We make history at Bakersfield College. It’s what we do – it’s what our students do – it’s what our community does!
Good morning Bakersfield. It is Saturday, January 14th, my grandfather Arthur’s birthday and an absolutely fabulous day to be a Renegade.
This week was so crazy and sooo good… ups and down, a roller coaster. A definite downer was when I got on the 6am direct train to Sacramento, having forgotten to take my power cord for my laptop, had to get off at Wasco, get back to Bakersfield, and catch the next train/bus back up to Sacramento for the Accreditation Commission meeting. To make matters worse, I got soaking wet as I transitioned to the bus in Stockton and to the cab in Sacramento.
Don’t get me wrong… I do love the rain – just not getting soaked in cold rain. After all I grew up in Quilon, Kerala, India where the monsoons are dense and spectacular. Here is a 1:11-video to introduce you to where I grew up
But then there were so many ups this week…. The Governor’s Budget with $150M for Guided Pathways, the Winter Institute at BC, the Condors playing at Memorial Stadium (thank you Matt Riley), and Opening Day.
So let me start with Spring 2017 Opening Day on Friday the 13th.
Spring 2017 Opening Day
Yesterday, we celebrated a dynamic Opening Day for the upcoming Spring 2017 semester! It’s fantastic to see faculty and staff brighten with excitement for the incoming students and a brand new semester. But also, for moving our work forward, continually improving and changing standards to always build a better BC!
Thank you Janet Fulks, Lesley Bonds, and Steve Waller for all that you do to improve student success. And thank you Maribel Montelongo for saying hello and taking this selfie with me.
It was wonderful to have the President of the KCCD Board of Trustees, Kay Meek join us for Opening Day. Kay was welcomed to the podium with a standing ovation and she thanked the college on behalf of the Board especially for the phenomenal work on the passage of Measure J. We also had Congressman and Trustee Bill Thomas join us and briefly address the group. Here is a tweet from Lesley Bonds
It was also wonderful having our Chancellor Tom Burke join us with his new beard and all. He was warmly welcomed by the Renegades. Here are pictures of 3 of the many speakers at Opening Day
I find it endlessly exciting to be able to wrap up one part of Measure J, while looking forward to the work we will put into utilizing a $500 million investment from our community. BC is about to change in a way it hasn’t seen since it broke ground on the hill in 1956. Amazing! #WeAreBC
Thank you Bill Potter and Eric Middlested for starting to work on the details of implementation of Measure J.
We also heard from the constituent group leaders. Classified Union — Bernadette Martinez and here she is with Helen Calip who won Woman of the Year in Delano.
We also heard from Isabel Stierle, Faculty Union President; Sue Vaugn, Management Association President; Steven Holmes, Academic Senate President; Matthew Frazer, Student Government Association President; Susan Pinza on the Levan Faculty Colloquium; Todd Coston who led us in a stretch break; and myself. It was wonderful seeing Tom Moran who was signing from the stage; and usually Tom Moran is behind the camera and it is a treat getting him in front of a camera. Thank you Cara Jackson and Earl Parsons for the great photos.
Talking about our Academic Senate President Steven Holmes…. well, he is smart and extremely engaged in making sure that the interests of the Bakersfield College students are met….but he is also a trickster 🙂 On Opening Day Steve hazed the senior level administrators — myself, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg and Zav Dadabhoy. Zav captured this video of Steve removing the license plate from my car as a prop for his presentation. This video is really funny. Here it is
Here are some additional photos:
Loved the jacket Robby Martinez was wearing. Prof. Martinez is a faculty in music, a Grammy award winner and got the Bakersfield College jacket you see in the picture at a vintage store in Hollywood. What a story!
Thank you to all who came to Opening Day
Just three years ago, we waited for students to arrive at our campus where they would be met with one of the most life-changing experiences – attending college for the very first time.
But today, times have changed. Local students all throughout high school are starting to see possible pathways that extend above and beyond their 12th grade year. These options include higher education, unlimited student support, clarity of goals, and mastery of skills. The Guided Pathways program is not about limits, it’s about clarity – a relentless clarity – so that students can navigate change and do what they need to do.
You see friends, Guided Pathways is not a new concept for us at BC. It is an integration of what we do best…. It is connecting what was not connected before…. It is amplifying certain aspects of what we have done.
We engaged, on Opening Day with Guide Pathways through our stories. Stories that were told by 14 talented faculty and staff who spoke to the four pillars of Guided Pathways. I asked the room of attendees to fully listen to these 14 colleagues with an open mind and an open heart and see themselves and to see BC through these stories.
Here are the four pillars and the 14 speakers:
Pillar 1: Clarify the Path with Jennifer Johnson, Faculty co-chair of the curriculum committee; Michele Pena, Director of Admissions and Records; Reggie Bolton, Department Chair of Health, Physical Education and Athletics
Pillar 2: Getting Students on the path with Steve Watkin, Director of Outreach;
Dr. Matthew Garrett, History Faculty; Maria Wright, Director of Academic Support
Pillar 3: Keeping Students on the Path with David Moton, English Department Chair; Mark Staller, Communication Department Chair; Dr. Nicky Damania, Director of Student Life; Dr. Paula Parks, English Faculty.
Pillar 4: Meaningful Learning with David Neville, Spanish Faculty; Anna Agenjo, Department Chair, Library; Lisa Harding, Nursing Faculty; Dr. Joe Saldivar, Biology Department Chair.
It is equally inspiring that BC has begun our Accreditation process, hand-in-hand with Guided Pathways. Governor Jerry Brown recently announced $150 million to support California Guided Pathways and Bakersfield College has been at the forefront, advocating for this promising transformation. Talk about innovating the community college education system! Accreditation will be our measure of Guided Pathway’s success. I’m ready for an incredible journey!
Kate Pluta planned the accreditation self evaluation launch in the Fireside Room after the early morning session of Opening Day in the Indoor Theater. So proud of our faculty and staff who presented and also those who attended. The presenters included: Bill Moseley, Mark Staller, Janet Fulks, Jason Stratton, Liz Rozell, and Kate Pluta. Jason Stratton and Liz Rozell will be leading the self evaluation work and Mark Staller and Janet Fulks will lead the Quality Focus Essay (QFE) work. Here are some photos I took with my iphone
The leaders for our 18-month work on the Self Evaluation and the Quality Focus Essay–Jason Stratton, History Faculty; Liz Rozell, Dean of Engineering and Industrial Technology; Mark Staller, Department Chair of Communication; Janet Fulks, Dean of Institutional Effectiveness
The person behind the accreditation work…the fabulous Kate Pluta in action.
Thank you to all who came out to support YOUR Bakersfield College.
Winterfest & The Condors
The incredible hockey game last weekend made ESPN! How cool was it to see our Memorial Stadium, our Bakersfield Condors, and our incredible fans and community on ESPN?! You have to check out the video at
It was a rainy, blustery and cold evening, but nothing could stop us. I saw a text from Selena Gasca, a student employee in our student life department who sent over a selfie and said “The outdoor Condor’s game was a fun experience for both my brother and I – a night to remember!”
Trustees, faculty, staff, fans, and people from around the state brought together for such a memorable evening. Reagan Fletcher and little Tyler came all the way from San Francisco to see the event and I loved seeing dignitaries, Bill Thomas, Romeo Agbalog, Lily Agbalog, JPLake, Ingrid Lake sitting rinkside.
Thank you to all of you who came out and showed support for OUR HOMETEAM -The Bakersfield Condors!!!
Was great to see Lynette Smith, faculty in Rad Tech and Janet Tarjan, faculty in math. Here is the picture of Reagen Fletcher and little Tyler, all the way from San Francisco. Tyler’s grandfather got him the rinkside VIP tickets for his birthday.
Here are some more fun pictures:
Early this week, KGET cast the spotlight on financial aid benefits for our youth and the underserved of Kern County. It’s no surprise that financial aid systems are often complex and hard to navigate, but at BC our dedicated staff is always willing to help. Stop by sometime or give them a call. We’re always here to help our students! Pictured here are Alyse Braaten, Kern Community Foundation and Frank Ramirez, Youth 2 Leaders with KGET’s Jason Galvin.
Greater Bakersfield Chamber Installation Luncheon
On Thursday, January 12, the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce, of which I am a proud Board Member, hosted its annual Board Installation & Awards Luncheon. It was a wonderful time of honoring the hard work and dedication of our immediate past Chairman, Steve Murray (Murray Family Farms), as well as the inauguration of our incoming Chairman of the Board, Derek Abbott (Tejon Ranch Company). Our very own Dr. Greg Chamberlain was also recognized for his service and dedication as an outgoing Board Member.
Here featured in the picture: Corny Rodriguez, Lisa Kent, Mayor Karen Goh, Yadira Guerrero, Greg Chamberlain, Manny Mourtzanos, Chris McCraw, Steven Watkin, Ashley Ward, Bill Moseley.
BC is fortunate to have countless community partners and friends in the Chamber, such as Mayor Karen Goh (pictured with our BC representatives), J.P. Lake (Rain for Rent), Carla Musser (Chevron), Aera Energy, The Wonderful Company, Hall Ambulance Service, The Bakersfield Californian, KGET, and so many others.
And btw, Nick Ortiz the CEO of the Chamber is just wonderful!
Emails worth sharing – Huge Antarctic Iceburg poised to break away
I received an email from Kenward Vaughan that I wanted to share. Kenward said “Who knows… we may yet be owners of shorefront properties!”
I invite you to check out the article and learn more about this massive iceberg hanging by a thread at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-38522954
In fall 2015, BC was selected as one of just 30 colleges nationwide to participate in the AACC Guided Pathways Project. The project is designed to help us implement the #GuidedPathways model that integrates our student success work campus wide. Since then, small leadership teams have traveled to various institutes where we learn from experts in the field and share the incredible work happening right here in Bakersfield. We hosted over 400 people for a statewide summit on Guided Pathways in February 2016, and have been working as a college to engage faculty and staff through professional development institutes, book panel discussions, and focus groups.
We had long planned this winter institute. We built towards it with an amalgamation of our smaller teams from AACC and then a larger college-wide implementation team. 150 faculty and staff representing 20 discipline areas and virtually every office on campus poured into our Fireside Room for two days (1/11 and 1/12) of robust dialogue, debate, research review, pathway development, and a commitment to support our students in innovative ways.
It was just icing on the cake to hear that over parallel efforts on the statewide front aligned a large investment in CA Guided Pathways in Governor Jerry Borwn’s budget which was unviled on January 10th. I was on the train to Sacramento when the Governor released his budget. Here is my tweet from the train
I do want to recognize Chancellor Eloy Oakley of the CA Community College system as well as Mario Rodriguez, Vice Chancellor of Finance. They are just super cool! Taking CA Community Colleges to the next level. #CACommColRock!
Back to BC’s Winter Institute……on the second day of the Institute, faculty and staff had lunch with BC students, asking questions about their experiences and learning the things they feel they most need to navigate college successfully.
I enjoyed reading the attendees’ remarks on the institute evaluation. Here are some standout reflections on guided pathways:
“Every student needs to be seen and know who to see”
“It’s our job to open windows, doors, and walls for students to pass through”
“Students shouldn’t have to be extraordinary to get a college degree”
Attendees bravely wrestled with the difficult questions and tough decisions – the whats, the hows, the whens. What kinds of curricular changes need to happen? How do we ensure every student has access to the right course in his or her pathway and at the right time? When can we make this happen? Why should we do this?
All I can say is that students come to BC with a great hope..hope for getting a good job that can sustain their family hope for a great future. The work we do results in greater social mobility for our community and greater economic health.
I especially loved seeing this wordle on attendees’ responses to why they chose to pursue a career in education. As the amazing Nick Strobel stated, we have the right people here for the right reasons: students and learning.
Now dear friends, you can see why I love BC! #WeAreBC!
A special thank you to Janet Fulks for her leadership of the BC Guided Pathways Implementation Team and for making this happen. And thank you to all on the pathways implementation team members for committing to this important work of the college: Stephen Waller, Matthew Garrett, Krista Moreland, Andrea Thorson, Abraham Castillo, Nick Strobel, Matt Jones, Reese Weltman, Maria Wright, Tim Burke, Heidi Forsythe, Mindy Wilmot, Lisa Kent, Shannon Musser, Jessica Wojtysiak, Shauna Turner, Cindy Collier, Jennifer Johnson, Sarah Baron, Mark Staller, Grace Commiso, Klint Rigby, Andrew Haney, Bill Moseley, and Lesley Bonds.
Also, loved that our Counseling and Advising Department did a pre Institute on January 9, 2017. Thank you Grace Commiso, Zav Dadabhoy, Steve Watkin, and Kathy Rosellini for making this happen
This is a sad message about two of our family.
First, 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
Second, 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.
The entire BC family holds each other in deep respect and affection as some leave us and new ones join. I know I’m not the only one who is grateful for our common bond in the Bakersfield College family.
Thank you Jerry Ludeke for keeping us informed. Jerry Ludeke and the Archives…true BC gems!
Here is a picture from my January 7th exercise class. Here is Donna Plater the English Department Chair at Foothill High School. We have such a great relationship with Kern High School District. Bryon Schaefer is doing good work!
And here is a dedicated group on January 9th preparing for the accreditation site visit of our Baccalaureate program. Thank you Liz Rozell and Jason Dixon and all the faculty and staff for your leadership. Particularly Blaire Pruett a great industry partner and chairs the advisory committee to the baccalaureate program.
And, throughout the jam-packed week, I still managed to find time to take a selfie, super tired, while waiting for the train to Bakersfield, in Stockton.
That’s all for now.
Until next week.
With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.
sonya — the luckiest and happiest college president ever
Tagged: Alyse Braaten, Bakersfield College, Bill Potter, Bill Thomas, Carla Musser, Derek Abbott, Donna Plater, Frank Ramirez, Janet Fulks, Jason Galvin, Jason Stratton, Kate Pluta, Kay Meek, Lesley Bonds, Liz Rozell, Mario Rodriguez, Mark Staller, Sonya Christian, Steve Murray, Tom Burke
This past week put Guided Pathways front and center. A good chunk was already working on the GPS and now a large, large majority of the campus is engaged with the GPS.
Foothill High School teacher Donna Plater is one of my daughters’ favorite teachers. Sarah had her for both freshman and junior English and Kelly had her for freshman and is now taking her AP class (Foothill no longer doing IB).
That’s nice to hear about Donna Plater.