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Academic Programing for Lifelong Learners

Marjorie Seawell is a lifelong learner on Semester at Sea
Longtime Semester at Sea supporter and Lifelong Learner Marjorie Seawell

The Institute for Shipboard Education has a long history of encouraging adult participants aboard its academic voyages, and their presence and participation has enriched the experience for students, faculty, and staff alike.  On the Semester at Sea Short Term (Maymester) 2011 voyage, we are piloting a special academic program designed especially for Lifelong Learners.

Reginald H Garrett, a Biology Professor at the University of Virginia designed a program that dovetails with the voyage theme, Engineering a New Tomorrow, the curriculum based on the UN Millennium Development Goals and the voyage itinerary.

Academic Program
In a letter to the Maymester Lifelong Learners, Professor Garrett talks about the planned series of lectures;

“We will begin with a review of the history of the Caribbean and then move on to the biology there that makes it such a prime attraction for travelers. Prominent among these attractions are the coral reefs and the rain forests, two of the richest biological systems on the planet. In the context of the biology, we will also discuss how our species came to populate the planet, affording us insights into who we are.

The 21st century promises to be the century of biology. The astounding pace of scientific advances in biology is shaping our lives and will alter the landscape our descendants inhabit. Highlights of what might be termed the Biology of the New Millennium are meant to enable you to understand and consider the implications of these new possibilities. After all, an informed citizenry should be the judge of which paths we follow through which policies we choose.

What I hope to do through these lectures is to give you new ways to think about such marvels as a coral reef or the Human Genome Project. I also hope that these topics will spark some dialog, both in and out of the lecture room, and all of us will benefit from the shared wisdom of the community”


Lifelong Learners have the opportunity to attend Professor Garrett’s lecture each morning, while the ship is at sea.

Special Guests
In addition to the Professor Garrett’s morning lectures, Lifelong Learners will be able to attend lectures in the afternoon.  The guest speakers include:

  • Dr. Ken Leslie, Director, Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre
  • Bill Prindle, Vice President & Consultant in Energy Efficiency, ICF International
  • Tim Latimmer, Director of Environmental Hub, Central America & Caribbean,¬†U.S. Department of State

Participating in undergraduate classes
Lifelong Learners also have the opportunity to audit or enroll in undergraduate courses, provided space is available, for a small transcript fee.  Semester at Sea offers approximately 75 upper- and lower-division courses each fall and spring term, and 35-40 each summer term.

We are excited about this Enrichment opportunity for Lifelong Learners and plan to implement the program for future voyages.

  • Education
  • Life at Sea

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