Morning Group Seminars – 2022 Morning Groups run for 4 days, from 9:00 am – Noon.

Morning seminars will be capped at 15 participants. Additional participants will be added solely at the discretion of the convener.

Celebrating the Search in the Third Age of Life

SFHE has been a gathering that allows for the genuine celebration of Search – of mind and spirit, memory and project, group and individual effort.  The effort, even if it constitutes a struggle, even if it seems to reach no conclusion, or has seemed solitary – is part of normal, thoughtful life. It may often rely on sources, biblical passages for example, that have been historically central to the tradition of inquiry.  Bring to our discussions the material that you can recommend, not to solve problems necessarily, but to throw new light on the issues that necessarily call for our attention – global warming, political dysfunction, scholarly misdirection, racism recurrent, religious discovery.  We are glad to help one another to embark on and to sustain the Search.

Convener: Phil O’Mara

Exploring Denver

Interested in visiting some of Denver’s attractions? This group will meet and head into the city via light rail to landmarks such as Union Station and the Denver Art Museum. Let us know if you have any suggestions for what you’d like to see. Participants will be responsible for their own costs. Convener: Jeremiah Howard –

Historical Fiction

The Historical and Novel Fiction Work Group will discuss frontier works, loosely defined, at our Denver conference.  We have agreed upon the following schedule, one that is a bit more challenging that those in the past in that we’ve selected six novels for discussion.  Our first meeting, facilitated by Nancy Cunningham, will focus on Daniel Kehlmann’s Measuring the World (2006), his debut novel about the meeting of two geniuses on the Enlightenment, Alexander von Humboldt and Carl Friedrich Gauss, each determined to be the first to measure the world.  Our second meeting will focus on two westerns starting, in the first hour, with Owen Wister’s The Virginian (1920).  Gay Harter will lead our discussion of what is considered to be the first true fictional western.  The second half of that day’s meeting will focus on John Williams’ Butcher’s Crossing (1960), a “fiercely intelligent, beautifully written western” in which “Williams dismantles the myths of modern America.”  For the third meeting, we will look at two other novels that reimagine the mythic American frontier.  In the first hour, we will discuss C Pam Zhang’s How Much of These Hills Is Gold (2020), the West seen from the point of view of the orphaned children of Chinese immigrants.  The second part of our Day 3 meeting, facilitated by Mary Papke, will continue our focus on racism and othering through discussion of African American author Percival Everett’s God’s Country (1994), “a Wild West road trip that challenges our assumptions about what human dignity really means.”  Our final meeting will carry forward our interest in non-Western cultural frontiers; Tom Stockdale will facilitate discussion of Junichiro Tanizaki’s The Makioka Sisters (1957), a novel many critics consider the greatest Japanese novel of the 20th century.  Please join us for what I am certain will be an intellectually stimulating, eye-opening view of what frontiers have meant to different peoples. 

Convener – Mary Papke,

Modes of Teaching

The Modes of Teaching group provides a space for sharing, experimenting, and learning about effective, innovative, and inclusive pedagogical approaches. In addition to providing a safe, multidisciplinary environment of fellow instructors who deeply value the art of teaching, this group will include some open work time in which participants will be encouraged to take the time to develop their own teaching materials, lesson plans, and learning activities. There will also be opportunities for participants to test out new teaching ideas with short teaching demonstrations with a group of interested participants.

Conveners – Melanie Howard and Amy Berger,,

Pop Culture


The Pop Culture morning group will meet to discuss the Netflix series The Chair, starring Sandra Oh.

The series description that follows is from the series’ website here

“At a major university, the first woman of color to become chair tries to meet the dizzying demands and high expectations of a failing English department.”


The Pop Culture morning group will meet to discuss Station Eleven, the novel by Emily St. John Mandel, which has also been made into a limited series on HBO. Attendees are encouraged to both read the novel and watch the series, if at all possible.


The Pop Culture morning group will travel to the River North Art District (RiNo) of Denver. RiNo is home to numerous galleries and murals. Check it out here!


The Pop Culture morning group will gather to share other pop culture works (past, present, or on the horizon) that have caught the attendees’ attention since we last met. All are encouraged to make suggestions for the topics of next year’s gathering! Convener – Eric Ecklund,

Theorizing Culture

This year, the Theorizing Culture group will be reading The Lies that Bind: Rethinking Identity(2019) by Kwame Anthony Appiah and The Monarchy of Fear: A Philosopher Looks at Our Political Crisis (2019) by Martha Nussbaum. These works will focus our conversations on a number of issues related to the theme of the summer meeting, such as the role and power of identity in our society, the emotional basis (particularly fear) of much of our politics, how we might move toward more just and inclusive communities, and much more. The schedule of readings will be as follows:

Thursday: Appiah, Introduction and Chapters 1-3

Friday: Appiah, Chapters 4-6 and Coda

Saturday: Nussbaum, Preface and Chapters 1-4

Sunday: Nussbaum, Chapters 5-7

Conveners: Allen Dunn and Eric Bain-Selbo,,

Writing and Sharing Stories: The Art of Memoir

Why do we write memoirs? Do we write to explore sacred experience, for self-empowerment, to express world views or identity—or simply to tell a good story? What role, if any, does memoir play in our pedagogy?

Stated plainly, an autobiography is a narrative of the facts of your life and memoir is memory, a process of ordering and extracting meaning from lived experience. Or, if the totality of your life and autobiography is a pie, a memoir is just a sliver; a short stretch of time that represents the whole, or a series of recollections—chronological or not—that taken together form a pattern that illuminates a central motif.

If you have been wanting to write your story this is a great place to get started. Join us to explore ways to approach memoir, from the first compelling paragraph to a more in-depth exploration of theme. Sessions will include discussion of different approaches to memoir writing, time to write, and time for sharing. We also encourage participants to bring works-in-progress to develop and present. Conveners – Sarah Moore and Dorothy Hurlburt,,