Tag Archives: David Couch

KCCD leaders with our communities

We are wrapping up our third week of the Fall 2021 semester, and all three of our campuses have been alive with the bustle of students, faculty, and staff. We’ve also welcomed the return of athletics on our campuses. I invite you to follow our Porterville College Pirates, Cerro Coso Community College Coyotes, and Bakersfield College Renegades throughout the season.

This week, I was honored to speak at the Rotary Club of Bakersfield Downtown’s meeting on Thursday.

I shared some of the work that has been happening over the past few years, and throughout the pandemic, and the plans for the next five years. #KCCDDaringMightyThings

I am grateful for the deep and meaningful connections our colleges have to our communities.

Good morning, friends…
It is September 4, 2021.
The sun shines bright over KCCD.

This week, the Pirates, the Coyotes, and the Renegades continue to 

Porterville College

PC brings new Leadership to Equity and Diversity efforts

Porterville College’s new Director of Equity and Student Success hopes to use his background in Equity and Inclusion to strengthen the student experience. 

Dr. Julian West

Dr. Julian West holds two degrees from California State University, Bakersfield: a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and an M.B.A. with an emphasis in Marketing. Additionally, He has studied at San Diego State University where he earned a doctorate degree in Educational Leadership with an emphasis in community college leadership. Before coming to Porterville College, Julian was serving as a Director at the Career Ladders Project. While at Career Ladders, Dr. West assisted in developing equity work at various community colleges across the state.

Prior to that, he served as the Educational Advisor for African American Success at Bakersfield College. While at BC, the college received the innovation of the year award from the Community College League of Innovation for the African American Mentor Program (AAMP).

PC Students RUSH to join clubs on campus

Porterville College held its first Club Rush event of the Fall Semester this past week, bringing students to the quad to explore different choices for student clubs available on campus. 

Club Rush is held every semester to promote campus clubs, student involvement, and recruitment. Due to the Pandemic, this is our first time hosting the event in-person for over a year.

Various clubs were in attendance to provide students with information on things that might meet their interests –whether those interests be academic, career or hobby. From honor societies, to LGBTQIA+ clubs, to entertainment and cultural clubs, Club Rush had a wide variety to choose from.

The RUSH for club recruitment continues next week with another day in the quad for students on Wednesday, September 8th.

PC Sports ask students to MASK UP!

The Porterville College Men’s Basketball and Women’s Volleyball Teams were seen on social media asking students to wear their masks.  They have been taking to Twitter, Instagram and Facebook in recent days with the hashtag #PiratesMaskUp. Go Pirates! 

Cerro Coso Community College

Cheers for Charity Pulls Out All the Stops

Math Instructor at the Tehachapi campus Jaclyn Kessler and President Sean Hancock pose for a picture in front of the Cheers for Charity welcome banner.

The CCCC Foundation would like to thank Cheers for Charity for selecting Cerro Coso Community College as a recipient of this year’s wine, food, and beer fundraiser in Tehachapi.  The fun, laid-back atmosphere boasted an awesome selection of food, wine, beer, music, and games all in support of local non-profits. 

Guests sipped, savored, mixed and mingled their way through an impressive number of local award-winning wines, craft beers, homebrews, and culinary exhibits. 

The evening was a breath of fresh air with some of the most passionate and knowledgeable volunteers. the event was a great way to enjoy everything the region has to offer. Proceeds will benefit Cerro Coso Promise Scholarships for Tehachapi students.

Library Supports ISEP Students

The Cerro Coso Library is pleased to announce a new “Core Academic Collection” of print reference titles for the Tehachapi Prison D-Yard Library! This collection of over 200 titles was purchased with Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) funding and was curated with input from ISEP faculty. 

The collection includes such titles as:  African American Culture: An Encyclopedia of People, Traditions, and Customs; American Prisons and Jails: An Encyclopedia of Controversies and Trends; Economics: The Definitive Encyclopedia from Theory to Practice; The Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice; Encyclopedia of Psychology; and The International Encyclopedia of Anthropology. The collection addresses a gap in access to academic sources at the prison, most recently made clear by students taking LIBR C111 “Advanced Library Research and Information Studies.” 

When asked to contribute to the library blog, students were eager to reflect on the social, psychological, and physiological impacts of living in an information-restricted environment while their non-incarcerated peers are living in an information-saturated society.

Read their blog posts at: cerrocoso.libguides.com/blog

Ridgecrest Parade of 1,000 Flags to remember 20th anniversary of 9/11

September 11, 2021, will mark the 20th anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks in the U.S. that killed 2,977 people and injured more than 6,000 others. Cerro Coso will participate in this year’s Parade of 1,000 Flags in Ridgecrest on September 11, 2021 at 9 a.m.  

Despite our shared grief in the aftermath of 9/11, hope, resilience, and unity lifted us up as a nation. Twenty years later, these lessons are more important than ever.  Since 2008 the Parade of 1,000 Flags has become one of the community’s signature events. 

As a nation we vowed to “never forget” and on this day Cerro Coso students, employees, and family members will march in unity with others in remembrance of those who were killed and injured in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, as well as the many rescue and recovery workers and members of the military who bravely rose in service in response.

Bakersfield College

BC to Offer License Renewal Course for Smog Repair Technicians

Bakersfield College announced that they will offer a 12-hour Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) License Update Training course required for smog repair technician license renewal.

The 12-hour course, UTO47 – Advanced Valve Timing and Engine Mechanical Diagnostic, along with the required BAR 4-hour online course, will satisfy the inspector update training requirements.

The course will be taught in-person on the Panorama campus September 16th, September 17th, September 23rd and September 24th from 6:00pm – 9:00pm. BC is meeting the rising need for continual education opportunities for Smog Repair Technicians.

Interested individuals may sign up by contacting the Career Education office.

Bakersfield College to Host AWE Education Series Webinar I on Tuesday

On September 7 at 10 a.m., the Bakersfield College Energy Technology Transfer and Workforce Development initiative is hosting its first webinar in the Agriculture/Water/Energy (AWE) Education Series. The webinar, “An Introduction to Existing and Potential Opportunities in Kern County” features a panel of local stakeholders and national researchers sharing their perspectives on emerging opportunities and technology within their respective fields.

The panelists are – Roger Aines, Senior Scientist and energy researcher at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; Patricia Poire, Executive Director at the Kern Groundwater Authority; and Joe Ashley, Director of Regulatory and External Affairs at California Resources Corporation.

To attend this event, Register for the AWE Webinar.

James Fitzgerald, Criminal Profiler and Forensic Linguist “Visits” Bakersfield College

BC students, faculty, staff, and community members were treated to a presentation about the Unabom serial bomber investigation this week. James Fitzgerald, criminal profiler, forensic linguist and author, shared stories of his involvement in the Unabom case and his experience in other cases as a forensic linguist. He was live via Zoom and on BSGA’s Facebook. Recordings will be available soon.

You may have seen the Discovery Channel’s scripted mini-series Manhunt: Unabomber that aired in August 2017. Fitzgerald was portrayed by actor Sam Worthington and shared a few photos and compared real life events with how it was portrayed on TV.  He also shared a few experiences with his consultant work on CBS’s Criminal Minds. He finished his presentation with advice for students on entering the forensic linguist and criminal profiler fields and advice for reaching the goal of working for the FBI.

This was the first of this year’s Distinguished Speaker Series (DSS) which brings community leaders from around the world to benefit Bakersfield with their knowledge and experience. The speakers are brought to us by the BCSGA and Office of Student Life in collaboration with departments and faculties of Bakersfield College. Thank you to Pam Smith, Professor of Criminal Justice, for coordinating this event. 

Don’t miss the rest of the series! Check out the schedule, which includes Rob Reiner in April, at BC Distinguished Speaker Series.

Webinars to discuss C.O.P. The Color of Power: Odyssey of a Black Cop Webinar

The Levan Center for the Humanities is kicking off this year’s lineup of events on Thursday, September 9th, with two virtual events starring our own Tommy Tunson. Tommy will be hosting two webinars on Thursday that are based on his recent book: The Color of Power: Odyssey of a Black Cop. Since these events are webinars, they require advanced registration. The times and links are below. Please tell your students about these webinars and encourage them to attend, again underscoring that they must register in advance. As always, thanks for all of your support, and I look forward to see all of you Thursday!

After decades of civil unrest protesting police brutality against communities of color, the George Floyd murder has provided a long-awaited catalyst in demanding necessary reform. Local Leader Dr. Tommy Tunson Advocates for Unity between Law Enforcement & Communities of Color. Kern County Author Releases New Book, The “Color of Power: Odyssey of a Black Cop.”  “Sylvester Stone” is the pen name of Dr. Tunson. This book is one cop’s story of the internal struggle of being a cop of color. All students and community members are invited to hear his amazing story! This event is highly recommended for CJ students and law enforcement professionals. September 9th, 1100 am and 5:00 pm.

Sign up for this motivating webinar:

11am registration link: https://cccconfer.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_FMMXwh04SAS64tDYoAEWag

5pm registration link: https://cccconfer.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_OgWh_J9dQweipiH0wCZokQ

Professors win grant to bring attention to the farmworker movement

BC History Professor Oliver Rosales is co-directing a grant with CSUB’s Adam Sawyer who directs liberal studies.  They worked together on projects dating back a decade. 

This grant award builds upon Energizing Humanities in California’s San Joaquin Valley, a NEH grant wrapping up at KCCD (2017-2021).  While the existing grant focused exclusively on community college faculty within KCCD, this new NEH landmarks grant will expand opportunities for 72 K-12 educators to learn about historical landmarks in the San Joaquin Valley during a professional development opportunity in summer 2022.

Poetry Corner

Photo of Rockport

Last week, I shared the fifth part in Jack Hernandez‘s Rockport in June series.

Please enjoy Part 6:

With its flicking light
the lighthouse signals
the island’s existence
in this thick night,
I go to bed with hope
that such a sign
will let me know
I still have
many places to go.

In the News

Community Voices: The mighty thing about early college

KCCD Trustee Romeo Agbalog wrote this piece in the Bakersfield Californian about the next step in BC’s Early College Program.

“So in a few weeks, join Bakersfield College and McFarland High School-Early College in daring mighty things in announcing a new opportunity for high school students to earn a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Automation in five years. In partnership, Bakersfield College and McFarland High School–Early College has removed barriers and created an opportunity for all students with the chance to have a college education, regardless of their circumstance or background.”

COUCH’S CORNER: State agriculture secretary visits District 4

My visit with Secretary Ross concluded at McFarland High School, where we were greeted by the school’s audiovisual production class. McFarland High School students also gave a tour of the agriculture and industrial automation degree programs offered at the campus. I would be remiss if I did not mention that roughly 26 percent of the students graduate with an AA degree from Bakersfield Community College. The high school students also had a separate robotics challenge on display, and we took a tour of their recently renovated welding shop.

Read more: https://www.bakersfield.com/delano-record/couchs-corner-state-agriculture-secretary-visits-district-4/article_0b763424-0d12-11ec-a59a-639fca298275.html

Community Voices: The matter of religious liberty on vaccines

Let me start by thanking those who decided to get a COVID-19 vaccination. Your decision has reduced my chances of getting COVID-19 and has reduced the chance of all the children under 12 getting COVID-19, children who do not have a choice because they cannot get the vaccine. Whether you decided because of a self-interest in not wanting to risk getting seriously ill or because of a sense of social responsibility in being part of a society that can only thrive by cooperating and helping each other out — whatever the reason, thank you. Because COVID-19 is a very infectious disease, your decision affects my and other people’s health.

Read more: https://www.bakersfield.com/opinion/community-voices/community-voices-the-matter-of-religious-liberty-on-vaccines/article_89900a40-0c06-11ec-889a-c70a8a58b8fb.html

Leadership Porterville Class of 22 introduced

Esther Avila of The Porterville Recorder wrote this article about the Leadership Porterville Class of 22. This year’s class includes Refugio Rodriguez, CTE/Dual Enrollment Director at Porterville College. PC President Claudia Habib was the keynote speaker at the event.

Fun Photos/Spotted on Social Media

PC President Claudia Habib shared these photos from the Leadership Porterville event:

Cerro Coso Athletics shared a post from their kick off Cosolympics 2021 event:

Jennifer Garrett shared this great photo from a BC Chamber Singers rehearsal:

And I loved this adorable picture Cheryl Scott shared of her dog, Remi:

Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez, left, and BC program manager Stacey Shepard, right, show off their BC pride. Supervisor Perez has been going out with BC canvassers as part of our door-to-door, on-site vaccine effort in partnership with UCLA’s Get Out the Vaccine project and our community partners Dignity Health, Kern Health Systems and Hall Ambulance.

Dr. Kimberly Bligh with a TRIO student

Pictures from the Rotary meeting on Sep 2, 2021



That’s a wrap for now.
See you next Saturday!

The future is bright at KCCD.

a joyful and grateful Chancellor


The State of Kern County…is Strong!

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is “Good Friday” morning.  The start of a three-day weekend leading up to Easter.  Easter, this year, falls on March 27th, my dad Paul’s birthday.  He passed away 10 years ago so Sunday is going to be an extra special day.

A relatively calm week at BC with students away on Spring Break.  Walking the quiet campus yesterday, I enjoyed the grounds and the buildings that were so meticulously planned in the 1950’s when the leadership of the campus and the community decided to bring the 40 year old college from Bakersfield High School to the hill.  1801 Panorama Drive….the Home of the Renegades.  A campus carefully planned by visionary leaders 60 years ago.  Jerry Ludeke sent this email to me on March 22nd emphasizing the point of “big thinking” and “big vision.” (Thank you Jerry for taking care of our archives, a gem at BC). Here is an excerpt from Jerry’s email:

Norm Harris

Norm Harris

The document is a letter written from Norm Harris, Coordinator of Vocational-Technical Education who became recognized nationally in that field.  He was reporting to Ralph Prator, the president assigned to build the new campus, on a conference Harris had with Theron Taber, the Assistant District Superintendent in Charge of Business Affairs who had been interim director of BC in the few months between Grace Bird and Ralph Prator.  In 1952 they were in the visioning stage of campus development.  Norm Harris and Theron Taber had different opinions about the path to take:  Taber was thinking in the Present-Static; Harris was thinking in the Future-Expanding.  Fortunately for us in the 60 ensuing years, the vision Norm Harris had won out.

Now, in 2016, we find ourselves in the same spot.  What do we do to take care of this campus for future generations in the next 50 years–2016 to 2066?  Our Board of Trustees is seriously considering a potential bond on the Nov 8, 2016 ballot.  In fact, this year’s Sterling Silver dinner on March 31st, which is sold out btw, will be at the Petroleum Club instead of the cafeteria.  One of the reasons for this shift is due to the fact that the cafeteria needs fixing. The BC Foundation Executive Director Tom Gelder was on KGET this morning talking about Sterling Silver which will be emceed by Alissa Carlson.  Thank you KGET for being a great partner of Bakersfield College!

Paul Beckworth Ellen Eggert Sonya Christian March 24 2016

Paul Beckworth, Ellen Eggert, Sonya Christian

This past week with most students and faculty not being on campus, the rest of us used the time to catch up on work.  I tried to squeeze in some time to do some writing but alas, how time flies.  On Thursday, Paul Beckworth, Armando Trujillo and I attended the Kern County Veterans Collaborative and heard Ellen Eggert speak about depression, suicide and suicide prevention.  It was a sobering topic and she approached it directly, or as a friend says “through the front door.” I was struck by the significant number of serious tragedies that Eggert herself encountered, yet there she was, pragmatically approaching the topic of depression and suicide and giving us strategies and tools to approach a loved one or a stranger to help support them through these life changing times.   I learned from her that BC’s Student Health and Wellness Director Ray Purcell is bringing her on campus on April 13th.



In her presentation Ellen Eggert referred to the book Lincoln’s Melancholy: How Depression Challenged a President and Fueled His Greatness by Joshua Wolf Shenk, published in 2006. The entire presentation weighed on me, which led to several walks yesterday, and then to exploring writeups on this book later in the evening.  I found Shenk’s precursor article in the October 2005 issue of the Atlantic Monthly.  Here it is  http://tinyurl.com/zbc3lzq and here is a powerful quote by Shenk

Abraham Lincoln fought clinical depression all his life, and if he were alive today, his condition would be treated as a “character issue” — that is, as a political liability.  His condition was indeed a character issue: it gave him the tools to save the nation.

The Kern County Veterans Collaborative is an active group dedicated to finding resources for our vets.  After the presentation by Eggert, Randy Dickow, chair of the collaborative called for a moment of silence in remembrance of Vernon Valenzuela who passed away several years ago on March 26th.  Vernon was a Vietnam veteran and after he came back he went to BC and started the Veterans Club at BC in the seventies.  He dedicated his life to veterans issues in Kern County and in fact  helped get the Veterans Court into place.  Armando Trujillo, BC’s student vets advisor, was the very first recipient of the Veterans Court.  Vernon Valenzuela, you are a legend in Kern County….we salute you!

You will enjoy this piece in the Bakersfield Californian by Ashley Fisher on Nov 9, 2011 on Vernon. http://tinyurl.com/jas6hgd.  I was not able to find a photo of Vernon on the web so if you have one, send it my way and I will upload it on this blog post.

Btw, Randy Dickow asked us to “like” the Kern County Veterans Collaborative’s facebook page at http://tinyurl.com/h3uxhax

Talking about my activities on Thursday, March 24th, I attended our downtown Rotary meeting after the Veterans Collaborative meeting.  The presenter was Phil Meyer, President and CEO of Valley PBS.  Meyer is a great story teller and his visuals would have made David Koeth very happy.  He talked about the history of journalism and then moved into the future of journalism.  Loved the stories about the evolution of the New York Times, my favorite newspaper, as well as the impact that social media is having on traditional journalism.


Mick Gleason

On January 27th, I attended, for the very first time, the Kern County Board of Supervisors’ 2016 State of the County address, another area event that put a bright spotlight on the county and its lofty goals and achievements.


Before I even get to the speech delivered by Board Chairman and First District Supervisor Mick Gleason, I have to praise the county for the technical brilliance of their presentation.  As part of a group here at BC who produce large-scale events like Opening Day and graduation ceremonies on a regular basis, I was truly blown away by the grandeur and scope of the county’s event celebrating.  [Detour: you have got to check out my January 23, 2016 blog post Spring Opening Day: The Force is with…BC.  It is a lot of fun and you will see the brilliance of Manny De Los Santos, Francis Mayer, Shannon Musser and Dylan Wang  http://tinyurl.com/zh94cgy]  The professionalism of State of the County production — from the lighting all the way down to their slick Teleprompter system — made you feel like you were actually at a presidential State of the Union address.


Leticia Perez

Mick Gleason’s speech was great (which you can read in its entirety here or watch video of the speech on the County’s website), and I felt a great sense of pride being part of Kern County.  I repeatedly say that it is a good time to be at BC….and I will say, it is a good time to be in Kern County.


With 2016 serving as the county’s 150th anniversary, Gleason began with an engaging trip through his own personal Irish Catholic upbringing before paralleling that journey with Kern County’s own history over the past century-and-a-half.

Check out the “by the numbers” video the County assembled to drive home the long road Kern has followed to get us to today.


David Couch

Gleason’s walk down memory lane recounted many of Kern’s greatest contributions to the state and the rest of America, from the table grapes and pistachios of its vibrant agriculture industry, to the stunning technological innovations in military aviation and national defense that have sprung from work at the nation’s premier weapons lab and testing ground at China Lake.


While reveling in our 150 years of County accomplishments, Gleason also jumped into the nitty-gritty of Kern County’s position in 2016 — a position that wouldn’t be as sound and reasoned as it is without the Board’s courage of leadership.



Zach Scrivner

“We are truly blessed people with a great story and we need to celebrate our blessings,” Gleason said.

With a recent state of unease surrounding Kern County’s once-booming oil industry, Gleason was quick to warn against writing its epitaph just yet.


“The story of oil in Kern County is still being written and, I assure you, it’s far from finished,” Gleason said.  “We are not defined by the price of a barrel of oil, or how much rain falls from the sky, but rather by the character of the people who live here. We have achieved great things in the past, and we are going to do amazing things in the future.”


Mike Maggard

While we’re all aware we face challenges as a county going forward (but who doesn’t?), it’s comforting to know our fortunes are in the capable hands of men and women like Mick Gleason, Zack Scrivner, Mike Maggard, David Couch, Leticia Perez.  Thank you Kern County Board of Supervisors!

Check out my  blog on the time I attended the Board of Supervisor’s meeting when they approved the funding for the Game Changer project in Arvin, a collaborative project with Mike Turnipseed (Kern Tax), Leticia Perez (Supervisor), Bryon Schaefer (KHSD) and Bakersfield College.

August 4, 2015. Does it take a Village or does it take a Countyhttp://tinyurl.com/glpeubo.