We are BC! & We are Bakersfield!

Good morning Bakersfield….It is Saturday, February 18th, Tracy Hall’s wedding day and as I told her, the gods are showering blessings on California and on the new couple.  The rains continue and the Kern River flows again.  What a wonderful time to be in Bakersfield and what a wonderful time to be at BC.

sonya-christian-woman-of-the-year-feb-11-2017A crazy busy and awesome week all at once.  Let me give you are quick sample:

Saturday, Feb 11th: KCHCC Installation and awards night
Sunday, Feb 12th: Conf calls and finished the day with the Grammys
Monday, Feb 13th: Board meeting in the morning then to Sacramento for a dinner meeting.  Here is the link to the article by Harold Pierce, Education Reporter for The Bakersfield Californian, about the Board meeting http://tinyurl.com/zdfmh9p
Tuesday, Feb 14th: Meeting of an Accreditation Committee that I chair.  Heading back on the train which was delayed by 5 hours and put me in Bakersfield late at night.  Not a very happy train ride on Valentine’s Day.
Wednesday, Feb 15th: 7:00 a.m. Community Leaders Breakfast at BC then meetings then the Bakersfield Chamber Board meeting, then meetings, then the Basket ball games happening the same time as the movie night on campus
Thursday, Feb 16th: Valley Poets, Moon over Malcolm

I am the luckiest and happiest college president ever!

Let me start my blog with a call from Jay Tamsi a few weeks ago to let me know that the Kern County Hispanic Chamber Board selected me as Woman of the Year.  How cool is that!  Now you know that the recognition is truly for Bakersfield College…our faculty and staff are everywhere.  Integrated and engaged with the community.

A group of us from BC attended the event that was sold out and it appeared that all of Bakersfield was there.  In addition to folks from BC, Trustee Romeo Agbalog and his wife Lily were there and also John Means from the District Office.  Three of BC’s very own (Corny Rodriguez, Lisa Kent, Olivia Garcia) were inducted to the Hispanic Chamber Board and the Foundation Board.

The Man of the Year was Stephen Schilling, CEO of Clinica Sierra Vista.  Steve gave a very powerful speech in Spanish and English.

Carlos Navarro, outgoing Chair of the Board did a nice job outlining all the accomplishments from the previous year. Adam Alvidrez as incoming Chair of the Board was extremely funny in his remarks…No seriously, the man could take on Jimmy Fallon and win hands down.  Both Adam and Carlos are friends of Bakersfield College.  Thank you!

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We snuck out during salad time to take this picture.  I loved the way Trustee Agbalog supported our new employees at BC!

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Alongside the KCHCC, everyone at BC works collaboratively to elevate student success to new heights and develop a new generation of leaders within our community. The whole evening was a true recognition of the great work undertaken by all staff and faculty involved with all Bakersfield Colleges efforts. Our campus is one without boundaries and our student give our future endless possibilities. We are BC! Todos Somos BC!

Here is a link to a news item http://tinyurl.com/zbruada

 

The Delano Alliance

The monthly Delano Alliance takes place every 1st Tuesday and the most recent gathering brought the Delano community together at BC’s Delano campus. The event features a briefing about current events in the community – everything from elementary and high schools, to local businesses.

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February’s meeting kicked off with an award presentation featuring two BC students, Alexa Rivera and Vicente Lopez who traveled to Washington, DC last month to celebrate BC’s participation in the White House Healthy Campus Challenge. We were proud to be chosen as one of 60 institutions nationwide, and one of four community colleges in California to formally receive White House Healthy Campus status.  The focus of the project on the BC campus was to target the most under-enrolled demographic in the county, college students and young people aged 14-18. In Kern County, enrollment in private health plans lag 50% behind the State of California in the same demographic and our region struggled with some of the highest incidences of STDs, obesity, obesity related health concerns, and respiratory illnesses. I featured this event in my blog, just a few weeks ago – make sure to check it out here.

 

Pictured here is Richard McCrow, Director of the Delano Campus; Dean Cindy Collier; Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Vice President Academic Affairs; Alexa Rivera, BC Student; Vicente Lopez, BC Student; Romeo Agbalog, KCCD Board Member; and Ray Purcell, Student Health and Wellness Center Director

After the event, Alexa Rivera, who visited the White House sent an email to Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg saying,

Vice President Gomez-Heitzeberg, Thank you for the kind words. I will make sure to always remember my home, Delano. Because of Bakersfield College, both in Delano and Bakersfield, I have been able to partake in several experiences that have helped me become a better student and most importantly young adult. I will always be grateful for the opportunities Bakersfield College has offered to me. Thank you for the email, and thank you for being an inspirational leader. Because of your hard work and presence at Bakersfield College, students, especially females aspiring to be leaders just like you, have the opportunity to learn from you and admire your leadership.

Delano is an inspirational place; it’s a community bursting with treasures, gems, and stories that can keep us all encouraged to reach new heights. I’m so excited for all the future has in store for our Delano Campus!

The Delano Recorder ran a story on this event.  Here it is

 

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Historically Black Colleges and Universities Caravan Visits BC

hbcu-6Representatives from 23 historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) came to Bakersfield College on Monday to offer registration and scholarships to students.

During the event, 66 BC and high school students were admitted to four-year institutions such as Southern A&M University and Tuskegee College, and over $500,000 in scholarships were awarded for students looking to attend HBCUs. The event was hosted by a collaboration between BC Student Success and Equity, Outreach and School Relations, the Office of Student Life and the BC Transfer Center.

 

The HBCU Caravan was one of three transfer events held on Monday. The Transfer Center also hosted an onsite priority admissions drive for BC students who already submitted their paperwork to transfer to Cal State Bakersfield. Prospective transfers got the opportunity to meet one-on-one with an admissions evaluator to review their transcripts.

Over 200 students met with the admissions evaluator, and 181 were admitted to Cal State Bakersfield for Fall 2017.  UCLA Admissions Officer, Tremeal Bradford also hosted an information table on Monday to meet with BC students who might be interested in continuing their education at Westwood. Bradford will remain a permanent UCLA representative on campus. We are so excited to foster a partnership with UCLA! From Renegades to Bruins!

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Monday’s multiple transfer events were a product of BC’s collaborative efforts! Thank you to all who are involved and who helped promote this fantastic event. I loved seeing this Facebook post from NaTesha Kindred Johnson. “T” thank you for all your support of BC and the many many hours you put in for Measure J!

Thank you to KGET for the great event coverage at http://www.kerngoldenempire.com/news/bc-students-get-encouragement-for-further-education/655596029

 

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African American Community Leaders Breakfast

 

We hosted our annual African American Community Leaders Breakfast on February 15th in the Fireside Room.

This early morning meeting kept an upbeat and proud focus on the many mentors, sponsors, faulty, success stories from students and overall support African American students receive at BC from the ASTEP and AAMP programs.

 

The theme for the gathering was Uncommon Accomplishments require Uncommon Commitment a phrase introduced by Dr. Paula Parks when she presented to the Campaign for College opportunities team that visited BC last week.

Steve Watkin organized the event and opened up the program after everyone had some delicious breakfast and fellowship and then settled with a cup of coffee ready to engage with the program. My job was just to welcome everyone and then bring up Mayor Karen Goh.  The program continued with a data presentation by Dr. Janet Fulks, Dean of Institutional Effectiveness.  This is a standard part of our annual event ever since we made a commitment four years ago to put out our student success scorecard openly to the community.   Together we can accomplish the impossible. The data presentation was followed by an amazing panel presentation and ended with the voice of one of our students.  Before we adjourned Steven Watkin recognized Odella Johnson for her 20 years of service.  Now for some specifics and some photos.

Mayor Goh started her remarks with the BC Chant — We are BC! and then she continued with We are Bakersfield! the phrase she introduced at the Fall Opening Day.  Thank you Mayor Goh for adjusting your schedule to spend time with the community gathering at BC.

The ASTEP(African-American Success Through Excellence and Persistence) Umoja program and the AAMP(African Amercian Mentor Program), led by Dr. Paula Parks are the main African Amercian programs dedicated to: assisting students through their efforts with coaching, study groups, encouraging students to show the ethic of love to each other, and embracing the culture in order to help them succeed.

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In addition, according to our Bakersfield College website, it’s “a program that incorporates drop-in mentoring, resiliency guidance, problem resolution, general (non-academic) assistance, and “real talk”. The students need this type of help and assistance, since many times coming from a complete opposite environment they need to have positive role models and direction in order to help them reach their goals.

 

Dr. Paula Parks started the day by talking about the goal of the ASTEP and AAMP programs. She stated that, “this semester students take development that’s focusing on careers and then along with English 1A, a library class that helps them with their research strategies. So it’s a yearlong curriculum. They hold each other accountable and also have a group chat, so I appreciated that … and everyone is in communication because they don’t want to let each other down or me down or the program down.”

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Chief Lyle Martin, Keith Wolaridge, Fred Prince, Brenda Lewis

The panel members including: Fred Prince from the (KCBCC/Omega Insurance President), Brenda Lewis(Assistant Superintendent of Instruction), Keith Wolaridge(Agency Owner), and Lyle Martin(Bakersfield Police Chief) gave their real life experiences and education goals, as well as a presentation of the BEST program.

The BEST program is dedicated to helping black students with scholarships. According to Brenda Lewis, “the BEST program has been in existence for 25 years and was originally dedicated for graduation rate and college-going rate of African American males and through years have serviced an average of 550 students each year …and when we look at data we have offered over a thousand scholarships to our project BEST grads and have had a 90% graduation rate. “

How does the best program fund these scholarships? A huge part of the support is received from Kern County businesses, individual donations and community partners since “it is privately funded.”

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Chief Lyle Martin, Sonya Christian, Fred Prince

Chief Lyle Martin attended the Police Academy at BC and talked about how Larry Robinson and Jesse Bradford watched out for him and made a difference.  He called on Steve Watkin and Ishmael Kimbrough to be the Larry Robinson and Lesse Bradford for today’s students.

I believe in learning from your mistakes and issues. We are trying to build bridges between the Bakersfield College community and the Bakersfield Police Department. However, my goal is to remove those two words ‘and the’…Police Department and the community, that means we are not one. We need to be one.”

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Fred Prince talked about being a small business owner, a speaker in our classes, and a mentor to our young people. He shared an absolutely inspirational story about Will Chandler, a student at BC who went on to be the student body president at Morehouse, a HBCU school.

Keith Wolaridge was absolutely inspiring in emphasizing the importance of mentoring programs.  Keith is a mentor to a young man who is in the ASTEP program.  He emphasized the importance of sharing the hardships and failures to young mentees as a way to inspire them to have the courage to work through difficult situations.  Keith has been a friend of the ASTEP program, a friend of Bakersfield College and spent numerous hours helping with Measure J!

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Julian West, Emmanuel limaco, Lisa Kent

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Karen Goh, Emmanuel Limaco, Sonya Christian

My dear friends, I wish you were there to watch the four panelist having fun, hazing each other while sharing the powerful work they are doing in this community.  It was truly a thing of beauty.  I came into the meeting tired after spending long hours on a train that was woefully delayed from Sacramento the previous night, but after the Breakfast gathering, I was inspired with a renewed commitment that together we can do the impossible.

 

 

At the end of the presentation Julian West introduced our student speaker Emmanuel Limaco. Wow…. what a story.  Emmanuel shared with us his story that was fraught with difficulties.  and here he is now at BC a pre-Engineering student.  Watching him brought me great joy — so articulate, so smart, so caring….. a true Renegade.  We are BC! We are Bakersfield!

We wrapped up the morning with Steve Watkin presenting an award from BC’s African American Initiative team  to Odella Johnson for over 20 plus years of loyal and distinguished service to BC and our students.  I love this picture of Odella and Steve.

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Odella Johnson, Steve Watkin

 

The African American Community Leaders event was a success that brought away happy faces and proud accomplishments for many in attendance.  Thank you to Cara Jackson for the fantastic photos.  Thank you Chef Sabella and the food Services team for the amazing breakfast and plz keep doing the salsa with scrambled eggs.

 

BCSGA and BC Renegamers awarded for raising money for Lauren Small Children’s Hospital

If you have ever been involved in a charity, sometimes it’s hard to be aware of the results of your efforts. You have made a difference, and that difference has made a change but when you cannot see the change that you have impacted, it does not feel as real.

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Along with the CSUB student colleagues Our BCSGA got to see the passion, care, and the changes they helped to make. The Campus Gamers at CSUB, Bakersfield College Student Government Association, and the new BC Renegamers Student organization received their awards on Friday, February 10, for raising funds for the Lauren Small Children’s Hospital which is part of the Children’s Miracle Network. Together, they raised over $35,000 in 2016 of which BCSGA raised $2,121. The hours, commitment, and love shared between the student groups of the two institutions shows how student leadership, service, collaboration, and motivation can help our community for the better. Proud of you guys!

At the luncheon recognition ceremony, 40 Bakersfield businesses and programs come together for a singular cause, to save children’s life, is important in a world where we constantly feel like we are at a divide. “Sometimes all you really need is a, “Thank you” and today we got that in spades. To take the tour and see the hospital, where they tell you what your fundraising has done, reignites your passion to do it again and again, raising more every year. Everything to help save kid’s lives and give them a future.” Said BCSGA Senator Lawrence Salcido who accepted the recognition on half of BCSGA. Edward Webb, president of the Campus Gamers at CSUB, has marked the goal of $60,000 for 2017. To help these organizations meet their 2017 goal, contact the office of student life today.

BC Athletes and Coaches Shine

MensBasketball.jpgCoach Rich Hughes and the Men’s Basketball Team beat West LA college 70-66 last week and clinched their second-straight Western State Conference-South Championship, the first time BC has accomplished back-to-back titles since the WSC was formed in 1981.

And the win reinforces BC’s reputation as “The Kern County All-Stars” as Stockdale grad Tucker Eenigenburg led all scorers with 23 points, and Henry Galinato of Delano played like a much taller man in grabbing a game-high 10 rebounds while blocking five shots!

The two freshmen certainly made their mark on the game, but Coach Hughes was very pleased by his four sophomore holdovers from the last title team.

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“They were one of those groups that wasn’t given a chance to win at the beginning of the season, and they used that as motivation to do something that has never been done before; and no one can say that to but those four guys; Trey Armstrong, Sean LeFlore, Shane Christie, and Arthur Tondin,” Hughes told SID Francis Mayer.

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Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Sonya Christian, Sandi Taylor, Zav Dadabhoy

Have I mentioned how supportive the community is of our BC athletes? It’s always great to gather as friends and Renegade fans! Here is a photo from Wednesday’s game with Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Sandi Taylor, and Zav Dadabhoy.

 Coach Paula Dahl sent an email earlier in the week encouraging everyone to come out. She said,

Every once in a while in our careers we have those amazing moments that you know you have to cherish and recognize you have truly been blessed.  That is this season for me.  I have been able to coach 11 of the most resilient women you will ever meet.  They have bought into team, hard work, sacrificing for each other and trust.  Please come and support them in their final game of the year tomorrow night at 7:00 pm.  I promise you will have fun watching our high tempo style and be inspired watching your BC Women’s Basketball Team.  “Let’s Go Renegades!

Campus Movie Night

The BC campus is always abuzz with activity and during Wednesdays game, there was also a free movie night taking place in Forum 102! Nearly 90 students gathered to watch “Loving” – a movie based on a true story of Richard and Mildred Loving, the couple involved in the 1967 U.S. Supreme Court decision which invalidated state laws prohibiting interracial marriage. Check out the Official Trailer on youtube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33g-ZHBQdNU and don’t miss out on the next free movie night at the BC campus.

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Moon Over Malcolm

Darius Wallace, author and performer of “Moon Over Malcolm,” visited the ASTEP Umoja Community class on Thursday. Wallace performed in the evening theater production, but spent the day in various classrooms. He wondered what Malcolm X might have achieved had he not died at 39 years old. He also talked about how acting is what he is destined to do.

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The evening presentation was a one-man show about Malcolm’s journey from early childhood as Malcolm Little, to his life as Detroit Red, a pimp and street hustler, to his life in prison where he transformed his life with education and Islam, to his life in the Nation of Islam as Malcolm X, to his final transformation after his trip to Mecca as El Hajj El Meek El Shabazz. This show was filled with monologues, song, dance, poetry as well as various characters in Malcolm’s life.

A crowd of over 250 packed the indoor theater and the evening was a great success. Thank you to the BC Commercial Music Ensemble and the BC Chamber Singers for their musical gifts. Prof. Josh Ottum and Prof. Jen Garrett thank you!

BC Food Services provided tasty grits and greens, fried okra, and chicken gumbo for all in attendance.

Darius Wallace stayed afterwards for additional time to engage the audience with questions. His responses were fully thought-provoking and stimulating for the students who asked very tough questions about African-American acceptance and history.  Thank you Darius. What a great experience for our students and the whole BC community.

Valley Poets at BC’s Levan Center

What an exciting night for the poets of Bakersfield too! On Thursday evening in the Levan Center, we celebrated the poets that came from the San Joaquin Valley and received national recognition. Poets of a wide range of notoriety were celebrated including Juan Felipe Herrera, Sherley Anne Williams, and Robert Duncan. They were all different poets from different circumstances and all from the valley.

Don Thompson, the first Poet Laureate of Kern County, hosted the event. Thompson along side other local poets or advocates for the arts performed poems from the nationally recognized poets. These advocates included Catherine Abbey Hodges, Matt Woodman, LisaAnn LoBasso, Annis Cassells, Marit MacArthur, Diana Ramirez, and Portia Choi. Each presented a poem from the acclaimed poets raised here in the valley and also gave brief life synopses as well. Each presenter stated how the poem they chose resonated with their own lives. You could feel the connection they made with their poem by the way they performed their poem and the energy they gave off.

While all performances were notable, Diana Ramirez’s performance of Juan Felipe Herrera’s poem “Half Mexican” stood out from the rest. Juan Felipe Herrera, who will be visiting the Bakersfield College campus to give a guest lecture on the power of poetry in the lives of people and the community, is the 21st Poet Laureate of the United States. He is the first Latino to hold this position. If you would like to attend Juan Felipe Herrera’s lecture Surveillance, Violence, Creativity & Compassion, he will be lecturing in the Indoor Theater at the Simonsen Performing Arts Center on March 29th at 7pm.

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Counseling Department Holds Student Success Conference

The Counseling Department held a successful student success conference on Friday February 3 that was attended by approximately 60 students. The conference, “Pathways to Success: How to navigate detours and get back on track” was geared towards assisting students who have found their way onto first time Probation following the Fall semester.

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Students on first time probation are students who may not necessarily have meaningful contact with a counselor for the only requirement to clear their probation status, in order to register, is to complete an online probation workshop.  The online workshop provides students with tips on how to be successful and remedy their situation however it does not provide them the opportunity to ask questions and interact with BC faculty or staff.  We know that student engagement is linked to academic success therefore we created this half day conference to help engage and interact with these students to hopefully prevent them from moving on to second time probation.

The day began with motivational speaker BC Counselor, Jonathan Schultz, who spoke to the students about “Knowing their Why” and identifying their motivation for being at Bakersfield College. Then the students chose from a list of breakout sessions: “Probation does not have to be a permanent detour!” exploring how to get off probation, “Live long and prosper!” a BC Jeopardy game concerning whole health & mental health concepts, “Money Matters!” managing financial budgets to maximize success, and “The time for action is now!” identifying it’s never too late to be successful an interactive time management approach to student success. Student feedback was very positive therefore the Counseling Department plans to make this an annual event.

Campus Training on Title IX

Mandated reporters are required to make a report of suspected abuse when they have reasonable cause to suspect that a minor is a victim of abuse; but, what about if the victim is a student at Bakersfield College?

img_0712Earlier this month, over 60 faculty, administrators, and classified members met in the Leven Center to hear from Attorney Eileen O’Hare-Anderson, partner at Liebert Cassidy Whitmore to dialogue about Mandatory Reporting and what our Collective Responsibilities is to our students and the learning environment.

John Giertz, Faculty in Communication, summed up the presentation, “I think first and foremost we have an obligation to help our students every way possible and we need to be aware of what the laws allow us to do but most importantly that we should be working to help our students.  This is extremely important information and I encourage all employees to learn more.”

img_0717This workshop was geared to respond to the questions and comments presented by BC Faculty and Staff regarding mandated reporting and our responsibility of creating a safe and positive learning environment, while maintaining confidentiality for our students and victims. The conversations helped clarify what the role and responsibilities are for an employee at KCCD, when faced with a situation involving Title IX, OCR, Clery Act, Campus SaVE Act, other pressing laws, and the safety of our students.

 

For questions or additional interest, individuals should contact Dena Rhoades in Human Resources, Nicky Damania in Student Life, or Chief Counts in the Department of Public Safety.

 BC Hackathon

The Public Health Renegades Hackathon is a competition to innovate and design public health solutions for our community. Free food, prizes, networking opportunities! This weekend long innovation competition to design and build technology tools that respond to specific community needs related to public health. All majors and areas are welcome.  It is an interdisciplinary competition that will engage students and professionals from various backgrounds in Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and non-STEM fields, local centers of higher education, community and industry partners, and the public. The goal is to increase awareness of public health and use technology tools and collective expertise to address public health issues. Have fun and make a difference locally for your community. To learn more and register for this free event go to www.bcinnovates.com

BC’s LVN Program ranks 7th in the State!

A non-profit organization that provides resources for prospective nurses has ranked Bakersfield College’s LVN program as the 7th best in the state of California.

top-ranked-vn-program-badge-smallThe website Practical Nursing analyzed 127 schools in California offering certification for Licensed Vocational Nurses and ranked the 50 best programs on their website. BC’s LVN program was selected 7th best in the state based on the percentage of students in the program who go on to obtain a vocational nursing license, as well as how well the program “supports students towards licensure and beyond,” according to an email by Practical Nursing president Bryce Hall.

Did you see The Grammy’s?

We are officially in awards season!  I love watching the Grammy’s.  I’m always entertained by the high-production value the show brings and seeing talent celebrated.  During this year’s show I was especially moved by the tributes to Prince, and George Michael.  Now I’m looking forward to the upcoming Oscar’s show!  Here I am watching the Grammy’s and trying to work at the same time 🙂

 

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That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Every Day is Something to Celebrate

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, February 11, 2017 and a good day to be a Renegade.

heidi-scottIt seemed as it all of Bakersfield packed St. Francis on Thursday, 2/9, at 12:00 noon to honor Trice Harvey.

It was a very nice service with beautiful music.  And Heidi Scott…..Have you heard her sing?  What emotion…what a voice!  She moved me to tears.

I so wanted to capture her version of Here I am Lord and Precious Lord Take my Hand on my iphone, but felt it was not appropriate.

So you get youtube instead

Precious Lord Take My Hand

 

 

There were many wonderful Trice Harvey stories. The first speaker told one about beating Bakersfield College when he was the Quarterback at Taft College. (I thought “What! ….. I’m sorry that I never got the opportunity to speak with Trice about that to set the record straight.”)

KCCD was well represented.  I spotted Trustee Kay Meek, Trustee Romeo Agbalog, Trustee Bill Thomas, and Chancellor Tom Burke.

Check out the piece by James Burger in The Bakersfield Californian
http://tinyurl.com/hatv6h9

Here is a photo by Henry Barrios of The Bakersfield Californian.

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Summer Bridge

BC is already gearing up for our Summer Bridge 2017 which kicks off with Saturday sessions starting April 29th.  Here is the cover photo with faculty, staff, and peer mentors along with  BC SUMMER Bridge students 2016.  Information for 2017 is available now
https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/sse/bridge-to-BC.  Make sure you “like” the Summer Bridge page on Facebook.  https://www.facebook.com/summerbridgeBC/?hc_ref=SEARCH

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BC Athletics

womenbeatlapierceBC Athletics home games will always energize you before a busy week.  Last weekend’s Basketball game did not disappoint! BC had come out to support our students, Coach Hughes and Coach Dahl. It’s a great time to be at BC and it’s a great time to support our Renegades! Miss coming to the game? Check out the recap written by Francis Mayer at
http://gogades.com/sports/wbkb/2016-17/releases/20170207l29t01.

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Napa Valley IEPI PRT Visit

By Monday, I was in Napa chairing a Tuesday event on strengthening program and institutional planning processes. It was raining hard, but boy… Napa is beautiful and the work we accomplished was great. IEPI (Institutional Effectiveness Partnership Initiative) is a statewide collaborative effort to help advance the practices of the California Community Colleges. This is a great team: Kristina Whalen (City College of San Francisco), Randy Beach (Southwestern College), Mandy Lang (City College of San Francisco), Stephen Eaton (Barstow College)

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Sonya Christian, Kristina Whalen, Randy Beach, Mandy Liang, Stephen Eaton

Campaign for College Opportunity Visits BC

sonya-pillars-2partsOn February 8th, Audrey Dow, Senior Vice President for the Campaign for College Opportunity, brought a group to campus to learn about Bakersfield College’s guided pathways efforts. The group met with faculty, administrators, staff, and students in the Fireside Room.  The Campaign for College Opportunity is an organization that works tirelessly on issues of equity.  They were a powerful voice behind SB 1440 the legislation that provided the 60-credit Associate Degree Transfer (ADT) pathways to the CSU system.  This single legislation has tremendously improved the transfer rates of students from BC to CSUB.  The Campaign for College Opportunity CEO, Michele Siqueiros, is wonderful and committed to making things happen.  For more http://collegecampaign.org/

 

We offered a short presentation: Janet Fulks, Dean of Institutional Effectiveness, provided background information, preliminary data describing the college’s initial results after the implementation of multiple measures, and a discussion of the learning and career pathways. Dr. Paula Parks discussed the success of the ASTEP-Umoja program, and Kimberly Bligh introduced the group to our Summer Bridge Program.  Kimberly invited one of our students Kenneth Mireles to talk about the student experience.  Maria Wright, our new Director of Academic Support Services, discussed peer support, and Jessica Wojtysiak, who organized the event, closed our presentation with a discussion of Extend the Classroom and Completion Coaching Communities.

The presentations provided a great opportunity to consider some of the excellent progress being made at BC, and we all enjoyed a wonderful lunch prepared by Chef Eric.  I Must say that BC has the very best Culinary Program and our Food Services rocks!

Thank you to all who participated and attended, including Congressman and Trustee Bill Thomas! Here are some photos!

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I was so proud to hear about the work the college has been doing to advance student success and student learning.  What a talented group of faculty and staff at BC….Now do you know why I am the luckiest and happiest college president ever?

Guided Pathways:

eloy-oakley-uciThe Guided Pathways conversation continues in high gear across the state.  Here is a recent email from our statewide Chancellor for the 114 community colleges, Eloy Oakley

CA Guided Pathways Project: I am pleased to report that on December 6, the College Futures Foundation approved funding for the CA Guided Pathways Project. The CA Guided Pathways Project will create a framework for colleges to integrate their planning and resources in order to focus on improving student outcomes and reimagining the student experience. This is an important initiative for the system, as it will create a foundation for comprehensive professional learning and tools for colleges to better use data to improve student outcomes. The model helps colleges clarify paths to student end goals, helps students select a program and stay on path, and ensure quality learning. By creating structured educational experiences that support each student from point of entry to attainment of high-quality postsecondary credentials and employment in a chosen field, the project is intended to increase the number of students earning community college credentials, while closing equity gaps. In early 2017, 15 to 20 community colleges will be selected to implement the California Guided Pathways Model from a competitive application and interview process. Colleges will participate in six two-day institutes, which will focus on key elements required to implement a fully-scaled pathway model which serves all students at a community college, plus receive support on the change process from expert coaches. Each college will commit to have implemented guided pathways for all incoming students by 2019. You can find the press release on the website of the Foundation for California Community Colleges.

Celebrating at the Kern Co. Bar Association Dinner

img_8760Bakersfield College has the incredible honor of being involved with partnerships and initiatives which bring our young people closer to their dreams and enhance opportunities for our community to grow. The Kern County Superintendent of Schools do amazing work with local high school students in conjunction with the Kern County Bar Association. Among this work, events such as the Mock Trial, We the People programs, and Constitution Day are making an impact on our young people.

Steve Sanders from KCSOS was at the February 9th event which was organized by Judge Robert Tafoya to

1) recognize and celebrate past collaborations between the legal community, the educational community and the community at large and

2) To present two new student oriented legal programs.  The Bakersfield College Pathway to Law Initiative  (Two years in a community college, two years in a four-year institution to earn a BA or BS and three years in law school).  The other program is the Young Writers of Kern Essay Contest, a collaborative effort  of the Writers of Kern, many school districts, the Kern County Bar Association and the Bakersfield College Pre-Law Program and BC’s ASTEP Program founded by Professor Paula Parks.  This year’s essay contest is on social media and whether it is a relevant news source. Our advisory council members are mentoring pre-law students and internships are in place with David Wolf and Steven Katz.

president-thuy-thi-nguyenMoving forward, I can’t wait for our next Law Day event on Friday, April 28th.

I was disappointed that Thuy Thi Nguyen, President of Foothill College was not there to receive her award.  Cynthia Loo described Thuy’s work in starting the pre-law program.  Let’s toast President Thuy Thi Nguyen for her leadership and dedication to student success!

Judge Robert Tafoya was incredibly inspirational and I asked him to send me his remarks for my weekly blog.  Here they are – please sit back and enjoy Judge Tafoya.

David Brooks in his book “The Social Animal” reminds us that

We humans are social animals. When trying to figure who we are or the essence of any person we start from the supposition that we are born in to relationships-with parents and ancestors-and that those relationships possess certain qualities, good and bad. We surmise that a person grows through interaction within his or her relationships. Our habits, beliefs, attitudes, values, goals, assumptions, personalities emerge from relationships. First with mothers, fathers, siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins and as one matures with folks outside the immediate family like neighbors, teachers, classmates, roommates, co-workers, employers and spouses and friends we make throughout a lifetime.  Through the interaction of these relationships we learn about our world and how to navigate its trials and tribulations.

I prop0se that these truisms about humans and relationships  also  apply to the development of  communities and nations in that a community is established, develops and evolves within the context of individual and institutional relationships.  A community through a networking process among individuals and groups creates systems of governance that allows for cohesion and stability. For example, one can assess the essence or the lifeblood of the health of a community by examining the quality of its educational systems, its healthcare systems, its police-citizen relationships, its legal and judicial systems, its economic systems and the the governing institutions that respond to the needs of  its poor, its children, it’s disabled.

robert-tafoya-feb-9-2017The purpose of today’s reception is to honor the  significance of relationships, or partnerships or collaborations that have been established and maintained over the years by and between Kern county students, parents, educators, lawyers, judges and business folk. Specifically the kcba and the kcsc want to acknowledge all of those persons and institutions responsible for the establishment and development of the mock trial program, the we the people program, the constitution day program and now the creation of three new education/legal collaborations: namely, the bakersfield college’s pathway to law initiative, the bc and csub’s prelaw programs and the young writers of kern essay competition.

Why is this important one may ask. Consider the common themes promoted through these student, teacher, lawyer, judicial and business collaborations. 1) pursuing a legal career is a worthwhile goal, 2) learning understanding the particulars of a liberal democracy like the bill of rights is essential to its survival  3) that the work of responsible citizenship requires commitment and the development of critical thinking  and learning skills and 4) that the overriding goal of our government is to promote the rights and welfare  of  the individual as defined in our constitution . A free and open democratic election does not guarantee the enjoyment of our basic liberties like freedom of the press, freedom of religion, freedom of association.  Our constitutional rights are secured  by creating a culture that includes norms, practices, and traditions that honor and promote the rule of law, respect for an independent judiciary, reverence  for the separation of church and state and deference to the dynamic relationship between the three branches of our government that forms the basis of our system of checks and balances that in turn prevents the abuse of our constitutional rights.

By continuing to support the collaboration of the programs i mention here today, for example by acting as a mentor, a mock trial judge, an advisor,  a student coach, a  role model or financial donor we recognize the elementary notion that our basic liberties as Americans are not birthrights are not entitlements but are  fragile  freedoms gifted to us by prior generations going back to september 17, 1787 with the expectation that we,  as stewards of these liberties, remain vigilant to their sustainability by defending them when challenged and by teaching them to younger generations. To remain true to the oaths we took as lawyers, judges and elected officials to  support and defend the constitution  we must assume responsibility for teaching, guiding, inspiring, and encouraging that irrepressible life force we call  our children to truly appreciate the necessity of being good citizens. Participating in mock trial or we the people or constitution day, or being mentors to college students or promoting the development of critical thinking, writing and research skills  we are engaged in the hard work of democracy.  We are collaborating in the difficult task of promoting responsible citizenship.   Today we are here to honor this collaborative  process and by acknowledging its importance and the relationships that buttress this process we keep our country strong.

It was great to also see H.A. Sala at the event – a great supporter of BC and our students! What an inspiration to our young people.  And thank you David Torres for your support with Measure J.

It was wonderful running into Mary Copeland who encouraged me to restart BC’s debate program.

Thank you to our Advisory Commmittee, Judge Tafoya, Bethany Peak, David Torres, Yinka Glover, Steven Katz, James Maddox, Alexia Torres Stallings, and Cynthia Loo.

And thank you Dr. Manny Mourtzanos and Pearl Urena for your commitment to the program.  BC has so many amazing faculty and staff so committed to our students.  Now do you know why I am the luckiest and happiest college president ever?

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Garden Pathways Garden Party

Thursday night was packed with events…after the KC bar Association event, I rushed over to the the 8th annual Garden Pathways Garden Party on Thursday evening. Garden Pathways motto is “Building community from the inside out” and what a wonderful message that is!  Karen Goh, our new mayor and CEO of Garden Pathways, has done a nice job in raising the profile of this important community organization.

Garden Pathways is a community based nonprofit mentoring children, youth, and adults to build productive lives. The official website says, “Diverse mentoring and education programs lead families to educational advancement, employment, family stability, self-sufficiency, healthy living, and improved quality of life. The programs of Garden Pathways provide a wide range of life-building services to the Kern County community.”

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Sonya Christian with Board Member Darlene Mohlke and Executive Director Louis Gill from the Bakersfield Homeless Center

I saw Louis Gill, the CEO of the homeless center and snapped a photo. Seeing him reminds me that we may not always know the struggles or life stumbles people may have been through [or are going through] to get to where they are, but there are such tremendous resources in our community for people to take advantage of.

The work in particular that the Kern Homeless Center is doing for individuals and families in crisis is truly inspiring.  We should all remember organizations like this when we think about how we may give of our time.  Thank you Louis Gill for the amazing job you’ve done for women and families in Kern County.

Check out the Homeless Center’s volunteer information and their current needs at http://bakhc.org/volunteer/

The evening was full of familiar faces, laughter, wonderful food, and support for our community. The evening’s co-hosts were Brad and Brooke Antonioni, Joan Dezember, Robert and Beckie Diltz, Rick and Shannon Grove, Darcy Marshall and Barbara Grimm-Marshall, Maureen Napier, Kevin and Tuesdy Small, and Ray and Marlene Watson.

If you missed attending this year’s event, don’t miss the chance to learn more about Garden Pathways. Check out their website at http://www.gardenpathways.org/

I really enjoyed hanging out with the BC folks who were there.  Nicky Damania and Jennifer Achan are two relatively new administrators at BC, extremely smart, dedicated, work long hours and real fun to be with.  And of course, Mary Jo Pasek who tirelessly works to get the information about BC out there in the community.  Now do you know why I am the luckiest and happiest college president ever?

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Jennifer Achan, Nicky Damania, Sonya Christian, Mary Jo Pasek

 

Throughout the Week in the World of Athletics

It was an eventful Thursday with women’s Tennis, softball and baseball playing at BC.

Coach Nick Loudermilk and the tennis team have really done a great job this season. On a recent road trip to San Diego, the team had some time on their hands to take advantage of the ‘Escape Room’ an attraction that forces groups to use teamwork to solve smaller challenges on the way to unfolding a larger mystery that will allow them to escape the locked room they are in. They were successful and their team’s creative drive and focus also showed on Thursday when the Renegades had a big win over Glendale College to move to 7-0 on the season.  Paige Darstein and Chloe Moreno clinched the victory with a win at #1 doubles.

Softball, 2-3 on the season had a successful home opener with a 7-0 win over Taft College.  Coach Hill “we hit the ball well, and we played solid in the field. It was nice to have it come together.”

Alexis Solis and Naizemare Ubay led the Renegades with two hits apiece. Starting pitcher McKenna Valencia picked up the win.

Coach Painton’s baseball team had a great outing by starting pitcher Taylor Burns against El Camino, unfortunately the offense got blocked by their opposing pitcher and the team moved to 4-4 on the season. The good news is this was the first of a three game series so they have two more chances at El Camino Friday at 6pm (weather permitting) or Saturday at  noon.

Coach Paula Dahl posted on Facebook, “Great time with the team after beating Santa Monica. Only two more chances to watch this amazing team play. Saturday at 5:00 and Wednesday the 15th at 7:00 pm. Come and join the fun!”

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Doug Grimsley and BC’s Inmate Education Program

SonyaChristian_DouglasGrimsleyOne of our adjunct professors, Doug Grimsley, is teaching Political Science in the North Kern State Prison as part of an ongoing Inmate Education program.  Doug has received high praise for his passion and “captivating” teaching style.

Here are a couple of hand-written responses from students in the program.

I am compelled to share with the administration that Mr. Grimsley is an asset to your staff.  He came to North Kern State Prison and completely captured our attention as he subjected us to a lecture only course.  Not only was it very informative and inspiring, but he engaged the class throughout the Fall 2016 semester.  I personally think he deserves recognition for his determined success in educating men unacquainted with the political arena.  We have definitely obtained higher educational status.

“Best part of the program: The acquisition of knowledge has always been a big draw for me.  It is the people, however, that I believe can be accurately be described as “The best part of the program.”  Hands down, Mr. Grimsley, Chelsea, Alma and the other BC volunteers will forever be seared in my memory bank as incredible human beings.  They are, once more, “The best part of the program.”

As Chelsea Esquibias has told me, every time she brings Doug’s courses into the prisons, the students “rave about his teaching style and commitment to their learning.”

I couldn’t be more proud to know such dedicated teachers who are truly passionate about learning and the importance of character-building through education.  Great work Doug Grimsley! And great work Chelsea Esquibias.  Now do you know why I am the luckiest and happiest college president ever?

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Celebrating Black History Month

In celebration of Black History Month, Patrick Jackson, Bakersfield NAACP President, presented at the February 10th African American Mentoring Program. He spoke on racism and encouraged AAMP students to understand how to overcome racism and be successful in their lives. Over twenty BC students were in attendance. Thank you to Julian West, Reggie Bolton, and Mandelyn Hobbs.patrick-jackson

The Simple Joys

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By Friday morning, I needed a tiny pick-me-up and stopped by Starbucks for my morning coffee. Kasey, my barista, knew my name and my order. A tall soy latte. How cool is that?

It felt like Cheers where everyone knows your name! Thank you Kasey!

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And I have a message worth sharing that came in via our Bakersfield College Facebook.

John Cohrs said, “My wife, son and I enjoy walking on campus on the BC weekends. Our son, Jack, who will soon be 12 and has autism, decided today that he wanted to help keep the campus clean. So he took a trash bag along and was happy to pick up as much as he could. We love BC; my wife is a student there and I have been an adjunct faculty in the past (along with being a student a LONG time ago).”

Thank you sharing, John. I absolutely love the photo of your wife, Kelley and son, Jack.

Happy Birthday June!

June Charles, Administrative Assistant for the Vice President of Student Services started as a temp and has been at BC now for 18 years! Happy Birthday June!  We love you!

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Sonya cropped June 24 2016

 

 

That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

A Wonderful Week at BC and Beyond!

Good evening from Tempe Arizona as I start this blog to make sure I get it done and out on Saturday (2/4/2017) rather than Sunday.  I don’t want to get a text from my friend like I did last Saturday night when I was on the train heading back to Bakersfield from Sacramento: “Are you okay? I am worried about you.  Have not see your blog yet.”  When I responded saying that I was busy preparing for my presentations in Sacramento and that I will probably get it out on Sunday he responded with something like: “well…ok then. You are excused. I’ll read National Tweets instead.  Altho I must say it will not be the same.”  lol….so funny! National tweets, now our national news in 140 characters or less. 🙂

Tempe Bridge Feb 2 2017.jpg

james-elmore-founding-dean-of-school-of-architecture-asuThe Tempe Town Lake Pedestrian Bridge is a beautiful piece of architecture.  I walked the bridge several times during our stay at the Tempe Mission Palms for the AACC Pathways Institute #4. On March 18th, Tempe City Council will dedicate the bridge to the man whose passion led to the creation of Tempe Town Lake, James Elmore, ASU’s founding Dean of Architecture.

 

Here is an excerpt from the Tempe City Hall website

“James Elmore was a champion of Tempe Town Lake for more than 40 years, from encouraging the School of Architecture to take on the Salt River as a project to bringing the student ideas to those who could make them reality,” said David Scheatzle, a Professor Emeritus for the ASU College of Architecture. “Associating his name with the beautiful pedestrian bridge at the west end of the Tempe Town Lake seems most appropriate for someone so dedicated to this vision.”

Here is a nice piece about the bridge.  Check it out: http://tinyurl.com/jnpvsk5

AACC Pathways Institute

Here is the BC team at the  AACC Pathways Institute.

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Sonya Christian, Jennifer Johnson, Janet Fulks, Maria Wright, Lesley Bonds

BC was one of 30 colleges selected nationwide through a competitive process to participate in a 3-year Guided Pathways initiative.  The Tempe, AZ institute was the fourth of 6 institutes designed to help us focus our work on four key pillars: 1) clarifying students’ paths, 2) getting them on a path, 3) keeping them on the path, and 4) ensuring they’re learning.  This institute focused on ensuring meaningful learning.  The BC team dug into our student learning outcomes, discussed ways to engage faculty in cross-disciplinary pedagogical professional development, and identified areas of focus for our academic support services agenda moving forward.  And we had fun doing all of this.  Here are some photos to prove it.

 

Last semester, Janet Fulks and Maria Wright led student and faculty focus groups that gave us a lot of insight into the BC experience from each perspective.  We were able to use the focus group themes to drive discussion throughout the institute, and our very own Dr. Janet Fulks was invited to present in Tempe on faculty-led models for assessing student learning outcomes.  BC has the best faculty and staff!  Thanks so much to our Institute #4 team: Lesley Bonds, Janet Fulks, Jennifer Johnson, and Maria Wright.

IEPI Workshop on Guided Pathways: Here are more pictures from the workshop in Costa Mesa last week.

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Nick Strobel

Nick Strobel

Enjoyed reading Nick Strobel‘s piece in the Californian today.  I love Nick’s writing.  Here is one of my favorite paragraphs from his article

A couple of cool space exploration stories came into my inbox recently. The first was the stunning view of the waves in Saturn’s rings made by the tiny moon Daphnis. Daphnis is just 5 miles along its longest dimension and it clears out a gap 26 miles wide in Saturn’s outer A ring. When the Cassini spacecraft came to within 17,000 miles of Daphnis during a recent ring-grazing pass on its highly tilted orbit, Cassini took a beautiful image that shows the ripples or waves made in the A-ring by the weak gravity of Daphnis. The image is so sharp that you can see a faint thin tendril of ring material pulled up from the ring by Daphnis. Absolutely gorgeous and to know that it’s all just gravity at work!

The Bakersfield Californian does not have it posted yet on their website.  But Nick has it on his planetarium website: http://tinyurl.com/zybbxmo

 

Trice Harvey a legend

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The picture is by Julie Rogers in 1994.  You see Trice Harvey with Carl Sparks and Ed Jagels.

James Burger did a nice story on Trice Harvey in The Bakersfield Californian.  Here is how Burger starts the story:

Trice Harvey was the kind of guy who spawned stories, yarns and the occasional tall tale.
There was the time Harvey barbecued ostrich meat and served it to his fellow legislators to try to convince them to make ostrich a farm product, not an exotic item, to exempt it from a tax.
Or the time he wore a football jersey that was half-Bakersfield College and half-Taft College to a game between the two rival schools.
Or the time the notoriously camera-friendly former politician turned suddenly shy as a Fish and Game warden began eyeing the catch he’d had made that day — without his fishing license.
There are probably hundreds of those stories. Maybe thousands.
But on Tuesday, the former Kern County supervisor and California assemblyman’s story came to a close at age 80.

For more click on http://tinyurl.com/za8g7o4.

I briefly refer to Trice Harvey in the March 19, 2016 post on Kay Meek.  Here is the link
https://sonyachristianblog.com/2016/03/19/a-whirlwind-week-at-bakersfield-college/

 

BC Commercial Music Ensemble Open Rehearsal

On Wednesday afternoon, the BC Commercial Music Ensemble rehearsal offered a chance for students to perform original compositions and arrangements of popular songs. The ensemble has nearly doubled in size since first being offered last semester as a part of unveiling the new commercial music program. At the beginning of the semester, Professor, Dr. Josh Ottum notified students that their first performance would be happening in a few weeks. Their expressions were equal parts fear and excitement. This expectation set the bar high and I’m overjoyed to say that the students exceeded his expectations, putting together six songs in just three rehearsals. We are so proud of of our students and look forward to seeing this ensemble grow and become an essential part of BC and the greater Bakersfield community.

What would people say about you if you died tomorrow?

The most recent speaker to present at the Levan Center opened the discussion with a topic many of us do not often think about: What do we want others to say about us after our death? BC alumni and former BC professor, Dr. Crystal Dea Moore, used her lively and contagious personality to interact with the students, faculty, and staff in attendance on the importance of making an after death plan, before our passing.

Dr. Moore has published a number of readings regarding end-of-life decisions, as well as worked as a licensed social worker with Veteran’s Affairs (VA). Moore is currently a Professor and Associate Dean of the faculty at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York.

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Walking into the room, there were very few places to sit as the room was full of students of all ages and staff members of all types. The room was alive with discussions and questions of what the presentation might include. As the introductions began, the audience fell silent. Becki Whitson of the Behavior Science Department described Moore as that student that “everyone knew or wanted to be.” Moore’s personality shined throughout her presentation as the crowd erupted in laughter at her jokes.

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Moore explained the importance of asking questions when speaking to a doctor. For example: when they used words that you may need a dictionary to decode. She expressed how many of her Veteran clients would tell the doctor that they understand what was told to them but in reality would have the definitions misunderstood. She asked the crowd to write down a two sentence response to a simple question: What would people say about you if you died tomorrow?

Such a simple question… but, how often do we actually think about it? After a brief moment to write down our answers, Moore asked for a “few brave souls” to share their answers. Throughout her presentation, Moore stopped to take any questions and continuously explained and defined words that might cause any confusion. The presentation was unlike any other because when it comes to talking about death and the taking the steps to handling things that relate to death and dying, many of us do not know where to start.

Thank you, Dr. Crystal Dea Moore for giving us all the tools to tackle these difficult situations in life.

Outreach at BC

Our dedicated outreach team went out to Stockdale High School this week to conduct Matriculation Services for the upcoming Summer and Fall semesters at BC. We had an all-time record high for one day with 140 students assessed on Thursday and 80 scheduled to take the assessment the following day, on Friday the 3rd. WOW! 220 students!! Thank you to Kalina Hill, Josie Guillen, and the whole outreach team for making it happen!

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1.6 Million Awarded for the Enhancement of Alternative Fuel and Vehicle Tech Training Programs

 This past summer, the Advanced Transportation and Renewable Energy Sector released a competitive solicitation awarding a total of $1.6 million to address the regional workforce technical training needs for workers who will be employed by fleets, dealerships, independent shops and similar organizations.

This funding from the California Energy Commission was awarded to:energy-commission

  • American River College
  • Bakersfield College
  • Cerritos College
  • Chabot College
  • City College of San Francisco
  • College of the Desert
  • Cypress College
  • Rio Hondo College
  • San Diego Miramar College

Each of these colleges has a demonstrated need for program and course enhancements in their regions. Over the next year, they will execute carefully designed plans to train students, create curriculum, purchase equipment, and educate faculty on the latest industry technologies.

The grant was written by Andrew Haney, with contributions from Vic Posey, Justin Flint, Dan Johnson. Sarah Baron & Bonita Steele helped with the writing. BC got ~$80K from the Grant with specific equipment they can purchase.  We Are BC!

See more by visiting http://www.4nrg.org/cec-awards/

What a Night for Musical Talent in Bakersfield

It was great to see from Jennifer Garrett’s Facebook that BC was recognized during such a great event. She said,

Enjoying a beautiful night of music at Grand Night with 700 band, orchestra, and choir students in Kern County. Our new BC Band and Orchestra Director, Dr Kathryn Kuby led the band and did a fantastic job! Also saw our BC Jazz Band Director, Kris Tiner receive the Jazz Educator Award from Kern County Music Educators Association and my friend and colleague, Dr Angel M. Vázquez-Ramos received the Collegiate Music Educator Award. What a night of music!

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More on Jen Garrett:

I continually hear about the wonderful things happening on high school campuses across this great community. Jennifer Garrett recently visited Frontier High School to check out their musical talents and incredible students.

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A final word on Jen Garrett:

Our Choir Director Jen Garrett and the BC Choir are everywhere.  It is amazing that the petite Jen Garrett has all the energy in the universe!  Here are members of the BC Choir that were in Stars production on “The Drowsy Chaperone” yesterday!

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Caley Mayhall, Nichole Heasley, Ken Burdick, Jake Wattenbarger, Madeline Engel, and Caitlin Wolfenstein all in this picture with Jen.  Julie Verell did lights for the show but did not make it into the picture. They were all fantastic.

Seniors and BC Dancers

The BC Cheer team is hosting a halftime performance this weekend with the Brookdale Senior Community cheer team. They’ve been choreographing and practicing for over 4 weeks and their performance is at the men’s Basketball game this weekend. These pictures are absolute joy so I had to share. Great job BC Cheer team!

I hope you’ll cheer on our BC Renegades with them at the next home game you can attend! Go Gades!

Thank you Heather Foss and Becki Whitson!

BC Athletics

BC Track 5 individual winners: Congratulations to BC’s track teams! With five individual wins and two relay wins last weekend. Check it out at http://tinyurl.com/jewdlaa

BC Basketball: Great article by Jeff Evans in The Bakersfield Californian.  Here is an excerpt:

But when the team got on the bus to return to Bakersfield, Dahl gave each player a name of a Holocaust victim and an assignment: Research that person and give a report to the team the following Monday. Dahl said she got the idea after reading about Holocaust Remembrance Day, which is held each Jan. 27 so the world will never forget the 6 million people, mostly Jews, who were killed by the Nazis in World War II. This year the remembrance was the day before the Canyons game.
Dahl said it was a special practice when the players shared their research.
“I hated the loss, but I loved the moment on Monday,” Dahl said. “One of the great coaching moments in my life.”

Check out the story: http://tinyurl.com/j324ofk

BC Football: Relationships are critical to spreading the word about our incredible athletic programs, and that’s how BC Football’s illustrious legacy came to be a part of KGET’s Super Bowl Sunday coverage!

Assistant Football Coach Tyler Thompson talked with a friend about one of his favorite things; being a Renegade and having his name associated with a football tradition that stretches back to when leather helmets were worn.

“I know Tab well,” he told Sports Information Director Francis Mayer recently in regard to KGET’s Tabitha Mills, “We went to school together, and I just told her, ‘you’ve got to hear some of these stories from our legends. They are incredible.'”

That simple exchange spurred more conversations, including with KGET’s General Manager Derrick Jeffries-who’s brother played BC football-and they decided to pursue the stories. Mills tracked down Coaches Carl Bowser and Gerry Collis among others-legends indeed-at one of their favorite Basque haunts for lunch recently…and rumor has it that the footage captured is priceless!

We’ll be able to judge for ourselves-and with pride-this Sunday at 5pm. An encore will run Monday at 5pm as well.

Way to go, Coach Thompson! You rock!

Diego Monterrubio, BC Adjunct Art faculty being highlighted at Metro Galleries First Friday

Here you see Diego Monterrubio at the Metro gallery with Prof. Richard Marquez and Corny Rodriguez, Dean of Instruction.

 

Congratulations Faith Bradham

faithbradhamHave you been to the BC library recently? The staff are incredible. Second year librarian, Faith Bradham, was awarded a scholarship to attend the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) annual meeting in March in Baltimore. As you can see from the link, she will be in good company from around the country, the Virgin Islands, Canada, and NYU Shanghai.  One of the keynote speakers is Carla Hayden, the current and 14th Librarian of Congress. She is the first woman and first African-American to fill the post.

Check Faith Bradham out in the Early Career Section: http://conference.acrl.org/scholarships/

Letter Worth Sharing

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Andrea Thorson

I often say I’m the luckiest and happiest college president ever and it’s because I have the honor and joy to work with the best colleagues — the best students, the best staff, and the best faculty. I’d like to share a letter that hit my inbox this week. Thank you, Amber Smithson, for allowing me to share.

 

To whom it may concern,

All too often in our society today we focus on the negative and are quick to express our dislike or distaste in people and or events. In a world of negativity and altercations however I have learned to focus on that which empowers and strengthens me. I try to see the world with what it can offer me and I take those tools that I am given and try my hardest to pay it forward whenever possible. As a single mother of four when I decided to go back to school and get my degree at a later age in life, to say that I was apprehensive is to speak lightly of how I felt. With my nerves high and my self-doubt even higher, knowing I would ultimately be one of the oldest students in all my classes I returned to Bakersfield College 3 semesters ago. When I returned I was confident that I wanted to get my degree in business administration. Just by accident I decided to take a Public Speaking class as one of my very first classes. By accident even more, I walked into the wrong class because all I noticed was the last name and paid no attention to the CRN number attached to the class. It was by those “accidents” that I came upon a professor who has ultimately changed my life.

Professor Andrea Thorson has been instrumental in some amazing changes in my life. I went from an insecure, unaware, naive, and ignorant student to a confident, aware, and purposeful individual. I changed my major from Business to Communications and now have a purpose in life that I never thought I would have. I watched every day in class this remarkable professor teach and inspire her students with poise and knowledge that I hope to one day be able to share with my students when I too become a professor. She has brought me to tears, laughter, and deep soul searching. I learned more in one semester then I had all my life. I have been able to take what I have learned in her classes and incorporate them into my personal life. She renewed my faith in people by showing such compassion and desire to help each and every one of her students. I truly admire what she brings to the classroom each time she steps foot in there. She pushes you to do your best and discover who you are inside and what you are capable of achieving.

              

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Amber Smithson

I am sure that in the positions you hold, you must hear too often about the “bad” professors or you hear from the students who are angry because of their grades and therefore blame it on the so-called deficiencies of their professors. I am not writing this accolade because I am a straight A student or because school comes easy to me. On the contrary I typically have to study twice as hard as someone half my age. I work hard for my grades and when I do receive A’s it’s because I have gone above and beyond to earn them. I am writing this letter because there are some amazing professors at Bakersfield College and Professor Andrea Thorson is one of them. I owe so much to this professor and I only hope that when I have achieved my goals and am able to return to Bakersfield College as a professor myself, I will be half the instructor that she proves to be each and every day.  Sincerely, Amber Smithson

 

Check out this video that Prof Manny Fernandez did on our Baccalaureate Program in Industrial Automation

And here is a picture I forgot to post last week when I ran into the Leadership Academy in Sacramento.  I was there to present to the California Community College Trustee Association.  Both Chancellor Tom Burke and Trustee and retired Congressman Bill Thomas were also in Sacramento.

Leadership Academy in Sacramento Jan 29 2017.jpg

sonya-christian-feb-2-2017-tempe-arizona

Sonya Christian, loving Renegade life in Tempe, Arizona, Feb 2 2017

 

That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya — the luckiest and happiest college president ever

A Busy Week at BC!

Good morning from Sacramento my dear friends and colleagues in Bakersfield.  Let me share a great sunrise as I sit by the window seat at the Sheraton and pull together the week’s happenings at Bakersfield College.  It is Saturday, Jan 28, 2017 and a great day to be a Renegade!

Sunrise in Sacramento 7 15 on Jan 28 2017.JPG

And what a busy second week of the term!  For much of the time I was on the road….to Newport to do a workshop with Kay McClenney and Rob Johnstone and then to Costa Mesa for the IEPI 2-day workshop on Guided Pathways where over 250 individuals from 39 colleges and organizations came together to understand this integrated and powerful approach to enhance student success.  The Guided Pathways System (GPS) acts like the GPS (Geographic Positioning System) that we have all grown to rely on.

Here is the BC team that attended IEPI.

bc-group-jan-27-2016

Reaching out to our Vets

On Tuesday, the Office of Student Success and Equity, in collaboration with Armando Trujillo, Veteran Educational Advisor, has sent out the first Veterans Resource Center’s postcard to returning veterans in Kern County!

Wveteranspostcarde hope to increase our student veteran’s enrollment by reaching out to all recently discharged vets to let them know that BC is here and is ready to serve them in their educational goals for success! I loved hearing that once the prints came in, Armando ran over to the SSE office, pulled a poster from the stack, grabbed a sharpie to jot down info and sign it for the BC archives. As far as he is tracking, this is the first time BC has ever intentionally connected with veterans this way. Thank you to the fabulous work of the Office of SSE, Armando Trujillo, Dylan Wang, and Lisa Kent!

 

FFA High School Students Visit BC

It’s always a joy to have high school students visit our campus and explore their options for higher education. On Wednesday morning, local students visited campus as part of the FARMS Leadership Program to meet with the Ag Department faculty and learn about careers in the industry.

ffa_students

picture-1-ffa-leadership-high-schools-jan-25-2017The FARMS (Farming, Agriculture, and Resource Management for Sustainability) Leadership Program serves over 230 youth from 30 high schools across the state and participants spend an average of 35 hours engaging with farms, wildlife areas, agriculture, and related businesses. It’s a great opportunity for young people to get real life experiences to explore opportunities.  Madeline Abernathy was one of the students in the group and I look forward to seeing Madeline as a future Renegade 🙂

Thank you to all who made this happen, especially – Ralph Mendes, Bill Kelly, Heather Baltis, Dr. Cluff, Dylan Klawitter, Kaitlyn McCoy, and Colleen Taber. Check out this fantastic program at http://landbasedlearning.org/farms.

Dual Enrollment Student Success Story

cruzverdozamedina_artshowThis year, one of our Dual Enrollment HS students have been selected to showcase one of his drawings in the BC Student Art Show. Congratulations to Cruz Verdoza Medina.

Cruz is enrolled in Armando Rubio’s dual enrollment art class with BC and has submitted several drawings this year. Armando told me via email, “I have worked very close with this student in the Drawing 1 Dual Enrollment course offered at Central Valley. I encouraged him and helped to submit images to the BC Student Art Show. I am very proud of his accomplishment in being selected to show his work. Cruz is very talented and quiet, but his work is very intricate, detailed, and expressive. Only great work comes from a good work ethic and Cruz Verdoza has demonstrated this while taking the Drawing course for BC.”

And Kristopher Stallworth, our Art Department Chair let me know that, “His work was selected by an outside juror, Robey Clark and judged alongside all of the student work submitted from all levels of BC art courses. Armando Rubio has been an adjunct art instructor for the department for several years and recently began teaching Drawing I as a Dual Enrollment course. This is what we hope for when we have dual enrollment, students have opportunities that they would not have otherwise, and their work stands alongside that of our traditional students.

The Opening Reception is Thursday, February 2nd from 3:00 – 7:00. The exhibit will be up through February 1st – 28th. Stop by and check out the art!

BC Athletics News

Join me in congratulating Coach Paula Dahl for her 300th game! In this picture is Sandi Taylor, Athletic Director, Coach Paula, and Keith Ford, Associate Athletic Director.

coach-dahl-receiving-an-award-for-her-300th-game-on-jan-21-2017

coach-rich-hughes-with-team

While browsing the news to keep up with all things BC Athletics, I came across a Bakersfield.com article which said, “A near-capacity crowd watched Jamar Hammonds score 32 points on an emotional night on which the team honored Coach Brian Carter and his surviving family with a jersey and other mementos.” A near-capacity crowd!  Our BC Athletes are so fortunate to have such a loyal and dedicated community and our fans are always rewarded with a great game. Have you been to a BC game recently? There’s always so much excitement!

Here is a tweet by Kimberly Bligh:

Kimberly Bligh's tweet about Coach Brian Carter Jan 21 2017.png

If not, check out the article at  http://www.bakersfield.com/sports/bc-men-win-double-ot-thriller/article_348dff1c-7b9e-5473-96e0-74b27f8faccd.html and check our sports schedules and news at http://www.gogades.com/.

It was wonderful seeing a packed gym for the two games.  It was great to see Coach Vayron Martinez and his girlfriend Lexy Farmer.  Coach Martinez is our Men’s Soccer coach and fully engaged with his student athletes.

coach-vayron-martinez-and-his-girlfriend-jan-21-2017

On the upper deck of the gym, this family had come out to support their granddaughter and great granddaughter Kennedy Nielson.

David Gallagher, Pat Gallagher and Phyllis Adams are shown here, and you can see Kennedy in action in the two pictures below.  And check out Dave’s t-shirt.

supporters-of-kennedy-nielson-jan-21-2017

And there is an adorable picture of Janet Tarjan with her grandson Jackson

janet-tarjan-with-grandson-jackson-jan-21-2017

oliver-rosales-croppedDr. Oliver Rosales will speak at the University of Washington

 When I received notice that Dr. Oliver Rosales had been invited to offer a keynote address at the University of Washington in early June, I was thrilled. The Simpson Center for the Humanities at the University of Washington has secured funding from the Mellon foundation in partnership with area community colleges in the greater Seattle area to focus on “Reimagining the Humanities PhD”.  I look forward to sharing with all of you about Dr. Rosales’s trip and experience afterwards. Stay tuned!

96th Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting

 trb-1The 96th Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting and David Eisenhower Showcase is a required meeting for our six fellowship recipients.  It offers the opportunity to showcase their research on the Department of Transportation projects; allows senior transportation managers to greet our Eisenhower fellowship recipients and provide remarks about the future transportation workforce.  This meeting also provides opportunities to network with fellow students and transportation professionals from across the nation and the around the world.  The 96thTransportation Research Board Annual Meeting and David Eisenhower Showcase travel cost for the students will be covered by the Eisenhower grant from the US Department of Transportation. Students will be accompanied by Dr. Patrick Aderhold, engineering faculty.

This provides extraordinary opportunity for our students and faculty, and I’d like to share with you the full text of an email that he sent to me on the event.

patrick-aderhold

I have to admit that, prior to last year, I had never heard of the Transportation Research Board (TRB). When I was informed that some of our students had received a fellowship and were travelling to the annual meeting, I was expecting to usher them into a small corner room with a few dozen people rubbing elbows and quietly discussing traffic or highway safety. You can imagine my surprise when I walked into the palatial Walter E. Washington Conference Center and was immediately absorbed into the cauldron of activity as attendees from all parts of the US and several places beyond surged back and forth from expos to lectures.

This year I was better prepared to supervise the six students of ours that were selected to participate in the Dwight David Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship Program (DDETFP), but it was still exciting to be a part of 13,000 attendees that were sharing wisdom on everything from buses in South America to bike lanes in San Francisco. The five-day event would be overwhelming even for seasoned veterans, but the DDETFP staff worked hard to put on a curated set of events that allowed DDETFP fellows to listen, observe, network and showcase their own research. I was very impressed by the attention that TRB puts into the recruitment and development of young members, as the executive director himself spoke about the need for young professionals, the value of equity and inclusion and his desire to replace the old model of a small number of “gray-beards” running the show.

I believe our students represented BC well, as the they were thrown “into the deep end” so to speak. They and their peers have been performing their own research on local transportation issues for the last few months, but the DDETFP program exposed them to several talks by doctoral students as well. As proud as we are of students doing part-time, local research, I think it is valuable to expose them to the highest levels of R&D happening nation-wide. A fifteen-minute talk by a Ph.D. candidate outside your field is a sure-fire way to walk away feeling stupid (which is a good thing in my mind), but our students didn’t shy away. They showed genuine interest, reaching out to speakers with extra questions after the talks.

One of our own, Alia Brost, was selected to present a poster this year. She laid out her ongoing research on air quality on local GET bus routes and received some tough questions about equipment, methodology and goals and held her own quite well. It was an intimidating atmosphere, but she already looked the part of a confident, but skeptical researcher and I hope she saw this as the first of many chances to learn and share in a professional setting.

trb-5Though I grew up in the Midwest, I understand that most of our students at BC are born and raised in Bakersfield and few have the financial resources to spend a week absorbing life in a different climate and culture 2600 miles away. I’m proud of the work that BC does in the community, but I also know there is a great value in exposure to things that are big, far, confusing and uncomfortable and a professional meeting on the east coast meets all those criteria. It’s important to see what happens “behind the curtain” and to have a first-hand look at what it takes to be part of a large, diverse organization doing important things on the national scale. For some, this may be the first foot in the door to a career in transportation, for others a greater appreciation for the complexity of problem solving at the scale of thousands of cars or millions of tons of freight. I’m sure this event will have long-lasting benefits, whether they be professional, intellectual… and maybe even personal (like warm memories of an impromptu snowball fight before dinner). On behalf of all the students, I want to thank Connie Gonzalez and the MESA staff for encouraging them to apply for this program and all time and effort that goes into organizing a cross-country trip.

trb-3

I’m sure they’re eager to share their experiences with you all so seek out Alia Brost, Jose Chavez, Johnson Her, Andrea Hernandez, Evaleena Reyes and Sharina Washington and ask them about their trip, I’m think you’ll get an earful.

Renegade Passings

Each passing brings back memories and relationships.  I’d like to share ten more notices that I received from Jerry Ludeke, notices of Renegades who have recently passed, so that we can remember them and their wonderful contributions . If you have any special memories, please leave a comment. I would love to read your stories.

NANCY EDWARDS taught English at BC from 1968 to 2009 and was a leader in poetry circles in Kern County and beyond.  Nancy and Howard Quilling, also now deceased, collaborated on many performances of original poetry set to music.  An on-campus memorial is being planned.  We will announce it when a date is confirmed.

RALPH KRAFVE, who died January 16, was the successful, well liked BC basketball coach from 1973 to 1985.  Ralph coached the 1977-1978 team that won BC’s only basketball state championship.  Previously he was the championship coach at East High for 12 years.  He was inducted into the Bob Elias Kern County Sports Hall of Fame in 1994.  Dolly, his wife and survivor, was active in the Faculty Wives and Women group.

CAROL MARSHALL passed away December 22 in Seattle.  Carol was a tutor in the Learning Center helping recent immigrants, mainly Vietnamese, learn to read English.  She and her husband Rod Marshall, now deceased, came in 1968 when he joined the BC faculty in Supportive Services, after a career in the Armed Services which took them to Germany and the Pentagon.

DAN NYSTROM, 88, died on December 12.  He was a BC zoology teacher from 1958 until 1984.  He and Arleen were married for 47 years and raised three children.  After Arleen died in 1998, Dan married  Mary Horst in 2000 and they had 16 years together before she passed away earlier in 2016.

DALENE OSTERKAMP, 84, passed away on December 27th.  Dalene was a distinguished BC art teacher (listed in Who’s Who of American Women and, in 1989, given the First Annual Service to Women Award from the American Association of Women in Community and Junior Colleges.)  Primarily a print maker, she retired to Glennville and worked in prints, stained glass, mosaics, etching, pottery, and jewelry making.  At BC she was also a counselor and worked with the Women’s Studies Department.

RONDA VALDEZ died December 8.  A member of the classified staff, Ronda served in several different departments on the BC campus in her years at BC from 1969 to 1997, ending in the Public Information Office.

CLYDE VERHINE died on December 12 in Oregon at age 95.   A Social Studies and Economics professor, Clyde was active in campus activities, served as the Academic Senate President, and was known for his cheerful greetings and demeanor.

EDDIE WARD passed away on January 1 in Arizona.  He retired in 2008 after 34 years as Grounds Supervisor at Bakersfield College.

ALEJANDRA “Nicki” WILKERSON lived with many years of dialysis and passed on shortly after finally receiving a kidney and liver transplant.  She served 25 years in M&O first at BC and then at the District, 1986-2011.

THOMAS H. DAVIS, III passed away on Sunday, Nov. 13th. His partner, Nam (Chauncey Yao) told the BC archives that he had suffered from Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. With Nam’s help, Tom was able to live at home until the previous Friday.

I have so much more to write about from this week but am running out of time.  It is Sunday now and I have not published my blog yet and I have so many deadlines to meet this coming week.

So let me wrap up with my song of the week – Linda Ronstadt’s Blue Bayou.

sonya 2 convocation aug 18 2016

 

That’s all for now.  

Until next week.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya — the luckiest and happiest college president ever

BC Students Visit The White House!

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, January 21st and such a fabulous day to be a Renegade.

It was great waking up to a piece by Nick Strobel.  Also read a piece by Harold Pierce which I tweeted. Here is a jpg of the front page of the Eye Street section of The Bakersfield Californian.  And the weblink http://tinyurl.com/h2eg6u2 

nick-strobel-stargazing-jan-21-2017

I love the way Nick starts his piece:

This was first week of the spring semester at Bakersfield College and classes are full! The week before was filled with workshops, including a two-day institute on the college GPS (Guided Pathways System), followed by Opening Day, which focused on the college GPS. Good stuff happening!

Great stuff happening up in the sky too with our two closest neighbors: Brilliant Venus continues to close in on orange-red Mars in our evening sky in the southwest. Venus is the super-bright star in the southwest after sunset and Mars will be to the upper left of Venus. By the end of the month, they will be almost within the same field of view of typical binoculars.

and I also love how he ends it

A NOTE ON SCIENCE

I’ll close with a comment about the process of science. As a science educator, I read with great interest Robert Gebelhoff’s column that ran in last Sunday’s Californian about using science as a political tool. Although we have discovered much about our universe that we’re confident enough to bet our life on, there is still a lot that is unknown and tentative. Science is a human endeavor and it isn’t perfect, but the process of science has built into it a way to take into account our human fallibility.

Instead of “arguing from authority,” the process of science uses peer review to double-check (triple-check, quadruple-check, etc.) our ideas and ultimately, nature will be the final judge of what’s true or not — nature has the final veto power over any of our ideas. Studies and theories based on facts are published in peer-reviewed journals for other research teams to pick apart and find the defects in the argument or method.

When an idea has been tested many times by many independent groups and has withstood all those tests, then the reasonable approach is to assume that the idea is close to the truth.

Here is the link to Harold Pierce’s article A hidden health crisis: Toxic stess driving up Kern death rates.  http://tinyurl.com/hbnnafk

Talking about the Bakersfield Californian, I got a text message from Francis Mayer letting me know that Louis Amestoy is back in Bakersfield.  Welcome home Louis!  So happy to have you back.

I was also excited to see a facebook post that our very own Dr. Matthew Garrett presenting to the Miller-Eccles group.

 

 

Here is a “copy and paste” from Jen’s post:

Tonight I got to accompany Matt as he spoke at the Miller/Eccles group at CSU Fullerton. They asked him to speak about his newly published book. He spoke with passion and was clearly knowledgeable, well researched, and well prepared. They were amazed by the way he connected to the audience and what a great speaker he is. He also responded well to all of their questions. He has another tomorrow night and I know it will go well also. His 10 years of work came through tonight. I am so proud of him!

Talking about being proud, here is the intro slide to Matt’s presentation:

Intro slide to Matt Garrett's lecture Jan 20 2017.jpg

Do you notice something?  It says Bakersfield College and the email is @bakersfieldcollege.edu.  Yes!  You see my dear community members, Dr. Matt Garrett is a great scholar respected widely for his work and he teaches at BC.  The Miller-Eccles group is a group of affluent professionals and retired academics that fly out big name scholars for a small private lecture each month. Next month speaker is Laurel Thatcher, a Pulitzer Prize winning professor with an endowed chair at Harvard. The following month they have Christine Durham, the first woman appointed to the Utah Supreme Court. And among this group of speakers if our Bakersfield College faculty.  Yes!

How fortunate our students are…..students most of whom are first in their families to go to college.  Matt represents many of our faculty who are recognized scholars. #WeAreBC

Well, back to last week…. Whew, what a week.  Lots of travel. And I made sure that I remembered my power cord, phone and other necessities….  The week started on Martin Luther King Jr. day on Monday January 16th.

Martin Luther King Jr. will be a person who forever stands out in people’s minds as a leader who gave voice to the injustice of social inequality and racism, and demonstrated “non-violent civil disobedience as a means to expose racial injustice.”  I was surprised to know that King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech was not his first at the Lincoln Memorial. Check out this list of ten things you might not know about MLK. How many did you know? Leave a comment after checking out the link! http://tinyurl.com/ktwjdo3

Here is a 17:27-minute youtube video …I have a dream

mlk_img_0573The week was off to a wonderful start when on Monday, I had the pleasure of attending the annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Awards Breakfast. The morning was hosted by Danny Morrison, local radio personality and columnist with the Bakersfield Californian. The keynote speaker, Bishop Broderick Huggins, is a pastor at St. Paul Baptist Church in nearby Oxnard, CA. As an advocate for higher learning, he earned his Bachelor of Theology, a BA in Religon, a PhD in Religious Philosophy and a PhD in Theology. In 1995, he founded the Saint Paul Seminary and Bible Institute where he currently serves as President and Principal Professor. Bishop  Dr. Broderick Huggins spoke truth to power. He told the audience, “Change will not happen unless people are uncomfortable.  Justice, mercy, humility work together. We need the hearts of people to change.”

It was fantastic to see the BC gang in attendance at such a great celebration.

mlk.JPG

shanell-tyus-and-familyI was sitting next to Shannel Tyus, manager of our Student Success Program, and Destiny, a student who wants to get into our nursing program. Loved getting to know both of them.  Here is Shanell with her beautiful family.  A young mom juggling family with little ones and committed to a greater calling of working with our first generation students and transforming their lives.  The Student Success Program that Shanell oversees focuses on best practices of educational planning and others that have had a very positive impact on our students. #WeAreBC

The room was packed and it felt as if the entire community turned out in support.  Our political leaders here in Bakersfield and in Sacramento were there in full force. Now for some photos of the event – see for yourself!

Bishop Broderick Huggins, Steve Watkin, Sonya Christian;
Sonya Christian with BPD Chief Lyle Martin;
NaTesha Kindred, Karen Goh, Jay Tamsi, Shannon Grove, Vince Fong

 

Sonya Christian, Pastor Martha Johnson; David Valadao, Jay Tamsi, Rudy Salas

Shanell Tyus, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Harlan Hunter

shanell-tyus-nan-gomez-heitzeberg-harlan-hunter-jan-16-2017
Join me in congratulating this year’s award recipients who were recognized  make a difference in our community:

Sgt. Claton Madden, Bakersfield Police Dept.
Steven W. Schilling, President & CEO of Clinica Sierra Vista
Manuel Carrizalez, Director & Founder of Stay Focused, Reach for Greatness
Dr. Rhonda Williams, President of The Bakersfield Chapter of the Links, Inc
Dr. Evelyn Young, CSUB, Executive Assistant to the President
Pastor Josephate Jordan,  Christ First Ministries
Raquel Jones, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated Bakersfield Chapter
Rev. Dr. Oscar J. Anthony, Pastor St. Peter R.C.C.M. for his passion in unifying the Pastors
Danny Morrison, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 2017 Host
Dr. Bishop Broderick Huggins, Pastor of St. Paul Baptist Church and MLK 2017 Keynote

Guided Pathways and Board of Governors

bog_eloy

On Tuesday, Jan 17th, I attended the Board of Governors meeting in Sacramento.  I think this was the first meeting with our new California Community College Chancellor, Eloy Ortiz Oakley. If you haven’t had a chance to learn a little about him, check out  http://tinyurl.com/3jzbryw for his bio and this recent article from The Los Angeles Times, “Long Beach educator will be first Latino to lead California community colleges.

bog_garyThe Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges sets policy and provides guidance for the 72 districts and 113 colleges that constitute the system. The 17-member Board is appointed by the Governor and formally interacts with state and federal officials and other state organizations.

I was happy to see Gary Reed who warmly welcomed me and was supportive as I got ready to present to the BOG on Guided Pathways. Member Reed lives in the Tulare area and spoke positively about the linked learning program with Porterville College, the High School and the community. So happy to have one of our very own from the Central Valley on the BOG.  I also learned that Pauline Larwood was also on the BOG when she was on the KCCD Board of Trustees.

I co-presented with Vice Chancellor for Institutional Effectiveness, Theresa Tena who is wonderful to work with.  And Mario Rodriguez, Vice Chancellor of Finance, who presented the Governor’s budget to the BOG is just fabulous.

cropped-image-arnoldo-avalos-connie-conway-sonya-christian-romeo-agbalog-april-29-2016The other two BOG members that I have blogged about are Arnoldo Avalos and Connie Conway. Here is a picture of both of them with Trustee Romeo Agbalog from April 29, 2016 when they visited Bakersfield College.

I was really impressed with the level and sophistication of discussion.  As I opened my remarks, I told them that the CA Community Colleges were in very good hands under their leadership.  The president of the BOG Cecelia Estalano is one smart person and facilitated complicated discussions in a very skillful manner.  Wow!

I am not sure if I’ve already blogged about an article written by Nick Strobel and me about Guided Pathways that was published in the League for innovations, but here it is….
https://www.league.org/leadership-abstracts/what-guided-pathways-model

BOG Member Pamela Haynes who is also a member of the Board of Trustees of the Los Rios district mentioned that 9-page article as a must-read in understanding Guided Pathways.  Yes!  Here is a picture of Pamela Haynes.

I also want to give s shout out to the student member of the BOG Eman Dalili.  He is a smart, caring young man and I was so proud sitting in the audience watching him engage with the discussions.

 

 

Kern Education Round table

group-education-roundtable-jan-18-2017

You may recall I shared with you information regarding the California Community College Chancellor’s Office announcing their investment of $15 million to support local communities in coming together to guarantee students a mechanism to complete their first two years of higher education in a community college, where they can seamlessly transfer to a university, or become competitively employable for careers with family-sustaining wages.

Bakersfield College is answering the call in response to the California College Promise Innovation Grant request for applications by proposing to introduce The Bakersfield Promise Program (a scaled iteration of The Renegade Promise) in close partnership with Kern High School District (thank you Superintendent Bryon Schaefer) and California State University Bakersfield (thank you President Horace Mitchell). On December 21st, educational, political, and business community leaders in Kern met at BC in the Fireside Room for the first of three College Promise Education Roundtables. Check out my Dec 24, 2016 blog https://sonyachristianblog.com/2016/12/24/happy-holidays-from-bc/.  The third will most likely be on March 8, 2017 from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. with a potential public statement from the three institutions.

BC staff joined together this past Wednesday, January 18th with community partners from Kern Community Foundation (thank you Kristen Barnes) and educational partners from Kern Community College District (KCCD), Kern High School District (KHSD), as a smaller operational work team to continue the conversation and narrow in on the strategy for our collaborative work ahead. Dr. Janet Fulks and Shanell Tyus (BC) facilitated the discussion by providing an overview of our grant application and goals, and solicited feedback from attendees.

Vickie Spanos led members of KHSD in a discussion about their successes to date in closing achievement gaps among Kern High School District students as they prepare for graduation and college entry. Recommendations on opportunities to partner further as the promise unfolds were shared and received with great enthusiasm! The information shared will continue to guide not only the final development of the grant application, but the direction of The Bakersfield Transfer Promise.

 

Kristen Barnes Philanthropy-Matters

Kristen Barnes

Dr. Kristen Barnes from Kern Community Foundation (KCF) shared highlights from the work done through the College Access Convening Committee and the importance of continuing the great work shared among these educational and community partners. She also shared information regarding the potential for financial partnership opportunities through scholarships made possible by Kern donors.  Kristen is a rock star!

 

Guests in attendance included:

KCCD Associate Vice Chancellor John Means,
From KHSD: Vickie Spanos, Christy Fraley, Ben Sherley, and Ryan Geivet,
From Kern Community Foundation: Dr. Kristen Barnes,
From Bakersfield College: Dr. Janet Fulks, Dr. Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Rich McCrow, Dr. Stephen Waller, Keri Kennedy, Dr. Nicky Damania, Steve Watkin, Cindy Collier, Dr. Emmanuel Mourtzanos, Jennifer Achan, Marissa Marquez, Michelle Pena, Dr. Zav Dadabhoy, Tom Gelder, Sandi Taylor, Shanell Tyus, Cornelio Rodriguez and
Renegade Promise Program Student Magdalena Pantelon.

As we near the completion and submission of our grant application we are thankful for close educational, industry, and political partners. The synergy surrounding this promise to students and members of the Kern community is taking us through the home stretch!

 

Coach Paula Dahl

coachdahlOur Renegade Women’s Basketball team is led by Coach Paula Dahl, who recorded her milestone 300th win earlier this season, and in my opinion she’s one of those folks whose influence transcends even her athletes and students.

Her team opened the season with five straight losses. And while Coach Dahl was dejected, she never gave up, and she showed us all what a “Coach Dahl-type team” is; it’s a group of athletes who each have specific skills but not necessarily the complete package as individual athletes. But Coach Dahl’s superpower is in bringing together those individuals where each of their strengths can shine, and benefit one another. Yes, Coach Dahl builds TEAMS.

If you think about it, this is what we should all be doing – helping peers, family members, and friends put their best strength forward while not drawing attention to their faults, and having folks in your circle doing the same for you.

I’ve learned that saying “it’s not about the wins” is more than a well-worn sports cliché at Bakersfield College; it’s part of the Renegade Way…and I’m learning more and more about that hallowed code with every athletic event I attend!

East Hills Mall

On Wednesday, big plans were revealed by the owners of the East Hills Mall. The plans for a 350,000-square-foot “destination open-air lifestyle center” are showcased in an article by the Bakersfield Californian. Check out the exciting news at  http://tinyurl.com/z9qxjql

Spring 2017

Even though the weather this week did not quite feel like “spring has sprung,” the Spring 2017 semester is very much alive at Bakersfield College. It’s an incredible sight to see eager students already at-home on campus when I drive in every morning. They’re excited to learn and browsing through books, checking their cell phones, and chatting with fellow students. The first week of a new semester is always a fantastic time… Isn’t there something great about opening up a brand new book, or writing on the first page of a new notebook?

Healthy Campus Designation

Our campus is lively, and we’re also healthy! On Jan. 13, First Lady Michelle Obama joined representatives from BC and the other Healthy Campus Challenge winning schools for a group photo. Alexa Rivera, Ray Purcell, and Vincente Lopez visited on behalf of our campus and I’d love to share an email from our two students sharing their experience.

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“Dear President Christian,

As representatives of the Student Health Advisory, thank you again for the opportunity to represent Bakersfield College at the White House to receive the Healthy Campus Challenge Award. Both Vicente and I are extremely grateful. As expected, Vicente and I were able to gain valuable information from our current government leaders about, not only health care reform, but also about student leadership and advocacy. Throughout the White House Healthy Campus event, Vicente and I were able to converse with several influential leaders ranging from individuals that not only represented the 60 campuses in attendance, but also the Senior Manager of Partnerships, for the Partnership for a Healthier America. In addition to expanding our professional networks, we were also able to listen to several government leaders, such as the Senior Advisor to the President, emphasize the importance of student involvement. They explained that students are the most influential voice in a college campus. Because of our understanding of our student body, we, the students, have the ability to positively impact our college campuses through our involvement. After the panel discussions and speakers at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, we were fortunate to be invited to the East Wing of the White House. There we met First Lady, Michelle Obama, and a portrait was taken of the campus participants with the First Lady. Mrs. Obama explained that although all of our present healthcare may soon change as a result of defunding the Affordable Care Act, the goal of making sure that people throughout the nation are insured in healthcare is and will always be an important issue that we as a nation have to continue to work towards. The First Lady was also very appreciative of our work throughout the White House Healthy Campus Challenge, building on the increased enrollment among the demographic group who is most inequitably under covered and who’s academic careers are vulnerable to unexpected illness. All in all, the experiences Vicente and I have gained have not only empowered us to continue to improve the overall health and well being of Bakersfield College, but it has also motivated us to continue to work hard and be engaged. We are hopeful that after we are able to relay our gained experiences and knowledge to our student body, that they too will be motivated to continue to work towards their goals. This has truly been a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Thank you,

Alexa Rivera and Vicente Lopez”

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That’s all for now.  

Until next week.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya — the luckiest and happiest college president ever