayne Cotter, Patricia Stryker

The campaign for the U.S. presidency is going full blast and all of us are watching every twist and turn. At each session, we do a brief summary of recent campaign news. Then we move on to thought-provoking videos and featured speakers to look deeper into the election process and what’s behind campaign rhetoric. Your voices make every session exciting.


Coordinators: Bob Gottfried, Sandy Frank, Ellen Gottfried, Glenn Johnston

In this course we investigate world-wide issues. The presenters will select an issue of importance to discuss. There will be time for class discussion.


Coordinators: Michael Wellner, Bob Gottfried, David Judlowitz

There is an old saying, “May you live in interesting times!” Well, one thing is for sure — we are most certainly living in interesting times! The daily news contains stories about items that affect each of us: the political divide in our country; questionable judicial decisions from courts at every level, voting rights, abortion rights, medical care, foreign policy, and so much more. In this class we look in depth at each of these issues, and many more, and see if we have any ideas that might prove useful.


Coordinators: Barbara Gordon, Bob Hartmann, Terri Hicks

This is an interactive discussion class in which both the coordinators and class members bring in short opinion pieces—editorials, op-ed articles, reviews, etc. A vote is taken on which pieces to discuss that day and individuals argue their views.


Coordinators: Palma Mahl, Steve Allen, Joyce West

Quest Members have a wide diversity of interests and experiences. Each session is a chance to encounter something new or an encore of a talk that will be new to many members. As a presenter, you will have free rein to develop a subject otherwise not covered in the curriculum. As an audience member, you may find a fresh interest or learn more about a topic you always wondered about.


Coordinators: Sandra Abramson, Diane Reynolds

As the Women’s Movement that exploded in the 1960s opened up opportunities for girls and women, it also provided opportunities for women’s voices to be heard. We can see this in many forms — from music and books to art, from corporate board rooms to legislatures and executive offices. We’ll listen to these voices and look at the impact they have had on our lives. We’ll explore how class, race, sex, gender, and ethnic diversity amplify, modulate, and transform these voices. Presentations will be 20 to 25 minutes and the remaining time will be open for class members to talk about their personal experiences.