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Gold LEAF Institute Course Catalogue

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Socially Conscious

Views on the News


with Paul Mullin

Calendar Nov 5, 2021 at 10 am, runs for 16 weeks

This is a discussion group held on the first and third Fridays of each month covering local, national, and world news. The discussion provides an opportunity to share your observations and opinions on the news and to learn from the other participants. Articles of interest are distributed among the group by email in the week prior to each meeting, and topics to discuss are selected by the group at the beginning of each meeting.

Paul Mullin is facilitator for this discussion group.

November 5 & 19

December 3 & 17

January 7 & 21

February 4 & 18

African-Americans: The Civil War and Aftermath


with Paul Mullin

Calendar Dec 1, 2021 at 10 am, runs for 5 weeks

The role and status of Americans of African descent have been major aspects of the culture and politics of the United States since the nation’s inception. It was THE major issue in the conflict that led to the American Civil War. The war resolved some issues related to slavery, but left most issues related to the role and status of African Americans unresolved, creating the cultural and political structures that continue to define much of American society and politics. This course offers a series of presentations on topics that are intended to broaden our understanding of historical events in this pivotal period in our history. These are recorded presentations originally presented by Midcoast Senior College. Presentations address topics ranging from Afro-American resistance to slavery, emancipation, Reconstruction, post-Reconstruction “Jim Crow” practices, and the struggle for civil rights during the 20th century.

December 1, 8, 15, 22, & 29

Gardner Shaw is a former high school history teacher, professor of political science, consultant to government and industrial organizations, and taxi driver. He is an active member of the Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain Civil War Round Table.

Patrick Rael (Ph.D. American History, University of California, Berkeley, 1995) is Professor of History at Bowdoin College. He is the author of several works exploring the role African Americans played in the long struggle against slavery.

Noma Petroff is an independent scholar, winner of the Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain Civil War Round Table's Warren Randall award, and a member of the Ulysses S. Grant Association. She served for several years as Department Coordinator for the Africana Studies Program at Bowdoin College. Her current work is: Understanding Ulysses S. Grant: Character, Context and Stories, which includes an examination of Grant's work with African American troops during the Civil War.

Ashley Towle is a lecturer in the History Department at the University of Southern Maine. She received her PhD from the University of Maryland where she worked as a graduate assistant at the Freedmen and Southern Society Project. Her scholarship focuses on the experience of African Americans in the South during the transition from slavery to freedom. She is currently at work on a book that examines African-American mortuary culture in the Reconstruction South.

Chris Myers Asch teaches history at Colby College and runs the Capital Area New Mainers Project in Augusta. He is the author most recently of Chocolate City: A History of Race and Democracy in the Nation's Capital.

Will run

Maine's Criminal Justice System


with Andrew Robinson

Calendar Jan 20, 2022 at 10 am, runs for 1 week

This course will examine the criminal justice system in Maine. We will review how the current system functions and how race, gender, poverty, and other factors affect the outcome of cases. We will also look at current criminal justice issues as well as learn about the historical evolution of the modern criminal justice system.

Mr. Robinson is the current District Attorney of Franklin and Androscoggin Counties.

Will run

Visit to Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine. (HHRC)


with Eileen Kreutz

Calendar Jan 24, 2022 at 9:30 am

This trip to HHRC is in concert with “Jewish Resistance during the Holocaust” class being presented by Erica Nadelhaft. As the Education Director at HHRC, Erica will conclude her zoom sessions with an in-person walk-through and presentation at the Michael Klahr Center located on the campus of University of Maine Augusta.

In polling current GLI members, it has become clear that even though past terms have offered this very rewarding trip, many current members have never experienced the wealth of the displays and videos at the Center. Together with Erica Nadelhaft’s lectures, these two offerings provide very different insights regarding this history which we are advised to “Never Forget.”

Due to possible Covid-19 restrictions, the dates of this trip may need to be adjusted. Participants are asked to consider bringing a donation for the Center. Those wishing to stay in Augusta for lunch at a local restaurant will need funds for the meal.

Snow date January 27

Eileen has led numerous trips for Gold LEAF Institute (GLI) in the past.. She is currently wrapping up her last year of service on the GLI Board of Directors.

Erica Nadelhaft is the Education Coordinator at the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine. Erica Nadelhaft was born in Madison, Wisconsin, but grew up in Maine and Scotland (United Kingdom). She is an adjunct professor of World and European history at the University of Maine at Fort Kent and received a BA in History from Brandeis University and a MA in Contemporary Jewish Studies with a specialization in the Holocaust from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Her article, “Resistance through Education: Jewish Youth Movements in Warsaw”, was published in POLIN: Studies in Polish Jewry (Oxford University Press). She has also worked as a book group facilitator and program evaluator for the Maine Humanities Council and as a Polish and Hebrew translator for POLIN. She is a regular lecturer for the Fort Kent Senior College. She has three grown daughters and lives in Fort Kent, Maine, with her husband.

Will run

An Introduction to Building Science and the Difficulties With Getting to Net Zero


with Tom McLaughlin

Calendar Feb 3, 2022 at 6 pm

This course will introduce some of the basics of building science as it relates to health and energy efficiency. It will include a history of the efforts to make buildings more energy efficient, and the pitfalls encountered along the way. The focus will be on the specific issues that need to be addressed in the New England climate to create a healthy, comfortable, and very energy efficient home.

Tom has worked in construction/contracting for over 30 years. He has also earned a degree in biology and taught science for eight years. Over time he came to realize that homes have a huge impact on the environment as well as the health of those who live in them. During his quest to learn how to build the ideal house for both occupant health and energy efficiency he earned certification as a PHIUS certified builder as well as the ICC, and has spent many hours researching building science.

Will run

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