Alumni College

"Classes without quizzes"

A reunion weekend wouldn’t be complete without some time in the classroom, right? Don’t worry—this time around, you won’t be quizzed at the end! Alumni College offers a variety of “Classes Without Quizzes” that explore subjects so current you could find them in today’s headlines. Whether you’re interested in health, science, the economy or contemporary social issues, Alumni College has the class for you. And with members of Miami’s distinguished faculty leading these lectures, it’s guaranteed you’ll learn something new!

All "Classes Without Quizzes" are free and open to all Alumni Weekend attendees, with no advance registration required.



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Session I: Saturday, June 21, 8:15–9:15 a.m.

 

Here Comes the Bride: Learning to Love Familiar Opera Pieces

ANDREA RIDILLA
Benton Hall 100
Have you always wanted to love opera but never knew how? Prepare to enter the complex world of opera through the fun and simplicity of cartoons. We will look at philosophical and musical genius Richard Wagner’s four-part “The Ring of Niebelung”—often considered one of the most difficult operas to understand. Along the way, you will gain a new appreciation for a number of familiar musical pieces, including the “Here Comes the Bride” tune that has accompanied many a Miami Merger as they have processed down the aisle.

Andrea Ridilla, professor of oboe in Miami’s department of music, also teaches opera appreciation. A graduate of The Juilliard School and the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Andrea performs and teaches internationally. She is principal oboe in Austria’s Classical Music Festival each summer and is an invited contributor to the Cincinnati Opera’s program notes.


RedHawks Re-Positioning: Miami Athletics’ Priorities for Success

COLEMAN BARNES
Benton Hall 114
The tradition and historical success of Miami Athletics is unparalleled in the Mid-American Conference. Investing in a proven winner now is critical for future success and enhancing the University’s overall brand. This session will explore re-positioning Miami Athletics as a premier program on the national stage through the athletic department’s fundraising priorities and keys for sustained success.

Coleman Barnes joined Miami University in 2013 as senior director of development and associate athletic director. He oversees the daily development operations for intercollegiate athletics, including annual giving (Red & White Club) and major gifts. A native of Bardstown, Ky., Barnes holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Kentucky, where he was a long snapper on the football team.


8.5 x 11": Learning How to Make Paper

DOUG HART
Paper Lab, Engineering Building
We use paper every day—so where does it come from? Visit the chemical and paper engineering department to see a pilot paper machine and experience the basics of making your own handsheets. It’s easier than you think and fun for all ages!

A graduate of Otterbein College, Doug Hart has been with Miami’s engineering and chemical engineering departments since 1987. Hart also performs contract research testing for outside companies that help fund the upkeep and maintenance of existing equipment as well as the purchase of new equipment for the University’s labs.

 

 

Session II: Saturday, June 21, 9:30–10:30 a.m.

 

Finding Freedom: How Free and Open Software Preserves American Principles

DJ RAO
Benton Hall 115
Technology and the Internet profoundly impact every aspect of our lives, including our perceptions of truth and freedom. Therefore, understanding the core systems that govern the Internet is essential for preserving our rights and nurturing democracy in America. This course will explore alternatives to expensive operating systems and programs, and will educate students of all ages about free and open software that’s available on the Internet. Not only can you save a few bucks, you also can help sustain liberty and freedom in today’s digital societies.

Dhananjai (DJ) Rao is an assistant professor in computer science & software engineering, where he teaches operating systems and high-performance computing courses. His current research areas include parallel and cloud computing with applications to epidemiology, bioinformatics and social sciences.


iPad Integration: How Technology is Changing Literacy

PAULA SAINE & MICHELLE COSMAH
Benton Hall 204
With the rapid rise of iPads in the classroom, accessing content for instruction and leisure can be completed with a quick touch, swipe or scan. A free barcode reader app and QR code allows iPad users to quickly access educational information. This interactive class will inform and engage participants in technology integration and how it is applied throughout teacher education. Participants also will use iPads to explore a variety of teacher-centered and student-centered digital literacy activities.

Michelle L. Cosmah is a clinical faculty member in the teacher education department at Miami. Prior to her career in higher education, Cosmah spent more than 10 years in Cincinnati Public Schools as a teacher and leader, and she is a National Board Certified Teacher in literacy. She received her Ed.D. from the University of Cincinnati in 2013, and she also holds a bachelor's degree in early childhood education as well as master's degrees in literacy and educational administration.

Paula Saine is an associate professor and co-chair of Miami’s department of teacher education, where she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in literacy and technology. Her current research focuses on the extent to which virtual tutoring enhances literacy learning for struggling, school-aged readers and writers. Her work has led to international involvement in West Africa, particularly The Gambia and Nigeria.


MRI 101: Understanding the Basic Concepts of Magnetic Resonance Imaging

GARY LORIGAN
Benton Hall 207
Magnetic resonance imagining (MRI) is extremely important in diagnosing several diseases, such as cancer and heart disease. The development of MRI is rooted in Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) techniques, which are routinely used in Miami University’s chemistry and biochemistry departments to study the structures of molecules and proteins. Miami’s latest NMR/MRI instrument uses the Earth’s magnetic field to teach the basic concepts of MRI, and we will use it to collect some fun data and learn the basics of MRI.

Gary Lorigan earned his Ph.D. from the University of California, Davis and joined Miami’s faculty in 1998. Since 2009, he has served as the Volviler Distinguished Research Professor in Miami's department of chemistry & biochemistry. His research is focused on the utilization of magnetic resonance spectroscopy to investigate the structural and dynamic properties of membrane-bound proteins and peptides and their interactions within the lipid bilayer.


Project High Flight’s Bottle Rocket Workshop: Part I

BOB SETLOCK
Engineering Building 057
Join Miami’s Project High Flight for the opportunity to design, build and fly your own water bottle rocket. This workshop is appropriate for fun-loving children ages 5 to 95. All are welcome! (Participants will design and build rockets in Part I. Return for Part II to launch your rocket.)

Bob Setlock is an instructor and assistant chair within Miami's College of Engineering & Computing department of mechanical & manufacturing engineering. Setlock focuses on creating and implementing the first-year engineering experience at Miami, and his research interests focus on developing best practices for encouraging students to fully engage their natural creative and innovative abilities. In overseeing Project High Flight, Setlock engages students on a four-year mission to enhance their divergent thinking skills in the context of exploring outer space. Learn more at projecthighflight.org.

 

 

Session III: Saturday, June 22, 10:45–11:45 a.m.

 

RedTalks

STEVE HECK ’74 & LESLIE WEIANT ’11 / RAY MOCK, moderator
Benton Hall 102
Oxford is a small town where big dreams are born. Once classes are over and we leave the bricks behind, life after college begins and those dreams can become realities.
Part of the University’s mission is to build engaged citizens who use their knowledge and skills with integrity and compassion to improve the future of our global society. In this session of Red Talks, two such Miamians will return to campus to share their stories.

Different generations of Miamians yet both educators, Leslie Weiant ’11 and Steve Heck ’74 have gone to great lengths to change the world—one to war-torn Afghanistan, one to the frontier of outer space. Weiant and Heck will share their experiences during this session, with Ray Mock, executive director of the Alumni Association, moderating a question-and-answer period.

Leslie Weiant ’11, who earned her B.S. in art, teaches at the only internationally accredited co-ed school in Afghanistan, located in the capital city of Kabul. She is part of a team that is bringing hope to this war-torn country through education. In leading the fine arts department and teaching K-12 art, Leslie has overseen more than 200 square meters of murals painted, and is currently leading her school’s efforts to break a Guinness World Record.

Steve Heck '74 is a retired Air Force Pilot who became a science teacher and a civilian astronaut. Heck is the recipient of two of the highest honors any educator in our nation has received, having been selected as an Astronaut Educator for Citizen in Space and awarded a NASA Endeavor Fellowship. He currently serves as president of the Arete STEM Project, a private educational organization for student-scientists to develop, test and fly their experiments on suborbital spacecraft missions. Heck was inducted into the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame in 2012.


8.5 x 11": Learning How to Make Paper

DOUG HART
Paper Lab, Engineering Building
We use paper every day—so where does it come from? Visit the chemical and paper engineering department to see a pilot paper machine and experience the basics of making your own handsheets. It’s easier than you think and fun for all ages!

A graduate of Otterbein College, Doug Hart has been with Miami’s engineering and chemical engineering departments since 1987. Hart also performs contract research testing for outside companies that help fund the upkeep and maintenance of existing equipment as well as the purchase of new equipment for the University’s labs.


Backstage Pass—Equestrian Center

Inside Look and Dressage Show

LORI CRAMER
Equestrian Center
The gateway to the University, the Miami University Equestrian Center, has undergone a recent renovation. Now elevated eight feet with the addition of 60,000 cubic yards of fill, the center is home to more than 100 equestrian team members. Teams and individuals hold regional and national titles in Hunt Seat, Western and Dressage, and more than 200 students also attend KNH classes at the stables each semester.

Get a look inside the newly modeled Miami University Equestrian Center, and enjoy a Dressage Show during this special “Behind the Bricks” tour. You also will get to hear stories about the dedication of the riders past and present as well as information on the vision for the Equestrian Center’s future.

Lori Cramer is senior director of the Equestrian Center and programs.

 

 

Session IV: Saturday, June 21, 1:45–2:45 p.m.

 

Should I Worry About the Robots?

PETER JAMIESON
Benton Hall 114
The world is becoming more and more automated. Since the industrial revolution, machines have taken over various aspects of human labor, and we are left to wonder just how robots and automation will impact our lives and society going forward. To frame and address this question, we will learn how robots are designed, look at some of the leading robotic innovations in a number of areas and discuss what these innovations may lead to in the future.

Peter Jamieson graduated with a Ph.D. and master’s from the University of Toronto. Jamieson spent two years at Imperial College London before joining the department of electrical and computer engineering at Miami. His research focuses on FPGAs, serious game and education.


Light Hearts, Full Minds: The Benefits of Playfulness in Adulthood

BROOKE R. SPANGLER
Benton Hall 100
Play is not just for children—it remains a critical feature in relieving stress and promoting successful aging for older adults. From enriching quality of life to fostering healthy interpersonal relationships and supporting occupational success, there are many benefits to living a playful life. We will look back across our lives and activities to examine our play histories and play personalities, discuss play theory and the properties of play, and establish a common language to explore our most important pastime. We then will talk about the struggles of a life without play and talk about how you can increase playfulness in later life.

Brooke R. Spangler joined Miami's faculty in 2009 and has since been named to Miami's Top 100 Faculty. Her research interests center around social-emotional development in school-aged children. Spangler is currently examining helicopter parenting in college students and pedagogical differences in teaching developmental psychology.


Project High Flight’s Bottle Rocket Workshop: Part II

BOB SETLOCK
Engineering Building 057
Join Miami’s Project High Flight for the opportunity to design, build and fly your own water bottle rocket. This workshop is appropriate for fun-loving children ages 5 to 95. All are welcome! (Participants who built their rockets in Part I should return to launch their rockets in Part II.)

Bob Setlock is an instructor and assistant chair within Miami's College of Engineering & Computing department of mechanical & manufacturing engineering. Setlock focuses on creating and implementing the first-year engineering experience at Miami, and his research interests focus on developing best practices for encouraging students to fully engage their natural creative and innovative abilities. In overseeing Project High Flight, Setlock engages students on a four-year mission to enhance their divergent thinking skills in the context of exploring outer space. Learn more at projecthighflight.org.

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Backstage Pass—King Library

Cradle of Coaches: A Legacy of Excellence

JOHNATHAN COOPER
King Library, Walter Havighurst Special Collections, 3rd Floor
The term Cradle of Coaches, coined by Bob Kurz in 1959, has come to represent Miami University’s significant impact on the field of coaching. Our rich and storied legacy in coaching spans the decades from 1918 and Earl Blaik’s legendary career at West Point to John Harbaugh’s 2013 Super Bowl win as head coach of the Baltimore Ravens. This session gives participants a glimpse into the Cradle’s more notable coaches through a rare collection of items that were featured in a recent gallery exhibit.

Johnathan Cooper is a visiting librarian with the Walter Havighurst Special Collections. Cooper’s interest in sports history is a personal one that began in high school, when was a cornerback and wide receiver on his football team. He continued to play football in college, and after graduating, he coached high school football for several seasons. Today, he is helping to catalog Miami’s Cradle of Coaches collection.

 

 

Session V: Saturday, June 21, 3–4 p.m.

 

Backstage Pass—Smale Visualization Center

The Real World of Virtual Reality

GLENN PLATT
Smale Visualization Center, Laws Hall
Ever wanted to visit Dubai without leaving your house? Fly through space and explore the solar system? Crawl through an aircraft engine? Play with an "Iron Man" virtual suit? Or are you curious about the "Occulus Rift," the virtual reality headset that Facebook just bought for $2 billion that is not yet available to the public? What if I told you that you can do all of these things in the Armstrong Institute for Interactive Media Studies’ (AIMS) Smale Visualization Center?

In this session, we will demo all this awesome equipment and talk about how Miami students utilize this technology for classes, research and client-based projects. We will explore a VR CAVE—a virtual world not unlike Holodeck on “Star Trek”—as well as 3D scanning and printing technology. No tech experience is required for this fun and educational session. There are a limited number of tools to work with, so seating is limited. Please get there early to secure a spot.

Glenn Platt is the C. Michael Armstrong Chair in Interactive Media, co-director of Miami University's Armstrong Institute for Interactive Media Studies (AIMS) and a professor of marketing. He holds a B.A. from the University of Florida as well as an M.S. and Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University. He also is president emeritus of the International Digital Media and Arts Association.



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Alumni Weekend Staff
Mark Macechko
Director of Alumni Programs
Linda Ward
Sr. Program Assistant