SAM HALL
Zombie1.jpg Instructors Brent Bingham, left, and Sage Porter, demonstrate how to divert attacking zombies during a zombie tactics class held on CU campus Wednesday afternoon. Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2010. SAM HALL / Camera

If you go

What: CU on the Weekend: The Zombie Renaissance

When: Saturday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Where: Hellems 201

Cost: $25

The zombie apocalypse has spread outside the walls of the University of Colorado and into the Boulder community, thanks to a weekend course taught by zombie expert Stephen Jones.

Jones, a CU English professor and horror novelist, taught an English literature course last fall at CU, called “The Zombie.”

After increased interest from students in Jones’ unconventional topics, the Department of Continuing Education asked him to kick off the spring CU on the Weekend series on Saturday by educating the public about the Zombie Renaissance.

“I could talk zombies for 24 hours, I suspect, but I promise not to keep them too long Saturday,” Jones said.

The Zombie Renaissance is the first of seven weekend courses this spring that connect CU professors and experts in their fields, with locals outside the campus community, said Jeanne McDonald, assistant director in the Office for University Outreach.

Jones said he’s anxious to engage non-traditional students in the topic he’s most passionate about: horror.

“My hope’s just that they’re people interested in zombies, interested in horror, interested in how the world plugs together to try to mean something,” Jones said. “I want a classroom of curious, engaged people, who aren’t hesitant about the material.”

Other topics covered this spring include underwater archeology, third world development, show business, Picasso and WWII, baseball and Oprah. The classes range from three to six hour sessions and cost between $15 and $25 each.

The program was started in 2008 as a university enrichment project and was taken over this spring by Continuing Education, as the program draws more interest from the public, rather than students, McDonald said.

“We expect to see interest mostly from the public not really from students,” McDonald said. “The classes don’t offer credits or anything like that so most students aren’t interested.”

Andy Baker, CU political science professor, attended a weekend course in 2008 on China.

“You get a full semester course or an entire textbook — of course I’m exaggerating a little — worth of knowledge in six hours,” Baker said. “It’s a nice, quick and dirty way to get on top of a subject… when you don’t have a lot of time.”

Baker said it’s not uncommon for CU faculty to attend the weekend sessions but the majority of students are just people with a vested interest in the subject matter.

Baker will teach his second weekend session Feb. 26 titled “Who Causes Third World Underdevelopment? The West, the South, or Mother Nature?”

He presented a similar lecture in the fall of 2009 and said the setting is ideal from a teacher’s perspective.

“The people who attend do so because they’re truly interested,” Baker said. “We tend to get people who have an interesting variety of experiences, travelers, people from the business sector, it’s different from the typical CU population.”

Baker said it’s nice to put grades, exams and papers aside for the day and focus on the content with students who are personally invested in the topic.

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