For the citizens of the Four Corners, the Professional Associates' best-known program is definitely our Life-Long Learning (LLL) lecture series. When school is in session, Thursday evenings are Life-Long Learning Evenings.
Co-sponsored by the Office of the President, this well-attended series offers free presentations on a wide range of subjects and is designed to enrich the intellectual life of the college and community alike.
All Fall 2020 lectures will be presented virtually as webinars to your home.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, large, in-person gatherings on campus are restricted. All 12 LLL Lectures will now be presented on the web-based platform Zoom. From the comfort of your own home, you will enter the Zoom webinar where you'll view the speaker and all visual materials. You will be able to ask questions via the chat function.
Download the Life-Long Learning lecture schedule.
Links to the virtual lectures will appear below as they become available. The webinars will begin right at 7 p.m.
FIRING TOWARD THE FUTURE: STEAM LOCOMOTIVE TECHNOLOGY
Retired nuclear engineer George Niederauer’s interest in steam locomotion began five generations ago and is a family tradition. After leaving the Los Alamos National Laboratory in 2001, Niederauer moved to Durango and rekindled his interest by helping to restore locomotive 315. For 14 years, he served as president of the Durango Railroad Historical Society. “After a career in 20th-century nuclear power, I enjoy working with 19th- century coal-fired steam locomotives — steam at a much lower pressure,” Niederauer says.
LESSONS FROM THE 1918 INFLUENZA PANDEMIC
Curt Brown, author of the book Minnesota 1918 and Bayfield resident, provides an overview of the 1918 flu pandemic. With similarities and differences, he will compare today’s COVID-19 reality to history’s worst pandemic, one with a death toll ten times that of today’s coronavirus. Brown shares human stories from 1918 to put a face on the mind-numbing statistics.
BEYOND THE POSTCARD: PUBLIC HEALTH & LANDSCAPE IMAGERY
FLC Assistant Professors Cory Pillen (Art History) and Sara Newman (Public Health and Health Sciences) will address the relationship between Western imagery and social conceptions of public health and race during the early 20th century. Although representations of the Western landscape (postcards and paintings) are frequently considered value-neutral, they often reinforce specific norms and ideals. This legacy has also influenced contemporary understandings of health and the landscape.
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RISK: WHEN YOU COME TO A FORK IN THE ROAD
We are not very good at making logical decisions in the face of uncertainty and risk. Retired engineer and adjunct FLC faculty member Chuck Carson will explore some of the tricks our minds play on us that contribute to miscalculations and errors in judgment. Identifying these may help us recognize them in ourselves and others.
WHAT IS THE FAKE NEWS CRISIS & HOW DO WE FACE IT
FLC Philosophy Professor Justin P. McBrayer will sketch material from his forthcoming book, Beyond Fake News: Finding the Truth in a World of Misinformation, published this week by Routledge Press. McBrayer will discuss how our informational environment has become polluted and argue that both purveyors and consumers of information often have incentives that may mislead us.
SAVING CREATION: THE STORY OF THE SIXTH EXTINCTION
Environmental scientist Robin Smith will describe the Earth’s five previous mass extinctions and explain how we are living in the middle of the sixth. A founding member of Citizens for a Healthy Community and former president of WildEarth Guardians, Smith holds degrees in environmental science from The Ohio State University. Smith will also outline actions and federal government policy reforms necessary for Americans to save life on Earth.
A MODERN MAN: THE GENIUS OF GEORGE CARLIN
An observer of all the silly things humans do; comedian George Carlin was America’s “everyman.” Long-term fan and former radio broadcaster Bob Griffith will look at Carlin’s three almost completely unrelated transformations from Hippy Dippy Weatherman to counter-culture comedic icon and senior American social observer. Griffith is known as Rock’n’Roll Bob for his 31 years of broadcasting experience with ABC, RKO General, MetroMedia, Viacom, and Google.
A GARDEN ON PAPER: DRAWING ON A SCIENTIFIC LEGACY
Local artist, FLC Professor of Art, and inveterate scavenger Amy Wendland will discuss botanical art and illustration, focusing on her recent collaboration with the Biology Department’s Herbarium. Wendland repurposes discarded samples, creating an ongoing series of artworks that illustrates a botanical marriage of the objective and subjective, the fanciful and the factual.
HOW TO FIND HAPPINESS IN THE AGE OF COVID-19
FLC Professor of Psychology Brian Burke will discuss how the COVID-19 pandemic has caused us to question how we are living and everything we hold dear. He will unpack the psychological science regarding what we know about how to live a good life for the era we’re living through. What might psychologists know that might help us to live our best life?
GMOS: THE SCIENCE & THE NON-SCIENCE
At the grocery store, we are urged to buy GMO-free products. Should we? Retired Professor of Molecular Biology Deborah Lycan will explain what a GMO is and compare some old and new methods for making them. She will discuss the science behind several different GMOs and how they work. Finally, she will explore the science behind non-GMO marketing.
MAKING DEMOCRACY WORK IN THE 21ST CENTURY
Whatever the 2020 election outcome, we the people of the United States will continue to face a crisis of democracy that hinders our ability to confront our most pressing problems. FLC Assistant Professor of Political Science Paul DeBell will analyze the collision of ancient tensions within the ideal of democracy and 21st century information technologies that rapidly alter our political world. He will consider what we could implement to make our democracy work for us in the 21st century.
COHOUSING: FINDING COMMUNITY IN THE MODERN WORLD
Most people live in cities, but ironically, they are lonelier than ever. How is it that Americans have become increasingly disconnected from one another and our social structures have disintegrated? How can we restore those connections and find community in the modern world? Co-founder of Heartwood Cohousing Mac Thomson will explore those topics with a focus on how cohousing communities may be part of the answer.