CalSouthern’s Master Lecture Series: A Look Back—and Forward

Jan 18, 2013 by Tom Dellner
Dr. Robert Weathers, Dirk van der Mark and Dr. Barbara Grimes
L-R: Dr. Robert Weathers, EADL President Dirk van der Mark and Dr. Barbara Grimes at the EADL Annual Conference in Oslo, Norway.

You might say CalSouthern’s Master Lecture Series was inspired by inspiration. It was May 2009 and Dr. Barbara Grimes, Dean of CalSouthern’s School of Behavioral Sciences, and Dr. Robert Weathers, curriculum developer, were in Oslo, Norway, attending a conference presented by the European Association of Distance Learning.

Dr. Weathers hoped to fulfill a personal dream while on the business trip. A passionate fan of jazz and a gifted drummer himself, Dr. Weathers wrote to Jon Christensen in hopes of setting up a meeting. Christensen is one of the world’s great percussionists and considered by many to be the godfather of jazz in Europe. To Dr. Weathers’ surprise, Christensen agreed to meet for dinner. The evening proved to be a seminal one for Dr. Weathers.

“It was an incredible night,” says Dr. Weathers. “We talked for almost three hours. It was a conversation that encapsulated half a century of jazz history, told by someone who had lived it. When it was over, I went to a café and spent hours writing down everything about the conversation I could remember. Since then, I’ve written an article about the conversation and one day will make it available to one of the jazz publications. I’m just not ready to give it away just yet.”

After the conference, Drs. Grimes and Weathers lingered in Europe a few days to do some sightseeing. It was on a train from Paris to Lyon that Dr. Weathers, reflecting on his evening with Christensen, had an idea. Why not invite gifted luminaries from the world of psychology to lecture and to interact—virtually and in person—with CalSouthern students, so that the students could experience the same inspiration and creative exhilaration he had upon meeting his music idol? Before the train had arrived in Lyon, they had even settled on a name: the Master Lecture Series.

By the end of 2009, the Master Lecture Series was launched, with a three-part presentation on the work of Carl Jung. The Master Lecture Series is now in its fourth year, and almost 40 lectures have been presented to approximately two thousand registered attendees.

Jeffrey Zeig, PhDGuest speakers have included Dr. Jeffrey Zeig, internationally acclaimed scholar, author, psychotherapist and the architect of the Evolution of Psychotherapy conferences; Drs. Edward Teyber and Faith Holmes McClure, nationally respected educators and co-authors of the groundbreaking Interpersonal Process in Therapy: An Integrated Model; and Esther Perel, one of the world’s most respected voices on couples and sexuality and the author of the international bestseller Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence.

Topics have ranged from personal reflections on the masters of psychotherapy to an exploration of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), an analysis of the techniques and efficacy of video therapy, cyber-bullying, military mental health issues, developments in neuroscience, attachment security and complex interpersonal trauma, among many others.

Recordings of all past MLS events are archived on the calsouthern.edu website and are available for public viewing. In fact, the recordings have received several thousand views since the lecture series’ inception.

The Master Lecture Series’ popularity and influence is extending far beyond the CalSouthern community, as well. An increasing number of lecture attendees are from the psychology community at large. In addition, as academic advisor Kathleen Hawks was informed at a recent meeting of the MFT Consortium of Orange County, California, other prestigious universities now award their students extra credit for attending CalSouthern MLS events. Also, various practicum site supervisors grant workshop credit hours toward licensure to their trainees who attend MLS lectures.

This future is bright for the Master Lecture Series. In addition to the monthly psychology lectures, this year CalSouthern is pleased to launch the MLS Business Track. Each month, recognized business thought leaders will lecture on topics ranging from best practices in organizational management to entrepreneurship, e-commerce and digital marketing, the new face of human resources and leadership strategies, among other subjects. The first presentation—held January 4—was titled “Developing a Powerful Online Lead-Generation Engine: How to Write Your Own Success Story,” featuring former IBM executive and online marketing guru Judy Key Johnson. Johnson used motivating, real-world examples to show how ordinary companies—even those with limited expertise and resources—can create a dynamic lead-generation engine through online marketing.

CalSouthern’s IT team is also developing technological enhancements for the lecture series which will increase bandwidth and introduce a variety of new features to add to the user experience.

We hope that you’ll take the opportunity to regularly attend and actively participate in these events. It’s a rare and extraordinarily valuable opportunity to learn from and interact with true luminaries in your field of interest.

And—if the vision of Drs. Weathers and Grimes is realized—to become inspired.

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