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ORICL - Oak Ridge Institute for Continued Learning
Social Science and Economics
Social Science and Economics

600      Contact Care Line: Building Positive Connections for a Stronger Community

contact care lineCONTACT Care Line provides critical support services for nine East Tennessee counties in the 865 area code. Their mission is to provide a confidential telephone service staffed by trained volunteers. The crisis line is available to anyone who needs a listening ear or referrals for community resources. CONTACT also provides support for the homebound through its Reassurance program, which calls to check on them on a daily basis.  This class will provide an overview of Contact’s mission and vision, core programs and services, history, and opportunities for volunteerism.

Deborah Patterson has been the Executive Director of the CONTACT Care Line in Oak Ridge since 2013.  She received a BA in Art and Psychology from UTK in 1994; MA in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago in 1997, and an MBA from UTK in 2003.

One session:  Monday, 2:30 - 3:40 p.m., October 27

601 How Numbers Influence our View of Current Events - A little everyday numbers, probability and estimationjuggle numbers

Have you noticed how often statistics are used to sensationalize news stories or used as a tool of persuasion toward a particular point of view?  Have you wondered if they are factually accurate or being used to mislead?  This series of classes will review the correct interpretations of some numerical information encountered on a daily basis, such as percentages, probabilities, statistics, and comparison of numbers across different bases.  Fallacies seen in published media will be presented, and participants are encouraged to bring in their own examples of articles to discuss.  Examples of incorrect use of some basic probability and statistical principles in arguments presented in the criminal court systems will also be cited.

Other interesting applications will be covered – such as how Bayes theorem (calculating conditional probabilities, including some known evidence) can be applied to help understand actual probabilities of diagnostic tests you may have for health issues like prostate or breast cancer.  Finally, the art of estimation, to quickly size up a situation and come up with a fairly close approximation of the size at hand will be analyzed.

For those interested, a final “hands-on” class will be offered to work some problems relating to the discussion classes, including “estimating” the number of M&M’s in a glass container.  The participants will receive an amount of M & M’s, directly proportional to how close their estimation is.  No prior experience with math, statistics, or probabilities is required, just an interest in the topic and how numbers are used (and more importantly misused) in our day to day lives and in the mainstream media.

Tsewei Wang was professor in the UTK Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering for 25+ years, recently retired.  She has a BS from Rice University in Physics and a PhD in Biophysics from MIT.  She also has a MS in Chemical Engineering, with specialization in the area of process modeling – big data analysis and pattern recognition. She received numerous Excellence in Teaching awards at the university, college, and department levels.

Four sessions (3 lectures + 1 optional hands-on class):  Tuesdays, 11:00 a.m. - 12:10 p.m., October 28, November 4, 11 and 18

602     Without a Home in Anderson County

There are around 600,000 homeless Americans and some of them live in Anderson County. How does someone become homeless in our community? What is daily life like for people in this circumstance; what problems do they face?  How does someone get out of homelessness and what are the conditions that caused and accompany it? The role of TORCH and other agencies in Anderson County in helping the homeless will be discussed.

Sheila Michel has lived in Oak Ridge for 27 years and raised four children here.  She has been an active community volunteer.  She is currently a founder and Board Chair of Trinity Out-Reach Center of Hope (TORCH), a new non-profit agency in Oak Ridge working with the homeless and those on the verge of homelessness.

Three sessions:  Mondays, 2:30 - 3:40 p.m., September 22, 29 and  October 6

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