Adult students enthralled by top professors at One Day University

"There's something special about teaching a group of people who are there for the sheer love of learning rather than merely checking a box on their degree or fulfilling a requirement,” said Dr. Andrew Shatté Oct. 14 about presenting his lecture on “The Power of Resilience and the Science of Stress” at One Day University in San Diego.

One Day University brings together the most popular professors from top schools around the country for half-day events which attract adult “students,” many of whom have long since graduated college and just want to continue learning.

“One Day U audiences are smart, mature and accomplished professionally,” Shatté continued. “If you can wow these folks, it feels like a genuine achievement."

Shatté definitely wowed the audience of 225 who came to the Auditorium at the Scripps Research Institute to hear him, Professor Jeremi Suri and Dr. Robert Greenberg speak about the subjects that are their passion.

In fact, the audience was wowed by all three presenters – just like the undergraduates who usually sit in their classrooms.

“We look for award-winning professors who receive the highest ratings from their students,” explained Steven Schragis, who founded One Day University in 2005 after bringing his own daughter to college and realizing that the freshmen’s parents were wishing they were going back to school, too. “Their subject matter is informative and interesting, and they are entertaining speakers who know how to keep an audience rapt.”

Shatté was voted the best professor by students at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Arts and Sciences in 2003 and, in 2006, he received the Dean’s Award for Distinguished Teaching.

Suri, who spoke about “The Impossible Presidency: From Washington and Jefferson to Obama and Trump,” holds the Mack Brown Distinguished Chair for Leadership in Global Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. In 2007, Smithsonian Magazine named him one of America’s “Top Young Innovators” in the Arts and Sciences.

Greenberg – a.k.a. the “Elvis of music history and appreciation,” according to the Bangor Daily News – presented “Music as a Mirror of History: 300 Years in 60 Minutes.” He has been designated an official “Steinway Artist,” and has been awarded three Nicola de Lorenzo Composition Prizes and three Meet-The-Composer Grants.

Students took notes in the examination blue books distributed before the event started, writing down important takeaways from each speaker.

Suri reminded the audience of the importance of learning from history. He encouraged mentoring young people to get involved in public service, saying he has so much faith in our kids, he would happily replace the Texas legislature with his undergraduate students.

“I will be back in 10 years and I promise we will have a new President and she will be doing everything differently,” he said.

Greenberg demonstrated how the environment shapes the style of music, mirroring the larger culture.

“For a composer, music acts as a diary,” he explained. “Their music will naturally reflect something of themselves and the world in which they’re living.”

Shatté shared the secret to happiness. “Transitory things don’t make us happy,” he said. “Meaning and purpose are important factors, and resilience lies at the heart of happiness.”

The audience enthusiastically interacted with all three professors, asking thoughtful questions, participating in psychological experiments that tested their frustration level as they tried to solve seemingly insolvable anagrams, and sharing their feelings about pieces of classical music.

“I enjoy One Day University because the audience is smart, engaged and experienced,” said Suri. “I treat this audience as one that knows the facts but wants to explore their meaning for our troubled world today. They’re a laboratory for how we can motivate and inform ourselves to become better citizens, voters and leaders at a time when good leadership is in such short supply.”

Since its last event in San Diego, One Day University has added more cities to its schedule, bringing that number up to 61. They’ve also made many of their classes available online so you can watch some of the most popular lectures around the country. So far, 7,000 of One Day University’s 70,000 students have taken advantage of this service which gives you unlimited access to courses such as “The Four Most Powerful People in the World” and “The Science of Happiness” for $9.95 per month.

One Day University is also taking its classes to the sea, thanks to a new partnership with Lindblad/National Geographic.

“They’re called Expeditions and we’re really excited about them,” said Schragis. “We did a survey and found that 97 percent of our students love travel. This is a great way to combine both.”

The first two destinations will be the Galapagos Islands and Iceland, and Schragis is hoping an Alaska cruise will be next.

In the meantime, he’s already booked the next One Day University in San Diego, which will be held in February.

“It will feature politics, history and music plus three of our most remarkable professors,” said Schragis. “It just may be our best event ever.”

You can register online at www.onedayu.com or by calling 800-300-3438. Use coupon code RETURN for a 30 percent discount.

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