2018: A Year of Accomplishment, Generosity, & Anticipation

Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, December 29, 2018… A great day to be a Renegade.

Happy New Year

As 2018 winds down, our thoughts are with family and friends. I am so grateful and honored to work with our extended BC family — the faculty, staff and students of Bakersfield College — the generous and hard-working people of Bakersfield, Delano, and nearby communities. Our work is more important than ever, and what we do is only possible working together.

Looking Back

As we look back on 2018 my thoughts are also with those BC family members we lost. All these and many more in our personal lives were important to us, and we should take a moment to remember them and be grateful for what they did for us and our community.

Harvey Hall

We did so much in 2018, and it is impossible to list more than a sampling of accomplishments to celebrate what we did this year, who we were and who we’ve become.

We have grown the student population that we serve. The annual 2017-18 student headcount was 33,257, producing 17,034 Full-time Equivalent Students (FTES), a 3.7% increase relative compared to 2016-17. These are not just numbers. This growth means that we are making education possible for individuals and families, improving lives for more of our communities.

Our student Renegades are diverse, working to overcome challenges and barriers to complete their education and improve their lives and the lives of their families.

Over the last year, BC has grown the work of Guided Pathways. Among the graduates were the first graduates of the Early College program through The Wonderful Academy and the first graduates of BC’s Industrial Automation Baccalaureate degree.

The Completion Coaching Communities serve our diverse community of students. These “coaching” teams of faculty and staff are evolving to provide more focused and holistic support for our students.
The lives they touch are reflected in the increasing completion and success rates, and these numbers and many others are tracked by Data coaches who are trained and supplied with data on the students in their particular meta-major. This focused and deliberate use of data supports the communication, the interventions, and the support for students attempting at least 15 units in their first term and completing transfer-level English and math in their first year.

In 2018 we continued to find new ways to support students and change lives.

Bakersfield College and CSUB partnered to develop the Kern Promise: Finish in 4 transfer initiative to address baccalaureate attainment in Kern County. The transfer task force, Workgroup to Advance Regional Baccalaureate Attainment (WARBA) works with faculty and staff at BC and CSUB to identify issues of misalignment across the transfer pathways program-by-program, and for each ADT offered. Through our collaboration, faculty identified course articulation and/or ADT modifications to develop 27 fully transferable, sequenced semester roadmaps with aligned coursework from the BC ADT through to the CSU Bakersfield baccalaureate. Our growth in ADT engagement and completion has been substantial.

The BC family is serving the diversity of Kern County through intentional outreach, expansions, and Early College programming. BC’s Rural Initiatives efforts include traditional services offered in surrounding communities, while also leading efforts in Early College and Adult Education. In partnership with K-12 schools, adult schools, city governments, private industry partners, and non-profit organizations, BC’s Rural Initiatives team is changing lives in communities with historically low degree attainment rates, and high unemployment numbers.

The BC family includes partnerships too many to list, with partners like the
Wonderful Company — a strong advocate for education, that also encourages their employees to take advantage of new, local educational services. In 2018, the North Kern Adult Education Team, in collaboration with the Wonderful Company, developed services in Lost Hills to prepare future Renegades for the EMLS program, future CTE certificates, and degree pathways.

The community strongly supported the facilities vision of bond Measure J in 2016. As we look back on 2018 we can see the beginning of making this vision a reality. Fittingly we started construction by celebrating the groundbreaking for the Vernon Valenzuela Veterans Resource Center this past November. We started meeting community needs for safer and better parking options with refurbishments early in 2018 and throughout the summer. The 2018 year only saw the very beginning of Measure J work, but what a great year it’s been.

Digital Rendering of the Veterans Resource Center
Digital Rendering of the Veterans Resource Center

In 2018, more than ever, BC and the Bakersfield community are blessed with leaders who share a passion for education and how it changes lives for students and their families. The instances of service and generosity of community leaders are ongoing, and too numerous to recognize them all. Assembly Member Rudy Salas secured $1 Million to fund various programs at for BC; Senator Andy Vidak hosted a healthcare partners round table discussion. Countless political leaders like Jean Fuller, Vince Fong, Leticia Perez, and many others around our region have come to speak at the BCSGA Power Lunches, and Mayor Goh is in all ways one of the biggest supporters of BC that could ever be hoped for.

There’s so much 2018 to celebrate!

Students Engaging in the Future of California

I saw on Facebook an article posted by Oliver Rosales titled “Engaging students in the future of California: A CA 2020 Media Summit Recap” that aims to answer what would happen if you bring together students from different counties to talk about the future of media and the state of California. The article says, “Students from Foothill and De Anza Colleges in Silicon Valley, San Diego City College, Shasta College in Redding, and Bakersfield College and South Kern Sol came together for two days. The students from the four campuses had the incredible opportunity to make connections, reflect on questions of media literacy and their role as emerging journalists and storytellers and to learn practical skills from professional journalists and from one another.

The project brought Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Sonia Nazario to campuses throughout California and brought the four schools together at a Media Summit, where the students learned from leading media makers and shared skills and insights from their projects.

Students from Bakersfield College/Kern Sol News visit the KQED Public Radio newsroom in San Francisco. Photo: Kern Sol News.
Students from Bakersfield College/Kern Sol News visit the KQED Public Radio newsroom in San Francisco. Photo: Kern Sol News.

Christmas Story of Hope

Olivia Garcia texted me, “Please watch this news clip if you haven’t already. Larry and Sabrina were my students in my California history class this fall. Watching this video made me cry. They had told me before that they had their share of struggles but I didn’t realize how much until I saw the KGET news coverage. These two were such an amazing pair of students in my class. Always contributing to discussions, always reaching out to me for advice or guidance. So kind-hearted and friendly. I can proudly say both did so well in my history class. Yes, there were times that they felt the stress of school and questioned their ability to succeed, but I always encouraged them they could do it – and they did. They worked so hard, they used campus resources like SI and the writing resource center. They didn’t give up and I’m so proud of them. Just like the work of Covenant that KGET highlighted, BC is also about giving chances and transforming lives. I just feel so rewarded to have been in a small part of their journey. This is why I love what I do.”

Check out the story at KGET titled, “A Covenant Christmas: Once homeless, but never hopeless.”

In addition to the text from Olivia Garcia, I also received a text from Kimberly Bligh about these students who were in her class as well.

Fun Christmas & Holiday Photos

Friends and Supporters at the Abernathy Christmas Party
Friends and Supporters at the Abernathy Christmas Party
The Strobel Family attends Christmas services
The Strobel Family attends Christmas services
The 2018 Collier Family Christmas Photo
The 2018 Collier Family Christmas Photo
The Garrett and Urry Children are ready for Santa to visit
The Garrett and Urry Children are ready for Santa to visit
Fred Misono, a Rotarian and a supporter of BC
Fred Misono, a Rotarian and a supporter of BC
Monika Scott visits Toronto for Christmas
Monika Scott visits Toronto for Christmas

Fun Photos from Bob Allison’s 80th

Happy Birthday to a dear friend and colleague, Bob Allison.

Fun Photos

Margot the corgi with big ears
Margot the corgi with big ears

David Franz had a Community Voices piece published recently where he shared his thoughts on higher education and bringing college to the City of Shafter. Here is an excerpt:

” As a region, higher education is important to us in less obvious ways. As Kern County grows, we will need people in board rooms around the state to share our perspective and represent our interests. We often complain about how we are treated by far off elites. We need our own people in those rooms. A degree is part of the cost of entry.”

Check out his entire article at The Bakersfield Californian titled “Bringing Higher Education to our Youth.”

This personal piece I wrote about celebrating Christmas 2011 in Ceylon with my mom was published on Christmas day in The Bakersfield Californian

Pam Christian

I could easily continue to celebrate much, much more of BC 2018, but I think I’ll say:

That’s all for 2018…

Until 2019…

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2 thoughts on “2018: A Year of Accomplishment, Generosity, & Anticipation

  1. Nick Strobel December 31, 2018 at 10:24 am Reply

    Thanks for sharing the Christmas story of Larry and Sabrina and your Christmas 2011 reflection—well written! With so much happening in 2018, will we slow down in 2019? Nope. Enjoy the break!

    • SonyaChristian December 31, 2018 at 4:36 pm Reply

      Nick: so happy to see your comment. Yes, the story of Larry and Sabrina is inspiring….BC transforms lives.

      Bob Price emailed me, as he did others I am sure, and asked if I would write a 200-word piece about a special Christmas memory. That ask from him resulted in the “Christmas in Ceylon” story that was printed in the Californian. A very special time indeed… Glad you enjoyed it.

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