What a week…. a week of highs and lows. SpaceX launches astronauts from American soil into space for the first time in a decade, we crossed the milestone worldwide of 6 million reported COVID-19 cases, we passed a milestone exceeding 100,00 COVID-19 deaths here in the US, we celebrated Memorial Day even though we were sheltering in place, and George Floyd stopped moving at 8:24 p.m. on Memorial Day on the streets of Minneapolis.
Good morning Bakersfield It is Saturday, May 30, 2020…A great day to be a Renegade
Lift ev’ry voice and sing ‘Til earth and heaven ring Ring with the harmonies of Liberty Let our rejoicing rise High as the list’ning skies Let it resound loud as the rolling sea Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us Facing the rising sun of our new day begun Let us march on ’til victory is won
The SpaceX launch was certainly a historic moment…check out the video if you did not get a chance to watch the launch live on Saturday, May 30th.
Memorial Day Message from Jenny Frank
Jenny Frank, manager of Veteran Services and Programs, sent out a Memorial Day message to our Renegade Community, and I wanted to share it with all of you:
“Dear friends, colleagues and fellow Renegades,
Although technical difficulties prevented this message from reaching each of you yesterday, the sentiment remains.
As the sun sets on another beautiful day in America, we are all acutely aware that this Memorial Day is vastly different than most others. While navigating our lives during these uncertain times, it may be easy to focus on the freedoms that have been disrupted. We must not lose sight of all that we do have and of those who have sacrificed to ensure our way of life.
The brave Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, Airmen and women and Coast Guardsmen and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our country and its values came from all different walks of life. Yet, they stood side-by-side, united in their cause. I can think of no better way to honor them than to live our lives in the same manner they stood; united.
So, my friends, colleagues, fellow Renegades, as you lay your heads down tonight, remember these brave men and women, today and always. Tomorrow, as we rise, let us all strive to live our lives in a way that would honor their them. It is together that we will overcome any difficulties that face us. Together we will soon enjoy all the freedoms that have been gifted to us.“
Please also enjoy Taps played by the Minnesota Orchestra Trumpet Section:
Here is a great poem from Jack Hernandez:
The body ages steps hesitant hair ghostly white the memory cabinet filling up, But love knows nothing of slowing only of growing wider in delight.
Virtual Immigration Clinics
Bakersfield College is partnering with the California Colleges Chancellor’s Office, the Foundation for California Community Colleges, the California Department of Social Services and the UFW Foundation to provide Immigration Clinics for Bakersfield College students, staff and faculty. The services will include general immigration consultations as well as assistance on DACA renewals, citizenship, family petitions, FBI and background checks, adjustment of status, and visas.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, all immigration clinics will be held virtually via Zoom or telephone until further notice. These virtual Immigration Clinics will be held every 2nd Tuesday and 4th Thursday of the month from 9 AM to 6 PM.
Last March, Kris Tiner from our Jazz department presented during my Virtual Seminar Series about how he changed his teaching methods when classes moved online. He said we must “let the times guide our creativity.”
“BC’s performing arts programs have shared these positive attributes with the Bakersfield community for generations and focusing on them can guide us all through these challenging times. The BC performing arts faculty will continue to let the times guide their creativity, offering BC students the best experiences possible.“
BC Foundation announces new Executive Director
This past Thursday marked the last BC Foundation Board of Directors meeting of the 2019-20 academic year. In spite of the challenges presented by the impact of COVID-19, the BC Foundation finished strong.
Almost 550 scholarships worth over $500,000 were awarded to our students, an Emergency Student Fund was established to financially help students during unexpected hardships, and over $60,000 was used to support innovative programmatic activities proposed by faculty. In the midst of reflecting on all the good work done during unusual circumstances, we took opportunity to express appreciation for the contributions made by the staff, board leadership, and college administration.
However, the highlight of the meeting was welcoming the new Foundation Executive Director, Cheryl Scott, who will fully come on board July 6th. There was great excitement among the directors, for most have known Cheryl for many years and are acquainted with her community service and economic development work in Kern County.
Kern Valley Sun announced the Rotary Club of the Kern River Valley’s scholarship recipients including incoming Renegade, Joey Moyer. The article states Joey will pursue a teaching credential and plans to transfer to a four-year university. Welcome to BC Joey!
Videos from Closing Week
I’m continuing to highlight a few videos from our Closing Week celebration. All our videos are available on our Closing Week 2020 website.
BC’s Summer Bridge program is one of our secret student success strategies. Dr. Kimberly Bligh has moved this program to an online format for Summer 2020. Check out these two uplifting videos from our incoming Bridgers
Thank you Kimberly!
Construction on Campus
While we are not able to be on campus, construction is continuing. Check out this photo from Manny De Los Santos:
Sandi Taylor Officially Announces Retirement After 30 Years As A Renegade
This week our fearless Athletic Director Sandi Taylor officially announced her retirement to the community bringing to a close a 30 years career as a Renegade – 23 years as head softball coach and seven as athletic director. As a leader Sandi has consistently kept the Renegade athletics ship on a steady course in the right direction. While she’s ever a kind and gentle soul, she’s also fiercely competitive and was just what Renegade Athletics needed in a leader for the past seven years.
As news of her retirement hit the community, she was immediately was recognized with multiple TV interviews and a front page above the fold article on the sports section of the Bakersfield Californian on Wednesday. The social media posts on her retirement have been swarmed with overwhelming congratulations and well-wishes from former student athletes, coaches, friends and community members. We are glad to have had Sandi for so long and will miss her!
Click below for the stories from our local media on Sandi’s retirement:
Good morning Bakersfield. It is Saturday, May 18th and woke up this morning to the very sad news of the passing of a legend in our community, Mayor Harvey Hall.
Unity in Our Community
Harvey Hall speaking on behalf of Measure J
When we hear the phrase Unity in Our Community the face that comes to mind is that of Mayor Harvey Hall.
Joseph Luiz says in his article in The Bakersfield Californian:
One of the main phrases he used during that time was “Unity in Our Community,” reflecting his desire to recognize accomplishments, the city’s diverse population, celebrations and more.
Harvey Hall was a die hard Renegade. Most recently, Mayor Hall was the chair of the Measure J bond for Bakersfield College, KCCD. He did a great Community Voices piece for The Bakersfield Californian.
The picture below was taken at the opening event of BC’s Social Justice Institute which Harvey Hall was the founding co-chair, along with Milt Younger.
Mayor Hall, RIP, I thank you for your steadfast and unwavering support of Bakersfield College.
Now, onto other topics….
Woke up this morning to two pieces in the Californian authored by BC faculty. BC’s Japanese faculty member Yuki Takeuchi wrote a community voices piece on teaching in the prison. (https://tinyurl.com/ycfwozjb)
The second piece was Nick Strobel’s Stargazing article. Nick Strobel took a moment to recognize the historic significance of last week’s Commencement before promoting the Kern Astronomical Society’s free public star party tonight at Barnes and Noble on California Avenue.
Tonight, star gazers will be able to view Venus and Jupiter, the two brightest planets in the solar system, at about the same altitude above the horizon but at opposite sides of the sky. Nick’s column also talks about the Mars InSight lander currently flying toward the Red Planet with the hope of being able to relay information back to Earth by utilizing the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter already on the planet.
In June, the Kern Astronomical Society will be meeting for another stargazing at Panorama Park, then the group will be at the Park at River Walk for July’s event.
And then I received this email from Darlene Mohlke of Castle and Cook who also serves with me on the Homeless Shelter Board and the Chamber of Commerce Board. Her granddaughter Emily Aldritt was recognized as the California Student Volunteer of the Year.
Here is the interview we discussed today. https://tinyurl.com/y82v4xz4. If it were not for the two wonderful mentors Emily has in Leah Carter and Suzanne Tangeman there would not be a story or a Governor’s Award. The BC Kitchen, and her BC chef’s uniform are proudly on display!
Emily Aldritt, you inspire us!
More on the 104th Commencement
I am still reminiscing about BC’s 104th Commencement last weekend. The evening was surely one to remember. We celebrated student accomplishments, transformation, and life changing moments with graduates and their families. It is ceremonies like May 11th that make visible the way that lives are changing in this community one degree at at time.
Check out this video created by Manny De Los Santos covering five of the 104th commencement speakers. You can definitely see Manny’s creative touch. Love the music in the background.
Dr. Robert Allison served as President of Bakersfield College from 1997-1998, but he has a long history of heart and contribution to the college in a multitude of roles. In an email earlier this week, he was also reminiscing about the incredible evening of May 11, 2018.
I want to thank you for including me in the magnificent graduation ceremonies last Friday evening. You should know that the experience was very special to me. As I sat on the podium and gazed at the massive crowd, which must have been at least 10,000, I reflected on the 55 years that I have been a part of Bakersfield College. I thought about the record number of graduates as compared with the number in 1964 and other graduations and, of course, the significance of our first bachelor’s degrees awarded – and that I was there to be a part of that.
I thought about the many changes we have seen but that essentially BC is, as it always was, about bringing educational excellence to our communities. Margaret Levinson, whose job I later filled, was the dean of instruction in 1963. She made it clear to us neophyte instructors that BC’s academic standards were as high as any university and we should not forget it. Our curriculum was not based on Berkeley’s for nothing!
Chancellor, Trustees, Past Presidents, Vice Presidents, and graduates of the 2018 Baccalaureate Class in Industrial Automation.
Congratulations to BC Firefighters!
On May 15, we celebrated the graduating class of 2018 Firefighter I graduates. The Bakersfield College Fire Science program was first set up by joint efforts of Chief Phil Pifer of the Bakersfield Fire Department and Norman Harris, coordinator of technical vocational education at Bakersfield college in 1956.
A special curriculum was designed for Bakersfield city firefighters which included academic courses required for an associates of arts degree, the on-the-job training included the use of all types of fire fighting equipment, and the use of motorized fire equipment under emergency conditions.
This fire science program developed into an in-service program for all fire agencies in Kern county. The main agencies involved were Bakersfield fire department and Kern County Fire Department.
Welcoming Jim Ryun to Memorial Stadium
Bakersfield College is honored to host the 2018 CCCAA Track and Field Championships this weekend and we are privileged to welcome Jim Ryun back to Memorial Stadium where he shattered the world record for fastest mile with a blazing fast 3:51.1 mark on June 23, 1967. A crowd of 10,000 cheered him on that evening.
Mary Jo Pasek organized a meet and greet on Thursday evening and it was a great evening of story telling. Thank you Joseph Bergman for the photos.
BC Selected as Recipient of Innovation Award
Jessica Wojtysiak, Lesley Bonds
It’s an exciting time to be at BC and it’s an exciting time for California Community Colleges. BC was selected by the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office as one of 11 community colleges to be awarded a share of $20 million to further development and implementation of programs that strengthen student success.
For the innovative design and mapping of transfer pathways through technology and systems integration, Bakersfield College was named the recipient of $2,300,000. The funding aims to advance implementation of high-tech, high-touch guided pathways strategies that ensure all students have access to fully mapped and well-designed transfer pathways no matter at what point from which they are accessing the institution. Nick Strobel, Jessica Wojtysiak, Lesley Bonds and I rode the train to Sacramento to accept the award.
Nick Strobel and Sonya Christian on train
BC continues a strong commitment to not only opening our doors to students from all backgrounds, but also to intentionally and systematically support them through a Guided Pathway to degree and certificate completion once they’re here. This award will provide a continuation of efficiently and effectively clarifying the path towards degree and certificate completion which in turn, leads to sustainable jobs regardless of background. The health of our community depends on an educated and well-prepared workforce.
It’s an exciting time at the home of the Renegades!!
As the four of us were waiting for the announcement at the Board of Governors (BOG) meeting in Sacramento, we followed the deliberations and discussions on the various items. I was struck by the level of engagement and rigor in the discussions among the members of the BOG. Topics ranged from equity, to student completion, accountability of budgets, technology innovation and integration, transfers – both to CSUs and UCs, and preparing a strong workforce for our state. At this meeting Executive Vice Chancellor Van Ton-Quinlivan and Visiting Vice Chancellor Omid Pourzanjani presented the heavy lift from CCCCO to integrate technologies at the systems level but with the necessary flexibility at the local college level to customize functionality. During the presentation, Dr. Pourzanjani specifically called out the Pathways Program Mapper to make his point. Cecilia V. Estolano is the President of the California Community Colleges Board of Governors and I was really impressed with how she ran a tight and engaging meeting. The full list of the Board of Governors is available on the website along with short biographies if you’re looking to read more.
So proud of our faculty and staff:
Armando Trujillo: On Friday, May 11th, our very own Veterans Educational Advisor Armando Trujillo, graduated from the University of Southern California, earning a Masters of Social Work Degree with a Military Social Work and Veterans Services sub-concentration.
Armando Trujillo with daughter Alina (who will attend CSU Monterey Bay) and son Adam
Armando is an inspiration to the student-veterans and military-connected students he serves. He is a prime of example of what a student-veteran can accomplish. Armando enlisted in the Marine Corps while still in high school. In 2003 he fought in Iraq with 3rd ANGLICO (Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company) as a forward observer. After his service he became a correctional officer. Several years later he began attend college, culminating in his masters degree.
Armando’s work with veterans at Bakersfield College has paid dividends for his students, with well over 40% of BC veterans completing/transferring within three years. His holistic, intrusive, guided pathways model approach has made Armando an invaluable member of BC, getting student-veterans on the right path and keeping them on it. Those students he works with know they have a compassionate, and professional advisor who understands their struggles as both veterans and students.
The picture above was snapped when Armando was presented with a USC cake in the Veterans Lounge upon completion of his MSW work a few weeks before graduation
Bakersfield College says to Armando Trujillo, MSW, “Well done Devil Dog! Semper Fi.”
And thank you Paul Beckworth and Armando Trujillo for all that you do for our student veterans.
Oliver Rosales was at the capitol to advocate for the importance of humanities education and collaborative partnerships in California and especially in the Central Valley.
We are off and running again with our Summer Bridge. Kimberly Bligh who leads this effort is scaling up this program every summer. Here is a great picture of three faculty at the Wasco Summer Bridge.
With our 2018 Commencement in the rearview mirror, it’s incredible to think that Summer courses at BC SouthWest begin next week! Hosted by Outreach with support from Financial Aid, Counseling, and more, the May 15th Express Enrollment at BC SouthWest helped new students enroll and get classes they need. The crew helped 80 new, continuing and returning students register for classes at our BC Southwest campus, and there are three more express enrollment events planned for this summer at the BC main campus on June 19th, July 10th and August 7th from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Students will also be assisted with enrollment during our on-campus Summer Orientation events at the main campus from 1-5 p.m. on June 5th, July 24th, and August 14th.
Outreach spreads the good word about BC’s academic programs and student support services as they reach out at local high schools and various community events, supporting future students, assisting them through the application and matriculation process through orientations and enrollment events.
During the orientation and enrollment events, prospective students learn about our supportive faculty and caring staff, our Student Life and athletic programs, about the affordability of BC compared to 4-year and private institutions, and all of the campuses we have available throughout Kern County, including at BC Southwest, the Weill Institute downtown, Delano, Shafter, Wasco and online.
The Outreach Team at Bakersfield College
Dean of Instruction, Andrea Thorson worked with Pam Rivers to get the presentation ready for Monday morning. Over 45 faculty attended the afternoon training and I heard they left wanting more! There are more trainings to be added for staff and faculty throughout the summer as we unveil this powerful high-tech, high-touch tool.
BC Students on a Sacramento Legislative Trip
Last Thursday, May 17, 58 students (including students from Delano campus) left at 4 a.m. to head up to the state capitol for the Annual Sacramento Legislative Trip, returning to campus the same day only after 11:30 p.m. They were accompanied by Biology Department Chair, Dr. Joe Saldivar, classified staff members Theresa Rodriguez, Rosa Castro, and Public Safety Officer Jason Mattheus, ASL interpreter Natasha Bailey, and administrators Dean Grace Commiso and Dr. Nicky Damania.
BC Group in front of capitol
This one-day event takes students and staff to our state capitol to tour the Capitol Building, meet our local legislators in their work environment, and also to explore downtown Sacramento and Old Sacramento. This year, the attendees started their exploration of legislative processes by viewing the State Senate in session. They were greeted by Senator Andy Vidak who graciously introduced them to the State Senate, and by Senator Jean Fuller recognizing the leads Ms. Ashley Harp, Bakersfield College Student Government Association Vice President, Ms. Grace Commiso, Dean of Student Success and Counseling, and Dr. Nicky Damania, Director of Student Life and Advisor to the Bakersfield College Student Government Association.
Ryan and Annette
They then met with Assemblywoman Jacqui Irwin and her Chief of Staff, Ryan VanZuylen, regarding Assembly Bill 705. They discussed many aspects of the bill from conception, to planning, implementation, and the hopes of the bill serving to support community college students. As they shared the value of the bill, many students expressed their struggles as an entering community college student and how if this bill had been implemented before, they would have been able to progress further/sooner in their educational goals. As shared by Annette Brasher a communication and human services major “If you wanna start at the beginning basics, for instance math, then you can, but in my instance I was placed there but I should have been placed in College Level Statistics which I feel I was ready for, but was not given the chance.” Annette has been attending BC part-time for the past eight years, during which time it has taken her four semesters to get to transfer level math. Before closing, Ryan shared his personal career path to working for Assemblywomen Irwin’s office and giving advice to our students who are interested in the field of legislative policy.
Leaving Irwin’s Office, the attendees went to the Assembly Floor to meet with Assembly Members Mr. Rudy Salas and Mr. Vince Fong. The Assemblymen shared what their passions are and what big policy reforms they are leading. Assemblyman Salas discussed his passion for the awareness of valley fever and Assemblyman Fong responded to a student question regarding community healthcare. Once again, Assemblyman Salas took an extra moment and pointed out to the students some unique characteristics of the Capitol building that only the insiders know about. He does this annually for our students. After that everyone went to lunch and upon return participated in a private extensive tour of the Capitol building which also included historical facts not only about the building but the legacy of the Office of the Governor. The day concluded with everyone traveling from the capitol building to Old Sacramento while enjoying the downtown area and grabbing a bite to eat before heading back home.
Group with Assemblymen
Historically, this annual trip has been funded and hosted by the Center for Kern Political Education under the purview of the late Jack Brigham, who was a faculty member in Political Science. In 2016, the Office of Student Life started hosting the annual event. Since then the Bakersfield College Student Government Association has funded this trip on behalf of the Center for Kern Political Education knowing its value and keeping the legacy of Professor Brigham alive.
THANK YOU BAKERSFIELD
It’s a great honor to be selected by our community as the Favorite of 2018 in the “Best College/Higher Learning Source” category of the Bakersfield Californian’s annual Readers’ Choice Poll. While BC did not win the Best of 2018 title, which went to Cal State Bakersfield, it’s still amazing to have the hard work being done by our educational system recognized for the impact to our community.
Congratulations CSUB! I’m so thankful for our collaboration with The Kern Promise Finish in 4 and all the student success and completion initiatives we accomplish together.
Talking about CSUB, Steve Mayer of The Bakersfield Californian did a great piece on Horace Mitchell who is retiring this year. Check it out: https://tinyurl.com/ydxhr2cs.
The article ends with comments from me. Here is an excerpt:
Sonya Christian, president of Bakersfield College, said Mitchell’s impact has indeed been felt in the larger educational community.
“Generations of Kern County and Bakersfield students will benefit from the seeds of vision, hard work, and dedication planted by … Mitchell,” she said.
“The Kern County educational system has never been more connected, more efficient, or more collaborative than now. College transfer rates from Bakersfield College to CSU Bakersfield have bloomed significantly and collaboration between our institutions has strengthened and grown.”
During the 2016-2017 academic year, transfers from BC to CSUB increased nearly 22 percent from the year prior, Christian said, and efforts made in collaboration with Bryon Schaefer and the Kern High School District to increase college attendance directly from high school have been highly effective.
“The Kern Promise and the newly adopted Finish in 4 program is substantial evidence of Dr. Mitchell’s footprint which will benefit this community and its students for generations to come,” she said.
Mitchell is proud that the university’s relationship with local industry has grown under his leadership, and not just in financial support. The university’s very curriculum and structure has changed to support new majors, new degrees and even new directions in the areas of agribusiness, petroleum and associated engineering.
The university even has an office at BC to help make the path between the two institutions easier and more successful for students.
“It has truly been a privilege to partner with Horace during his presidency at CSUB,” Christian said. “He has been a true champion for excellence and student success outcomes. His commitment and dedication to diversity and equity has made an indelible impact on our Kern County educational system and is the legacy of his presidency. His transition into a well-deserved and hard earned retirement is one to be celebrated.”
Another Great Partnership Between BC & CSUB
On Tuesday, a group of community leaders from Bakersfield College and CSU Bakersfield got together to have a collegial conversation at a community favorite coffee shop, Dagny’s Coffee Company. The group included Octavio Barajas, a BC History Adjunct Faculty, Dr. Michael Burroughs, the Executive Director of the CSUB Kegley Institute of Ethics and Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Ian Anderson, Education/Development Consultant and a BC adjunct faculty in Political Science, Dr. Nate Olson, Associate Director for Campus Programs, Kegley Institute of Ethics, Heidi Forsythe, a BC and CSUB Adjunct Faculty in Communication, and Dr. Nicky Damania, BC Director of Student Life.
The group discussed various topics and initiatives that revolved around methods of creating community awareness and education regarding previously incarcerated students. All members of the group are hosting various events next year to shine a light on the needs of previously incarcerated students. The Kegley Institute of Ethics will be hosting Father Gregory Boyle for their 2018 Fall Lecture on November 13 at the CSUB Dore Theater. The Office of Student Life hopes to host a speaker on September 13th in conjunction with their Distinguished Speaker Series which is also in collaboration with the Kern County Library One Book Project. Also included in the events as a keynote speaker is author Baz Dreisinger who wrote this year’s One Book Project book, Incarceration Nations: A Journey to Justice in Prisons Around the World.
What great partnerships BC and CSUB build upon.
Kern Citizens for Sustainable Government
On Thursday, May 17th, I was delighted to spend the afternoon with Chancellor Tom Burke, President of the KCCD Board of Trustees, Kay Meek, and Trustee Bill Thomas at the Kern Citizens for Sustainable Government (KCFSG) luncheon speaker series.
Executive Director of KCFSG Romeo Agbalog introduced the two speakers.
Matt Patterson talked about the Janus v. AFSCME case currently before the U.S. Supreme Court. Patterson is a graduate of Columbia University and coaches California’s local elected officials on financial sustainability, government transparency and economic prosperity. He is an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, The Washington Times and FoxNews.comamong many others. He has served as researcher for Charles Krauthammer, was senior fellow in labor policy for the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and was executive director of the Center for Worker Freedom at Americans for Tax Reform.
Mayor Chuck Reed talked about the pension reform efforts in San Jose that he led. Mayor Reed has been recognized for this effort nationally and by the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, other national media, the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the National League of Cities. The story of his work in San Jose has been noted in Michael Lewis’s Boomerang and Fate of the States by Meredith Whitney.
That’s all for now.
Until next time.
With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.
sonya — the luckiest and happiest college president ever
Good morning Bakersfield…It is Saturday, March 24th and a great day to be a Renegade.
This past week Bakersfield was rejoicing in the rain that kept visiting us and revisiting almost every day of the week. What a blessing!
So many highlights from this week…the brightest of them all was the recognition of Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg.
The “Nan” Touch
Many know the incredible value that Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Executive Vice President of Instruction Emeritus, has brought over the last 35 years to Bakersfield College and across the Kern Community College District. Yet her impact has been felt beyond our campus, so much that one of our partners, FIELD (Farmworker Institute for Education and Leadership Development), honored her Friday with its Cesar Chavez Legacy Award. (Check out the video for more.)
The Cesar Chavez Legacy Breakfast is one place where community champions, who quietly work behind the scenes, are illuminated for their phenomenal dedication. Our own Nan is a part of this special group.
This years other honorees included Dr. Horace Mitchell, California State University Bakersfield President, who was recognized with the Cesar E. Chavez Lifetime Achievement Award, and Esther Tarango Uranday whose key role in the United Farm Workers earned her the Cesar E. Chavez Si Se Puede Award (posthumously). The Kern Service and Conservation Corps (KSACC) and a group of EPIC High School students and ESL students were also highlighted with Si Se Puede Awards.
It was wonderful to see many community leaders there supporting the event, such as Assemblyman Rudy Salas, Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Jay Tamsi, and the office of Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez. There was also a table full of BC leadership.
Rudy Salas and Sonya Christian
Many walked away with a sense of empowerment and renewed vision for their own causes after hearing from keynote speaker Paul F. Chavez, the son of the late UFW labor leader Cesar Chavez.
Paul Chavez shared personal father-son stories that tugged at the hearts of many in attendance. At one point, Paul reflected on advice his father shared with him, especially in moments of despair and struggle – in particular two that stay close to Paul’s heart: have faith in people; and persevere.
His father always saw what others could become; he saw potential, and his vision helped others find their own path of success.
I connected with Paul’s story. It made me think about the wonderful work we do at Bakersfield College; our goal is also to show hope and success to our students. We want them to see their potential, and we encourage them to never give up. In the words of Cesar Chavez, “Si se puede.”
I was moved to hear the story that Jose Gaspar (who was emceeing the event with Norma Gaspar) told about the passing of Cesar Chavez and how Corny Rodriguez addressed the KC Board of Supervisors to recognize the passing of a great leader.
For Women’s History Month and in light of BC’s efforts to preserve and share our local history, Dr. Lydia Otero from the Mexican-American Studies program at the University of Arizona came to the Fireside Room on Thursday to share about the historical preservation projects she’s spearheaded in downtown Tuscon.
BC’s Office of Student Life and the Women’s History and More committee invited Otero as part of the Distinguished Speaker Series. Otero, who grew up in downtown Tuscon, was inspired to capture the history of the Mexican-American communities in her hometown that were displaced by urban renewal projects. To Otero’s surprise, her 2010 book “La Calle: Spatial Conflicts and Urban Renewal in a Southwest City” sold out in the Tuscon area within five hours of the first book signing, Otero said. “Even I didn’t appreciate the desire for local audiences to read about local history, you want to read about yourself.”
Dr. Lydia Otero
While local or regional history can often be seen as less important than larger-scale historical analysis, it’s important to fill in the smaller details about an area in order to understand the larger picture. “What do we know about world history if we haven’t studied local history?” Otero asked. “It’s a history of silences.”
After the success of “La Calle”, Otero partnered with the Borderlands Theater Company on an ambitious project called “Barrio Stories”. A camera crew recorded oral histories from Mexican-Americans in Tuscon talking about their personal lives, then those stories were re-interpreted as theatrical plays. The Borderlands Theater performed those plays during a four-day festival that utilized promenade-style staging, meaning that audiences could walk around the old town plaza and experience these stories happening at different stages in real time. You’re able to see all of the oral histories and performances on the Barrio Stories Project website, and a documentary about the project is currently in the works.
Olivia Garcia, Dr. Lydia Otero, Tina Mendoza
Otero is currently working on a book tentatively titled “Quien lo Dice?” about Maria Cordova, a Tuscon woman whose house was seized by eminent domain and all evidence that she had ever lived there was taken out in a failed attempt to make the property a tourist attraction. Throughout her presentation, Otero emphasized the importance of valuing local history and bringing research out of the classroom and into the community.
“Don’t forget the power of memory,” Otero said.
I’d like to thank Tina Mendoza, who worked with Dr. Otero, for her introduction, and I’d like to thank the Office of Student life and WHAM for putting the event together. It gave an interesting perspective on local historical preservation, which we’re working on at BC with the Digital Delano project spearheaded by our Energizing Humanities group. #WeAreBC
Ribbon Cutting in Wasco
This week, Juan Torres, Abel Guzman, Gustavo Enriquez and principal of Wasco Union High School, Kevin Tallon celebrated the Ribbon Cutting and Inaugaration of their beautiful brand new student services building. Inside, the building it’s filled with beautiful pieces of art that celebrate the rich history of Wasco High School.
Kern Disability Collaborative
As your community college, BC is always seeking opportunities to improve communication and collaboration with our community partners. To this end, the Director of our Disabled Students Programs & Services (DSPS), Dr. Terri Goldstein, initiated the first meeting of what she is calling the “Kern Disability Collaborative.” The purpose of the meeting was to pull together those who work with people with disabilities in our community to learn who we are and what we each do. “Only good things can happen if we have a better understanding of all the resources available, as well as the unmet needs in our community,” said Dr. Goldstein. What started out with 20 invitations bloomed into approximately 50 attendees representing K-12 schools, higher education, non-profit organizations, and State agencies. “As the meeting date drew closer, individuals were calling and asking to participate in the meeting,” Dr. Goldstein said. The response just shows the need for this kind of group in Kern County.
The idea for the Collaborative is modeled after the very successful “Kern Veterans Collaborative” which meets monthly at the National Guard Armory. After voting, the attendees decided that the Kern Disability Collaborative will continue to meet on a bi-monthly basis at Bakersfield College. The next meeting will be in May 2018, after college graduation, then the meetings will go dark for the summer, reconvene in August prior to the start of the fall 2018 semester, and meet every other month thereafter.
In addition to discussing future meetings, establishing a listserv and web presence, everyone presented their organizational affiliation, populations served, and services provided. BC faculty member, Jaclyn Krause, announced establishing our Interpreter Training Program; which made everyone happy since there are never enough sign language interpreters to go around. Jimmie Soto, Executive Director of the Independent Living Center of Kern County, spoke about the need to support each other in our quests for additional funding— including partnerships, and letters of support. BC was well represented with DSPS, EOPS, Office of Student Life, Wellness Center, and Veterans Services. There were also representatives from Bakersfield City School District, Kern High School District, Kern County Superintendent of Schools, Taft College, Valley Achievement Center, Bakersfield GLAD office on Deafness, New Advances for People with Disabilities, Path Point, CA Department of Rehabilitation, Kern Vet Center, Kern Regional Center, and Autism Society Inc.
For more information about the Kern Disability Collaborative, please contact Dr. Terri Goldstein at email@example.com, or call 661-395-4590. Everyone is welcome at these meetings!
Bakersfield College is so enthusiastic about the incredible things coming to our community. Thank you Bakersfield and Kern County for supporting education and investing in BC through a Yes on Measure J!
Eric Mittlestead, Rafaela Cisneros, Kim Crews represented KCCD on the show floor
For all the photos, visit BC’s Smugmug. And thank you to Harold Pierce at the Bakersfield Californian for attending to share the exciting news with the community of Bakersfield. It was nice to see KCCD Trustee Kyle Carter, Trustee Romeo Agbalog, Mike Turnipseed and others attend this event.
Trustee Carter and Harold Pierce speak to a guest at the Bidders Fair
We received this email from Mikin Plummer about the event.
The BC staff was fantastic!!! Thank you! Thank you! The gym was put together perfect and made set up very easy!
Thank you Bill Potter, Eric Middlested, Ramon Puga, and Jim Coggins for pulling together this amazing event. Thank you Mary Jo Pasek. Thank You Marlene Heise who works behind the scenes. #WeAreBC
Armando Trujillo, Student Veteran Educational Advisor and Lisa Robles Kent Program Manager, Office of Student Success & Equity were honored to represent Bakersfield College at a ceremony that provided full military honors for unaccompanied veterans interred at the National Cemetery who do not have family to recognize and remember them.
Armando Trujillo, Bakersfield College; Randy Dickow, KC Veterans Collaborative; Maximo Perez, American Legion.
It’s a privilege for BC to honor the great men and women who paid the greatest sacrifice for our country. While there, Armando and Lisa stopped to visit the graveside of Vernon P. Velenzula. I recall that he was spoken of so fondly by KCCD Trustee, Bill Thomas at our Veterans Resource Center unveiling.
Vernon touched the lives of so many people here at BC and in our community. I only wish I had the privilege of meeting such an inspirational man. A Purple Heart recipient, Valenzuela’s desire to help veterans began early following his return from a tour in Vietnam in 1968. In the early 1970s Valenzuela served as president of the Associated Veterans Students club at Bakersfield College and later as a counselor supporting student veterans. Valenzuela worked for years as a professional therapist who focused primarily on aiding veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and difficulties in making the transition between life in combat and life at home as a civilian.
Art with Impact
On Wednesday, students gathered in the Fireside Room to #SubvertStigma, the goal of Movies For Mental Health. “Stigma” was the hook, the tag line used by Leslie Poston, our facilitator, to open our awareness and provide perspective on the very complex personal, cultural and societal issues surrounding mental health and mental illness. The audience of 50 students, staff, faculty and community has steadily grown over the past four semesters since Student Health and Wellness Services began hosting Movies For Mental Health. And, so has the diversity of responses and perspectives on the question of what is “stigma.” Audience contributions included: “Shaming”, “barrier”, “judgmental”, “labeling”, “prejudiced”, “isolation” to name a few but ultimately, “stigma” is an erroneous and negative stereotype.
This is where the movies come in. These are independent submissions, judged in competition; the films are poignant, evocative and selected by Art With Impact to stimulate discussion and reveal the unexpected, uncomfortable and inconvenient in the human condition.
Following the movie screenings and the facilitated discussion, as well as a light meal of fresh seasonal fruit and wraps provided by Chef Eric Sabella, we listened to a panel discussion. The first panelist was a student named Caitlin who shared her very personal experience with profound depression and suicidal tendencies. Following Caitlin was our own Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Rosealinda Carrillo, who shared her own path to strengthen her own personal mental health but also in becoming a professional counselor. Rosealinda exemplifies the adage “you can’t care for others if you can’t care for yourself.” Panelist and Professor of Psychology, Tim Burke lead us through the impact of suicide in his family, his reaction to a diagnosis and treatment for lymphoma and research-proven self-care modalities like meditation, yoga, mindfulness and of course exercise.
The BC Student Health and Wellness Team was joined by guests from the Health Services program of Antelope Valley College, which will be hosting Movies For Mental Health on their own campus for the first time this May. Among those from Antelope Valley College were Dr. Jill Zimmerman Dean of Student Life & Services, Health Clerk Jennifer Winn and Monteigne Long, Veterans Program Coordinator.
What is the value and importance of #SubvertStigma to students? As individuals and friends, cultures of origin and faiths, and society in general, we must free mental illness and mental health from stigma, shadow, and shame.
Spring Fling and 18-19 BCSGA Elections
James Tompkins and Ashley Harp
This week was “Spring Fling” week at Bakersfield College with various events hosted by BCSGA as well as the Office of Student Life. Kicking off the fun was the “BCSGA Ice Cream and StudOrgs” event. BC’s clubs and organizations were joined by Ben & Jerry’s to promote various student organizations. On Monday afternoon, students were welcomed by BCSGA’s President Dezi Von Manos for her monthly “Cafecito Time” event where students can discuss issues or questions they may have in an open and inclusive way, and on Monday evening, BCSGA hosted an “Easel Event” where participants engaged in a fun evening of painting and light refreshments.
Tuesday was the “Community Movie Day” where the movie Justice League was played for students to enjoy during lunch. On Wednesday we hosted the “Epic Proportions Tour” featuring the musical talents of Gabe Kubanda and People Who Could Fly.
Wrapping up the wonderful events, students also had the opportunity to vote in elections for next years BCSGA leadership. Congratulations to next year’s BCSGA President, James Tompkins and Vice President, Ashley Harp.
Hate Speech and Free Speech Forum
The Levan Center hosted a panel discussion on Wednesday providing legal and historical context to the ongoing debate about hate speech and freedom of speech on college campuses. Students filled out anonymous surveys before the panel asking them some basic facts about First Amendment law and their thoughts about various free speech issues. Levan Center Director Jack Hernandez then gave a brief introduction about some of the recent protests over white nationalist speakers appearing on college campuses before introducing the panel of BC faculty and administration.
Communication professor John Giertz started with a brief overview of the Supreme Court decisions that have shaped free speech law in the United States. Colleges are bound by the First Amendment interpretation established in the 1969 case Brandenburg v. Ohio, which states that no inflammatory speech can be punished unless it incites “imminent lawless action.” In the 80s and 90s, many campuses attempted to enact speech codes and free speech zones, which have all been struck down as unconstitutional on the grounds that a listener’s right to be protected from hateful speech is not as important as someone else’s right to speak hatefully or however else they choose, Giertz said.
left to right: Communication professor John Giertz, Director of Student Life Nicky Damania, History professor Erin Miller, and Levan Center Director Jack Hernandez host a panel discussion about free speech on college campuses on March 21st.
Dr. Nicky Damania, BC’s Director of Student Life, gave students a practical description of the ways that he deals with free speech issues on the BC campus every day. At BC, Damania is in charge of enforcing academic freedom, which is the legal right of both students and faculty to teach or communicate controversial ideas or facts without fear of bias or punishment.
BC history professor Erin Miller closed the panel with a discussion of the motivating history behind the United States’ free speech protections. Before the Revolutionary War, England used its common law to silence colonial dissent, which is why James Madison made free speech the first priority of the Bill of Rights to the US Constitution. Hateful speech is protected, Miller argues, because once a government agency begins to arbitrate which types of speech are considered acceptable, then speech that challenges authority can be silenced.
High Schools, BC, CSUB coming together
On Thursday morning, BC hosted an intersegmental initiative on data exchange of student academic information. Right now we (high school districts, BC, CSUB) all have different data systems for maintaining student academic records and as these students in our community move from one segment to another, their academic records are transferred manually. This is unacceptable in the highly evolved tech world that we live in. The CSU systemwide Chancellor’s Office and the Community College statewide Chancellor’s Office have come together to solve this problem. BC is part of this pilot program that is fully funded by the Community College Chancellor’s Office and other private philanthropic groups.
Here are some photos from the work session.
Virginia Madrid-Salazar, Tess Deroy, Ben Duran, Sonya Christian, Grace Commiso, Anna Garcia
Steve Watkin, Ben Perlado
McFarland Superintendent Victor Hopper and team
Ryan Gievet, Ben Sherley
Zav Dadabhoy, Assistant Superintendent Jason Garcia, Paul Chavez, Abel Guzman
Steve Watkin, Ben Perlado, Michelle Pena, RyanGievet, Ben Sherley
Dave Barnett, Craig Hayward
Grace Commiso, Anna Garcia, Sonya Christian, Ben Duran
David Abernathy from Wasco High speaking
David Abernathy (Wasco), Kalina Hill (BC), Elysa Vargas (Wonderful Academy)
The Education Futures Grant sponsored a Future Teachers Open House March 20th on the Panorama Campus. Close to 100 attendees braved the pouring rain to enjoy an informational and engaging evening with presentations, 10 breakout sessions, raffles, social media contest, and vendor booths.
Presentations and vendors included BC Education Pathways, CSU Bakersfield, University of Lavern, Bakersfield College Career and Technical Education (CTE) & Student Employment Department, Bakersfield College Future Teachers Club, Brandman University, Child, Adolescent, and Family Studies (CAFS) at CSUB, Community Action Partnership of Kern (CAPK) Head Start, Community Connection for Child Care (CCCC), National University, Point Loma Nazarene University, and Western Governors University (WGU). A similar event was held at the BC Delano campus on March 3rd.
A huge thank you to the Future Teachers Open House Planning Team, Education Futures Director, Kimberly Bligh, Anthony Cordova, Isabel Castaneda, and Erica Menchaca.
Future Teachers Open House Planning Team
Public Safety Metamajor Pathway Open House
CTE and Public Safety Pathway teamed up to host the first ever Public Safety Open House with 92 Kern High School District students in attendance. The event went full circle beginning with department faculty who provided an overview of the program outcomes and trainings available; student service representatives were available including staff from Financial Aid, CTE and Student Employment; finally, industry representatives from the City Fire Department, County Fire Department, EMS Department, Kern County Sheriff Department, Bakersfield Police Department and California Highway Patrol presented on a panel to share events and experiences in their professions.
Students were given the opportunity to ask questions, participate in simulations and were even provided a tour of the different department vehicles. It was a great event that provided insight to the pathways available in Public Safety at Bakersfield College. Thank you to Brent Burton, Dominica Dominguez, BC Public Safety Faculty, Department Staff and the industry partners who worked so hard to put this event together.
Closest to the screen on the left-Todd Coston (BC), beyond him-Hernando Mondragon (DO), beyond him-David Barnett (DO), moving to the right-Micelle Pena (BC), then Grace Commiso (BC), Somaly Boles (BC), Zach Quiroz (BC) and closest to camera on the right Dena Rhoades (DO).
The Kern Community College District and Bakersfield College were out in full force both attending and presenting at the CISOA/3CBG conference earlier this week from March 18-20th in Ontario, CA. The conference site says this about the conference, “The partnership of California Community College Chief Information Systems Officers Association (CISOA) and California Community College Banner Group (3CBG) allows us to leverage our resources to present an outstanding array of conference sessions of interest to those who are part of the information technology arena in California’s Community College system.”
BC’s Grace Comisso, Michelle Pena, and consultant, Becky Weaver, presented on Using Starfish for Guided Pathways.
BC’s Todd Coston and Dave Barnett from the District Office presented on Improving IT Communication Using Free and Low Cost Tools
And our Chief Technology Officer, Gary Moser, from the District Office presented on Are You Ready for a CCC Statewide ERP System.
Finally, the participants had an option to rate each session via a conference app. As proof that the KCCD/BC team rock the house, check out this rating for Dave and Todd’s session. Todd tells me he isn’t quite sure how you can get 6 out of 5 stars, but he’ll take it anyway!
An American Education Agenda with Lance Izumi
KCCD and BC were present at a luncheon put on by the Kern Citizens for Sustainable Government with guest speaker, Lance Izumi, author of The ‘American Education Agenda’ Top 15 Recommendations for Improving Education. Lance discussed his newly published report, which offers policymakers concrete reforms they can adopt today to ensure every student learns in a safe and nurturing environment, and is well-prepared to meet the changing demands of the 21st century workforce.
Trustee Romeo Agbalog, Cindy Collier, Lance Izumi, Trustee Bill Thomas, John Means
Johnson spoke about the importance of the academy, which hosts a course every Saturday from September to April to help students build skills that they can use in their future careers. Open enrollment for next year’s academy, of which BC is a partner, is starting now.
Rosales, who chairs the committee on Energizing Humanities in the Central Valley committee, wrote about how proper funding of the National Endowment of the Humanities and California Humanities will allow those organizations to meet the demand for community enrichment projects in writing, history, philosophy, social studies and other subjects.
“It’s important that we maintain a robust National Endowment for the Humanities, while at the same time mobilize voters to support state funding, as well as opportunities to increase public-private partnerships,” Rosales said.
Chris McCraw on Twitter
Official National Ag Day was marked on March 20th and I’ve enjoyed following BC’s wonderful Agricultural Business faculty, Chris McCraw on Twitter @CMcatBC as he shares our BC Ag Club at Kern County’s #farmdayinthecity! It’s so exciting to see our BC Ag Club students have the opportunity to share their agricultural knowledge with over 2,000 elementary students during this multi-day event!
Kern County is the #1 Ag County in the U.S. and Ag Day is a special time to say THANK YOU to all our farmers and laborers, as well as our BC Agriculture students and faculty for educating and inspiring the next generation of agriculturists!
So fortunate to have a real vibrant Ag faculty and staff.
On Thursday, Cal State Bakersfield announced that Lynette Zelezny will be the new president to succeed Horace Mitchell at the end of the academic year.
This week we had the Grater Bakersfield Chamber Board meeting. I am honored to be on the Board of this wonderful organization — great board members, great CEO and great staff.
I was delighted to see leaders from the City of Bakersfield visit us to discuss some critical needs including the need for more police officers. The team who presented included City Manger Alan Tandy, Councilman Andrae Gonzales, Concilman Bob Smith, BPD Chief Lyle Martin, Assistant City Manager Chris Huot.
Cindy and Liz
Liz Rozell and Cindy Collier are two amazing people who continue to inspire us all. I loved this photo because we all need to just lean on each other sometimes. Thank you Cindy and Liz for your dedication to BC and the Kern Community College District.
We are BC
That’s all for now.
Until next time.
With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.
sonya — the luckiest and happiest college president ever
With the holidays here, we often tend to find our thoughts drifting towards some common themes. Food, family, faith, friends, celebrations, and did I mention good food? It is a special time to be with our families and remind ourselves of the things for which we are thankful. Not tangible possessions; but the things that truly count, and that enrich our lives beyond measure.
It would be nearly impossible to complete a list of things for which my heart is thankful… because the list grows every week. But, I’d like to share just a few in no particular order:
We are BC! and in addition, we are a family. The bonds we have formed with our colleagues have become friendships and we work together achieving our mission, upholding our core values, and relentlessly supporting our students to reach their maximum potential and educational goals. Our campus is a place of true hope, transformation, and dreams. The opportunities we have to change lives is an incredible blessing and I’m left without words considering both the purpose and the privilege we have to be the pillar of hope in the lives of our students.
I’m thankful for quality affordable education we provide. We foster our core value of learning by empowering all students and ultimately transforming our community into one that gives a healthy voice and strength to all people.
I’m thankful for each and every one of the staff, faculty, and administrators … for their unique talents and multitude of gifts; for what they bring to the campus each day; for what they offer to our community; for their heart and passion to educate and to make a difference in the lives of our students.
To my BC family, thank you for making BC a successful and beautiful place to call our second home. May the gifts of love, peace, and happiness be with you and your families this holiday season.
I’m thankful for our community and the neighborhoods of Bakersfield, Delano, Shafter, Arvin, Lamont, Wasco, McFarland, and more. Your support has been unwavering and strong. Thank you for accepting Bakersfield College into the heart of your community. For over 100 years, BC has been bringing academic excellence and social consciousness into the lives of our students, regardless of their academic program, education path, or demographic differences. At the same time, the college has evolved into a multifaceted institution that serves more students than ever imagined at the time it was founded.
A few days ago, I saw a piece in The Bakersfield Californian titled “Valley Voices: Americans should share more than a meal on Thanksgiving” by David Mas Masumoto. In the piece, David says, “Across the nation, we need conversations more than ever. People are not talking with each other. We yell or are silent. Many of us seem to be harboring an anger, fueled by news of scandal, disaster, shootings, politics. We live in a polarized world.” He continued, ” Let’s use this opportunity to engage.”
Visit from McCarthy’s office.
We were happy to host visitors from Congressman Kevin McCarthy’s Office this week — Emma Rindels, stationed in DC, and Adam Falk here in Bakersfield. Paul Beckworth and Armando Trujillo briefed them on our Veterans Services and showed them the rendering of the future Veterans Resource Center.
Paul Beckworth, Adam Falk, Emma Rindels, Armando Trujillo
Renegades at the Patriotic Bowl
Sonya Christian with Elijah Ortiz’ mom at Patriotic Bowl in Long Beach
Last weekend, I enjoyed visiting Long Beach to cheer on the Renegade football team at the Patriotic Bowl. Jon Mettus at The Bakersfield Californian covered the game in his article, “Renegades’ football season ends with bowl loss.” Although it’s not how we would have wanted to end the season, our athletes have so much to be proud of this year.
During the game, I went to sit with Elijah Ortiz‘s mom. Elijah is a Renegade freshman from Stockdale High School and a key member of our football team leading the way with over a 1000 yards on offense with 13 touchdowns including a 4 touchdown performance against Moorpark on Oct. 15th. He is a solid student with a criminal justice major.
Panthers and Renegades
Corny Rodriguez presenting on stage.
On Tuesday, November 15th, Panthers and Renegades partnered up to celebrate Parents as Partners Event. Corny Rodriguez represented Bakersfield College in a packed auditorium and shared his inspirational story. With an auditorium at full capacity Corny moved several parents to tears, and many of them claimed it was the most memorable and educational event they had ever experienced. A total of 580 parents and students took part in this evening. The Edison School District thanks you! Panthers and Renegades ROCK!
Jaclyn Krause teaming with Cheri Allard. Cheri was voice interpreting for a board member who could not attend. Cindy Herbst, Beth Lilley, and Kayelle Morgan look on
ASL Program faculty members, Tom Moran and Jaclyn Krause, hosted the Southern California Registry Interpreters of the Deaf on Saturday, Nov. 18th at BC’s Levan Center.
Moran and Krause are developing an English/ASL Interpreter Training Program at BC, the first in the ASL Program’s 46 year history. Their first cadre of students started the program this semester. There is a chronic shortage of trained American Sign Language interpreters at Bakersfield College, in Kern County, and throughout the United States.
The morning began with SCRID’s monthly business meeting, which was conducted entirely in American Sign Language. BC ITP students were invited to attend to practice their voice interpreting skills. Because one board member had to participate remotely, a practicum opportunity presented itself. With support from Jaclyn Krause, BC ITP student Cheri Allard provided voice interpreting over the phone for the absent board member for two hours.
Tom Moran fingerspelling
Following a one hour lunch break, there was a workshop facilitated by Tom Moran on the topics of fingerspelling and ASL classifiers. In addition to SCRID board members, others who attended the workshop were Bakersfield community and educational interpreters, BC ASL students, and ITP students from as far away as Pomona and Mt. San Antonio College. Like the board meeting, the workshop was conducted entirely in ASL.
Cyndy and Kim, the SCRID Professional Development Committee co-chairs who brought SCRID to Bakersfield College.
Krause and Moran were especially pleased to see Kim Tripney. Kim was in Moran’s very first ASL B1 class fifteen years ago. She graduated from BC with an AA degree in American Sign Language and went on to CSUN where she earned a BA degree in Deaf Studies. Since then, she has become a busy interpreter in LA and Orange County, working at Long Beach City College, Purple Communications, and Disneyland, where she is part of a team of interpreters who provide access to Deaf park visitors.
Moran and the SCRID board. Cynthia Herbst, back row, far right, is a faculty emeritus from LA Valley Pierce College who taught interpreting for many years. She has been instrumental in assisting Moran and Krause to get the interpreting program up and running. She is also of Basque ancestry, so she asked the group to join her at the Pyrenees Café for a traditional Basque feast.
As the interpreting program gains steam, they anticipate training many more sign language interpreters to address the dire need in Kern County and throughout California and the United States. The certificate program will provide students with the skills to obtain state credentialing, pursue gainful employment, and to serve the Deaf Community in Bakersfield, Kern County, and beyond.
Bakersfield College has been growing at a steady and impressive pace as it serves our students and community. With such growth comes a need for more professors so we’ve recently held two Adjunct Faculty Hiring Fairs to provide potential applicants with information on the hiring process, and opportunities to complete applications on the spot. The first date took place on November 4th and we had over 60 interested guests in attendance. On the second date, November 7th, we had over 110 in attendance.
Andrea Thorson, Dena Rhoades, Mike Ivey, Helen Acosta
Thank you to Dena Rhoades, Cornelio Rodriguez, Bill Moseley, and Andrea Thorson.
KCCD’s Vice Chancellor of Human Resources, Tonya Davis, even posted about the events.
1984 at BC
Program from 1984
Director Kimberly Chin and the students and staff of the BC Performing Arts Department performed another successful production in the Indoor Theater last weekend, bringing the theatrical adaptation of George Orwell’s “1984” to life.
Orwell’s message about the dangers of totalitarianism continues to resonate today, and it took a lot of work to bring that message to life. Without the hard work of Kimberly Chin, Tech Director Kevin Ganger, and all of the actors, stage, set, costume and sound design crew, none of it would be possible. I’d also like to thank our graphic designer Eric Carillo for creating the poster, program and promotional materials.
Bakersfield College placed fourth as a team and brought home four medals from The Brawl At East Los Angeles College.
BC Wrestling brought home three 2nd place medals and a consolation championship from The Brawl Tournament at East Los Angeles College Saturday.
Pedro Ramirez, Marco Velasque, and Zavion Roberson were BC’s top finishers, while Braden Riley nabbed the consolation championship with his third place finish.
The Renegades will host the Southern California Regional Championships on Saturday, December 2nd, in the Gil Bishop Sports Center with action beginning at 10am.
Transgender Day of Remembrance
Members of BC’s allies came together to honor the lives of transgender people who were murdered over the past year during the campus’ recognition of Transgender Day of Remembrance on Monday.
Since the founding of Transgender Day of Remembrance in 1999 by Gwendolyn Ann Smith to memorialize the murder of her friend Rita Hester, members of the transgender community and its supporters worldwide have come together every year on November 20th to list the names of transgender individuals who were killed. Attendees to BC’s event in Fireside read the name and a short biography for each of the 27 transgender people killed in the United States. The number is likely higher, since family members often misreport a murdered individual’s gender.
Approximately 29 percent of transgender adults have attempted suicide in their lifetimes, and 55 percent have thought about committing suicide. This is at a rate of 14 to 22 times higher than the general population, according to a cross-university study published in the journal Transgender Health. Progress is being made toward increasing transgender acceptance in American society, including the election of several transgender politicians across the US this November, but a lot of work still needs to be done.
Prof. Helen Acosta spoke about how to foster an environment of safety and acceptance that discourages violence, discrimination and misunderstanding about the transgender community. UCLA’s Williams Institute published a survey in January 2014 examining the root causes of the increase in suicidal tendencies among transgender and other gender non-conforming adults. It found that suicide attempt rates decrease with support from family and friends and the absence of harassment or bullying at any level of school.
Here is BC’s core value of Diversity.
A movie holiday weekend.
So this weekend it was Marvel’s Justice League and then Blade Runner 2049. Although both movies did not get the best reviews (in fact, Justice League got a star and a half), I enjoyed both. Probably because I am a die-hard Marvel movie fan as well as Blade Runner fan. If you have not seen Blade Runner 2049, I’ll warn you that it is close to 3 hours long. Here is the review by A.O.Scott of the NY Times:
Good morning Bakersfield….It is Saturday, February 25, 2017….a good day to be a Renegade!
Before I get into my past week, let me pause for a moment to remember Chef Ray.
Chef Ray will be deeply missed
Ray Ingram. cobblerking.com
The entire Renegade community was deeply saddened to learn about the passing of Raymond Ingram on Wednesday. Ray was a valued member of our Culinary Arts faculty and taught baking and pastry classes at Bakersfield College for over 10 years. He was and will continue to be a well-respected colleague. His classes were always full and he touched the lives of well over 1,100 students. Our thoughts are with his friends and family at this time.
I love this piece in the Bakersfield Magazine in 2015 about Chef Ray. Check it out
Did you read Harold Pierce’s article on Saturday, Feb 18th on our new Public Health Sciences degree? If not, it is a must read http://tinyurl.com/zp2pl4o
Talking about Harold Pierce, I must pause to say that we have great journalists in our community. And it is a gift to society at large when the press is free and engaged!
Back to our Public Health Sciences degree…..Bakersfield College has been in a growth phase the last three years with student enrollments increasing significantly year after year. This has resulted in opportunities for us to hire new faculty. In addition to deepening the numbers in our regular programs, we also have expanded to offer new programs to meet the needs of our community and the region.
The Public Health Sciences is a fast growing area with various job opportunities. It gives students a bigger variety of options than just direct patient care. Kern County struggles with public health issues that impact us both individually and as a community as a whole.
We have two extraordinary individuals who are in charge of this program: Cindy Collier, Dean of Allied Health and Sarah Baron, Lead faculty. #WeAreBC
New Pilot Recycling Program to Reduce Campus Waste
This week, we started a new pilot program on Wednesday in the BC Cafeteria to cut waste and increase recycling. Bakersfield ARC (BARC), the City of Bakersfield-Public Works Department Solid Waste Division and the Sustainability Coalition Team representing the 2016-17 Leadership Academy partnered up to help build momentum around sustainability practices.
Representatives were on hand to provide information, and those who stopped by the booth to participate in a brief survey received a promotional gift! At BC, we’re focused on sustainability and creating a better BC for our future generations. To learn more about BC’s core values, including sustainability, check outhttps://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/about.
The person who made all this happen is Tarina Perry. Way to go!
Congratulations to Bryan Hirayama
I saw a post on Facebook by Bryan Hirayama where he shared some great news.
Honored to be the 2017 Western States Communication Association’s Distinguished Teaching Award Recipient. Big thanks to my dear friend and forever colleague Bradley Adame Ph.D for his instrumental role in making this possible and Elissa Adame Ph.D for putting up with us. So glad we were able to celebrate this together.
Bryan is one of BC’s Communication Faculty and I have so much respect for the great work he does. Bryan was the pioneer at BC to teach at Kern Valley Prison. He started a reflections on prison education blog that you must check out https://reflectionsonprisoneducation.blogspot.com/
Here is a post from Bryan or as his signature line reads Professor H:
Often times when things are going well and nothing looks like it is going to disrupt the momentum, people have little to say. It sometimes easier to highlight the bad because of the potentially disasterous chain of events that unfolds because something went wrong. These first couple of weeks teaching behind the walls in the cold uninviting halls of the education wing on three different yards has been uneventful. Not because the students haven’t been great and the work isn’t awesome but because it seems like people half expect an exaggerated version of the television show “Locked Up”. No, the students aren’t violent towards me. No, they aren’t hitting me up to smuggle in a phone. Yes, they are smart. No, not just smart for someone in prison. Just smart. From what I am told, prison is an unpredictable environment. Without a moments-notice something can kick off. I have had only a small glimpse into this world. And although the days I spend in the classroom with students is as about routine as it gets for a professor, I do not question or turn my back to the idea things can change quickly. However, for now, I don’t know what to say other than the semester is off to a great start and sky is the limit for these students pursuing what many believe is part of the American Dream; A dream, from my perspective while working with these students, is alive and well.
Thank you Bryan and congratulations from all of us at Bakersfield College. We are so proud to have you at BC!
BC at the 7th Annual Military Order of the Purple Heart
Bakersfield College was honored as the Veteran Support Organization of the Year at the 7th Annual Military Order of the Purple Heart Dinner, held Saturday, February 19th, at the Doubletree Hotel in Bakersfield. Dr. Zav Dadabhoy accepted the award on behalf of Bakersfield College.
Dr. Nicky Damania, Mrs. Jackson, and Sergeant David Jackson
The award was presented by Bakersfield College Student Life intern, and retired Army First Sergeant David Jackson, who is one of the leaders of the MOPH. Every year the award goes to a county organization who has contributed to the advancement of veteran services and Bakersfield College was the recipient. In his thank you speech, Zav spoke of the commitment and responsibility Bakersfield College has to its veterans. He spoke of the dedication to our college’s veterans as best shown in our new Veteran Resource Center to be built, which is first on the list of buildings to go up as a result of our community’s support for Measure J! Speaking of BC Veteran Services, Dr. Dadabhoy ended his short speech with a hearty and heartfelt, “You aint seen nothin’ yet!”
It was a great night to be surrounded by Purple Heart recipients, and Vietnam War veterans, who were spotlighted on this evening. The keynote speaker of the evening was Vietnam War veteran, Lt. Col. (Retired) Dick Rutan, who is one of the originators/pilots of the Rutan Voyager, the first aircraft to fly around the world without stopping or refueling. The flight took nine days, 3 minutes, and 44 seconds. His Voyager now sits in the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC. Lt. Col. Rutan spoke of his time over the skies of North Vietnam and of the commitment to the flag and to his fellow warriors. His stories of commitment to his brothers-in-arms and his commitment to flight engaged the audience completely. Such a glorious time.
Here is a great picture of the BC gang with several dignitaries including Mayor Karen Goh.
Paul Beckworth wrote,
It is so humbling to have Bakersfield College honored as the veterans support organization of the year while being surrounded by such men as Lt. Col. Rutan, and the dozens of Purple Heart recipients in the room. We will live up to the legacy of such men in our commitment to Kern County’s student-veterans.
Paul Beckworth and Armando Trujillo are the reason why we received this award. And there is so much more work to do. Earlier this week I received a great email from a faculty from another CA Community College inquiring about the Guided Pathways work. and she signed off saying Si se puede. What a great call to action statement. So my dear community members, we can do much more for our veterans. Si se puede!
BC is truly fortunate to have individuals like Paul and Armando in charge of our student veterans. It is because of things like the talent, dedication, and endless hours of work that they put in to support our students that I constantly say that I am the luckiest and happiest college president ever.
13th Annual KCBCC Gala and Board Installation Program
On Thursday evening at the Petroleum Club, BC was well represented at the Kern County Black Chamber of Commerce Annual Gala. The KCBCC is a fantastic organization, serving as an advocate for the creation, development, and general economic growth of low and moderate income communities and African American businesses in the Kern County Area. Dr. Paula Parks, BC’s ASTEP coordinator,was installed on the 2017-18 CCBCC Board of Directors.
Pictured here is Clinton A. Lewis Sr, his wife and BC’s Director of Outreach, Steve Watkin. Clinton was recognized during the event as the Distinguished Businessman of the Year – Congratulations Clinton and Wingstop Restaurant, inc.
Thank you to all who attended from Bakersfield College, including Zav Dadabhoy, June Charles, Mandelyn Hobbs, Julian West, Debra Strong, Odella Johnson, Valarie Robinson, Tonysha Miles, and Jada Wells. You see the whole group here in the picture along with Patrick Jackson from NAACP.
Congratulations to Tracy & Dave!
Join me in congratulating Tracy Hall, on her beautiful wedding on the gorgeous bluffs overlooking Pismo Beach. It was meant to be when on a rainy and blustery day the clouds parted and the sun came out to shine for the wedding and the radiant couple. Tracy looked so beautiful as she and Dave said their vows. Congratulations and wishing you many years of happiness and love, Dave and Tracy!
Lincoln Day Event
Tuesday (2/21) evening I attended the Lincoln Day Republican event as a guest of Senator Jean Fuller. The event started with a private reception that was jam packed, followed by a dinner at the Double Tree Inn. I had a great time sitting next to Lily Agbalog who is great fun and the kindest soul I know. Senator Jean Fuller’s speech was from the heart as she talked about how a little girl from Shafter was able to become a senator because of the support from the community. Jean Fuller is the very best!
Russell Fuller, Jean Fuller
Jean Fuller Feb 21 2017
Trustee Romeo Agbalog and Trustee and retired Congressman Bill Thomas were there as well. All of the speakers recognized the work of Bill Thomas and the legacy that he has left not only in Kern County but also in Washington DC. There was definitely a celebration about the political leaders from our area. One of the speakers Devin Nunes said: “Think about this, we had a chairman of Ways and Means from the Central Valley(Bill Thomas); the majority leader is from the Central Valley (Kevin McCarthy); the chairman of the intelligence committee is from the Central Valley (Devin Nunes).”
I understood that every year there is an essay writing contest and the winner gets to read their essay at this event and also gets an award of $2000. This year’s winner was Sophia Caputo and here is her essay.
“We have but a short life to live here my dear friend. But let us make it long by noble deeds.” (Goodwin, Team of Rivals, Chase 117)
November 8, 2016. Having spent what seemed like an eternity building up to the day, tension was running high, and most Americans eagerly sat in front of their television, waiting for a candidate to reach 270 electoral votes.
And then he did.
Social media exploded in protest and in celebration. It became apparent that the United States was far from “united” in the decision, with some joyously ecstatic, some terrified and endlessly caustic.
Over 150 years ago, our country was bitterly divided; so divided that we almost were no longer the United States of America. With numerous threats of secession, President Lincoln, ultimately, was faced with one job during his term: preserve the Union. In the midst of the fight against slavery, Lincoln saw each battle during the Civil War not as one to end human injustice, but as a fight to hold true to the great country that was (and still is) America. His love for America and the living spirit of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence kept him steadfast in his conviction that such a precious experiment was not to be wasted. He believed that the Constitution was a verb, that we must “constitute” self-government and the blessings of constitutional government, that to lose the Civil War was the end of the “American experiment”. And while he valued the Constitution, Lincoln ultimately viewed American exceptionalism through the prism of the Declaration of Independence.
According to the Abraham Lincoln Encyclopedia, Lincoln “had a natural affinity not for the Constitution […] but for the Declaration of Independence”; he believed that Americans were held together by the Constitution, yes, but only because it offered technical prose to the lyrical truths of the Declaration of Independence.
Lincoln understood that the war was about more than slavery; he fought for the Jeffersonian creed, for the constituted nation in the spotlight of the world. All eyes were on us, because self-government was still a heady but fragile experiment. Lincoln fought for the North because it was the fight for our country. Above all else, he saw the necessity in enduring through the war to preserve the Union, to preserve the “American experiment”.
“Washington was a typical American. Napoleon was a typical Frenchman, but Lincoln was a humanitarian as broad as the world. He was bigger than his county—bigger than all the Presidents together” (Tolstoy). What made President Lincoln so “big”, what made him truly extraordinary, was his sole desire to preserve the Union, to fight for the Constitution and the Declaration–the country he so desperately believed in. Now, in 2017, we can take a page from Lincoln’s book and remember that, to succeed in the American experiment, we must hold fast to the Constitution, but ultimately, we must never lose faith in our Declaration of Independence, the “immortal emblem of humanity”.
Achieving the Dream
On Wednesday, I took the 6:00 a.m. flight to San Francisco to join the BC team that was already there to attend the annual Achieving the Dream convention. It seemed as it the number of attendees was more than ever. Bakersfield College was there in full force with speaking responsibilities for 5 sessions. Our sister colleges from Kern CCD were also there. Val Garcia, the VP of Student Services at Porterville College participated in a panel titled How does the Integrated Services Model Influence College Persistence and Retention Rates? Presenters in that panel included: Adolfo Levia–MDC, Abby Parcell, Edie Blakley–Clark College, Val Garcia–Porterville College.
Early High School Engagement: A Plan That Produces Student Success.
Presenters: Steve Watkin–Director of Outreach, BC; Grace Commiso–Dean of Counseling and Advising, BC; Lesley Bonds–Director of Student Success and Equity, BC.
Steve Watkin, Lesley Bonds, Grace Commiso
Session Description: This workshop provides a model for community colleges who want to establish a systematic college-wide engagement and communication model that works directly with high schools. Bakersfield College has scaled up outreach, communication and matriculation to all 49 feeder high schools in its service area providing personal contact with students, better placement for success through multiple measures and effective partnerships with high school colleagues. This systematic model constructs a platform for high school students to complete the four California Community Colleges matriculation requirements: Orientation, Assessment, Counseling/Advising and development of an Educational Plan focused on completion of essential milestones (English and Math). This data-driven model is designed to strengthen collaboration with high school partners with the ultimate goal of effectively engaging potential students, properly placing them for success, improving retention and student success.
Transforming the Remediation Pathway for Success; A Holistic View of the Student Pathway. Presented by: Kimberly Bligh, Faculty Department Chair, Academic Development, BC; Jessica Wojtysiak, faculty, Academic Development, BC; and Keri Kennedy, Counseling faculty, BC. I did not have a picture but found this tweet from Lesley Bonds.
Session Description: BC has overhauled its placement practice using extensive multiple measure practices; has redesigned traditional courses to offer numerous acceleration and compressed options in math, English, and reading; has offered an intensive summer academy for first-time students; and has provided intrusive academic and counseling support to the most at-risk students. During this session, participants will hear how intake, on-ramping, acceleration, and intrusive support practices have improved student outcomes at BC and will evaluate whether any of these approaches is right for their institutions. Small teams are encouraged to attend given that these interventions and practices can be adapted to fit most colleges.
I did three presentations. The first was a session with the Achieving the Dream (ATD) leadership coaches and data coaches discussing the evolution of student success work and the role ATD played in this evolution. The CEO, Karen Stout) of ATD is just fabulous… it is so fun to work with her.
The second session was a lunchtime plenary responding to the recent book by Stephen Covey, Speed of Trust.
Sunny Cooke, Sonya Christian, Stephen Covey
Here is an excerpt of few of my comments:
Trust provides the safety net to make bold moves: Trust means flying high on the trapeze and performing complicated moves because you know the wires and net are strong. Trust is climbing Mount Everest in a blizzard because you know that there is an expert team of climbers with you.
In other words, an environment of trust provides us the confidence to attempt the impossible. And if even the results is only a fraction of what was envisioned it is still far greater than what could have been achieved with less boldness.
Working in community feeds the trust account: There is an intensity of work and a chemistry that sets in, due to the connectedness of people which is satisfying to the human soul and the human spirit. This connectedness results in the group developing a shared approach with the agility and speed that trust bring. Many of us have experiences the process paralysis at our work in the college which is strengthened when there is a lack of trust. But the process of collaboration and working in community along with the speed and agility of trust is the “magic potion” that is hugely satisfying on the emotional level and still results oriented on a pragmatic level.
It brings out the best in us: In an environment of connectedness and an environment of trust, each individual goes the extra mile to help with the accomplishment of this large impossible goal. Setting the goal high in itself is inspiring, and the environment gives individuals the resolve and the endurance to make it happen. And when the goal is accomplished the results contribute hugely to the trust bank account.
Here is Lesley Bond’s tweet
The third session was a spotlight on the CA Guided pathways project. I was so happy to see the entire KCCD gang attend to support me: the BC group, Heather Ostach and Cory Marvin from Cerro Coso and Val Garcia and the team from Porterville College. #WeAreKCCD!
Here is a great picture of the two researchers at work at ATD. Two of my favorite people having a great time — Craig Hayward and Davis Jenkins.
Here is the video of the student who won the award for his poem “I am From”. Friends, let me introduce you to Enrique Sepulveda.
The fabulous BC team that attended Dream 2017
Kimberly Bligh, Jessica Wojtysiak, Paula Parks, Erica Menchaca, Keri Kennedy, Jennifer Achan, Pedro Ramirez, Lesley Bonds, Grace Commiso
Life is good my friends. It is a great time to be in California’s community colleges. And a fabulous time to be at BC.
That’s all for now.
Until next time.
With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.
sonya — the luckiest and happiest college president ever