KACL celebrating 25 years of educational programming

Carmen Musick • Mar 12, 2018 at 11:06 AM


KINGSPORT –The Kingsport Alliance for Continued Learning will celebrate 25 years of exceptional learning with a series of classes and activities offered this spring, beginning with an anniversary celebration on March 13.

And there's still time to sign up.

"Everyone is welcome. There is no homework and no tests. People can even come to one class for free, so we encourage everyone to come try us out and see if you like us," said curriculum chairman David Petke.

The goal of KACL is and has always been "to provide adults, regardless of educational background or age, with opportunities to attend stimulating courses, lectures and special events."

In partnership with East Tennessee State University, KACL will offer classes Tuesday through Friday from March 13 to April 20 at the Kingsport Center for Higher Education, located at 300 West Market Street in Downtown Kingsport. Classes are informal, with no homework, grades or tests. The cost of participation is $25, which covers all regular classes.

The spring kickoff, featuring a continental breakfast and 25th anniversary celebration, will coincide with the first class on Tuesday, March 13, at 9:30 a.m. Special guests include former ETSU President Dr. Paul Stanton and Dr. Gene Tinnon, one of the KACL founders and former assistant dean of articulated programs at ETSU.

"Dr. Stanton spoke to the very first class, so it's really special for us to have him back for the 25th anniversary, along with one of the deans who was instrumental in helping to get this program started," Petke said.

The cost for is just $25, payable at your first class, and covers all classes on the spring term's schedule. Participants can attend as many - or as few - classes as they choose. Any activities requiring additional fees (such as field trips or study guides) are clearly marked on the registration form.

"We are actually a bargain at just $25 for the whole six weeks," Petke stressed.

KACL spring semester classes follow several themes - each selected with the students in mind.

"A big part of it is what students tell us they want. History, government, law, travel and religion are all very popular," Petke said. Once topics are identified, the committee goes to work identifying experts in those areas. "We try to bring in a lot of college professors from around the region, not just from ETSU but from other area colleges, as well as laypersons who are experts in certain areas."

Security and safety topics on Tuesdays at 10 a.m. include a presentation on current trends in computer hacking and how to maintain security in the digital age by associate professor in ETSU’s Department of Computing Dr. Michael Lehrfeld, as well as an explanation of sovereign citizens by Jerry Stout, a supervisory agent in the Bureau of Operations for the Office of Homeland Security. ETSU Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology faculty members Rebecca J. Marshall and Dr. Chris Rush will also teach classes.

Wednesday classes will begin at 10:30 a.m. with a focus on international topics such as “The Glory of the Greek Isles” by Eileen Garner and “Across the Caspian Sea” by Jeff Marek.

A special program co-sponsored by the Kingsport Public Library called “Great Decisions” will take place Wednesday afternoons at 2 p.m. covering subjects of international interest such as “Russia’s Foreign Policy” and “China’s Geopolitics.” Participants in “Great Decisions” must sign up at the Kingsport Public Library and purchase the suggested study guide for $22.

Classes with a historical focus will begin at 10 a.m. on Thursdays and include a series on economic world history taught by Donald J. Harreld of Brigham Young University. “Appalachian Roots of Country Music: Beyond the Bristol Sessions” will be presented by Dr. Ted Olson, professor of Appalachian Studies, Bluegrass, Old-Time and Country Music Studies at ETSU.

Healthcare-themed classes will be held Fridays at 10 a.m. Topics include “Myths and Truths about Cancer” by Wendy Vogel, a family nurse practitioner at Wellmont Cancer Institute, and “Insurance Reimbursements for Physicians” by Russell Lewis, associate dean for ETSU Finance and Administration. Dr. Christopher Morris of Arthritis Associates in Kingsport will discuss some of the common diseases often lumped together as arthritis. Wendell Potter, a New York Times best-selling author and founder of the reader-funded journalism website Tarbell, will offer a lecture on “The Costs of Medical Insurance” March 16. Potter will also offer a special evening session titled “Why is Medical Insurance so Expensive?” on Thursday, March 15, at 7 p.m. The evening class is free and open to the public, although registration is required because space is limited.

To register, or for more information including a full list of spring 2018 classes, call (423) 354-5200 or visit www.kingsportlearning.org. For disability accommodations, call the ETSU Office of Disability Services at (423) 439-8346.

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