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F/M Communiversity events promote lifelong learning

Photo by Paul Flessland. Pamela Mork, an associate professor of chemistry at Concordia, teaches a forensics class for F/M Communiversity.

This winter and spring the Concordia sponsored program F/M Communiversity plans to offer 29 college-like classes without homework or tests to community members. People of all ages and backgrounds can attend.

F/M Communiversity, which combines the words community and university, started in 1965 when Rev. Loren Halvorson from the American Lutheran Church wrote a paper titled “The Church College as a Middle Ground.” According to Susan Wee, director of F/M Communiversity, back then the college and community were more separate. Dr. Hofrenning, formerly a Concordia Religion Department faculty member, soon initiated the seminar “The Church as Middle Ground.”

This was the first seminar for F/M Communiversity, a program that provides an opportunity “for the college to reach out and share the resources we have,” and “to promote lifelong learning,” Wee said.

One upcoming class called Thriving During the Social Media Revolution focuses on how to use social media tools to promote businesses and organizations. This class will be taught by Tracy Briggs, a former reporter, anchor and radio host for WDAY, who now works as the digital content development director for Forum Communications.

Two political themes have also been developed for this year’s program. The Disintegrating Political Climate in the United States theme will have classes discussing the climates, ethics, prosperity and civility in politics. A series of four other courses will follow the theme Great Decisions: Foreign Policy Issue Discussions. Topics include energy markets, the Mexican border, Middle Eastern democracy, and climate change’s effects on oceans.

Classes are taught by faculty members from Concordia College and anyone else in the community with expertise. Wee said it’s surprisingly easy to get people to teach classes.

“People want to be a part of this,” Wee said. “They have a passion in what they know.”

Pamela Mork, an associate professor of chemistry at Concordia, teaches a forensics class for F/M Communiversity. Before coming to Concordia, she worked for the medical examiner in Oklahoma, whose motto was “when your days end, our day begins.”

In the class Mork simulates a crime scene and then participants interview suspects, identify bones, and read blood spatters to determine the number of blows delivered to the victim.

Gary Clark, a Fargo resident, has attended classes with his wife for 15 years. He likes that F/M Communiversity offers the opportunity to learn.

“It gives us information and knowledge about other things that are going on that aren’t in our life,” Clark said.

A committee consisting of faculty from Concordia, Minnesota State University – Moorhead, North Dakota State University and other community members decides what classes will be offered for the year. Fall sessions are held from October to November and Winter/Spring sessions from January to April.

College students can attend the sessions at no cost with a college ID. Many sessions allow walk-ins, but Wee recommends registering before the session.

Other popular classes, according to Wee, include music classes. Recently the Concordia Wind Quintet performed at a restaurant and spoke about their music, instruments and collaboration in music. Upcoming music classes include Revolution, Ravel, Haydn and Bartok, which will prepare attendees for the F-M Symphony Sanford Health Masterworks Series concerts, and Jazz Improvisation 201, a class taught by Concordia Associate Professor of Saxophone Russ Peterson and three other musicians.

Wee encourages people to go out and learn about their passion. For more information visit their website or call 218-299-3438.

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