Continuing Education

Blog Posts

Short-Term Commitment Classes: Brief on Time, Big on Content

At a loss for time in your schedule to enroll in a class that meets more than a time or three, but feel the urge to stretch your creative muscles, expand your horizons and feed your hungry mind? Here are Imagesome Continuing Education classes capacious in content that won’t dominate your schedule.

Cognac and Armagnac
If you’re a whiskey lover, Cognac and Armagnac will open your eyes to a whole new world of barrel-aged spirits. In this experiential class, you will be introduced to the two most famous brandies in the world while exploring the history, production, and grading process to make you a Cognac and Armagnac connoisseur. 1 session, $39

How to Start a Small Food Business
Set a strong foundation for your dream as an experienced food entrepreneur. Be guided through the process of not only starting the business but the cost of products, preparing food-specific business plans and how to obtain health and other required permits. 2 session, $155

Un-Retiring, Re-Careering and the Second Half of Life

Change is inevitable, though most of us do everything in our power to avoid it. We prefer to seek a path of least possible resistance and establish a comfortable, if not predictable flow to our daily lives. Retirement is the one Imagemighty course change many of us anticipate with great joy and trepidation. Thankfully, Continuing Education instructor Mariko Navin has made a career of leading students through those inevitable changes and more in her course, Midlife through Retirement: A Catalyst for Change.

Little intrigues Navin more than helping folks net all the ingredients they need to formulate a successful “Second Half” of life. “I wanted to offer an interactive workshop-style course that could provide structure, resources, and support to help individuals identify for themselves what mattered most at this point in their lives and to start taking action to bring these things to the fore,” says Navin. “Small incremental changes can lead to bigger changes over time, and I wanted to provide an opportunity for people seeking to reexamine their lives and to intentionally create change a place to do so within a community of others.”

Mindfulness in the Classroom: Managing Student and Teacher Self-Care

Of late we hear the term Mindfulness with a growing degree of frequency. It’s a meditation trend that’s become more and more commonplace in the home, workplace and particularly the classroom. ImagePractitioners describe Mindfulness as the ability to be fully present and aware of one’s surroundings while maintaining a meditative distance from outside stimuli.  “Mindfulness is the ability to attend to one’s present experience with self-caring,” says Mindfulness for Teachers – Self-Care and Student Focus instructor Andrea D’Asaro. “This process of checking in with oneself reduces both teacher and student stress.”

Meet Our New Program Coordinator, Riley Thomas!

Before joining us in Continuing Education (CE), Riley was a Program Coordinator Imagewith North Seattle College Admissions, Registration, Records & Credentials (ARC). Thanks to her past work experience, Riley not only brings a strong working knowledge of college systems, but a built-in appreciation for North’s community and culture.

Please join us in welcoming Riley to the CE team!

What is your favorite thing about Continuing Education?

The opportunities Continuing Education provides for personal growth, development, and enrichment. Each class is a unique opportunity!

The Lay of the Land: Discussing Beginning Landscape Painting

Continuing Education painting instructor David Verba is one of those rare artists who can deftly go from expressing himself through realistic imagery to the abstract and back again. You can see itImage in his own work and the classes he elects to teach. This winter he’ll introduce Beginning Landscape Painting into his teaching repertoire, affording students the opportunity to explore a whole new terrain of creative self-expression.

As a subject, landscapes are as much a standard for painters as the still lives and live models. Verba believes painters hold a fascination with landscape painting because the basic ingredients of shape, color and composition are literally built into the subject matter. “There are things we are all familiar with; trees, hills, steams, etc.  With those basic shapes artists in the last five hundred plus years have found countless ways to interpret them in paint on canvas,” he says.  “Those interpretations range from the highly stylized, to the romanticized, to the mystical, to the strictly representational. There is something to be learned from all the different approaches to painting a landscape.”

Getting the Job Done: The Finer Points of How to Start and Operate a Small Business

Many ambitious individuals dream of taking permanent leave from the 9 to 5 workforce and starting their own small business. Sadly, though entrepreneurial spirit is willing and able, experience and Imageacumen are not always part of the equations as many new businesses falter and close within a few years of their inception. Through his CE course How to Start and Operate a Small Business, instructor Michael Odell seeks to help new proprietors apply their passion to a sustainable business model. According to Odell, the whole game plan is moot without that entrepreneurial spirit. “In business as in life, the entrepreneurial spirit requires a positive attitude and the desire to succeed,” says Odell. “Both life and business are ongoing journeys. To successfully make that journey one needs a set of clearly defined goals. Goals provide directional signposts along our journey.”

Language Liaison: Talking with Instructor Louise Morehead

Continuing Education instructor Louise Morehead can trace her love of language back to a particular point in her Imagechildhood; when she was taken not only with the speech of another culture, but to the universal language of music. “A combination of musical training and a wonderful language-learning program in my elementary school provided me with key elements that would facilitate many of my adult activities; among them, learning languages,” she recalls. “I believe I was in fourth grade when dear Miss Johnson began pushing her Spanish-teaching cart of tapes, headphones, colorful posters, and a tape recorder to every classroom in the school. Pupils throughout the elementary school benefited from 15 or 20 minutes of Spanish every day. Songs, skits, sayings, poetry, and the good old Hola, Isabel! dialogue livened up our classroom.” She says by the time she reached high school she was well-qualified to take on the more serious and advanced Spanish classes the highly-rated New York Metropolitan Area secondary school system had to offer.  

Wishing on a "Wish Book"

There was a time when the postal carrier delivered dreams to our doorsteps. Gift catalogs were once Imageall the rage with their arrival signifying the coming of the holiday season. Bearing names like Sears and Roebuck, Montgomery Wards or JC Penny these “wish books” were heavy as dictionaries and colorful as wrapping paper. Young and old alike could be found tucking a catalog under their arms and sneaking off to a quiet corner to pour over the goodies within; indicating their gift wishes by scribbling their initials in the margins, dog-earing the pages or simply tearing out an image and posting it in a central location of the home…like the refrigerator.

Creating Confidence with ESL

Many native English speakers enter a classroom to learn a foreign language as a requirement for earning a degree or in anticipation of a trip abroad.  Few native English speakers know the challenges of being a newcomer in a foreign Imageland, come in search of a new life, hoping to acclimate themselves to a new language and culture.  Continuing Education now offers a wide range of classes for non-native speakers, from ESL to TOEFL/IELTS test preparation, to immersive conversation. Learning to navigate a new language is challenging, but not impossible.  And best of all? You don’t have to figure it out alone.

Documentaries for the Lifelong Learner

Documentary film has the potential to serve us in any number of ways; it enlightens, educates and maintains an Imagehistorical record.  Documentary film can also inspire. Assembled below are a handful of documentary films chosen to either enhance your appreciation for a subject you already love or one you may have considered exploring more deeply.


Minnesota Potters: Sharing the Fire
Become acquainted with the lives and work of eight Minnesota potters - four pairs of artists whose unique relationships celebrate some of the many ways that knowledge, experience and spirit is passed from person to person in the inspiration and creation of ceramics.

Opening the Doors to Access

In an age where information is a key commodity, successfully organizing, processing and applying Imagethese vital (yet intangible) goods is paramount. A tool sure to help streamline the whole process is Microsoft Access. According to Access instructor Jeffrey Richards, it’s important to know the distinction between data and information when talking about database management systems. “Information is insight, data is just numbers or characters,” says Richards. “Data is something to be organized and managed in order to record transactions (often within a business). In Access, it means setting up and relating datasheets properly and filling in information in a timely manner (perhaps using a form). Information, on the other hand, is used to drive, summarize, and even predict the business, and for this queries and reports are used in Access.”

Putting Fears to Rest: Mastering Public Speaking

Few things evoke a more fearful response than the proposition of public speaking. The terrible truth is many of us will be called upon to make a group presentation at one point in our lives. Why do we suffer so much dread over Imagesuch a simple act that’s anything but brain surgery? According to Presentation Skills: A Fearless Public Speaking instructor Michael Buschmohle, that fear comes from taking part in an act where the speaker voluntarily puts themselves in a position of extreme vulnerability.

“Standing alone, expressing our ideas, feelings, and wishes while everyone is watching is like taking our clothes off in public,” says Buschmohle. “Fearing criticism, losing respect, and being rejected seems to be a universal experience that threatens our social identity and our deep seated need for belonging.”

The Story You Tell: Writing a Short Memoir

Margaret Atwood once said, “Storytelling is part of being human — you can’t separate it from being a human being. Whether you call it ‘professional storytelling’ or not, everybody is telling Imagea Story of My Life to themselves all the time. So how you tell a story, how many pieces you tell the story in…all of these things are old — it’s just that we think of new ways to distribute them.” 

Telling the Story of My Life is one thing, but getting down to the brass tacks of sharing it in print is another thing entirely. Writing a Short Memoir instructor Christine Dubois hopes to set writers on a path to telling their own story in a way that’s insightful, carefree and beneficial to both the writer and the reader. “Memoir is popular for good reason!” says Dubois. “Readers love to share in and learn from the writer's experience. They're looking for knowledge, inspiration, and the comfort of knowing someone else feels the way they do.”

How About Your Own Hand-Crafted Holiday Gifts?

The holidays are just around the corner and now is the time to start putting our minds to who’s been naughty, who’s Imagebeen nice and what gifts best fit both. Avoid the fatigue of scouring the malls and online stores for the perfect gift and consider something crafted by hand.  There are numerous benefits to handcrafting your holiday gifts. As CNN’s Mark Frauenfelder says, “But for all its ease of use, key-stroke gift-giving can't compete with the rewards of making homemade gifts and sharing your creations with loved ones.” And the rewards are numerous. Not only are they economical, hand-crafted gifts are much more personal than something purchased and as such are far more likely to be treasured by the receiver. They say it’s the thought that counts? Making something requires more than just a passing thought, it takes time and energy and that leaves a lasting impression. There’s also a therapeutic aspect to making something by hand—it’s tremendous stress reliever.  And let’s face it, handmade gifts are one of a kind. That person who has everything doesn’t have this! Also, handmade gifts are environmentally friendly as many are made from natural products, repurposed items and don’t draw on numerous non-replenishable resources for mass production. 

Awakening Traditions: Exploring the Feminine Archetype

As long as we’ve had symbol systems to create a common understanding, human beings have told stories. Our stories entertain, teach and re-inscribe who we are and what we believe. Before the industrial age and the invention of the printing press, we relied on an oral tradition to pass stories Imagebetween individuals and communities. Oral traditions kept stories in a fluid state where they grew and evolved according the needs of both the teller and the listener. Today, digital and print media have put our stories into a codified or fixed state where they tend to not evolve, thus drawing our culture away from the benefits of oral storytelling.  In her class, Writing into Wisdom: Exploring Feminine Archetypes instructor Mary Oak looks to reclaim the value and vitality in mythmaking, particularly in stewarding tales devoted to the Goddess.

One Time Wonders, Another Time Around

Time, as we know all too well, is precious and seldom on our side. Sometimes we spend as Imagemuch time considering how we can make the most of it as we do actually putting that time to good use. So what will you do with your precious time? Consider carving out some space in your busy schedule for a one-time Continuing Education class. We have several one session classes designed to fulfill your curiosity in addition to your full schedule. These classes may meet only once but offer learning opportunities sure to appreciate in the fullness of time.

Zero Waste Management

It’s said, “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.” It shouldn’t be such a difficult notion to reason out, yet the structure of our culture seems Imagedesigned for waste and overconsumption. Which begs the question, is practicing a sustainable lifestyle even possible? Is it more difficult than we make it out to be? “The short answer is no,” says CE Zero Waste 101 instructor and Zero Waste Consultant, Margaret Stockbridge. “It is far easier than people envision.  Sure anything new takes practice, but I don't feel burdened. The long answer is, zero waste is really a name for a spectrum of choices and activities that minimize landfill waste. It includes recycling, composting, and making choices to reduce waste like bringing not only grocery bags, but also produce bags.” 

Words and Pictures: How Creators Tell Children's Stories

Some storytellers make it look so easy, particularly writers and illustrators of children’s storybooks. Their product is often deceptively simple thanks to a storytelling style designed to be straightforward, without a lot of complex Imagephilosophy, dense plotlines or epic narratives. That is not to say these stories lack their own style of complexity nor is their creation anything less than intricate. CE Writing for Children and Young Adult Audiences instructor Katherine Grace Bond and Children’s Book Illustration instructor Craig Orback took some time out of their busy schedules to share their insights into their particular fortes: the words and the pictures.

Hidden Worlds: Taking a Close Look at Scanning Electron Microscope Photography

Scanning electron microscope (SEM) photography is a fascinating process where art and science meet to reveal an amazing world hidden from the naked eye. SEM instructor Kristine Schroeder talks with Imageus about the finer details of the SEM process and the kinds of wild and wonderful surprises the class has in store for students.

Looking at scanning electron microscope imagery is kind of mindboggling (if not a bit magical) for those unfamiliar with the process. How does the scanning and photographic process work?

It IS mindboggling, but really fun to learn! The SEM works by focusing a beam of high-energy electrons onto a sample, which scans back and forth over a small area of the sample. When the beam interacts with the sample, it causes electrons from the sample to be ejected. Some of those electrons are “collected” by a detector to produce the image. The contrast that you see in the SEM image relates to how many electrons were collected at a given point. For example, if a spot on the sample isn’t faced towards the detector, the electrons from that area will be less likely to reach the detector so those areas in the sample will look dark in your image. This is actually a really great feature of the SEM because it is one of the reasons that SEM images have a 3-dimensional feel to them.

Traveling Light: Exploring French I for Travelers

Continuing Education French instructor Janice Brown is a lifelong learner with a specialty in languages. Through the years she’s not only refined her facility for teaching languages, she’s discovered how to bring her experiences as a seasoned traveler to the classroom. “I always Imageloved French from the first year I studied it at school, when I was 11 years old,” she says. “I went on to specialize in French and Italian at Leeds University, which is among England’s best universities. As part of my studies, I spent a year in France in a small town in the Massif Central, a beautiful and mountainous area in central France. I loved the area and everyone there was really welcoming.”

With French I for Travelers, Brown hopes to help visitors to one of her favorite countries navigate as many obstacles as she can. “The main barrier, I would say, is not knowing any French at all!” says Brown. “The obvious solution is to acquaint yourself with the basics of the language, and the words for the situations you will meet, before you go there.  You will then feel empowered and much more in control.”

Sew, She Says

Mastering a new skill can be both challenging and daunting. Take sewing for example; some folks have a natural Imageaptitude for the craft, but aptitude has no staying power without a solid grounding in confidence. CE sewing instructor O’Lisa Johnson has been a seamstress and fashion designer for a greater part of her life and she’ll be the first to tell you her confidence didn’t simply emerge overnight. “(I was) inspired by an entire host of family members who were seamstresses and tailors including my mother, grandmother, aunts, uncles and sisters,” she recalls.  “I had a built-in ‘go-to’ resource for any project that I undertook.”

Jazz Ensemble: Keeping the Big Band Sound Alive

It’s said that jazz is one of the few uniquely American art forms after modern dance, musical theatre and comic books. More words have been written about the freeform beauty of jazz music than can ever be done justice here, but what we can do is take a moment to honor one jazz musician and the Imagecommunity he’s helped build and nurture. The North Seattle Jazz Ensemble’s genesis dates back to 1970 when award-winning virtuoso trumpeter Fred Radke, leader of the legendary Harry James Orchestra since 1989, and local musician and composer Stafford Miller took it upon themselves to form a musical group made up of professional musicians, students and amateurs alike. The band would be an opportunity for like-minded jazz makers to learn, share and keep the big band musical tradition alive—a tradition both artists feared was gradually fading away. They formed a band comprised of five trumpets, five trombones, five saxophones, a piano, a bass and drums. Radke has conducted the ensemble since its inception. The goal of the jazz ensemble was to create a professional high, caliber band for the Seattle area which we did and we still do today,” says Radke.

Care and Handling: Becoming a Reiki Practitioner

It seems nearly every culture in the world has a name for the energy that surrounds and permeates all living things. “Life energy is known as Prana in Sanskrit, Chi in Chinese medicine and Ruach in Hebrew,” says Reiki I and II instructor, Jennifer Capper.  “It connects all things and takes countless forms. I often think of the electromagnetic Imagespectrum when I hear these terms and how we can only see a small percentage of this energy. What systems might we use to explore beyond what our senses can perceive? If machines were unavailable how would we develop an expanded understanding of energy?” Through years of exploration, Capper has found Reiki to be a very successful means of understanding and channeling that energy.

Rei (meaning Spiritual Wisdom) and Ki (meaning Life Energy) was developed by Japanese Buddhist Mikao Usui in 1922 and ultimately became one of the more commonly used forms of energy healing or laying on of hands.  “Reiki is a…technique for stress reduction and relaxation,” says Capper. “I was studying and practicing other forms of healing when I was first introduced to Reiki by a peer. I was impressed with the gentle and supportive nature of the practice.”

Meditating on Meditation: A Look at Different Approaches to Wellness

Our minds are incredible places when we think about it…and though we believe we know its terrain and how to navigate it, the truth is we’ve yet to draw up adequate maps for these Imageterritories.  If the inside of our heads wasn’t a tough enough place to negotiate, the outside world seems more and more fraught with obstacles to trip up our peace of mind. How can we possibly find respite along such a rocky path?

“Depression and anxiety are certainly not new, but they are on the rise,” says Subhan Schenker, instructor of 8 Steps to Peace of Mind: A Journey into Meditation. “Never before have we been ‘marinated’ with so much anxiety-producing life situations, information and hype. We have less time to digest what comes in, and - at the same time - our lives have become more and more sedentary. This is a ‘perfect’ mix for high anxiety and suppression of pain and emotions, which leads to deep depression.”

Lifestyles of the Lifelong Learner

At Continuing Education we rely on our instructors to be the ringleaders and gatekeepers of our growth and enrichment opportunities. They bring us their talent, expertise and passion Image
and we reap the many benefits. Have you ever considered how those who inspire us find their own inspiration?

As one might imagine, people with a passion for teaching are frequently people with a passion for learning. “We as educators speak often about creating lifelong learners, but if we aren't buying into it ourselves, then our students don't stand a chance,” says Edutopia contributor Heather Wolpert-Gawron. “Teaching is a job that encourages your own growth because to do it well requires your own continuous education.”