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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Learn About Industrial Revolution Before Kicking the Bucket

“This town is rich in a unique resource—retired professors.”

These are the words of Jim Ahrens, a class member and advocate for the program series called Grinnell’s Bucket Course.

This series of courses is sponsored by the Community Education Council and is offered to those in the community who want to learn “everything you want to learn before you kick the bucket,” as stated on the program’s website.

Currently, a Bucket Course on the topic of the First Industrial Revolution is being offered by Professor Emeritus of History and former College President George Drake, and Professor Emeritus of Physics Beryl Clotfelter.

The course will cover developments in England—where the Industrial Revolution began—during 18th and 19th centuries, as well as how it parallels the Information Revolution of today. The professor duo taught a similar course in 1987 during a Grinnell-In-London semester. The course was eagerly anticipated and filled up quickly according to Joanne Bunge, who works with the program. Each class lasts about six weeks at the Drake Library and costs $10-$20. The course topic varies and often reflects a professor’s personal passion.

Both Bunge and Ahrens praised the program, saying that it was perfect for the Grinnell community. Ahrens was particularly thrilled with the first class session this past Wednesday.

“It’s really quite interesting to me, as I had never learned about the chemistry, physics and history of making steel before,” Ahrens said.

In addition to Ahrens’s praise of Grinnell’s resource of retired professors, Bunge added the other key component of the Bucket Course program.

“We have a community of lifelong learners,” Bunge said.

These lifelong learners and passionate professors have come together to form an extremely informative, low-cost educational jewel. Each Bucket Course usually costs less than $20 for an extensive six-week course.

“The professors have always refused a stipend,” Bunge said. “They do it for the love of teaching.”

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