Covering a wide array of topics, this six-week lecture series examines a different subject for each lecture. Outstanding Rice University faculty and other experts from the arts, humanities and sciences share insights on topics such as Beethoven, Broadway, Asian American history, art history and more. This series offers a unique opportunity to sample the diverse course content and instructors featured at the Glasscock School of Continuing Studies. 

Content was previously recorded (originally released September 30, 2021)


A Tale of Two Cities: Art, Culture and History of London and Paris. Leo Costello, Ph.D., associate professor of art history, Rice University
Fantastical Broadway. Debra Dickinson, M.A., artist-teacher of opera studies, Rice University Shepherd School of Music
The United States’ Green Future: Economy + Ecology + Society. Jim Blackburn, J.D., professor in the practice in environmental law, department of civil and environmental engineering, Rice University
Health Benefits of The Mediterranean Diet: Insights from a Registered Dietitian. Roberta Anding, M.S., R.D./L.D., sports dietitian and adjunct faculty member, Rice University
Beethoven: The Man and His Symphonies. Carlos Andrés Botero, M.M., musical ambassador of the Houston Symphony and artistic director of Sinfónica ISMEV in Mexico
Across the Ocean and through the Generations: Stories from the Houston Asian American Archive. Anne Chao, Ph.D., adjunct lecturer in humanities and manager of The Houston Asian American Archive, Rice University


Course Details


Leo Costello, Ph.D., is an associate professor of art history at Rice University. He specializes in 18th- through 20th-century European art as well as Marxist theory and aesthetics. He is the author of “J.M.W. Turner and the Subject of History” (Ashgate, 2012), and is at work on another book on Turner. Dr. Costello was formerly curatorial assistant in the department of prints and drawings at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Dr. Costello received his Ph.D. from Bryn Mawr College, has taught many courses with the Glasscock School of Continuing Studies and is a four-time finalist for the George R. Brown Teaching Award at Rice.

Debra Dickinson, M.A., is an artist-teacher of opera studies for acting and movement at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music. She was a professional singer and actress in New York for 15 years before starting her career as a director. She performed with Richard Burton on Broadway in “Camelot” and as Guenevere opposite Richard Harris in the subsequent national tour. Ms. Dickinson has taught master classes for Houston Grand Opera and Houston Ebony Opera, served as the acting instructor for Glimmerglass Festival, Brevard Opera and Chautauqua Opera, and was the recipient of the Marcus Bailey and Betty Graves Shelfer Eminent Scholar Chair in Music Theatre at Florida State University. Ms. Dickinson holds a graduate degree from Hunter College in New York City.

Jim Blackburn, J.D., is an environmental lawyer and professor in the practice of environmental law in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at Rice University. At Rice, Mr. Blackburn is a faculty scholar at the Baker Institute and co-director of the Severe Storm Prediction, Education and Evacuation from Disasters (SSPEED) Center and directs the minor in energy and water sustainability. He also serves as founder and board president of the Bayou City Initiative. Mr. Blackburn owns the firm Sustainable Planning and Design, which is working on coastal Louisiana land loss issues, including restoration, and he maintains the law firm Blackburn & Carter, but is retired from litigation. He is author of “The Book of Texas Bays” and “A Texas Plan for the Texas Coast.” 

Roberta H. Anding, M.S., R.D./L.D., CDE, CSSD, FAND, has been an adjunct faculty member at Rice for 20 years and is the sports dietitian for the Rice University Owls. Ms. Anding is also an assistant professor in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at Baylor College of Medicine. In addition, Ms. Anding is the former sports dietitian for the Houston Texans NFL and Houston Astros MLB franchises.

Carlos Andrés Botero, M.M., is an orchestra conductor, music education lecturer and consultant with first-level orchestras in Europe and the Americas, including the Frankfurt Radio Symphony, Nashville Symphony, the Xalapa Symphony, Medellin Philharmonic and the Colombian Youth Philharmonic. He is the musical ambassador of the Houston Symphony and artistic director of Sinfónica ISMEV in Mexico. Mr. Botero has a master’s of music from the Escuela Soto Mesa in Madrid, Spain, and a second master’s of music in viola performance from Eastern Michigan University. He has taught with the Glasscock School of Continuing Studies since 2016.

Anne S. Chao, Ph.D., is a modern Chinese historian and a community volunteer. She graduated from Wellesley College and obtained her Ph.D. in modern Chinese history at Rice University. She is currently an adjunct lecturer in humanities and manager of the Houston Asian American Archive (HAAA), at Rice University. She founded HAAA eleven years ago, and the archive has collected over three hundred and fifty oral interviews of Asian Americans in the greater Houston region. She is currently researching for her book on the life and social networks of the founder of the Chinese Communist Party, Chen Duxiu. She serves on the board of the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, the Houston Ballet, and Wellesley College, among others.

Online: Pre-recorded / on demand

This course will be delivered in a pre-recorded/on demand format. Registered participants will receive instructions to access the course page and may view the pre-recorded lectures in any order and as often as preferred. The course page will be accessible until February 15, 2022.



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