Join us for our Life-Long Learning Lecture series

For the citizens of the Four Corners, the Professional Associates' best-known program is our Life-Long Learning (LLL) lecture series. When school is in session, Thursday evenings are Life-Long Learning evenings at FLC.

Co-sponsored by the President's Office, this series aims to enrich the intellectual life of the College and the community by offering free presentations on a wide variety of subjects.

The Thursday evening programs are open to all and run from 7-8:30 p.m., including a 30-minute Q&A session. 

Based on environmental and other factors, all presentations will be provided as Zoom webinars, where you'll be able to see the speaker and visual materials. You'll be able to ask questions via the chat function. Check here each week for the updated link, or join the Life-Long Learning email list by filling out the form on this page.

Links to the lectures will appear below as they become available.

For additional information on the LLL series, please contact Professional Associate Gary Rottman at

Life-Long Learning Series - Spring 2022

All presentations are held Thursdays from 7-8:30 p.m. All presentations will be provided as Zoom webinars. Check back here each week for a link to the current lecture.

JANUARY 20, 2022

Habits: A Blessing and a Curse

Have you ever wondered why only 8% of Americans are successful with New Year's resolutions, or any change for that matter? Maybe you, too, have experienced the challenge of change. Registered dietitian and certified health and wellness coach Nicole Clark will explore the role of habits in our lives, including pros and cons. Find out if it is possible to teach an old dog new tricks and, if so, how to do it successfully. 

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JANUARY 27, 2022

Today's Life-Saving Vaccines

The development of vaccines is a major medical achievement in today's fight against disease. Jennifer Rupp, M.D., an infectious disease specialist at Mercy Regional Medical Center and other area hospitals, will describe various types of vaccines and the mechanisms by which they work. With emphasis on the recent and quickly developed COVID-19 vaccines, Rupp will discuss the vaccines' efficacies as the virus mutates as well as widespread misinformation. 

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February 3, 2022

Why Pay Attention to National Security

Did you know that in the U.S. there's a cyberattack every 39 seconds and that 43% target small businesses? The U.S. intelligence community has warned repeatedly that hacking campaigns are being waged by Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea, as well as terrorists and transnational criminals. Join Captain Gail Harris, USN (retired), as she discusses how a failure to effectively deal with national security threats has the potential to make our daily lives a nightmare. 

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February 10, 2022

Salmon, Sovereignty, and Alaska Natives

The Bristol Bay watershed in Southwest Alaska provides the ideal breeding grounds for five species of Pacific salmon. As a keystone species, salmon directly or indirectly impact many species in the ecosystem. In addition, many of the region's Indigenous Peoples rely on salmon as a crucial food source. Bridget Groat, assistant professor of History and Native American & Indigenous Studies at FLC, will discuss the ecology, culture, and economy of the Bristol Bay salmon fishery from its beginnings in 1884 to the present.

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February 17, 2022

Local Media: Readers, Listeners, and Uncertain Revenues

Print and radio media are more collaborative today than ever, and each has expanded into the digital world. Today's new-s­only non-profits are providing shared content. Radio is effectively growing its base of supporters, while newspapers are struggling to operate without their past considerable advertising revenue. Richard Ballantine, chairman of The Durango Herald, will discuss the issues facing local media as digital-only start-ups attempt to gain visibility and followers without the costs of a print component. 

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February 24, 2022

Feeding the Birds: Fuel Reduction Treatments

For the past three years, volunteers with the Weminuche Audubon Society have participated in a citizen science project to study the response of the bird community in Ponderosa Pine forests to wildland fuel reduction treatments. Retired Professor of Biology, Ecology, and Environmental Science Herb Grover will discuss the findings that suggest a rapid recovery in the number of bird species and composition following prescribed fires. 

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March 3, 2022

CANCELED - Celebrating American Composer Amy Beach

Sorry, this event has been canceled. 

In an audiovisual lecture-recital, Holly Quist, FLC adjunct professor of Music, will premiere the pilot episode of her educational video series "Celebrating More at the Piano." The documentary features the life of American composer Amy Beach (1867-1944) and her "Children's Carnival," Op. 25, which was created to teach piano to a broad audience. Quist is a doctoral candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. This presentation will launch her video series. 

March 10, 2022

The Atmospheric Greenhouse Effect

Common descriptions of the greenhouse effect are often muddled by confusing jargon and poor descriptions of the underlying physical processes. Peter Pilewskie spent 15 years at the NASA Ames Research Center studying atmospheric radiation and now teaches radiative transfer, remote sensing, and atmospheric physics at the University of Colorado. His presentation will explain what the greenhouse effect is not, then lay the groundwork for a simpler yet physically correct definition.

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March 17, 2022

The Importance of Critical Race Theory

What is CRT? Why is it important? What are the issues surrounding the topic? Katherine Smith, lecturer in the FLC Sociology & Human Services Department, will share her perspective on this topic that's engaged politicians and parents, educators and students, and everyone in between. She will initiate a discussion designed to enlighten, encourage, and inform her audience.

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March 31, 2022

Partisan Gridlock and American Democracy

Paul DeBell, FLC assistant professor of Political Science, will examine the origins of our current partisan gridlock, examining how both parties have actually agreed to a surprising extent on a wide range of rules and norms that maintain their advantages in our political system. DeBell will look at whether political innovations like open primaries and ranked choice voting could break that gridlock and strengthen our democracy. 

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April 7, 2022

The Science and Politics of Abortion

Abortion is one of the most contentious issues in American society. Warren Hern, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., first performed an abortion in 1971 and was present when the Roe V Wade case was first argued. Dr. Hern opened his private medical practice in Boulder specializing in abortion services in 1975. He will speak about the science and politics of abortion since then. 

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April 14, 2022

Getting to Net Zero: It's Not That Hard

Houses and buildings account for 40% of annual global carbon dioxide emissions. While transportation and utilities can be decarbonized fairly quickly, houses and buildings can last for centuries. Rich Farrington, retired architect, and Deborah Lycan, retired professor of Biology, will share what they have learned from building their carbon-free, net-zero energy home here in Durango. They will also discuss ways to modify an existing home to reduce our carbon footprints. 

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April 21, 2022

Decisions: Stand Back or Step Aside?

A large body of recent and not-so-recent research, opinions, and strategies surrounds when we should let our subconscious make our decisions, when to consider it as a partner, and when to overrule it. Understanding the strengths and tendencies of logic and intuition can help us develop approaches for making better decisions. Chuck Carson, retired engineer and FLC adjunct faculty member, will discuss a variety of these approaches.

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