Good morning Bakersfield. It is Saturday, April 15, 2017 the day before Easter and such a great day to be a Renegade.
I want to start this weekend’s blog with Herb Benham’s piece titled In Times of Grief Love Endures in The Bakersfield Californian on Good Friday, April 14, 2017. Our community lost a wonderful young man Sean Murray, a Renegade, son of Steve Murray of Murray Farms. Benham says:
Love is the good that comes from this and, if we are made from the same cloth as Sean, it courses through the next generation. Love is both message and mantra; as the Bible says, “It bears, believes, hopes, endures and does not end,” even as we falter.
Yes….Love bears, believes, hopes, endures and does not end…
for more see http://tinyurl.com/lllw7er
BC Main Campus Hosts KCCD Board of Trustees
On Thursday afternoon, the main BC Campus hosted the monthly Board of Trustees meeting. These meetings are normally conducted at the District location, so it was special to have the Trustees and dignitaries, as well as faculty and staff from Porterville College and Cerro Coso Community College.
The afternoon began with lunch at the Renegade Room where SGA President Matthew Frazier and SGA Officers, Dezi Von Manos, Alex Apatiga, Jose Cortez, Rayven Acosta Webb, Lawrence Salcido, and Emmanuel Limaco introduced the four pillars of the Guided Pathways project. One of my favorite quotes came from Rayven, who said “The ASL program has taught me that I have not suffered from hearing loss but blessed with Deaf Gain…Deaf can do anything; I can do engineering.” I invite you to read the script from the students which has been made available on our website here.
Here is a picture tweeted by Kimberly Bligh. I love it. The students are here with Nicky Damania, Lesley Bonds and me. Nicky and Lesley worked with the students to get ready for the Board presentation. Zav Dadabhoy and I were chuckling that both Nicky and Lesley were looking at the group as though they were very proud parents. I love these students and the fabulous team of Damania and Bonds.
Following an informative lunch, the group moved to the Levan Center to recognize emeritus faculty and instructional administrators, and retirees. There are 27 emeriti from 2010-2016 among them with a total of 802 years of service. Of the 23 retirees of 2016-2017, they have a total of 570 years of service. Photos are available on Smugmug.
I’d like to highlight a few of them now.
23 years (Retired 2013)
Hillary Neumeister grew the Developmental Writing courses into thriving offerings in many locations to meet Kern County’s basic writing needs. Under Hillary’s oversight, the BC Tutoring Center, now serving over 1000 individuals per semester on the Panorama Campus and additional individuals at the Delano Center, has had its tutor training program certified by the International College Reading and Learning Association. Thank you Professor Emeritus Hillary Neumister for your 23 years of dedicated service to Bakersfield College. (Note: Hillay and I were in the same new faculty cohort)
Vera Diaz, Counselor
27 years (Retired September 2014)
Vera Diaz served as an EOPS Counselor and has built very close bonds with her students and assisted in many ways to help with their education. She was truly dedicated, in particular to our first generation students. Throughout her employment she served her BC family and community in various ways. She was a member of the Latina Leadership Network of the California Community Colleges also served on their Executive Board; she was a member of the Kern County Hispanic Educators also serving on their Executive Board. She was the Staff Diversity member on various Hiring Committees on campus. She has also received President’s Certificate of Merit under the presidency of Greg Chamberlain.
Thank you Professor Emeritus Vera Diaz for 27 years of dedicated service to Bakersfield College.
Phil Mesel, Professor, Computer Studies
30 years (Retired May 2014)
Phil Mesel has been a part of computing at Bakersfield College for a large part of our history. His BC career started in our IT department, and even after he moved to a full time faculty position, Phil continued to assist in making sure that our labs were up to date and fully functional. Phil served as department chair and was instrumental in the development of many of our programs, but he will be remembered by his students for his willingness to spend extra time helping them succeed. Phil also is known for his deep work with Martial Arts. Thank you Professor Emeritus Phil Mesel for 30 years of dedicated service to Bakersfield College.
Randy Messick, Professor, Performing Arts
30 years 10 months (Retired December 2015)
When you think of the Kern Shakespeare festival the name that comes to mind is Randy Messick.
Randy taught acting, technical theatre, Introduction to Shakespeare, Introduction to Theatre, and directed plays. Randy’s passion was Shakespeare. For more than two decades he served as the founding director of the Kern Shakespeare Festival, bringing the Bard to thousands of Bakersfield residents every fall, directing and often performing in dozens of Shakespeare plays. Randy has created beautiful memories for the Bakersfield Community, families who have watched Shakespeare under the stars on warm summer nights. Thank you Professor Emeritus Randy Messick for over 30 years of dedicated service to Bakersfield College.
33 years (Retired 2010)
Dale Gradek was an integral part of the welding program for three decades. He was focused on preparing students to move directly into a job or advance in a career.
He modeled the same high level of professionalism that employers look from the programs graduates. Dale also participated in the work of the college community, he served on accreditation standard teams and many other campus committees. You can still find Dale volunteering for campus events. Thank you Professor Emeritus Dale Gradek for your 33 years of dedicated service to Bakersfield College
Arlen Mark Dommer, Engineering & Industrial Technology
(Retired May 2016)
Mark began his career at Bakersfield College teaching welding courses in the early 1980’s.
In 2003, he transitioned into a new role of leading the Construction Technology program. For the past 22 years he has served as the only instructor providing for this program that transitioned students directly into a job or a career. Mark also worked with students from community-based organizations to help people learn the building trade.
Thank you Professor Emeritus Mark Dommer for 35 years of dedicated service to Bakersfield College.
Pat Coyle, Professor, Family & Consumer Education
35 years (Retired June 2014)
If you have ever eaten in the BC cafeteria.
If you have ever eaten in The Renegade Room.
If you have ever attended a BC Event.
If you’ve ever eaten food at the BC Stadium or the Huddle.
If you have ever attended graduation, the Honor Brunch, Twilight in Tuscany, A Taste of the Town, Independent City, The Amgen Tour, The Ag Awards, the Forestry meetings, The Chemistry Department awards, Fireworks Show, the Sterling Silver Event, the Red & White Festival, the 100 year celebration, the Garden Festival, The BC BBQ,…
Then you know what Chef William Patrick Coyle has been doing for the last 3 decades. Keeping you from going hungry while on campus. Chef Coyle, Professor Emeritus, thank you for 35 years of dedicated service to Bakersfield College.
Robert Reader, Counselor.
38 years (Retired 2010)
Robert Reader made a lasting impression on many students because he would go the extra mile. Recently, a community member shared that Robert and Larry Robinson approached him while he was in the Police Academy about continuing his education. The story goes that Robert and Larry later came to the police station to continue ‘encouraging’ him to further his education. Police Chief Lyle Martin says that if it was not for Reader and Robinson that he would not be where he is today. What we need today are more people like Robert and Larry, counselors who made it their business to make a difference. Thank you Professor Emeritus Robert Reader for your 38 years of dedicated service to Bakersfield College.
See a small snippet on Robert Reader in My December 24, 2016 blog at https://sonyachristianblog.com/2016/12/24/happy-holidays-from-bc/
Land in Arvin
Harold Pierce reported earlier this week that the City of Arvin is donating more than 32 acres of land to KCCD for a satellite campus in the city. The piece quotes KCCD Trustee, Bill Thomas, saying “This is the most ideal situation you could ask for the higher educational needs of those communities now and for the foreseeable future.”
Check out the article at, http://tinyurl.com/luk2vfo
And on friday, April 14th, the editorial in the Bakersfield Californian was about the potential Bakersfield College Outreach Center in Arin, Bringing Education to those who crave it. Here is an excerpt:
It’s not just time for Arvin, though. Kern County’s binary economy, driven by oil and agriculture, needs an educational jolt, and not just so its two core industries can find reinforcements. The Kern County economy must diversify, and educating our homegrown talent is an important way to do it.
For more, read http://tinyurl.com/mq6de3r.
Joe Gurrola, a Renegade and now Mayor of Arvin, tweeted
Trustee and Retired Congressman Bill Thomas read out the resolution related to this item on the Board agenda.
CIO Conference in San Francisco
On Wednesday, April 12th, I presented with Craig Hayward at the Chief Instructional Officers (CIO) conference in San Francisco on Guided Pathways. Deborah Wuff is the CIO from Cuesta College who introduced us. She told a story about Greg and Lara Baxley who were at BC as chemistry faculty when I was at BC as a dean. The Baxley’s were great and it was so nice to listen to Deborah talk about them during her introduction. The CIO is a great group of hardworking individuals. As Chief Instructional officers at their respective colleges they have, in some ways, the toughest jobs on campus.
Ed Buckely, retired CIO, took this picture. Ed does a newsletter, News and Views, for the CIO group. Here is a link to the most recent edition of the nesletter. Enjoy Ed Buckley and out fabulous CIOs http://www.ccccio.org/documents/NewsViews123s.pdf. You will notice that Dr. Michele Bresso is named the new CIO of Gavilan College. Here is a tweet from Michele:
I took time to walk to walk to Embarcedero the evening I arrived in San Francisco. What an incredible city. Passed a little Urban Redwood Park that was wonderful.
On the train back from Emeryville. A long ride back home and the train got in late, after midnight.
Love bears, believes, hopes, endures and does not end.
Nick Strobel in today’s Californian
Nick Strobel’s Stargazing feature was, as usual, very good. He ends with a commentary on the Peer Review Process that we use in Higher Education in the United States for Quality Assurance. Here is a copy and paste
The week before Spring Break I was at a conference about the accreditation commission that accredits the 113 community colleges in California, including Bakersfield College, plus the ones in Hawaii and the Pacific islands, such as Guam, American Samoa, Palau, and Micronesia. Accreditation is a voluntary, peer review process that is unique to American educational institutions. The peer review of accreditation reminded me of the importance of peer review in the process of scientific discovery.
Unlike the echo chambers of our social media and politics today, peer review in the science research arena is a rigorous, critical process where claims are tested and either validated or thrown out. Peer review works best if the ones who critically analyze an explanation have an alternate explanation and try to poke holes in the other person’s explanation. (Sometimes that “poking” is pretty brutal!)
In his book “The Demon-Haunted World”, Carl Sagan noted, “Perhaps the sharpest distinction between science and pseudoscience is that science has a far keener appreciation of human imperfections and fallibility than does pseudoscience.” It is possible to arrive at various interpretations of the same data or facts and to develop various explanations of the underlying causes at work. Our culture, egos, and personal beliefs provide a filter through which we interpret the data and develop explanations.
Decades of psychology and social science research have shown that our perceptions, intuitions, and even the reasoning about our intuition can lead even the best of us astray. That is why scientists lay their results open to the very critical scrutiny of others. And they agree to accept the criticism and re-submit their work when they have improved their argument through better data or give it up when the observations show that their idea does not have merit. They don’t blame the “establishment” or make personal attacks.
Finally, the peer review process gives the discovery or explanation credibility and fosters innovation as thoughts are shared and debated in an open competition of ideas. Innovation from a competition of ideas is the key to the past success of the United States. Innovation can’t happen if government bureaucrats and politicians control the review process—that would only solidify the status quo.
BC’s second annual Jazz Day was a great success. Over 10 local high schools and 3 junior highs were welcomed at the campus on the hill for the daylong event. The program included special guests, noted clinicians, a lunchtime jam session hosted by the Bakersfield Jazz Workshop, a showcase performance by the BC Jazz Ensemble directed by Kris Tiner, and a presentation of “Billie Holiday at 100” by jazz vocalist Susan Scaffidi and her Quartet.
Each student group that participated received a half-hour clinic with our panel of jazz educators before their public performance in the Indoor Theater. Altogether, nearly 400 local music students enjoyed a full day of immersion in great music – sharing, listening, and learning!
Jeff Evans of The Bakersfield Californian published a great piece highlighting the incredible young women on the BC Tennis team. In the title he mentioned how they struggled in 2015 but now are competing as “a state power” Don’t miss his piece highlighting the fantastic turnaround of this team! http://tinyurl.com/mg8dsl3
And speaking of incredible Renegades, have you seen the piece on Jacob Bookout at Gogades.com? The article mentions, “Bookout, at the Glendale Vaquero Invitational last weekend, smashed his previous personal record jump of 6’8-set just over a month ago on March 4th at the Stanisalus Kim Duyst Invitational-by nailing a 6’11 leap that is not only a new PR for Bookout, but the best mark in California this season.” Way to go Jacob!
Culinary Arts Open House
The Food and Nutrition Program held an open house on March 29, 2017. We hosted 30 high school students from Monache High School’s Hospitality Academy. Students received information on the various Food and Nutrition programs at BC highlighting Culinary Arts and they even toured the Renegade Room and kitchen. During the tour, the kitchen was preparing Wednesdays lunch menu, so students were able to see the true culinary operations in action.
The response from students was truly positive and they were able to see what a career in Culinary Arts would involve. One student spoke about how interesting it was to see the chefs preparing lamb. Before coming to the Renegade Room, BC’s Outreach Department gave a tour of the entire main campus and afterwards, there was a scavenger hunt and time set aside for Q&A. Winners of the student scavenger hunt received CTE (Career and Technical Education) merchandise branded with the BC logo! How cool is that?
Thank you to all involved, especially the speakers: Chef Suzanne Durst, Pamela Gomez, and Lupe Aguirre. Also to Chef Alex Gomez, Outreach tour guides Dhruvi and Veronica, and Outreach Advisor, Debbie Anderson.
Anthropology and Archaeology at BC
Anthropology and Archeology are global disciplines that we can find right here at Bakersfield College. We have Physical, Cultural, North American Indians, and Biological anthropology, and also Anthropology of Religion and Ritual. Through these courses, students can explore the world of archaeology, and it was in one of those classes that our Renegades studied the habits of their fellow cohorts. In their project, named, “Garbology”, groups had to examine two trash cans found on campus. One trashcan was found in the entryway of the administration building and the other was located by the large rock nestled in the heart of the BC campus.
The project, supervised by Ramon Puga, was a great hands-on project as it allowed the students to categorize all of the content found to be later analyzed and used to create their reports. Throughout the experience however, it enabled the students to have a remarkable discussion on several different topics but some of those consisted of what is considered “trash” and what is considered “recycling” ? It’s not just the simple matter of what they found, but it also about looking deeper into the meaning of what they found. What does someone’s trash say about them? Can you really tell a lot about a person by what they discard? What does your trash say about you?
Last month, these same students recorded a mock archaeology site. Thank you to Behavioral Science Faculty, Krista Moreland, for sharing the awesome photos.
The Kern County Business Academy
Jay Tamsi has been doing some amazing things over the last 3 years as the CEO of the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. One annual event that he and his team started is making positive changes in small businesses all around our county. This year, our own Richard McCrow, director of our Delano campus, has been working with Tamsi and the Delano Chamber of commerce to expand this wonderful business education opportunity into Delano.
The program’s 10-week course has graduated over 320 students from Bakersfield, Lamont, Arvin, Shafter and Taft. Keep up the great work Jay!
Jay Tamsi is a great friend of Bakersfield College.
Bakersfield College was closed yesterday in observance of the Easter weekend. Today I think is a movie day…Perhaps Beauty and the Beast. Two weeks ago, it was Logan, a terrific x-men movie where Hugh Jackman plays Wolverine for the ninth time. Check out the New York Times review of the movie
Talking about movies, the first trailer of the next Start Wars movie was released last friday. Check out what the New York Times had to say
I would like to close my Easter blog with the spirit of Sean Murray, …..
Love bears, believes, hopes, endures and does not end.
Happy Easter Bakersfield
That’s all for now.
Until next time.
With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.
the luckiest and happiest college president ever
Tagged: Alex Apatiga, Bakersfield College, Chef Pat Coyle, Dale Gradek, Dezi Von Manos, Emmanuel Limaco, Hillary Neumeister, Jacob Bookout, Jose Cortez, Kay Meek, Lawrence Salcido, Matthew Frazier, Murray Farms, Rayven Webb, Sean Murray, Sonya Christian, Trustee and retired Congressman Bill Thomas
Thanks President Christian for, as always, your inspiring newsletter! Happy Easter!
Thnx Di for posting a comment. and thank you for all that you do for BC. Happy Easter!
Good News from a college that means a lot to me. Paul J Gomez, Class of 1970.
Hi Paul: So good to hear from you. Can you send me two photos? One from 1970 and then a recent photo.
News of Sean’s death breaks my heart. I saw Sean at Murray Family Farms about a month ago. We talked about his time in my public speaking class about 8 years ago (one of his first college classes). He was a sweet guy with a big heart and great focus.
Thank you Helen for posting your comment.
It was so beautiful to see Sean’s smiling face as I started your blog. I had him in my AGRI B1 online class – he was a great student and will be missed.
Good morning Heather. Thank you for taking the time to post this comment about Sean Murray.
[…] Dean Mourtzanos forwarded a lovely email from Peggy Biller, the KCMEA Treasurer AND Rosedale Middle School Jazz Band Director, about the Jazz Day event recently held at BC. You can read about it in last week’s blog titled, Love Endures… Happy Easter. […]