CI Announces Spring Library Lecture Series

Camarillo, CA - CSU Channel Islands (CI) is pleased to announce its Spring Lecture Series in collaboration with the public libraries in Simi Valley, Thousand Oaks and Ventura. This free series offers community members the chance to hear from some of CI’s most dynamic speakers and experts; engage in discussions on a variety of timely, thought-provoking topics; and be a CI student for an evening in the convenient setting of their local library. See below for a detailed listing of speakers, topics, locations, dates, and times.

Simi Valley Public Library
All lectures will be held Saturdays at 2 p.m. at 2969 Tapo Canyon Rd., Simi Valley.

“Some Psychological Benefits of a Secure Relationship with God”
Saturday, Feb. 8, at 2 p.m.
Throughout the centuries, religious advocates have argued that belief in God brings considerable psychological health benefits. However, equally vociferous opponents have argued that religion is dangerous to one’s mental health. They both can’t be right, can they? Recent empirical studies demonstrate that the quality of the relationship with God makes all the psychological difference. Join Dr. Harley Baker for a presentation exploring these studies and offering insight into why and how this is the case.

“Beyond the Latino Sports Hero: The Role of Sports in Creating Communities, Networks and Identities”
Saturday, March 8, at 2 p.m.
To reduce or simplify the history of Latino sports around individual champions obscures the historical communities and social networks that helped produced them. In this presentation, Dr. Jose Alamillo will focus on Latino sporting experiences in the U.S., from the late 19th century up to the present, with emphasis on professional, school-based and amateur sports. Dr. Alamillo will highlight specific sports in which Latinos have participated prominently, along with the national origins of the players, and the communities with a supportive network and fan base that helped them excel.

Latin America’s Most Interesting Leaders
Saturday, April 12, at 2 p.m.
In the very recent past, the political map of Latin America has undergone a radical transformation. What was for many decades a continent of brutal military dictatorships is now a region governed by democratic regimes of distinct political and economic ideologies. In this talk, Dr. Stephen Clarke will illuminate the challenges facing Latin America today and the progress it has made by examining the unique personal stories and political successes of the region’s most charismatic, controversial and unique leaders.

Thousand Oaks Library
All lectures will be held on Thursdays at 7 p.m. in the Marvin E. Smith Community Room at the Grant R. Brimhall Library, 1401 E. Janss Rd., Thousand Oaks.

“Stem Cells – Boon or Bane?”
Thursday, March 6, at 7 p.m.
Join Dr. Nitika Parmar as she discusses the medical applications, advantages, disadvantages, and controversies surrounding stem cells.

“OMG! Here Come the GMOs: Do We Embrace or Challenge Advances in Biotechnology?”
Thursday, April 3, at 7 p.m.
Join legal expert Panda Kroll for a fascinating survey of recent disputes involving biotechnology. The presentation will examine perspectives of various stakeholders, including the business community, the general public, scientists, farmers, and clergy; review court responses to recent disputes or legal challenges brought by advocacy groups against the government related to biotechnology; and analyze government responses, such as the FDA tentative approval of GE Salmon, and the FDA “warning letter” to 23andMe, and the USDA.

“Education System in Finland: From Equity to Excellence”
Thursday, May 1, at 7 p.m.
Join Dr. Tiina Itkonen for a discussion of education reform in Finland in the 1970s, making education available for all. The presentation will examine how the system is organized, results of the reform after 20+ years, and explore challenges that the Finnish education system still faces.

“Exobiology and Space Science: The Possible Existence of Extraterrestrial Life and Man’s Current Ability to Find It”
Thursday, June 5, at 7 p.m.
As of today, according to all the evidence, we are alone in the universe. However, we are also closer than ever to finding extraterrestrial life. Dr. Erick Fleming will discuss current advances in our understanding of the limits of life, recent discoveries of extrasolar planets and extraterrestrial environments, and how these discoveries are directing our search for life beyond Earth. Dr. Fleming will also discuss our current ability to explore space and what is still needed to successfully transport humans to other planets and establish colonies.

Ventura Library
All lectures will be held Wednesdays in the Topping Room at E.P. Foster Library, 651 East Main St., Ventura.

“Are We Crazy About Our Kids? The Cost/Benefit Equation”
Wednesday, Feb. 19, at 6 p.m.
Economists today are contributing to an argument that educators have been making for decades: The cost is high for spending too little on early childhood care and education; spending enough is literally a good investment. In this interactive session, Dr. Joan Karp and Dr. Kaia Tollefson will share research on the importance and the economics of investing in high-quality early childhood care and education. Additionally, findings from a recent study conducted at CSU Channel Islands on the level of need for affordable, quality childcare for university students will be presented, making explicit the connection between access to childcare and access to higher education for low-income student-parents.

“Ordinary Men – How Normal People Can Do Terrible Things”
Wednesday, March 19, at 7 p.m.
Group psychology is applicable to any armed conflict. We expect soldiers to kill and be killed, but what about civilians and other non-combatants? In this talk, Dr. Kevin Volkan will use the example of the Nazi “Einsatzgruppen” to demonstrate how relatively ordinary people engaged in horrendous acts of cruelty. Psychological insight from the Milgram and the Stanford Prison Experiment will demonstrate how easy it is to get humans to do things they wouldn’t otherwise do.

“Eastern and Western Perspectives of Health and Well-Being”
Wednesday, April 16, at 6 p.m.
While some cultures seek happiness through success and materialistic possessions, others define happiness as being content and connected to one’s family and community. In this talk, Dr. Christy Teranishi Martinez will examine happiness and well-being from Eastern and Western perspectives. We will discuss strategies for alleviating stress and adding well years to your life.

All lectures are free and open to the public, with complimentary parking. For more information, visit websites for the Ventura Library at, the Thousand Oaks Library at, or the Simi Valley Library at

# # #

About California State University Channel Islands
CSU Channel Islands (CI) is the only four-year, public university in Ventura County and is known for its interdisciplinary, multicultural and international perspectives, and its emphasis on experiential and service learning. CI’s strong academic programs focus on business, sciences, liberal studies, teaching credentials, and innovative master’s degrees. Students benefit from individual attention, up-to-date technology, and classroom instruction augmented by outstanding faculty research. CI has been designated by the U.S. Department of Education as a Hispanic-Serving Institution and is committed to serving students of all backgrounds from the region and beyond. Connect with and learn more about CI by visiting CI’s Social Media.