BC building bridges

Good morning from Berkeley, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, October 26, 2019… A great day to be a Renegade.

BC building bridges always…..

2019 Convocation BC Chamber Singers with Bridge Over Troubled Water

I have to start by welcoming BC’s 39 newest faculty to the Home of the Renegades! This year is going to be the best one yet because of the leadership and engagement of faculty and staff. At BC, we create engaged learning environments, strengthen support so students are successful, and we create bridges towards a better BC, a healthier community, and a stronger college going culture with a goal of increasing baccalaureate attainment in Kern County.

Welcome new faculty, I am so happy you are at the Home of the Renegades.

Browse our new faculty online at the New Academic Faculty webpage on the BC website.

Opening Day

Faculty and staff came together in the Indoor Theater on Thursday for the biggest Opening Day celebration that I recall. It is always a joy to arrive in the morning and feel the buzz as staff and faculty mingle and connect over a beautiful spread of breakfast goodies provided by Food Services.

I had so much exciting news to share with everyone in my annual State of the College report, which is why our team put together an Opening Day extravaganza. Samantha Pulido is the BCSGA President this year and her opening remarks were inspiring. She spoke of short term goals and long term goals, like graduating next year.

I opened State of the College with an overview of enrollment and student success data, which continues to rise. Since the 2013-14 semester, BC has seen 4.6 percent growth in annual headcount… we now serve 37,000 students. A 25.9 percent growth in Full Time Equivalent Student (FTES) over the last 5 years, and 10 percentage point growth in distance education.

In that same time period, the course success rate for traditional students is up 7 percent, and course success for distance education students is up 10 percent. It’s amazing that we’ve been able to improve our course success rates while our student population continues to grow significantly at the same time.

With this growth, our need for more faculty has also gone up, and we’ve increased our Full Time Equivalent Faculty by 46.9 percent since 2013-14 to carry out our high-tech, high-touch strategy via the Guided Pathways model.

We also reviewed a visual created by the Office of Institutional Effectiveness which shows the student body distribution by Meta-Major. As you can see, Health Sciences is in the lead at 18% with Arts, Humanities, & Communication close behind at 14%.

Our two Vice Presidents Zav Dadabhoy and Billie Jo Rice introduced the new faculty, classified staff, and managers,

Steve Holmes and Mike Giacomini
Steve Holmes and Mike Giacomini

Vice President of Finance, Mike Giacomini was joined by Academic Senate President, Steven Holmes for a report on budget. They shared the news that the College is financially healthy and being fiscally responsible. Bakersfield College and Kern Community College District have been well positioned to respond to the new Student Centered Funding Formula, and we’ve been fiscally prudent during the transition. 

Trustee Romeo Agbalog spoke about how he is proud to be a Kern Community District Trustee and he is proud of the work of BC’s faculty and staff. He spoke about Early College being the solution for rural communities to advance college attainment levels — a strong leading indicator of economic and social mobility. BC is truly blessed to have a trustee with so much commitment to our rural students and approached solutions that are results oriented and fiscally smart.

Senator Fuller moderated a panel of community leaders — Barbara Grimm, CEO and Founder, Grimm Family Education Foundation; Aaron Resendez, Superintendent of McFarland Unified School District ; David Franz, director of Shafter Education Partnership . I will cover this in my August 30th blog.

Aaron Resendez, Barbara Grimm, David Franz
Ken Keller, Sharlet Briggs, Jeet Singh, and Norma Rojas-Mora
Manny De Los Santos
Manny De Los Santos on Opening Day

BC’s videography specialist, Manny De Los Santos is editing some special videos for upcoming blogs so stay tuned!

After our panelists, the BC Drumline led faculty and staff out of the Indoor Theater to have lunch on the lawn next to the gym.

In the afternoon we spotlighted the need to increase baccalaureate attainment in the Central Valley and we know it will be increasingly important in an era where automation is on the rise. The slide below spotlights a data point from the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) that by 2030, California will need an additional 1.1 million in the workforce holding baccalaureate degrees.

Bakersfield College is rising to meet this demand, with various complementary strategies, each bolstered by a number of initiatives and support services. The first strategy is community colleges throughout the state offering more baccalaureate degrees. BC has been fortunate to be one of the original 15 community colleges to pilot a baccalaureate degree, and we’ve done this successfully with the Industrial Automation program.

Blair Pruett from Kern Steel Fabrication took time out of his day to talk about his role on the Industrial Automation advisory board and the importance of preparing Kern County’s workforce for our automated future. He said:

Blair Pruett at BC
Blair Pruett, August 23, 2019

I applaud you for being here today. Education is the ticket to financial independence, to personal growth and understanding, and it will open doors for students, they don’t even know exist.
The world is fast approaching another paradigm shift where Automation and Information Technologies will work together to facilitate useful Artificial Intelligence. A.I. will allow us to solve vexing problems in every industry. BC stands ready to support the Automation needs of Kern County businesses.

At every opportunity, Kern Steel has Automated our processes. We robotically cut steel plates, beams and tubes with lasers. We weld with robots. We design in 3D and we track all our materials electronically. If there is a process that we can automate, we do, or at least we try.
Automation is key to our success and the success of many industries in Kern County. Whatever career students choose, Ag, Oil, Manufacturing, Distribution or many others, they will find that Automation is a key process. Kern County is full of opportunities for advanced Automation and new technologies and Kern Steel is just one example.

Blair Pruett, President of the Industrial Automation Advisory Board at Bakersfield College

Additionally, the second strategy is to expand transfer. BC’s Finish in 4 collaboration with CSUB is closing the gap for Renegades who are transitioning into Roadrunners, and enrollment in our Bachelor of Science in Industrial Automation continues to grow.

Sonya Christian, Richard Winn, Stephanie Droker, Mary Okada, Ian Walton
BC President Sonya Christian at the NACIQI meeting where the recommendation was made

With NACIQI’s recommendation to expand the baccalaureate programs at community colleges across California, we hope to provide more opportunities to empower the next generation of students with the education they need to turn their dreams into reality.

The new BC SouthWest campus will be triple the size of our current facility, and after lunch, we heard from Jessica Wojtysiak, Jason Stratton and Fernando Lara about their plans for the future of BC SouthWest.

Jessica, Jason, and Fernando – BC’s SouthWest Team

We then heard from our constituent leaders such as CSEA, CCA, Academic Senate, and the Management Association. I was especially humbled by the kind and thoughtful remarks by Tina Johnson and the recognition from our classified staff. This will be one of the top honors I will receive during my tenure as president… one that I will cherish always and hold dear to my heart. BC’s classified staff are a core pillar of strength which allows the college to serve an every increasing number of students each and every day.

We heard from Ann Tatum, President of CCA as well as from Susan Pinza, Director of the Levan Institute and Reggie Williams, Director of the Levan Center.

For the awards portion of the program, Talita Pruett introduced Helen Acosta and Donna Starr introduced Regina Hukill for the Shirley Trembley Distinguished Teaching Award. Erin Miller announced Bernadette Towns as the winner of the Levan Faculty Colloquium Award, and Kimberly Bligh introduced Kimberly Nickell for the Margaret Levinson Distinguished Leadership Award.

I’m proud to report that the State of Bakersfield College is strong, and it will only continue to get stronger as our initiatives grow and expand. I’m looking forward for 2019-20 to be another great academic year for Bakersfield College. Thank you to everyone who attended, packed the Indoor Theater, the two overflow rooms, and watched online. I can’t wait for the new year to begin next week

New Student Convocation and Family Bridge to BC

On Tuesday evening, the BC community prepared new students and their families for life as Renegades during the BC Open House and New Student Convocation in the Outdoor Theater.

History faculty welcoming students and families

This year’s convocation featured a scavenger hunt where students had to familiarize themselves with the campus. Representatives from each building stamped completion of tasks for scavenger hunt participants as they made their way through the campus. The first students to finish the hunt received prizes courtesy of the Bridge to BC program.

Ag table at convocation
BC’s Ag crew had a booth too!

In addition to the scavenger hunt, there was a resource fair in front of the entrance to the Outdoor Theater featuring booths from the Student Health Center, Public Safety Training, BCSGA, and a number of our student organizations. There was also a pathways booth on the lawn in front of the Counseling area, which offered more information about all ten of our learning and career pathways. Walking throughout the campus, you could hear the sound of spinning prize wheels reverberating off the walls.

After a delicious Indian dinner catered by Food Services, the processional started promptly at 7:13 p.m., or 19:13 in military time, to commemorate 1913, the year that Bakersfield College was founded. After a beautiful Bhangra Dance performance in honor of Mahatma Gandhi and a performance of the national anthem by the BC Chamber Singers, emcee Nicky Damania gave a brief introduction on the meaning of the word “convocation”, which is a call to bring people together.

Renegades! Can I hear you?!

I spoke very briefly about our amazing faculty and academic support programs before turning it over to Steven Holmes, Kimberly Bligh, and BCSGA President Samantha Pulido, who lead the audience in oaths for faculty, parents and supporters, and students, respectively.

It takes a village to help just one student finish their education, and these oaths help all of the stakeholders in that journey stay accountable to themselves and each other.

Public Safety Officer Ricardo Orozco also reinforced the importance of BC’s motto – “If you see something, say something, and let’s do something about it.”

The entertainment for the evening was spectacular, from the Chamber Singers’ performance of “You Will Be Found” and “Bridge over Troubled Water” to the closing performance of the BC Call and Fight Song by the Renegade Cheerleaders.

Kimberly Bligh and Isabel Castaneda
Kimberly Bligh and Isabel Castaneda

This year’s convocation was a beautiful way to start off the new semester, and I’d like to thank Dr. Nicky Damania, Office of Student Life, Dr. Kimberly Bligh, Isabel Castaneda, the Bridge to BC Team, Outreach, and everyone who attended to make this year’s the best yet.

It was great to see the event covered in The Bakersfield Californian’s “Incoming BC students, families attend convocation to ease fears” written by Ema Sasic.

Director of Counseling and Student Success, Marisa Marquez even shared this fun photo from the event! She said:

The wonderful Advisors, Counselors, Student Assistants and Administrative Staff of Counseling and Student Success hosted a Pathways welcome fair for the class of 2021! GO RENEGADES!!!

Marisa Marquez, Director of Counseling and Student Success
Steve Watkin and Andrea thorson take a selfie
Outreach Director, Steve Watkin and Dean of Instruction, Andrea Thorson

Flex Week

Matt Jones leads a flexweek workshop
Matt Jones leads a session for Flex Week

This week we celebrated the start of a new academic year with a very successful Flex week. We welcomed New Faculty at our new faculty seminar and had record attendance for our workshops. We received trainings from the CCC Accessibility Center on accessible word and PDF documents and video captioning. We welcomed a faculty member from Peralta College to train on equity and the online equity rubric. Our adjunct faculty seminar was one of our largest in recent years and gave our adjuncts a chance to hear about equity, accessibility and enrollment management.

Given recent current events all of our staff had the opportunity to learn about Active Shooter Response in several sessions throughout the week. We also had other unique offerings this year that ranged from Foundation training, to several Canvas courses, including Canvas Mastery Paths. These workshops have provided valuable information for faculty and staff as they gear up for a new academic year.

Special thanks to Pam Rivers and Bill Moseley for their dedication and commitment to continued learning.

Industrial Automation is Brought to BC’s Delano Campus

With funding presented by Assembly Member Rudy Salas this past July to expand our baccalaureate program in Industrial Automation in Delano, Electronics faculty Tom Rush and Michael Larson were able to work diligently this past week and over the weekend to assemble and prepare three portable Electric Motors and Controls lab training systems.

Tom Rush, Mike Larson, Lora Larkin, and Abel Guzman
Tom Rush, Mike Larson, Lora Larkin, and Abel Guzman

Professors Rush and Larson transported the units to the Delano campus themselves to get the classroom ready for Industrial Automation students’ first day! They were joined by Lora Larkin and Abel Guzman. Thank you Tom and Michael for taking the Industrial Automation program out to our Delano community, and Abel for helping to make this happen!

Project Next Step

Bryon Schaefer, Karen Goh, Lyle Martin, Sonya Christian, Vernon Harper, Steve Watkin (photo: from Mayor Goh’s website)

On Saturday, August 17th Bakersfield College hosted approximately 500 guests for the 3rd Annual Project Next Step Conference. The Project Next Step Conference is an opportunity for new and continuing high school students, made possible by the collaboration of the Kern High School District, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, the Bakersfield Ivy Legacy Foundation, Bakersfield College, and the Bakersfield City School District. Several organizations from the community also participated as sponsors and hosted a table at a resource fair that was provided during lunch. 

Sonya Christian and Bryon Schaefer
Sonya Christian and Bryon Schaefer

The day began with welcoming remarks from myself and other community representatives, including Kern High School District Superintendent Dr. Bryon Schaefer, Dr. Vernon Harper from CSU Bakersfield, and Linda McKnight from Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. Then James Burton Jr. from Farmers Insurance gave a motivational speech on the important of having a goal in mind and taking strategic steps to get there.

Students and parents then left the indoor theater to attend a series of workshops prepared for them on topics like dressing for success, applying for financial aid, participating in dual enrollment, and different college options available to them. The day was a great opportunity to instill students and parents with the confidence that they need to find success in high school and college.

Project Next Step wrote about the event in their blog as well! Check it out!

BC’s Renegade Pantry

Last week, I shared in my blog that BC’s Renegade Pantry announced that they will be receiving a $20,000 grant to help students with hunger and food insecurity. The pantry is run by student employees and is continuously getting restocked thanks to donations and sponsorships from the community. In addition to food, the pantry offers many different types of hygiene items.

Group Photo with check for the Renegade Pantry
Thank you Kern Partnership for the support of the Renegade Pantry

A check presentation on Monday included Cindy Uetz, a Board member of the Kern Partnership for Children and Families and the Chief Deputy Director for the Kern County Department of Human Services and Social Service Supervisor Jana Slagle. Representing BC, we had Nicky Damania, Danyel Ritter, Tom Gelder, and BCSGA President Samantha Pulido.

Umoja Orientation Prepares Students for a Successful Semester

Incoming Umoja Community African-American Success Through Excellence and Persistence students engaged in activities designed to prepare them to make the most of their fall semester.  Umoja offered two orientations for students enrolled in the core courses of English 1a, Library 1, and Student Development 6. During the two days, students participated in team building activities, learned about how to apply for on-campus jobs, found out how to avoid academic probation, and learned about the ins and outs of financial aid.

Thanks go to Vikki Coffee, Dr. Michael McClenic, Angela Williams, respectively for presenting informative sessions. In addition, Umoja student leaders gave the new students tips for being successful at BC. Umoja Counselor Jonathan Ward talked with students about taking personal responsibility.  Umoja Coordinator Dr. Paula Parks led students in cultural activities that helped them learn more about the Umoja Community and about its educational philosophy.

For more information about the Umoja program, visit the Bakersfield College website and check them out on social media!

Early College Workshops Happening Now!

BC team with Justin Derrick at McFarland High School
Principal Justin Derrick with the BC Team

Our high school partners welcomed students back earlier this month and our Early College and Outreach teams were there to partner with them and help kick things off! This year, Early College has teamed up with Outreach to offer enrollment services to each of our 31 high school partners who offer dual enrollment courses on their campuses. Since the first day of school, the team has been busy going out to schools to assist students with applications and updates and to tell them more about the early college opportunities that they are embarking on. 

Thank you, Early College and Outreach teams for providing these services and this support to our young early college Renegades! 

Continuing to Level the Playing Field

The Rural Initiatives Early College team has also been active this past week assisting students with matriculation steps in order to enroll in their second course in their pathway. All incoming freshmen at Shafter High School will be taking a minimum of two college courses and over 50 students have taken advantage of the opportunity to join the General Education pathway to complete up to 38 college credits while in high school.

Thank you Rural Initiatives team for continuing to level the playing field for these underserved communities in Kern County, especially to the lead Counselor, Jesse Oropeza and lead Program Manager, Jaime Lopez.

Safety First

BC Sidewalks

With school starting next week, we ask that everyone on campus please make sure to pay attention to signage and follow the designated walking paths.  Please be aware of the temporary sidewalk closure on the east side of the Campus Center area and when in doubt, check out the current footpaths at A Better BC’s website under the Construction Maps link.

Campus Center Virtual Tour

We’ve been lucky to work with some great companies on the Measure J construction, and we’re just starting!  Ordiz-Melby Architects, Inc. created this great virtual tour where you can really feel what the campus atmosphere is going to be once the Campus Center is completed.  I loved unveiling it at this year’s Opening Day, and hope that others will share it as well!

Keeping it Local

Community Relations Manager Tamara Baker unveiled the newest Measure J project: the “Keeping It Local” video series.  These videos will highlight the work of local companies working on these construction projects. It’s important for Bakersfield College that we share these stories as these projects evolve.  BC is excited to collaborate with the local construction community as we all work together to build A Better BC! Thank you to Danny Ordiz and Jeannie Bertolaccini of Ordiz-Melby Architects, Inc. for participating in this video, and for all of your hard work! Also, thank you to videography student, Thanh from Jeff Hustons class for recording and editing the video.

Visiting the Getty

Raji Brar, Jean Fuller, Barbara Grimm, Lynette Zelezny, Sonya Christian
Raji Brar, Jean Fuller, Barbara Grimm, Lynette Zelezny, Sonya Christian

I visited the Getty Villa on the Malibu Coast with a group of friends, including Senator Jean Fuller to take in sculptures, art and other antiquities that are thousands of years old. We are fortunate to have such beautiful and magical places nearby.

Getty Villa
Getty Villa, photo from Wikipedia

The Getty Villa is an amazing place. In 1954, billionaire oil tycoon J. Paul Getty started building two museums at his property in the Pacific Palisades to share the beauty of ancient Greek, Roman and Etruscan antiquities with the people of Southern California. The Getty Villa was inspired by the Villa of the Papyri in Herculaneum, now known as Ercolano in Southern Italy, which was buried under the ashes of Mt. Vesuvius until its excavation in 1750. The Getty Villa opened in 1974, and Getty himself never got to visit the museum before he died in 1976.

Every year, Nicky Damania takes a group of BC students out to attend college night at the Getty, where they get to learn how ancient artifacts are restored by conservationists. I’m so grateful for the Getty foundation’s work of bringing the art of ancient cultures here from halfway across the world.

BC students at the Getty
BC students at the Getty

Emails Worth Sharing: From Mayor Goh

Mayor Goh is a cheerleader for BC students. She cares about our students and the positive impact they make on the community. Last weekend she shared with me:

This morning I attend the 6th annual CALIFORNIA KAREN YOUTH FORUM – celebrating the culture of the Karen people and commemorating the 69th Karen Martyrs Day that pays tribute to Karen fallen soldiers. Attached is a photo of Bakersfield College students Dah Dah Khu and Praise Oo . They were excited when I said I’d share their photo with you.

Mayor Karen Goh, August 2019
BC Students with mayor Karen Goh

Community Voices: Jack Hernandez

I enjoy seeing a glimpse of Jack Hernandez every time he has a Community Voices piece printed. You can read the digital version on Bakersfield.com.

Community Voices article by Jack Hernandez

Community Voices: Eileen Pierce

Eileen Pierce
Eileen Pierce

Speaking of Community Voices, it was great to see Eileen Pierce as well.

She wrote a piece on BC’s support services titled “BC academic support program promotes knowledge through interpersonal relationship building.”

Fun Photos: Dean Rodriguez Area Meeting

Dean Corny Rodriguez sent some fun photos from his area meeting.

Fun Photos: Dean Area Meetings

VP of Instruction, Billie Jo Rice, attend many Dean area meetings this week. Here are some of her fun photos.

Fun Photos: Making Wreaths

Program Managers, Kylie Swanson and Monika Scott took a small break from their focus on BC to create beautiful succulent wreaths at Flourishing Art this past week.

Monika Scott and Kylie Swanson hold wreaths
Monika and Kylie

Fun Photos: Happy Birthday Dylan

On Wednesday, the crew in A17 which makes up BC’s Marketing and Institutional Effectiveness offices celebrated Dylan Wang’s birthday with some delicious cake. 

Staff in A17 gather around for birthday cake

Renegades Continue to Lead the State in Football Attendance

 This fall we look forward to continuing the streak of leading the state in football home attendance. In 2018 we drew an average of 3,671 fans per game. The second place school, College of the Canyons drew an average of 2,671 fans per game. The complete list of total attendance and average attendance figures from the 2018 season can be viewed on the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) website.

Renegade Volleyball Set to Open the Season One Game at a Time 

Our back to back to back Western State Conference Champion volleyball team is set to begin another year dominating the court. Coach Ferreira, the 2018 California Community College Women’s Volleyball Coaches Association (CCCWVCA) Coach of the Year and 2018 Western State Conference (WSC) South Coach of the Year, and his team are looking for a fourth conference title in a row and also to make a run at the state title. Their season opener is on Saturday, August 31 when they host the  ‘Bakersfield Quad’ playing against Mt. SAC at 10am and Fullerton at 2pm in the Gil Bishop Sports Center. To read a preview of this years team visit GoGades.com

 Men’s Soccer

Men’s Soccer begins their fourth season as a program after rebooting the Men’s Soccer team here on campus four years ago, Coach Vayron Martinez is looking to build on the success’s of the past few years and go for the Western State Conference title this season. Come join them for their season opener against West Hills Lemoore on Tuesday, August 27th at 4pm on the BC Soccer Field. To read a preview of the team visit GoGades.com or click this link: http://gogades.com/sports/msoc/2019-20/releases/20190820mv54yl.

Mens Soccer Home Opener Graphic


That’s all for now.

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.

sonya-
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

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One thought on “BC building bridges

  1. steve flores August 26, 2019 at 10:21 am Reply

    As always, a great blog! Keep them coming.

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