April 2015

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Annual Member Meeting

Annual Fund Challenge Grant

Summer Term

Spring Speaker Series

New Faces at OLLI

Faculty Profile: M. Steven Fish

Volunteer Profile: Deborah Enelow

Faculty News

The Lunch Bunch

Guests in OLLI Classes

Member Benefits

Susan Hoffman

Program Coordinator
Lisa Hardy

Classroom and Facilities Coordinator
Eric Anthony

Communications Coordinator
Jennifer Monahan

Program Assistant
Devon Howland

Interim Program Assistant
Aileen Kim

tel. 510.642.9934

Annual Member Meeting Wednesday, April 8


All current OLLI members are invited to the Annual Member Meeting of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.

As OLLI @Berkeley completes its eighth year with nearly 2,000 members, Director Susan Hoffman will be presenting a strategic plan for OLLI's continued growth as an innovative center for learning.  

Gibor Basri
Gibor Basri, Vice Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion at UC Berkeley, will give the keynote address on "Diversity and Inclusion in a Lifelong Learning Community."
12:30 - 1:30 p.m. 
Freight and Salvage Coffeehouse
2020 Addison St., Berkeley 
Refreshments will be provided before and after the program

Annual Fund Challenge Grant


Many thanks to the OLLI members who have stepped up to meet the dollar-for-dollar match offered by the Annual Fund Committee. We are grateful for their generosity towards OLLI @Berkeley!


Gifts to OLLI's Annual Fund provide 10% of our operating budget. They help support faculty salaries, classroom technology like our copper loop for students with hearing loss, and our Fee Assistance Program... and they are tax-deductible.


We're making good progress towards our Annual Fund goal, but we need your help to get there. If you have been meaning to make a gift but have not yet done so, please take advantage of the challenge grant to double your gift.


Make a gift

Summer Term: Registration Opens April 13

Registration for OLLI's Summer Term opens Monday, April 13. Courses are four weeks long, from June 1 to June 25, and we have a strong lineup of interesting courses:


Enrique Lima: Native Fiction and Native American Lives

Mick Chantler: History of Baseball, Part 2: Nirvana is Opening Day

Peter Elman: Turn, Turn, Turn, A Rock 'n Roll Road Trip: Part 2

Greg Choy: Asian American Literature: Cultural Nationalism and


M. Steven Fish: Issues in Contemporary Russia


We will send an email when registration is open. Full course descriptions and syllabi will be available on the OLLI website on April 13.


Being an OLLI member during Summer also allows you to audit many Summer Sessions courses on campus. Auditing is by consent of the instructor and is not available for language courses, discussion sections, and other small classes, but with over 600 classes offered by 60 UC Berkeley departments, Summer Sessions has something for everyone. Learn more about summer auditing. 


Spring Speaker Series

April 15

Fixing California's Tax System: How to Reform Proposition 13 and Other Policies for a Better Future

Lenny Goldberg, Executive Director, California Tax Reform Association

Learn more  


April 22

Biomimicry: How Nature is Inspiring Radical Innovation

Jayden Harman, CEO, PAX Water Technologies

Learn more


April 29

How Our Emotional Lives Mature: Changes and New Strengths

Robert Levenson, Professor of Psychology, UC Berkeley

Learn more 


All events are held from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. at Freight and Salvage Coffeehouse, 2020 Addison Street in Berkeley.


Admission is free for OLLI members and UC Berkeley faculty, students, and staff (with OLLI or UC Berkeley ID). General admission is $10. Reservations are not required.


New Faces at OLLI
We are happy to welcome Lisa Hardy as our new Program Coordinator. Lisa has been with UC Berkeley since 2013, and previously worked for several years at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory as both a UC and a Federal contractor. 

She brings close to 25 years of operational knowledge and expertise from private and public sector businesses and prides herself in engaging all levels of an organization through trust, respect, and integrity in building partnerships based on mutual gain and the spirit of cooperation.
Devon Howland We are also happy to announce that Devon Howland, who has been an Interim Program Assistant with OLLI since November, will be with us permanently. Devon's career has spanned the public, private, and non-profit sectors in various human resources recruiting assignments with Boeing, Chase, and Bank of America and also non-profits INROADS, Inc. and CIEE. He has been in student advising roles here at UC Berkeley, the University of Chicago, and Illinois State University, his alma mater. He joined OLLI after working at Berkeley Summer Sessions.

Faculty Profile: M. Steven Fish

by Jennifer Monahan, Communications Coordinator


M. Steven Fish, Professor of Political Science at UC Berkeley, will be teaching a class entitled "Issues in Contemporary Russia" for OLLI's Summer Term. Dr. Fish is known for his work on democracy and regime change worldwide, and we very much look forward to his perspective on current events -- and the history behind them -- in Russia. 

View bio


You have been an expert on Russia and the former Soviet republics for over twenty years. Can you give us an overview of that work?

I started working on Russia as a grad student in 1987 - 1988. I was interested in large-scale political and social change: people fighting for their freedom, blood in the streets, that sort of thing... and in the mid-1980s, that kind of change was happening in the then-USSR. I wrote my dissertation on it, which grew into my first book, Democracy from Scratch, published in 1995. I also did fieldwork in Russia from 1989 to 1991, the final years of the Soviet Union.


In my first book, I was skeptical that Russia would make it to full-blown democracy due to a lack of the kind of [political] infrastructure that would support democratization. That proved to be the case; in 2005 I published my second book, Democracy Derailed in Russia: The Failure of Open Politics, on why democracy failed in Russia.


From the early 2000s until a couple of years ago, Russia was consolidating an authoritarian regime in a way that people didn't find all that interesting to study. Now Putin's regime is becoming authoritarian in a crazier way and is once again drawing more media and scholarly attention. I'm more interested in Russia than I have been in a decade, and I'm thinking about writing another book on Russia, perhaps one for a broader audience since the first two were more academic.


You're also known for a book about Muslim societies, "Are Muslims Distinctive?: A Look at the Evidence, as well as some recent op-ed pieces on Islam. Tell us more about those projects.

Earlier in the previous decade, I started looking at questions of democratization in a more global context. My interest also expanded beyond democratization to other areas of society.


In the media and in popular culture at the time, the debate was very hot about whether Muslim societies were different, with some pundits essentially claiming that we already knew the answer to the question and others claiming that it was racist and ethnocentric to even ask the question in the first place.

But I noticed that neither side was relying on actual evidence: there was no hypothesis-testing. Now those of us whose fields involve a lot of hypothesis-testing tend not to be experts in religion; meanwhile, experts in religion tend not to engage in a lot of hypothesis-testing. So there was virtually no actual data, and I set out to assemble some.


I brought something of an outsider's perspective to it. I'm not a specialist in Islam, nor am I an expert in the Arab world; the Muslim countries where I had lived and done work (Uzbekistan and Indonesia) are not what most people think of when they think of Muslim societies. But the more I investigated, the more I realized that a lot of what we assume to be true about the Muslim world just doesn't have much evidence to back it up. Some assumptions were borne out by the evidence, i.e. gender equality, which is objectively lower when you look at factors like workforce participation, earned income, and even life expectancy. Some questions just hadn't been asked: Muslim countries, on the whole, turn out to have lower levels of class inequality. And in many other areas, Muslim countries turned out to be not so different from non-Muslim countries. On the question of violence, for example, there is more terrorism, yes, but civil wars and other forms of mass political violence occur at roughly the same rate as in non-Muslim countries, and homicide rates are strikingly lower. The average homicide rate in Muslim countries is 2 per 100,000, in Christian countries it's 8 per 100,000.


What are you most looking forward to in teaching a class for students over 50?

OLLI students have been around for a while, read newspapers, traveled around the globe, and have a breadth of life experience. Older learners also bring a degree of curiosity to the classroom: they're not just checking off a box towards a requirement for their major. In short, it will be fun to be with peers. 


Volunteer Profile: Debbie Enelow
by Gale Lederer, OLLI member

During the OLLI classes I've taken with Debbie Enelow, the lively, effervescent subject of this month's volunteer profile, I've often been blown away by her enthusiasm for learning and the range and depth of her knowledge, which includes literature, history, music, and, especially, all things Jewish. So it was fun to sit down with her recently and find out some of what makes this delightful person tick.


I discovered that Debbie's family migrated from Detroit to California while she was in high school and that at UC Berkeley she split her time among English, music, and Middle Eastern Studies, focusing on ancient Israel and the Bible. Then, after a stint in New Haven, she and her husband, David, moved back to the Bay Area, where for the next thirty-five years Debbie served as director of education at several Jewish supplementary schools. Upon her retirement in 2008, Debbie and her husband spent a year in Brittany in France as part of the School Year Abroad program, with David serving as an English professor and Debbie as college counselor.


Back in Berkeley, Debbie discovered Larry Bensky's OLLI course on Proust. "I absolutely loved the class," she reports. "Bensky took us on visual tours of where I'd just been and brought in the music and art that Proust had been seeing and hearing. Everything connected -- all the pieces of the puzzle." Among other rich OLLI experiences, Debbie enthuses about Lauren Carley's "Joy of Singing" class. "It was very fun," she tells us. Retirement has enabled Debbie to "pick up the pieces of things I'd dropped" during a busy career. In addition to taking OLLI classes and volunteering as a class assistant, Debbie enjoys ballet, opera, plays, museums, movies, a book group, a writing group, reading, playing the piano, going to the gym, and connecting with old and new friends.

If you meet Debbie Enelow, be sure to treat yourself to a good talk with this vital, engaged member of our OLLI community.

Faculty News

The upcoming NeuroGaming Conference and Expo, to be held May 5 - 7 in San Francisco, will include presentations by Professor Adam Gazzaley of UCSF (who gave a talk about neuroplasticity as part of OLLI @Berkeley's Winter 2014 Speaker Series) and Alvaro Fernandez, CEO of SharpBrains.

Learn more


Instructor Kathryn Roszak (currently teaching "Feminism in Bay Area Arts") presents Dance on Center 2015, the second in a new series of dance performances highlighting contemporary ballets by women. See works by Dalia Rawson, Lissa Resnick, Kathryn Roszak, and Shahrzad Khorsandi.

Sunday, April 26, at 2:00 p.m.
Osher Studio Theater 

2055 Center St. in downtown Berkeley

Information: www.dlkdance.com

Tickets (advance purchase recommended): online or by phone 800.838.3006. For further info: 510.233.5550 or kdance@sonic.net.

Learn more 


The Paul Dresher Ensemble, in co-production with Fort Mason Center Presents and Behavioral Intervention for Autism, proudly announces the World Premiere of Nancy Carlin and Michael Rasbury's new musical Max Understood for a two-week limited engagement, April 16 - 26, 2015, in the Cowell Theater at Fort Mason Center, San Francisco. Max Understood invites audiences into the life of a young boy with autism as he escapes the safety of his parents' apartment and begins to explore the beauty and mysteries of the world around him.

Learn more

The Lunch Bunch

by Lucille Poskanzer, OLLI member 


Burritos, Inc.

2116 Shattuck Ave., between Addison and Center St.

Berkeley, CA  94720




This new place close to the OLLI classrooms offers pretty good Mexican food: burritos, nachos, tacos, and bowls. The set up is similar to Chipotle's -- you custom-design your food from a variety of choices and pay at the counter. Prices are a bit high, but the burritos are generously portioned (although the other choices are more  modest in size). Most people get their order to go, but there's outdoor counter seating as well as table seating in the rear. Not yet too popular with the Berkeley High crowd, so there's a chance you will find a table at lunch. 

Bringing Guests to OLLI Classes

We have heard from a number of members that they are interested in bringing visiting friends and family members to an OLLI class. OLLI has a longstanding guest policy which has not been posted on our website (yet).


We want to provide you with an overview of the policy so that you know when and how to bring a guest to a class.


Last class session

  • All members can bring one guest to the last session of a lecture course at no charge. This is a great way to introduce a friend to OLLI, or share a good class with a current OLLI member. Due to space constraints, this option is available for classes at Freight and Salvage, the Lafayette Library and Learning Center, and 150 University Hall. (Note: When classes at 150 University Hall are fully enrolled, we are not able to accommodate guests for the last class.)

Other class sessions

  • For other courses, enrolled members can bring guests to a single session of a course on an occasional basis. The cost is $30 per guest, and
    this option is only available for courses that are held at Freight and Salvage, the Lafayette Library and Learning Center, and 150 University Hall.
  • If you wish to bring a guest to a class, please call or email the OLLI office at at least a day in advance to make arrangements.
  • When you and your guest arrive at the class, please give your $30 payment by check (made out to "UC Regents") to an OLLI staff member. If an OLLI staff member is not available, you may give the check to a class assistant.
If you have suggestions about this or other OLLI @Berkeley policies, please send them to berkeley_olli@berkeley.edu. You can also send suggestions via the Contact form or the Suggestion form on OLLI's website. Suggestions are welcome year-round, but new and revised policies are implemented at the start of an academic year. 

Member Benefits

Members of OLLI @Berkeley have access to the full range of OLLI programming and receive a Student ID card that is honored for discounts at a variety of campus and community locations. See offer details on OLLI's website and be sure to show your OLLI student ID.  

OLLI members age 50 and over will receive a $10 discount on a $50 Senior Citizen annual membership at CAA.
Read more


OLLI members can join the UC Botanical Garden as Cal Affiliates (see Cal Affiliate Membership) and save $15 on an $55 annual membership.

Read more
Show your OLLI student card and get 10% off at:

2087 Addison St.

Five Restaurant & Bar
2086 Allston Way

Turkish Kitchen
1986 Shattuck Ave.

Le Petit Cochon
1801C Shattuck Ave.

Phil's Sliders
2024 Shattuck Ave.

Read more
Berkeley Arts and Letters offers a student discount to OLLI members on advance tickets purchased through their website.
Read more


Berkeley Symphony is offering a 10% discount on single tickets to OLLI members for the 2014-15 Season at Zellerbach Hall.
Read more