At OLLI, six week, University-quality courses are offered by Channel Islands faculty as well as qualified faculty from other institutions.

  • John Buonamassa

    John Buonamassa

    Received his BA in music from Queens College, City University of New York, and his Master of Music from California State University LA. Originally from New York, John toured internationally for sixteen years as keyboardist and musical director for John Phillips and the Mamas and the Papas. Over the course of his career he has performed with many other artists, including Cesar Rosas (of Los Lobos), Madonna, Chuck Berry, Rupert Homes, Lou Christi, Lesley Gore, and Chris Montez. His Broadway credits include keyboard of Les Miserables, Cats, and Leader of the Pack. After relocating to Los Angeles, John composed, orchestrated and conducted The Enlightenment, which debuted in 2007 at the Carpenter Performing Arts Center, Long Beach. Since 2004, John has been a full-time lecturer in the music department at CSU Northridge, and continues to be active in the Los Angeles Music society.

  • Stephen Clark

    Stephen Clark

    Received his Ph.D. from the University of Colorado with a dissertation on autobiographical writings of Cuban exiles. He has lived in Spain where he completed his master's degree. His publications include criticism, literary translations, interviews of major Cuban writers, and book reviews. He has taught at Northern Arizona University and Indiana State University. He enjoys teaching Latin American literature, literary translation, and Latin American culture and civilization.

  • Traceylee Clarke

    Traceylee Clarke Ph.D.

    Teaches in the Communications Program at CSU Channel Islands. Her current research and teaching interests include environmental communication, collaborative decision-making and policy development, intercultural communication with Native American tribes, and the role of dialog in environmental conflict prevention and resolution. Dr. Clarke has over 14 years’ experience in environmental conflict management and collaborative policy development and has managed and directed large, complex stakeholder processes and mediations for federal, state, local, and tribal governments as well as private industry, dealing with issues of natural resource management, land use, endangered species protection, water supply and water quality, energy development, transportation, and toxic remediation and cleanup. Dr. Clarke also teaches communication and conflict management at Pepperdine Law School. She holds a Ph.D. in Communication and Environmental Conflict Management from the University of Utah and is certified as a professional mediator.

  • Jerry Clifford

    Jerry Clifford

    Spent over thirty years as a research scientist and educator after receiving a Ph.D. in nuclear physics at Iowa State University. As an Air Force officer, he taught physics at the Air Force Academy, worked on nuclear weapons programs, studied particle beams for Reagan's Star Wars, and worked in the Office of the Secretary of Defense . Before anti-terrorism was in vogue, Jerry worked on new technologies to detect explosives in luggage for airport security. Jerry has been teaching physics and astronomy at California State University Channel Islands since 2004.

  • 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.

  • Gary Davis

    Gary E. Davis

    Has has studied nature and people since the 1950s as a scientist, aquanaut, and commercial fisherman. He has explored California's giant kelp forests, Florida's Everglades and tropical estuaries, coral reefs and ocean depths in the Florida Keys, Virgin Islands, and the Bahamas. In 2007, after a 43-year career as a marine biologist and science advisor for the National Park Service, he began working with private foundations and non-profit conservation organizations to improve ocean health and human wellbeing through science and education. His current passion is telling stories with photographs that help people connect with nature. See his work here.

  • Dr. Amy Denton

    Amy Denton

    Received her B.A. in Environmental Studies/Plant Biology from State University of New York (SUNY) at Binghamton, her Ph.D. in Botany from the University of Washington, and spent two years at UC Riverside as a recipient of an NSF/Alfred P. Sloan foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship in Molecular Evolution. She is a professor of Biology at CSUCI, maintains a keen interest in the history and development of evolutionary thought, and is a committed advocate of natural history collections and archival research in biology.

  • 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.

  • Owen Doonan

    Owen Doonan

    Received his Ph.D. at Brown University's Center for Old World Archaeology and Art. He is an archaeologist and art historian specializing in the ancient cultures of the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. He is an associate professor at CSUN. He is also active in the Archaeological Institute of America, serving from 2007-2010 as the President of the Los Angeles County Society. He is involved in the contemporary art of the Middle East, especially North Africa and Turkey. He is Curator of Exhibitions and co-founder of the New Sahara Gallery in Northridge. His research has been supported by the National Geographic Society and other Foundations.

  • 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.

  • BiJian Fan

    BiJian Fan Ph.D.

    Received his B.S. and M.S. in Mathematics, and his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering. He apprenticed in acupuncture, Tai Chi Chuan, and Qigong in China. He spent most of his professional career in pharmaceutical research and development at Merck and Amgen. He has moved on to visual art, and has exhibited internationally and earned numerous recognitions. BiJian integrates art and science in his creative practice and exhibits and lectures scientific art internationally.

  • 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 sociological/anthropological fieldwork in India. His main academic interests are the Sociology of Religion and the History of Ideas.

  • Cary Ginell

    Cary Ginell

    Holds a master's degree in Folklore from UCLA. He is an award-winning writer, the author of six books on music history. He is a jazz historian and discographer, a Grammy nominee, and five-time winner of an ARSC Award for Excellence. He is also a recipient of the prestigious ASCAP Deems Taylor Award.

  • 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.

  • Laura Hagel

    Laura Hagel

    Received a BA and an MA in the History of Art and Architecture from the University of California at Santa Barbara. She spent 10 years at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art as the Rights and Reproductions Officer. In 2005 she was Program Manager for the "Art of Ancient Glass" exhibit showcasing the Gunter collection of vessels dating to the 6th century BCE. Since 2005 she has been teaching Art History and Art Appreciation at Ventura College.

  • Lanny Kaufer

    Lanny Kaufer

    Graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a degree in Biology. He is a teacher, musician and songwriter who lives with his wife Rondia in Ojai, CA. The son of a Holocaust refugee, he was taught from an early age to stand up to prejudice and discrimination. His experiences registering voters in the South under Dr. Marin Luther King, Jr's 1965-66 SCOPE project are the basis of his musical multimedia presentation, Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Spirit of the ‘60s. Following a diverse career as a public and private high school teacher and restaurant manager/concert promoter, Lanny is now a public speaker and native plant educator. He is an active member of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Committee of Ventura County and an associate member of Veterans for Peace.

  • Steve Kohn

    Steve Kohn

    Board member of the Opera League of Los Angeles, with much of his work concentrated in community education, fundraising, and volunteer recruitment. He has been a Community Educator for Los Angeles Opera for 14 years and is one of the more active speakers in the group.

  • Peter Neff

    Peter Neff

    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

  • Nitika Parmar

    Dr. Nitika Parmar

    Received her Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from UCLA and completed a Post-Doctoral fellowship at UCLA. She received her BS in Biophysics and her MS in Biotechnology and MTech in Biochemical Engineering and Biotechnology from the Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi. Nitika’s fields of interest include molecular biology, genetic engineering, and DNA recombinant technology. Her research focuses on understanding signal transduction pathways controlling cellular growth (normal and cancer) as well as studying protein damage in response to aging. She enjoys the excitement of research but tremendously enjoys teaching and interacting with students as well. She feels that molecular biology has no limits and that its benefits can be tapped with an unending potential--the only requirement being a sense of intense motivation and enthusiasm!

  • Holly Sacks

    Holly Sacks

    Received her BA in anthropology from UC Berkeley in 1970. After a long career as a senior marketing and strategy executive in multinational high tech companies, she completed the CMF certification program at UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center in 2014.

  • John Snibbe

    John Snibbe

    Received his Ph.D. at the University of Utah and has worked for LAPD and the Sheriffs’ Department in Los Angeles. He managed Mobile Psychiatric Emergency services for LA County and has worked with the homeless and mentally ill offenders in jail and state hospitals. He lectures at UCLA OLLI on mental health issues, aging, mental health treatment and diagnosis.

  • Jeannette Webber

    Jeannette (Jinny) Webber Ph.D.

    Is Professor Emerita from Santa Barbara City College and writes historical fiction. The first two books of her trilogy set in Shakespeare's England, The Secret Player and Dark Venus, have been published; the third volume, Bedtrick, will be out in November, 2015. In addition to her interest in British literature, she's fascinated by Greek and Roman mythology and currently is at work on a novel set in Bronze Age Greece.

  • Matthew Weisman

    Matthew Weisman

    Received his MFA in Film from Columbia University School of the Arts. He is a professional screenwriter and producer, and a retired member of The Writers Guild of America. He is a devotee of World Cinema as art as well as movies in popular culture. Matthew Weisman received his MFA in Film from Columbia University School of the Arts where he also taught classes in Cinema Studies and directed the Cinematheque film program. A professional screenwriter and producer, he taught Graduate Screenwriting at the USC School of Cinema for fifteen years. He is a retired member of The Writers Guild of America. A devotee of World Cinema as art as well as movies in popular culture, he looks forward to sharing these lifelong passions at OLLI.

  • Clifford Wilcox

    Clifford Wilcox Ph.D.

    Received his Ph.D. in American Intellectual History from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He focuses on the history of ideas and education in American society. An OLLI instructor since 2011, Cliff teaches courses on American culture and the history of American colleges and universities.

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