Tag Archives: Administrative Council

Busy Between Semesters at BC!

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, December 16th, 2017 and a great day to be a Renegade.

The fall academic semester was over the previous week, students have started their holiday break, but the activities on campus continue.  The only indication that we are during break are the parking lots.  There are a lot of spaces …..

Congratulations to our 26th graduating class of Paramedics!

Bakersfield College first began to explore the need for a paramedic program in the spring of 2003.  This discussion was based on a looming change in California law and the inability of the local paramedic school at that time to meet those requirements.


After discussions with stakeholders in the summer of 2003 (County ambulance providers, Kern County EMS Agency, local hospitals, Emergency Room Medical Directors and college administrators), it was decided the college would explore the feasibility of offering a Paramedic Program.  In the summer of 2003, the Bakersfield College Director of Nursing/EMT programs conducted discussions with ambulance employees and administered a community of interest survey.  The results of the survey indicated approximately 90% of the respondents indicated they would be interested in enrolling in a Paramedic Program.  They also indicated they would be available to attend class full time if there was employer support.


Dean Rich McCrow, Director Tim Capehart with the graduating class

With the assistance and continued assistance of Hall Ambulance Service (thank you Mayor Harvey Hall!), Bakersfield College developed the curriculum, program policies and procedures, recruited personnel and gathered the necessary resources and equipment to implement the Bakersfield College Paramedic Program in January of 2004, and completed the CoAEMSP/CAAHEP requirements in 2006.  In 2014 the paramedic program began an effort to move from a non-credit program to a credit/degree granting program.  That goal was accomplished and in the fall of 2017 the college enrolled their first credit/degree granting program cohort.


This group of 13 graduates is the 26th class to graduate from the Bakersfield College Paramedic Program, and the first to complete the credit granting 3-semester program.  With the addition of these graduates the Bakersfield College Paramedic Program will have trained just over 300 paramedics.


CTE Partnership with FIELD

Nora Dominguez, Sonya Christian, Stephen Schoonmaker, Jenny Zorn Dec 14 2017

Nora Dominguez, Sonya Christian, Stephen Schoonmaker, Jenny Zorn

On Thursday morning I was honored to be a part of an event for the new CTE initiative announced by the FIELD Institute. California Community Colleges play a critical role in lifting the state’s economy, creating the workforce of the future, closing achievement gaps, and providing educational access to all. Jobs requiring only a high school education are becoming more rare, which drives an increasing need for postsecondary education and a degree as the passport to family sustaining wages, and steady employment.

For the past 104 years, Bakersfield College has provided a direct pipeline for the Bakersfield community to reach their goals through quality education and career-based training programs that provide the skills needed to be successful.

Speaking at FIELD

Programs such as FIELD Institute’s EPIC (Escuela Popular Instituto Campesino) promote college-bound thinking and behavior which ripple through the  community for generations – making a positive impact for years to come.

The FIELD grant work will empower our students, provide important opportunities, and increase educational access for many who are socioeconomically disadvantaged and underserved. Students will be placed into CTE pathways with the structure and support to be successful.

Thank you David Villarino for your leadership in pulling together this consortium of colleges and universities. You have been always been committed to providing opportunity and family-wage jobs for the most underserved populations.


It was great reconnecting with Dr. Stephen Schoomaker, a colleague from Oregon who has now moved to California as President of College of Siskiyous.  And it is always fun seeing Nora Dominguez.  Thank you Nora for helping BC with Measure J.

Thank you to the BC team who came out to support the event.  Dean Corny Rodriguez, Dean Cindy Collier, Director of CTE Tony Cordova.  I wish we had snapped a picture.

Clergy Breakfast

Steve Watkin and members of our African-American faculty affinity group hosted a congregation of black church leaders to have breakfast and talk about Bakersfield College’s outreach and student success initiatives for African American students on Wednesday morning in the Fireside Room. Steve shared his progress with increasing African-American enrollment on campus, highlighting the work that the Outreach department and our counselors and educational advisors do to create a welcoming atmosphere for our African-American student body while keeping the standards and expectations for those students high.



Steve Watkin and Julian West

Steve then introduced Julian West, who outlined the work he’s doing to keep students informed of financial aid and on-campus resources students have access to. Steve also introduced the audience to our African American Mentorship Program (AAMP), which hosts inspirational speakers to provide students with examples of black leadership and “real-talk” discussions that provide students with information to succeed, and to dispel toxic ideas about black identity and masculinity.


Bre Parks

Student speaker Bre Parks concluded the presentation with her story about her experience in our ASTEP Umoja Community, and her pursuit of a degree in Communication on the way to becoming a Supplemental Instruction leader and one of our best and brightest student workers on campus. She credits Steve Watkin and the African-American leadership here at BC with helping her deal with her social anxiety, and become a more confident, empowered person ready to graduate next spring and accomplish her dreams after graduation.


Wednesday’s breakfast was an awesome opportunity to share BC’s educational programs with a group of important leaders in our community. I’d like to thank Steve and everyone who helped put the event together and our Food Services department for cooking another great breakfast, and I’m looking forward to establishing greater partnerships with our faith leaders in the future.



Monthly Administrative Council


December 2017 Admin CouncilThe Bakersfield College Administrative Council is a consultative group of administrators and managers. This week Admin Council met for its last time in 2017 to hear presentations from various campus groups and project leads. We heard from Manny Mourtzanos, Kim Nickell, and Kristin Rabe on the Program Review Committee about how the program review process has improved and grown over the past couple of years; Vice President of Finance and Administrative Services, Don Chrusciel shared the Closing the Loop, Mid-year report document; and there were smiles, laughter, and even tears in the room as Chelsea Esquibias, Director of the Bakersfield College Inmate Scholars Program, shared the transformational power of what this program does for inmates.



Chelsea sharing the Inmate Scholars Program update



Stanford University Visit

Chelsea Esquibias was also invited by the The Opportunity Institute and Renewing Communities to present on Inmate Scholars Program, share student’s stories, and speak about the program’s future plans at the Stanford University School of Law.  Attendees were funders contributing to the initiative including the Ford Foundation and the Educational Credit Management Corporation.  They recognized that the program has grown in its first two years to be the largest face-to-face college program with over 2,400 enrollments.  The program operates in eight prisons (soon to be 10) and the local County Jail.  Students in the program have achieved some of the highest success rates at Bakersfield College as the students have achieved above-average grades and pass rates, with over 95% of the students taking transfer-level courses.

The initiative to provide for college in prison is supported by numerous funders. Achievement of an Associate Degree for Transfer while in prison allows students to exit the justice system ready for employment and creates opportunities for them achieve success in our community.  Recidivism (returning to prison) is dramatically reduced with an education and creates a college-going culture in the home.  Students in the program are highlighted throughout the prison system, and problematic issues in the prisons have also reduced since the implementation of college on-site.

Thank you to all of the funding partners and Stanford University, School of Law for providing us the opportunity to educate inmates returning to our community.

Stanford School of Law

Photographed from left to right: Debbie Mukamal, Executive Director of Stanford Criminal Justice Center; Danny Murillo, Co-founder of the Underground Scholars at UC Berkeley; Chelsea Esquibias, Program Director of the Inmate Scholars Program at BC; Rebecca Silbert, Director of Renewing Communities Initiative; Douglas Wood, Program Officer at Ford Foundation.

IMG_1333 (003)Industrial Automation Advisory Committee

On Friday, December 8th, BC’s Baccalaureate Degree, Industrial Automation Advisory Committee met to discuss the curriculum in detail and to get feedback on a proposed additional robotics course. Marketing and high school pathways were also highlighted.

Thank you to all who attended including, Nathan Bender, Jonahan Geersen, Samuel Gomez, Ron K’Miller, Steven Mears, Brian Miller, Blair Pruett, Dick Taylor, and Beth Vaughn. 

BC Faculty included, Roy Allard, Sean Caras, Guanghsu Chang, Tony Cordova, Jason Dixon, Manny Fernandez, Cathie Jones, Klint Rigby, Liz Rozell, Tom Rush, Mary Webb and Martin Perez.

Industrial Automation Dec 8 2017 Advisory Committee Meeting


Industrial Automation Advisory Committee Meeting

Advisory Committee meeting Industrial Automation Dec 8 2017

Office of Institutional Effectiveness

BC’s OIE (Office of Institutional Effectiveness) hosted a half-day retreat on Wednesday with goal setting, reviewing the core values of the college, and bringing the department closer together. We’ve recently added to the team and I was happy to join them for a session of the importance of institutional research.


David Buitron, Lori Ortiz, Karen Snow, Alma Livingston, Nicole Griffin, Sonya Christian, and Craig Hayward

The group learned about some new data software, reviewed updates to existing programs, and closed out the afternoon with teambuilding at a local escape room. Karen Snow told me, “ It really did force us to work as a team and we learned everyone’s particular skills… Like Lori was our MVP because she found so many clues, Alma is quickest at deciphering patterns. I’m good at spinning combination locks and guessing them if it’s only three numbers, and Craig is really good at making us pick up all the pieces and rethink everything. David and Nicole were both awesome at inspiring us to keep inquisitive and motivated to continue.”

After the Escape Room

Em’s Sweet Treats

Em and Chef Suzanne

Em and Chef Suzanne

In 2011, Emily Aldritt began Em’s Treat’em Sweet. The goal was simple – to prepare, package and sell her family’s favorite holiday sweet treats (Muddy Buddies), and donate 100% of the proceeds to two local charities: The Bakersfield Homeless Center and the Alliance Against Family Violence and Sexual Assault. Last weekend, Emily and The Bakersfield College Culinary Arts Department worked in The Renegade Room to prepare this year’s sweet treats. You can learn more about Em and her project at http://emstreatemsweet.com/

I’ve also covered this sweet partnership in my blog previously at “Welcoming our students and the community to BC.”


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Maintenance and Operations

While most of our faculty and students are away for the winter break, the Maintenance and Operations department is busy making important renovations to the campus. This break is a particularly busy one for M&O, as they’ve got a myriad of projects on their hands. The Gym and Memorial Stadium is currently closed until January 5th for installation of brand-new goalposts on the football field and removing the turf that covers the runways. All of the carpet in the library is also being replaced from December 18th until the 29th, which has resulted in closures and relocation for the IT offices and Archives. Other projects M&O is working on include replacement of all doors around campus to make them more accessible to people with disabilities, campus-wide storage room clean-up, installing new fencing at the Child Development Center, repairing emergency generators, replacing trees on campus, and landscaping renovations on Haley Street.


Aside from all of the above for this year’s break, every January M&O also performs its usual detailed cleaning of all carpet and hard flooring around campus, replaces light bulbs in classrooms, deep cleans all buildings and certifies all fire extinguishers before the start of the Spring semester. The M&O department has their work cut out for them for 2018, and we’re so fortunate to have an incredible team that works year-round to keep BC beautiful.

Emails Worth Sharing

Olivia and Sonya

Olivia Garcia and Sonya Christian

I often say I’m the luckiest and happiest college president ever, and you know that it’s because I’m fortunate to have the best colleagues, the best students, and the best community at BC. I received this note from one of our newest full-time faculty, Olivia Garcia, during Thanksgiving and I’m just now getting around to sharing it. She said,

I wanted to take a moment and personally thank you for giving me the opportunity to be a part of the faculty at Bakersfield College. I have been given a meaningful purpose in life, and that is educating and positively shaping the minds of our students. This purpose has rewarded me many times this semester in the form of my interactions with students or simply seeing them take small steps toward their academic achievements and goals.

I was meeting with a student the other day in my office as she was trying to figure out her major and career options. We went over different ideas before I told her, “Find something you love, and it will never feel like work.” It helped clear a lot of things for her, and I was speaking from the heart, for what I do, I know it is truly a labor of love.

I had another student who told me that, after taking my class, he decided to major in history. He had been out of school for awhile; he spent it in the workforce before deciding it was time to return to school and earn his degree. He emailed me recently to tell me how he had conquered his fear of heavy reading in the research phase, and that it paid off for developing a stronger assignment for our class.

He wrote, “I can’t explain what a major weekend this was for me in that area as I spent the majority of my time reading for this class and loved it! Thank you for the assignments. They are really enriching my start in College.”

Then I had another student post on social media the happiness she felt being a part of the Levan Seminar Book discussion that I co-led with Professor Rosales recently. The goal was to meet and discuss the work of author Gabriel Thompson who wrote “Chasing the Harvest,” which is an oral history collection of those who have been a part of the migrant farm worker experience in central California. We put a call out to students via the BC website and announcements in our classes to be a part of this wonderful project, which was set for 10 students. Surprisingly, we got more than 60 students expressing interest! It was tough to select the final 10, but they turned out to be amazing. The selected students met with me and Prof. Oliver over a span of three sessions, including a day when they had the opportunity to visit and speak with the author.

Her social media post, which I am attaching here, is a selfie of her with the author. It touched my heart, and it reinforced my mission in doing the best I can to serve our students. I could go on and on, but I just wanted to show you how students have enriched my life this past semester, and I wanted to express my gratitude for this opportunity. I have spent two decades as a journalist telling other people’s stories and making a impact there. Now, as a faculty member in history, I get to be a small part of student’s lives — their stories by helping educate and guide them to their full potential. Now that’s a treasured gift to be thankful for this holiday season. 🙂

At the Basketball Game on Dec 9, 2017

Basketball Dec 9 2017.jpg

Denise Canning and Todd Hansen at the game

It was wonderful getting to meet our new custodian Felipe Carrillo

Felipe Carrillo Custodian Dec 9 2017

Our fabulous Cheer Team coach Heather Foss

Heather Foss Dec 9 2017

Stig Jantz is everywhere.  I know he has been secretly cloned.

Stig Jantz with students Dec 9 2017

With our no nonsense, no drama, tireless and hard working Athletic Director, Sandi Taylor

Sandi Taylor and Sonya Christian Dec 9 2017 Basketball

And Coach Paula Dahl is the best.  Did not get a picture of her this time.

Suzanne Galindo

Suzanne GalindoWhile at the District office this week, it was great to see Suzanne Galindo, KCCD’s Executive Assistant to General Counsel, Chris Hine. She shared with me the painting she did of the Renegade Knight and Shield at the Homecoming Paint Night hosted by SGA. I covered this and have a group photo in my blog titled, “Our 60th Homecoming at 1801 Panorama.”

From Social Media

Memories on Facebook

The 1948 Renegade Football Team Poster made an appearance on Facebook in a post on the Kern County of Old Facebook page. This post says this team poster was found by “Pepper” at an Estate Sale and donated to Noriega’s Restaurant in memory of Louie ElizaldeCheck it out here on Facebook!

Thank you Jackie Lau for flagging this for me!

Holiday Potlucks on Campus

Holiday potlucks have been taking place on campus all week long. Here are some fun photos!

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Chamber Singers strike again

Received this video from my friend Arlene Braganza with a note

Select threesome of the BC chamber singers performed at Msgr Craig’s Christmas party this evening

Caley Mayhall, April Gregerson, and Markelle Taylor.

And then there is Neo, Dec 2017

Dec 13 2017 Neo.jpeg

Neo Dec 14 2017

Sonya Christian Dec 11 2017


That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever


Retreat Summer 2015 – Teamwork, Accountability, Wellness, Trust and Fun!

This is my 200th blog post.  Yes!


Bakersfield College Administrators. Summer 2015.


Jennifer Marden and Sonya Christian

Summer that is considered a “downtime” for an academic institution is a time for the administrative team and classified staff to regroup and plan for the following year.  In this spirit of valuing reflection, and planning, the administrative team at BC retreated for two days.  The focus of the two days was to promote and deepen:

– our teamwork: getting to know each other and building trust

– our collective accountability to our students, our colleagues and our community

– our collective understanding of what leadership looks like in the fast-paced 21st century with the explosion of information

– our wellness individually and collectively.


Nicky Damania and Terri Goldstein

I asked Karla Young, our new Student Success Program Manager to capture this two-day event.  Let’s hear from Karla:

Part of that year-round drive for excellence includes our summer Administrative Council Retreat, a much-needed annual opportunity for some connection and reflection throughout our BC family.

Over the course of the retreat, the entire management team at BC came together to reflect on accomplishments, develop work plans for the upcoming year, reconnect, foster leadership, and enjoy a friendly lip-sync competition.

2015AdminCouncilRetreat_June8_14The first day consisted of various presentations on several topics, including the strategic direction of our campus, the importance of health and wellness, reflections on transformational leadership by Dr. Michael Wesch, the review of our past year accomplishments, brainstorming on work plans for the upcoming year, and a good old-fashioned lip-sync competition between members of our eight teams.


Todd Coston and Manny Mourtzanos

The second day was filled with great momentum from the previous day.  Everyone displayed their work plans for the upcoming year throughout the room for all to review. We broke out in groups to focus on and discuss various leadership scenarios and received a presentation on the Renegade Scorecard version 2.0.

More reflections on transformational leadership followed, and then, the conclusion of our lip sync competition with the remaining teams.

Although the performance aspect of the retreat caused a few pauses with the management team everyone jumped in and had a great time.  Here are two samples:

Team: Todd Coston and Manny Mourtzanos


Team: Odella Johnson, Liz Rozell, Ramon Puga, Danell Ward (who was ill and Manny Mourtzanos stepped in), Sonya Christian


For the photo gallery check out