Bluestem U preparing for spring classes for non-traditional-age students

January, 17, 2023

NORTH NEWTON, Kan. – Bluestem U, a lifelong learning program for individuals age 55 and better, is enrolling now for its spring 2023 semester that will begin in March. Bluestem U is a partnership between local higher education institutions Bethel College and Hesston College and Bluestem Communities, a nonprofit organization that serves seniors through various living options and care-centered services.

“We are encouraged by the participation we saw with the first semester of Bluestem U, and are excited for more people to benefit from this enriching educational experience,” said Julie Miller, Bluestem Communities Lifelong Learning Project Manager. “Continued learning experiences are so important to every person’s quality of life regardless of age and in keeping sharp both mentally and physically.”

The spring 2023 semester will feature three courses hosted by Bethel College and Kidron Bethel Village, a Bluestem community in North Newton. Each course is $50. More information and registration can be found at All members of the public age 55 and better are welcome to be a part of Bluestem U, and do not need to have affiliation with any of the sponsoring organizations.

“Slowing Down to the Speed of Poetry” will be taught by Raylene Hinz-Penner, former Bethel College literature and writing professor and published writer. The course will study the work of three important late twentieth century poets and how they spoke to the human condition. “Slowing Down to the Speed of Poetry” is a six-week course beginning March 13 that will be held on Mondays from 1 to 2:30 p.m. in the Kaye Penner Education Center on the Kidron Bethel Village campus.

“Discovering Desiderius: The Contemporary Relevance of Erasmus” will be taught by Dale Schrag, a retired academic and Erasmus scholar. The course will study the life and modern relevance of Erasmus, who is often considered the greatest scholar and most popular author of the 15th century, in terms of negotiating polarization in today’s world. “Discovering Desiderius” is a seven-week course beginning March 15 that will be held on Wednesdays from 10 to 10:50 a.m. both in-person in the Kaye Penner Education Center on the Kidron Bethel Village campus and virtually through Zoom.

“Music, Mind and Brain: How the Brain Turns Musical Sounds into Emotional Responses” will be taught by Dwight Krehbiel, a current psychology professor at Bethel College. The course will explore the processing of musical sounds in mind and brain with special emphasis on emotional responses to music and their role in aesthetic experience. “Music, Mind and Brain” is a six-week class beginning March 20 that will be held on Mondays from 10 to 11:30 a.m. in the Kaye Penner Education Center on the Kidron Bethel Village campus.

The spring 2023 semester is the second for Bluestem U. The first semester was held with much success during the fall 2022 semester in partnership with Hesston College and Schowalter Villa in Hesston. About 60 students attended fall 2022 courses.

“I enrolled because of the idea of being a student,” said Barbara Kauffman who took two of the fall 2022 semester classes. “Being a student again is kind of a youthful feeling. I also knew I would learn and it would be fun.” 

For more information and to register, visit or call 316-836-4846.


About Bluestem Communities

Bluestem Communities is a nonprofit organization in south central Kansas that serves seniors through various living options, care settings and care-centered services. Visit