Continuing Education

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Exploring Poetry Workshop

It may be surprising to learn Continuing Education’s new Poetry Workshop instructor Graham Isaac’s appreciation for poetry was not seeded in a lyrical fashion. He was not exposed to poetry through a survey of English Lit or infected by late night slams in a smoky coffee shop. ImageIsaac learned to love poetry through the most prosaic, if not organic of means—something that undoubtedly rooted his love of words more deeply than most. “I first grew to love poetry when I was learning to type,” he recalls.  “My grandmother had been a secretary for years, so she taught me how to type on an old desktop computer. She would dictate poems from the 101 Famous Poems compilation and a couple of books of limericks and children's poetry. I can still recite some of those pieces to this day. From then on, I always had an affinity for it.”

“What I See”: Discovering Your Vision and Voice through Comics

Comic book creator Tatiana Gill found her truth in comics and, through her class Draw Your Story: Find Your Voice through Comics, she plans to guide others in doing the same.Image

Since she was old enough to peruse the printed page, Gill has been fascinated with the art of comic book storytelling, a creative medium that would ultimately take up boundless creative space in her life. “Comics are an extremely effective and fun way to communicate almost any kind of information. I am using comics to explain topics that can be difficult to talk about or understand, and I would like to do much more of that.”

Simple Mindfulness That Brings Simply Joy

We asked Mindfulness Meditation instructor Andrea D’Asaro to share with us some brief, easy steps for daily mindfulness to help with stress reduction.Image

In this busy world of ours, the mind gets pulled from one place to the next, scattering thoughts and leaving us stressed, highly-strung and anxious. It’s essential for our happiness to take a few minutes each day to cultivate spaciousness and a positive mind-body balance. The simplest way is through soft attention to the breath and body. Try using this practical mindfulness exercise to connect with a moment of calm, present awareness.

Books on Comics: A Reading List for Comic Book Creators

Spring quarter heralds a new subset of Continuing Education art classes that peel back the covers of an art form experiencing a rapid growth in popularity; comics! Two courses, Andrew Steers’ Comic Book Illustration and Tatiana Gill’s Draw Your Story: Find Your Voice through Comics will offer different approaches to sequential storytelling from seasoned Imageveterans of the medium. In anticipation of these two course offerings, we wanted to highlight a handful of the dozens of books on the market designed to guide readers in all disciplines of the comic creative process.

Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art
Scott McCloud

Scott McCloud has made his career as a cartoonist, lecturer and comic scholar. Since its publication in 1993, his Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art is seldom out of print. The book offers an in-depth analysis of the history visual narrative as well as how the language of comics reflect our ingrained need to make sense of our world through symbol systems. McCloud gives readers an historical perspective on how cultures have used pictures to tell stories and ultimately advances his discussion of how we all used a codified visual language to communicate meaning.

Believe in Your Message: Conquering the Fear of Public Speaking

It is said the fear of public speaking is one of the most intense forms of social anxiety that anyone might suffer. Some people would rather endure bodily harm than speak in front of a Imagegroup of people. Why is this? Why is public speaking so terrifying and why does it not come naturally to more people? Instructor Patrice Tabor hopes answer those questions and more in her upcoming class, Introduction to Public Speaking. “Fear and nervousness about speaking in public is perfectly normal,” says Tabor. “By learning and practicing new skills, the fear can be managed and even transformed into new positive energy.”

Instructor Profile: Liz Duarte

North Seattle College Ceramics instructor Liz Duarte has been instrumental in shaping the CE program into one of unprecedented popularity. We figured it was time we got some insight into how she came to love ceramics and why it continues to inspire her.

ImagePlease give us some background on your life in ceramics. When did you first discover you had an affinity for it?

My favorite outdoor activity as a child was playing in the mud. I loved poetry, music and drawing and I loved to redecorate my room. I spent many an hour moving posters and furniture to find the most pleasing arrangement. I think that helped to develop my desire for esthetically pleasing solutions. I didn’t discover clay until college. I didn’t know what I wanted to focus on, but I had gone to figure drawing classes on my own and really enjoyed them. Figure drawing was my first class at Southwestern College in Chula Vista, CA. Then came design, then sculpture and then Ceramics! I got more into the idea of getting my Associates Degree at that point. They had a really cool Clay Club and I had a great group of friends. I assisted with summer classes for kids, and then I started working for San Diego Job Corps in the Arts and Crafts Department.

Shedding Light on Film Noir in the Atomic Age

Few film genres are as wrapped up in a period style as Film Noir. As films, they reflect one of Imagethe most iconic periods of American fashion from the sleek cars and the sharp cut of men’s suits, to the women in pearls matched by a ubiquitous halo of cigarette smoke. Yet beyond the snappy dialogue, femme fatales and black and white film stock, the stories told through Film Noir nearly always feature some dark and untouchable threat looming in the background.For his latest class, Film Noir in the Atomic Age, Jon Noe has handpicked films reflective of a particular kind of threat—one that shaped American culture in the post War years that still hovers over us today.  “The five films I chose have either the threat of the atomic bomb, nuclear secrets, scientists, the red scare or a combination of those themes,” says Noe.

Up Close with Solo Performance Workshop

Theatre is an intimate art form whose success relies on the depth of the conversation Imagebetween audience and performer. In an ensemble production, the audience must feel drawn into each characters’ story arc while becoming a silent member of the production’s community. A one-person production is something else entirely, and as Solo Performance Workshop instructor Dan Tarker will tell you, audiences attending a one-person show are invited to be more than a silent participant; they are the solo performer’s confidant. In that light, the creation and execution of a solo performance is a unique and exhilarating process.

All in the Mix for Mixed Media

This winter, Continuing Education art instructor Sarah Norsworthy introduces students to one Imageof her favorite art forms: Mixed Media. Sarah took a moment to share her thoughts and experiences about Mixed Media and why she finds it so inspiring both as an artist and teacher.

Q: When did you first discover an affinity for this particular discipline and what keeps inspiring you about it?

Sarah Norsworthy (SN): I got into mixing collage and paint when I was youngI loved how I could use the paint to bring different imagery together.  I did this to a small tabletop and had it in my room. This instinct to combine different materials came into play again in college when I took a sculpture class.  I had already taken quite a few painting classes and that was my declared concentration, so I began bringing a painterly approach to the sculptures I was making culminating in creating a walk-in installation. It was kind of like a cave and felt like walking into a painting.  The walls were made of sail cloth sewn together that I had painted and drawn on, the ceiling was made of fabric covered with joint compound so some light would filter through, the floor was plastered, and there were found objects that were manipulated and incorporated like a mattress I carved into. The whole piece was inspired by an Ann Sexton poem.

Creating Harmony as a Music Catalyst

Community Choir instructor Bronwyn Edwards calls herself a “music catalyst” and when one considers the depth to which she has immersed herself into the world of music, it is impossible to disagree. From formal piano studies at the age of 11 and a childhood spent performing piano concertos to enthusiastic houses to easing the minds of weary travelers as a pianist at ImageSeaTac airport (not to mention concerts at Benaroya Hall), her work has touched the lives of others in unfathomable ways and continues to do so.  

Edwards admits that being such a success at a young age was a risky prospect. It may come as a surprise to learn Edwards had little interest in pursuing a formal musical education beyond childhood. In fact, she graduated from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia with Science and Architecture degrees.

Top 5 Essentials for Your Data Visualization Portfolio

Instructor Jenny Richards knows the value of translating the volumes of information daily flowing our way into imagery we can digest and retain. Here she breaks down the Data Visualization and Tableau process while highlighting the value of translating raw information into a colorful narrative.


Students in my data visualization (viz) classes often ask me about the work in my portfolio – where I came up with ideas, how I got people to give me data, what’s my best work, etc. While not everything in my portfolio was intentional, I do have a few visualizations that I think demonstrate specific skills – and it’s often those I share with potential customers and collaborators. Sometimes the viz shows off data cleaning and shaping, other times it’s storytelling. But I look at every project – big or small – as an opportunity to add another item to my portfolio, something that could come in handy in the most unexpected ways.

That said, building my portfolio has been a bit haphazard and certainly opportunistic. Had someone suggested earlier what sort of skills to demonstrate in my data visualizations, I’d have looked for opportunities to learn and show off those skills intentionally.

Experts Agree that Lifelong Learning is the Key to Career Success

With the rapid pace of technological and societal change, it is no longer sufficient to rely Imagepurely on formal education and college degrees when seeking employment.

We need to continue learning all the time as we adapt to the changing conditions related to our jobs and careers, and business markets in general.

According to a recent article published by The Economist:

Technological change demands stronger and more continuous connections between education and employment. – The Economist

Many people are concerned about the advancement of robotics and automation that appears to be replacing jobs, especially in the manufacturing space; a recent study by MIT noted that for every robot brought online, an average of 6 human jobs are lost.

“Never Stop Learning”: José Amador Talks About Acting Essentials and a Life in the Theatre

CE Acting Essentials Instructor José Amador says the best indication of a student’s success comes when he hears one say, "I never thought I could do that." Image

Amador has been a theatre artist his entire life, but first started practicing the discipline seriously while in junior high school. “Since then, I've almost left it behind twice, only to come running back immediately,” he says. “My college education was at a program that stressed the importance of the mantra ‘never stop learning’ and I've been living up to that motto ever since. Teaching performance is just the latest iteration of that mantra. I've been performing in Seattle for 25 years now, a listing of all my credits would take up the rest of this space.”

Remembering John Newman

In late October, Continuing Education received the sad news that beloved poetry instructor John Newman had passed away. We asked his longtime companion Deborah Handrich to share some words about John’s life as poet, teacher and friend.Image

John was born in Alexandria, Virginia in 1953 and raised by his mother, Alice and his father, Bill.  He was the oldest of three children.  John’s formative years were spent on the east coast in Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and upstate New York where he discovered his love for nature.  He was often fishing, hiking, and canoeing.  As a favorite pastime, he watched birds and the clouds.  Later, he chose the birds and clouds to be the central theme of his early poems.

The Joys of the Forensic Knitter

Beginning Knitting instructor Patricia McHugh says she cannot put her finger on the precise Imagemoment knitting came into her world because the craft’s fibers are so deeply woven into the pattern of her life. “When I asked my mother, she didn't recall either, but she said she learned after I did.” Clearly, McHugh has taken point in inspiring others in their knitting— something she says she was born to do. “Teaching is great fun in itself. I am a natural teacher, which I got from my dad. He was an airline pilot who was always teaching anyone to fly. Teaching knitting is great because it can be very creative too. Everybody learns differently so it is important to pay attention to that and adjust your methods to fit.”

An Emphasis on Empowerment: Talking with Joanne Factor About Women’s Self-Defense

Veteran women’s self-defense instructor Joanne Factor began her teaching career over 20 years ago as a student with the Feminist Karate Union. “We would occasionally teach Imagecommunity self-defense classes,” she recalls. “I got my start helping my teachers at these classes.  Then I looked into an opportunity for us to teach at the UW Women’s Center (this was in the mid-1990s), and my teacher suggested I lead the class. GULP!”

Factor says teaching self-defense had its own challenges, different from teaching Karate, but no less rewarding.  “I began teaching more extensively at end of 2003, when I worked with women veterans who were suffering chronic PTSD as a result of sexual assault while they were in military service.  I expanded my class offerings to more venues, and tailored classes specific to different groups (children, teen girls, girls off to college, adult women, workplaces, ECT).” Indeed, Factor’s Seattle College's Continuing Education classes have ranged from one-day workshops like Street-Smart Safety for Women on the Go to longer courses like Self Defense for Women 101.

Taking the First Steps to Introduction to MS Office

In a world where computer technology has all but taken over our lives, from home to work to our very pockets, a newcomer’s first steps into learning its use can often be intimidating Imageones.  Navigating programs like those found in Microsoft Office Suite (MOS) take a little time to absorb, but are not an insurmountable goal. Helping newcomers through this learning opportunity is precisely what CE instructor Melanie Farrar enjoys doing, and does it very well. Since 2014 she has been teaching Excel and basic computer skills classes for North Seattle College and North Seattle Continuing Education, nearly six years of that time has been devoted to teaching MOS.  “My students generally have little or no experience with a computer and/or MOS,” she says. “It is fun to share new information and an exciting software package with students.”  

The Story You Want to Tell: Steve Kidd on the Art of Photography

Continuing Education instructor Steve Kidd has been exploring the art of photography from a Imageyoung age, learning much how to make beautiful pictures from his grandfather. “He was an amateur photographer and had won a contest with one of his photographs,” says Kidd. “I remember the photograph vividly. Later, I was given a Kodak Brownie camera and began to experiment with that. Photography has been in and out of my life as far back as I can remember, but it was really the advent of digital photography, and learning how to manipulate my images with software, that I began down the path of more professional pursuits.”

Add a Bit of Class to the Season with Holiday Gift Classes

When we give someone handmade items at the holidays, we say volumes about how much we care and appreciate them. There are numerous advantages to making a gift, not the least Imageof which is expense. Consider that when you make a gift for someone at the holidays you are giving something not only unique and personal but you also take away some satisfaction at your own personal accomplishment for a job well done.

In anticipation of that most wonderful time of the year, Continuing Education offers up several classes that are the perfect treat for anyone looking to give out creative, personal gifts and goodies this holiday season.

Keeping it Simple When Selling It on eBay

Sell It on eBay! Instructor Cindy Shebley is a bit of a pioneer. She first discovered the world-famous online marketplace shortly after its inception in 1995 and from that point forward has refined her seller’s skills in tandem with the company’s evolution.Image

Shebley didn’t come to the virtual marketplace cold, but had several years’ experience running a brick-and-mortar establishment. “At the time, my partner and I had a small shop in Ballard,” she recalls. “We had some inventory in our stock room that didn't sell locally. Not long after my first few auction victories I decided to try my hand at selling them on eBay. Those dusty items quickly sold to buyers all over the world. Life and careers change and mine took a few turns. In 2005 I decided to turn selling on eBay into a full time business.”

“We Do a Lot of Laughing”: Striking Up Everyday English Conversation

For some instructors, teaching is an opportunity to perform before a live (albeit captive) audience. The curriculum stands for their script and the classroom their stage. For Everyday English Conversation instructor Susan "Susie" Ross addressing a classroom was not a substitute for the life of an entertainer, but the logical addendum to long and colorful career.

ImageRoss came from a prestigious artistic background, her father, Stefan Schnabel, was a successful professional actor, having been a long-time ensemble member of Orson Welles’ Mercury Radio Theatre and actor on the daytime drama The Guiding Light for 20 years.  “He was a huge influence on me,” says Ross.  “I loved his life, being part of it, and learned about acting by watching him and other actors perform.”

Commanding the Keyboard: Christine Dubois on Improving Email Effectiveness

It’s hard to imagine a world before email and even more boggling when you stop to consider how quickly it pervaded Imageour public and private lives. Though conceived in the 1970s, email did not successfully wend its way into our homes and businesses until the early 1990s. That is a speedy evolution for any communication technology. Truth be told, we’re still negotiating the best possible ways to reduce the stress and better manage our use of email, particularly in the workplace. Thankfully, instructor Christine Dubois offers up volumes of helpful insights with her class, Improving Email Effectiveness.

Dan Tarker Talks About Playwriting: From Page to Stage

The amount of entertainment drama we can now access is dizzying. With expanding digital domains like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon, hundreds of cable stations and major and independent film releases each weekend, it’s a wonder any Imageof us can keep up. As the song said, “Here we are now, entertain us…” If we could, a vast majority of us would stay home, behind closed doors and binge away every waking hour. Why would anyone in their right mind want to see live theatre, let alone learn to put a play on paper? For Playwriting: From Page to Stage instructor Dan Tarker, the answer is quite simple; we will never replace the impact a live, communal experience with moving images on a screen. Not now, not ever. “As our media continues to expand digitally, I think playwrights need to increasingly embrace the fact that they are writing for live, communal events,” he says. “(It’s) something that just cannot be experienced on television or at the movies.”

Where the Music Takes You

Make Money Licensing Your Music instructor Ed Hartman is a composer, entrepreneur and instructor who has spent the last 50 years following the beat of his own drum. After spending much of his youth studying with private instructors, Hartman went on to receive a degree in Percussion from Indiana University and eventually made his way to Seattle in 1979. From there Hartman pursued a multi-faceted career by assuming just about every role one could Imagehold in the music industry from performer, educator and dance accompanist to composer, booking agent and record company owner…not to mention opening his own store, The Drum Exchange in 1992.  “I've always been of the opinion (I should) be a resource to the music community,” he says. “I started a music co-op and a composer’s concert series that developed into a non-profit organization with full orchestra performances and world premieres. I have been Chapter President of Percussive Arts Society and sat on the board of the Seattle Composers Alliance. There was never an inspiration to pursue music professionally, it was always something I did. When I left college I found myself making a living at it.”

Front-Load Your Fall with Some One-and-Done, One Time Wonders

We all agree there simply isn’t enough time in a day. We daily wrestle with “To Do” lists that look like flow charts and calendars that resemble Tetris tiles, so is it really any wonder we are terribly protective of our personal time?Image

It’s been suggested that if you wish to use your time to its fullest, you should reverse engineer that calendar, be preemptive with your daily planner and front-load personal activities for yourself and then work the remaining time around your concrete plans.

Let Continuing Education help you engineer your time with a one-off, one-time, one-and-done class that will use that precious time to the fullest.