About Us

Welcome to Second Thoughts, a blog devoted to adult education, independent social inquiry, and the pursuit of a humane and good society.

We look forward to sharing a wide range of ideas and information with you, and we welcome your responses and comments.

John Ohliger Institute for Social Inquiry

Second Thoughts is the blog of the John Ohliger Institute for Social Inquiry.  John Ohliger (1926-2004) was a public intellectual, adult educator, community activist, and lifelong learner who blended an insatiable curiosity, a stubborn independence, a keen mind and good heart, and a passion for creating a better world.  To many of us, he was also a friend, partner, mentor, collaborator, gadfly, and inspiration.

The Ohliger Institute is our attempt to preserve and disseminate John’s work and to further the spirit of inquiry and social change that so characterized his life.  Second Thoughts revives the name of a newsletter that John published under the aegis of Basic Choices, the independent center he co-founded and directed from 1976 to 2004.

We are delighted that the Ohliger Institute is an affiliate of the Western Institute for Social Research (WISR), and we anticipate enjoyable and enriching collaborations through this association.  WISR’s emerging online community, WISRville, is an ideal virtual home for Second Thoughts.

For more about John’s life and work

1. Visit the John Ohliger website containing his writings and biographical information.

2.  Visit our blog page (here) dedicated to a book about John’s contributions to adult education, Andre P. Grace, Tonette S. Rocco and Associates, Challenging the Professionalization of Adult Education: John Ohliger and Contradictions in Modern Practice (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2009). 

Second Thoughts contributing bloggers

Christina (Chris) Wagner (Madison, Wisconsin) met John Ohliger on April 1, 1977, when she reviewed a book for “The Madison Review of Books” on WORT, the local community radio show that John helped to start. Though separated by many years in age, they soon realized they were soulmates. Chris’s need to conform to conventional society and the fact that they were both stubborn delayed their marriage. However, John and Chris were wed on May 6, 1989. Although Chris often quips that she was “just a footnote” in John’s very full life, she feels blessed for the wonderful years that they shared together.  She has been a public librarian for more than 20 years.

David Yamada (Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts) is a professor of law and founding director of the New Workplace Institute at Suffolk University Law School in Boston, where he is an internationally recognized authority on the legal and policy implications of workplace bullying. David’s longstanding interest in adult education has been nurtured by his friendships with John Ohliger and Chris Wagner. His eclectic educational background includes degrees from Valparaiso University (B.A.), SUNY-Empire State College (M.A.), and New York University School of Law (J.D.), as well as doctoral studies at WISR, where he also serves as a volunteer faculty member.