Midcoast Senior College

Midcoast Senior College

Faculty Corner

     Members of our faculty are area residents representing a wide variety of intellectual and experiential backgrounds. While many have had careers on college campuses or at private or public schools, others are businessmen, medical professionals, lawyers, artists, and more. Each one brings new perspectives and a readiness to engage constructively with our senior learners.  As of Fall 2013, 103 different instructors have offered courses for MSC.

      If you are interested in teaching for us, please contact us by e-mail (info@midcoastseniorcollege.org) or mail (9 Park Street, Bath ME 04530) with your background information and a course proposal. We will forward them to our Curriculum Committee which is responsible for selecting faculty and courses.

"Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention." Sir Francis Bacon

Featured Faculty (listed alphabetically)

     From time to time we feature members of our past and current faculty in our Newsletter and on the website.  The following brief introductions are representative of the breadth and background of our instructors. Additional instructors will be added as information becomes available.

(Many of the following entries and their linked essays are reprinted from our Newsletter.  They have occasionally been edited for clarification.)

Morton Achter — Educated in musicology, music theory, piano, and theater history at the University of Michigan (BM, MM, PhD), Morton’s extensive academic tenure was at Otterbein College in Ohio, where he served as Chair of the Department of Music and taught theory, composition, music history, music appreciation, opera, and musical theater.  He has also taught at Indiana University-Purdue University in Indiana,  University of Michigan, Boston University, and the Boston Conservatory.

Morton has been responsible for the overall direction, the music direction, and the choreography for five dozen operas, musicals, and plays at the professional, college, and community levels.  Since retirement in 2002 he has been a consultant for the National Association of Schools of Music, director of eight theater productions in the Damariscotta area, and led pre-opera talks for the Met HD broadcasts in Damariscotta.

Ted Allen — Ted has taught human evolution and anthropology and is a life-long observer of the countless forms of life that live now and have lived on Earth.
Read:   A Word from the Faculty — Ted Allen

Susan Benforado Bakewell — An art-history Ph.D. with years of college teaching and museum experience, Susan is a former curator at the New Mexico Museum of Art in Santa Fe and currently an instructor at Southern Methodist University’s Taos campus. Her teaching and research have focused on the arts of Europe and the Americas from the Enlightenment to the present, and women’s art. Among her publications are Voices in New Mexico Art and A History of Visual Culture, which she co-edited and to which she contributed.

Impressionism intrigues Susan on many counts. There is its visual allure, its birth in Paris in interesting times, its art-historical position, as perhaps the first wholly modern art movement.  Equally intriguing is its rapid rise to popularity and material success in the later 19th century, and its embrace by 20th and 21st century viewers, so different from the prickly reception accorded it by contemporaries in its early years.  Considering Impressionism in its original contexts and interrogating it will form the basis of the course – and via lively discussion, ought to lead all involved, not least the instructor, to a new view of the subject.

John Beaven — In the early years of Senior College, John Beaven offered courses on the City of Jerusalem, on the operatic composer Verdi, and “Seekers and Belivers,” co-taught with the late Bill Brown.  More recently, John taught a course on opera, of which he is a long-time student.

John has been a University organist and music faculty member (Cornell) and considers music to be his “first life,” playing also piano and harpsichord. He is an ordained Episcopal priest having served parishes in Montana and New York State, been chaplain and head of the Theology Department at the Kent School in Connecticut, and Dean of St. Luke’s Cathedral in Portland, among other positions.

Susan Beegel — Susan holds a Ph.D. in English from Yale University.  A 20 year resident of Nantucket Island, and now a resident of Phippsburg, Maine, she is a Research Associate of the Williams College-Mystic Seaport Maritime Studies Program. She is also Editor in Chief of The Hemingway Review.
Read:   A Word from the Faculty — Susan Beegel

John Bradford — John has had a life-long interest in early Maine history.  Since retirement he has participated in a dozen archaeological digs at the Popham Colony site.  Beginning with us in 2002, he continues to enjoy every moment as he offers   well-subscribed courses for Senior College: The Popham Colony, and France, England, and the Wabanaki: The Cultural Chaos of 17th Century Maine.
Read:   A Word from the Faculty — John Bradford

Tim Buckley (Johan Zenshin) — An ordained Buddhist priest of the Japanese Soto Zen school, Tim has both studied Buddhism academically and undertaken monastic training and has practiced sitting meditation for over forty years.  Tim also received his Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from the University of Chicago, specializing in the anthropology of religion and American Indian studies. Today, after a career in university teaching and research, he is the practice leader at Great River Zendo in West Bath.

Introducing us to Buddhism, Tim notes that according to the most recent research, the historical Buddha was born in what is now southern Nepal 2,577 years ago and died at eighty years of age in 486 B. C. E.  He was a spiritual teacher renowned throughout the valley of the Ganges, with thousands of followers during his lifetime who knew him as a “buddha”—a completely enlightened one.  However, he never claimed to be anything other than an ordinary human being, and he never founded a religion.  Nonetheless, today there are more than five hundred million “Buddhists” in the world, including up to six million in the United States.  Follow the link below to learn about Buddhism in America.
Read: A Word from the Faculty — Tim Buckley

Bob Bunselmeyer — Since his 2007 course on British soldier poets of World War I, Bob has been teaching Modern European History at Bates College.  Formerly he taught at Yale, Fordham, and Villanova; he served as a university administrator at Yale (his doctoral alma mater) and at Columbia.  As a professor of British history, he has sought to draw from other disciplines to enrich students’ understanding of the times.  Bob has a lifelong interest in how the novel helps us to understand history.  In historians’ unending effort to interpret the past, they have employed a host of tools from written and photographic documents to computers to carbon-dating and more.  Among the oldest tools historians have been using is creative literature to aid in recapturing the events, representative characterization, mood and spirit of times far removed from their own.  It should be said that, from the time early man first spun tales around a campfire, creative stories have been indispensable in capturing and perpetuating the spirit of an age.
Read: A Word from the Faculty — Bob Bunselmeyer

Marlis Cambon — Of herself, Marlis Cambon writes: “Like Dante, I am a traveler at heart and in reality, because I divide my life between the two poles of my life:   Europe and the US.  I am at home in both and my life adjusts naturally to each environment.  So do my interests:  while in Italy, I take in as much art, architecture and its history as possible, some mountain hiking, and during the winter cross-country skiing.  While in Harpswell I enjoy the sea, the woods and their creatures  around my house,  my modest garden, and the fruits of the earth:   mushrooms in particular, and berries. I enjoy crafts: knitting, felting, and weaving baskets.”

Charles Dunbar has been immersed in international relations for over 50 years as professor, writer, and State Department foreign service officer, including service as ambassador to Qatar and Yemen and chargé d’affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan in the early ‘8O’s. He has served in Iran, Afghanistan, Morocco and elsewhere in the Mideast in countries which some of us are challenged even to locate on a map.  Since leaving the State Department, Ambassador Dunbar has taught at Case Western Reserve University where he is Professor of International Affairs. He has also taught, and is still teaching, in such other higher education institutions as Boston University, Simmons College, and Cleveland State University where he has also served as President of the Cleveland Council on World Affairs.  Widely published, Dunbar has written numerous journal articles, chapters in books on Foreign Policy and op-ed pieces in such newspapers as The Boston Globe, The International Herald Tribune and The Cleveland Plain Dealer, as well as frequent stints as commentator on international affairs in both radio and television.

Stuart Gillespie — Stu spent his long career as a professor of American music.  Among his successes, as an accomplished folk singer he produced an album of 19th-century sailors’ chanties to commemorate the 1976 bicentennial. 
 A Word from the Faculty — Stuart Gillespie

Peter Griffin — After earning degrees from Dartmouth and Stanford, and a three year stint teaching at Whitman college in Washington, followed by working for an international commodity merchant, Peter would turn, in his spare time, to playing Bach on the piano and his kit-built harpsichord. Upon retirement to Maine in 2006, Peter now free to pursue his passion, studied the pipe organ with Ray Cornils and began a personal in-depth study of Bach, his life and music. His course this fall, “The Life and Music of Johann Sebastian Bach,” will encourage his students to join him in his devotion to that great composer.

When not messing about with Bach or his small catboat, Peter volunteers as a docent for the Kotschmar Organ in Portland and serves as Director and Treasurer of both the Holbrook Community Foundation in Cundy’s Harbor and the Bowdoin International Music Festival (which is featuring Bach this summer!). He says his vegetable garden is much too large, and he is learning to grow winter greens in an unheated hoop house.

Paul Kalkstein — hired in 1970 at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, Paul had been educated at  Phillips.  He then took degrees at Princeton and Yale.  His specialization is English and American literature with particular interest in the writings of the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries.  He has taught advanced high school classes on Milton, Shakespeare, and Spenser.  He is also much concerned about good writing and has both taught composition and published several books on the subject.  In this vein he has sat on the Commission on Composition of the National Council of Teachers of English.  Further, Paul is very much interested in distance learning, the importance service of online enrichment programs.
Read:   A Word from the Faculty — Paul Kalkstein

Ann Kimmage — Ann was a professor at SUNY-Plattsburg.  There and elsewhere she has taught literature, composition, and autobiographical writing, the Russian and Czech languages, and the philosophy and practice of yoga. In writing her own memoir,  An Un-American Childhood, about growing up in communist Czechoslovakia and China, she became inspired to teach memoir.  She is also writing a yoga memoir.
Read:  A Word from the Faculty — Ann Kimmage

Dennis Kimmage — Dennis has a Ph.D. from Cornell and years of college teaching experience. Courses he has taught at the Senior College include Pasternak’s Dr. Zhivago, Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead, and The Quicksand World of Alfred Hitchcock.
Read:  A Word from the Faculty — Dennis Kimmage

Lois Lamdin – Lois holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of Pittsburgh.  She had a long career as a Professor, Department Head, and Dean at a number of universities and colleges.  Her career also includes serving as Director of a Business Development Training Center in Pennsylvania, publisher of a local business newspaper, and author.  She has written seven books and over thirty scholarly articles.

In “retirement,” Lois has served on the Boards of Portland Stage Company, Maine College of Art, the Maine Humanities Council, and the League of Women Voters.  She was appointed by Gov. King to the Committee to Make Maine a Retirement Destination where she chaired the Arts and Education subcommittee.

Gary Lawless — Many of us are familiar with Gary, co-owner of Gulf of Maine Bookstore in Brunswick.  Educated in Mane with a honorary Doctorate from University of Southern Maine, for a time he lived as poet’s apprentice in the residence of California’s notable environmental activist and poet, Gary Snyder.

He has taught at several public and collegiate schools in this State, including Bates College. Long-time editor/publisher of Blackberry Books, he has written sixteen collections of poetry and given readings and workshops here and abroad.  He has traveled nearby and far-and-wide to be poet in residence, as well has been published in numerous magazines and anthologies.  He lives in Nobleboro, Maine, as caretaker of the Maine home of authors Elizabeth Coatsworth and Henry Beston, and their daughter Kate Beston Barnes, Maine’s first poet laureate.

Parker Marden — Educated at Bates College and Brown University (BA, MA, PhD), most recently Parker was both President and Professor of Sociology at Manchester College in Indiana.  Prior to that he was Dean, Vice President for Academic Affairs, and Professor of Sociology at Beliot College in Wisconsin.  He has taught also at St. Lawrence University, Lawrence University, and Cornell and Brown Universities.  At several of these positions he has received awards that acknowledge his “interest in and understanding of the education and welfare of the student body.”

David McKeith

David McKeith — A retired history professor from Ithaca College, David is a long-time MSC Board member and editor of our newsletter.  With a strong interest and background in environmental studies and environmental policy, David has in the past offered courses on the personal writings of women on the 19th-century frontier and also one on the works of nature writers of the 20th century.  In his course on Thoreau, he traces the progression of environmental thinking that evolved into the present day mainstream conservation movement.
Read:  A Word from the Faculty — David McKeith

Susan Mikesell — Susan has been involved with Senior College for many semesters.  With RN, BSN, MSW, and PhD degrees, she is a well-trained and long-experienced psychologist, psychotherapist, clinical social worker, and nurse.  She has given many years to clinical and consulting experience, to independent practice, and teaching in continuing education courses and in workshops.

David Miller grew up in Pennsylvania and graduated from Princeton in 1964, doing further graduate work at Georgetown University, the University of Dallas, and Connecticut State University. He has taught and taken various positions around the country; Teacher, Director of Development, Dean of Admission, Headmaster ofa boarding school, and Principal of a high school for learning disabled students. More recently, since coming to Maine, David has substituted at various schools in Maine and has Chaired the Bath Patten Free Library Board of Trustees, and the Woolwich Central School Building Committee, coached the Bowdoin Rugby team, and worked on the RSU 1 Maine consolidation effort.

Victor Papacosma is Professor Emeritus of History and Director Emeritus of the Lemnitzer Center for NATO and European Union Studies at Kent State University. Victor received his A.B. from Bowdoin and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Indiana University. Having spent a lot of time working on Greek history and politics, he has published extensively (his bibliography runs to six pages) on Greek and Balkan issues, particularly on 20th century and contemporary Greek politics and security issues. Among these publications are The Military in Greek Politics: The 1909 Coup d’Etat (1977), and NATO in the Post-Cold War Era: Does it Have a Future? (1995). Professor Papacosma is currently the Executive Director of the Modern Greek Studies Association.

Charles Plummer

Charles Plummer– Historian, Civil War reenactor, former Board member, teacher, and scholar, Charlie Plummer has taught a diverse series of courses for us over the past decade.
Read:  A Word from the Faculty — Charles Plummer

Charlotte Price — With emphasis on the study of economics, monetary policy, and diplomacy, Charlotte took degrees at Denison University, Duke, and Columbia (BA, MA, PhD). Following research in the public and private sectors, she commenced an extensive teaching career, at Columbia, Barnard, and Vassar before over thirty years at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, NY.  A sampling of her courses at Sarah Lawrence includes: Economic Policy and the Environment of the Future, American Economic History, and Domestic and International Monetary Policy.

Ted Reese

Ted Reese — brought up in Massachusetts, Ted earned a BA from Yale, an EdM from Harvard, and a MA and a PhD from Brandeis.  Prior to coming to Midcoast Senior College, he taught English at public and private schools and colleges for almost forty years, then ten years at Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) in Portland.  Here he has led classes in Arthurian Literature, American Poets, and Modern American Drama.

In his “other life,” Ted helps with Mt. Ararat’s wrestling team, has assisted with Olympic and World Cup Teams, and contributed to the USA National Wrestling Syllabus.  He was the first person in the USA to earn the FILA (international wrestling’s governing body) designation of “Master Coach,” was Maine’s Coach of the Year six times, was National Coach of the Year in 1996, has begun programs in five schools (including USM), and is in Maine’s Wrestling Hall of Fame.
Read:  A Word from the Faculty — Ted Reese

Stuart Ross — After teaching in various colleges in Michigan and New York, Stuart Ross came to Maine in 1970 to teach in the Art Department at Colby College in Waterville. He has painted and exhibited in midcoast Maine since, and currently teaches painting, drawing and printmaking at Midcoast Senior College in Bath, where he lives.
Read:  A Word from the Faculty — Stuart Ross

Niles Schore practiced law for thirty-five years, mostly in Pennsylvania with a brief stint in Georgia where he founded the Elderly Law Project and was staff lawyer for a statewide health law project. In the Pennsylvania Senate he says he was privileged to work for Senator Roxanne Jones, a welfare mother and the first African-American woman ever elected to that Senate. He was also the Democratic Counsel and Executive Director for the Public Health & Welfare Committee. Prior to retiring to Maine in 2010, he spent seven years as senior management in the Department of Public Welfare where he developed. implemented and monitored policies for poverty programs with nearly two million customers.

Howard Schuman — In his professional life, Howard Schuman was a Research Scientist in the Institute for Social Research and Professor of Sociology, both at the University of Michigan and now both Emeritus.  His research interests include experiments on the way in which questions asked in national surveys shape thanswers people give; the effects of age on collective memories of public events; and long-term changes in racial attitudes.
Read:  A Word from the Faculty — Howard Schuman

Elliott Schwartz is a retired Bowdoin Professor of Music and the head of the Department of Music for many years during which he also functioned as a well known pianist and composer whose works are frequently performed not only in this country but in England, Europe, and Asia. Schwartz has written extensively about music; his books include: Music since 1945, and the anthology Contemporary Composers on Contemporary Music, as well as the music appreciation text, Music: Ways of Listening. Many of his compositions are available on the Innova and New World CD labels. His papers are collected by the Library of Congress and he performs locally, as well as in New York and Boston, often with his former students who enjoy playing his compositions and welcome his continued interest and support as they pursue their own artistic careers.

Robert Small — born in Australia, Robert attended schools and worked there until leaving for France in 1961.  In his senior year in high school, he had been cast in the role of Koko in the Mikado. He never recovered and has been a devoted fan of Gilbert and Sullivan ever since.  His course on Gilbert and Sullivan inspired the same delight that these wonderful musicals have been giving the world for over 100 years.

Craig Snapp — Craig comes to Senior College from the world of industry.  A physicist with a doctorate from Cornell University, he began his career with Hewlet-Packard  Company,  responsible  for  process technology, product  design  and  product  planning  for semiconductor geometry, microwave bipolar transistors and integrated systems. Involved in establishing silicon bipolar technology and semiconductor products, he was also a consultant for microwave power amplifiers for wireless communications.  Craig has a particular interest in GPS navigation.

Linton Studdiford is a graduate of Princeton and the University of Pennsylvania where he earned his B.A. and M.A. in English which he taught as headmaster at Doane Academy, an Episcopal day school in Burlington, N.J. In 1985 he was ordained an Episcopal priest and served in parishes in Skowhegan, Sanford and Cape Elizabeth. After retiring he was assistant to the Diocese of Maine with responsibility for congregational development and clergy deployment.

Linton and his wife Bonnie live in Brunswick where they indulge their passion for the outdoors and for gardening. Much of this passion can be traced, at least partially, to Linton’s interest in Wendell Berry, whose poems and essays are classic works in the environmental movement, and whose book, The Unsettling of America, has become a classic in thinking about sustainable communities.

Jack Thompson, co-founder of MSC

Jack Thompson — Co-founder with Nancy Wheeler of Midcoast Senior College, Jack was teaching adult learners when still a doctoral student at Columbia.  Following that he worked for the Ford Foundation, served in the American Embassy in Indonesia, and taught modern Russian history for many years at the University of Indiana.  He has spent time in Russia as a researcher and traveled the world extensively while teaching history to American undergraduates in overseas programs.  With expertise in military history, Jack also taught at the Air Force Academy and the Air War College.
Read:  A Word from the Faculty — Jack Thompson
Maine Seniors
Magazine features Jack Thompson

Jim Todd — British medical doctor and psychiatrist, his practice has been here in the United States.  At various institutions he taught medical students as an adjunct clinical professor: at Dartmouth Medical School for twenty years, also at the Universities of Vermont, Hawaii, Michigan, and New England.  In his courses, Jim challenges students to look at the world in different ways.   In this vein, the following is an excerpt from Jim’s poem, entitled Curriculum:

“The river causes change in the rocks
and the rocks define the river.
Change is constant and movements occur
and nothing’s the same next time around.

Computers host electronic life.
Cells grow and then they die.
Lightning and trees reach out to each other.
Infinite branching within.

A waterwheel spins this way and that.
The stock market spikes up and down.
Patterns repeat – similarities occur
But they are never exactly the same.”

Daniel Warren says he grew up playing sports, acting in an occasional play or political rally, and being rewarded, disappointed, and consoled in love. The Bible was to him at that time a strange book, occasionally heard from as a prelude to a sermon, a reference for a saying, or a script for a Christmas pageant.

Working after college at the East Harlem Block Schools in NYC led him to understand the importance to his students of daily rituals at home, in classrooms, and in the neighbor- hood. Two years later, in Seminary, he was invited to assist with a course on the Bible at M.I.T. where he found scientists hungry for more than hard data and test results. They warmed up to Genesis, the prophets, psalms, and parables that shaped key questions and pointed them in significant directions.

All of this experience is reflected in the title of Dan’s course,  “Exile, Pilgrimage and Reunion: Biblical Texts that Shaped our Literature and Experience.”

 Katherine Watson — Katherine studied at Duke  University  and  the  University  of  Pennsylvania (BA, MA, PhD).  Following her experience as Curator of Art at the University of Pittsburg and at Oberlin College, she has had a long tenure as Director of the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, retiring as Director emerita in 1998.  Among her professional activities she has been a lecturer in undergraduate courses, including Baroque Art and Sculpture of the Florentine Renaissance.

Nancy Wheeler — Co-founder of Midcoast Senior College with Jack Thompson, Nancy has degrees from Connecticut College and the University of Southern Maine.  Early on, Nancy focused her career as a public school educator, primarily in Boothbay, Maine.  Later Nancy and her husband moved to Bath where she was a major organizer and part of the first volunteer faculty, teaching courses in writing and children’s literature. Very much appreciated by her colleagues, she continues to be a valuable visionary as our program matures.