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Faculty Biographies



Christine Bolli is a Ph.D. candidate in History of Art and Architecture at UC Santa Barbara. While her degree focuses on Classical and Medieval Architecture, she is passionate about art through every age and has taught a spectrum of courses at a variety of institutions, including Brooks Institute and UCSB. She also writes articles for the online Art History textbook, Smarthistory

Jerry Clifford 

Jerry Clifford has a Ph.D.in Nuclear Physics and spent thirty years doing experimental research, mostly for government-sponsored programs. He has taught Physics and Astronomy for 8 years at CSU Channel Islands. Other applied physics courses taught at the University and at OLLI include Physics of Music, How Things Work, Science & Conscience, and Introduction to Our Solar System.

Bruce Collins 

Bruce Collins has taught for the OLLI program since 2007. With his wealth of literary and pop culture knowledge he has taught courses in “The Odyssean Tradition”, "The Cinema of Shock,” and “The Vinyl Revolution." He’s been a fan of Swing since he was an 8 year old kid in Butte, Montana, listening to late night radio stations from San Francisco and--when the weather was right--Los Angeles..

 Matthew Curtis

Matthew Curtis, Ph.D., is an anthropological archaeologist who has carried out archaeological fieldwork and museum research in Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, and the United States.  He is a former Fulbright fellow and has been co-principal investigator of a National Science Foundation-funded archaeology project in southwestern Ethiopia.

 Miguel del Aguila

Miguel del Aguila has written over a hundred published musical works. Recognized with a long list of awards, his music is regularly performed and recorded worldwide. He is a Latin Grammy nominee and a graduate of San Francisco and Vienna conservatories. http://www.migueldelaguila.com/

 Shannon Diffner

Shannon Diffner holds a B.A. and an M.A. in Literature from San Francisco State University. She has worked in the entertainment industry for more than 20 years, has taught college-level English composition and literature, and has been an instructor for the OLLI program since 2005. She is co-owner of Scarlet Letters Copywriting, a small business specializing in writing for various marketing arenas.

 Carolyn Dorrance

Carolyn Dorrance, Ph.D. teaches courses in history, political science and philosophy at Oxnard College.. The challenge of applying political ideas in practical politics and fulfilling the ideals of effective citizenship has long been a focus in her teaching. She engages in the public dialogue at the Institute of World Culture (Santa Barbara) as President and Program Coordinator.

 Bill Garlington

Bill Garlington, Ph.D. has a B.A. and M.A. in History from UCLA and a Ph.D. in Asian Studies and Sociology from the Australian National University. He has taught at all academic levels on three continents and carried out extensive sociological/anthropological fieldwork in India. He directs the Adult Education Program at Camarillo United Methodist Church. 

 Herb Gooch

Herb Gooch, Ph.D. is a professor of Political Science at California Lutheran University. He directs the Masters in Public Policy and Administration program. He holds a B.A. in History from U.C. Berkeley, and M.B.A. in Business Management, M.A. in International Relations, and a Ph.D. in Political Science from UCLA.   He is a frequent local media commentator on political affairs.

Loren Haar, M.A., teaches English at Ventura College and Literature courses for Santa Barbara City College Continuing Education. She has taught storytelling to children in the elementary school program Celebration of the Arts, and courses in Literature, Film, Composition, and Reading at San Francisco State University, the College of San Mateo, and UC Santa Barbara.
Laura Hagel 

Laura Hagel MA in Art History from UCSB, is the Rights and Reproductions Officer at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. She was Program Manager for the “Art of Ancient Glass” exhibit showcasing the Gunter collection of vessels dating to the 6thcentury BCE. Her deep and abiding love of the arts of the ancient Mediterranean has motivated her to teach at Ventura College.

Alisa Hall 

Alisa Hall holds an MA in Art History and a Museum Studies Certificate Degree from Tufts University. She has worked in several museums, most recently as the Assistant Curator for Modern & Contemporary Art at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, where she organized the exhibition Identities and supported the international touring exhibition, Tamayo: A Modern Icon Re-interpreted.

Kevin Hughes 

Kevin Hughes received his Master’s Degree in History from Cal State University Northridge. He has taught twenty different types of history courses, including US History, Western Civilization, World History, 19th Century History, and 20th Century History at a variety of community colleges and Universities. His lifelong passion is researching history and making it accessible, exciting, and relevant to students.

 Saul H. Jacobs

Saul H. Jacobs matches up a professional career as an informational and documentary media writer and producer, with experience as a lecturer on informational research and writing at UCLA Extension and Cal State Northridge, skills as a performer, an academic background in Theater Arts, and a lifelong interest in popular music and the musical theater to develop, produce, and present these classes.   Bob Lipson, his musical colleague and friend for 62 years, is one of the area’s outstanding interpreters of the great American standards. He augments Saul’s lectures with his piano artistry and his own insights on musical composition and styles and popular music’s contributions to our culture.

 Bob Koster

Bob Koster has over 40 years of experience in film and TV production.  He has taught production at UCLA, USC, Art Center College, the AFI, and lectured here and abroad, concentrating on early history of film and television.  He has authored three books on film production, and has worked in the archive department of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

 David Knight Lynch

David Knight Lynch received a B.S. in Astrophysics in 1969 from Indiana University and a Ph.D. in Astronomy in 1975 from the University of Texas in Austin. He specializes in infrared spectroscopy of comets, novae, supernovae, young stars and very old stars. Dave also works in the field of optics in nature (rainbows, mirages, etc.) and geologic mapping. Dave's recreational activities include playing the fiddle in assorted southern California bands, camping, collecting rocks and rattlesnakes and reading the New Yorker. He also enjoys writing and won the 2004 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest (Romance Category), as well as several "dishonorable mentions" since.

Michael Markman attended the New England Conservatory and Yale University.  He has collaborated with Leonard Bernstein, Leopold Stokowski, Boris Goldovsky, Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, John Williams, Andrea Bocelli, Antonio Banderas, David Foster, Steven Spielberg and more. Michael has performed music in over 1000 films, hundreds of TV programs, including 24 years of "The Simpsons", countless CD's, and 19 Academy Awards telecasts.

Dennis Muraoka, Ph.D. is a CSUCI Professor of Economics and is an expert in the field of natural resource and environmental economics. He has authored many articles in leading economics journals in this area and has taught economics courses at Oxnard College, Ventura College, SBCC, CSU Long Beach and UCSB

Peter Neff, M.M., is a composer/guitarist. His compositions can be heard in numerous movies, TV shows, recordings and commercials, including "The Sopranos," "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," "Saturday Night Live" and "Nova." He has performed with Smokey Robinson, Wilson Pickett, Eartha Kitt, John Raitt and Petula Clark. He holds degrees from Berklee College of Music and the University of Miami

 Steven Norris

Steven M. Norris, Ph.D., Arizona State University, has conducted ichthyological research (fish studies) in the USA, Africa and Europe.  A Research Associate of the Fish Division of The University of Michigan, Museum of Zoology, he is an internationally recognized ichthyologist.  Dr. Norris is currently an active faculty member at CSU Channel Islands.

 John Pendleton

John Pendleton, Ph.D. (History) teaches at CSU Channel Islands, Ventura College and in the Elderhostel and OLLI programs. Author of a textbook on popular culture, he is currently working on a study of American heroism and celebrity. He is Director of Internet Research and a writer for an interactive educational course on American innovation.

 Robert Piccioni

Robert Piccioni, graduated from Caltech, has a Ph.D. in high-energy physics, and was a research faculty member at Harvard. He hosts the internet radio show “Guide to the Cosmos” on webtalkradio.net and is the author of 2 award-winning books.

 Mark Rafter

Mark Rafter, M.A. in Psychology from CSU San Bernardino, has taught a wide range of psychology courses at Chaffey College and College of the Canyons. The recipient of numerous teaching awards, he is known for making psychological research and theory come alive by offering strategies to apply psychological theory and research to daily interactions.

Social Psychology Class Notes 5.29.14

Richard Gotch Robinson 

Richard Gotch Robinson, Born in England. Educated Harrow School and Trinity College Dublin. Awarded the Icarus Poetry Prize. 30 years in London as typographer, publisher, bookseller. Moved to California with family. Instructional videographer. Hospice volunteer. Ran Poetry on Campus at Ventura College. Enjoys writing, painting, vintage photography. Publications: Eternity, Time and the Soul (2005), Selected Poems (2009), Ventura County Beginnings (2011).


 Robert Stellwagen

Robert Stellwagen was trained in biochemistry at Harvard University (A.B. degree) and UC Berkeley (Ph.D.). He conducted postdoctoral research at the National Institute of Health and UC San Francisco before joining the faculty of the University of Southern California where he taught biochemistry, molecular biology and genetics and carried out laboratory research in the School of Medicine for many years.

James Stemen, M.M. in Music Education and M.S.M. in Sacred Music from Southern Methodist University. Professor Emeritus of Music at Moorpark College for 38 years teaching music history, voice, music appreciation and conducting. Former conductor of Los Robles Master Chorale for 30 years.

 Jessica Tade

Jessica Tade, Ph.D. Studied at University of California, Santa Barbara specializing in Romanesque architecture and sculpture.  She was previously an art history textbook editor for the McGraw-Hill Companies, a project archivist for the UCSB University Art Museum Architecture and Design Collection, and both a summer associate and teaching assistant at UCSB, covering the spectrum of art history.


 Margaret (Peggy) Tranovitch

Margaret (Peggy) Tranovitch, M.Phil, History of Art and Connoisseurship, University of Glasgow, has broad interests in art history. She did her Master’s thesis on Art in the Court of Queen Melisende, and is anxious to share her knowledge and enthusiasm for art and culture. She currently teaches at Oxnard College and has taught several popular OLLI classes.

 Marilyn Vail

Marilyn I. Vail, Ph.D., earned her doctorate from Cornell University in French Literature, M.A. from Middlebury Graduate School of French in Paris, and B.A. in French and Spanish literature from the University of North Carolina. She has taught at Cornell University, Cazenovia College in upstate New York, Moorpark College, and Mount St. Mary’s College in Los Angeles.

 Jeannette Webber

Jeannette (Jinny) Webber, PhD, Professor Emerita, Santa Barbara City College, spends a great deal of time in England researching her historical fiction set in Shakespeare's England which examines gender roles in his plays and in Elizabethan society. The first two volumes, The Secret Player and Dark Venus, have been published; Bedtrick is due out in 2015. Besides her love of British literature, Jinny is fascinated by the ancient Mediterranean world and its mythology.


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