Tag Archives: Chris Counts

The little things we do!

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, December 10th….a good day to be a Renegade!  a good week to be a Renegade.

Campus was buzzing this week as students crammed in last-minute studying, raced to complete finals and closed out fall 2016 as another successful semester – but life has a humorous way of always making the busiest of times also some of the most memorable.

On Wednesday night, multiple gas leaks were reported on campus and immediately the BC team jumped into action. The President’s Cabinet received news at approximately 9:30PM that PG&E disconnected gas to the main campus and that’s when the work began. Without heat and throughout the night, Bill Potter, Chris Counts, Ramon Puga, Michelle Pena, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, and Zav Dadabhoy worked to make sure Thursday’s finals and events could resume as normal. In addition, all of the deans were on standby to respond to whatever was the outcome of work of the technical team.  Also a shout out to Liz Rozell, who answered my call from Sacramento and went immediately to work.  Stephen Waller who headed out to campus.  Manny Mourtzanos, Cindy Collier, Corny Rodriguez, Shannon Musser, …..

Approximately 365 finals were scheduled for Thursday, so a list of alternate spaces and a plan B was drafted. However, by 1:00AM, repairs were estimated to be complete within 3-5 hours, and by 7:30AM, campus was up-and-running like nothing had happened!

Thank you Zav Dadabhoy for taking this picture on Wednesday, Dec 6th night, and sending it to me while I was in Sacramento.

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Chief Chris Counts, Bill Potter, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg on campus with Zav Dadabhoy

BC is a gem because of its people – the dedication of our staff, faculty, administration, and students make this campus a great place to be. Thank you again to everyone who pulled together to make sure classrooms had heat and finals could resume as scheduled on Thursday morning. #WeAreBC #TodosSomosBC

Caroling and Culinary extravaganza:

Saturday, December 3rd: Our BC Chamber singers, faculty and staff sang Christmas carols to us, and our Culinary students and faculty chefs cooked an incredible meal.  Two of our trustees, Kyle Carter and Romeo Agbalog, attended the event. Thank you trustees.  It is always a treat to have you on our campus.

I also enjoyed seeing many community members out to support BC as well as our faculty and staff.  Pauline Larwood, so wonderful to see you!

 

I enjoyed catching up with Brian Burrows, past CEO of the Bakersfield Symphony orchestra, as well as Phil McDermott, son of Greg McDermott whom I have known for many years.

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And the icing on the cake was a surprise guest, Senator Jean Fuller and her husband Russell Fuller.  Senator Fuller is a Renegade and I enyoyed hearing her talk about her time at BC, how she was in the Fireside Room listening to President Simonsen and about how BC made a tremendous difference in her life.  Senator Fuller is just amazing….smart, beautiful, and so caring.  She is a warrior for issues important to the Central Valley and her negotiating skills have served us very well.  Let’s take a moment to toast this incredible human being.  To Senator Jean Fuller!

And I love this picture of my mom, Pam Christian, who, after dinner wanted a more comfortable chair and found herself this cozy corner.  She loves Christmas music, and I was so happy watching her relaxing and listening to her favorite songs. You can even spot her in the background of the group picture above, staying warm and having a good time.  So glad you came to the event mom!

Glad to see faculty, staff and their families out to support this event.  Loved having the young Strobel, Kelly, with us who had just completed a physics project with cranes, pulleys and weights.  How fast our children grown up.

And thank you Camilla for triggering a bidding war on a live auction item!

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Rob Parsons, Isabel Stierle, Becki Whitson

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Nick, Kelly and Lisa Strobel

 

I captured a few videos on my iphone.  Yes, I have a new phone, the iphone 7.  So you should be seeing more videos in my blog posts.  Except, only a week after I got the phone, I dropped it and there is a crack across the front face 🙁 … I’m told it can be repaired at the mall, or maybe I’ll leave it as a reminder to get the iphone 8 as soon as it comes out.

Pat Davis is the best.  Here are 26 second of Pat doing Santa Baby.  Jen Garret we need Pat to do this again in December 2017!

 

I so loved this Christmas rendition of Santa and his Sleigh performed extravagantly by Dr. John Gerhold to the tune of Bennie and the Jets.  I found myself responding to the music the moment the first chords exploded from the keyboard, matched by the power of John’s voice, and sent the music reverberating across the room.  Turn on your sound and turn up the volume, because Heeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrrreeeeeeeee’s John Gerhold!!

 

If anyone could have followed John Gerhold with a stellar performance, it was Ken Burdick doing The Impossible Dream from The Man from La Mancha with his fabulous voice and great presence.  This is what we do at BC…  The Impossible Dream, transforming lives.  Let’s look at these magical lyrics and then turn up the volume and listen to Burdick.

To dream … the impossible dream …
To fight … the unbeatable foe …
To bear … with unbearable sorrow …
To run … where the brave dare not go …
To right … the unrightable wrong …
To love … pure and chaste from afar …
To try … when your arms are too weary …
To reach … the unreachable star …
This is my quest, to follow that star …
No matter how hopeless, no matter how far …
To fight for the right, without question or pause …
To be willing to march into Hell, for a Heavenly cause …
And I know if I’ll only be true, to this glorious quest,
That my heart will lie will lie peaceful and calm,
when I’m laid to my rest …
And the world will be better for this:
That one man, scorned and covered with scars,
Still strove, with his last ounce of courage,
To reach … the unreachable star …

 

Finally, I am glad Jen Garrett caught a video of Mason Edwards and Kelsey Celeste singing this duet. https://www.facebook.com/jennifergarrettdma/videos/10209738052381028/

The evening before the event, Jen Garrett and her students were in the cafeteria late into the night getting the place ready for us.  Jen sent this txt: “You should see the cafeteria! And we aren’t finished yet. It will be even better. The snowflakes aren’t showing on the ceiling yet!”  Talk about a faculty member going the extra 100 miles to engage our students, the single most important ingredient in student learning. #WeAreBC

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Here are more pictures:

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Guided Pathways:

We were excited to hear on December 6th that the College Futures Foundation funded the California Guided Pathways Proposal a major initiative that BC is promoting as a framework statewide to build on and integrate the work of student learning and achievement in California’s Community Colleges.  Harold Pierce of  The Bakersfield Californian covered the story on Thursday, December 8th.  Check out Pierce’s coverage at http://tinyurl.com/hz7tqfn.

Here is an excerpt

The model provides structure to students selecting classes. Counselors would plan course schedules based on whether students want to receive two-year degrees, or transfer to a four-year university, check in on them regularly and create pathways for success.

Students would be assisted from point of entry through employment in a chosen field, according to the Foundation for California Community Colleges, which spearheaded the effort.

 

Guided Pathways would limit the number of students taking courses not necessary for their goals and move them through the community college system faster, clearing enrollment backlogs that districts have for years faced.

“The Guided Pathway model provides a structured framework for colleges to lead institutional change and improve student success,” said incoming California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley. “I applaud the colleges and partners who’ve taken an innovative leadership role tailoring a national model to benefit students in California.”

Btw, Eloy Oakley is the incoming Chancellor of the California Community Colleges.  He starts on Janaury 1, 2017.  We also have a new Chancellor for the Kern Community College District, Tom Burke.  Let’s welcome Chancellor Eloy Oakley and Chancellor Tom Burke to their new roles.

So proud of the work done by the BC team who has been helping with the statewide work — Lesley Bonds, Nick Strobel, Jessica Wojtysiak, and Janet Fulks.  It has been great partnering with Kay McClenney, Rob Johnstone, and Kathy Booth.

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Shawn Whalen

But the man who connected the dots and worked hard behind the scene to make it happen is Shawn Whalen.  I am sure he is going to hate it that I am calling him out.  But truly he is the person who has worked diligently bringing us together, asking the tough questions, keeping the equity conversation front and center, and stretching for high levels of performance from the colleges.  Here’s to Shawn Whalen! I am so glad to be working with you!

 

Talking about Guided Pathways, there was a statewide Guided Pathways workshop in Sacramento on Wednesday (Dec 6th) and Thursday (Dec 7th). This workshop was funded by the Institutional Effectiveness Partnership Initiative led by the statewide Vice Chancellor Theresa Tena and BC took a leadership role in pulling together the programming for the event.  It was also a treat to have a fabulous BC team attend.  I rode back on the train with the team and so enjoyed hearing the group work, talk and laugh together.  The best part of working at BC is the camaraderie, the love, respect and admiration we have for each other.

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Andrew Haney, Matthew Garrett, Janet Fulks, Eleonora Hicks, Maria Wright, Steve Watkin, and Grace Commiso took time out of their busy schedules to attend the IEPI Guided Pathways Workshop in Sacramento this week. #WeAreBC

 

NEH Grant for Delano

delano-grant-logo-neh_logo_horizontal_rgbThere is always something to celebrate at Bakersfield College and I’m so excited to share that the Delano Campus Library has been awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities for a digital project to record Delano’s past. Our rural campus and neighboring communities deserve this kind of recognition and attention. Their stories are one-of-a-kind and the difference education can make in their neighborhoods will forever change the people, families, and generations that reside there. I could not mention such a great achievement for the Delano campus and community without thanking Dr. Oliver Rosales for his continued passion and dedication to improving the lives of our students in rural Kern. I so look forward to seeing the project, “Digital Delano: Preserving an International Community’s History” come to life through the fantastic resources provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities!!

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Oliver Rosales

It’s POSSIBLE

Higher education makes a world of opportunities possible, but what do young people do when they don’t know where to start or where to find the answers?

That’s where the BC Outreach team steps in with events that make enrolling in college an easy and successful experience. The goal is that students walk away from this one day event with a class schedule in hand, ready to take on the college adventure – and that’s just what the BC Outreach team does. Last Saturday, December 3rd,  at It’s POSSIBLE, new students were helped individually, regardless of status within the enrollment process to enroll, find courses, and set up their educational plan for the next couple years depending on what they were trying to achieve. Different goals include certificates and different types of degrees. There’s a lot you can accomplish at BC and there’s so many resources offered to help you achieve your goals. And the whole family comes out to help.  Here is Debi Anderson with her husband Jerry and their cute grandson.

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Kaleidoscope

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The next day, BC’s Renegade Band, Concert Band, and Orchestra had their concert in the Edward J. Simonsen Performing Arts Center. Tim Heasley opened the evening with the extraordinary talents of the Bakersfield College Renegade Marching band, where they did something a little different than expected in an indoor concert. With stage choreography, they performed Bolero, composed by Maurice Ravel and arranged by Jay Bocook.

kaleidoscope_band-orch_4dec16-1Kathryn Kuby then took the stage as she conducted the Bakersfield College Concert band and Orchestra. This was her first performance at BC and she surely did not disappoint. Kuby selected a wide variety of pieces for the audience ranging from Holiday classics, a John Lennon medley, a piece by John Williams, and a personal favorite Symphony no. 25 in G Minor, Allego con brio. All in all the performance from these exceptionally talented renegades was definitely a treat for all who were in attendance.

Vision for the Valley

On Wednesday, The Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce, along with event partners including The Bakersfield Californian, Wells Fargo, Chevron, Aera, and San Joaquin Community Hospital hosted a crowd of over 300 people in BC’s indoor theater for the Vision for the Valley conference.

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Over 300 local professionals were greeted by Nancy Ortiz, President  & CEO of the Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce, followed by Michelle Chantry, CEO of The Bakersfield Californian, and myself  to kick off the multipart event.

 

The first panel focused on election impact on California businesses and the San Joaquin Valley.  I got this nice picture of Richard Beene, Dan Walters and Michelle Chantry in the green room.

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STEM Education was in the spotlight for the second panel and I had the joy of joining my fellow panelist, Adam Alvidrez of Chevron and our moderator, Nick Ortiz of GBCC on the stage. Local STEM education programs for workforce development are of vital importance to Kern County and the future success of our region.

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The final panel on healthcare innovations wrapped up the event by exploring the future of key programs and exploring how to provide effective and innovative healthcare.

Thank you to all the fantastic partners, presenters, and attendees who contributed to making this event one-of-a-kind. It was great to see Bakersfield Mayor Elect, Karen Goh upcoming KCCD Chancellor, Tom Burke in the audience, JP Lake, Cathy Butler, Jim Scott, Bob Meadows, and so many friends of BC.

When Students say Thank You

Mariah Earl just successfully completed her first semester of the Registered Nursing program and sent a thank you email to her professors. After making its way to my inbox, I just knew I had to share —

mariah-earl-photo-2Dearest Professors, As my first semester of the Registered Nurse program draws to a close, I wanted to take a moment and thank you for your instruction that has played a vital role in my success as a nursing student thus far. We have to take a lot of pre-requisite classes before beginning the program, but none are nearly as valuable as Anatomy and Physiology and Microbiology. The time I spent mastering the topics of the courses you teach was time well spent as an investment in my future success, not just as a student, but as a nurse giving care to patients.

I recognize that it takes an extra effort on the part of the professors to offer instruction that is relevant and emphasizes real-life public health issues. Thank you for taking those extra steps on behalf of your students.

I’ve had study groups with many different classmates this semester and I’ve noticed that the students who are struggling the most are the ones that are weakest in their A&P and Micro knowledge. Their struggles are partly related to not mastering the material at the time they took the classes and partly due to how long it took them to get accepted into the program after taking the courses. I’m incredibly thankful for the opportunity I had to do Supplemental Instruction for Profs. Fullks and Tavoni. Those two semesters kept the material fresh in my mind, and teaching others helped cement the knowledge in my brain.

If I were to be so bold as to offer any advice to your future students, it would be to treat your classes as seriously as they would treat the classes in the actual nursing program. Microbiology and Anatomy and Physiology are not classes that should be taken just to check off of the pre-req list. They should be taken with intention of mastery. All of the organ systems and disease conditions (plus more!) will be revisited in the nursing program. If they take the time to learn it now, then they will get to sleep a little more at night during the program and worry less about exams. Speaking of exams, thank you for the exam questions that require a lot more critical thinking. I didn’t necessarily enjoy them at the time, but they helped train my brain to think in a new and improved way.

I don’t want to bore you with all the topics that have helped me so far, but here’s a quick bullet list:

  • Nervous system and neurotransmitters
  • Hormones (origin, target, and action)
  • BP regulation (short term and long term, especially the R-A-A system)
  • Immunity (humoral, cell mediated, active/passive, natural/acquired, and antimicrobial therapy)
  • Principles of gas exchange, and respiratory diseases
  • Carbonic acid formula
  • Fluid, Electrolyte, and Acid Base Balance (especially this!)
  • Diabetes

Truly, I can’t thank all of you enough. I appreciate your knowledge and the ways you’ve challenged me to grow as a student. Warmest Regards, Mariah Earl”

When a student says thank you, there’s an instant feeling of purpose, of making a difference, and of knowing that what you do each day as an educator is and will change lives.  It’s something I can’t accurately describe in words, but I hope Mariah and all of our students know… we at BC… staff, faculty and administrators – we can’t thank you enough as well. You are the heart and soul of what drives us each day. You are the future so be brave and follow your dreams boldly. Thank you for your dedication to your studies – it’s the most important thing you could do. You’re an inspiration for us, your fellow students, and your community.

BC’s Nursing Students Graduate!

Here are some pictures of our RN and VN students graduating.  Thank you Nan and Cindy.  And Nan wanted me to include the Nightingale Pledge a modified “Hippocratic Oath” composed in 1893 by Lystra E. Gretter and a Committee for the Farrand Training School for Nurses, Detroit, Michigan. It was called the Florence Nightingale Pledge as a token of esteem for the founder of modern nursing.

I solemnly pledge myself before God and in the presence of this assembly, to pass my life in purity and to practice my profession faithfully. I will abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous, and will not take or knowingly administer any harmful drug. I will do all in my power to maintain and elevate the standard of my profession, and will hold in confidence all personal matters committed to my keeping and all family affairs coming to my knowledge in the practice of my calling. With loyalty will I endeavor to aid the physician in his work, and devote myself to the welfare of those committed to my care.

Community Voices: Jack Hernandez

 I loved seeing Jack Hernandez’s piece in the Californian. He begins by saying,
“When I came to BC many years ago, I saw by the front door of the administration building a plaque dated 1955 with the words, “Only the Educated are Free.”

Did you know that plaque still resides on the right-hand side of the admin buildings entry doors?  Jack’s article made me take a moment and pause Monday morning when I arrived on campus. Thank you for the reminder Jack, of what it means to be free.

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If you haven’t read the piece, make sure to take a moment. It’s worth your time and available at http://www.bakersfield.com/opinion/community-voices-only-the-educated-are-free/article_0e788a32-0784-58a7-b775-5eedf25ceff8.html

BC Adjunct Faculty Olivia Garcia on BC Public Safety

oliviagarcia_fromopeningdayAny time a tragedy strikes at a school or college, it affects all educational campuses across the globe and we feel it, right at home on the campus of BC. Last weekend Olivia Garcia, a local journalist and adjunct faculty member, featured BC public safety Director, Chris Counts, in a published piece. Olivia said, “The recent attack at Ohio State University has left a somber mood at colleges and campuses throughout the nation.” Check out the piece at http://www.bakersfield.com/columnists/olivia-garcia-bc-public-safety-official-reflects-on-ohio-state/article_3858defc-bd72-5a7c-9574-ac4da11df084.html

Equity TV and David Moton

Kate Pluta sent me the link to Equity TV episode featuring David Moton, Department Chair of English.  I loved watching and hearing from both Francis Mayer and David Moton.  Check it out.

Pueblo Fest — Mark your Calendars, March 17th, 18th, 19th, 2017

Recently I had dinner with Arnoldo Avalos, member of the Board of Governors for California’s Community Colleges and he talked about this music festival he is bringing to the Central Valley.  Very exciting.  Guess where I am going to be on March 17th, 18th and 19th…

Here is a picture with Arnoldo Avalos when he visited Bakersfield College in his official capacity as a member of the BOG. From left to right: Arnoldo Avalos, Connie Conway, Sonya Christian, Romeo Agbalog, Vince Stewart

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Arnoldo Avalos, Connie Conway, Sonya Christian, Romeo Agbalog, Vince Stewart

Here is an excerpt from an email he sent me.

I want to introduce you to Pueblofest – the first ever regional Mexican music festival in the history of the United States being held at the international ag-center in Tulare CA. Pueblofest is a family friend event with a social purpose. The venue holds up to 100k people. The music will attract our community now we need to inspire them! We plan to have over 100 nonprofits at the music festivals to help educate and provide services to concert goers.

Pueblofest has an amazing line up of artists like Tigre del Norte, Tucanes de Tijuana, Intocables, Voz del Mando, Original Banda el Limón, Cheque Peña, and others coming to the Central Valley. In addition, we will have many motivational speakers like Jose Hernandez (US astronaut), Dr Raul Ruiz MD (3 degrees from Harvard – US congressman), Amanda Renteria (1st Latina Chief of Staff for US Senator) and many others.

Check it out http://pueblofest.com/

 

 

The Bakersfield Californian, a community gem!

Did you notice that I referred a lot to The Bakersfield Californian in my blog.  TBC is a local treasure.  Been with us for over 100 years.  As an aside, in response to a question posed by Richard Beene, Lois Henry at the Vision for the Valley sent a call out to the community to support the work journalists do!  I agree!

Cindy Collier — BC’s gem

On Friday, I was interviewing a candidate for a position here at BC and she talked about why she wanted to come to BC.  She said it was because of the people who work here.  They seem to watch out for each other and care for each other.  And the example that she gave me was our Dean for Allied Health and CTE Cindy Collier.

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So I went back and read an email Cindy recently sent me.  So, you see Bakersfield, this is why BC is so special

Good morning Sonya,

Just wanted to share a few photos with you from our VN and RN pinning ceremonies that were held this week.  I was particularly moved by the story of Brandy Billingsly one of our VN graduates who shared her journey through nursing school.

brandy-billingsy-dec-9-2016A single mom with 3 children, spoke of the challenges of nursing school, the long hours in class and studying that kept her away from her children, she cried as she apologized for the countless football games missed, the early mornings that she had to wake her children up to take them to their “Nana’s” house so that she could be in the clinical setting at 6:00 a.m., the weekends that she had to give up because she had to work,  but at the same time she graciously thanked her employer for allowing the opportunity to work every weekend for the past 18 months so that she could complete nursing school.  She thanked her classmates for being her family and allowing her to cry on their shoulders when she failed a test or just couldn’t understand her material, and she thanked her professors for showing up each and everyday teaching and re-teaching her the material so that she could be the best nurse possible. As she wiped the tears from her eyes she looked out into the audience and told them that she wasn’t very strong, but she had to be strong so that she could do this (complete nursing school) for her family so that they could have a better life. And she then looked back at her classmates and told them “WE ARE SIMPLY AMAZING”!  And I looked around the audience of family members, friends and faculty totally moved by her story, I thought yes she’s right – our students are simply amazing.

 After coming home, I had the opportunity to reflect upon my own week and I was reminded why I chose to work at a Community College, it’s because of our students and the way that we (BC) change their lives.  Leaving our doors this week we have over 75 nursing graduates (RN and VN) who will very soon enter the workforce and will have the opportunity to earn beginning wages of greater than $50,000/year which is a family sustaining livable wage. This is huge, not only for our students but our community as well.

As I continue to reflect on why I am so blessed to work at BC, I also am amazed and awed by the support that we have from our community. Yesterday’s advisory board meeting for our Industrial Automation Baccalaureate degree was just awesome.  I listened to these high-powered business men and women who were so thankful for BC to take on the challenge to be one of the 15 pilot college’s, but at the same time had no problem being very frank with us on how we market our program, use data and systems to track our students and program’s success and quite frankly meet their needs for the 21st century employee.

Listening to our partner’s from KHSD who talked about the shared vision for students, through Dual Enrollment and Pathways that align curriculum and programs from 9th grade on, made me proud of the work that we’ve done with Dual Enrollment (despite its challenges). But most importantly what awed me the most was our students; they spoke of how this new degree has opened the door of possibilities for them.  One student who is currently working full-time in the field, while attending our program shared how he knows completing this degree will provide him with so many other career opportunities, he will no longer be stuck in an entry level job.  Another student shared how she really wanted to be an engineer, but last year while in the Calculus, Chemistry, Physics series she discovered she was pregnant with her 3rd child and she just couldn’t ask her family to take on the responsibility of raising her children for the next 4+ years while she completed the necessary courses to earn this degree, but the Industrial Automation degree now provided her with an achievable degree and on-top of it all she really loved what she was learning – she was enjoying putting things together and this program really made sense to her.

So, my dear president even though I am really exhausted and I believe your speech at the President’s Cabinet retreat in August about our 20-mile march this semester was a bunch of baloney, because this semester really has been a 20-mile sprint, I am grateful for you and the fact that you allow each and every one of us to be a part of this privilege to change student’s lives.  So, thank you for inspiring us to think beyond the status quo and for empowering us to move exciting ideas forward.

Cindy, thank you for your email!

It is the holiday season friends.  We have so much to be thankful for.  Reach out to the person close to you and give them a hug.  I am right now in my office and I walked over to say hello to Jackie Lau working away in Admission and Records to give her a hug.

 

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That’s all for now.  

Until next week.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya — with Jackie Lau on campus on Saturday, Dec 10th.

Thank you Kern County!

Measure J Passes! Thank you Kern County

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With a vote of 96,589 to 58,155, Kern County supported Measure J with 62.42% of the vote. Measure J also received 59.99% of the vote in Tulare County, and 63.6% of the vote in San Bernardino County. After months of hard work, I am so grateful to our voters for supporting our community colleges! And I am grateful to the many volunteers who turned out over the past few months to get out the vote and spread the word about the great things that this bond will do for Bakersfield College and all of the college in the Kern Community College District.

And a special thank you to my friend who reminds me everyday to Keep the Faith!

And thank you Tom Moran who responded to my early morning call on Saturday and taught me how to sign my thank you message to the voters.

We had an amazing group of volunteers that came out to assist in our final push on Election Day. It was a busy day that began around 6 am and lasted until midnight! The guy behind me in the picture is Dave Mason who worked with us through the campaign.  He drove in from Oakland to spend election night with us.  Thank you Dave!

Here are two great pictures of Nick Strobel on November 8th.  One was taken when he was relentless in phone banking to get out the vote.  The picture was taken at 7:30 p.m., 30 minutes before the polls closed.  And the picture on the left is when we had a table give way, sending an ice bucket and the melted water in it crashing to the floor. (I guess you could say the election center took the ice bucket challenge…) Nick, true to himself, we the first one up and helping to clean the floor.

A few of our volunteers shared some memorable moments from the campaign:

 

The weekend leading up to Election Day was hectic at campaign headquarters.  Here are pictures of Nov 5th (Saturday) and Nov 6th (Sun) including the half-time show that Congressman Bill Thomas (or should I say KCCD Trustee Bill Thomas) did with Vance Palm on the Damron Deck with a great view of the city and the valley.  Vance Palm, you do a real nice job with Renegade Football and the half-time show with the congressman was fantastic.

November 5th;  Here is Rick Kreiser, owner of Carney’s saving the day and saving the campaign by replacing the toner Saturday late evening so that we could continue printing materials for our GOTV (Get Out the Vote) campaign.  Thank you Rick Kreiser for all of the donations and all of your time in support of passing Measure J.

 

I love this picture of Chief Counts and his beautiful daughter Faith who volunteered their time through the entire Measure J campaign.

And pets were also part of the campaign. Here’s Tom Gelder with canine friend Lexy and Bruce our election dog on November 10th helping clean up Campaign HQ.

Measure J was a “whole family affair.”  Andrea Thorson and her son James.  Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg holding Lily Ann (Grace’s baby girl), who was sleeping peacefully while Nan phone banked.  I love both these pictures.

Dr. Kimberly Bligh, Dr. Janet Fulks, Bruce Meyer all phone banking on Nov 7 2016

Grace Commiso and Sue Vaughn.

I loved the cookies Bill Moseley baked using a 3D printed cookie cuttter.  Yes on J!

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On November 7th night, I was trying to get these folks out of the office and get them to go to bed before the big day.  It was a hard task! Lesley Bonds, Nicky Damania, Chris Glaser, Nicole Para.

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The Election Day 6:00 a.m. pictures

On the right, our fabulous campaign manager Nicole Parra. In the group picture on the left: Chris Glaser, Lesley Bonds, Sue Vaughn, Ashley Ward, Todd Coston, Bill Potter, Liz Rozell, Asha Chandy, Nicole Parra.

Polling location teams at Aera Energy and at Delano

Polling location team at the Kern County Fair and first-time voters who were so excited. Thank you Olivia Garcia for the photo.

 

Polling location teams in South East Bakersfield and at Wasco.

 

Veterans Day. Nov 11, 2016

On Veterans Day, our BC Veterans Club took part in the annual Bakersfield Veterans Day parade. It was such an honor to meet with them at the parade. We are truly grateful for their service, and for the service of all this great nation’s veterans. Thank you!

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doug-and-martha-miller-and-sonya-christian-nov-11-2016-vets-paradeThank you Karen Goh for some great pictures.

It was also a treat running into Martha Miller nee McCuen at the Vets Parade.  Martha is the daughter of Theron McCuen who was the Superintendent of Kern High and Bakersfield College when BC was on the Kern High campus. Martha’s husband Doug Miller retired as Superintendent of the Panama Buena Vista School District in 2007.  I am so glad Martha recognized me and called out as I was dashing towards my car.  With the work we undertook related to campaigning for Measure J, I was always fully aware of BC’s past, particularly 1956 when the campus moved from Kern High (Now BHS) to the Panorama Bluffs, while we were forging BC’s future.  So to run into the daughter of Theron McCuen whose name is on the Administration Building where I have my office felt like an auspicious moment.

So, of course, I went searching in BC’s archives.  Thank you Jerry Ludeke for your commitment to the archives.

 

Here is a 1958 photo that includes Theron McCuen at Ralph Prator’s retirement dinner. From Left: Ralph Prator (outgoing BC President), Ed Simonsen (incoming BC President), Marvene Simonsen, Theron McCuen (Superintendent), Hazel McCuen. 1958.

1958-ralph-prator-outgoing-bc-president-ed-simonsen-incoming-bc-president-marvene-simonsen-theron-mccuen-superintendent-hazel-mccuen

Also from the archives this newspaper clipping from the Bakersfield Californian.  From Left to Right: H.E. Woodworth, Ralph Prator, Ed Simonsen, Dorothy Donohoe, Theron McCuen.  This is the first time that I have seen a picture of Dorothy Donohoe, who as Assemblywoman was responsible for the development of the California Higher Education Master Plan.  It seems appropriate to have her picture in my post Measure J blog to recognize the leaders from our community who had the vision for what we are today.

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BC Veterans

Let’s salute our faculty, staff and students who are veterans.

Bernadette Martinez in the counseling department put out a call to our faculty & staff to share out who on our BC campus is a veteran, which I’d like to repeat here:

United States Marines

  • Jeremy Staat, 2005-2009, Corporal (E-4). — Welding
  • Armando Trujillo, Marine Corps –Veterans Educational Advisor
  • Felix Ramirez from 1980-1985.  1985-2002 Army National Guard (E-7) —Public Safety Officer
  • Juan Torres, United State Marine Corps from 1988-1994—Site Operations  (Delano)

United States Navy

  • Lieutenant Manuel Fernandez, 11 years—Electronics
  • Jahnea Palfrey, 1999-2003, Law Enforcement—Department Assistant
  • Di Hoffman,  1992-2001 – Nursing
  • Eddie Rangel, 1998-2001 (E-4) –Information Technology
  • Diana Alcala, 2002-2008—Human Resources Assistant
  • Paul Beckworth, 1989-1993, Guard 1997-2003—History
  • Richard McCrow, 30 years –Director Delano Campus

United States Army

  • Pat Smith, 5 yrs —Criminal Justice
  • Patrick Fulks, 1969-1971,(E-5) Biology

United States Air Force

  • Bernadette Martinez, 1993-1997 (E-4)—Office Supervisor
  • Christine Dunn 1995-1998 (Captain) Nursing

Veterans Celebration at Porterville College

On November 10th we had the KCCD Board meeting at Porterville College.  They had their Veterans event on the same day and it was wonderful wandering the campus hearing from student veterans and visiting the Veterans Resource Center.  Steve Schutlz has done a real nice job with the facility and I was warmly greeted by the counselor for PC’s student veterans Maria Roman.

I learned from the keynote speaker, a Vietnam Vet, that it was important to remember our history…particularly the local history.  He shared that there was a former airport and military airfield located in the area that conducted flying training during World War II.

During our lunch with the Board, Dr. Carlson had organized a presentation on the Pathways work undertaken by the community over the last decade; a large scale collaboration with business and industry and K-12 partners.  Both Trustee John Corkins and President Rosa Carlson have worked in leadership roles to advance this work on student success. Pretty cool stuff.  Great results!

At the Board meeting, I enjoyed the presentation by Jay Rosenlieb on behalf of the Measure J Honorary Committee.  Jay reviewed the work done by hundreds of volunteers that resulted in the successful passing of Measure J.  Board members too commented about this great accomplishment.  YesOnJ!

 

vets-parade-2016-with-glenn-porterWounded Heroes Fund

The Kern County Wounded Heroes Fund is a local nonprofit that supports veterans and their families with a focus to help ease the transition back to civilian life through ongoing support and appreciation. When veterans come home, sometimes they’re unsure of what to do, not knowing what’s next – that’s where Wounded Heroes comes in, offering everything from a cup of coffee and good conversation to marriage retreats, couples counseling, financial counseling, and even housing.

On November 5th at the Kern County Fairgrounds, a BBQ Steak Lunch helped raise money for these great causes.  At the Veterans Parade on November 11th, Paul Beckworth introduced me to Glenn Porter who is on the Board of Directors for the Wounded Heroes fund and he talked about this event and that it was sold out this year.  It was wonderful getting to know Glenn.

To learn more about the Wounded Heroes Fund, check out http://thewoundedheroesfund.org/.

BC was out at the Fairgrounds for the Wounded Heroes Fund event.  Here are three pictures..the first with our nursing students and the second with Paul Beckworth’s family (Andy Lopez, Eileen Lopez, Adam Lopez, Sandra Beckworth, Paul Beckworth, Sonya Christian) who came out to support the event and the last one, a selfie with Wesley Barrientos.  Wesley, I am so happy to see you!

woundedheroes

 

 

Renegade RIP covers Driven by Art

The Renegade RIP, BC’s student newspaper recently highlighted the unique and individually painted trucks you’ve spotted around town. J.R. Hensley, the RIP Reporter notes, “the trucks will be in their current locations until the January 6, 2017, at which time the businesses that purchased the models will take possession of them or they can donate them to the city, which will put them on permanent display on the Westside Parkway.”  I hope you’ll have a chance to spot them all – many are in various places throughout Downtown Bakersfield.

The RIP has been around for over 85 years at Bakersfield College reporting on news and events across campus and our community. To learn more about The RIP, visit www.therip.com and to see my previous blog about the BMOA’s Driven by Art Trucks, see https://sonyachristianblog.com/2016/10/08/so-many-reasons-to-celebrate-we-are-bc/.

EOP&S Takes Off to Museum of Tolerance

eopsI found this draft blog entry from March 2016.  Enjoy!

A group of 42 EOP&S students and staff gathered before sunrise on March 18, 2016 and boarded a bus headed southbound to the Museum of Tolerance. During the drive, the movie Anne Frank was played to get an insight of the holocaust.

Her spirit was felt on the bus and students were left thinking about the horrific events that happened in the early 1930s.

The Museum of Tolerance provided an interactive experience for students ranging from digital storytelling, films, artifacts, personal testimonies and thought provoking questions. Students were also guided to the Tolerance center exhibit where they were exposed to major issues of intolerance that happen on a local and global level. Topics on contemporary events such as bullying, hate speech, discrimination, human rights exploitation, and terrorism were covered, all which affect our community. “Don’t be a standby” was a phrase that the docent kept repeating as he challenged us to think what we can do to work to end injustices, discrimination, hateful behaviors and concluded with “History has a tendency to repeat itself.”

After the tour, a few students shared this was an eye-opening experience. One student expressed “this education[al] excursion [taught] me a lesson about the power of words.” Another student said “every minute was filled with learning about history” and others shared this was just not a visit “but also an educational trip, it teaches us about what we should do about eliminating discrimination.” When students were asked to identify steps to be more personally responsible for positive change, many responded to “speak up, help others, and care more.” One student summed it up and said “Speak up because someone needs to take initiative. Be the change I want to see.”

Their visit to the Museum of Tolerance was impactful. Over 85 percent of the group had never visited the museum. In the evaluation of their learning experience at the Museum of Tolerance, only about 26 percent indicated they had a great deal of understanding of the Holocaust prior to visiting the museum — after visiting the museum, 75 percent of the students indicated they gained a greater understanding of the Holocaust. Overall there was a 77 percent student consensus that visiting the Museum of Tolerance increased their awareness of past social injustices and the different types of prejudice and discrimination that exist in the world we live in.

Academic Senate

Its been a while since I visited with our Academic Senate.  BC has a great group of faculty serving on the senate with exceptional leadership from President Steven Holmes, VP Andrea Thorson and the Exec Board of the Senate.  I stopped by on Wednesday, November 9th, after the election to thank the faculty members from the senate who helped with the Measure J work.  One of my colleagues took these pictures and I so enjoyed seeing them that I thought I would share them with you. We Are BC!

 

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That’s all for now.  

Until next week.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya — signing off with a picture of Bruce and reminding everyone that I am the luckiest and happiest college president ever.

A Whirlwind Week at Bakersfield College

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, March 19, 2016….. A good day to be a Renegade.

And why not….this week BC had a lot to celebrate.

Let’s begin with Paula Parks being named Educator of the Year by NAACP at their annual gala event held Friday (March 18th) night.  What a beautiful smile Paula!

Paula Parks receiving the Educator of the Year award March 18 2016

Paula Parks receiving the Educator of the Year award at NAACP

 

NAACP March 18 2016

BC at NAACP March 18 2016

Thank you Karen Goh for these pictures.  Karen is one of Bakersfield’s true gems.  I first met Karen at an event shortly after I came back from Oregon, in January 2013.  I remember that first encounter, how genuine and caring she was. Since that time I can’t tell you how many college and community events Karen has supported – she gives the gift of time to many individuals and organizations.  We are lucky to have her in this community.

Earlier in the day on Friday, in Sacramento, BC was present in full force at the ASCCC Academic Academy with presentations by Janet Fulks as well as Nicky Damania and Grace Comisso.

Janet Fulks Academic Academy March 18 2016

Janet Fulks

Here is Janet’s program description:

Bakersfield College Addressing Equity by Making it Happen (MIH) and Guided Pathways Bakersfield College (BC) has been addressing StudentSuccess, Equity and Student Support by transforming basic skills and carefully designing student pathways to address our 84% underprepared student population. BC began by addressing high school transition and placement through multiple measures, an intervention resulting in remarkable equity outcomes and course success. High School to College transition was recreated through onsite outreach to high school students and staff as well as extended summer orientation. BC equity and SSSP dollars scaled up supplemental instruction and the Writing Center with outstanding results addressing achievement gaps. But this transformation is complete only when the outcomes lead to clearly designed program pathways with completion coaches guiding the students along the way. This interactive breakout will provide an opportunity to examine your college¹s ability to redesign placement, basic skills, program pathways and academic support services to help maximize student success.

 

 

Nicky Damania and Grace Comisso 2 March 18 2016

Nicky Damania and Grace Comisso

Program description for the talk by Dr. Nicky Damania and Grace Comisso:

Each faculty and staff member has a different tolerance for the variety of behaviors they encounter in the classroom or on campus. Whether it is dealing with academic integrity, social anxiety, classroom disruption, or potential threat, with the aid of the right team, we can help support these students to a positive academic success.

In this session, the co-chairs of Bakersfield College Students of Concern Team will share reporting structures, case management methodologies, and methods of addressing various students of concern. They will define behaviors and review the importance of implementing an early alert process, discussing reported students at SOC meeting, follow up services, and behavioral interventions. At Bakersfield College, the SOC Team is a collaboration with Student Life, Counseling, Student Health & Wellness, Financial Aid, DSPS, Human Resources, and Public Safety.

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President Sonya Christian Assemblyman Rudy Salas

Earlier in the week as part of the Women’s Legislative Caucus annual recognition event,  Assembly member Rudy Salas recognized the good work at Bakersfield College and named me “Woman of the Year” for the 32nd Assembly District.

Rudy Salas quietly moves mountains for this community, in so many ways.  He has been a champion for issues related to disabilities. On Wednesday, he testified at the Assembly Subcommittee on Health and Human Services to request needed state funding for Independent Living Centers.

Earlier this year, Salas played an integral role in securing increased statewide funding for the Department of Developmental Services Regional Centers, and the programs and services they provide such as the Bakersfield ARC (BARC). Those efforts ultimately secured $307 million for developmental disability services. In addition to the ILC funding budget request, Salas has introduced AB 2565, which will amend an outdated code section of the law to allow each of the state’s ILCs to receive state base funding.

Assembly member Salas, thank you for all that you do for our community!

Btw, did you know that Trustee Kay Meek was named Woman of the Year 25 years ago by Assemblyman Trice Harvey? I tried to find an image of this historic moment but alas, social media was not discovered then.  So here is a picture of Trice Harvey when he was recognized as the donor of the year by Houchin Blood Bank and then enjoy the two pictures of Kay Meek — Kay then and Kay now.

Trice-Harvey

Picture from the web of the late Trice Harvey

Kay Meek

Kay Meek then.  Picture found on the web

Kay Meet Vet Fest 2016

Kay Meek now.  BC’s Vet Fest 2015

The Navajo Creation Story:

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Dr. Jack Hernandez, Dr. Paul Zolbrod, Rae Ann Kumelos. Photo by Karla Young

Midweek, on Wednesday, March 16th the Levan Center hosted a captivating discussion on the book Diné bahane’, The Navajo Creation Story by Dr. Paul Zolbrod. Dr. Zolbrod went on a twelve-year ethnopoetic quest to translate the Diné bahane’, the Navajo Creation Story, into English.

He explained his journey by reciting inserts from his book, and showing a documentary video clip. He described the theme as – “Men and Women Must Get Along Harmoniously”. The audience was truly fascinated by Dr. Zolbrod’s excellent description of his experience, and knowledge of oral tradition.

Special thank you to Dr. Paul Zolbrod for sharing his wisdom and love of Navajo culture, and to Dr. Jack Hernandez of the Levan Center and Dr. Rae Ann Kumelos of the English Department.

Women’s History and More

The Levan Center hosted a panel and discussion for Women’s History Month as part of the “Women’s History And More” (WHAM) initiative.

Professor of History & WHAM Committee Chairwoman, Ann Wiederrecht, organized and moderated the event,  “BC, Violence and Women: Policies, Perspectives, and Issues.”
The event presented an opportunity to educate staff, students, and the public more generally, working to reduce acts of violence against women. Bakersfield College faculty and staff participated in a presentation and discussion about issues, policies, procedures and perspectives facing women on BC’s Campus.

BC Professor of Criminology, Patricia Smith, explained criminal aspects, beginning with an explanation of the Clery Act, so those attending had an understanding of the legal definitions of domestic violence, stalking, and other terms.

Director of Student Life, Dr. Nicky Damania, localized the discussion by illustrating key points concerning safety for women on our campus, providing an overview of Title IX, how to access information, and protecting oneself from voyeurism.

Chief of Public Safety, Christopher Counts, provided detailed information about Bakersfield College for the more than seventy attendees, including the history of violence on our campus, and how to report crimes. Chief Counts  also addressed the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)  and Title IX. He informed attendees about counselors are available, and what responsibilities he and his team have on campus, their training as well as the services they offer — including the ways in which “women’s voices” inform the Public Safety perspective.

Grace Commiso, counselor, emphasized the ideas behind Rape Aggression Defense (RAD), as well as the importance of self-defense in general, concluding with a demonstration of RAD.

Tobacco stand down March 2016The event culminated with questions and answers, moderated by Professor Wiederrect. Professor Wiederrect has lead the WHAM committee for more than ten years, and we are grateful for her leadership.

1Day Stand

On Wednesday, March 16, Bakersfield College took part in a 1DAY Stand Against Tobacco to encourage students who use tobacco to quit for the day.  Thank you Cindy Collier! BC’s Student Health and Wellness Center has been extremely active this year.  You can find them on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/bcshwc/?pnref=story

MAry Jo Pasek March 19 2016

Mary Jo Pasek

Speaking of Facebook, I must do a shout out to Mary Jo Pasek who tirelessly connects with our community.  She is everywhere…in person, on social media….always promoting goodwill and fellowship…promoting collaboration and partnerships.  MJ, you rock!

 

Allied Health

The Nursing and Allied Health Department hosted their second Health Careers Connection Fair.

There were 23 healthcare vendors who participated to give Bakersfield College Nursing and Allied Health Students an opportunity to explore careers and higher education opportunities.

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The event was held from 9am-1pm, on a beautiful day outside of the Huddle. Over 150 students took advantage of the opportunities presented to them.

Special thanks to Stephanie Baltazar (Job Developer), Dominica Rivera (CTE Advisor), Antonio Alfaro (CTE Advisor), Anita Karr (Department Assistant III), Dinorah Castro (Allied Health Advisor), Pam Gomez (CTE Advisor) and Manny De Los Santos (Media Services) for their help in putting on a great event for our students!

Bob Hawks, Director of Workforce Development, provided the funding for the event.

And check out the amazing video Manny De Los Santos took with Bakersfield College’s drone!

Blood Bank

And then on March 15th I received this great email from Stephanie Gibbons, Accounting Manager of Houchin Blood Bank.

Stephanie Gibbons

Stephanie Gibbons

Hello Everyone,

…..

The results are life saving with 304 registered donors and 199 actual units collected.  For the two day event we had 135 donors who made this blood drive their first donation.  Yeah!!  All students were asked to sign in and 203, identified themselves as Hispanic descent . This information was gathered at the SGA desk, for the purpose of the Cesar Chavez Blood Drive Challenge.  Thank you to everyone who signed in.

Thank you to the SGA team ( Nicky, Clayton, Arisve and Danyel) for all your marketing efforts and help with organizing the blood drive. Everyone did a stellar job.   It was a team effort and I enjoyed being a part of it.

Mary Jo, thank you for your guidance and help with the logistics of this drive, I really appreciated everything you did behind the scenes to help make these two days a success.

Each of our donors received a pizza coupon from Rusty’s Pizza, fresh apple slices, donated by McDonald’s and a vintage t-shirt. SGA group made sure all the donors had plenty of food.  Each donor was offered a freshly prepared hot dog to start the donation process. No one left hungry. Thank you to Cindy Hicks, Jim Darling and SGA for making the students feel special with your very generous donations.

Our mission is a simple one.  Maintain a healthy blood supply for our Community.  This annual event remains a key part of this mission and we thank you for your continued support.  We truly value this partnership and what it represents to Houchin and Kern County.

See you in 2017!!!

 

It is a good time to be at BC!

Student Safety in the Forefront at Symposium

Title IX and Clery Group Oct 2014

With the planning team and keynote speakers for the Title IX and Clery Symposium in October 2014

Another Bakersfield College  Learn@BC! event was the Title IX and Clery Act Symposium in mid-October.

Chief Chris Counts and Amber Chiang started the event with a presentation on the Clery Act, particularly when it comes to crime reporting, and the college’s emergency notification process. They also discussed the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which boosted the reporting requirements for crimes of a certain nature on college campuses.  New regulations under VAWA require:

  • Tracking of incidents of sexual and relationship violence
  • Well defined approaches to prevention of incidents of this nature
  • Structured educational programming that raises the awareness within the college community.
Amber and Chris Clery Symposium Oct 2014

Amber Chiang and Chris Counts

 

Counts and Chiang emphasized a few key points:

  • The college sends out Timely Warnings when an ongoing threat is present, or in relation to crimes of a certain nature. In the hope of protecting students and employees, Timely Warnings can be sent without good information, or before all victim/witness interviews have taken place.
  • Emergency notifications, evacuations, and drills are to be taken seriously and all students and non-essential personnel must abide the emergency orders.
  • If you see something, say something.

Chiang and Counts were followed up by two guests from the Office of Civil Rights: attorney Michael Chang and law investigator Ava DeAlmeida, who discussed Title IX in depth for our audience. They detailed sexual harassment for the crowd, explaining the differences so that attendees could better understand how “yes means yes” is treated on a college campus. Chang and DeAlmeida went on to discuss the college’s role in preventing future sexual harassment, and the efforts the college can make to keep students safe when they are on campus.

You can find the two presentations, photos, the video of the symposium and more on the Learn@BC website. If you weren’t able to join us, I encourage you to go view the materials so that you too will have a better understanding of these two laws and how they impact Bakersfield College.