For most of last week I was at the accreditation commission meeting in San Diego and marveled at the rigorous, professional, smart conversations as we deliberated on the pertinent topics of the meeting. Although the schedule was long I was able to sneak out for walks and enjoy the ocean air. What’s not to like about the beach, the breeze, and all things beautiful?

Our campus was coming alive after the two-week winter recess, with faculty and staff gearing up to welcome our students next week.

Let’s Do This 2020

Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, January 18, 2020… A great day to be a Renegade.

Spring 2020 Opening Day

Bakersfield College welcomed the spring semester with another inspiring opening day. Faculty, staff and administrators enjoyed fellowship and a continental breakfast on a chilly Thursday morning, compliments of Food Services.

We started off with a preview of a great new promotional video on the BC Pathways. You will have to check back to my blog to see when it is published.

Samantha pointing to the crowd.

Samantha Pulido, BCSGA President, pointed out all of the wonderful 20’s she expects in 2020, including her age of 20 and graduation in May 2020. The BCSGA worked on building their bonds within their team and with the student body. They will be expanding to the rural areas with a representative in Delano and activities in the Lamont community. She asked that faculty and staff nominate students for the BCSGA elections this spring, notified us that the transportation fee will be on the ballot again, and asked that we encourage students to purchase their KVC sticker that gives the student benefits while funding many of the services they provide, including the Renegade Pantry.

CSEA’s secretary Mary Webb represented the union chapter for Bernadette Martinez and gave us an introduction to the new E-Board.

Mary at the podium.

This year we completed and opened the first Measure J project, the Vernon Valenzuela Veterans Resource Center. This short video tells about the wonderful new space for our Veteran students.

Bill Potter and Todd Coston made Tamara Baker feel a little left out when they showed up wearing nearly the same outfit to give us an update on Measure J. This map shows what a large chunk of the Panorama section is under construction, construction that has completed, and the swing space we are using to make sure that services are not disrupted.

Map showing the campus center, field house, and science and engineering areas shaded.

Thank you Kern County for voting Yes on J on Nov 8, 2016

There are 14 projects in construction this year (!) including some behind-the-scenes infrastructure, the Campus Center, the Science & Engineering building and the new Gym and Field House.

Employees seated in the theater.

Commencement will be May 15, 2020 and we will begin construction on the new Gym and Field House on May 16. The new field house is scheduled to be completed in 2022. Other upcoming projects include the Admin Annex, the Delano Learning Center and so much more. Did you know that 76% of our project work is being done by local companies? We are keeping it local by hiring architects and contractors from Kern County whenever possible.  You can stay updated on completion dates at the Measure J Project Schedule and Contractor Information. The best way to stay updated is to follow A Better BC on social media:

A Better BC on Facebook
A Better BC on Twitter
Bakersfield College on Instagram
A Better BC YouTube Channel
A Better BC channel

Academic Senate was represented by Vice President Victor Diaz who announced that enrollment is up and that their first meeting will be February 5th. 

Victor speaking from the podium.

Endee Grijalva encouraged everyone to attend the annual Women’s March happening this morning at Mill Creek Park, downtown. Andrea Thorson will be speaking at this year’s event and you can read about it in my blog next week.

Management Association President, Manny Mourtzanos, acknowledged the new managers that joined us and told us about his re-election campaign platform of “Dogs for All.”

Donna Starr announced the Norm Levan Faculty Colloquium awards for the year. For Spring, Faith Bradham on her work challenging the dependability of online information and how to conduct research for academics and for Fall, Paula Parks on “The Secret of Umoja’s Success.” Each recipient is awarded with a poster, plaque, stipend, and a platform to present their work publicly.

Donna speaking from the podium.

The third part of the opening day presentation concerned our national conversation on a very emotional, controversial, and sensitive topic — school shootings.

Nicky Damania and Todd Coston showed a few videos that were intended to ensure we all understand the seriousness of this topic and to understand what we can do to prepare for such a situation. There are things we all can do to prepare. Get to know your students. Notice changes and recognize the signs that a student is troubled.

As always, we closed with “We are BC!”

Educational Master Plan Session

Faculty and college leaders were invited to participate in a group session as we collaborate on the development of BC’s 2020-2023 Educational Master Plan. We value this time as one to reflect on our growth and changes over the last 3 years, evaluate and use this knowledge to plan for the future.

Todd Coston socializes with the audience.

In May 2019, Bakersfield College awarded 3,335 degrees and certificates – the largest graduating class in the history of the college.  Among them were 94 rural high school students earning their Associate Degrees for Transfer at the same time they earned a high school diploma via Early College.  Ninety percent of BC’s 10,000+ Early College enrollments are students of color who achieve a 90% course success rate.

Grace Commiso presents to the audience.

Looking forward, we know that the CA Community College system plays an important role in preparing people for the future that we collectively want and need.

Staff and faculty gathered to participate in the session.

Lesley Bonds spoke about BC’s intersegmental approach for advancing baccalaureate attainment in our region and state. One example mentioned was BC’s Early College program, whose enrollments have grown tremendously. With a focus on streamlining the educational flow, Bakersfield College no longer waited for high school students to graduate and to make the decision to attend college, BC intentionally went out to the high schools and invited their students to experience college as a Renegade instead. With a student base of primarily first-generation students, this has been a huge game changer and streamlined the educational process with an end-game focus on a transfer degree to “Finish in 4” with a bachelor’s degree.  

Lesley Bonds speaks on stage about intersegmental work.

Jessica Wotjsyiak shared data on equity completion through guided pathways and mentioned innovations regarding entrepreneurship, health education, and learning. She spoke about goals that include increasing the number of Career Education students who report employment in their field of study and more. Bill Moseley took the stage to share thoughts on leveraging academic technology for the future. 

Jessica W. shares data with the crowd

Flex Week

Flex week offered participants over 50 unique workshops. Those that were particularly popular included Brown Act Training where Grant Herndon from Schools Legal Service spoke to committee members and others affected by the Brown Act. Todd Coston presented on how to Organize your Life with Outlook. Chef Alex and Stephen Tavoni taught faculty and staff how to eat healthier and demonstrated how to make cauliflower tacos. Our adjunct faculty came together Wednesday night and learned about emergency preparedness and got some tips from a panel of faculty about managing their classrooms.

Here are some fun photos of the workshops:

Adjunct Night

Wait, what? Is this just another meeting? No, this is a special meeting to support our adjunct faculty. Participants ranged from newbies to adjunct with over 20 years of experience.

BC College Adjunct Faculty Seminar beginning slide with organizers.

Information was shared about starting and ending a semester, important drop dates, and what to do the week before school starts — as well as best practices in the classroom. After viewing some videos on Active Shooter Responses, a discussion followed by participants. Did you know you can text 911?

Panel of faculty laughing.

A fun panel of full-time faculty provided tips on what is helpful to know as an adjunct. They shared the philosophy of managing a classroom; the importance of a syllabus; communicating with students; and building a peer support group.


If you missed the Adjunct Seminar, another seminar will occur in the fall.

Building a Better BC

Measure J projects are well underway, with the Veterans Resource Center being completed in December and the Campus Center scheduled to conclude this fall. Over winter recess, we have begun setting up the construction site for the new Science & Engineering building. This new three-story building is approximately $65 million and is over 68,000 square feet, with new labs and classrooms including our very own Makerspace and Robotics lab. Thanks to the 2016 Kern County voters approving Measure J, BC will be able to offer more classes in the future for our students utilizing these new spaces. Check out these great renderings from HMC Architects who are working on the project. 

Rendering of the Science & Engineering building.

Make sure to join us for the groundbreaking ceremony on March 24th as we embark on our newest construction project with our contractor Bernards and the AECOM/Parsons project management team! 

For up-to-date walking paths visit A Better BC Construction Maps.

Umoja Orientation

Bakersfield College’s Umoja Community ASTEP held its first orientation events of the semester last week.

Paula Parks

Members of the Umoja Club student organization led the orientation for new members, encouraging them to share in an active learning experience with their fellow students, learn more about African-American culture, and attend future club field trips.

Group of new Umoja students.

On Thursday, Dr. Parks invited Dr. Chike Akua from Clark Atlanta University to talk about his book “Honoring Our Ancestral Obligations: 7 Steps to Black Student Success”, which motivates black students to fulfill their cultural responsibilities through educational achievement. Thank you to Dr. Parks, Dr. Akua, and Umoja Community students for their determination and commitment to our BC community.

Christmas Tree Recycling Wrap up

This week was the last week for the City of Bakersfield’s Christmas Tree Recycling Drive that BC participates in every year. Residents were able to drop off Christmas trees at the Southwest parking lot between Christmas Day and January 17.

This year, Robert Manuel from the City of Bakersfield’s Solid Waste Division estimates that his department ground up 57 tons of pine trees and turned them into organic mulch at the Mount Vernon Recycling and Composting Facility. BC and the Kern County Fairgrounds were this year’s Christmas tree drop-off locations in the city of Bakersfield, and residents were also able to cut up their trees themselves and leave them inside their green waste baskets for pick-up. Manual has noticed a decrease in the amount of trees recycled by the city of Bakersfield every holiday season, which he attributes to consumers choosing to buy plastic, reusable trees for their annual decorations.

Old Christmas trees in the parking lot.

Jack Pierce Bluegrass Festival

BC geology professor Jack Pierce kept busy during the break as one of the organizers of a bluegrass festival at the Bakersfield Marriott downtown last weekend. Bluegrass musicians from across the state gathered at the annual Great 48 Jam, which took place Thursday, January 9 through Saturday, January 11.

Reporter Bowen West covered the Great 48 Jam in an article published last Friday, and it was also featured heavily in entertainment columnist Matt Munoz’ weekly events round-up. The festival is now in its tenth year, and this year’s edition boasted 2,800 musicians from across the country who jammed together between workshops for banjo, fiddle, guitar and mandolin. Jack Pierce, who can often be seen playing his banjo at events here on the BC campus, is quoted in Bowen West’s article as praising the challenging and fast nature of bluegrass music.

“It’s good music that offers a good system of values,” Pierce said.

Jack playing his banjo at an Academic Support services event.

BC Attends the 2020 Bakersfield Chamber Installation Luncheon

On Wednesday BC attended the annual Bakersfield Chamber Installation Luncheon, where Derek Jeffrey of KGET became the new Chairperson of the Chamber. Huge shout out to the outgoing board chairwoman Darlene Mohkle of Castle & Cooke who puts in so much time for the betterment of our community. Sue Benham who was integral in the Measure J campaign was also recognized as she is an outgoing board member. I am proud to be a member of such a dynamic board with a dynamic staff. Nick Ortiz and the Chamber team do very good work to advance Bakersfield.

Derek Jeffrey and Jean Fuller

Chamber CEO Nick Ortiz also noted that 2020 is the Chamber’s Centennial year! It was founded in 1920 and has never ceased to support businesses in Bakersfield. Bakersfield College is proud to support the Bakersfield Chamber and see what 2020 has in store!

Fun Photos

Mike and Zav Football Rivalry. Thank you Catherine!

San Francisco 49er with Zav's face tackling a Green Bay pack with Mike face.

Manny De Los Santos shared this great picture of the dramatic changes happening from our Measure J Construction.

three-story building being constructed.

Opening Day takes a team and M&M (Monika Scott and Manny De Los Santos) were here early to put on finishing touches:

Monika with Manny and a thumbs up in the studio.

Renegade Athletics

Welcome R. Todd Little John Bakersfield College Football Head Coach BC.

Renegade Athletics Hires New Football Coach – R. Todd Littlejohn

You may have already heard the news this week that Renegade Athletics hired R. Todd Littlejohn as the new head football coach after Coach Chudy stepped down. We are excited to welcome R. Todd back to Bakersfield as he grew up in Bakersfield, attended BHS and played football here at BC before moving on to his coaching career. He brings a wealth of experience to his new position here at BC after a career full of coaching at multiple NCAA Division I universities and also in the NFL. You can ready more about R. Todd in the press release on GoGades.com or in the article written on him by Clay Cunningham of The Californian.

Renegade Athletics updates from this past week:

Jump shot.

Athletic events ‘On the Hill’ this coming week

Be sure to put on your Renegade Red and cheer on our student athletes as they compete this coming week. If you can’t make it in person, check GoGades.com to catch the livestream. Events include:

  • Wed. 1/22 Women’s Basketball vs West LA, 5pm
  • Wed. 1/22 Men’s Basketball vs. West LA, 7pm
  • Fri. 1/24 Softball vs Mt SAC, 2pm
  • Fri. 1/24 Softball vs. San Mateo, 6pm
  • Fri. 1/24 Baseball vs. Feather River, 6pm
  • Sat. 1/25 Softball vs. Santiago Canyon, 2pm
  • Sat. 1/25 Baseball vs. Moorpark, 6pm
  • Sun. 1/26 Baseball vs Taft, 2pm
Sonya Christian

That’s all for now.

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.

the luckiest and happiest college president ever

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2 thoughts on “#LetsDoThis2020

  1. Dr Clara B Reshma January 19, 2020 at 11:28 pm Reply

    Wow, Fantastic progressive curve. More Laurels on the journey ahead.👍👍👍

  2. […] Jan 18, 2020: #LetsDoThis2020 […]

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