Baldwin Professors’s ‘Last Lecture’ To Explore Joys and Sorrows of Human Sexuality


Vijay Modi

Professors Janice and John Baldwin’s are slated to give their take on a “last lecture”-style event this Thursday, Jan. 31, starting at 7:30 pm at the Isla Vista Theater. This annual event, produced by the Academic Affairs Board, aims to give students a chance to learn from their favorite faculty members in an environment that goes beyond the classroom, allowing professors to deliver some of that extra experience they have gained throughout their years and pass it on to the student body at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

The Baldwins, who have been teaching at UCSB for over 45 years now, won this year’s nomination by a landslide. Their lecture, titled “Making the Best of Life & Love,” will be centered around the Baldwin’s experience in the field of human sexuality, which captured their interest while they were studying monkeys in Central and South America.
“We care so much about human sexuality because it can be the source of so much joy—and unhappiness,” said Dr. Janice Baldwin. “Our ‘Last Lecture’ will explain what that means.”

Their Human Sexuality course, part of the university’s sociology department, covers all the general aspects of human sexuality. Dr. Janice Baldwin recognizes that these issues are yet to be freely discussed in public.

”It’s wonderful to share information with people that can help their lives in an area that still is somewhat taboo. I think that our course is popular because it does discuss this information,” she said. Saying that this course is popular could be an understatement, as it has been filled to the brim with almost 600 students every quarter for the last decade.

Devised by the Associated Students Academic Affairs Board, the “Last Lecture” tradition was established during winter quarter of 2012 with Prof. Alan Fridlund honored as UCSB’s inaugural speaker. The tradition was inspired by Carnegie Mellon professor Randy Pausch’s actual last lecture after learning that his pancreatic cancer had given him just months to live, according to an article in the New York Times.

Last year’s first ever event resulted in a packed Embarcadero Hall. In the words of a UCSB student who posted on the Facebook event page, “Is the IV Theater big enough?”