Good morning Bakersfield. It is Saturday, January 21st and such a fabulous day to be a Renegade.
It was great waking up to a piece by Nick Strobel. Also read a piece by Harold Pierce which I tweeted. Here is a jpg of the front page of the Eye Street section of The Bakersfield Californian. And the weblink http://tinyurl.com/h2eg6u2
I love the way Nick starts his piece:
This was first week of the spring semester at Bakersfield College and classes are full! The week before was filled with workshops, including a two-day institute on the college GPS (Guided Pathways System), followed by Opening Day, which focused on the college GPS. Good stuff happening!
Great stuff happening up in the sky too with our two closest neighbors: Brilliant Venus continues to close in on orange-red Mars in our evening sky in the southwest. Venus is the super-bright star in the southwest after sunset and Mars will be to the upper left of Venus. By the end of the month, they will be almost within the same field of view of typical binoculars.
and I also love how he ends it
A NOTE ON SCIENCE
I’ll close with a comment about the process of science. As a science educator, I read with great interest Robert Gebelhoff’s column that ran in last Sunday’s Californian about using science as a political tool. Although we have discovered much about our universe that we’re confident enough to bet our life on, there is still a lot that is unknown and tentative. Science is a human endeavor and it isn’t perfect, but the process of science has built into it a way to take into account our human fallibility.
Instead of “arguing from authority,” the process of science uses peer review to double-check (triple-check, quadruple-check, etc.) our ideas and ultimately, nature will be the final judge of what’s true or not — nature has the final veto power over any of our ideas. Studies and theories based on facts are published in peer-reviewed journals for other research teams to pick apart and find the defects in the argument or method.
When an idea has been tested many times by many independent groups and has withstood all those tests, then the reasonable approach is to assume that the idea is close to the truth.
Here is the link to Harold Pierce’s article A hidden health crisis: Toxic stess driving up Kern death rates. http://tinyurl.com/hbnnafk
Talking about the Bakersfield Californian, I got a text message from Francis Mayer letting me know that Louis Amestoy is back in Bakersfield. Welcome home Louis! So happy to have you back.
I was also excited to see a facebook post that our very own Dr. Matthew Garrett presenting to the Miller-Eccles group.
Here is a “copy and paste” from Jen’s post:
Tonight I got to accompany Matt as he spoke at the Miller/Eccles group at CSU Fullerton. They asked him to speak about his newly published book. He spoke with passion and was clearly knowledgeable, well researched, and well prepared. They were amazed by the way he connected to the audience and what a great speaker he is. He also responded well to all of their questions. He has another tomorrow night and I know it will go well also. His 10 years of work came through tonight. I am so proud of him!
Talking about being proud, here is the intro slide to Matt’s presentation:
Do you notice something? It says Bakersfield College and the email is @bakersfieldcollege.edu. Yes! You see my dear community members, Dr. Matt Garrett is a great scholar respected widely for his work and he teaches at BC. The Miller-Eccles group is a group of affluent professionals and retired academics that fly out big name scholars for a small private lecture each month. Next month speaker is Laurel Thatcher, a Pulitzer Prize winning professor with an endowed chair at Harvard. The following month they have Christine Durham, the first woman appointed to the Utah Supreme Court. And among this group of speakers if our Bakersfield College faculty. Yes!
How fortunate our students are…..students most of whom are first in their families to go to college. Matt represents many of our faculty who are recognized scholars. #WeAreBC
Well, back to last week…. Whew, what a week. Lots of travel. And I made sure that I remembered my power cord, phone and other necessities…. The week started on Martin Luther King Jr. day on Monday January 16th.
Martin Luther King Jr. will be a person who forever stands out in people’s minds as a leader who gave voice to the injustice of social inequality and racism, and demonstrated “non-violent civil disobedience as a means to expose racial injustice.” I was surprised to know that King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech was not his first at the Lincoln Memorial. Check out this list of ten things you might not know about MLK. How many did you know? Leave a comment after checking out the link! http://tinyurl.com/ktwjdo3
Here is a 17:27-minute youtube video …I have a dream
The week was off to a wonderful start when on Monday, I had the pleasure of attending the annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Awards Breakfast. The morning was hosted by Danny Morrison, local radio personality and columnist with the Bakersfield Californian. The keynote speaker, Bishop Broderick Huggins, is a pastor at St. Paul Baptist Church in nearby Oxnard, CA. As an advocate for higher learning, he earned his Bachelor of Theology, a BA in Religon, a PhD in Religious Philosophy and a PhD in Theology. In 1995, he founded the Saint Paul Seminary and Bible Institute where he currently serves as President and Principal Professor. Bishop Dr. Broderick Huggins spoke truth to power. He told the audience, “Change will not happen unless people are uncomfortable. Justice, mercy, humility work together. We need the hearts of people to change.”
It was fantastic to see the BC gang in attendance at such a great celebration.
I was sitting next to Shannel Tyus, manager of our Student Success Program, and Destiny, a student who wants to get into our nursing program. Loved getting to know both of them. Here is Shanell with her beautiful family. A young mom juggling family with little ones and committed to a greater calling of working with our first generation students and transforming their lives. The Student Success Program that Shanell oversees focuses on best practices of educational planning and others that have had a very positive impact on our students. #WeAreBC
The room was packed and it felt as if the entire community turned out in support. Our political leaders here in Bakersfield and in Sacramento were there in full force. Now for some photos of the event – see for yourself!
Bishop Broderick Huggins, Steve Watkin, Sonya Christian;
Sonya Christian with BPD Chief Lyle Martin;
NaTesha Kindred, Karen Goh, Jay Tamsi, Shannon Grove, Vince Fong
Sonya Christian, Pastor Martha Johnson; David Valadao, Jay Tamsi, Rudy Salas
Shanell Tyus, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Harlan Hunter
Join me in congratulating this year’s award recipients who were recognized make a difference in our community:
Sgt. Claton Madden, Bakersfield Police Dept.
Steven W. Schilling, President & CEO of Clinica Sierra Vista
Manuel Carrizalez, Director & Founder of Stay Focused, Reach for Greatness
Dr. Rhonda Williams, President of The Bakersfield Chapter of the Links, Inc
Dr. Evelyn Young, CSUB, Executive Assistant to the President
Pastor Josephate Jordan, Christ First Ministries
Raquel Jones, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated Bakersfield Chapter
Rev. Dr. Oscar J. Anthony, Pastor St. Peter R.C.C.M. for his passion in unifying the Pastors
Danny Morrison, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 2017 Host
Dr. Bishop Broderick Huggins, Pastor of St. Paul Baptist Church and MLK 2017 Keynote
Guided Pathways and Board of Governors
On Tuesday, Jan 17th, I attended the Board of Governors meeting in Sacramento. I think this was the first meeting with our new California Community College Chancellor, Eloy Ortiz Oakley. If you haven’t had a chance to learn a little about him, check out http://tinyurl.com/3jzbryw for his bio and this recent article from The Los Angeles Times, “Long Beach educator will be first Latino to lead California community colleges.”
The Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges sets policy and provides guidance for the 72 districts and 113 colleges that constitute the system. The 17-member Board is appointed by the Governor and formally interacts with state and federal officials and other state organizations.
I was happy to see Gary Reed who warmly welcomed me and was supportive as I got ready to present to the BOG on Guided Pathways. Member Reed lives in the Tulare area and spoke positively about the linked learning program with Porterville College, the High School and the community. So happy to have one of our very own from the Central Valley on the BOG. I also learned that Pauline Larwood was also on the BOG when she was on the KCCD Board of Trustees.
I co-presented with Vice Chancellor for Institutional Effectiveness, Theresa Tena who is wonderful to work with. And Mario Rodriguez, Vice Chancellor of Finance, who presented the Governor’s budget to the BOG is just fabulous.
The other two BOG members that I have blogged about are Arnoldo Avalos and Connie Conway. Here is a picture of both of them with Trustee Romeo Agbalog from April 29, 2016 when they visited Bakersfield College.
I was really impressed with the level and sophistication of discussion. As I opened my remarks, I told them that the CA Community Colleges were in very good hands under their leadership. The president of the BOG Cecelia Estalano is one smart person and facilitated complicated discussions in a very skillful manner. Wow!
I am not sure if I’ve already blogged about an article written by Nick Strobel and me about Guided Pathways that was published in the League for innovations, but here it is….
BOG Member Pamela Haynes who is also a member of the Board of Trustees of the Los Rios district mentioned that 9-page article as a must-read in understanding Guided Pathways. Yes! Here is a picture of Pamela Haynes.
I also want to give s shout out to the student member of the BOG Eman Dalili. He is a smart, caring young man and I was so proud sitting in the audience watching him engage with the discussions.
Kern Education Round table
You may recall I shared with you information regarding the California Community College Chancellor’s Office announcing their investment of $15 million to support local communities in coming together to guarantee students a mechanism to complete their first two years of higher education in a community college, where they can seamlessly transfer to a university, or become competitively employable for careers with family-sustaining wages.
Bakersfield College is answering the call in response to the California College Promise Innovation Grant request for applications by proposing to introduce The Bakersfield Promise Program (a scaled iteration of The Renegade Promise) in close partnership with Kern High School District (thank you Superintendent Bryon Schaefer) and California State University Bakersfield (thank you President Horace Mitchell). On December 21st, educational, political, and business community leaders in Kern met at BC in the Fireside Room for the first of three College Promise Education Roundtables. Check out my Dec 24, 2016 blog https://sonyachristianblog.com/2016/12/24/happy-holidays-from-bc/. The third will most likely be on March 8, 2017 from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. with a potential public statement from the three institutions.
BC staff joined together this past Wednesday, January 18th with community partners from Kern Community Foundation (thank you Kristen Barnes) and educational partners from Kern Community College District (KCCD), Kern High School District (KHSD), as a smaller operational work team to continue the conversation and narrow in on the strategy for our collaborative work ahead. Dr. Janet Fulks and Shanell Tyus (BC) facilitated the discussion by providing an overview of our grant application and goals, and solicited feedback from attendees.
Vickie Spanos led members of KHSD in a discussion about their successes to date in closing achievement gaps among Kern High School District students as they prepare for graduation and college entry. Recommendations on opportunities to partner further as the promise unfolds were shared and received with great enthusiasm! The information shared will continue to guide not only the final development of the grant application, but the direction of The Bakersfield Transfer Promise.
Dr. Kristen Barnes from Kern Community Foundation (KCF) shared highlights from the work done through the College Access Convening Committee and the importance of continuing the great work shared among these educational and community partners. She also shared information regarding the potential for financial partnership opportunities through scholarships made possible by Kern donors. Kristen is a rock star!
Guests in attendance included:
KCCD Associate Vice Chancellor John Means,
From KHSD: Vickie Spanos, Christy Fraley, Ben Sherley, and Ryan Geivet,
From Kern Community Foundation: Dr. Kristen Barnes,
From Bakersfield College: Dr. Janet Fulks, Dr. Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Rich McCrow, Dr. Stephen Waller, Keri Kennedy, Dr. Nicky Damania, Steve Watkin, Cindy Collier, Dr. Emmanuel Mourtzanos, Jennifer Achan, Marissa Marquez, Michelle Pena, Dr. Zav Dadabhoy, Tom Gelder, Sandi Taylor, Shanell Tyus, Cornelio Rodriguez and
Renegade Promise Program Student Magdalena Pantelon.
As we near the completion and submission of our grant application we are thankful for close educational, industry, and political partners. The synergy surrounding this promise to students and members of the Kern community is taking us through the home stretch!
Coach Paula Dahl
Our Renegade Women’s Basketball team is led by Coach Paula Dahl, who recorded her milestone 300th win earlier this season, and in my opinion she’s one of those folks whose influence transcends even her athletes and students.
Her team opened the season with five straight losses. And while Coach Dahl was dejected, she never gave up, and she showed us all what a “Coach Dahl-type team” is; it’s a group of athletes who each have specific skills but not necessarily the complete package as individual athletes. But Coach Dahl’s superpower is in bringing together those individuals where each of their strengths can shine, and benefit one another. Yes, Coach Dahl builds TEAMS.
If you think about it, this is what we should all be doing – helping peers, family members, and friends put their best strength forward while not drawing attention to their faults, and having folks in your circle doing the same for you.
I’ve learned that saying “it’s not about the wins” is more than a well-worn sports cliché at Bakersfield College; it’s part of the Renegade Way…and I’m learning more and more about that hallowed code with every athletic event I attend!
East Hills Mall
On Wednesday, big plans were revealed by the owners of the East Hills Mall. The plans for a 350,000-square-foot “destination open-air lifestyle center” are showcased in an article by the Bakersfield Californian. Check out the exciting news at http://tinyurl.com/z9qxjql
Even though the weather this week did not quite feel like “spring has sprung,” the Spring 2017 semester is very much alive at Bakersfield College. It’s an incredible sight to see eager students already at-home on campus when I drive in every morning. They’re excited to learn and browsing through books, checking their cell phones, and chatting with fellow students. The first week of a new semester is always a fantastic time… Isn’t there something great about opening up a brand new book, or writing on the first page of a new notebook?
Healthy Campus Designation
Our campus is lively, and we’re also healthy! On Jan. 13, First Lady Michelle Obama joined representatives from BC and the other Healthy Campus Challenge winning schools for a group photo. Alexa Rivera, Ray Purcell, and Vincente Lopez visited on behalf of our campus and I’d love to share an email from our two students sharing their experience.
“Dear President Christian,
As representatives of the Student Health Advisory, thank you again for the opportunity to represent Bakersfield College at the White House to receive the Healthy Campus Challenge Award. Both Vicente and I are extremely grateful. As expected, Vicente and I were able to gain valuable information from our current government leaders about, not only health care reform, but also about student leadership and advocacy. Throughout the White House Healthy Campus event, Vicente and I were able to converse with several influential leaders ranging from individuals that not only represented the 60 campuses in attendance, but also the Senior Manager of Partnerships, for the Partnership for a Healthier America. In addition to expanding our professional networks, we were also able to listen to several government leaders, such as the Senior Advisor to the President, emphasize the importance of student involvement. They explained that students are the most influential voice in a college campus. Because of our understanding of our student body, we, the students, have the ability to positively impact our college campuses through our involvement. After the panel discussions and speakers at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, we were fortunate to be invited to the East Wing of the White House. There we met First Lady, Michelle Obama, and a portrait was taken of the campus participants with the First Lady. Mrs. Obama explained that although all of our present healthcare may soon change as a result of defunding the Affordable Care Act, the goal of making sure that people throughout the nation are insured in healthcare is and will always be an important issue that we as a nation have to continue to work towards. The First Lady was also very appreciative of our work throughout the White House Healthy Campus Challenge, building on the increased enrollment among the demographic group who is most inequitably under covered and who’s academic careers are vulnerable to unexpected illness. All in all, the experiences Vicente and I have gained have not only empowered us to continue to improve the overall health and well being of Bakersfield College, but it has also motivated us to continue to work hard and be engaged. We are hopeful that after we are able to relay our gained experiences and knowledge to our student body, that they too will be motivated to continue to work towards their goals. This has truly been a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Alexa Rivera and Vicente Lopez”
That’s all for now.
Until next week.
With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.
sonya — the luckiest and happiest college president ever