OLLI Spring II SessionMarch 7, 2024 - CSU Channel Islands (CSUCI)’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a strong lineup of class offerings for the Spring II session.

Adult students whose tastes run toward current events, politics and history can sign up for classes like: “Eyeball to Eyeball: The Eagle and the Dragon Stare Each Other Down,” on U.S. Chinese relations; “Grasping Israeli Politics” or “Founding Friendship: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.”

For adult learners who want to explore art, music, architecture and the culture of the British monarchs, there are classes like: “Architects Who Defined the California Landscape,” “The Stuart Dynasty’s Cultural Jewels” or “Exploring American Popular Music.”

And those are just a few of the 10 courses being offered for six weeks beginning Monday, March 25 with registration now open. OLLI offers classes from 10 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m. on Zoom and in-person, with locations in Camarillo and Ventura. All classes are recorded for later viewing.

“We are thrilled to be celebrating the 20th Anniversary of OLLI at CSUCI this spring,” said OLLI Program Coordinator Shaina Salin. “The first OLLI classes ran in 2004, and while our program has changed and grown over the last 20 years, our mission to foster intellectual stimulation and social connection has remained at the forefront.”

Instructors for OLLI classes come from all walks of life, including faculty from CSUCI and other universities, such as lifelong musician and CSU Northridge music professor John Buonamassa, who will teach “American Popular Music,” an exploration of the evolution of music in America such as the blues, rock ‘n’ roll, country, soul, rhythm and blues, and hip-hop.

Buonamassa toured internationally as keyboardist and musical director for the

Mamas and the Papas for 16 years. He has also performed with such artists as Cesar Rosas (of Los Lobos), Chuck Berry, Spencer Davis, and Bo Diddley and played keyboard for Broadway shows in New York such as Les Misérables, Cats, and Leader of the Pack.

Some of his memories of touring with the Mamas and the Papas revolve around the energy of the live festival shows, including one in particular in Germany.

“They were incredible in terms of the audience energy,” Buonamassa said. “They often wouldn’t let us leave without doing two or three encores, chanting "zu ga bei" (keep going) at the top of their lungs.”

Council on Foreign Relations higher education officer and award-winning author of 12 books, Jason Hensley, will teach “Grasping Israeli Politics.” Hensley - who teaches religious studies at a private school in Los Angeles and holds a doctorate in Holocaust and Genocide Studies - hopes to familiarize learners with the political eras of Israel’s history in an attempt to understand what is happening there today as the state of Israel marks its 75th anniversary.

“Because Israel is a democracy, many people make the assumption that it is similar to the United States,” Hensley said. “Nevertheless, it doesn’t operate in the same way. Both Zionism and religion are major motivating factors and therefore need to be understood before Israel can be understood.”

American History expert Heather Dudley, Ph.D. will share her fascination with the “odd couple” of American History, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, whose friendship paralleled the formative years of our nation’s history. Jefferson was a southern aristocrat, self-contained and contemplative, whereas Adams of New England was outspoken, impulsive, and often irritating.

Their personal differences reflected the divergent views of the role of government that split George Washington’s cabinet and evolved into America’s first two political parties: the Republicans and the Federalists. And things got nasty.

“Today we may be dismayed at how ugly political contests can become—but thankfully we have never seen anything as nasty as the elections of 1796 and 1800,” Dudley said.

They mellowed as old men and together worried about the fate of the democracy. They died on the same day, July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.

If you would like to sign up for an individual class or for the entire session, you can pay $60 for each 6-week class in which you wish to enroll or take unlimited courses per session for $150 for individuals and $200 for couples.

To register, visit: OLLI Spring II Session.

The University encourages persons with disabilities to participate in its programs, events and activities. If you anticipate needing any type of accommodation, or have questions about the physical access provided, please contact the respective area below as soon as possible, but no later than seven (7) business days prior to the event/activity:

CSUCI Students

CSUCI Employees and Members of the Public

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