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Napier Courses

What is a Napier Course?

Since 2012 the Napier Initiative has been partnering with the five undergraduate Claremont Colleges to offer intergenerational courses related to fostering justice for all people, caring for the earth, or nurturing peace and reconciliation. The courses provide a platform for bringing theory and practice together, enrolling undergraduate students with an interest in learning more about justice issues and how to bring their knowledge to bear on making real world change. Retirees from Pilgrim Place and local communities may enroll as fully participating co-learners.


Napier Courses Aim to:


  1. Maximize the mutually rewarding possibilities unleashed by collaborative learning between elders and undergraduates.

  2. Develop intergenerational interactions that encourage undergraduates to form and act upon vocational and avocational commitments to leadership in a variety of arenas for justice oriented action.

  3. Provide opportunities for transformational learning through participation in real world change-making.

Elders and Professor share their enthusiasm about Napier Courses: 

“I was totally enriched by the experience.” - Class elder

“Elders in the class bring unique perspectives to class discussion… they bring a lifetime of experience and achievement to what would otherwise be simply intellectual discussions.”   - Professor

“…undergraduates were curious about older adults and open to questions and additions to class discussion from the elder students.”   Class elder

Click here to link to an article, by David Mann, about a Napier course."


Napier Courses Offered for Fall Semester 2023:

Psyc 160:  Effective Learning Across the Lifespan, Claremont McKenna College

Mon/Wed 1:15 – 2:30pm 

Faculty:  Sharda Umanath,   

Our lives are spent learning, both formally and informally. We then use our accumulated knowledge to navigate and interact with the world around us. This course is an in-depth look at what psychological science has discovered about how we learn best, how memory itself works, and how both change as we age. We will also delve into how metacognition - the ways in which we think about our own learning process and memories – can give insight into our learning. The basic goal of the course is for students to gain concrete evidence-based strategies and approaches for effective learning all their lives.

Philosophy of Feminism, Scripps College 

T/Th 2:45-4:00 p.m.

Faculty: Susan Castagnetto, 

In Philosophy of Feminism, we will learn about different feminist theoretical frameworks, including liberal feminism, radical feminism(s), socialist feminism, women of color feminisms, and frames for understanding gender. We will use those frameworks to consider some issues of interest to feminism, such as discrimination, gender-based violence, reproductive rights and justice, and work, especially in light of contemporary social and political issues. We will also consider how the frameworks inform real world change-making strategies.

Optional activity: There will be a tentative opportunity to attend Tuesday evening writing workshops with women incarcerated at the state women’s prison (the California Institution for Women).


For more information, or to apply, contact the instructor or the Napier reps. -

Pilgrim Place:  David Mann --  

Mt. San Antonio Gardens/Philosophy of Feminism:  Paula Hui  --

Lifelong Learning Course: John Howell --



Additional Courses Offerings for Fall 2023: Recent Courses Offerings which included Elder Co-Learners. 


Feminism and Science:  taught by Professor Sue Castagnetto at Pomona College


Gender, Crime, and Punishment:  taught by Professor Sue Castagnetto at Pomona College


Feminist Ethics:  taught by Professor Sue Castagnetto at Scripps College


The Political Economy of Food:  taught by Professor Nancy Neiman at Scripps College

The Napier Initiative courses are open to students at all five Claremont Colleges.

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