ETSU’s Alliance for Continued Learning to offer fall classes

East Tennessee State University’s Alliance for Continued Learning (ACL) will offer a wide range of classes and activities during the fall session beginning Tuesday, Sept. 17, and ending Wednesday, Oct. 23. Sessions begin at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. every Tuesday and Wednesday.

To give new members an opportunity to become acquainted with the group, the ACL will welcome all participants at a continental breakfast on Tuesday,Sept. 17, at 9:30 a.m., at Memorial Park Community Center, 510 Bert St., Johnson City, followed by a performance by student band members of the ETSU Bluegrass, Old Time, and Country Music Studies program. Most classes will be held at the Community Center.

The fall session provides a wide variety of opportunities to learn something new. ETSU’s Dr. Joseph Sobol will speak about the university’s graduate storytelling program, which he coordinates.  One day is devoted to fine arts photography, with sessions led by Jeffrey Stoner, whose goal is making photographs that capture the essence of a place, and Sam Bass, an international award-winning combat photojournalist. Two writers will discuss the topics of their upcoming books. ETSU’s Dr. Roberta Herrin is working on a biography of Sylvia Hatchell, head women’s basketball coach at UNC-Chapel Hill. She will present “Biography, Basketball and Title IX.” Judy Donley, author, artist, a pilot and also president of the Watauga Branch of American Pen Women, will share excerpts from her new book, “Married to a Spy.”

ETSU’s university counsel Ed Kelly will offer “Negotiation Skills and Mediation,” while ETSU professor of Economics Dr. Fred Mackara will untangle a complicated topic with “The Federal Debt: Then and Now.” ACL member and historian Eleanor Thomsen will discuss “Richard III, Last of the Plantagenets,” and her fellow ACL member, Martha Querry, will share “Traveling with Teenagers,” the collected wisdom of her 50-plus years as a teacher who took her students on many overseas trips.

Trenton Davis, retired chair of East Carolina University’s Department of Public Health, was one of the first Western scientists to visit Chernobyl after the nuclear accident there and will share his experiences. Connie Deegan, Nature Program Coordinator for Johnson City Parks and Recreation will address her specialty in “Snakes of Northeast Tennessee.”

Field trips are planned to ETSU’s newly reopened Reece Museum and the National Weather Service facility in Morristown.

Sponsored by the ETSU Office of Professional Development, the ACL is “member-powered, member-driven and member-governed.” Participants decide the study groups, forums, classes and other activities to be held, identify leaders for the sessions, and elect officers.

No educational prerequisites, examinations, or grades are involved in the courses. Although a $40 fee allows participants to attend any or all sessions, some trips may require additional fees.

For more information or a schedule of classes or special arrangements for those with disabilities, call the ETSU Office of Professional Development at (423) 439-8084 or visit


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