Hello Summer and Summer Bridge Students!

Neo June 3 2017Good morning Bakersfield…. It is Saturday, June 10th and a great day to be a Renegade.

I spent a significant part of this week at the accreditation commission meeting in San Jose.  The accreditation peer review process for quality assurance is truly remarkable and I am so glad the United States still upholds this process.

I missed Neo who seemed much bigger when I got back home.  In the three weeks I’ve had him he went from being 10 lbs to 19 lbs.  Growing up fast and you can see it in his paws.

The drive back from San Jose was a bear with accidents on both 101 south as well as on the Pacheco pass….. It was quite the drive and my phone died and I did not have a charger handy, and I was tired….. It was a good thing that I got a book on tape, something I don’t usually do.  I got it from amazon.com, and no it was not a drone delivery three hours after I placed the order.

The book titled “The Life We Bury” was listed as a bestseller in the New York Times list.  I started listening to the book on my drive to and from Mammoth last week.  But the numerous conf calls resulted in me not making much progress.  But coming back from San Jose, without my phone, I got through much more, though not quite all yet.

Kimberly Bligh has been busy this summer, scaling up summer bridge for our incoming students and engaging faculty across campus to come spend a day with the incoming freshman during their orientation.

Dr. Matt Garrett’s post on Facebook and his response to Olivia Garcia says it all

Matt Garrett Summer Bridge June 2017.png

Summer Bridge is a one-day seminar for new students. It increases success and retention for all new freshmen by giving them the tools and resources they need to succeed. Each morning begins with faculty on hand to greet the eager students and share with them their wealth of knowledge to help acclimate them on their new academic path.

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The students break out into smaller groups joining faculty members sprinkled throughout the room for networking and chatting. It’s here where their first friendships on campus are formed… together, they are on this journey, and it’s a time to ask questions and get  information for their classes, their major’s and also their first day concerns.

Students share their dreams, goals, and aspirations for their future, encouraged and cheered on by those faculty members brought together by Dr. Kimberly Bligh.

The students are also given a guided tour by faculty and student leaders who show them first-hand all of the various buildings located throughout campus. This is an amazing way for students to feel even more comfortable when they arrive on the first day of class, it enables them to focus more on their academics rather than worrying and searching aimlessly for their needed classes. Students are able to obtain their schedules and throughout the tour faculty and staff able answer any questions they may have. Students also learn a little background on BC, when it was founded and when the campus was moved up on the hill.But one of the greatest benefits for students who participate is what they learn about all of the wonderful services that BC has to offer.

The students were shown where the Veteran’s Lounge, Renegade Pantry, Renegade RIP, Student Health Services, Counseling Center, Writing Center, Math Center, Tutoring Center, Financial Aid, and Supplementary instruction centers were all located on campus.

IMG_5832All of these services and much more are there to help the students be as successful as they can be – providing them the tools they need to achieve their goals.

 

Eileen Pierce, Manager of Academic Support — Supplemental Instruction, shared how SI works and how it  benefits all the students who attend at least five to six sessions per semester.

We are a family. We thrive and flourish together with the help of each other, because… We are BC!

Summer Bridge June 7 2017

 

 

See more photos and stay up to date with Summer Bridge on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/summerbridgeBC/

BC’s Inmate Scholars Program

The Inmate Scholars Program was nominated for the 2017 Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce, Beautiful Bakersfield Awards.  Each year, the Chamber holds an annual gala to honor those connected to the community and to recognize the efforts to improve the quality of life in Bakersfield.

Aera won an award

Aera winning an award at Beautiful BAkersfield June 3 2017.png

Thank you Nick Ortiz and all at the Greater Bakersfield Chamber for bringing to us Beautiful Bakersfield

Nick Ortiz, Hillary Haenes Beautiful Bakersfield

Bakersfield College is honored to be recognized as a community leader.

Inmate Scholars, Bryan Hirayama, Chelsea Esquibias, Rich McCrow, Letty Garza, Doug Grimsley, Gerald Cantu, Kaitlin Hulsy, Isaias Hernandez

(from front, clockwise) Bryan Hirayama, Chelsea Esquibias, Rich McCrow, Letty Garza, Doug Grimsley, Gerald Cantu (behind placard), his wife,  Kaitlin Hulsy, Isaias Hernandez

The Central Valley has more than ten prisons and correctional facilities. Recidivism is high — of the incarcerated who are released, over 76% return to prison.  The Inmate Scholars Program provides college courses inside of the local prisons to educate those before release.  Associate Degrees earned in prison have been shown to reduce recidivism to below 5% thus saving taxpayers over $70,000 per year per inmate as well as creating a safer and more thriving community.

Inmate Scholars, Rich McCrow, Doug Grimsley, Gerald Cantu

Rich McCrow, Doug Grimsley, Gerald Cantu

Education is the key for our incarcerated population.  Thank you to all of those Bakersfield College employees that serve students in the program, and thank you to those who attended the dinner; Rich McCrow, Chelsea Esquibias, Bryan Hirayama, Doug Grimsley, Isaias Hernandez, Gerald Cantu, Kaitlin Hulsy, Isaias Hernandez and many more great Renegades!  We are BC!

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And then I saw this great post by Supervisor Leticia Perez on Facebook:

Leticia Perez June 7 2017.png

Retreats and reflections during the summer

President’s Cabinet had two retreats this summer, the first one at the Delano Campus on June 1st and the 2nd on the Panorama Campus here in Bakersfield on June 5th.

2017 President's Cabinet June 5 2017

 

President's Cabinet Retreat June 5 2017

 

 

At Delano the focus was on BC’s Rural Initiatives, Dual Enrollment, and Inmate Education.  After presentations and discussions, we headed for a tour of the Randolf Campus in Delano.

Cabinet Retreat in Delano June 1 2017.JPG

 

Bakersfield College originally offered courses in Delano at the Randolf campus.  This is where I was first involved as a faculty member — I taught math via interactive TV but would often drive up to the Randolf campus to meet with students.  During that time, a group of us in the math department wrote an Eisenhower grant to improve STEM education in Delano with a focus on parent education.  I then went away to work in Oregon for 10 years and when I returned as President, the Delano campus had moved to Timmons Ave, and the Randolf campus was leased to the Wonderful Academy.  Wonderful was and is a great partner of Bakersfield College.  Wonderful now has built their own campus for their Charter School and the Randolf campus has reverted back to BC.  I do want to thank Wonderful for donating all the classroom spaces they had built and improvements they made during their stay at the campus.  Lynda Resnick thank you.  Noemi, thank you.

Here are pictures of the Cabinet tour of Randolf campus.

Randolf Campus June 1 2017.JPG

Cabinet at Randolf Campus June 1 2017.JPG

Nicky Damania and Grace Commiso planning for Student Services

Nicky Damania and Grace Commiso Randolf Campus June 1 2017

Alex Dominguez

Alex Dominguez was the President of BC’s Student Government in 2014-2015, going on to be the Student Body President at CSUB.  Alex had a wonderful graduation and it seemed that everyone from Bakersfield was there to celebrate this young man’s future and presence in our lives!

Alex Dominguez

Alex Dominguez, Sonya Christian

Terri Goldstein Alex Dominguez Nicky Damania June 3 2017

Terri Goldstein, Alex Dominguez, Nicky Damania

 

Here are some links to blog posts that spotlighted Alex:

This one is a long blog but scroll until you see the picture with Alex Dominquez (2014-2015), Calyton Fowler (2015-2016), Matthew Frazer (2016-2017)

https://sonyachristianblog.com/2016/09/18/on-remembrance-and-making-memories/

Some fun photos:

Ramon Puga and his son

Ramon Puga at his son's graduation.png

So I was at the ACCJC commission meeting and this is what happens to my office when I was not there — Mission Occupy!

Lunchtime

Jennifer Marden, Tracy Hall, Tarina Perry, Somaly Boles

 

Sonya Christian at Randolph Campus June 1 2017That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

(at the Randolf campus in Delano)

California comes to Bakersfield

Good morning Bakersfield….it is Saturday, June 3, 2017. A great day to be a Renegade.

With Monday, May 29th, being Memorial Day, the college was closed. Facebook was active with messages honoring those who gave up their lives for the country.  And later in the evening, BC’s faculty lead for student veterans sent a Memorial Day message that reverberated across the CA Community Colleges.

AdminPaulBeckworthChancellor Dr. Eloy Oakley, California Community College Veteran Counselors and Veteran Services Personnel,

Today is Memorial Day.

Today is the day we honor our fallen brothers and sisters.

What we do everyday is not a sacrifice.  What we do is a honor.  We are honored to help those who survived the fight. We get to go help those who are here with us, now.  As we go back to work tomorrow, let us remember TODAY, those who gave all.  Those who gave all will never be California Community College students.  They will never study MLA format or do a CSEP.  They will never fill out Post 9/11 GI Bill paperwork.  They will not stroll into your veteran center and ask about voc rehab.  They will not ask for hot coffee, or why they cant take more than 7 credits in summer school.  Although we cannot help them, we can help their brothers and sisters who survived the fight.

PaulBeckworthOur bbqs are done for the day.  It is late Monday night.  Tomorrow is a new day.  As we go back to work, let us strive to honor those who will never enter our hallowed halls by honoring the student-veterans who do.  Honor them and their dependents.  Our task is not easy.  Some of us suffer from “Compassion fatigue.”  What is demanded of us is not expected of anyone else on our campuses.  Veterans suffer 22 suicides a day and we feel each one.  I am proud of all of you and the work you do for our student-veterans.  Let’s face it, we love all our students, but, there is something about those veterans with big bushy beards, tattoos and bad language.  They tug at our hearts and they make us want to try a little bit harder.  Considering what they did for us, what we do is a small price to pay.

To those of you on this list serv who lost friends or family, please know our hearts and prayers are with you tonight.  From Bunker Hill to Fallujah, from Iwo Jima to the Triangle of Death, let us remember Abraham Lincoln’s words at Gettysburg, “We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting place to those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. IT IS ALTOGETHER FITTING AND PROPER THAT WE SHOULD DO THIS.”

Paul Beckworth Cynthia QuintanillaTonight we remember.  Tomorrow we do the work: It is all together fitting and proper that we should do this.

Let us remember.

Respectfully,

Paul Beckworth
History Professor
Veterans Faculty Lead
Bakersfield College


Leadership Matters Summit

Eloy Oakley keynoting at the Leadership SummitIt’s another great week to be a Renegade, especially in light of our recent “Leadership Matters: Re-Imagining Leadership to Sustain Transformative Change to Advance Student Success & Equity” summit that took place on campus last week on Wednesday May 24th. It was an absolute pleasure and privilege to be able to host this remarkable and motivating day focused on leadership. Colleges from all over California met to discuss the Guided Pathways Initiative and how we can better accommodate and serve our community and our 2.1 million students across California.

With one year of work completed in developing the project, $150 million of one-time funding in the Governor’s budget for implementing Guided Pathways at all of the California community colleges, and an excellent slate of speakers and panelists, we knew the summit was going to be well-attended!

shawn-whalen-oct-11-2016Before I go any further, I must recognize Shawn Whalen of College Futures who has been committed to the equity and transfer agenda to community college students.

I’m so thankful that Chancellor Eloy Oakley agreed to come to Bakersfield and launch the summit. With great passion he made it very clear why Guided Pathways is critical to the future of California Community College System in the eyes of the state legislature and how there is no other institution better positioned to help California move forward than our 113 colleges.

Sonya Christian Leadership Matters SummitHere is my introduction of Chancellor Eloy Oakley

I have good news. At the head of the California Community College system, the largest higher educational system in the nation, that serves populations that are most in-need, we have a leader.

We have someone who is moving the dial on student success; someone who builds coalitions to make the impossible possible; someone who sets agendas that have national and statewide impact.

Back when it was first announced that Eloy Ortiz Oakley was our new Chancellor, I heard excitement and anticipation; that community colleges are in good hands, and to expect a lot to happen, – a lot to happen quickly, well, and sustainably, as it did at Long Beach City College under President Eloy Oakley.

We have a leader – I remember being in the audience at the senate budget committee, with the senators asking tough questions, of the $850M that has been invested in community colleges, and why we were back asking for an additional $150M for Guided Pathways. And he explained calmly, clearly and confidently that that the prior investments had laid the foundation, and that the $150M was what was needed to bring it together, to bring it to its tipping point and that the results would be exponentially better.

When he was done speaking, those legislators who were only able to see a block of marble, were able to see that angel in the marble that Eloy Oakley was attempting to free.

We have a leader – Chancellor Oakley brings incredible clarity on how to make local empowerment and systems development work together to maximize talent…to maximize resources.  His college promise initiative is all about empowering colleges to create local coalitions with their high school, industry and university partners to clear pathways for students. And then with the Guided Pathways investment to develop technical assistance and systems to meet each community college where they are and to move them to greater levels of performance.  Because remember, over 2 million students are counting on us.

This clarity in bringing together many worlds is exciting and promising. I will tell you dear friends that there has never, ever been a better time to be in the community college system, in California. There has never been a better time for vision, and hope, while keeping a steady eye on the realities and challenges we face.

We have a leader who with us will say with confidence, “Si se puede”.

Friends, I give you that leader, our Chancellor, Eloy Oakley.

Watch Chancellor Oakley’s Keynote Address here:

LeadershipMatters-JoshWyner-1

Josh Wyner of The Aspen Institute

The first session of the summit explained how leaders build urgency and college-wide ownership for change. Moderated by Josh Wyner, Executive Director of the College Excellence Program at the Aspen Institute, three leaders from three different constituencies described their communication strategies to establish urgency and share a vision for long-term and scalable change: from the trustee perspective, Bill McGinnis (trustee, Butte-Glenn Community College District); from the faculty perspective, Julie Bruno (Professor of Communication Studies at Sierra College and President of the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges); and from the administration perspective, Wolde-Ab Isaac (President of Riverside City College).

Panel 1 Leadership Matters

Session1-Panel

Bill McGinnis, Julie Bruno, and Wolde-Ab Isaac

LeadershipMatters-Angelica Garcia-1

Angelica Garcia

The second session “Psychology of Change” moderated by Angelica Garcia, Vice President of Student Services at Skyline College, focused on the deeper level at which change leadership must be cultivated and exercised. Cleavon Smith (Professor of English at Berkeley City College), Irene Malmgren (Vice President of Instruction at Mt. SAC), and Andrea Neptune (Professor of English and Academic Senate President at Sierra College) shared how they were able to get authentic engagement and establish trust among faculty and trust that led to co-ownership for the systems change occurring at their colleges. While Guided Pathways is the integrating framework, the panelists showed how the details of creating the change depend on the particular history and culture of the college.

Panel 2 Leadership Matters

Panel 2 at Leadership Matters

Session2-Panel

Irene Malmgren, Cleavon Smith, and Andrea Neptune

I was thrilled that Chancellor Tom Burke stopped by to welcome the participants to the Kern Community College District and to Bakersfield College.  Gregory Stoup who currently chairs the RP Group gave a fabulous, quick paced, MTV style presentation on Guided Pathways.

The third session was titled “Aligning Resource to Support and Sustain Change”. Three leaders focused on how their institutions are realigning and repurposing existing resources to ensure organizational capacity for transformational student success work: Glenn Roquemore (President of Irvine Valley College), Ann Ransford (Trustee from Glendale Community College District and President of the California Community College Trustees), and our own Jennifer Johnson.

Panel 3 Leadership Matters

Panel 3 — Leadership Matters

Session3-Panel

Glenn Roquemore, Ann Ransford, and Jennifer Johnson

LeadershipMatters-Hope-1

Laura Hope

Laura Hope, co-director of the RP Group’s “Leading from the Middle”, gave us the wrap-up by having us share with the person next to us and then the whole gathering, the why—why guided pathways right now, why are we going on this difficult journey to move this framework forward?

Three hundred twenty attendees registered in person from over 60 different colleges and organizations, as well as a livestream audience of almost 500. BC staff and students helped ensure the summit ran smoothly.

Check out some of the photos and videos taken at the event on the Bakersfield College Instagram page and at the full BC Gallery here:
https://bakersfieldcollege.smugmug.com/2017-Leadership-Matters-Summit/
.  

Don’t forget the BC Twitter feed, where you can find more photos, questions, and comments with the #CAGuidedPathways.

There were many hands that worked together to make this happen.  Here are a few who look care of the logistics: Tarina Perry,  Christopher Glaser, John Farrand, Monika Scott, Dylan Wang,  Kristin Rabe,  Reese Weltman, Earl Parsons,  Kristina Whitmore, Somaly Boles, Kevin Ganger,  June Charles, Jennifer Marden, Tracy Hall, Mary Jo Pasek, Maria Diaz, Anita Karr, Bernadette Martinez, Arisve Pimentel, Danyel Owens,  Yolanda Aguilera, Eric Sabella, Ramon Puga, Marissa Jeffers.  

A special thank you to Tarina Perry for being the lead on the summit.

Thank you Laura Hope and Keren Stashower for emceeing the event.

Also a special thank you to Janet Fulks and Lesley Bonds who worked closely with me on the programming of the summit and the work with shaping the content with the speakers.

Additional photos related to the Leadership Summit

Southwestern College

Marie Vicario-Fisher, Sonya Christian, Angelica Suarez

Keren Stashower Leadership Matters May 24 2017

Keren Stashower at Leadership Matters

The night before:

Shawn Whalen Sonya Christian Eloy Oakley May 24 2017

Shawn Whalen, Sonya Christian, Eloy Oakley

Craig Hayward and John Wyner May 23 2017

Criag Hayward, Josh Wyner

Cabrillo May 23 2017

Gang from Cabrillo

Tarina Perry did a “thank you” pizza party at her house to all those who helped with the logistics.  I popped in for a few minutes at the front end of the party.

Tarina Perry's Thank You Party June 2 2017

Tarina sent me this cool picture of Marissa Jeffries at the Leadership Summit.  Marissa was in charge of food.

Marissa Jeffries


All things Cerro Coso

Deanna Ing CampbellThis last week the Student Success and Equity Office organized their retreat at the Mammoth Center of Cerro Coso Community College.  The idea to hold one of our critical summer retreats at one of KCCD’s sister campuses came up when we heard the Director of Mammoth and Bishop campuses, Deanna Campbell, of Cerro Coso present at the KCCD Leadership Academy.  I covered this in my March 4, 2017 blog.

Check it out
https://sonyachristianblog.com/2017/03/04/inspiration-all-around-us/

Mammoth View.JPG

When I asked Lesley Bonds if she would like to take her team to Mammoth she promptly said yes.  This office of eight touches the entire campus — both the instructional side of the house as well as the Student Affairs side.

SS and Equity Retreat at Mammoth May 31 2017.JPG

Kristina Whitmore, Sonya Christian, Julian West, Lisa Kent, Shauna Turner, Pedro Ramirez, Keri Kennedy, Lesley Bonds, Shanell Tyus

BC’s Student Success and Equity team is remarkable.  This small office is tasked with “moving the dial” on student completion.  At BC we measure student completion through 4 momentum points — (1) completing college level English and Math in the first year (2) completing 12-15 credits in their program pathways in the first semester (3) completing 30 credits in their program pathway in the first year (summer-fall-spring) (4) completing an associates degree or transfer in two-years.  With over 30,000 students and few staff, the challenge is always about the ratio of students to staff. The task at hand requires each individual to move large quantities in a quality way.  But given that the majority of our students fall in the “at risk” category the only way to get them to be successful is through case management.  Normally when we think case-management we think managing individual student cases.  However, with BC does not have that luxury.  So we need to “case manage” through “groups”.  This require both a high touch and high tech approach.

Group at Cerro Coso Mammoth May 31 2017

Shauna Turner, Kristina Whitmore, Lesley Bonds, Sonya Christian, Pedro Ramirez (hidden), Julian West, Lisa Kent, Keri Kennedy, Shanell Tyus

I was so proud of this team when I hung out with them during their discussions.  Talented, smart and so committed to student success.  Do you understand now why I am the luckiest and happiest college president ever

SS and Equity Team Painting May 30 2017.JPG

I learned that BC has a dual enrollment program in Culinary at Mammoth High School.  Thanks to Deanna and Trish for connecting with Chef Pat Coyle and making this happen.  The students at the high school prepared lunch for the BC team.

Mammoth Lakes students in BC's Culinary Class

Deanna asked Trish what she would like her to tell the BC team and this is what Trish wrote back:

My culinary students are taking their state test this week and I expect a high passing rate.  There are many restaurants in Mammoth that appreciate my students having their Food Handlers certificate.  They hire my graduates before others, partly because of the hands-on training they receive and also the certificate in itself.  Many of the students plan to continue in the trade by furthering their education in addition to the units they receive at MHS.

I attached a note from one of my recent graduates that I felt expressed the importance of the certificate and how it helped him.

Faculty member Trish Qualls with her culinary students

Trish Quall with her students

Here is the email from Connor Craig to Trish:

In taking the Food Handler Training Program, not only was I able to learn proper food handling and safety regulations for food, I was able to use this certificate for my new job.  Since becoming certified, I was able to skip food training programs at The Looney Bean because of the knowledge acquired through the Safety Program that I learned in Foods Class.  It would also be more than likely that I will work in food services in the future, so this program will also most definitely help for jobs and careers later in life.  This is a must program for all of those who wish to skip a tedious step in any kind of food handling business as well as those who wish to look professional when applying for a job in this field.

We got to meet the Cerro Coso team that is responsible for the Mammoth and Bishop campuses and were really impressed by all that they do for these remote communities that are at great distances from each other.

Cerro Coso Team at Mammoth May 31 2017

Kim Blackwell, James Markam, Yvonne Martin, Caroline Sanderson, Deanna Campbell

I learned from Deanna that:

  • Cerro Coso partners with University of Nevada in Reno since that is the closest university to the Mammoth and Bishop.
  • Demographics shift: Whites decreased from 80% to 45% from 2002-2003 to 2016-2017; Latino increase from 17% to 38%
  • 14 high schools in Inyo and Mono County
  • Bishop campus opened in 2003 and Mammoth in 2008

Thank you Lesley for making this happen.  And thank you for all that you do for BC.  We are fortunate to have you.

Lesley Bonds May 31 2017


Board meeting at Cerro Coso

Since I am on a roll bragging about our sister campus, let me briefly spotlight them through pictures the KCCD Board meeting at Cerro Coso  which was on May 4, 2017.

President Jill Board receives the Shirley B. Gordon Award.  This is a prestigious national award and to have one of KCCD presidents receive it is pretty cool.  Congratulations Jill!

Jill Board winning the award

Retiree Carol Hewer and Congressman Bill Thomas were talking about the good old days when I snapped this picture.

Carol Hewer and Bill Thomas May 4 2017

Cerro Coso traditionally has their Scholarship Awards ceremony during lunch prior to the Board meeting.  It is always a treat hearing about the lives of these amazing students.

Students at Cerro Coso being honored


Oliver Rosales speaking at University of Washington

dgd6leyfjrsqyajlbuinjsnnIt was exciting to hear that our own Oliver Rosales from the History Department was going to be speaking at the University of Washington, Walter Chapin Simpson Center for the Humanities.  Rosales addressed connections between two-year colleges and PHD programs.

I always feel proud to hear of our own being recognized for their leadership in their fields.
https://tinyurl.com/y76yzwcj


BC Foundation Honors Celebration

Every year before spring graduation, The Bakersfield College Foundation and the Bakersfield College Financial Aid Office host the Honors Celebration. It is the time when scholarships for the upcoming academic year are announced and academic and athletic awards are handed out for accomplishments for the year just ending.

This year’s event had approximately 900 participants, including BC administration, faculty and staff, and donors whose generosity has funded the scholarship program at BC,  as well as over 200 scholarship and award recipients and their guests.  Over 500 scholarships are dispensed each year, totaling approximately $500,000 in scholarships and awards.

See nearly over 300 images from this year’s event: (https://bakersfieldcollege.smugmug.com/2017-Honors-Celebration/)


A Poem

Jack Hernandez will be published in the Anglican Theological Review.

zolbrod_4

Jack Hernandez

A Rule
My monkish soul
seeks a rule
in this familiar
place where windows
dazzle no longer,
the call of a full
order or stomach
receding like mother’s
admonition to clean
my dinner plate.

The days unfold
with limited promise,
my genes fulfilled
mind stuffed
with books
instructions not
to blink
before strong
ideas no matter
how strange their eyes.

A young woman
walks by
a baby in each arm
her days
ruled like mine
when flushed with time,
The rule of life
I seek now
is a grace to light
this cloistered dusk.


David Koeth’s “Thoughts on avoiding burnout in teaching”

koeth1-900x600

David Koeth

Our graphic design teacher and self-proclaimed “recovering department chair,” shared some insightful thoughts on the AIGA Design Educators website.  Among some of my favorite ideas: “Take care of your health,” “know the signs of burnout,” and my personal favorite, “find a ritual that relaxes you.”

David’s amusing personality is on display and he has some great ideas for all of us! You can read the article here: https://educators.aiga.org/thoughts-on-avoiding-burnout-in-teaching/.


Lisa Strobel and Nick StrobelNick Strobel — excited about an eclipse

Wouldn’t you get excited too if you read this opening paragraph of Nick Strobel’s column in today’s Californian?

Recently, at many gatherings where people know what I do or find out that I teach astronomy at Bakersfield College, the subject of the conversation quickly gets around to the August 2017 total solar eclipse. That was the case as well at the Bakersfield College Sterling Silver Dinner a couple of weeks back. It’s a sign that the education and public outreach campaign for this astronomical event has done a very good job. I have been looking forward to it for about 40 years since I first read about it in the World Book Encyclopedia in my boyhood home.

If you have ever been to a total solar eclipse or one where enough of the sun was covered to clearly notice a drop in the light level (say over 95% covered), you know it is a truly awesome thing to experience. That’s “awesome” in the true sense of the word—awe-inspiring, soul-stirring. If you have never been to a total solar eclipse, then a word of warning: be very careful because you can get addicted to eclipses and become one of those people who chase eclipses all over the globe. It is an excellent excuse to travel all over but it can get a bit expensive going to some remote places to witness at most a few minutes of totality.

I’ve exhibited great resistance to the lure of eclipse chasing, keeping myself to just two total solar eclipses in the past ten or so years: one in China in 2009 and another in Australia in 2012. Fortunately for us this eclipse won’t be expensive to travel to. Finding cheap lodging will be difficult, though, as hotels exercise their right under capitalism’s supply-and-demand.

The August 2017 eclipse is the first total solar eclipse visible only in the United States since 1776, yes 1776. It will also be the first since 1918 that crosses the United States from Pacific to Atlantic and the first since 1979 that is visible anywhere in the lower 48 states. Approximately 391 million people in the U.S. will be able to see the August 2017 eclipse (partial or total).

For the whole article:
https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/planetarium/bakersfield-night-sky/bakersfield-night-sky-june-3-2017


From Facebook

Jen Garrett

Last night part of the BC Chamber Singers had an opportunity to sing in St Francis Church in Bakersfield for their women’s bible study group called WOW (Women in Wisdom). We were honored to be asked and appreciate the generous support the Church showed towards our Australia tour next summer. I hope this is the beginning of many opportunities to perform and collaborate with them.

I am so grateful to have a choir that can meet and perform as they did last night after not seeing each other for weeks. I know I can rely on them for more than just their talents and I do grateful for that. Hearing them last night felt like healing for the soul. The pastor told us we gave a great gift to give. I believe that music itself is a very special gift and when given by this group of musicians it almost feels like magic.

And I get this text from my friend Arlene Braganza

The BC Chamber Singers did a phenomenal job at the WOW at St. Francis on Wednesday evening.

Here is a picture of Arlene Braganza and her family when they came out to BC for the Caroling and Culinary evening in December.

The Braganza Family

Lauro Braganza, Arlene Braganza, and Gemma Lauro’s sister

Here are photo’s from Jen’s post

BC Chambers at St. Francis.jpg

Chamber Singers May 31 2017.jpg


Who gets 448 “likes” on a Facebook post….. I know

Kris Tiner June 2017


Neo

Neo had his second set of shots today.  When I carried him in at 10 weeks the young woman at the front desk spontaneously blurted “what a ginormous cutie”

sonya christian at Rotary April 30 2015

That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Moments that make up Life

Neo from Eisha's Facebook May 14 2017Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, May 27th….always a good day to be a Renegade.

A lot happened this week…A lot has happened to people around me.  Gains and losses. All interwoven in the fabric of life.  It gives us pause and the realization that it is the little moments that make up life.

Let me start by revisiting the 103rd commencement.

Commencement

I’m happy to still be covering parts of our incredible Commencement Day on May 12th.

Thank you Manny De Los Santos for this great video!

Last week I did not have the potos for the Delano pre-commencement celebration and the Veterans pre-commencement celebration.  So I decided to hold off and post it this week.  I did receive an email expressing disappointment that I did not have them last week.  My apologies.  Sit back and enjoy our students in Delano and our student Veterans.

Delano Pre-Commencement Celebration:

Students at the Bakersfield College-Delano Campus are part of a close-knit community — one really gets to know the faces around the center. This couldn’t have been made much clearer than by the remarks that followed.

 

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Trustee Romeo Agbalog

Trustee Romeo Agbalog gave words of encouragement to the graduates in attendance. He talked about his experience as a student at Bakersfield College. Mr. Agbalog specifically talked about the role that our longtime Admissions and Records Technician, Helen Calip, played in enrolling him in his first class at Bakersfield College-Delano. In recounting the experience, Mr. Agbalog, full of heart, looked at Helen sitting in the audience and thanked her for what she did for him. We feel very fortunate to have such a passionate representative on our Board of Trustees.  Thank you Trustee Agbalog for taking the time to be present at important events.  Our students really appreciate it.

 

DelanoCommencement (2)Our keynote speaker for the event was adjunct faculty member, Victor Krumdick. Mr. Krumdick is retiring after 26 years of service to the college. Raquel Lopez and Carolina Madrigal introduced him and shared stories about the amazing work he has done in Delano, in and out of the classroom. Mr. Krumdick is one of the friendliest people around campus. He brings a positive energy to the Delano Campus that not many can match. He shared some wise and poetic words with the students, in hopes that they live life to their fullest potential.

Then came the moment everybody was waiting for. Each student had the opportunity to stand in front of the group and share words of appreciation for their guests, as well as for the staff and faculty. The majority of the students made it a point to thank the faculty members who believed in them and supported them along the way. Each student received a medal to recognize their accomplishment.

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BC Delano Pre-Commencement Reception

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BC Delano Pre-Commencement Reception

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BC Delano Pre-Commencement Reception

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BC Delano Pre-Commencement Reception

The ceremony was followed by a reception at which students, staff, faculty, and guests enjoyed light refreshments. The joy and pride that the families had that day was very contagious. After some socializing, many of the students headed to main campus to participate in the 103rd commencement. 

Veterans Pre-Commencement

“Aim High …. Fly, Fight, Win!” , “Non sibi sed patriae, (Not for self but for country)”, “Semper Fidelis (Always Faithful)”and “This we’ll defend” all typically followed by a Hooray!

Veterans pre-commencement May 12 2017

These are the official mottoes for the four branches of military, Air Force, Navy, Marines, and the Army. A week ago Friday, six Bakersfield College students gathered for their pre-commencement ceremony and all of these branches were represented with pride and honor. These six students worked hard, diligently at their studies, juggled families, work, and outside responsibilities while still making time to study, write those papers and pass those exams. When Paul Beckworth addressed these BC Veterans, he recognized their service to this country and the service to this school, “Stay up late and write a paper, I’ve served 2 tours in Iraq, piece of cake.”

After Paul and Armando Trujillo  spoke to the Veteran students and their honored guests, they then invited the students to come up one at a time and be stolled by a member of their family and then speak of their appreciation for those who helped them on this journey.

The resonating theme throughout everyone’s comments was that of the genuine camaraderie that can be found within the walls of the Veteran’s lounge. When soldiers get together, there is an instant bond that is irrefutable and instantaneous, they all share a trait that will connect them forever, a love and duty to this country… and now, alumni of BC.  #WeAreBC

The graduates all thanked their loved ones present for their patience, love and support, first while they were enlisted, then now with them completing their education at Bakersfield College. It is absolutely amazing to know that by 2018 there will be a new Veterans lounge thanks to the passing of Measure J. The new veterans facility will provide these soldiers with a place to meet together, work on their studies, get tutoring help, speak with counselors, and just find solace within the confines of a place where like-minded individuals can meet and empower one another to keep working hard to achieve their academic dreams. I hope all of our alumni Vets will come back to see, share, and visit this upcoming wonderful advancement for the Veteran’s at BC.

veterans

From Left: Jeff Patterson, Fernando Bocanegra (standing), David Dullum Jr. (squatting), Robert Lira, Professor Paul Beckworth, Stephanie Short, Armando Trujillo, Bernadette Martinez and Reigine Tovar


For more photos check out
https://bakersfieldcollege.smugmug.com/Veterans-Pre-Commencement-2017/

 

KEDC and the STEMposium

On May 19, 2017 was the ‘STEMposium’ event organized by the Kern Economic Development Corporation (KEDC), and held on the Bakersfield College campus. This event raises awareness of the amazing technology-related fields in and around Kern County. The KEDC works with high schools to foster awareness and excitement for the Stem disciplines so that young students can move on to become leaders in tech-driven fields.

Here is a list of some of the organizations represented:
Chevron, PG&E, Wells Fargo, S Power, California Resources Corporation, Bakersfield College, Taft College, BHE Renewables, Kern Schools Federal Credit Union, Ikea, GTEDC, Ordiz Melby, and Texas Instruments. (Click here for the full gallery of images)

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2017 STEMposium at Bakersfield College

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Vince Fong at the 2017 STEMposium

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2017 STEMposium at Bakersfield College

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2017 STEMposium at Bakersfield College

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2017 STEMposium at Bakersfield College

I enjoyed Christina Sistrunk’s talk at the Stemposium about women in the Stem area.  We are fortunate to have such a great CEO for Aera.  I have blogged about Aera being a great patron of education in general and Bakersfield College in particular.  Aera gave a large donation to BC to the development of a Stem Success Center.

Check out my Sep 10, 2016 blog about the Aera Stem Success Center
https://sonyachristianblog.com/2016/09/10/transforming-environments-transforming-lives/

Also enjoyed seeing Michael Kane from Cerro Coso giving a ted-like talk.  He was fabulous.  Michael is an Aquatic Ecologist who has spent time teaching around the world including Brazil and Costa Rica.

Michael Kane from Cerro Coso May 19 2017

Michael Kane

Amber Smithson, the student blogger was out and about covering the Stemposium.  Here is a shot of her in action and one with me.  Amber, you are amazing!

Bob Meadows emceed the ted talks event.  I wish I had snapped a picture with him.  Bob Meadows, you are the best!

On Thursday evening, KEDC hosted a Pre-STEMposium event at Luigi’s.  It was a fun event and I enjoyed visiting with Mindy Wilmot and her husband who teaches Project Lead the Way at Bakersfield High School.  I ran into Lauren Skidmore and Chancellor Tom Burke attending and snapped this photo.

 

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Lauren Skidmore and Chancellor Tom Burke

Here I am with Director of MESA (Math, Engineering, Science Achievement) Connie Gonzales:

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Sonya Christian with Connie Gonzales


The visionary and the one who did the detailed work to pull all this together is Cheryl Scott.  Just an amazing person!

Cheryl Scott with Sandi and Scruffy Facebook picture

Cheryl Scott

Sterling Silver

I want so start my writing on this year’s Sterling Silver with Josh Ottum.  Josh was there with his students and they played Linda Ronstadt’s Blue Bayou.

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Josh Ottum and his family

I wish I had jumped up and rushed over and gotten a video for you to enjoy.  It was sooooo good.  But I was dressed in fancy clothes and high heels and thought I would embarrass BC in front of dignitaries if I made a mad dash to get a video clip.  Instead I waited patiently and completely immersed in the music.  Later when they were done, I calmly walked over and expressed how I loved the song and how Ronstadt’s Blue Bayou was my favorite.  To which Josh responded “yes of course” that they knew it was my favorite  because they had read my blog and that is precisely why they played it.   Now do you know why I am the luckiest and happiest college president ever.

 

Sterling Silver is the annual fundraising event for the Bakersfield College Foundation.  This year, Tom Gelder and I decided to convert the event from a fundraiser to a thank you to the community for passing Measure J on the November 8th ballot and to recognize individuals who put in a lot of effort to make all of this happen.

The main honorees of the evening were Mayor Harvey Hall who was the chair of the Blue Ribbon Committee and Congressman Bill Thomas who was the senior advisor to the campaign.

Mayor Harvey Hall:

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Tom Gelder, Harvey Hall, Sonya Christian

You don’t get to be Bakersfield’s longest serving mayor without doing things well, and Harvey Hall does a lot of things well.   Political campaign committees need strong leadership and Harvey provided that throughout the process.  From space at Hall Ambulance for committee meetings, running the meetings on a tight schedule, making financial contributions to the campaign, to inspirational speeches when we needed them, Harvey was always there for us.  I remember when I went to meet with Mayor Hall to ask him if he would chair the Bond effort.  I had documents and a file to talk him through the details and make a compelling case for why he should say yes to chairing the committee.  Harvey looked at me and only 10 seconds into my pitch, which I had rehearsed at length, he just said “yes”.

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President Sonya Christian, Mayor Harvey Hall

When it comes to Bakersfield and Bakersfield College I know Harvey is there for us.  And apparently Harvey had a clone which made it possible to be there for so many of us, often it felt like, at the same time.  On behalf of all at Bakersfield College I can say that we could not have asked for a better person to chair this effort and be the face for the Bond Measure. A true friend of Bakersfield College, Mayor Harvey Hall.

Congressman Bill Thomas:

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As I’ve gotten to know Bill Thomas, I now realize that his middle initial “M” stands for “Make it Happen”…. Make it happen now…. Actually why did you not make it happen….

You don’t get to be chair of the House Ways and Means Committee without getting to the crux of every problem and forging brilliant solutions on a daily basis.  We’d like to think that he gained these skills as a professor at BC but I imagine he was a force of nature from an early age.

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Bill Thomas, Sharon Thomas, Peggy Goodwin, Greg Goodwin

In the realm of major capital campaigns, you won’t find many, if any, that raise $503 million in such a short time.   Bill Thomas played a major role in making it so.  Strategist, advocate, negotiator, mentor, inspiring leader all come to mind.  On a personal level, I could not have had a better mentor as I navigated this unknown territory of a bond campaign.  I remember the day when the congressman let the finance committee know in no uncertain terms when we failed to file a document in a timely way.  But it is that level of focus on detail and moving easily between vision, strategy and operational particulars that makes Bill Thomas the leader that he is.  And although he tries to hide it, he has a big teddy bear heart for this community and for Bakersfield College.  The combination of brilliant intellect and huge love for his community is what made the entire Measure J team fall in love with the congressman.  He was at 1675 Chester Avenue every day, multiple times a day.

BC and the BC Foundation tonight salute Bill Thomas.

Michael Turnipseed:

Mike was not able to attend Sterling Siver, so here is the picture Tom Gelder snapped when he came to his office to pick up with award.

Michael Turnipseed May 24 2017

JP Lake:

Here is JP picking up his award.

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Karen Thompson

Did not get the photo of Karen receiving the award yet.  Will update the blog when I get it. So tune back in.

Karen Thompson and Pat Thompson May 17 2017

When it became clear that we were going to go for the passage of Measure J, we felt the Foundation was in good hands with Karen Thompson as the Chair of the Board of Directors.  We were so right.  The Foundation stepped up to provide the majority of the monies needed to finance the campaign and Karen stepped up to steer the work of the Measure J Committee.  That’s leadership!  Her efforts are truly remarkable by the fact that Karen was changing jobs at the time.  I don’t think any of us realized how much work would be involved in getting Measure J passed, but Karen did whatever it took to get us through successfully.  Thank you, Karen!

Norma Rojas Mora:

Tom Gelder Norma Rojas Sonya Christian

Having someone on your committee who has their hand on the pulse of the community is vital to communicating the needs of the college in a way that resonates with voters.  Norma Rojas-Mora served that role and many other roles on the Committee as she has on behalf of the BC Foundation’s board.  Smart, strategic, trusted and hard-working are just a few of Norma’s attributes which she displayed early and often throughout the planning and implementation process of the Measure J campaign.  Friend and advocate for Bakersfield College is another title that fits.  Thank you, Norma!

Michael O’Doherty:

I got this picture from Karen Goh’s Facebook.

Tom Gelder Michael ODoherty Sonya Christian from Karen Goh's Facebook

Marines are famous for doing whatever it takes to make their mission a success.  Michael O’Doherty, past chair of the BC Foundation, demonstrated his Marine Corps roots as the Measure J Campaign Treasurer.  There were maybe three people in the room (e.g. Bill Thomas, Harvey Hall, and Karen Goh) who knew how complicated campaign committee reporting is.  After the Measure J Campaign, now there is a fourth — Michael!  And who volunteers for such a thankless task?  When the going gets tough, the tough get going!  Thanks, Michael, for another job well done!

Jay Rosenlieb

Nick Ellis.   www.aNickPhoto.com.   661.706.7999

 

What can I say.  Jay was there from the very beginning.  Since Jan 2016.  You co-chaired the community connections group with Norma Rojas during the educational campaign phase.  You co-presented to so many organizations.  You were our spokesperson to the Board of Trustees as you updated them on the work of the Blue Ribbon Committee.  You phone banked, you put up signs, you opened Klein Denatale for us to work.  Plz tell Kimmie that she was absolutely instrumental in the work.  When we ran out of food, you hopped in the car with Corny and came back laden with goodies.  You spent your evenings at 1675 Chester and helped carry trash out and shut down the campaign headquarters for the night.  We spent countless hours in Starbucks strategizing.  You partnered with Michael O’Doherty to submit the public disclosure forms.  On behalf of the present and future students of Bakersfield College; on behalf of the present and future faculty and staff of Bakersfield College, I thank you.

Sue Benham:

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Sue Benham, Sonya Christian. From Karen Goh’s Facebook

Most of us don’t face the risk of waking up in the morning and having the details of your wedding appear in the local paper, but I suspect Sue is used to that.  Besides, it was a great picture.  She also is used to advocating for things that matter..things that benefit the community.  Like the old E.F. Hutton commercial, when Sue Benham talks, people listen.  She is eloquent. She is honest. She is direct. And she is beautiful. Sue speaking out on behalf of Measure J made a difference.  When Bill Thomas asked you to play a leadership role you unhesitatingly said yes.  You opened the doors for us at the Bakersfield Californian and you were consistently there willing to help out. Your email address always warmed my heart when I started typing your name and it popped up – sbenham4kids@aol.com

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Sue Benham (second from left), played a key leadership role in Measure J.

Mostly it was through Measure J that I got to know you and realize how fortunate our community is to have Sue Benham. There is a recurring theme this evening that cannot be overemphasized.  Measure J passed because many people care about Bakersfield College and what its future means to Bakersfield and Kern County.  Sue Benham is one of those people.  And when Sue Benham spoke about Measure J, people listened.

Thank you, Sue!

Remaining Honorees:

Passing a bond initiative is like raising a child…it takes a village.  Bakersfield College has benefited from those many members of the “village” that we recognized.  The previous honorees are those who played an especially pivotal roles in the workings of the actual Measure J Committee. It’s equally important to recognize those who did whatever was needed to get the word out, to secure the right endorsements, to write the opinion pieces, to make the phone calls, to bolster people’s spirits.  Probably my favorite vision is Rick Kreiser coming down to Campaign headquarters on a Sunday afternoon to fix a copy machine because we needed lists run off for phone banking that evening and didn’t have a back-up copier. When there was the need Rick answered the phone … as did so many others that we recognized. Thank You!

Group recognition

Michael Bowers – Senior District Representative for Senator Andy Vidak

Ken Byrum – BC Foundation Board member

Fran Florez – BC Foundation Board member

Rick Kreiser – BC Foundation Board member –

Fred Prince – Bakersfield Black Chamber of Commerce President

Cheryl Scott – BC Foundation Board member and KEDC VP

Jay Tamsi – Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President

Keith Wolaridge – Panama Lane/Buena Vista School Board President

Here I am recognizing Tom Gelder at the Foundation Board of Directors meeting.  We make a powerful team.  Gelder (Exec Director of BC Foundation) and Christian (President of BC)  🙂

Tom Gelder and Sonya Christian May 25 2017 cropped

Gelder and Christian

Thank you Trustees for attending:

A few more photos:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2017 Sterling Silver

See more of the images from “Sterling Silver” here! (https://bakersfieldcollege.smugmug.com/2017-Sterling-Silver/)

Here are some more images from Mayor Karen Gohhttps://tinyurl.com/yahu6j58

 

On May 22nd, after the May 17th event, this is what Herb Benham had to say about Congressman Bill Thomas and secondarily about BC.

`We should do half as much in our lifetimes: Saw Bill Thomas at a dinner at Bakersfield College last week honoring people who helped raise half a billion through the Measure J campaign.”

“Every time I see the man, he’s thinner, Sharon, his wife was there and she is a sweetheart, and I am reminded how much good Bill has done he’s done for Kern County. Almost a billion for the Thomas Road Improvement Program and then helping with the bond measure that will help modernize BC over the next 30 years.”

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2017 Sterling Silver

The dinner also made me feel good about BC all over again. Talk a force for good.

Here is the link to the piece in the paper: https://tinyurl.com/kr4t7w8

Manny de Los Santos put together this video with some of the Measure J faces.  We had the video playing during dinner at Sterling Silver.


Valley Public Radio

KVPR-ValleyEditionOn May 16th, I had the wonderful opportunity to speak with Joe Moore on Valley Public Radio. Together, we packed a lot of conversation into such a short time. We kicked off with The Kern Promise, covered Guided Pathways, and even Measure J. Valley Edition is dedicated to covering issues important to Central Valley residents, so I was very excited to cover things we’re working on in education and at BC!

Joe Moore is the Director of the Program Content for Valley Public Radio and he’s the host of Valley Edition. Joe’s bio on the website says in 2008 that he was named one of Fresno’s “40 under 40” by the publication Business Street.

Thank you Joe Moore and Ezra Romero

I really enjoyed my time talking with Joe.
http://kvpr.org/post/interview-bakersfield-college-president-sonya-christian-kern-promise#stream/0

Follow Valley Edition on Twitter @ValleyEdition.


Congratulations Lindsay Ono

Lindsay Ono PicI am so glad to announce that Environmental Horticulture Professor, Lindsay Ono has been awarded a grant through the ECMC Foundation and the Center for Occupational Research and Development (CORD). He has been working with other community colleges and CORD with the Mapping Upward Initiative on the state stackable Horticulture Certificates.  This 3-year grant will allow Professor Ono and other college professors to continue their work and complete the curriculum updates for the Horticulture program. Shasta College and Reedley College are also receiving this grant. Congratulations Lindsay!!


Remembering Earl Wallace Cory, Jr.

Earl Wallace Cory, Jr was known on campus as Wally Cory. Jerry Ludeke reminded me that in print, his name was shown as E. Wallace and in person it was Wally. He was a retired History Professor with 34 years of service and who passed away on May 18th. Wally had been in Payson, Utah Veteran’s Home for the past three and a half years and in the hospice program there since last fall.


Leadership Matters Summit at BC

It’s a great week to be a Renegade and a great time to be at BC. This past week Bakersfield College had the privilege of hosting the Leadership Matters: Re-Imagining Leadership to Sustain Transformative Change to Advance Student Success & Equity conference for various community college’s throughout California. We were so pleased to hear from the California Community College Chancellor, Eloy Oakley who discussed, “Advancing Educational Attainment & Equity in California. Leadership Matters.” It was a day of great knowledge and it set the stage for us to build urgency in the way we look and approach at the “Guided Pathways” initiative. I look forward to sharing with you all more about this day of encouragement, change, unity, and leadership within California’s 113 community colleges in next week’s blog. But for now enjoy this picture that I snapped the night before the big event.

Shawn Whalen Sonya Christian Eloy Oakley May 24 2017

Shawn Whalen, Sonya Christian, Eloy Oakley

 

 

Superheroes:

Jonathan Schultz, faculty at BC, has been doing brief videos of BC staff for his students and all students at the college.  Check out his interview with Dr. Oliver Rosales, History faculty.

A few fun photos from this week:

From twitter Jose Cortez leading Region 5 in California for Student Government Associations.  Congratulations Jose! #WeAreBC!

Jose Cortez May 27 2017 Chair of Regon 5

Our Chief of Public Safety at an event with Grace Commiso’s baby

Chris Counts May 21 2017

 

Risky moves right after…..here is Bill Moseley

Bill Moseley May 25 2017

Two of my favorites people.  I remember them when they were little girls.

Erin and Kristin Tarjan May 28 2017

Erin Tarjan and Kristin Tarjan

Check out our faculty Prof. Jason Stratton, Prof. Bernadette Towns, and Prof. Lily Pimental-Stratton on the Great Wall of China. #WeAreBC

Sonya Christian May 19 2017

 

That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Celebrating our talented students. Commencement 2017

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, May 20, 2017…one week after graduation and a phenomenal week to be a Renegade.

Graduation 2017

BC 103 Commencement

The 2016-2017 Academic Year ended on a wonderfully high note.  There were so many important and inspiring events during the last few weeks of the semester, but everything culminated in Bakersfield Colleges 103rd Commencement Ceremony.  Here is the slideshow of images from the evening:

Bakersfield College Commencement 2017 - May 12, 2017
Bakersfield College Commencement 2017 - May 12, 2017
Bakersfield College Commencement 2017 - May 12, 2017

So proud of Somaly Boles who graduated with her associates degree.  Seriously smart, incredibly talented, a calm personality, no drama, and so beautiful.  The entire Executive Office was so excited.  Here are some photos with Somaly.

Somaly Boles and Tarina Perry May 12 2017

Somaly Boles and Tarina Perry May 12, 2017

 

Somaly Boles and Chris Counts May 12 2017

Somaly Boles and Chief Chris Counts

This year we thought we would try a new approach to all of the pre-commencement celebrations.  We have the Chicano-Latino, African American, Veterans, and Delano pre-commencement celebrations.  So let’s take a looks at two  of the four celebrations.  I will have the Veterans and the Delano celebrations in my next blog.

African American Pre-Commencement

Our African-American graduates were specially recognized in the Indoor Theater at the African-American Pre-Commencement Ceremony on Friday afternoon. This event started with beautiful music, as the audience sang along to James Weldon Johnson’s “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” After the opening prayer by Pastor Prince Charles, Outreach Director Steve Watkin offered some words of encouragement, asking students to do their part to “help us continue to be proud of you.” Financial Aid Director Jennifer Achan introduced keynote speaker Brenda Lewis, assistant superintendent of instruction for the Kern High School District. Lewis told her story of growing up with 11 siblings in poverty to become one of Kern County’s first black high school administrators. She urged the students to carry themselves with honesty, integrity and ethics and to help others who struggle along the way.

“You must continue preparing to succeed,” she said. “Be the one who clears the way for others to succeed.”

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African American Pre-Commencement 2017

Graduating student speaker Sharita Knowles told a powerful story about how she went back to school after having children, worked full time at a hospital every night to support her family while she went to classes during the day, and how members of the BC family such as Janet Fulks, Steve Watkin and student peer mentors helped her get a job at the Welcome Center so that she could see her kids at night.  “I thought I had a plan,” Knowles said, “but if our plans don’t line up with God’s plan, then they’re not really plans at all.

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African American Pre-Commencement 2017

“At BC, a whole new world opened up—experiences that I’d never known I’d experience,” said Knowles, who the other students affectionately refer to as “Momma Bear”. “Coming to school here was a huge sacrifice…but it was all worth it.”

The Chicano and African-American Pre-Commencements are living demonstrations of the truism that education is the great equalizer in our society. Regardless of the racial, socioeconomic or other struggles that define your past, an education at BC offers the opportunity to overcome those obstacles and build a new legacy for yourself and your family.

Chicano Latino Pre-Commencement

The Chicano/Latino Pre-Commencement Celebration took place at the Outdoor Theater

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Chicano Latino Pre-Commencement 2017

on Friday and began with a traditional dance ceremony as family members gathered. Women dressed in ornate costumes moved in beautiful syncopation to the trance-inducing rhythm of two young boys drumming between ferns on the Outdoor Theater stage. One woman burned incense in a wooden bowl to accompany the ritual, spreading good intentions throughout the theater and invoking the spirits of the ancestors.

Victor Diaz served as master of ceremony, leading the crowd to a bilingual chant of “WE ARE BC” before introducing Dean of Instruction Cornelio Rodriguez, who’s been organizing the Chicano/Latino Pre-Commencement at BC since 1994.

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Victor Diaz, MC of the 2017 Chicano Latino Pre-Commencement

Rodriguez said how grateful he was for everyone who helped organize the event and was awestruck at how it has grown to become one of the most anticipated events of the year. As an expression of that gratitude, he presented Diaz with the sash used 24 years ago at the first Chicano/Latino celebration.

The keynote speaker for the Pre-Commencement was television journalist Christina Lopez, who spoke about her struggles as the child of farm workers who became a first-generation college graduate at the height of the economic recession, and how she overcame her obstacles to succeed a TV reporter in Bakersfield and a documentarian chronicling the life of civil rights leader Dolores Huerta. Lopez offered an important message for other first-generation graduates.

“Never lose sight of dreams that propel you to a future filled with purpose,” she said. “Don’t just dream, but dream bigger for yourself, your community and your family.”

After Lopez spoke, each student got the opportunity to take the stage and thank all of the parents, teachers, friends and family that encouraged them to get through college. On days like this, I’m so proud of all our faculty and campus leaders who change the lives of people in our community every day and create opportunities for upward mobility to our Latino community.

Remember… Somos BC!

Back to the 103rd Commencement

Here are some more photos of the incredible evening

The four readers: Prof. Jennifer Johnson, Dean Corny Rodriguez, Prof. Paul Beckworth, Prof. Cynthia Quntanilla

Thank you Trustee Kyle Carter and Trustee Romeo Agbalog for attending the 103rd commencement.  It is always a treat to have our trustees at college events.

Kyle Carter Sonya Christian Romeo Agbalog

Trustee Kyle Carter, President Sonya Christian, Trustee Romeo Agbalog

BC SGA President Matthew Frazer, thank you for a fabulous year.  I will miss you!

Matthew Frazer Sonya Christian May 12 2017

President Matthew Frazer, President Sonya Christian

The platform party for the 103rd commencement.

Standing: Trustee Romeo Agbalog, Vice President Zav Dadabhoy, SGA President Matthew Frazer, Academic Senate President Steve Holmes, Trustee Kyle Carter, Prof. Bernie Scanlon, Vice President Don Chrusciel, General Counsel Chris Hine, Prof. Paul Beckworth, Prof. Corny Rodriguez

Sitting: Vice President Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, President Sonya Christian, Prof. Jennifer Johnson, Prof. Cynthia Quintanilla

Platform Party for Commencement 2017

Platform Party for the 103rd Commencement

Nicky Damania and Michelle Pena

Nicky Damania and Michelle Pena May 12 2017

Bernie Scanlon and Chris Hine

Matthew Frazer and Steven Holmes 

Full gallery of photos are available at
https://bakersfieldcollege.smugmug.com/2017-Commencement-Photos/

Commencement Day was incredible. I have a team of people to thank, especially Jennifer Marden, Tracy Hall, Kristin Rabe, Lesley Bonds, and Chris Glaser. So many roles, so many volunteers, so many names to mention. From our ushers, to Francis Mayer, our emcee to our name readers, and photographers. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

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2017 Commencement BTS

The 2017 Commencement Committee included:

Karimeh Amin
Gayla Anderson
Paul Beckworth
Vanessa Bell
Ralph Burnette
Cheryl Caswell
Christopher Counts
Victor Diaz
John Farrand
Eric Garcia
Tracy Hall
Christy Haycock
Eryn Justice
Laura Lorigo
Jennifer Marden Serratt
Francis Mayer
John Menzies
Rachell Morehouse
Michelle Pena
Jack Pierce
Ramon Puga
Kristin Rabe
Corny Rodriguez
Monika Scott
Dennis Spencer
Pearl Urena
Sue Vaughn
Angelica Vasquez
Steve Watkin

More behind the scenes photos

The day before commencement with the Dream Team — Tracy Hall, Jennifer Marden, Kristin Rabe, Lesley Bonds, Chris Glaser

Commencement Prep May 11 2017

Tracy Hall, Jennifer Marden, Sonya Christian, Kristin Rabe, Lesley Bonds, Chris Glaser

On-Campus Mentorship

I received an email from Tarina Perry (and Administrative Secretary from my office), who told me about her amazing experience as a mentor to a group of students on campus:
Tarina Perry with Andres Abundis

In June 2015, I contacted Lesley [Bonds] inquiring if a classified member could be a mentor and she said she “would love to get me connected with a group of mentees”.  Well, she certainly “hooked me up”!  When she said “group”, I was not anticipating TEN (10) students!!  However, it turns out that most needed occasional directional information and only a select few fell under my wing.  Although one student is struggling, I am there to offer guidance and encouragement; another student changed her major and is moving right along.  I’m most excited to share that Andres Abundis (photo attached) was able to graduate with a major in Business Administration with his Associate in Science Degree for transfer to Cal State Long Beach with a 3.44; Dean’s list for Spring 2016/Fall 2016.

Along the way there were many times he wanted to drop a class or needed assistance with just a quick edit of an essay and I was there to lend a hand.  Together, we worked on his resume, attended BC football games, and he even went to the hockey game with my boys.  I am glad to say he is and always will be a longtime friend of the family.

Thank you Lesley for this amazing opportunity; both Andres and I have grown so much from this experience!”

Umoja End of the Year Gathering

Thank you Paula Parks for leading this work!

The event was definitely one of celebrating our students.  I was sitting next to a fabulous woman Sharon Randall, who is a community mentor for the ASTEP program.  A retired Biology teacher, Sharon was so enthusiastic about the program.

Umoja Celebration May 18 2017

The star mentor was none other than our June Charles.

This is what Kimberly Bligh tweeted

Kimberly Bligh tweets about June Charles May 18 2017.png

Tyler Johnican from Umoja  is heading to China

After the Umoja program Zav, Nan and I were talking in the parking lot just telling stories about what a great year this was for BC.  And then Jackie Lau joined us and we were talking about Measure J.  Jackie was a constant at 1675 Chester Avenue the headquarters for the campaign.  Phone banking, precinct walking…..  Thank you Jackie!

Jackie Lau and Sonya Christian May 18 2017

Jackie Lau, Sonya Christian

That same evening, the evening of May 18th, there were three events happening on campus — Softball Hall of Fame dinner, the ASTEP-Umoja celebration, and the Landscape meeting.  I was rushing back to campus after briefly attending the pre-Stemposium dinner event at Luigis organized by Cheryl Scott of Kern Economic Development Corpporation (KEDC).  More on the Stemposium in next week’s blog.

Coach Christie Hill at the Softball Hall of FAme

I was so delighted to see Kanoe Bandy, Athletic Director at Taft College at the event with her husband Don Bandy who was being inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Kanoe Bandy and Don Bandy May 18 2017

And in the Fireside Room Lindsay Ono was there with the Kern County California Landscape Contractors Association.  Here is a video posted on Prof. Ono’s Facbook page.  So proud of BC faculty and out curriculum.

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Flindsay.ono%2Fvideos%2F1481211931918328%2F&show_text=0&width=560

Summer Institute

The last three years, BC has had a summer institute right after graduation.  The summer institute is a professional development event for faculty and staff and the focus has been on improving our student success rates as it relates to students completing a certificate or degree.

Here are some photos that Janet Fulks sent me.

Stem Metamajor

Stem metamajor Summer Institute May 17 2017.JPG

Public Safety

Public Safety Metamajor May 17 2017

Health Sciences Metamajor

Health Science Metamajor May 17 2017.JPG

Catch all for students who are undecided

Exploratory Summer Institute May 17 2017

Education

Education Metamajor May 17 2017

Business

Business Summer Institute May 17 2017

Behavioral Science Metamajor

Behavioral Science Metamajor Summer Institute May 17 2017

Arts and Humanities

Arts and Humanities Metamajor May 17 2017.JPG

Odella Johnson’s Retirement

Hard to beleive that so many of the colleagues I started with at BC are retiring.  On Friday, May 19th, we recognized Odella Johnson at the Four Points Sheraton.  BC colleagues were there in full force in addition to the Alapha Kappa Alpha sorority group and the Links group.

BC Gang at Odella Johnson's Retirement Party

Here is Odella with her AKA sisters

Odella Johnson with the AKAs.jpg

It was a treat hearing all the wonderful Odella Stories. I am here in this picture with two women who spoke at the retirement.  Rhonda Williams, President of The Links and Michelle Fambrough, President of Alpha Kappa Alpha.

Odella Johnson's Retirement Party May 19 2017

It was wonderful seeing Jackie Fisher there looking so well and so strong.

Sonya Christian and Jackie Fisher

And here I am with woman of the evening, Odella Johnson

Odella Johnson and Sonya Christian May 19 2017

Here is a 13-ish minute video of Odella on Equity TV

Celebrating Olivia Garcia

Celebrating History Professor Olivia Garcia‘s recognition as Garden Pathways’ “Women with a Heart for Bakersfield” award. Congratulations, Olivia!! Pictured here with Dean Mourtzanos and History Professors Jason Stratton, Paul Beckworth, and Matthew Garrett.

Olivia Gardia

Garden Pathways Honors History Professor Olivia Garcia with a “Women with a Heart for Bakersfield” Award

Our fabulous mayor, Karen Goh

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Garden Pathways Honors History Professor Olivia Garcia with a “Women with a Heart for Bakersfield” Award

‘Labor of Love’ from inmate education

Chelsea Esquibias from the Inmate Education Program in Delano sent me another uplifting story from the program:

Jesse Perez, 38 years old, is housed at Kern Valley State Prison, B Yard, Level 4 Main Line.  He has been incarcerated since he was 12 years old and was convicted as an adult at 16.  He has sued CDCR twice and won due to his 20 years in solitary. Today in speech class, he gave a speech about dreams and creating an unofficial partnership with prison officials for social change and continued rehabilitative programs.

After his speech, he passed out a sample form letter (click here to see the letter) to students to send to elected officials and others.  He wants everyone to know how thankful they are for the college program and the rehabilitative steps being taken.

Here is a snippet:

“So, as prisoners in an active general population setting, and in proactive acknowledgement of the tentative nature of the current favorable reality, we’d be of service to ourselves if we embrace fully the idea of an unofficial partnership with prison officials.  A partnership geared towards making the current rehabilitative trends a permanent fixture in prison life.”

Adding to this, Jesse’s letter was forwarded directly to Governor Brown!

Thank you for your continued support to Bakersfield College.  I am honored to serve these students and assist them as they achieve their goals.  Thank you for your belief in us.

Retired BC Professor gets Lifetime Achievement Award

Celebrating the heritage of BC is important and exciting.  I love hear about accolades given to our past teachers and staff.  This week I heard of Helen Gordon’s recognition, her are here words about her time during and after BC:

Screen Shot 2017-05-19 at 1.30.09 PM

I taught English and study skills at Bakersfield College for 21 years, retiring from the classroom in 1995.  While an English professor at BC, I also served the Bakersfield Californian editorial board as a citizen representative for one year.  Keeping in touch with BC, I received the Levan Faculty Colloquium award in 2011 for my research into Shakespeare, “Sleuthing the Shakespeare Mysteries.”

I also contributed a poem to the new journal begun by Jack Hernandez that year.

I had moved to Santa Barbara in 1995  to bring my husband (Rev. Clifton B. Gordon) for assisted living care.  To help supplement our retirement income, I took a job at UC Santa Barbara for 5 years as an editor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department.  I really enjoyed helping graduate students polish their papers for publication in prestigious journals or conference proceedings.

After my husband’s death in 2004, I turned again to scholarly and creative writing. I also trademarked a word game, “Anagrabber” which I field-tested for 5 years and am now beginning to market with the help of two grownup grandsons.

I worked closely with Jerry Ludeke developing the Learning Center which now bears her name.

You can view the full press release here:
http://www.24-7pressrelease.com/press-release-service/438151

Law Day

BC again hosted “Law Day” for pre-law students to get an idea of what they’re in for when they move on to Law School.  Most of the panelists are either judges or lawyers, but offer encouraging advice to BC students who want to explore the field.

Here is the article from The Rip about Law Day: http://www.therip.com/news/2017/05/02/bc-hosts-law-day-on-campus-for-students/

Team_Photo 2

I covered this event more in depth in my May 7th blog but when I saw the article in The Rip, I wanted to highlight it again.  Here is the link to my blog post

https://sonyachristianblog.com/2017/05/07/one-week-left-in-spring-2017/

How Do BC Staff Prep for Events?

On Wednesday, May 24, 2017, Bakersfield College will host the second annual guided pathways summit, Leadership Matters: Reimagining Leadership to Sustain Transformative Change to Advance Student Success & Equity. When BC prepares for an event of this magnitude, we go all out.

Chris Glaser has gathered a group of ushers and event staff to help with our summit check-in and crowd control. But putting all of the pieces of an event together is an intense process!

BC Leadership Ushers

Thank you to our event ushers and event staff (from left to right) Tarina.Perry (holding a picture of Rosalee Pogue and Helen Harp), Tracy Hall (holding the event diagram breakdown), Yolanda Aguilera, Chris Glaser, Marissa Jeffers, Anita Karr, Bernadette Martinez, and Maria Diaz. All are holding out their phones showing Slack!

See that document Tracy Hall is holding? That’s a complete diagram breakdown of the crowd flow for the event check-in. Our ushers will know exactly where to be, what to say, and who to go to for help.

I was also introduced to Slack. Slack’s slogans are “where work happens” and “team communication for the 21st century” and that couldn’t be closer to the truth! It’s this neat collaboration software for your computer and mobile device and it’s been taking off with our teams!

And how is our team prepping the details for Leadership Matters? By sending ideas, comments of encouragement, files, photos, updated files, and more ideas, all within Slack. It’s very fast-paced and super engaging, but you know what? That is how BC rolls!

The Ralph Bailey Show

Mike Turnipseed asked me to sit in for him on his weekly spot on the Ralph Bailey show. We discussed the Kern Promise, Measure J, and the Industrial Automation Baccalaureate Program.  Ralph had me laughing and I had so much fun being on the show.

Thanks for the time Ralph!

Sonya Christian and Ralph Bailey Cropped May 18 2017

Sonya Christian and Ralph Bailey

From Facebook

Theresa McAllister post’s picture of Wasco High Students at Summer Bridge

Theresa McAllister's FAcebook post WAsco High Students at Summer Bridge.png

The Veeps

Thank you Vice Presidents for a fabulous 2016-2017.  I could not have done it without you!  Selfies by Zav!

Exec Team Part 2 May 16 2017

Don Chrusciel, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Sonya Christian, Zav Dadabhoy

Exec Team May 16 2017

Don Chrusciel, Sonya Christian, Neo, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Zav Dadabhoy

Zav Dadabhoy Nan Gomez Sonya Christian Don Chrusciel 2017.jpg

Zav Dadabhoy, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Sonya Christian, Don Chrusciel

Superhero behind the scenes

Blanca Blanco had the night shift on Thursday evening and we had three programs on campus.  Thank you Blanca for all that you do.

BlancaBlanco

Here is Blanca! She can always be seen with a smile on campus.

What a week!

And then there is Neo who has turned my life upside down.  Last night he ripped a strip of carpet.

And here he is sleeping peacefully like a little angel

Neo in bed May 20 2017

And then there is the ball

Sonya Christian MAy 12 2017

That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Congratulations talented faculty and staff

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, May 13th….the day after BC’s 103rd commencement.  What a glorious week to be a Renegade.

In January, the halls of BC filled with students as the new semester began… A semester that will forever change the lives of our 1400 plus graduates who were invited to walk on the commencement stage yesterday evening.

There is so much to talk about and so much to share about the Commencement festivities yesterday. I’ll be recapping the individual events next weekend, but for now –

 

Have you checked out the Waterfall in Bakersfield?  I did..on May 3rd when a friend told me about it.

Check out Lois Henry’s brief fun description of the Waterfall in Bakersfield at

http://tinyurl.com/k5939ju

 

 

Closing Day

What an incredible, record breaking and history setting year for Bakersfield College. We saw a record setting increase in student numbers, improved student outcomes, created efficiency saving time and money for students and taxpayers, broadened outreach to Kern County Residents, particularly in rural Kern, engaged with our community, educational sector, business, and industry, and continued to develop innovative programs that benefit our students.

Closing Day is all about celebrating people.  Here are some of them

Shirley Trembley Award Recipient: Reggie Williams

Reggie Williams recipient of the Shirley Trembley Award May 12 2017

 

The Margaret Levinson Award Recipient: Kimberly Bligh

Kimberly Bligh Margaret Levinson Award Recipient May 12 2017

Levan Faculty Colloquim Recipient: Rafael Espericueta

Rafael Espericueta Levan Faculty Colloquim May 12 2017.png

 

Each year, at Closing Day, I recognize groups or individuals with The Presidents Leadership Award. This year, the 10 recipients were:

I. Public Safety:

17closingday13

On call 24/7, 365 days a year, and under the guidance and leadership of Chief Chris Counts, our Public Safety officers and department has put forth commendable effort to keep our campus safe and welcoming.

Thank you for your caring service to our community. As an open campus, with thousands of visitors and students, it is you our campus officers who deal with the issues and providing assistance to those in need.

Thank you for putting forth the effort to make BC an environment that not only reaches out, but also provides a safe and caring community. I am delighted to award the President’s Leadership Award to the Public Safety team!

Chris Counts, Christina Vazquez, Freddie Rodriguez, Felix Ramirez, Marcos Sifuentes, Mason Blair, Blanca Blanco, Vincente Costa, Robert Fore, Raymond Grant,
Jason Mattheus, Matthew Rodriguez, Carlos Rios

II. Financial Aid

17closingday14Tenacity!  Eye on details!  Relentless focus on improving systems!  Challenging the status quo!

These are some of the characteristics I think of when I see a whole department reinventing itself and championing “systems” changes to ensure student success. And this is exactly what I think of when I hear what our Financial Aid Department has achieved this year!

For the first time in my memory, we did not have any delay in awarding Financial Aid, and disbursing awards on time.  Our Financial Aid team, under the direction of Jennifer Achan, has re-invented itself by sheer hard work, and a focus on examining processes internally and externally!

They have been relentless in challenging inefficiencies, and have focused on putting student success first!  And more importantly they have sought out innovative technologies and applications to improve how they work.  I am delighted to present the President’s Leadership Award to the Financial Aid team!

 

Jennifer Achan, Mark “Adam” Llanes, Adriana Vega, Connie Garza-Singh, 
Donica Delarose, Gina Hunter, Heather Skibinski, Pita Montes, Rebecca Bumpous               Roberta Ayala, Valerie Mackey, Victoria Koiyan, Walter Rivas, Lucy Perez-Dykes
Evette Lara, Claudio Felix, Grace Saenz, Jesus Cardenas

III. Inmate Education

Inmate Education 2017 President's Leadership Awards

“Teaching inside is a labor of love.”  These words are from Bryan Hirayama’s blog on his experience teaching in prison.

The ‘labor of love’ also applies to those who started and developed the Bakersfield College Inmate Scholars Program.

In 2 short years, BC has taken a leading role in the state. Our dedicated team has been asked to present at state-wide conferences, provide training, and we are one of 7 California programs to receive a grant for our innovative and effective approach to teaching incarcerated students.

The rigor and the academic standards are maintained in these college level courses. Our program faculty and administrators go the extra mile.

That might mean using paper and pen to answer student questions over the weekend because students don’t have access to email or telephones.

Or it might mean providing additional transfer materials so a student can answer their daughter’s questions about college classes.

In a recent post Bryan said, “It is no different teaching inside. One measurable but significant call of teaching behind the wall is shouldering hope.”

Chelsea Esquibias, Rich McCrow, Patricia Smith, Bryan Hirayama, 
Douglas Grimsley, David Moton, Yuki Takeuchi Chan

IV. Dual Enrollment Program

 

Dual Enrollment President's Leadership Award.pngIt takes vision, leadership, persistence and thinking to move from an idea to a college practice.

BC’s early model of dual enrollment was at a Delano Charter School and, now Wonderful Academy.

Just this past year and a half, we have built on the long standing articulation agreements and CTE program pathways to schedule courses that prepare students for college and careers. This year, general education courses were piloted.

We are well on the way to address the significantly low degree attainment and unemployment rates in our rural communities.

All these indicators pointed to the need for post-secondary education and training. We knew we could not afford to wait until students enrolled at one of BC’s college locations. We knew we had to strengthen our partnerships with high school districts in order to make a positive change for Kern County.

Building connections between two very different systems has its challenges and growing pains. Bringing together college and high school faculty is time intensive but critical to the success of dual enrolled students.

But, for the sake of our students, making the effort and improving what we are doing is exactly where we need to be.

This year 69% of dual enrolled students live in rural communities and 85% are students of color. Dual enrollment is about access and equity. It is about improving the statistics of Kern County.

Cindy Collier, Corny Rodriguez, Klint Rigby, Anna Laven, Rich McCrow, Raquel Lopez

V. MESA & STEM

The MESA Program is vital to our first student generation and assists students who are declared in STEM transfer majors that are economically and educationally disadvantaged.

MESA, under the leadership of Connie Gonzales, leverages a $75,000 State grant with three times that amount in donations from local business, industry and other private philanthropic groups.

Students have access to dedicated tutoring support, guidance and resources to develop habits that keep them on the pathway to success, resulting in historical success rates 10% higher than the total BC student population.

Just last month, MESA ran a successful STEM Pre-Health Conference in collaboration with UCLA to direct 150 future STEM students to BC and beyond.

MESA is housed in the AERA STEM Success Center, which was opened last fall using a major financial donation from AERA Energy. This valuable resource center for students, led by Yadira Guerrero, is funded through a STEM grant.

MESA and STEM May 12 2017

 

I promise you that if you swing by anytime you will find the center alive with support for all STEM students through assistants and mentors, who help other students succeed in challenging courses.

Together, Connie and Yadira and the MESA and STEM team have made BC the place to succeed in Science, Technology, Math, and Engineering . I am delighted to present this team The President’s Leadership Award!

 

Connie Gonzales, Yadira Guerrero, Cynthia Quintanilla, Tiffani Alvidrez, 
Mark Osea, Patrick Aderhod, Kenward Vaughan, Wayne Cooper, 
Dan Kimball, Joe Saldivar, Kim Newton, Regina Hukill, Dillion Giblin                                Josh Lewis, Donna Starr, Becky Head

VI. Summer Bridge

Summer is almost here – and it’s a critical time in the academic success for recent high school graduates planning to attend BC in the fall.

This is the time when new students can get started on their pathways to success at BC, but it takes the determination, coordination and hard work of BC faculty, staff, student mentors and leaders like Kimberly Bligh and the Summer Bridge team.

17closingday15

Together, their efforts have created the BC Summer Bridge program – an intensive orientation program with hands-on activities covering academic and student services, campus tour, registration processes, and financial aid.

  • In 2013, the Summer Bridge program was only one section with 35 students over one week.
  • In 2014, this was increased to 145 students, and in 2015, over 400 students.
  • Funding from a Title V grant and Kimberly Bligh’s leadership, last year, supported nearly 1,000 students, who were 5% more successful in their fall courses than those not attending Summer Bridge.

With new sessions and expansion to Delano, the participation goal is simply… every new BC student!

 

Kimberly Bligh, Lesley Bonds, Isabel Castaneda, Matthew Garrett, 
Marcelyn Allen, Alexandra Dalllara, Faith Bradham, Jessica Wojtysiak
Paul Beckworth, Stephen Tavoni, Andrew Haney, Teresa McAllister
Don Brady, Jennifer Peters, Sarah Baron, Ximena Da Silva, Nigie Shi,
Eddie Rangel, Sondra Keckley, Jonathan Shultz

VII. Measure J. Writers Bureau

Higher education is a pursuit; one that follows visions and dreams to make tomorrows story better than today’s.

With the support of our community and because of the phenomenal efforts of a dedicated group of individuals who helped broadcast BC’s unique story, we gained the support of over 65% of voters for YES ON J.

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Our stories were everywhere.

They were authentic and vibrant. They brought to life our outstanding history and long tradition of excellence. They shared experiences and whispers from within the classrooms and the hallways.

Thank you for sharing your talent and thank you for sharing your stories.

Your words, community voices, and opinions have brought life to the conversation that has propelled Bakersfield College into the next era.  Thank you.

Andrea Thorson, Talita Pruett, Neely Hatridge, Gloria Dumler, Krista Moreland, Nick Strobel, Oliver Rosales, Patricia Smith, Paula Parks, Sarah Baron, Tom Moran, Janet Tarjan, Debbie Rosenthal

VIII. Measure J Campus Leaders

The Measure J journey started a year in advance and included much more than just 12 months of intense work. A team of campus leaders rallied behind this work, often not even knowing what the work needed to be… building it as we moved forward, one step at a time – creating that step as we took it.

The work took courage, time, patience, and grace from many individuals who came together during non-school and non-work time, volunteer hours, evenings, weekends, early mornings, lunchtime meetings, whatever it took – these campus leaders were there.

17closingday36

The work was initially broken up into two phases.

The first was the educational campaign… Together, we shared our vision for A Better BC through presentations, conversations, and sharing our ideas with anyone who would listen.

And then when the board took action in July 2016, we moved to the political campaign – Yes on J.  As educators, who know nothing about political campaigns, except our Political Science faculty, we rolled up our sleeves, locked arms, and engaged with the hard work.

1675 Chester Avenue became a home away from home. It was a refuge of sharing our vision, engaging with folks on the phone in English and Spanish, eating pizzas, exhausted, planning walking precincts…. And then…. November 8th happened.

Our hard work gave life to our vision… a vision that now will be a reality.  And as I began to identify those who worked so tirelessly, I know many were missed… but here is a glimpse of the mosaic of faces that have made measure J a reality.

Somaly Boles, Tarina Perry, Shannon Musser, Kate Pluta, Nicky Damania,                     Richard McCrow, Cornelio Rodriguez, Steven Holmes, Zav Dababhoy                              Todd Coston, Liz Rozell, Sandi Taylor, Tom Gelder, Nan Gomez-Heiteberg
Mary Jo Pasek, Lesley Bonds, Steven Watkin, Sue Vaughn, Isabel Stierle                      Sarah Baro, Nick Strobel, Sondra Keckley, Tina Johnson, Jennifer Marden Serratt, 
Chris Glaser, Stephen Waller, Manny Mourtzanos, Andrea Thorson, Bill Potter, Jackie Lau, Paul Beckworth, Michelle Pena

Check out this 5-minute video that Manny de Los Santos put together of some Measure J photos.

IX. Jerry Ludeke, Bob Allison, and Jack Hernandez

It’s hard to imagine a world without archives, without scholarship, and without lifelong learning.

On the BC campus, we uniquely rely on these three important components to enrich our working and learning environment.

Jerry Ludeke Bob Allison Jack Hernandez May 12 2017.png

Our archives give us a comprehensive and vital understanding of our past, as we work towards building a better future…. the detailed extent to which Jerry Ludeke preserves our history is usually only found at prestigious universities and not so much in community colleges.  The Bakersfield Californian accurately called Jerry Ludeke a “True Bakersfield College Treasure.”

The lifelong learning offered at The Levan Institue, under the direction of Bob Allison is a gift for our neighbors, community, and Renegade alumni.  Bob Allison has served this college as a chemistry faculty, a senior administrator, president and now the caretaker of lifelong learning opportunities for our community.  Bob Allison opened up his home to me as a rookie faculty and mentored me on the enrollment management and budgets when I was a rookie dean and has done so for many many of us at BC.

The lectures and programs offered at the Levan Center, led by Jack Hernandez, brings a unique opportunity to deepen the learning environment for our faculty, staff and students and to elevate our core value of learning.

The Levan Center through its scholarly and rigorous treatment of the humanities, arts, letters and sciences does just that.  And it is a bright shining light of excellence due to the leadership of Jack Hernandez.

X. Mary Jo Pasek

You will frequently see Mary Jo speeding around campus in her golf cart, making friends wherever she goes and serving as BC’s goodwill ambassador to students and visitors alike.

In her role as Events and Scheduling Manager, Mary Jo is involved in all outside events that come to campus and she was instrumental in bringing the Condors and their WinterFest to Memorial Stadium.

She works closely with our maintenance, media relations and food service staffs to make sure every event has the right venue, the right equipment and the perfect menu to make it a success.

Sonya Christian Mary Jo Pasek May 12 2017

She knows everybody in town and is a fountain of information when you need to know who to call, who to ask, or who to invite.

She is a true Midwestern treasure… Minnesota born and bred…and a treasure to Bakersfield College.

Between her stints at the District and her time at BC Mary Jo has spent 10 years making “a better BC” and today, I’m delighted to honor her as a recipient of The Presidents Leadership Award.

Here are some photos from the morning.

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Thank you to the Closing Day Team: Monika Scott, Dylan Wang, Kristin Rabe, Manuel De Los Santos, Kevin Ganger, Francis Mayer, Jennifer Marden Serratt, and our Ushers led by Chris Glaser, Kristina Whitmore, Bernadette Martinez, Heather Skibinski, Walter Rivas, Cecilia Lopez, and Tarina Perry. And I can’t forget, Emmanuel Limaco who led our stretch break.

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What a great selfie of the three VPs

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Wounded Heroes Event

BC was represented at “An Evening with American Heroes” last Friday evening.  The Wounded Heroes Fund is a local service organization for those veterans and their families affected by the war on terror with a focus on facilitating a healthy transition to civilian life through support and appreciation. The beautiful evening underneath the big trees was a perfect setting for a great meal, catered by Cafe Med, with community members supporting this important organization.  The highlight of the night was a panel of three Army special forces operators discussing their missions and their passions.  On stage was SGT. Major Jeremy Morton, Master SGT., (Ret) Jason Beardsley, and SGT First Class Joe Drullard.  Paul Beckworth told me, it was Sgt. Major Jeremy Morton who helped plan and execute the capture of Saddam Hussein. Bakersfield College veterans attended this important fundraiser as a part of, and in support of our local veteran community.  

Mayor Goh, Angelica Perez (Army), Jahnea Palfrey (Navy), Bernadette Martinez (Air Force) Paul Beckworth

Paul Beckworth, Mayor Goh, Angelica Perez (Army), Jahnea Palfrey (Navy), Bernadette Martinez (Air Force)

 

Women’s Empowerment Summit

Last Saturday marked the second annual Women’s Empowerment Summit which brings knowledge, resources and networking to all who attend. There was a wonderful line-up of some amazing and talented women throughout the county and state.  In today’s world, we are striving for equality and inclusion for everyone, and it is with this in mind that the women at the conference shared statistics, studies, and hope. It is estimated that women today earn 86 cents to every dollar a man is paid for the same job with the same experience and so we are left asking ourselves what is it that we can do to level the playing field? This is especially pertinent when we think about the fact that 1.5 million businesses in California alone are owned and run by women.

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Through the various speeches shared a story of importance… a story of being that role model for others to emulate whatever field you are passionately pursuing. There were speakers from Latina Leaders of Kern County, Associate State Director for AARP, Executive Director for the Kern Literacy Council and also a stirring presentation from Melissa Abad, Research Associate for the Clayman Institute. The morning began with refreshments while those in attendance networked with others, then the women sat together, shoulder to shoulder and listened intently as each speaker shared with us with wisdom in their field of expertise.

IMG_5623The first speaker of the day was none-other than Executive Vice President of Instruction at our own Bakersfield College, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg. She shared, “I started in 1966 as an educator, teaching three year olds, but I was always curious and my curiosity is what put me in positions that opened doors instead of simply watching life by the sidelines. Appreciate people who have taught you things that maybe were painful but they are all part of your story, you can become your own author to your story of life. The best thing about working for BC is being able to transform so many lives but also working for and with so many wonderful women’. These words resonated with me, as she closed by simply stating, “It’s never too late to write your story.”

As all of the other wonderful speakers presented, these words continued to stay at the forefront as each one demonstrated how they had in fact written their own story and how they strived and continue to strive each and every day to make it the best story possible. Lisa Baca posted photos on Facebook! 

Levan Humanities Review

The Norman Levan Center for the Humanities just released the fifth volume of the “Levan Humanities Review”, an annual journal of essays, poetry and cultural criticism submitted by contributors in and out of BC. Contributors submit their work to Levan Center director Jack Hernandez for publication, and he curates and edits the entries throughout the year.

In the current issue of the Levan Humanities Review, Writing Center tutor Susan Abbassi wrote an essay on the cultural importance of the hijab and the struggles many Muslim women in the Western world face when they choose to continue incorporating it into their spiritual practice. Philosophy professor, Anna Poetker’s piece documented the obstacles that many undocumented Latino college students face in achieving their educational goals, while commercial music professor Joshua Ottum wrote about the percussive, industrial sounds of Kern River oilfields and its influence on our music and culture. Cal State Bakersfield professor Tim Vivian even contributed a review of Wendell Berry’s book “Roots to the Earth” and a poem titled “To One Who Coughed in Darkness”.

To find out more about the latest issue of the “Levan Humanities Review,” including David M. Kernanen’s explanation of humanism and Miriam Raub Vivian’s essay on Roman architecture, you can read Volume 5, Issue 1 online right now.

To order a paper version of the journal, please check the Amazon page at: https://www.amazon.com/Levan-Humanities-Review-Jack-Hernandez/dp/1544171021/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1491337744&sr=8-1&keywords=levan+humanities+review

U.S./Mexican Muralism

The Bakersfield College Art Department was excited to have a guest lecture from UCLA PhD candidate Kaelyn D. Rodriguez on campus. She was here share all about U.S./Mexican Muralism: Visualizing the Past, Present, and Future of Chicanx Murals. She expressed the reason behind the word Chicanx and its importance. In a world were inclusion in vital to us as a society, by saying or labeling things as Chicanx, you are taking the gender and or sex out of the equation. No longer do they say Chicano or Chicana or Latina or Latino which designates to only certain gender and sexes, by using the word Chicanx, you are now including all!

Mexican Muralism flyerHer excitement beamed as she went through the history of Chicanx Murals and then brought the audience up to today. She engaged all in attendance to share with her in discussion about murals that represent different time eras and events throughout history. Social Realism was one of her main themes throughout the discussion for the day, focusing on its true meaning of being true to yourself and representing yourself accurately, it’s about what’s happening in life now and how that affects you. With each of the pieces of artwork that she shared, she asked the students what caught their attention. She wanted to know their interpretation of what they saw, how it spoke to them, what it was that they noticed is. This entire discussion was actually Ms. Rodrigues Thesis paper at UCLA and she was thrilled at the opportunity to share it will all those in attendance to engage with the students in a riveting back and forth of thoughts, feelings, and interpretations of Murals and artwork represented through time in the Chicanx society.

Bill Potter’s Ride

Todd Coston showed me this fantastic pic of Bill Potter. I had to share. What do you think?!

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End of Year Celebration in my backyard

Since 2013 when I started as president, I have held a traditional end of year celebration for the leadership of BC and the District Office in my backyard.  Here are some photos from the May 2nd event.  Thank you Krista Moreland, John Hart, Tracy Hall, Jennifer Marden and Chris Glaser for helping me with this event. It was wonderful have Chancellor Tom Burke, Vice Chancellor John Means, and Vice Chancellor Gary Moser join us.

Exec Team Enf of year potluck May 2 2017

Don Chrisciel, Zav Dadabhoy, Sonya Christian, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg

 

 

 

 

 

 

Girls just wanna have fun 🙂

 

 

 

Here are the party planners.

Party Planners May 2 2017

Tracy Hall, Sonya Christian, John Hart, Krista Moreland, Jennifer Marden

So if you are wondering why I have been tardy with my blog posts, I can only ask you to look at the picture below.  Can you guess his name?  Post the name as a comment on my blog.  If you don’t get it right, I will then give you clues until next Saturday.

Sonya-and-Neo-May-13-2017-at-Comanche-Gas-Station v2

 

 

 

That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever