Discover a New Passion with Norris Mini Courses This Spring

Northwestern offers lots of interesting classes for its students, but if your class schedule is full and you’re still itching to learn, look no further than Mini Courses at Norris University Center. Open to all undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and community members, Mini Courses give participants the chance to learn new skills in just a few short weeks.

Courses cover a wide variety of topics, from cooking to dancing to drinking, so no matter what your interests are, you’ll be able to find a Mini Course that suits your needs. Or, you’ll get the chance to discover a new passion. Some of the most popular courses include Ceramics, Cherokee, Latin Ballroom Dance, and Wine Appreciation (for those over 21). The Spring 2017 program will offer these choices as well as many others, including Baking, Belly Dancing, Public Speaking, and Mixology.

Early registration is open now and lasts until March 29 – sign up during that time to save $8. Regular registration lasts until April 16, and courses begin during the third week of April, meeting on weekday evenings for around six weeks. Find more information on the Mini Courses web page, and sign up for the class of your choice at

If you still need convincing to sign up, read on to discover details about some of the coolest courses, as well as tips from instructors on how to make the most of your Mini Courses experience.

Hip Hop Dance with Austin Lim

Whether you belong on So You Think You Can Dance or you’ve never even tried to pop lock and drop it before, Austin Lim’s hip hop dance Mini Course will help you get comfortable and confident on the dance floor. It’s not just about learning the steps, Lim says. “I also try to empower the students with the freedom and willingness to experiment with movement.” According to Lim, in order to make the most of their Mini Course experiences, the best thing participants can do is “seek out opportunities and knowledge beyond what [he provides] in the class.”

Acting & Character Creation with Steven Fischer

Aspiring Brad Pitts and Angelina Jolies need look no further than Steven Fischer’s Acting and Character Creation class, where they can learn from an two-time Emmy-nominated instructor who has 25 years of work experience as a director, writer, animator, and actor in live-action and animated films. Fischer, a Mini Courses instructor since 2012, says that a typical session of his acting class involves “a lot of acting exercises and improv games” that help students generate performance ideas they can then use outside of class. Fischer affirms that his course is a safe place to create because there are no right or wrong ideas, and he says that participants can make the most out of their experience “simply by being open to something new.”

Guitar with Tommi Zender

At Tommi Zender’s guitar Mini Course, participants can learn “basic chords, strums, and a batch of songs that may include: The Beatles, Bob Marley, Neil Young, The Decemberists, U2, and many others ranging from the 60’s up into modern music.” Zender says learning guitar is a great way to impress your crush. “Every session our class kind of forms a new band and we always end up sounding really good,” Zender says. Participants even get to play a gig for guests near the end of the course. According to Zender, you can make the most out of your Mini Courses experience by showing up and practicing. “It’s one of the most fun things you’ll do at Northwestern, outside of losing your mind on Dillo Day,” he adds.

Or, If you're looking for less commitment, sign up for a one-time Mini Workshop and choose from options like My Enchanted Teapot, Mucho Meatballs, Cupcake Wars, and Truffles – it’s the perfect date night opportunity.

According to Fischer, all of the Mini Courses participants are “the best of the best … They are all ready to work; they are ready to share and give of themselves; they are open. They’re just terrific people.” Don’t you want to be one of them? Sign up today!