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UW’s Saturday U Program Returns to Sheridan Feb. 6

January 29, 2016
woman holding two polar bear cubs
Merav Ben-David, UW Department of Zoology and Physiology professor, will discuss how climate change affects polar bears during UW’s one-day education program, Saturday U, at Sheridan College Saturday, Feb. 6. (Merav Ben-David Photo)

Saturday University -- the University of Wyoming’s popular, free, one-day college education program -- returns to Sheridan Saturday, Feb. 6.

Area residents have the opportunity to go back to college for a day, with two UW professors and a Sheridan College faculty member lecturing. Wyoming immigration issues, understanding the meaning of poetry and how climate change affects polar bears are topics that will be discussed at Sheridan College’s Whitney Academic Center Atrium. The program is free and open to the public.

The half-day of college classes and discussion begins with refreshments at 8:30 a.m., followed by a welcoming address at 8:50 a.m. The guest lectures begin at 9:10 a.m.

In its eighth year, Saturday U is a collaborative program that connects popular UW and Wyoming community college professors with lifelong learners. Offered six times a year -- twice each in Jackson, Gillette and Sheridan -- Saturday U is sponsored by the university, the UW Foundation and Wyoming Humanities Council, and is presented locally by Sheridan College and the UW Outreach School.

Participants may attend one, two or all three lectures in Sheridan, plus the final luncheon and roundtable discussion at 12:30 p.m.

Listed below are program topic descriptions and professors lecturing:

9:10 a.m. -- “The Cowboy State in a World on the Move: Exploring Contemporary Immigration Issues in Wyoming,” Suzan Pritchett, UW College of Law assistant professor and director of UW’s International Human Rights Clinic.

Global migration is on the rise, and national immigration reform appears elusive. Many assume that Wyoming, as the nation’s least populous state, is insulated from the larger immigration debate, Pritchett says. However, immigrants continue to make Wyoming their home, and national and international immigration policies have an effect on local Wyoming communities.

Pritchett will give context to contemporary immigration issues in Wyoming and provide an opportunity to discuss the future of immigration in the Cowboy State.

10-10:10 a.m. -- Break.

10:15 a.m. -- “What Makes Poetry Work?” Jane Elkington Wohl, Sheridan College faculty member and poet.

Many people find poetry confusing and, usually, readers can understand the meaning of a poem. But the elements that create the meaning sometimes escape them, Elkington Wohl says.

Her presentation will concentrate on “how” a poem means rather than “what” the poem means by exploring sound, word choice, image and figurative language. Participants will examine a number of different poems during Elkington Wohl’s presentation.

11:15-11:25 a.m. -- Break.

11:30 a.m. -- “Polar Bears and Climate Change: Walking on a Faster Treadmill,” Merav Ben-David, UW Department of Zoology and Physiology professor.

Declines in sea ice extent and thickness increase its drift on ocean currents and, because drift in the Beaufort Sea is largely westward, polar bears are forced to walk eastward on a faster-moving "treadmill,” Ben-David says.

“The higher time allocation and increased energy expenditure associated with this new demand, in conjunction with reduced hunting opportunities, lead to reduced survival for polar bears, especially of dependent young,” she says.

The spring Saturday U term continues with programs in Gillette Feb. 11 and Jackson March 12.

For more information, visit the Saturday U website at

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