White text on red background. Text: Alumni ExCo. Grinnell College logo in all white in the upper left corner.

Grinnell College Experiential College for alumni

The Alumni Experiential College (ExCo) returns this April with 12 free virtual workshops. This is an opportunity for alumni and current students to interactively learn about a range of fascinating topics from Grinnell alumni. 

Additional information can be found in the the Frequently Asked Questions page for prospective participants and prospective instructors.

Spring 2021 Workshops

A New Kind of Blue: Connections between Early West Coast Psychedelic Music and Jazz (1963-68)

We will listen to and discuss recordings by Miles Davis and John Coltrane that members of Jefferson Airplane, the Byrds, the Doors, and the Grateful Dead admired. We will explore the specific elements borrowed from Davis and Coltrane’s music that were then incorporated into early psychedelic music. The workshop will conclude with listening to recordings by the psychedelic bands that incorporate elements and approaches from Davis and Coltrane’s music.

Date: April 5 at 7 p.m. CT
Instructor: Tom Zlabinger ’96

Learn more about Tom and register for this Alumni ExCo workshop on the A New Kind of Blue registration page.

"Boys Don't Cry": Depictions of Masculinity in Popular Culture

Popular Culture is a reflection of society's beliefs and values, but at the same time, popular culture can affect the views of society. This lecture will use film and television shows to analyze depictions of masculinity and manhood. We will look at how film and television has reinforced the patriarchal male image and how new depictions of masculinity have tried to subvert traditional notions of manhood.

Date: April 6 at 7 p.m. CT
Instructor: Javon Garcia ’14

Learn more about Javon and register for this Alumni ExCo workshop on the Boys Don't Cry registration page.

Wear Your Heart On Your Sleeve: Block Printing to Customize Your Clothing

Ever wonder what your clothes say about you? In this hands-on workshop, we’ll make our clothes speak for themselves while exploring a simple printing technique that can be done from home. We’ll use relief printmaking to stamp clothing and fabric, revamping your wardrobe – or maybe a T-shirt – so that it says something about you using image, text, or both.

Date: April 8 at 7 p.m. CT
Instructor: Suzie Treinen ’93

Learn more about Suzie and register for this Alumni ExCo workshop on the Wear Your Heart On Your Sleeve registration page.

CUT IT OUT! Making papercut art from one sheet of paper

Learn about the art of papercutting, in this workshop style class learn the steps and skills to create bold designs in black and white with basic materials. Papercutting is a fun way to make anything from greeting cards to logos or posters.

Date: April 10 at Noon CT
Instructor: Lara Gaasland-Tatro ’05

Learn more about Lara and register for this Alumni ExCo workshop on the Cut It Out registration page.

Chocolate 101

In this workshop, we will explore the history of chocolate from around 2000 BC in Mexico, to Europe, and back to the United States. We will also learn the 8-step process to evaluate chocolates so that you can host your own chocolate tasting parties.

Date: April 10 at 3 p.m. CT
Instructor: Rob Rollins ’86

Learn more about Rob and register for this Alumni ExCo workshop on the Chocolate 101 registration page.

How to Avoid a Partnership from Hell while Doing Work of the Angels

Many of us serve on nonprofit boards. Sometimes it is satisfying. Sometimes it is very frustrating. What makes this work productive and satisfying? How can you get as much out of voluntary leadership as you give.

Date: April 12 at 7 p.m. CT
Instructor: Robert Eckardt ’73

Learn more about Robert and register for this Alumni ExCo workshop on the How to Avoid a Partnership from Hell while Doing Work of the Angels registration page.

How to Heal Healthcare: Addressing the Causes of COVID-19 Health Disparities

We’ll walk participants through the view of our health system from two vantage points – family physician delivering patient care, and healthcare innovation professional. How did we get one year into the pandemic with health disparities so drastically thrown into view? What are some efforts taking place to reform our healthcare system?

Date: April 13 at 7 p.m. CT
Instructor: Kathryn Morcom ’05 & Baylis Beard ’05

Learn more about Kathryn and Baylis and register for this Alumni ExCo workshop on the How to Heal Healthcare registration page.

How to Live Through Dying

The death positive movement is growing and expanding our options beyond dying-in-a-hospital-and-being-immediately-whisked-to-a-mortuary-and-embalmed-in-a-casket. This is great news for those of us concerned about the earth, and who want to fully experience the loss of a loved one in our own time, honoring their uniqueness. But what are the options? And how do we start conversations with our loved ones about what is wanted for the event that we all eventually experience: the end of life.

Date: April 15 at 7 p.m. CT
Instructor: Saunia Powell ’02

Learn more about Saunia and register for this Alumni ExCo workshop on the How to Live Through Dying registration page.

Understanding Identities Beyond the Classroom

Participants will explore their own identities through a series of activities and conversations to gain a better understanding of the role they play in creating diverse, equitable, and inclusive spaces in the education sector. Whether that is working in a classroom, for an organization, or an educational consultant group, the workshop will allow future education based leaders to reflect on their own leadership and the ways in which they can empower underrepresented students.

Date: April 17 at 1 p.m. CT
Instructor: Yesenia Ayala ’18

Learn more about Yesenia and register for this Alumni ExCo workshop on the Understanding Identities Beyond the Classroom registration page.

Structural Violence in the United States or Understanding the Need to Demolish "Black Bodies"

This workshop introduces participants to Galtung's notion of structural and cultural violence. By leveraging Netflix's The 13th, participants will be engaged in a discussion about the structural nature of discrimination in the United States. From slavery to the insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6, racism and other forms of discrimination are a part of the fabric of American culture. Reducing discrimination requires structural solutions if the American Dream is to really be achieved.

Date: April 17 at 3 p.m. CT
Instructor: Kimberly King-Jupiter ’87

Learn more about Kimberly and register for this Alumni ExCo workshop on the Structural Violence in the United States registration page.

The Newbery Medal – 99 Years of Excellence in Books for Children

The gold Newbery seal on the cover of a children's book signals excellence and distinction, but just how does it get there? Former Newbery Chair Thom Barthelmess will share the history of the Newbery Medal, explore the terms and criteria used to define its distinction, and consider its application in contemporary contexts.

Date: April 18 at 5 p.m. CT
Instructor: Thom Barthelmess ’87

Learn more about Thom and register for this Alumni ExCo workshop on the The Newbery Medal registration page.