Aug 25 Pamela “Sissi” Carroll, Ed.D. Professor and Dean:College of Community Innovation and Education at UCF will speak on: “The New UCF Downtown Campus”

UCF Downtown, in partnership with Valencia College, will bring 7,700 students to live, learn and work in downtown Orlando, creating a game-changing campus in the heart of the city. Scheduled to open in fall 2019, this transformational project, which kick-starts Orlando’s $1 billion public-private Creative Village, will increase access for students, provide pathways into high-demand career fields, foster collaboration with neighbors in meaningful ways and improve countless lives through the power of education.

Dr. Carroll received her EdD from Auburn University in English/Language Arts Teacher Education, along with a M.S. from Florida State University. She came to UCF from Oklahoma State University, where she served as dean and director of professional education and the Stella V. Anderson Endowed Professor of Education.

Dr. Carroll was associate dean for academic affairs in the College of Education at Florida State University and a faculty member there for 21 years, serving in various administrative roles, including department chair and program coordinator.

Sissi (as she likes to be called) also served as an assistant professor at Georgetown College in Kentucky, specializing in teacher education and adolescent and young-adult literature.

Aug 18 John Richard: “Heaven Can Wait”

John will give a talk based on work done by John Dominic Crossan on Mathew’s Gospel and how Mathew’s use of the term “Kingdom of Heaven” rather than Jesus’s term “Kingdom of God”, has confused Christian theology for 2000 years. Understanding the significance of this discussion is fundamental to progressive Christianity.

Aug 04 Kathleen McLaurin: Part 2 of “Strangers In Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right” by Arlie Russell Hochschild

Arlie Hochschild, one of the most influential sociologists of her generation, has spent the last several years immersed in the community around Lake Charles, Louisiana, a Tea Party stronghold. As Jedediah Purdy put it in the New Republic, “Hochschild is fascinated by how people make sense of their lives. . . . [Her] attentive, detailed portraits . . . reveal a gulf between Hochschild’s ‘strangers in their own land’ and a new elite.”

Jul 28 Doug Barrett: “We Are Everytown for Gun Safety”

Everytown is a movement of Americans working together to end gun violence and build safer communities. Gun violence touches every town in America. For too long, change has been thwarted by the Washington gun lobby and by leaders who refuse to take common-sense steps that will save lives. But something is changing. More than 5 million mayors, moms, cops, teachers, survivors, gun owners, students and everyday Americans have come together to make their own communities safer. Together, we are fighting for the changes that we know will save lives.

Jul 21 James (Jim) Coffin Executive Director of the Interfaith Council of Central Florida,

The mission of the Interfaith Council of Central Florida is to create a better, more peaceful, more harmonious community by encouraging and facilitating greater understanding of, respect for and cooperation among our region’s many faith traditions.

The Executive Director, Jim Coffin, earned a degree in theology at Newbold College in England and was later ordained as a minister of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. During his ministerial career, he worked in both the United States (26 years) and Australia (10 years). In addition to residing overseas for extended periods, he has traveled extensively in Europe, Asia and the South Pacific.

Pastor Coffin spent nine years of his pastoral work in youth ministry and nine years as editor of Seventh-day Adventist publications. For last 18 years before assuming his current role, he served as senior pastor of the Markham Woods Church of Seventh-day Adventists in Longwood, Florida. Concurrent with his pastoral work at Markham Woods, he directed a study center/think tank that sought to create deeper understandings of and more effective communication between religious adherents and our postmodern and increasingly secularized society. He assumed his current role with the Interfaith Council in November 2011.

He has authored three books dealing with the theory about, practice of and questions arising from religion and written scores of articles for religious publications and websites. He has had some sixty “My Word” opinion pieces printed in the Orlando Sentinel, usually addressing religious or social/ethical issues. He and his wife, Leonie, have three adult sons.

He can be contacted at jim@interfaithfl.org or by phoning 321-228-4599.

Jul 14 Anna Eskamani, Member of the Florida House of Representatives, District 47

Anna is an Orlando native and daughter of Iranian immigrants who has worked relentlessly to protect all members of her community through effective advocacy, bold leadership, and smart management. She has been a lifelong community builder, and was elected to serve the great people of Florida State House District 47 on November 6, 2018.

Anna and her siblings are graduates of Orange County Public Schools. They each attended Bonneville Elementary School, Corner Lake Middle School, and University High School.

Anna continued her education at the University of Central Florida. where she became engaged with environmental issues, international human rights, and the College Democrats at UCF. She served as the organization’s Women’s Caucus Chair and eventually the State Women’s Caucus Chair. She was also member of the Iranian Student Organization, the Political Science Honor Society (Pi Sigma Alpha), along with many other social justice groups.

Anna earned two bachelor’s degrees at UCF in Political Science and Women’s Studies along with a certificate in Service Learning. She continued her pursuit of higher education at UCF and received dual Masters in December 2015 with graduate degrees in Nonprofit Management and Public Administration, along with a Certificate in Gender Studies.