CRI: Lifelong learning | Home Again

By Joanne Peterson | Oct 22, 2017

Every once in a while, I write about the Creative Retirement Institute at Edmonds Community College. It’s been nearly 25 years since the inception of this remarkable program for lifelong learners.

CRI, as it is widely known, features three quarters per year of a broad variety of subject matter, presented by instructors with exemplary credentials, offering opportunities for adults to gather in classrooms with other inquiring “grown-up” students for lecture and discussion.

CRI students this quarter could choose from a range of over 30 classes, including “Our Cosmos in the 21st Century,” “Islam Today and Tomorrow,” “Veterans’ Issues” and “The Presidency of John F. Kennedy.”

I mention those four because each meets during November, and I think each might still have a few openings. If you’d like to sample CRI this quarter, it may not be too late to enroll.

Every quarter features a different slate of reasonably priced classes, researched and selected by an active Curriculum Committee. Classes most often are four sessions long and meet once weekly, usually in two-hour time slots.

The short courses are well suited to busy adults who like the idea of sampling a variety of topics. Some CRI instructors have been with the program for years; some are new each quarter. Classes often fill quickly.

Although it’s the second half of October, and the program has been underway for a month, this morning I began my first CRI class of the 2017 fall quarter. Actually, I began my first TWO classes of the quarter, perhaps because I wasn’t paying close attention when I looked at the class schedule or – more likely – I decided that I simply could not miss either of the two classes.

Consequently, I discovered I have a 10 a.m. to noon class once a week – followed by a 1 to 3 p.m. class on the same day. Both of my classes meet in Edmonds CC’s Maltby Building at 7020 196th St. SW, so I easily managed a quick trip to Trader Joe’s during my free hour.

As to which two classes drew me to this schedule? The 10 a.m. class is “A Sociological Pastiche,” taught by sociologist Ellen Berg, a frequent instructor for CRI. She describes the class as a presentation of “four disparate topics, with a through-line of sociology.”

The four topics? Disparate, indeed: American poetry, African cloth, O. Henry and Jewish food. How’s that for variety? Berg says she likes to flit from topic to topic – which she manages to do very well.

I always try to find time to take her classes, which always allow for discussion. Today’s first session did not disappoint, and I’m eager for the second class.

My second class of the day, “Media Bias in Contemporary U.S Politics,” proved to be as fascinating as its title indicates. Michael Knapp, professor emeritus at the University of Washington, taught educational leadership and policy studies at the U and has special interest in media bias.

Today’s two-hour session went by way too quickly.

Although Knapp has taught for CRI previously, I’ve not taken a prior class from him. After only the first session of his media bias class, I already can tell I’ll want to sign on for future classes.

If you are unfamiliar with the Creative Retirement Institute, and have an interest in joining other adult learners in exploring a variety of topics, you can call 425-640-1830 to inquire further or check out CRI at

CRI, directed by Kelly Blackard, welcomes new members fall, winter and spring quarters. I encourage your participation. And remember, openings may remain in a few November classes.


Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.