Good morning Bakersfield. It is Sunday, July 3rd and here I am blogging from Eugene, Oregon and thinking that it is truly a wonderful day to be a Renegade.
Apologies for the late blog post… I was travelling and taking care of work related activities and could not get to my Saturday morning ritual. I did feel sorry missing my exercise class this weekend and instead made up with long walks by the Willamette with two of my favorites — Woody and Ken Murdoff. Eugene at this time of the year is like a botanical garden with the trees a vibrant green and bursts of colors everywhere. The daisies, in particular, were crowding the bike paths competing for space with lavenders. A good friend told me about how spectacular the Willamette Valley is when the lavenders are in full bloom. The high temperature here is around 82 and the low 58. Hence the sweatshirt for the morning walk. Check out this 27-sec video of Woody fetching his tennis ball from the water.
Yesterday, July 2 2016, Elie Wiesel, A-7713 his number in Auschwitz, passed away at 87. A survivor of the holocaust Wiesel was a prolific writer and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986. I was first introduced to him through his book Night. A powerful story from a young boy who had it all and then lost it all. Here is an excerpt.
Men to the left! Women to the right!
Eight words spoken quietly, indifferently, without emotion. Eight short, simple words. … For a part of a second I glimpsed my mother and my sisters moving away to the right. Tzipora held Mother’s hand. I saw them disappear into the distance; my mother was stroking my sister’s fair hair …and I did not know that in that place, at that moment, I was parting from my mother and Tzipora forever.
So yesterday, carrying the words of Wiesel and the horrors we inflict on each other I was especially sensitive to all of the slightest movements and colors, subtle or bright, as I experienced the sheer beauty of nature in the Northwest part of this great country. Talking about this great country, tomorrow is July 4th — Happy Independence Day all!
The NY Times has an in-depth article on Wiesel at http://tinyurl.com/jblvgf2
Now, back to BC…… I must say inspiration is all around us each and every day at the college. Often caught up in the business of life, the little things, can be missed and with that, sometimes we miss an opportunity for enormous inspiration, but this week was especially motivating. From the fantastic people who work with their minds and hearts at Bakersfield College, to the current and former students who are accomplishing things beyond their dreams, all the way to the nitty gritty of the hard work we’re doing at BC – It never ceases to motivate and inspire me to continue to do what I do.
The first example of inspiration came to me on Monday afternoon. I received a fantastic text from Paul Beckworth.
I am in a Hawaiian shirt and jeans, in an air conditioned office, writing up veteran stuff, and getting ready to teach about the gold rush. And you pay me to do it! What a life! It’s a good time to be at BC!
This just reminds me that when you’re doing a job you love, it’s hardly feels like work at all. Our dedicated staff and faculty, bring so much passion to BC which inspires us all.
And then there was the email titled Out with the Old, In with the New that Tom Moran, long standing chair of the Foreign Language Department sent his staff as his farewell email. Tom Moran, who has given his all to BC and our students and given his all to his family and loved ones. Let’s toast Tom.
Here are excerpts from his July 1st email:
As has recently so often been the case, this email is a day late. Yesterday was my final day as chair of the Foreign Language Department. It has been my pleasure to serve in this capacity for the past seven years. It has been challenging, gratifying, fun, rewarding, often intense and always interesting. Each of you has been supportive of my efforts for which I will always be grateful, particularly this last year, which has been enormously challenging for my family. Together we have accomplished much: the Spanish ADT, uniform ASL curriculum, hiring more adjunct instructors, including five full- and part-time Deaf ASL instructors, several successful and on-time program reviews, numerous successful and on-time assessments, more, remodeled, and technology-enhanced classrooms, priority room scheduling, and a host of other projects and initiatives too numerous to list. The programs in our department have grown, improved, and expanded, and that is thanks to you.
I’m grateful to David Neville who threw his hat into the ring to serve as chair. I’m grateful to each of you for offering him your vote of confidence. I know that he will do a good job and I anticipate that you will support him in his new role. I intend to offer him the same support that he offered me, which was considerable.
I’m also immensely grateful to our dean, Manny, whose support of our department has been nothing short of steadfast. We’re so lucky to have him. I’m also grateful beyond words to Patt Davis for all her work—particularly with evaluations—and to my dear Camilla, who has always kept me on task and anticipated our needs, even when I was so frequently rolling off the rails. We’re tremendously fortunate to have our administrative support in FA-69: They’re the finest on campus. I want to thank Sonya for entrusting us with two new positions and to Nan and Manny for helping us to structure our new interpreter education program.
Had I sent this email yesterday, it would have been my final act as chair to offer you wonderful news: With the support of our president, we have been successful in hiring two, new full-time faculty members, bring our total FT pool to eight. What a great time to be in Foreign Language and what a great time to be at BC!
Both of our new hires will be familiar to you, as they have both served as adjunct instructors. Please allow me to formally introduce Jaclyn Krause, ASL, and Sara Palasch, Spanish. Jaclyn has been hired to spearhead our new sign language interpreting program. Sara has been hired to develop the infrastructure that will allow us to begin offering online courses in Spanish and our other disciplines.
This summer, I begin my fourteenth year at BC. It has been a busy one for me, teaching a summer course, participating in our writer’s bureau, serving on a hiring committee, revising curriculum, developing tests, and meeting with students. Although summer is a time for rest and rejuvenation, now is such an exciting time at BC that it’s a bit hard to stay away. Enjoy the remainder of your summers, and I look forward to seeing you all in the fall.
And then on June 15th there was this wonderful piece written by Paula Parks published on the front page of the Bakersfield News Observer. Here it is
Then on Saturday, July 2nd, I get this excited message from Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg with a series of text messages that our year-long planning way-finding project is being implemented. See Photos below.
Our new ‘way finding’ project. Finally ! Over a year in planning they are being installed. New maps also. Love the vintage Renegade Red. Let’s push this color this year. I am a happy Renegade 👍
There are several layers of excitement here. The first, gosh darn it, this project should have happened months ago. Then there is the color. Note that Nan does not say just Red, nor does she say just “Renegade Red” but rather “vintage Renegade Red.” You have got to be in the room when Nan and David Koeth are together. I swear they speak a different language altogether — the language of colors….the language of design. And they can keep it up for a looooong time. I must say that Kris Stallworth, Chair of the Art department, totally speaks this language as well. He recently sent me this link to the Harvard Library of Color. Check it out.
You would think that things slow down at an academic institution in the summer. This past week certainly did not reflect that. Let me highlight just a few items.
Fire Technology Program
Last Saturday, June 25th, right after publishing my weekend blog and rushing to my exercise class I drove over to meet Tim Capehart, Director of BC’s Fire Tech Program, at the Kern County Fire Facility on Olive drive. The whole field trip was a real treat and I so enjoyed getting to know Tim.
In light of the recent and tragic nearby fires, I couldn’t help by think about how many of these courageous men and women graduated from our Fire Technology Program. The program began in 1956 as a partnership between BC and the Bakersfield Fire Department. Students in the fire science program were hired as paid on-call firefighters by the city and earned $30 a month. They could sleep and study at the fire station south of the college on University, and performed routine station duties such as meal prep, mopping floors, making beds, fire prevention and suppression training.
Bakersfield FD and Kern County FD built a joint fire training center called “The Olive Drive Fire Training Facility” in 1984. Shortly after its completion, BC entered into an in-service agreement with both agencies. [Check out the logo in the picture above Tim Capehart and Mike Lencioni. It embodies the collaboration between Bakersfield FD, Kern County FD and Bakersfield College]. In the years that followed, the program was run by some awesome coordinators including, Jacki Fisher, Ray Soto, Frank Ramos, and our current Director of Fire/EMS, Tim Capehart.
In 1993, the program produced 51,304 student contract hours and since our programs continue to expand and grow, over the past three years, our students have generated over 200,000 hours of training.
The students have a training schedule which is pretty intense. Here is a picture I quickly snapped as Mike Lencioni was reviewing the curriculum and training schedule with me. We offer an AA Degree in Fire Technology, an AS Degree in Wildland Firefighting and an AS Degree in Paramedic studies. We also provide the accredited State Fire Marshal Firefighter 1 & 2 Academies. Both these academies run nine hours a day, forty hours a week, and include night and weekend academies. Both academies run for six months, and cover over 400 hours of training. The training is provided by city and county firefighters.
The academy is run in a para-military style very structured and requiring the students to be extremely disciplined. If students are not performing up to par, they may receive “gigs” and have to run up to the top of the six story tower and ring a bell. Whew, I got exhausted just looking at the stairs in this tall tower [see picture with Tim and Mike] so can only imagine that this “gig” quickly disciplines these students. My hats off to them! The entire academy is intended to instill self-discipline and teamwork, which is essential when they are out working on real fire situations. The cadets are divided up into squads the first night of the academy. If one cadet messes up the whole squad gets the gig, so they learn quickly to help build up, or assist teach other in their squad. They always give 100%.
A program this large and successful could not happen without the support of our industry partners (Bakersfield Fire Chief, Doug Greener, and Kern County Fire Chief, Brian Marshal). Our fire technology advisory board is made up of two Chiefs from each department, they are Deputy Chief Tyler Hartley, Training Battalion Chief Trever Martinusen from the City, and Deputy Chief Benny Wofford, and Training Battalion Chief Derik Davis, from the Kern County Fire Department. Vice President Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Dean Cindy Collier, and Director of Fire/EMS Tim Capehart provide staffing support for the advisory committee.
The picture above was taken when Tim, Nan and I presented to a group of stellar Public Safety individuals — Bakersfield Fire, Kern County Fire, Bakersfield Police Department, and Kern County Sheriff’s Office. The conversation was about meeting future workforce needs and to see if we could collaborate to extend the dollar in meeting needs. Specifically we were talking about facilities and how to leverage the resources to fund this vision for future generations.
With a heart full of gratitude, thanks to our local firefighters, especially with current fires so close to home, up near the mountains of Kernville. With more than 200 structures destroyed and 43,360 acres burned, our more than 1,700 firefighters work non-stop to keep us safe. Your courage, strength, and dedication is inspiring to everyone.
Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (KCHHC)
The Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (KCHHC) Business Education Foundation is giving a “thumbs up” after one of our faculty, Sarah Baron presented “A Better BC,” which highlights our plans to improve our facilities for the future to address the growth in enrollment, the new expansion into baccalaureate programs as well as antiquated spaces. With several hundreds of members, the Chamber represents over 410,000 Hispanics, and is composed of a cross-section of professionals and business people, who in turn represent corporations as well as large and small businesses. The KCHHC is on a roll doing awesome things! BC can’t be more excited about the ongoing partnership and future opportunities that lie ahead. Don’t forget to keep in touch with our plans to take care of our facilities by checking out the website at www.abetterbc.com
BC’s Blue Ribbon Committee:
BC’s Blue Ribbon Committee met this week on Tuesday, June 28th and members of the Blue Ribbon Committee attended and spoke at the Board of Trustees meeting on June 30th to discuss a potential 2016 bond measure. The Board took the first of two steps to set the stage for the 2016 ballot. July 14th will be the Board meeting when they will consider whether KCCD should go out for a measure. Mayor Harvey Hall is the Chair of the Blue Ribbon Committee and Congressman Bill Thomas the Senior Advisor. Norma Rojas-Mora and Jay Rosenlieb co-chair the community connections group and Michael O’Doherty the Oversight and Accountability group.
California Guided Pathways Project
“As long as we keep asking, ‘Is it good for students?’ we will stay on the right track”
–John Nixon, former Mt. SAC President
If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, or keep up with Bakersfield College, you know we are among 3 community colleges in California participating in a national project designed to implement guided academic and career pathways at scale. The 3-year project, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is led by the American Association of Community Colleges.
On June 29th, Bakersfield College hosted the first California Guided Pathways Project Planning Meeting funded by the College Futures Foundation at the LAX Marriott in Los Angeles. The convening connected national scholars, including Kay McClenney, Rob Johnstone, and Davis Jenkins, with California leaders including Brad Phillips in higher education in order to begin the crafting of a guided pathways initiative suited for California’s unique regulatory and social environment.
Representatives from Bakersfield College were joined by administrators and faculty from the two other participating California community colleges, Mt. San Antonio College and Irvine Valley College, as well as representatives from the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges, Achieving the Dream, the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), California Acceleration Project, California Community College Chancellor’s Office, Campaign for College Opportunity, Career Ladders Project, Community College Research Center, Educational Results Partnership, Foundation for California Community Colleges, Institute for Evidence Based Change, Institutional Effectiveness Partnership Initiative, and the National Center for Inquiry & Improvement, Research & Planning (RP) Group.
The event was made possible through the generous support of the College Futures Foundation. Thank you Shawn Whalen and College Futures.
We were so fortunate to have two CSU Chancellor’s Office representatives, Dawn Digrius and Ken O’Donnell, collaborate with us on this work. It is partnerships like this that will be critical in ensuring success for our students across educational sectors and in alignment with industry needs.
Our website has more information on the dozens of partners committed to making this happen. In the days to follow, we will also add photos from the event, so be sure to check out:
Check out some of the quotes noted by Lesley Bonds:
- In California, the barriers are common and known. As we set the table for a project like this one, let’s go after them as a collective. –Irene Malmgren, VP of Instruction at Mt. San Antonio College
- How do we ensure success for students through California’s current river delta of transfer pathways? –Craig Hayward, IVC
- It is becoming more clear to me that we must create conditions so that students don’t have to be heroes in order to be successful –Rob Johnstone, Founder & Director of National Center for Inquiry & Improvement
- As long as we keep asking, ‘Is it good for students?’ we will stay on the right track –John Nixon, former Mt. SAC president says he left behind a plaque with this question engraved for current president Bill Scroggins
- It should be written on June 29, 2016 –in three years, California will be the model for transformation nationally – Sonya Christian
- The manifestation of leadership is institutional organization. In this work, we need organizational elegance –John Nixon, AACC and ATD Leadership Coach
- This isn’t another project someone in an office on the south side of campus leads, this is an institutional transformation and will require broad and deep engagement from all –Bill Scroggins, Mt. SAC President
Thank you Lesley Bonds and Jessica Wojtysiak for working side-by-side with me to make this happen.
This week, recent Bakersfield College graduate, Jorge Santos, led an 8-piece Latin Jazz ensemble at The Mark in downtown Bakersfield, paying tribute to the music of legendary Cuban saxophonist and composer, Paquito D’Rivera.
The band was composed of fellow BC alumni along with several local pros, and they played for a packed, enthusiastic crowd. Jorge, who is part of the first graduating class from our new Applied Music program, studied trumpet at BC with Kris Tiner and has played lead trumpet in the BC Jazz Ensemble for the past several years. He has quickly become one of the busiest musicians in town, working regularly with groups including La Marcha, the Mentorship Big Band, and his own combos. His concert was part of the ongoing Bakersfield Jazz Workshop series, which presents a different featured artist every Tuesday night at The Mark. Talk about inspiring!
That’s all for now.
Until next Saturday.
With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.
sonya ….. the luckiest and happiest college president in the whole world
Tagged: Bakersfield College, Brian Marshal, California Guided Pathways, Congressman Bill Thomas, Doug Greener, Frank Ramos, Jackie Fisher, Jay Rosenlieb, Jessica Wojtysiak, Ken Murdoff, Lesley Bonds, Mayor Harvey Hall, Norma Rojas-Mora, Paul Beckworth, Paula Parks, Ray Soto, Shawn Whalen, Sonya Christian, Tim Capehart, Tom Moran
I think the B.C campus is really hot, especially in the summer. We should plant 500 shade trees so they can grow above our heads and shade us from the sun all summer long and we wouldn’t feel the effects of the sun.
[…] Check out Woody swimming last year in my July 3, 2016 blog at https://sonyachristianblog.com/2016/07/03/daily-inspiration-from-all-things-bc/ […]