Kern County Unites to Support Women

Good morning from Sacramento, sipping coffee in my hotel room that has a window seat, overlooking Sacramento that is just waking up.

With the primary office of the State Chancellor’s Office in Sacramento, I find myself often on the train between Bakersfield and Sacramento.  Yesterday I took the last train from Bakersfield which got into Sacramento Valley Station at 12:15 a.m. and got to my hotel close to 1:00 a.m.

In the afternoon I presented at the CCLC New Trustee Workshop along with two wonderful colleagues, Bill McGinnis (Trustee from Butte College) and Sandy Fried from the State Chancellor’s Office.  The talk was well received.

Bill McGinnis, Sandy Fried, Sonya Christian Jan 27 2018

I was not the only presenter from Bakersfield College.  BC’s Dean of Institutional Effectiveness Dr. Craig Hayward also presented at the conference with Linda Wah, Trustee from Pasadena City College.

Craig Hayward and Linda Wah presenting at Trustees Workshop at CCLC Jan 28 2018

This past week has been active for Bakersfield College with teaching and learning and activities within the campus and within the community.

Let me start with our NEH grant invited speaker Gabriel Thompson…..

Book Talk: Gabriel Thompson

Author Gabriel Thompson

Author Gabriel Thompson

On Thursday evening, the cohort for our National Endowment of the Humanities grant invited author Gabriel Thompson to the Levan Center to talk about Fred Ross, a community organizer whose direct action techniques would inspire Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta and the presidential campaign of Barack Obama.

Thompson’s book “America’s Social Arsonist” tells the story of how Fred Ross’ experience working at the Arvin/Weedpatch farm south of Bakersfield that inspired John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath” led to a career organizing voter registration drives in Latino-American neighborhoods to help those communities fight for equal representation in local and state government. Through Ross’ work as the founder of the Community Service Organization, he trained Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta in his techniques that emphasized face-to-face contact and empowering marginalized groups over fundraising and awareness.

Gabriel Thompson speaks to the packed room

Gabriel Thompson speaks to the packed room

Ross’ technique of house-meeting organizing would become the hallmark tactic of the United Farm Workers, who organized the Coachella grape strike in the 1970s. Many of Ross’ voter registration techniques, which included driving voters to the polls and educating them on how to read and vote on a ballot, would later be successfully utilized by Barack Obama’s presidential campaign in 2008, Thompson said.

While Ross was inspired by popular leftists of the 1930s such as Woody Guthrie, Thompson emphasized that Ross favored tangible results that could hold power accountable over any particular ideology. Ross, who also fought to get Japanese-Americans out of internment camps during World War II, was a diligent organizer and a perfectionist who left no stone unturned while amplifying the voices of his women organizers, whom he found to be “diligent, natural, fearless leaders,” Thompson said.

Thompson became inspired to write about Ross while researching his book “Working in the Shadows”. He spent a year working alongside Latino immigrants in low-wage industries across the United States, and in his research he found that little was written about Ross despite the huge legacy that he left in American political activism.

Jack Hernandez

Jack Hernandez speaks in the packed Levan Center

It was an honor to have Thompson talk about his work documenting an important but largely unknown footnote in Kern County’s political history, and I’m excited to see all of the stories that Oliver Rosales, Andrew Bond and Joshua Ottum are going to be surfacing during their work on this grant.  So proud of our faculty. #WeAreBC

Andrew Bond and Oliver Rosales at the event

Andrew Bond and Oliver Rosales at the event along with Jack Hernandez

Thank you Manny de Los Santos for live streaming this event.

Kern County Women’s March

Last weekend marked the first Women’s March of Kern County and the second Women’s March across the nation. It was great to see our community and country come together, standing united. Our diverse community of all genders, races, ethnicity, and faiths came together. 

Andrea Thorson, Nick Strobel and me

Joseph Luiz of The Bakersfield Californian covered the event in his article, “Equal treatment, rights focus of Kern County Women’s March

A special shout out to BC’s very own Dezi Von Manos, our Student Government President who was a speaker at the event.

I would like to give special thank you to the Bakersfield College Adult Education team who hosted a booth right in the middle of all the action to recruit and network with our community members.

Womens March Joining me was Lupe Aguirre, our new Adult Edu Education Advisor and Endee

There were many BC employees and students at the event….  Jennifer Achan, Lupe Aguirre, Debra Anderson, Christine Cruz-Boone, Danny Escobar, Terri Goldstein, Endee Grijalva, Lisa Robles-Kent, Anna Laven, Keston Lyman, Mia Ocean, Heather Pennella, Sally Sterns, Nick Strobel, and Andrea Thorson.

 

nan-heather-pennella-and-me.jpg

Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Heather Pennella, Sonya Christian

It was great to see Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg and Jenny Zorn, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs from CSUB, chatting during the chilly morning.  Dr. Zorn was one of the speakers along with Evelyn Young from CSUB.  BC’s dean of instruction Andrea Thorson was the closing speaker.

Academic Leaders at both higher ed institutions are women. —Jenny Zorn and Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg

Jenny Zorn and Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg

Andrea with family

Student Government Leadership Conference

On Monday, January 8, 2018, the three Student Governments from the colleges within the Kern Community College District participated in a Student Leadership Conference at the Porterville College campus. This leadership training and development workshop facilitated a collaborative and inclusive educational environment, which inspired the campus communities, provided valuable peer-to-peer learning experiences, and engaged students as they share and develop their leadership skills effectively within KCCD.

KCCD Student Leaders

KCCD Student Leaders

Chief Finance Officer, Debbie Martin, and Chancellor Tom Burke both presented to the Student Governments regarding their financial planning and Chancellor’s vision for the District. Other workshops provided the student government officers the means to expand their individual and group leadership potential as well as avenues to apply those skills in a broader student advocacy within KCCD, local, and state-wide initiatives.

BC SGA 2018

 

Spring Student Involvement Festival

At the beginning of each semester, the Office of Student Life hosts a Student Involvement Festival where BC departments and services are invited to host a booth and share their services with new students. The event helps students learn about our campus, community initiatives, and become engaged and active members of the student body.

Cynthia Garbett and Denise Crawford

Cynthia Garbett, DSPS Scribe Coordinator  and Denise Crawford, WorkAbility III

More photos are available at BC’s Smugmug. 

Strategic Directions

It was great to have so many BC faculty and staff attend the Strategic Directions Initiative Session last Friday, January 19th. The Strategic Directions Core Team held the session to solicit initiatives for BC’s staff and faculty for the 2018-2021 Strategic Directions session.

The three-year cycle for developing, implementing and evaluating Bakersfield College’s goals and strategic plan began in 2012. With the sun setting on our Strategic Directions 2015-2018 this semester, the Strategic Direction Committee has evaluated the Directions and is looking to create new initiatives to continue for Bakersfield College’s future.

Our Strategic Directions dream team: Todd Coston (lead), Grace Commiso, Liz Rozell, Bill Moseley, Jessica Wojtysiak, Teresa Mcallister, Marcelyn Allen, Aricia Leighton, and Somaly Boles, prepared a presentation and led the participants through activities. Thank you for all of your hard work on analyzing the past initiatives and leading faculty and staff in creating new initiatives that will lead Bakersfield College in future directions.

Strategic Directions 2

Jessica and Teresa did an excellent job of gathering the participants into 4 groups, each group working on an initiative for one of the Strategic Directions: Student Learning, Student Progress and Completion, Facilities, and Leadership and Engagement. There were lively discussions and fabulous initiatives from the participants. There were also some  camaraderie for a group of BC faculty and staff working to move Bakersfield College toward an effective direction.

The plans for our collective direction depend on the talent and expertise of our BC faculty, staff and administrators. Please take the time to suggest an initiative if you haven’t already.

Strategic Directions 1

Jack Hernandez

Last Sunday, Levan Center Director Jack Hernandez wrote an op-ed in the Community Voices section of the Bakersfield Californian clarifying how so-called “political correctness” is not about stifling the truth but simply offering a more sensitive interpretation of the truth through language.

While political correctness “has been criticized as forcing people to speak in ways acceptable to those on the political left,” writes Hernandez in his column, it actually helps to incorporate the feelings and experiences of marginalized groups that have historically been overlooked, who “are too often ignored, looked down upon, and described in hurtful, even hateful, terms,” said Hernandez, a professor emeritus of philosophy at BC.

“To be ‘politically correct’ is not meant to evade seeing reality as it is or not to accurately describes,” Hernandez writes. “It is not a political ideology or dictatorial censoring of language. Rather, it is an expression of our highest moral values, of our best selves.”

Jack Hernandez

Ron Saylor’s Magic Show at BC

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Ron Saylor, photo from ronsaylor.com

Local magician Ron Saylor has kindly donated his time to help raise money for the BC Chambers Singers’ tour to Australia this summer, with a night of magic, mentalism and illusion on Friday Feb 2nd at 7 p.m. in the Indoor Theater.

Saylor, who performs at the famed Magic Castle in Los Angeles, performed a card trick live on KGET 17 Wednesday morning to promote the fundraiser, which will help with travel expenses for the Chamber Singers’ tour, which will include a performance at the Sydney Opera House.

We’re so thankful that Ron is helping us out, and we hope to have a full house for the event. Tickets are available online now via Vallitix for $20 general admission seating and $30 for seating in the orchestra pit.

Helping our choir students sing at the Sydney Opera House

Dr. Jen Garrett approached me to help her close the final gap in the fundraising to help our BC students go to Australia to perform at the Sydney Opera House.  BC’s Choral program does this once every three years.  In 2015 it was at the Vatican in Rome.  Then our students have spent three years fundraising for this trip in July 2018.

I approached trustee Kyle Carter to see if he could help us.  He unhesitatingly said yes and opened up the Hall of Fame venue for this benefit concert.  Hold on to you seats…. Lydia Ranger and Monty Byrom both generously volunteered to perform with the Chamber singers to help with this benefit concert. See flier.

Great Barrier Benefit Concert March 10 2018.png

I have taken responsibility for the success of the evening concert.  Tickets $100 each.  If you cannot make the concert, for our students’ sake, buy a few tickets anyway 🙂

What a wonderful evening it’s going to be with the combination of Lydia Ranger, Monty Byrom and our fabulous BC Choir.

Renegade Basketball and Coach Hughes

Gogades.com reports that the Bakersfield College Men’s Basketball team (9-8) finished the first half strong but El Camino College (5-11) made half time adjustments and pounded away with a relentless five man rotation to issue BC a 104-87 loss Friday night in the Gil Bishop Sports Center.

“They just continually come at us, and we couldn’t get over the hump. We had a good run in the first half, and then we’d make a mistake or turn it over and they’d capitalize,” Coach Rich Hughes said.

Henry Galinato chipped in his second straight double-double in as many games with a 14 point 14 rebound night, on seven of 10 shooting from the field.

Jamar Hammonds led all scorers with 34 points, but it wasn’t enough to overcome team-wide ball control issues as the ‘Gades coughed up 30 turnovers to El Camino’s 27 (23, plus four team TOs)

“We’re kind of stumbling in (to league play), we’ve struggled a little bit, especially with the turnovers. That’s been a real problem, but I know our guys, and I think we were ready to play tonight, but stylewise, I don’t think we play well against teams like that. Some people call that an excuse, but it is one of those things; we play better with teams that are more half-court oriented, and most of the teams in league play are like that,” Hughes said.

Bakersfield plays Cerritos College (14-4) at LA Southwest College Saturday night in the Renegades’ final non-conference tilt before league play begins at home, Wednesday, January 17th at 7 pm against LA Pierce College (5-13).

Coach Hughes

Coach Aaron Chavez and Coach Rich Hughes

Grand Opening of the Kern County Justice Center

IMG_7869On Tuesday, January 16, 2018, Dena Rhodes, BC Human Resource Manager and Deputy Title IX Coordinator, and Dr. Nicky Damania, Director of Student Life, went to the Grand Opening of the Kern County Justice Center. The opening was attended by many individuals across the Bakersfield Community and held a tour through the newly renovated building.

IMG_7877

A small reception was held with delicious food samples which as you can see from the pictures. The concept for the center began in San Diego in 2002. It was envisioned that a family justice center would be a one-stop shop for victims of domestic violence. It seeks to be a place where representatives from various agencies are housed under one roof in order to provide services for victims of domestic violence and their children. There are more than 130 family justice centers across the nation. The KCFJC will house representatives from agencies including The Alliance Against Family Violence and Sexual Assault, Great-er Bakersfield Legal Assistance, Kern County D.A.’s Office, Behavioral Health, Department of Human Services, Bakersfield Police, Kern County Sheriff’s Office, Dress for Success and Aging and Adult Services.

IMG_7875

District Attorney Lisa Green, Dena Rhoades, Nicky Damania

The BC family

One of our Chemistry faculty Dr. Deborah Rosenthal organized a Baby Shower for another faculty member Dr. Ximena Da Silva Tavares on Friday.

Group at Ximena's Baby Shower Jan 26 2018.jpg

I am so happy that Debby pinged me so I could stop by for a few minutes.  In addition to Ximena’s joy, I loved seeing all the faculty and staff hovering around her like proud family members showering her with love.  Debby organized a fun game where she took time to college photos of faculty members as babies and then had us map which baby picture match which faculty member.  Thank you Debby for the care in planning this event.

Debby Rosenthal's game of matching faculty baby pictures.jpg

Liz Rozell made this quilt for Ximena

Liz Rozell Ximena Da Silva Tavares

Ximena noted that being an immigrant is hard when all of your family and friend support network from home is so far away so her BC family has been so much appreciated. Having something like the baby shower shows we care about her as a person. Again it is much appreciated and then she said she couldn’t say anything more without crying.

You see why I am the luckiest and happiest college president ever…. #WeAreBC

Seen on Social Media

I loved this photo of Kirk Russell, BC’s Library Chair from their instagram bc_library.

KirkRussel

Jim Selgrath

Jim Selgrath tweet Jan 2018

Chris McCraw

Chris McCraw Tweet Jan 28 2018.png

Cindy Collier camping and stated on Facebook “This the culprit that got me up this morning at 5:20 😩 — at Wine Country RV Resort.”

Cindy Collier with her dog Jan 27 2018

Neo

We are BC!

Ximena Da Silva Tavares and Sonya Christian Jan 26 2018

 

That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

(with Prof. Ximena Da Silva Tavares)

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