Good morning Bakersfield. It is Saturday, December 10th….a good day to be a Renegade! a good week to be a Renegade.
Campus was buzzing this week as students crammed in last-minute studying, raced to complete finals and closed out fall 2016 as another successful semester – but life has a humorous way of always making the busiest of times also some of the most memorable.
On Wednesday night, multiple gas leaks were reported on campus and immediately the BC team jumped into action. The President’s Cabinet received news at approximately 9:30PM that PG&E disconnected gas to the main campus and that’s when the work began. Without heat and throughout the night, Bill Potter, Chris Counts, Ramon Puga, Michelle Pena, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, and Zav Dadabhoy worked to make sure Thursday’s finals and events could resume as normal. In addition, all of the deans were on standby to respond to whatever was the outcome of work of the technical team. Also a shout out to Liz Rozell, who answered my call from Sacramento and went immediately to work. Stephen Waller who headed out to campus. Manny Mourtzanos, Cindy Collier, Corny Rodriguez, Shannon Musser, …..
Approximately 365 finals were scheduled for Thursday, so a list of alternate spaces and a plan B was drafted. However, by 1:00AM, repairs were estimated to be complete within 3-5 hours, and by 7:30AM, campus was up-and-running like nothing had happened!
Thank you Zav Dadabhoy for taking this picture on Wednesday, Dec 6th night, and sending it to me while I was in Sacramento.
BC is a gem because of its people – the dedication of our staff, faculty, administration, and students make this campus a great place to be. Thank you again to everyone who pulled together to make sure classrooms had heat and finals could resume as scheduled on Thursday morning. #WeAreBC #TodosSomosBC
Caroling and Culinary extravaganza:
Saturday, December 3rd: Our BC Chamber singers, faculty and staff sang Christmas carols to us, and our Culinary students and faculty chefs cooked an incredible meal. Two of our trustees, Kyle Carter and Romeo Agbalog, attended the event. Thank you trustees. It is always a treat to have you on our campus.
I also enjoyed seeing many community members out to support BC as well as our faculty and staff. Pauline Larwood, so wonderful to see you!
I enjoyed catching up with Brian Burrows, past CEO of the Bakersfield Symphony orchestra, as well as Phil McDermott, son of Greg McDermott whom I have known for many years.
And the icing on the cake was a surprise guest, Senator Jean Fuller and her husband Russell Fuller. Senator Fuller is a Renegade and I enyoyed hearing her talk about her time at BC, how she was in the Fireside Room listening to President Simonsen and about how BC made a tremendous difference in her life. Senator Fuller is just amazing….smart, beautiful, and so caring. She is a warrior for issues important to the Central Valley and her negotiating skills have served us very well. Let’s take a moment to toast this incredible human being. To Senator Jean Fuller!
And I love this picture of my mom, Pam Christian, who, after dinner wanted a more comfortable chair and found herself this cozy corner. She loves Christmas music, and I was so happy watching her relaxing and listening to her favorite songs. You can even spot her in the background of the group picture above, staying warm and having a good time. So glad you came to the event mom!
Glad to see faculty, staff and their families out to support this event. Loved having the young Strobel, Kelly, with us who had just completed a physics project with cranes, pulleys and weights. How fast our children grown up.
And thank you Camilla for triggering a bidding war on a live auction item!
I captured a few videos on my iphone. Yes, I have a new phone, the iphone 7. So you should be seeing more videos in my blog posts. Except, only a week after I got the phone, I dropped it and there is a crack across the front face 🙁 … I’m told it can be repaired at the mall, or maybe I’ll leave it as a reminder to get the iphone 8 as soon as it comes out.
Pat Davis is the best. Here are 26 second of Pat doing Santa Baby. Jen Garret we need Pat to do this again in December 2017!
I so loved this Christmas rendition of Santa and his Sleigh performed extravagantly by Dr. John Gerhold to the tune of Bennie and the Jets. I found myself responding to the music the moment the first chords exploded from the keyboard, matched by the power of John’s voice, and sent the music reverberating across the room. Turn on your sound and turn up the volume, because Heeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrrreeeeeeeee’s John Gerhold!!
If anyone could have followed John Gerhold with a stellar performance, it was Ken Burdick doing The Impossible Dream from The Man from La Mancha with his fabulous voice and great presence. This is what we do at BC… The Impossible Dream, transforming lives. Let’s look at these magical lyrics and then turn up the volume and listen to Burdick.
To dream … the impossible dream …To fight … the unbeatable foe …To bear … with unbearable sorrow …To run … where the brave dare not go …To right … the unrightable wrong …To love … pure and chaste from afar …To try … when your arms are too weary …To reach … the unreachable star …This is my quest, to follow that star …No matter how hopeless, no matter how far …To fight for the right, without question or pause …To be willing to march into Hell, for a Heavenly cause …And I know if I’ll only be true, to this glorious quest,That my heart will lie will lie peaceful and calm,when I’m laid to my rest …And the world will be better for this:That one man, scorned and covered with scars,Still strove, with his last ounce of courage,To reach … the unreachable star …
Finally, I am glad Jen Garrett caught a video of Mason Edwards and Kelsey Celeste singing this duet. https://www.facebook.com/jennifergarrettdma/videos/10209738052381028/
The evening before the event, Jen Garrett and her students were in the cafeteria late into the night getting the place ready for us. Jen sent this txt: “You should see the cafeteria! And we aren’t finished yet. It will be even better. The snowflakes aren’t showing on the ceiling yet!” Talk about a faculty member going the extra 100 miles to engage our students, the single most important ingredient in student learning. #WeAreBC
Here are more pictures:
We were excited to hear on December 6th that the College Futures Foundation funded the California Guided Pathways Proposal a major initiative that BC is promoting as a framework statewide to build on and integrate the work of student learning and achievement in California’s Community Colleges. Harold Pierce of The Bakersfield Californian covered the story on Thursday, December 8th. Check out Pierce’s coverage at http://tinyurl.com/hz7tqfn.
Here is an excerpt
The model provides structure to students selecting classes. Counselors would plan course schedules based on whether students want to receive two-year degrees, or transfer to a four-year university, check in on them regularly and create pathways for success.
Students would be assisted from point of entry through employment in a chosen field, according to the Foundation for California Community Colleges, which spearheaded the effort.
Guided Pathways would limit the number of students taking courses not necessary for their goals and move them through the community college system faster, clearing enrollment backlogs that districts have for years faced.
“The Guided Pathway model provides a structured framework for colleges to lead institutional change and improve student success,” said incoming California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley. “I applaud the colleges and partners who’ve taken an innovative leadership role tailoring a national model to benefit students in California.”
Btw, Eloy Oakley is the incoming Chancellor of the California Community Colleges. He starts on Janaury 1, 2017. We also have a new Chancellor for the Kern Community College District, Tom Burke. Let’s welcome Chancellor Eloy Oakley and Chancellor Tom Burke to their new roles.
So proud of the work done by the BC team who has been helping with the statewide work — Lesley Bonds, Nick Strobel, Jessica Wojtysiak, and Janet Fulks. It has been great partnering with Kay McClenney, Rob Johnstone, and Kathy Booth.
But the man who connected the dots and worked hard behind the scene to make it happen is Shawn Whalen. I am sure he is going to hate it that I am calling him out. But truly he is the person who has worked diligently bringing us together, asking the tough questions, keeping the equity conversation front and center, and stretching for high levels of performance from the colleges. Here’s to Shawn Whalen! I am so glad to be working with you!
Talking about Guided Pathways, there was a statewide Guided Pathways workshop in Sacramento on Wednesday (Dec 6th) and Thursday (Dec 7th). This workshop was funded by the Institutional Effectiveness Partnership Initiative led by the statewide Vice Chancellor Theresa Tena and BC took a leadership role in pulling together the programming for the event. It was also a treat to have a fabulous BC team attend. I rode back on the train with the team and so enjoyed hearing the group work, talk and laugh together. The best part of working at BC is the camaraderie, the love, respect and admiration we have for each other.
Andrew Haney, Matthew Garrett, Janet Fulks, Eleonora Hicks, Maria Wright, Steve Watkin, and Grace Commiso took time out of their busy schedules to attend the IEPI Guided Pathways Workshop in Sacramento this week. #WeAreBC
NEH Grant for Delano
There is always something to celebrate at Bakersfield College and I’m so excited to share that the Delano Campus Library has been awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities for a digital project to record Delano’s past. Our rural campus and neighboring communities deserve this kind of recognition and attention. Their stories are one-of-a-kind and the difference education can make in their neighborhoods will forever change the people, families, and generations that reside there. I could not mention such a great achievement for the Delano campus and community without thanking Dr. Oliver Rosales for his continued passion and dedication to improving the lives of our students in rural Kern. I so look forward to seeing the project, “Digital Delano: Preserving an International Community’s History” come to life through the fantastic resources provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities!!
Higher education makes a world of opportunities possible, but what do young people do when they don’t know where to start or where to find the answers?
That’s where the BC Outreach team steps in with events that make enrolling in college an easy and successful experience. The goal is that students walk away from this one day event with a class schedule in hand, ready to take on the college adventure – and that’s just what the BC Outreach team does. Last Saturday, December 3rd, at It’s POSSIBLE, new students were helped individually, regardless of status within the enrollment process to enroll, find courses, and set up their educational plan for the next couple years depending on what they were trying to achieve. Different goals include certificates and different types of degrees. There’s a lot you can accomplish at BC and there’s so many resources offered to help you achieve your goals. And the whole family comes out to help. Here is Debi Anderson with her husband Jerry and their cute grandson.
The next day, BC’s Renegade Band, Concert Band, and Orchestra had their concert in the Edward J. Simonsen Performing Arts Center. Tim Heasley opened the evening with the extraordinary talents of the Bakersfield College Renegade Marching band, where they did something a little different than expected in an indoor concert. With stage choreography, they performed Bolero, composed by Maurice Ravel and arranged by Jay Bocook.
Kathryn Kuby then took the stage as she conducted the Bakersfield College Concert band and Orchestra. This was her first performance at BC and she surely did not disappoint. Kuby selected a wide variety of pieces for the audience ranging from Holiday classics, a John Lennon medley, a piece by John Williams, and a personal favorite Symphony no. 25 in G Minor, Allego con brio. All in all the performance from these exceptionally talented renegades was definitely a treat for all who were in attendance.
Vision for the Valley
On Wednesday, The Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce, along with event partners including The Bakersfield Californian, Wells Fargo, Chevron, Aera, and San Joaquin Community Hospital hosted a crowd of over 300 people in BC’s indoor theater for the Vision for the Valley conference.
Over 300 local professionals were greeted by Nancy Ortiz, President & CEO of the Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce, followed by Michelle Chantry, CEO of The Bakersfield Californian, and myself to kick off the multipart event.
The first panel focused on election impact on California businesses and the San Joaquin Valley. I got this nice picture of Richard Beene, Dan Walters and Michelle Chantry in the green room.
STEM Education was in the spotlight for the second panel and I had the joy of joining my fellow panelist, Adam Alvidrez of Chevron and our moderator, Nick Ortiz of GBCC on the stage. Local STEM education programs for workforce development are of vital importance to Kern County and the future success of our region.
The final panel on healthcare innovations wrapped up the event by exploring the future of key programs and exploring how to provide effective and innovative healthcare.
Thank you to all the fantastic partners, presenters, and attendees who contributed to making this event one-of-a-kind. It was great to see Bakersfield Mayor Elect, Karen Goh upcoming KCCD Chancellor, Tom Burke in the audience, JP Lake, Cathy Butler, Jim Scott, Bob Meadows, and so many friends of BC.
- Learn more at the Vision for the Valley website
- Check out Bakersfield.com’s recap of the event here.
- And photos on Karen Goh’s Facebook page here.
When Students say Thank You
Mariah Earl just successfully completed her first semester of the Registered Nursing program and sent a thank you email to her professors. After making its way to my inbox, I just knew I had to share —
“Dearest Professors, As my first semester of the Registered Nurse program draws to a close, I wanted to take a moment and thank you for your instruction that has played a vital role in my success as a nursing student thus far. We have to take a lot of pre-requisite classes before beginning the program, but none are nearly as valuable as Anatomy and Physiology and Microbiology. The time I spent mastering the topics of the courses you teach was time well spent as an investment in my future success, not just as a student, but as a nurse giving care to patients.
I recognize that it takes an extra effort on the part of the professors to offer instruction that is relevant and emphasizes real-life public health issues. Thank you for taking those extra steps on behalf of your students.
I’ve had study groups with many different classmates this semester and I’ve noticed that the students who are struggling the most are the ones that are weakest in their A&P and Micro knowledge. Their struggles are partly related to not mastering the material at the time they took the classes and partly due to how long it took them to get accepted into the program after taking the courses. I’m incredibly thankful for the opportunity I had to do Supplemental Instruction for Profs. Fullks and Tavoni. Those two semesters kept the material fresh in my mind, and teaching others helped cement the knowledge in my brain.
If I were to be so bold as to offer any advice to your future students, it would be to treat your classes as seriously as they would treat the classes in the actual nursing program. Microbiology and Anatomy and Physiology are not classes that should be taken just to check off of the pre-req list. They should be taken with intention of mastery. All of the organ systems and disease conditions (plus more!) will be revisited in the nursing program. If they take the time to learn it now, then they will get to sleep a little more at night during the program and worry less about exams. Speaking of exams, thank you for the exam questions that require a lot more critical thinking. I didn’t necessarily enjoy them at the time, but they helped train my brain to think in a new and improved way.
I don’t want to bore you with all the topics that have helped me so far, but here’s a quick bullet list:
- Nervous system and neurotransmitters
- Hormones (origin, target, and action)
- BP regulation (short term and long term, especially the R-A-A system)
- Immunity (humoral, cell mediated, active/passive, natural/acquired, and antimicrobial therapy)
- Principles of gas exchange, and respiratory diseases
- Carbonic acid formula
- Fluid, Electrolyte, and Acid Base Balance (especially this!)
Truly, I can’t thank all of you enough. I appreciate your knowledge and the ways you’ve challenged me to grow as a student. Warmest Regards, Mariah Earl”
When a student says thank you, there’s an instant feeling of purpose, of making a difference, and of knowing that what you do each day as an educator is and will change lives. It’s something I can’t accurately describe in words, but I hope Mariah and all of our students know… we at BC… staff, faculty and administrators – we can’t thank you enough as well. You are the heart and soul of what drives us each day. You are the future so be brave and follow your dreams boldly. Thank you for your dedication to your studies – it’s the most important thing you could do. You’re an inspiration for us, your fellow students, and your community.
BC’s Nursing Students Graduate!
Here are some pictures of our RN and VN students graduating. Thank you Nan and Cindy. And Nan wanted me to include the Nightingale Pledge a modified “Hippocratic Oath” composed in 1893 by Lystra E. Gretter and a Committee for the Farrand Training School for Nurses, Detroit, Michigan. It was called the Florence Nightingale Pledge as a token of esteem for the founder of modern nursing.
I solemnly pledge myself before God and in the presence of this assembly, to pass my life in purity and to practice my profession faithfully. I will abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous, and will not take or knowingly administer any harmful drug. I will do all in my power to maintain and elevate the standard of my profession, and will hold in confidence all personal matters committed to my keeping and all family affairs coming to my knowledge in the practice of my calling. With loyalty will I endeavor to aid the physician in his work, and devote myself to the welfare of those committed to my care.
Community Voices: Jack Hernandez
I loved seeing Jack Hernandez’s piece in the Californian. He begins by saying,
“When I came to BC many years ago, I saw by the front door of the administration building a plaque dated 1955 with the words, “Only the Educated are Free.”
Did you know that plaque still resides on the right-hand side of the admin buildings entry doors? Jack’s article made me take a moment and pause Monday morning when I arrived on campus. Thank you for the reminder Jack, of what it means to be free.
If you haven’t read the piece, make sure to take a moment. It’s worth your time and available at http://www.bakersfield.com/opinion/community-voices-only-the-educated-are-free/article_0e788a32-0784-58a7-b775-5eedf25ceff8.html
BC Adjunct Faculty Olivia Garcia on BC Public Safety
Any time a tragedy strikes at a school or college, it affects all educational campuses across the globe and we feel it, right at home on the campus of BC. Last weekend Olivia Garcia, a local journalist and adjunct faculty member, featured BC public safety Director, Chris Counts, in a published piece. Olivia said, “The recent attack at Ohio State University has left a somber mood at colleges and campuses throughout the nation.” Check out the piece at http://www.bakersfield.com/columnists/olivia-garcia-bc-public-safety-official-reflects-on-ohio-state/article_3858defc-bd72-5a7c-9574-ac4da11df084.html
Equity TV and David Moton
Kate Pluta sent me the link to Equity TV episode featuring David Moton, Department Chair of English. I loved watching and hearing from both Francis Mayer and David Moton. Check it out.
Pueblo Fest — Mark your Calendars, March 17th, 18th, 19th, 2017
Recently I had dinner with Arnoldo Avalos, member of the Board of Governors for California’s Community Colleges and he talked about this music festival he is bringing to the Central Valley. Very exciting. Guess where I am going to be on March 17th, 18th and 19th…
Here is a picture with Arnoldo Avalos when he visited Bakersfield College in his official capacity as a member of the BOG. From left to right: Arnoldo Avalos, Connie Conway, Sonya Christian, Romeo Agbalog, Vince Stewart
Here is an excerpt from an email he sent me.
I want to introduce you to Pueblofest – the first ever regional Mexican music festival in the history of the United States being held at the international ag-center in Tulare CA. Pueblofest is a family friend event with a social purpose. The venue holds up to 100k people. The music will attract our community now we need to inspire them! We plan to have over 100 nonprofits at the music festivals to help educate and provide services to concert goers.
Pueblofest has an amazing line up of artists like Tigre del Norte, Tucanes de Tijuana, Intocables, Voz del Mando, Original Banda el Limón, Cheque Peña, and others coming to the Central Valley. In addition, we will have many motivational speakers like Jose Hernandez (US astronaut), Dr Raul Ruiz MD (3 degrees from Harvard – US congressman), Amanda Renteria (1st Latina Chief of Staff for US Senator) and many others.
Check it out http://pueblofest.com/
The Bakersfield Californian, a community gem!
Did you notice that I referred a lot to The Bakersfield Californian in my blog. TBC is a local treasure. Been with us for over 100 years. As an aside, in response to a question posed by Richard Beene, Lois Henry at the Vision for the Valley sent a call out to the community to support the work journalists do! I agree!
Cindy Collier — BC’s gem
On Friday, I was interviewing a candidate for a position here at BC and she talked about why she wanted to come to BC. She said it was because of the people who work here. They seem to watch out for each other and care for each other. And the example that she gave me was our Dean for Allied Health and CTE Cindy Collier.
So I went back and read an email Cindy recently sent me. So, you see Bakersfield, this is why BC is so special
Good morning Sonya,
Just wanted to share a few photos with you from our VN and RN pinning ceremonies that were held this week. I was particularly moved by the story of Brandy Billingsly one of our VN graduates who shared her journey through nursing school.
A single mom with 3 children, spoke of the challenges of nursing school, the long hours in class and studying that kept her away from her children, she cried as she apologized for the countless football games missed, the early mornings that she had to wake her children up to take them to their “Nana’s” house so that she could be in the clinical setting at 6:00 a.m., the weekends that she had to give up because she had to work, but at the same time she graciously thanked her employer for allowing the opportunity to work every weekend for the past 18 months so that she could complete nursing school. She thanked her classmates for being her family and allowing her to cry on their shoulders when she failed a test or just couldn’t understand her material, and she thanked her professors for showing up each and everyday teaching and re-teaching her the material so that she could be the best nurse possible. As she wiped the tears from her eyes she looked out into the audience and told them that she wasn’t very strong, but she had to be strong so that she could do this (complete nursing school) for her family so that they could have a better life. And she then looked back at her classmates and told them “WE ARE SIMPLY AMAZING”! And I looked around the audience of family members, friends and faculty totally moved by her story, I thought yes she’s right – our students are simply amazing.
After coming home, I had the opportunity to reflect upon my own week and I was reminded why I chose to work at a Community College, it’s because of our students and the way that we (BC) change their lives. Leaving our doors this week we have over 75 nursing graduates (RN and VN) who will very soon enter the workforce and will have the opportunity to earn beginning wages of greater than $50,000/year which is a family sustaining livable wage. This is huge, not only for our students but our community as well.
As I continue to reflect on why I am so blessed to work at BC, I also am amazed and awed by the support that we have from our community. Yesterday’s advisory board meeting for our Industrial Automation Baccalaureate degree was just awesome. I listened to these high-powered business men and women who were so thankful for BC to take on the challenge to be one of the 15 pilot college’s, but at the same time had no problem being very frank with us on how we market our program, use data and systems to track our students and program’s success and quite frankly meet their needs for the 21st century employee.
Listening to our partner’s from KHSD who talked about the shared vision for students, through Dual Enrollment and Pathways that align curriculum and programs from 9th grade on, made me proud of the work that we’ve done with Dual Enrollment (despite its challenges). But most importantly what awed me the most was our students; they spoke of how this new degree has opened the door of possibilities for them. One student who is currently working full-time in the field, while attending our program shared how he knows completing this degree will provide him with so many other career opportunities, he will no longer be stuck in an entry level job. Another student shared how she really wanted to be an engineer, but last year while in the Calculus, Chemistry, Physics series she discovered she was pregnant with her 3rd child and she just couldn’t ask her family to take on the responsibility of raising her children for the next 4+ years while she completed the necessary courses to earn this degree, but the Industrial Automation degree now provided her with an achievable degree and on-top of it all she really loved what she was learning – she was enjoying putting things together and this program really made sense to her.
So, my dear president even though I am really exhausted and I believe your speech at the President’s Cabinet retreat in August about our 20-mile march this semester was a bunch of baloney, because this semester really has been a 20-mile sprint, I am grateful for you and the fact that you allow each and every one of us to be a part of this privilege to change student’s lives. So, thank you for inspiring us to think beyond the status quo and for empowering us to move exciting ideas forward.
Cindy, thank you for your email!
It is the holiday season friends. We have so much to be thankful for. Reach out to the person close to you and give them a hug. I am right now in my office and I walked over to say hello to Jackie Lau working away in Admission and Records to give her a hug.
That’s all for now.
Until next week.
With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.
sonya — with Jackie Lau on campus on Saturday, Dec 10th.
Tagged: Bakersfield College, Bill Potter, Chancellor Eloy Oakley, Chancellor Tom Burke, Chris Counts, Connie Conway, David Moton, Dr. John Gerhold, Francis Mayer, Michelle Pena, Pat Davis, Phil McDermott, Ramon Puga, Romeo Agbalog, Shawn Whalen, Sonya Christian
[…] On December 2nd, the BC Chamber Singers and BC Culinary Arts partnered to create their third annual Culinary and Caroling dinner. Last year’s event was on Dec 3, 2016. Here is my blog post from last year https://sonyachristianblog.com/2016/12/10/17775/ […]