CSU Channel Islands (CI) has added a new site location in Ojai for this year’s Fall Library Lecture Series.

CSU Channel Islands (CI) hosts more than a dozen free public lectures from September through December at libraries throughout Ventura County, as well as the Channel Islands Boating Center.

The Syrian refugee crisis; local history; music technology; health; and the wine industry are among the topics that will be explored by experts from numerous departments at CI, including Biology, History, English, Computer Science, Political Science, Performing Arts, and Sociology to name a few.

Fall 2016 Lecture Series (PDF, 410KB)  -  News Release (Spring)(PDF, 357KB)

Camarillo Library, 4101 E. Las Posas Road
Lectures are Mondays from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

**Tuesday**September 20

"The Syrian War and Its Political and Humanitarian Consequences” by Reha Kadakal, Ph. D., Assistant Professor of Sociology

Abstract: As of March 2016, the civil was in Syria had claimed more than 470,000 lives. Nearly 5 million Syrian refugees have been forced to flee their home country, and more than half of the refugees are children. An astonishing 2.7 million of the refugees are in neighboring Turkey. Turkey is increasingly at the center of global responses to this refugee crisis, and has come to bear the brunt of international responsibility for refugees. Based on his observations in Turkey, in this lecture Reha Kadakal will discuss the scale and the ongoing impact of this humanitarian crisis, and its imminent effects on the prospects of peace in the region and globally.

October 10

“Influenza A Viruses in Artificial Community Water Ponds: Potential for IAV Surveillance” by Zin Htway, Ph.D., Lecturer in Biology

Abstract: Viruses that have the potential to wipe out the poultry industry here and in other major poultry export countries has been found in community water ponds in both the cities and countryside in Southern California. The Influenza A Viruses (IAV) are transmissible to both humans and birds. It’s a flu-like illness for humans, and can be deadly to birds. “These viruses wipe out bird populations, which can wipe out the poultry industry in the U.S. and Brazil, and other countries with poultry as a major export,” Htway said. During his lecture, Htway will explain how the virus got into our ponds and fountains from its source in Southern China, and why it’s important to study this further, and perhaps develop a vaccine. And why El Nino could make the problem worse.

November 14

“Re-visioning History: Women Poets, Mythology, and the Power of Storytelling” by Colleen Harris-Keith, M.L.S.,M.F.A., Ed.D., Assistant Librarian

Abstract: Our stories and mythologies become a part of us, and connect us to broader systems of culture and values. To continue to live, mythologies are often revitalized and revived through poetry. Harris-Keith will discuss how contemporary women poets are reclaiming power by working with mythological structures, adapting them, subverting them, and building something new as they re-tell old stories in new skins, and will talk about how community members might start their own revisioning of beloved stories.

December 12

“Recovering Imagination: Is There a Poem Unspoken Inside You?” by Claudia Reder,Ph. D., Lecturer in English

 Abstract: The path of poetry begins when you pick up a pencil, or a piece of clay, and pay attention to the seeds of memory. Join us as we journey through poetry in this interactive workshop. If you like to engage your imagination through writing, or if you have never written before but want to, this workshop is for you.

Newbury Park Library, 2331 Borchard Rd.

Lectures are Mondays, 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

September 12

"Social Enterprises: merging business and purpose" by Maria Ballesteros-Sola, MBA, MRes, Fulbright Scholar Lecturer in Business

Abstract: "Social Enterprises are hybrid organizations that merge purpose and profit. As these type of organizations become more prominent, much confusion still surrounds their definition, as well as their challenges and limitations. This presentation will review the broad spectrum of social enterprises, present well known cases and introduce the activities of the California Institute for Social Business hosted at the MVS School of Business & Economics at CSUCI." 

October 10

“Get SMART (Social Media ​​Applications and Really-useful Tools)" by Brian Thoms, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Computer Science

Abstract: In this lecture series, Dr. Brian Thoms will showcase a variety of useful and easy to use social media applications and how they can be used to stay connected and stay healthy. This presentation will feature demonstrations using popular social software such as Facebook and YouTube and popular health-related software such as Health Tap and Patients like Me. Dr. Thoms will also introduce his own social network SocialXYZ and health platform, Health e-Service to the audience. Dr. Thoms is Asst. Professor of Computer Science and Information Technology at California State University, Channel Islands and performs research in both social and health informatics, which is a field of computing that focuses on how data is organized and represented for end-users.

 November 14

“Public Health Leadership in a Crisis” by Zin Htway, Ph.D., Lecturer in Biology

Abstract: Public health leadership in a crisis theorizes the application of four leadership skills: technical skills, interpersonal skills, conceptual skills, and emotional skills. A leader of a public health crisis will have to use these four skills for coordinating, managing, and direction staff and resources. In addition to leading and managing public health resources, a leader in this role will also have to effectively communicate to the public and the media. This leadership theory connects lines of leadership skill to various stakeholders and collaborators. The importance of this leadership theory is for future public health crisis leaders to gain better understanding of the role of public health leadership in a crisis.

Ojai Library, 111 E. Ojai Ave

Lectures are Saturday from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

September 3

“New Directions in Music Technology” by Ted Lucas, DMA, Lecturer in Performing Arts

Abstract: A live demonstration and explanation of how computer technology has come to dominate both the art and the business of music, with emphasis on movie music, commercials and video games.

October 1

“Southern California’s 19th Century Wine Industry” by Julia Ornelas-Higdon, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of History

Abstract: Discover the history of Southern California’s pre-Prohibition wine industry. Learn about the diverse groups who built the wine industry, from Spanish missionaries, Mexicans, and California Indians to German, Chinese, and American immigrants. Ornelas-Higdon will explain what factors led to the demise of Los Angeles’s vineyards and wineries, and why the industry ultimately transitioned to Napa and Sonoma.

November 5 - TBD

December 3 

“Liquid Histories: Madeira and Port wine” by Rainer Buschmann, Ph.D., Professor of History

Abstract: Most of us have tasted fortified wine at one point or another.  Few of us, however, are aware of the multifaceted history behind the marriage between grapes, sugarcane, and strong spirit. The lecture will highlight why Madeira became such prominent place to grow grapes during the early period of Iberian expansion; it will discuss the utility of fortified wine in European ocean crossings; the importance of fortified wine in British and American identity formation; and lastly the development of the different Port and Madeira varieties by the 20th century.

Simi Valley Library, 2969 Tapo Canyon Road

Lectures are Sundays from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.

September 11 

“A Day in the Life of a Breast Tumor” by Zin Htway, Ph.D., Lecturer in Biology

Abstract: A detailed pathology overview of the diagnostic process of breast tumors and breast cancers from mammogram to molecular testing.

October 9 

"College Education Inside the Prison Industrial Complex" by Mariano Baez, Lecturer in Liberal Studies

Abstract:California State University, Channel Islands partnered with the Ventura Maximum Youth Correctional Facility to offer a service learning course (LS200) inside the facility. The course takes place every Spring and Fall semester. LS200 is led by Mariano Baez who instructs university students from all majors on how to plan and implement academic lesson plans to an incarcerated male and female population. The academic courses consist of lectures in Psychology, English, Nursing, College Planning, Tutoring, First Aid, Pro Social Skills, Career Development, Study Circles, Arts and Crafts among others. The program has successfully serviced approximately 60 females and 120 males in the last three years. The course meets on Thursdays from 6pm to 8pm to service the female population and on Fridays from 6pm to 8pm to service the male population. Each cohort has a designated team of eight college students directly servicing about 20 to 24 youth. The fundamental principle of this course is to promote a nonjudgmental and nondiscriminatory beloved community by providing the necessary tools to all participants.   

November 13

“Greenhouse gases and microbes” by Patricia Tavormina, Ph.D., Lecturer in Biology

Abstract: We live in an age of rapid climate change, driven by fossil fuel use. Fossil fuel technologies and infrastructure regularly fail, impacting local ecosystems and adding to our global carbon footprint. Yet, nature can remediate these episodic events, in part through the action of environmental microbes. Just as our gut microbiota contributes to our personal health; environmental microbes can help balance large – scale environmental change. Dr. Tavormina has studied bacteria that remediate the greenhouse gas methane for the past ten years. Some of her work includes documenting the microbial response to the 2010 BP oil spill, the 2015 Refugio oil spill, and the 2015 – 2016 Porter Ranch gas leak. Come learn the similarities and differences in the environmental microbial response to these large scale hydrocarbon emission events, and how microbes help absorb some of the greenhouse gases we generate.

December 11

"An Appreciation of the Chaparral Flora, with  pre- and post-fire observations" by Steven Norris,Ph.D., Faculty in Biology

Abstract: Although an ichthyologist (studier of fishes) by trade, I’ve been exploring the Chaparral flora in the foothills of Santa Monica Mountains since arriving in Camarillo in 2002.  In the habitats surrounding the CSUCI campus, I’ve identified and photographed nearly 130 native plant species in this small swath of our world.  Many species are abundant, others are rarely seen (even seen only once), some didn’t appear until after the fire, and a couple are endangered.  Each has its place in the ecology of the habitats, each has something unique to teach us, if we look closely enough.  This presentation covers the evolution of this small project through various stages - appreciation, documentation, exploration.  The 2013 Springs Fire was like hitting the reset button on the plant communities, with observations on the recovery offered.

Blanchard Community Library, 119 North 8th Street, Santa Paula Lectures are Tuesdays, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

September 20 

"Robots of CSU Channel Islands: Some Talk the Talk, Some Walk the Walk" by David Claveau, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Computer Science

Abstract: At CSU Channel Islands we have been experimenting with robots to improve the ways in which we can interact with them. In one project we have a robot that can walk on four legs. It was designed and built entirely at CI and consists mainly of 3-D printed components. In another project we have made it possible for a humanoid robot to read aloud and communicate emotion by changing its voice and posture. We are happy to share our latest results with the community. 

October 18 

"Family Storytelling Night: Traditions from around the World" by Claudia Reder, Ph.D., Lecturer in English

Abstract: All around the world families share stories to pass on values, traditions, history, a sense of humor, mischief, and recipes, while creating a sense of togetherness. Even what we can’t remember becomes a story. Tonight we will create and share family stories while learning about storytelling traditions from around the world. Children who attend must be accompanied by an adult.

November 15 

“Danza Mexica: Indigenous Identity, Spirituality, and Activism​” by Jennie Luna, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Chicana/o Studies

Abstract: This lecture will examine the Danza Mexica (Aztec Dance) tradition of México Tenochtitlan as it has migrated and dispersed throughout the United States, transforming the identity politics, spiritual, and philosophical base of entire MeXicana/o communities in the process. Through historical, genealogical and contemporary understandings of the trajectory of Danza, political-cultural-spiritual movements are examined in both Mexico City and the U.S. Southwest.  The Danza “movement” is defined as both an embodiment of a physical act and a political act.  The Danza Mexica tradition is but one strand in a dynamic history and legacy that has shaped how both Mexicanos and those self-identifying as Xicanas and Xicanos name themselves and their experiences, and how they reclaim and embrace Indigenous identity. Through understanding the significance of this constantly emerging movement, Indigenous (re)affirmations of identity continue to inform notions of self, homeland, spirituality, and community.

December 6

"Reinterpreting Local History: La Voz de la Colonia, Ventura County’s Spanish Language Newspaper, 1926-1932" by Jose Alamillo, Ph.D., Professor of Chicana/o Studies

Abstract: La Voz de la Colonia is a recently discovered Spanish-language newspaper in the basement of the E.P. Foster Library that was published from 1926 to 1932 in the city of Santa Paula, California. This newspaper was circulated throughout Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties covering local, regional and national news affecting the U.S. Latino population.  The newspaper focused on labor struggles, school segregation, and community organizing efforts as well as sports and entertainment. The newspaper’s founder and publisher was Oxnard businessman Jesus Jimenez then sold it a year later to Santa Paula businessmen, Manuel Reyes and B. De Hoyos, who became the publisher and editor respectively, until the Great Depression forced the newspaper to publish its last issue on July 15, 1932. This presentation will use La Voz de la Colonia to reinterpret key events in local history including the 1928 St. Francis Dam Disaster, the agricultural strikes during the Great Depression, and the segregation of Mexican students in public schools.

Channel Islands Boating Center, 3880 Bluefin Circle,Oxnard Lectures are Thursdays from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

September 22 

"There’s No Time Like Now! Cultivate Mindfulness to Enhance Overall Well-Being" by Christy Teranishi-Martinez, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology

Abstract: Multitasking has become increasingly important in our fast-paced society. Smartphones, MP3 players, and navigation systems have become necessities in our day-to-day activities. However, overuse of technology and multitasking can lead to decreased attention and performance. In this talk, Dr. Christy Teranishi Martinez will discuss strategies for cultivating mindfulness in order to foster creativity, improve relationships, and enhance overall well-being.

November 3

“In the Image of Elijah: Creating a Monastic Community in Medieval Italy" by Alison Perchuk, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Art

Abstract: How do we create community? Typically we think of communities as arising naturally around some shared bond: family, religion, politics, favorite activities or sports teams. But for a community to really cohere, it needs to have a concept of its own individual identity. In this talk, I explore how one twelfth-century Italian monastery used the visual arts, architecture, and landscape to create a sense of its unique identity—and how we can apply these lessons to understanding our own world today.

Featured Lecture Series (Videos):

Stem Cells – Boon or Bane?
Dr. Nitika Parmar
Associate Professor of Biology

Ordinary Men – How Normal People Can Do Terrible Things
Dr. Kevin Volkan
Professor of Psychology

Past Lectures:


“The Prehistory of the Channel Islands and Coastal California: A 10,000 Year Retrospective” by Colleen Delaney, Ph.D. Professor of Anthropology


“Herbs and Spices: Do They Impact Human Health?” by Nitika Parmar, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Biology

“Oil spills and microbes: How does nature remediate massive petroleum discharges?” by Patricia Tavormina, Ph.D., Biology Lecturer

“Influenza A Viruses in Artificial Community Water Ponds” by Zin Htway, Ph.D., Biology Lecturer

“Methane as a Resource: Sustainable Use of an Otherwise Powerful Greenhouse Gas” by Patricia Tavormina, Ph.D., Biology Lecturer

“Window to the Abyss” by Geoff Dilly, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Biology

“Bees, Food and You, Ruben” by Alarcón, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Biology

“Exobiology and Space Science: The Possible Existence of Extraterrestrial Life and Man's Current Ability to Find It”, by Dr. Erich Fleming, Assistant Professor of Biology

“Humpback Whales: Gentle Giants of the North Pacific”, by Dr. Rachel Cartwright, Lecturer in Biology

“Stem Cells – Boon or Bane?”  by Dr. Nitika Parmar, Associate Professor of Biology

“OMG! Here Come the GMOs: Do We Embrace or Challenge Advances in Biotechnology?” by Panda Kroll, ESQ, Lecturer in Business

“Natural Habitats Around CSU Channel Islands Before and After the 2013 Springs Fire”, by Dr. Steven Norris, Lecturer in Biology

Business & Economics

“Business Success in China – Understanding Business Culture”, by Dr. Priscilla Laing, Associate Professor of Finance

“China: the Socialist Market Economy”, by Priscilla Liang, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Finance

“The Era of the Celebrity CEO is Over”, by Dr. Andrew Morris, Professor of Business & Economics

“The Great GMO Labe Debate - Science, Politics, and the Court of Public Opinions”, by Panda Kroll, ESQ, Lecturer in Business


“Climate Change and the Mercury Cycle” by Simone Aloisio, Ph.D. Professor of Chemistry

“Through the Looking Glass: a Chemist's Perspective on Lewis Carroll”, by Phil Hampton, Ph.D., Professor of Chemistry

Chicano Studies

“Beyond the Latino Sports Hero: The Role of Sports in Creating Communities, Networks and Identities,” by Dr. Jose Alamillo, Associate Professor of Chicano Studies


“Are We Crazy About Our Kids? The Cost/Benefit Equation”, by Dr. Kaia Tollefson, Associate Professor of Education, and Dr. Joan Karp.

“Education System in Finland: From Equity to Excellence”, by Dr. Tiina Itkonen, Associate Professor of Education

“Gender Differences in the Social Behaviors of Girls and Boys with Autism”, Michelle Dean, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Special Education

“Lessons from Finland”, by Dr. Tiina Itkonen, Associate Professor of Education


“Reconnecting Art, Nature and Community in Japan” by Brad Monsma, Ph.D. Professor of English

“Grief, Healing and Short Fiction” by Kristen Fitzpatrick, Lecturer in English

“Stories from Ventura Writers” by Sean Carswell Professor of English; Kristin Fitzpatrick and Kim Vose, Lecturers in English; and Sofia Samatar, Assistant Professor of English.

“Stories Behind the Stories: English Faculty Reading and Discussion”, by Professors of English: Brad Monsma, Bob Mayberry, Mary Adler, Sean Carswell and Sofia Samatar

Environmental Science

“Plastic Pollution: How Microplastics are Impacting Beaches in Southern California” by Management Clare Steele, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Environmental Science & Resource

“Dr. Anderson’s Oil Spill Blog: oil.piratelab.org”, by Sean Anderson, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Environmental Science & Resource Management

“A New Era of Research on Santa Rosa Island”, by Cause Hanna, Ph.D., Santa Rosa Island Research Station

“Manager Climate Change in the 21st Century”, by Dr. Simone Aloisio, Professor of Chemistry

“The Interaction Between Urban Centers and Protected Areas”, by Dr. Don Rodriguez, Professor of Environmental Science & Resource Management


“Emerging Identities in Evolving End-of-the Century Empires”, by P. Scott Corbett, Ph.D., Lecturer of History

“Laundering Labor and Images in 19th Century Mexico City”, by Marie Francois, Ph.D., Professor of History

“The Neglected Pacific Theater of the First World War”, by Rainer Buschmann, Ph.D., Professor of History

Information Literacy

“The Intersection of Big Data and Privacy” by Dr. Janet Pinkley and Dr. Monica Pereira

“Information Literacy and the Public Sphere”, by Dr. Monica Pereira and Dr. Janet Pinkley, Assistant Librarians


“Paradoxes and Shocking outcomes in math. Do you still believe in Math?” by Jorge Garcia Ph.D., Professor of Mathematics

“Water Management: State of the Art” By Ron Rieger, Mathematics Lecturer


“Good, Bad, or Otherwise:  Reliable Healthcare Internet Resources”, by Colleen Nevins, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Nursing

Performing Arts

“New Directions in Music Technology” by Ted Lucas, DMA Performing Arts Lecturer

“Australian Actors and Hollywood Stars”, by Dr. Luda Popenhagen, Professor of Performing Arts

Political Science

“Politics to the Extreme” by Sean Kelly, Ph.D., Professor of Political Science

“The U.S. Immigration Debate: Fact versus Fiction” by Mary McThomas Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Political Science

“Resisting the Pressures of the Present: Channel Islands National Park as a Case Study in Public Policymaking”, by Dr. Scott Frisch, Professor of Political Science, and Dr. Dan Wakelee, Assistant Provost and Associate Professor of Political Science


“Ordinary Men – How Normal People Can Do Terrible Things”, by Dr. Kevin Volkan, Professor of Psychology

“Some Psychological Benefits of a Secure Relationship with God”, by Dr. Harley Baker, Professor of Psychology

“Eastern and Western Perspectives of Health and Well-Being”, by Dr. Christy Teranishi Martinez, Associate Professor of Psychology

“Culture-Bound Syndromes”, by Dr. Kevin Volkan, Professor of Psychology


“The Syrian Refugee Crisis in Regional and Global Context” by Reha Kadakal, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Sociology

“Globalization, Niche Ports and the Local Economy: A Look at Port Hueneme and the Southern California Logistics Industry”, by Dr. Elizabeth Sowers, Assistant Professor of Sociology

“Social Barriers to Taking Paid Family Leave in California: Lessons for Proposed Federal Paid Family Leave Legislation”, by Dr. Lindsey Trimble O'Connor, Assistant Professor of Sociology


“Hidden Gems of Latin America”, by Stephen Clark, Ph.D., Professor of Spanish

“Latin America's Most Interesting Leaders”, by Dr. Stephen Clark, Professor of Spanish