2015 Spring Courses

Dr. Alan FerrisPoor water quality, flooding, drought - these words are often heard and read about in the news at the local, regional, national and global levels. What prospects for the future lie ahead? This new CAL class will examine the role water plays in our world - and will study the economic, biological, social, political and psychological effects associated with this life-giving natural resource.

Date: Fridays | April 10, 17, 24 & May 1
Time: 1:30-3:00 PM
Location: Scholastica Learning Center 106
Instructor: Dr. Alan Ferris

Dr. Alan Ferris, professor of Psychology at Mount Marty College, received a PhD from Kansas State University in Personality/Social Psychology with an emphasis in Health Psychology and has been on the faculty at Mount Marty College for 22 years. He teaches a variety of psychology classes including Social Psychology, Personality Theory, Memory and Cognition, and Physiological Psychology. He has taught
The Speed of Modern Society, The Psychology of Happiness, and Water for the Honors Program at
Mount Marty College. He also plays in the MMC Band and participates in intramural sports on campus.
In his spare time, Dr. Ferris enjoys woodworking, model railroading and gardening.

Dr. Vicki GeiserDue to the sucess of last spring's course, we are bringing this introducation to bird watching back - from how to use binoculars and a bird field guide to how to identify birds by shape, plumage, behavior, habitat preference, and voice. We will have two classroom sessions and two field sessions to introduce people to the constant variety and challenge of birding, as well as, the camaraderie of bird watching with a group of people.

Date: Thursdays | April 16, 23, 30 & May 7
Time: 9:00-10:30am
Location: Scholastica Learning Center 108
Instructor: Roger Dietrich

Born and raised in South Dakota. Earned a Bachelor's degree in Economics from South Dakota State University in 1970 and earned a Master's degree in Business Administration from the University of Oklahoma in 1973. He returned to South Dakota in 1974 and has worked here in various positions until retiring from a career as a Clinic Administrator in December, 2010.

He has been an active amateur photographer for years. Photography was his major interest and as he was taking more bird photos he knew he had to be able to identify the birds he was seeing. Eventually, this led to birding, which cut down on his photography as he was spending more time learning about birds. When he got his first digital camera he got back into photography and has combined the two hobbies since then. He enjoys birding in the area and also traveling to other locations around the country.

He is a member of the South Dakota Ornithological Union, Dakota Birders, and the American Birding Association.


In this course, we will examine two documents from the Second Vatican Council and find what they said about the Catholic Church and its relationship with the modern world. The Dogmatic Constitution on the Church and The Church in the Modern World both talk about the Church, its people and its mission to the world. Join in this lively discussion and find how the Church came to see she needed to open her doors and windows to the modern world. Suggested book: Vatican II in Plain English, The Constitutions by Bill Huebsch with Paul Thurmes from Thomas More Publishers, 1997. The book will be available on reserve in the MMC Library.

Date: Thursdays | April 6, 16, 23 and 30
Time: 1:00 - 2:30 PM
Location: Bede 326
Instructor: Dr. Helen Ciernick

Dr. Helen Ciernick, an Associate Professor of Theology, began teaching at Mt. Marty College six years ago.  With degrees in Religious Studies, Theology and Church History, she teaches a wide range of courses that include her new class Understanding the Catholic Faith.  In addition to teaching at the college, she has offered classes in church history and theology at St. Benedict Parish, where she lectors.  She looks forward to teaching for CAL because of the lively discussion that comes with teaching adults.  When not teaching, she sews, plays piano, reads and pursues her renewed hobby of stained-glass.

Dr. Vicki GeiserThis NEW CAL course will give participants an opportunity to study the ethical and spiritual concerns relating to the involvement of the human body in healthcare and medical research by exploring the topics of defining the point of death, oversight of guardian decisions regarding healthcare for dependent adults, cadaveric donations for educational and entertainment purposes, and other uses of the human body in healthcare and research in relation to their moral considerations and concerns. This course will include scientific explorations pursuing the evidence of the soul, philosophical challenges to physicalism, and theological and biblical perspectives of research and healthcare practices. This course is partly based on discussing the book, Body of Work: Meditations on Mortality from the Human Anatomy Lab by Christine Montross.

Date: Tuesdays | April 7, 14, 21 & 28
Time: 12:30-2:00 PM
Location: Old Library/Avera Science & Nursing Complex 206
Instructor: Dr. Vicki Geiser

Dr. Vicki Geiser is an Assistant Professor of Biology and Director of Medical Laboratory Sciences at MMC. She earned her B.S., M.S., and PhD in Biological Sciences with an emphasis in molecular virology from the University of Nebraska - Lincoln. Dr. Geiser completed her postdoctoral fellowship in viral oncology at Brigham & Women's Hospital's Infectious Disease Division and Harvard Medical School's Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics. Dr. Geiser is a collaborator and undergraduate research program mentor for the Microbial Genome Annotation Network, SD Biochemical Spatio-temporal NeTwork Resource
(Bio-SNTR), and SD Biomedical Research Infrastructure Network (BRIN).

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What goes on inside a star, how are they born, how do they change throughout their lives, and how do they die? We will discuss the physical processes and stages that happen throughout the lives of the stars, including star formation, nuclear fusion, red giants, white dwarfs, supernovas, neutron stars, and black holes. No prior knowledge of astrophysics required!

Date: Tuesdays | April 7, 14, 21 and 28
Time: 2:00-3:30 PM
Location: Old Library/Avera Science & Nursing Complex 206
Instructor: Dr. Ryan Maderak

Dr. Ryan Maderak, Assistant Professor of Physics, joined the Mount Marty faculty in 2012.  He earned his B.S. in Physics and Astronomy at Benedictine College in his native Kansas, and earned his M.A. and PhD in Astronomy at Indiana University where he also did post-doctoral research.  His ongoing research focuses on the chemical abundances of galactic star clusters in order to learn about the chemical history of our galaxy.

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Instructor: Terry Winter

6:30-8:00pm | Thursday, April 9 - Preview, Bede Hall 117
7:30-10:00pm | Sunday, April 12 - Performance, Marian Auditorium
6:30-8:30pm | Tuesday, April 14 - Review, Bede Hall 117

In less than one week's time, participants will be introduced to Shakespearean literature and style, attend a live performance of the National Players AS YOU LIKE IT, and engage in critical performance analysis! The Players, America's Longest Running Classical Touring Company, have been performing on our campus for over five decades, and here is an opportunity to dig deeper into the material from page to stage! Includes two tickets to the National Players performance.

Terry Winter is a long-time theatre director and educator with Yankton High School, where he was known especially for earning superior ratings at the South Dakota High School Activities Association's One-Act Play Festival.  Terry has also directed productions for the Lewis & Clark Theatre Company over the years.  Now retired, Terry can be found subbing at YHS and traveling around the US visiting his three grown children with his wife, Cheryl.