Schedule: 2017-2018

What Will the Fed Do Next? What’s Ahead for the U.S. Economy


Martin Asher, Professor of Economics and Business

October 12, 2017, 5:30 p.m.
University Club, 1332 Santa Barbara St.

We are living in historic times. By public measures, the economy is fully employed, and inflation and interest rates remain rela-tively low. What interplay will occur between fiscal policy and monetary policy in 2017 and beyond? Though Congress has yet to formulate its plans on many critical issues, considerable discussion has occurred there and from the administration regarding fiscal policy proposals in the areas of business tax cuts, personal tax cuts and spending on infrastructure. Depending on what is ultimately enacted, how might the Federal Reserve respond? What will likely happen to the macroeconomy, that is, to production, unemployment, inflation and interest rates?

New Discoveries in Science and Religion: Are We Built to Flourish with Faith?

Jeff Schloss, Professor of Biology

November 9, 2017, 5:30 p.m.
University Club, 1332 Santa Barbara St.

Everyone is aware of the centuries-old debate about science and the truth of religious belief: does science debunk or support belief in a Creator? But an explosion of more recent work focuses not on the truth but on the origin and role of religion: might it be a unique, adaptive human endowment? Are we naturally “wired” for faith, or is it due to cultural indoctrination? Is faith a pathology, or does it demonstrably contribute to individual health, personal fulfillment, and social flourishing? We’ll explore these questions and describe fascinating new discoveries on the “science of belief” by both believers and non-believers.

Flourishing as Human Beings: The Impact of Practicing Gratitude


Jane Wilson, Associate Professor of Education

February 22, 2018, 5:30 p.m.
University Club, 1332 Santa Barbara St.

Even though gratitude is a central pillar of most religions and has been discussed in fields of sociology, ethics, and philosophy for centuries, only recently has it been scientifically studied. A growing body of social science research reveals that gratitude has the power to heal, energize and transform lives. People who consistently engage in practicing gratitude experience a boost in their overall well-being. Daily expressions of gratitude can enhance a person psychologically, socially, spiritually, physically and cognitively. Professor Wilson will summarize the research and identify key practices of gratitude that help people flourish as human beings.

Hidden Prejudices: How Implicit Bias Affects Our Work and Relationships

Carmel Saad, Assistant Professor of Psychology

April 12, 2018, 5:30 p.m.
University Club, 1332 Santa Barbara St.

The importance of being aware of inequities in our world calls on us to first more closely examine hidden prejudices in our own unconscious minds. Known as implicit bias, these prejudices are absorbed in child-hood and persist into adulthood. Human brains gravitate toward biases, as we inter-nalize society’s stereotypes unknowingly. Thus our brains reflect society’s preferences, which can insidiously undermine our best intentions toward social justice. Identifying our biases and how they affect behavior can help manage their effect on our decisions. Professor Saad will discuss the prevalence of certain biases and research on strategies that can help reduce their impact.