Tag Archives: Dr. Nicky Damania

Welcoming Students – It’s Fall 2017

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is August 26, 2017… a fabulous first week of classes.  And a great day to be a Renegade!

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Welcoming Students Back on Campus

With an over 6.5% increase in students, we knew the level of activity on campus this week would be intense… and it was intense, but it was wonderful! It’s always incredible to see the hallways filled and the campus full and alive with students excited to learn.

See our enrollment growth over the last four years

Enrollments

Steve Watkin Welcome Center Fall 2017The Office of Student Life had four welcome tents around Panorama campus for staff and faculty Renegades to greet arriving students and be available to help them with campus information and student planners. The tables were at the Administration Building, AREA building, swimming pool, and outdoor theater.  Student Life also had two golf carts roaming the campus offering rides and guidance to students as they walked around campus. Delano Campus also greeted students at a welcome tent at the DST Building.

Within the Student Life office, staff doubled up with student employees to help ensure that lines were minimal. Multiple activities were hosted around campus to ensure that students had something to do between classes. Student Life also created posters and banners to help provide directions. BCSGA hosted a table on the Renegade Crossroads where they were able to help students and talk about BC.

Food services increased their grab-and-go items, and I even saw Chef Sabella running the register to help move students through quickly. There was a constant flow through the Panorama Grill and Food Court.

The Counseling and Advising Center has provided a dedicated line for quick questions staffed by Counselors to ensure that students with holds or pre-requisite issues are seen in a timely manner. Dedicated workshops were being held throughout the day and assigned advisors were providing extended support to serve students till 6:30pm through the Welcome Center.  Outreach and School Relations extended their open hours to assist students with their schedule needs, answer any questions, and equip all new students with student ID cards.

Public Safety had patrol officers conducting high visibility patrols in the parking lots. They, too, assisted students with questions regarding parking permits and where their classes were located on campus. We set up a right-turn-only traffic direction out the main driveway to assist students and staff to exit the campus easily onto Haley Street. This right-turn-only exit has helped in deterring congestion.

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On Monday, BCSGA hosted a tie-dye event where students could design their own shirts. Then on Tuesday, they hosted an ice cream social while giving the scoop on student organizations, encouraging everyone to get involved! Wednesday’s activities featured a live band at lunch and BC bowling in the Fireside Room, and on Thursday, it was movie day featuring Guardian of the Galaxy Vol. 2, with popcorn!

Who is ready for week 2?!

Viewing the eclipse on campus

One of BC’s three new Physics faculty, Dr. Timothy Plett, took his Physical Sciences B12 class outside to see the solar eclipse. Students got to use filtering glasses that allowed them to see the moon in front of the sun in high detail without harming their eyes. In the spirit of college faculty from 100 years ago, Dr. Plett instructed his class today in full regalia. Here is Professor LeBlanc providing views of the eclipse to students.

Check out Nick Strobel’s Facebook site to view great images.  Here is one post from August 21st.

Eclipse Nick Strobel August 21 2017

More screen captures from Facebook

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Bookstore Lines Aug 22 2017 Mary Jo Pasek Facebook

Matt Garrett the 2017 Francis Armstrong Madsen Best Book Award

Jen Garrett about Matt Garrett's award Aug 22 2017

New Hydration Stations

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Itzel Buenrostro

The Office of Student Life is excited to announce the addition of two new filtered Hydration Stations at the Panorama Campus. The Hydration Stations promote water conservation and healthy hydration. You can now fill up your large cups or water bottles at these two stations with the push of a button! The new stations are located in the Campus Center in the quad, and in the Gym next to vending machines near the Athletics Offices.

These additions were funded through the collaborative efforts of Kern Health Systems, Kern Schools Federal Credit Union, and the Office of Student Life. In celebration of these new additions, Student Life and BCSGA is announcing September 5th-7th as Healthy Hydration Week. We challenge each of you to utilize the Hydration Stations to fill your water bottles and stay hydrated. As a special incentive to students, Renegade Pantry Recipients who sign up for the August 31st monthly distribution will receive a free water bottle with their distribution bag. Please encourage your students to sign up for food by visiting www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/studentassistance/food.

Thank you to Kern Health Systems and Kern Schools Federal Credit Union for their assistance in accomplishing this task! Be on the lookout for more healthy habits coming soon from the Office of Student Life.

Sustainability is one of BC’s six Core Values.  Here it is:

Sustainability Core Value

Renegade Athletics

WrestlingState_ad_hocIt’s a great time to be at BC and it’s a great time for BC Athletics. Renegade Football begins in a few days and Renegade Wrestling is preparing for its first meet during the Bakersfield Duals September 9th starting at 9AM. You can check out the Wrestling Schedule for the rest of the semester on the athletics website, but two upcoming dates to mark on your calendar are Saturday, 9/9: Bakersfield Duals, 9AM and Thursday, 10/26: Victor Valley, 7PM.

Yesterday, BC Men’s Soccer hosted their home opener against Santa Monica College and The Bakersfield Californian highlighted the team in an article titled, “Renegades men’s soccer wants to take a second-year leap.” The article says, “BC also has several quality newcomers to its roster. Martinez believes one of the team’s biggest strengths is the play of midfielders Hernandez, Melendez, Luke Tovar (Stockdale High) and Danny Guerrero (East High, Taft College). ‘Everybody is very important, but our midfield group has been pushing the pace throughout our training, just making everybody better with their touch, their passing,’ Martinez said. ‘We’re very excited about the way they are playing.’”  VayronCoverArt_copy.jpgCross Country is also preparing for a brand new year. The Californian also highlighted both the women’s and men’s teams in an article titled, “Lots of changes for BC cross country teams.” The article spotlights some upcoming hopefuls and names to keep on your radar while also mentioning there are big shoes to fill. Specifically, it was shared that the women’s team qualified for CCCAA State Championship last year, but this year “… the BC men’s team has more runners and more experience at the junior college level than its female counterpart.”

Thank you Stephen Lynch at the Bakersfield Californian for the spotlights on BC athletics.

To stay up-to-date on all things Renegade Athletics, visit gogades.com!

SGA Retreat at Cerro Coso

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On Monday, August 14th, the student governments from Cerro Coso Community College and Bakersfield College met for their annual KCCD SGA Retreat in Ridgecrest. The day encompassed of various workshops and exercises to engage the officers in developing their leadership skills while bonding as a collective student voice for KCCD. Vice President of Student Services at Cerro Coso, Heather Ostash, presented to them on the importance of engaging in the participatory governance at the college, district, and state levels.

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Dr. Nicky Damania engaged the officers in a team building exercise of a simulation of being trapped in an earthquake, while Pam Campbell, SGA at Cerro Coso, explored the officers’ personality types through MBTI. The morning also included a working lunch with the KCCD student Trustee Rayven Acosta-Webb as they all engaged in ways of communication across the district.

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AmeriCorps Member Placement Site

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Bakersfield College received an announcement last week with notification that we have been selected to serve as an AmeriCorps member placement site from the Foundation for California Community Colleges for the 2017-2018 academic year.

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Maria Wright and Yvonne Armendariz

AmeriCorps members will serve as student ambassadors in work-based learning and career exploration for students at Bakersfield College. They will help students access services, improve employability, and prepare for success in college and career.

 

Thank you to the Foundation for California Community Colleges for your support of BC! Here are the two BC administrators who will be the Principal Investigators for the grant: Maria Wright and Yvonne Armendariz.

Jones Gallery

This year’s BC Art Faculty Exhibition at the Wylie and May Louise Jones Gallery inside the library promises to be exciting.

Every year, our art faculty puts together an exhibition of work showcasing all of the artistic techniques and media that they can provide to our students. There will of course be traditional painting, drawing and sculpture, but there will also be photography, video and digital media projects on hand for students to see the work that their talented art professors are capable of both working in and teaching.

The Art Faculty Exhibition runs September 14th through October 13th with a special artists’ reception from 4-7 p.m. on the opening day. The Jones Gallery’s hours of operation to check out the exhibit will be Mondays and Wednesdays from 2:30 to 4 p.m. and Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1-4 p.m.

Industrial & Transportation Technology (ITT) Completion Coaching Community

The Industrial & Transportation Technology (ITT) Pathway Completion Team started the fall semester off with a great orientation for students in this meta-major. It was the team’s first step in “clarifying the path,” the first pillar of our Guided Pathways Initiative. Approximately 50 students attended the event held on the Monday evening prior to the first week of classes.

Martin Perez, California Careers Pathway Trust Grant Program Manager, welcomed the participating students and introduced Antonio Alfaro, Career & Technical Education Advisor, who also spearheaded the Orientation planning. Antonio emphasized the need and importance of developing an educational plan. He provided a list of all the programs in the ITT Pathway and encouraged them to set up appointments with him for educational planning. Lupe Aguirre provided an overview of labor market trends within the Industrial Technology and Transportation Pathway, including career opportunities currently available. She directed them to career education services, such as job search preparation, internships, resume and cover letter critique, interview preparation and upon graduation, and referrals to employment in their field. Kim Arbolante, Writing Center Lead, introduced the students to the types of Academic Support services available and Pita Montes gave an overview of financial aid programs.

Five faculty from programs in the ITT Pathway talked about the courses in their disciplines, types of certificates and degrees available, and types of jobs students would qualify for upon completion of a program. Justin Flint represented the Auto Technology program; Manny Fernandez represented Electronics Technology; Catherine Jones described the new Occupational Safety and Risk Management program; Robert Stewart represented Manufacturing Technology; and Jason Dixon, Engineering and Industrial Technology Department Chair filled in the gaps by describing the remaining programs in the ITT Pathway. It was a great opportunity to showcase programs to students in the ITT Pathway and provide clarity about the path to success in these fields.

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A great partner — President Horace Mitchell

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Mayor Karen Goh. President Sonya Christian, President Horace Mitchell

President Horace Mitchell recently announced his retirement.  He has been a great partner of Bakersfield College and a valuable colleague during the last four years of my presidency.  He has been a great President of our CSUB and a great collaborator.

The official announcement can be found on CSUB’s website available here.

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Valley Fever Walk at Kern County Museum

Emmanual at Fever WalkEmmanuel Limaco was featured in Mayor Karen Goh’s photographs from last Saturday’s Valley Fever Walk at the Kern County Museum. The walk is the culmination of all the charity efforts taking place during Valley Fever Awareness Month, which seeks to spread the word about treatment and prevention of one of the Central Valley’s most debilitating illnesses.

All the proceeds from the Valley Fever walk go to finding a cure and raising awareness of Valley Fever, a dangerous fungal disease endemic to parts of Southwestern North America in general but the San Joaquin Valley in particular. Kern County residents have a 1-3 percent chance of contracting the disease, according to a report by KBAK/KBFX Eyewitness News. Dr. Hans Einstein, a relative of famed physicist Albert Einstein, was the foremost authority on Valley Fever and conducted most of his research at Kern Medical Center in Bakersfield for almost 50 years. The Valley Fever walk, now in its sixth year, is held in his honor.

Harold Pierce of The Bakersfield Californian has been doing great coverage of Valley Fever.  Congressman Kevin McCarthy has set this issue on the national agenda.  Check it out http://tinyurl.com/yadesyxd

A nice note.

Last week, BC Professor, Gayle Richardson was kind enough to send me a message along with a LinkedIn article about the passion of great bosses. I often say that I’m the luckiest and happiest college president ever and it’s because of our incredible faculty, staff, and students. It’s always a treat to see what they’re up to.

Gayle was in Encinitas last week putting together a princess birthday for her granddaughter. Rapunzel came to life and told all of the girls at the party stories and sang songs with them. She ended the email by saying, “I am looking forward to working with the students in one more week and seeing everyone on campus this week.”

Agriculture professor Chris McCraw posted this fun video on Facebook.

 

Check our STEM team on Opening Day sporting some latest tie-dye fashions. Opening Day was filled with smiles and energy ready for the new academic year.

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It’s fall 2017 and it’s a great time to be a Renegade!

Community Members connected to BC:

This week I met Dr. Jim Grimes and while we were talking he told me about his daughter Sarah Grimes who graduated from BC this past May and is now is a transfer student at UC Santa Barbara.  I am always excited to hear stories about BC grads.  And as it turns out Sarah’s mom Tracie is an English faculty member at BC.  Renegades everywhere!

Sara Grimes

Sarah Grimes

So what about Neo?

Poor baby…… Of course, I could hardly work with him recuperating from a recent procedure. Though I have to say he’s been remarkably tolerant and gracious through it all.

He is 54 lbs now.

August 24 2017 Neo right after surgery

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That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Week One of the Summer Semester!

Lily June 16 2017

Calla Lily. June 17 2017

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, June 17, 2017 and a wonderful day to be a Renegade.

Here’s this year’s garden Calla Lily for you.

You can see last year’s on my June 4, 2016 blog post: https://sonyachristianblog.com/2016/06/04/a-community-together/ .

A typical summer week at Bakersfield College — several department retreats where employees get to evaluate last year and then plan for 2017-2018, BC’s incredible Summer Bridge program, and then an underground line from our chiller tanks broke causing the air conditioning to go out.

We had several events planned on campus including Summer Bridge for High School students entering as freshman in Fall 2017 and a high school basketball camp that is hosted by Coach Rich Hughes.  Imaging 200 high school students playing basketball in our gym with no air conditioning and the  temperature forecast to spike to 100 degrees.  Our BC facilities and maintenance group went into action immediately, with alternate plans getting large coolers in the gym so that the event could continue without disruption.

Here is a picture Kimberly Bligh snapped of the Summer Bridge event as they dealt with changes in their plans with the air conditioning down and the high expected to be 96 degrees.

June 16 2017 Summer Bridge

And then our Athletics Director Sandi Taylor, who was worried about the heat in the gym sent me this photo

2017 Summer High School Showcase June 16 2017

This is the email I received from Bill Potter.  BC’s M&O staff rock!  Do you see why I am the luckiest and happiest college president ever…

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Bill Potter

We have been able to isolate the broken water line to only 4 buildings on campus. We are still working to uncover the lines and see the extent of the damage before we can determine how long the repair will take.  Until the repairs can be made these buildings will not have Air Conditioning.

  1. Business Services/Bookstore
  2. LA Building
  3. Forums
  4. Gymnasium
  • Air Conditioning is being restored to the remainder of the campus and all scheduled activities will not be affected.
  • We rented 4 portable swamp coolers and paced them in the Gym for the Basketball Tournament. Coach Hughes has been informed throughout the entire process.
  • I will send another update when we have a timeline for repairs. Our plumbing contractor has assured us they can stay onsite until repairs can be made.  We will do our best to get it restored over the weekend so we can resume Monday morning as normal.

The following team members played an important role in keeping us going today:

Bill Garrett, Landon Webb, Tim Hernandez, Aaron Kidwell, Martin Ramirez, Dennis Spencer, Frank Tinoco, Gilbert Merjil, Jason Brown, David Branson, Dalia Garcia

The rest of the M&O team picked up the slack and kept the campus functioning and other project going.

It was a great team effort.

I love this picture with Charlie, Bill Potter’s son (see below).  This is how we roll at BC.  I remember for Measure J, employees brought out their families to 1675 Chester, our campaign headquarters, to help with phone banking, precinct walking and all other campaign chores. A whole family endeavor.  #WeAreBC!

Thank you to the plumbers from J Noble Binns to helping us fix this major issue that resulted in us shutting down the air conditioning system

So thank you for passing Measure J.  
BC absolutely needs to upgrade its 60-year-old facilities and infrastructure.

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Neo

Neo June 15 2017 at 8 30 pm

Sonya Christian and Neo June 10 2017

 

I continue to be distracted by Neo’s new mannerisms and pranks. He is sweet, smart and learning fast, but he can be fierce with toys and petunias… In three weeks, he has gone from 10 lbs to 24 lbs.  You see him here being sweet while he plays with me and then his stubborn streak sets in when I am attempting to get his attention at 8:30 p.m. to come in and he just sits by the pool and calmly looks at me without budging an inch.  But I must confess that the Golden Retriever sweetness emerges again and he relents and comes in.

The only reason friends now ping me is to discuss the latest and greatest with Neo.  Here is a sample.

Set 1:

Friend: Were you up at 5:00 a.m. to let Neo out for a potty break.

Me: Lol. That was at 3:20 a.m.

Friend: You need a doggy door.

Set 2:

Friend: Is it true that you have to chase Neo around in the wee hours of the morning in damp grass to get back inside the house after he goes potty outside?

Me: emoji of laughter with tears

Friend: And isn’t it true that he will sit and wait for you to get near him, and after  you give chase, just to get up and run away again….and he will do this repeatedly?

 

Enough about Neo.

BC produces leaders

What a powerful picture of leadership!

BCSGA Presidents with Nicky Damania June 16 2017

President Matthew Frazer, President Dezi Von Manos, President Alex Dominguez, President Clayton Fowler, Dr. Nicky Damania

Loved receiving this photo from Dr. Nicky Damania who hosts an annual dinner which he cooks at his house with all the previous presidents of the Bakersfield College Student Government Association (BCSGA).

 

The group met and reminisced about their years while giving advice to the incoming president.

President Alex Dominguez, 2014-15, is going to the University of Mississippi for law school.

President Clayton Fowler, 2015-2016, will finish his Political Science and Public Service degrees is at UC Davis.

President Matthew Frazer, 2016-17 will be starting at CSUB in Political Science.

President Dezi Von Manos, 2017-18, is working on a double degree in Criminal Justice and Communication.

And Dr. Nicky Damania, Director of Student Life, is starting his fourth year at Bakersfield College and is excited for the next year of student leaders

Start of Summer School

On Monday morning, campus felt alive with energy. Students filled the halls in preparation for the first day of summer class and the Welcome Center was full of student activities. The first day of class is always exciting because it marks another new step in the educational journey towards completion. The week, however, was just as exciting for faculty who welcomed new students into their classes and for BC’s Administration, who came together to plan, strategize, and work on the future of BC and student success.

It’s always great to see students on campus and I loved this photo on Instagram!

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Admin Council Retreat

The Admin Council at BC is BC’s entire management team. Administrative Council is a forum for communication on issues and trends affecting Bakersfield College, and communicates directly with the president. Each summer, we gather for retreats which help us recap our accomplishments so far, but more importantly work on our plans for moving the college forward.

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Earl Parsons and Manny De Los Santos took the group photos and luckily the weather on Tuesday was not too hot to be outside. Group photography always presents a unique set of challenges, but I think the photo turned out great. Earl later said in an email, “it’s an honor that I am trusted to capture all kinds of important moments for such a historic and life-changing institution as Bakersfield College.”  What a great team of people we have at BC! Can you see why I’m the happiest and luckiest college president ever?

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Sonya Christian addressing the management team

When I walked in the second day of the retreat, there was our new manager Zach Quiroz tapping the ivories on the piano.  Just beautiful!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There was great panel discussion that left the group with practical take-aways and tools they can use to manage their roles while also creating urgency to implement and improve strategies that work.

Lesley Bonds moderated a fantastic panel which included Tom Gelder on strategic thinking and clarity on priorities, Jennifer Aachan on action orientated communication, Shanell Tyus on clarity in decision making, and Alyse Braaten on starting on the right path and communication.

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Alyse Braaten, Shanell Tyus, Tom Gelder, Lesley Bonds

They shared “8 Things Really Efficient People Do” which is an article by @KevinJDaum. The author points out that focus is vital in his first point that suggests we should stop multitasking. The article goes on to discuss proper planning, appropriate communication, and delegating items that others can do better than we can, especially given our workload. It was a beneficial discussion as we all have the goal to be able to achieve our objectives in record time at BC.

Jennifer Marden, Liz Rozell, and Eric Sabella led a session on recognizing stressors in our lives in order to cope with them,  staying well.  Both Liz Rozell and Eric Sabella did a deep dive when they presented their personal stories, the stressors in their lives and how they cope.  They were open in their descriptions, smart in their thinking and sensitive in their delivery.  Have I told you recently that I am the luckiest and happiest college president…..I get to work with these amazing individuals every day.

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Here is an excerpt from Jennfier Marden’s opening comments:

As the spring semester came to a close, Sonya and I started talking about the various retreats.  Of course at that time there was a lot of energy at BC centered around the Leadership Matters Summit: Reimagining Leadership to Sustain Transformative Change to Advance Student Success & Equity.  The website describes the summit as “three sessions immersed in the theory and practice of change, how to navigate change, how to lead change, how to deal with the friction points, conflicts that arise due to change and above all how to sustain change.”

Sonya and I talked about the amount of change the college is undergoing—from Curriculum to Facilities.  In particular, those of us in this room, the 65 people that comprise the management team of BC, have experienced a substantial amount of change this past academic year.

This seems like a good time to pause and to celebrate the resiliency of the Bakersfield College management team in accomplishing so many things 2016-17!!

From this conversation, and true to form, Sonya asked me to get a team together to facilitate this discussion.  The Holmes-Rahe Stress Inventory that we all completed will frame this session, “Wellness Strategies by Being Aware of Stressors in Our Lives”

Change is inevitable and change isn’t always negative.  Often change is a positive experience… buying a new house, welcoming a new baby to the family, a promotion—all examples of positive change.  But regardless of this, change causes stress… increased responsibility, sleepless nights, and unfamiliar territory.

It is how we manage the stress of change in our lives that is important as this has a direct impact to our overall well-being. If our wellness is compromised, will are not able to give our best to our work or our loved ones.

So in the next 28 minutes, Liz, Eric and I will each share thoughts about our personal results from the stress inventory, and Liz will give us a 50,000ft level look at our group scores.  Be thinking about…  How you navigate change, lead others through change, deal with the friction points and conflicts that arise due to change, and above all… how do you sustain change?  Eric will be asking five of you to share your personal reflections. (373 words)

Bill Moseley, Ramon Puga and Imelda Valdez led a session focused on how to stay organized in moving large quantities of work with quality. Ramon shared with the management team that in his line was work, his goal every morning is to come to work and expect the unexpected.  He also talked about how he has been attempting to delegate more.  Imelda, one of our new managers talked about the power of planning.  She is the Director of our EOP&S program and is right now planning the retreat with her team.  I was really impressed with her clarity and focus.  Bill discussed the tech tools he uses to maximize productivity and keep the work moving.  He reviewed his own strategy, which involves dividing his time into three areas; triage, light work, and deep work.  In triage, the work is focused on guiding input, responding to emails, and completing tasks that can be done in under two minutes.  Triage can be done almost anywhere, and isn’t vulnerable to distraction.  Light work consists of planning, reviewing, researching, and organizing.  This can be done in a mildly distracting environment and is perfect for “open door” times in the office.  Deep work takes uninterrupted time and deep concentration.  Bill described creating his environment for deep work as, “door closed, email turned off, and music with no words playing in the background.  By using these three phases of work, anyone can take control of their inputs and outputs, and increase their productivity.

Janet Fulks and Craig Hayward did a great presentation about BC’s students.  Through data, video and story telling the two of them grounded the discussions on the “why” our work matters…..Our students.  and how education transforms lives.

Here are a few highlights from the powerpoint that Janet and Craig used for their presentation.

Pie Chart Student Demographics June 14 2017

When you think about the “needs” of the BC students think about their background

  • Proportion on Financial Aid 69.6%   (that’s 19,228 students)
  • Proportion First Gen 53.9% (that’s 14,891 students)

This picture captures the need being right now!

Need circle

Here is a powerful bar graph that shows increase in wages with specific skill building cluster classes.  Check out Automotive Technology.

Wage Growth related to Skills Builder

Grace Commiso did brief presentations on both days about how BC is developing 18 completion coaching communities among faculty and staff to coach students through their 15-credits in their first semester and successfully completing their English and math requirements in the first year.  The 18 completion coaching communities are comprised of 10 metamajors and 8 affinity groups.

On Wednesday morning, the team was back at it and Dena Rhoades snapped photos of the beautiful breakfast that fueled us through the morning. Thank you chef Eric Sabella and BC Food Services.

AdminCouncil_Breakfast

I loved this tweet from Nicky Damania:

Executive Office Photo

Executive Office - Getting Set-1

The Executive Office is comprised of the President, the three Vice Presidents and the staff.  Here is the team.  and thank you John Farrand for this fun photo.  We retreated for half a day on Thursday.  Thank you Chris Glaser, Somaly Boles, June Charles, Tracy Hall and Jennifer Marden for organizing the different sessions for the retreat.

 

Saluting Keith Wolaridge

Keith WoolaridgeOn Monday, Tom Gelder met with Keith Wolaridge to present him his plaque from Sterling Silver at Uricchio’s Trattoria. Passing a bond initiative is like raising a child…it takes a village. Keith is one of those people who did whatever was needed to get the word out, to ask for the right endorsements, to write the opinion pieces, to make the phone calls, to bolster people’s spirits. Thank you Keith!

To check out all the recipients of awards at Sterling Silver, check out my blog post: Moments that make up Life.

IT’S POSSIBLE

The Outreach team at BC is gearing up for one of the best express enrollment events yet. Coming up on June 20th, anyone and everyone is invited to attend IT’S POSSIBLE – a one-day express event starting at 8:00AM that will help future and current students, no matter where they are in the enrollment or registration process so they can leave with their class schedule in hand, knowing exactly what classes they’ll be attending in Fall. Thank you to everyone on campus who is preparing for this fantastic day!

Check out the event on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/events/1941376366135105  or RSVP on the website at: https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/itspossible

Its Possible

Come out for the Air Force Band

Exciting things are coming to the campus on the hill. On June 28th, at 7:00PM, the United States Air Force Band of the Golden West will perform a free concert at the Simonsen Outdoor Theater at our beautiful campus. This is FREE to the public so I hope you’ll gather your friends and family and visit the campus to enjoy the music.

The United States Air Force Band of the Golden West is stationed in the San Francisco Bay area at Travis Air Force Base and their goal is to foster positive, long lasting impressions of the Air Force and the United States of America using the power of music. They are headed to the Hollywood Bowl and will perform the entire set for everyone at BC. Let’s show them the warmest Bakersfield welcome by packing the theater. See you there!

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Recycling Event at BC

Bakersfield College is partnering with Happy Recyclers to help our community dispose of any unwanted electronics the right way.

Last year, over 500 people participated, giving away over one million pounds of electronics to be efficiently recycled instead of ending up in a landfill. This year, our event will even accept those heavy outdated televisions, which many recyclers aren’t able to process.

BC cares for our surrounding neighborhoods and the ecological well-being of our planet, so come out for an opportunity to clear out your electronic clutter and help the environment on June 24th and 25th from 8:00AM to 5:00PM.

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Student Success During the Summer

Along with eager-to-learn students on campus, our student services have also reopened their doors for the summer! Staff and faculty at BC encourage all students to take advantage of the everything BC has to offer to ensure that all students will succeed with the tools and help they need!

 

This Summer, there is an array of services provided that can help all students achieve their academic goals. Located in the Student Services Center Building, there is an abundance of free academic help. I’d like to spotlight a few:

  • ItsPOSSIBLE_3Dec16-12There is the Math lab where students are able to work on online math classes, get math help for on-campus classes, and even the Extend The Classroom for Math B72.
  • The Writing Center is a gem, where students can make an appointment and speak to an extremely knowledgeable and supportive coach who will guide students through the entire process of writing a solid paper. Amber Smithson, a BC student, offered a great tip. She said, “make sure to take in your assignment sheet, so you can go through each step for you to obtain the best grade!”
  • The Tutoring center is also located upstairs overlooking the math and writing labs. That’s where students can obtain free peer tutoring in 50-minute sessions for most courses and 15-minute drop-in sessions for English and Math only. These peer tutors are amazing because they’re students who have taken these classes and they’re knowledgeable on the material, but they can also relate to the student needing help.  The tutors not only have a passion for learning, but also for teaching and sharing that knowledge with their fellow students. All of these services are offered throughout the Summer and start right away. During the Fall session, they start a week into the semester.

The staff and faculty care so much about student success…

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Superheroes behind the Scenes

David WhalenLike I mentioned earlier, the faculty at BC ALWAYS have student success in their heart and on their mind. When a physics class was left without a professor due to an emergency, Dr. David Whalen stepped in to save the semester. It’s incredible that he has volunteered to change his summer and vacation plans to put BC students first.  Can you see why I’m the luckiest and happiest college president?

Jonathan Schultz introduces us to Prof. Joe Saldivar

Sonya Christian Manhatten Beach day before CA Guided Pathways Advisory Committee

 

That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Renegades are Doing Amazing Things!

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, March 11, 2017 and such a fabulous day to be a Renegade.  

Let me start with the video of the week.  Real funny!

Finally a week where I only traveled once to Los Angeles, and a week where I was able to catch up on some Renegade Athletics.

Nancy Edwards

Friends and colleagues gathered on March 4, 2017 to celebrate the life of Nancy Edwards, long-time BC English faculty.  John Gerhold sang works Nancy had written with Harold Quilling’s (retired BC faculty) music.

Local poets along with BC retired and active faculty Jack Hernandez, Rosa Garza, and Sheena Bhogal, read Nancy’s poetry.  Tom Greenwood and Ruth Greenwood organized the event.  Fine Arts 30 was filled with community members, retired BC faculty, and current BC faculty.

Listen to John Gerhold here:

Tom Burke Open Forum March 6 2017Tom Burke at BC

It was a treat having Chancellor Tom Burke doing an open forum at BC.  In his new role as Chancellor, Tom has been visiting the three colleges to share his plans for the future and to listen to the employees across the district.  His presence was well received by the faculty, staff and students at BC.  I loved his response to a question from Lawrence Salcido, a student, who asked Tom what students could do to support him.  Tom’s immediate response was “get good grades.”  Lawrence is very active on campus and you can see him here in the picture with Tom.

Dylan Wang took a lot of pictures but I forgot to get them from him.  So for now, here is the one picture I took on my iphone.  Will update the blog with more photos when I get them.

Looking good with the beard Chancellor Burke!

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BC Blood Drive with Houchin Blood Bank

Stephenie March 8 2017

Stephanie Gibbons

On Wednesday and Thursday, the Houchin Blood Bank vans were parked outside our Campus Center where students could donate to give the gift of life to those who are in need each and every day. The passion that was in the eyes and smiles of those who work for Houchin was obvious, and their warm welcomes and genuine “thank yous” could be heard coming from the Fireside room in the center of campus, just outside the cafeteria.

 

As students signed in, they were offered water and snacks while filling out a general health questionnaire and have a quick physical performed by the many nurses on staff. One of the dedicated nurses who has been working for Houchin for over thirty years now expressed the joy she finds in her job by saying, “There is never a dull moment or day”. She explained how Houchin travels each and every day to areas throughout Kern County, and how these mobile clinics are able to reach a great number of Kern County residents with success.

When students were asked what makes them want to donate, I heard of one response that was, “I just want to be able to help people”. Many people who have the desire to help their community may say, “But I just don’t know how?’ Houchin Blood Bank is always in need of their community to help replenish their blood bank. If you are in the position to be able to help out your community, and you are curious to how you can do that, what better way than to give the gift of life!

Stephanie Gibbons is just fabulous to work with.  Thank you Stephanie and Greg Gallion for all that you do for our community.

Thank you to BC’s Office of Student Life, especially Danyel Owens, Arisve Pimentel, and SGA President, Matthew Frazier for all your work in coordinating these events.  And thank you Dr. Nicky Damania for all that you do for our students at BC.  and thank you for always helping out.  I am so very glad I get to work with you.

The Houchin Blood bank caravan of busses at the campus center.

Photos taken by Amber Smithson

Check out my post from last year about Houchin Blood Bank on March 19, 2016

https://sonyachristianblog.com/2016/03/19/a-whirlwind-week-at-bakersfield-college/

and my write up about Greg Gallion on Jne 19, 2016

https://sonyachristianblog.com/2016/06/19/we-are-bakersfield-and-we-are-bc/

Wednesday’s Soup Special

Coconut Quinoa Chicken Soup in a bell pepper "bowl"

Last week, BC Food Services sent out an email announcing the daily soup special – Coconut Quinoa Chicken Soup. Chef Eric Sabella tells me the idea came from our cook, Nicole Sizemore and the unique recipe was served inside of a bell pepper, which added a beautiful presentation. You know, they say you eat with your eyes first!

Staff, faculty, and students at BC are in for a treat when we find out what the daily specials are. A different soup is prepared every day, and many of their recipes, including their popular chicken curry soup, include the creamy flavor of coconut milk, which is a great source of calcium for vegans and people with lactose intolerance while being rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals.

My dear friend, do you see why BC is such a special place….right from our interesting and talented food services department to our commercial music program….I am the luckiest and happiest college president ever.

STEMposium from KEDC

Cheryl Scott with Sandi and Scruffy Facebook picture

Cheryl Scott with Sandie and Scruffy

Bakersfield College is excited to do its part in preparing the next generation of leaders in science, technology, engineering and math during the inaugural Kern County “STEMposium” on May 19th in the BC gym!  Cheryl Scott and the Kern Economic Development Corporation (KEDC) are leading this effort.  Cheryl is a friend of Bakersfield College and volunteers her time to support the college and support our students. I found this great picture of Cheryl on Facebook where she says: “Back in the day when Sandie was a scruffy little pup. They’re still my baby girls!”

 

The first annual “STEMposium” aims to connect middle and high school students with local business representatives to raise awareness of the STEM-related career opportunities in Kern County. The confluence of agriculture, energy and defense industries has lead Kern County to be ranked fourth-best in the nation for availability of STEM jobs, according to the Central Valley Business Times, and events like the “STEMposium” will only help those STEM opportunities continue to grow.

High school students will get the chance to show off their STEM class project, and local business will be hosting demonstrations booths with specialized engineering equipment. The first keynote speaker for the inaugural event will be Jose Hernandez, a son of migrant workers who grew up to travel to the International Space Station, becoming an engineer for NASA. Hernandez will be talking about his book, “Reaching for the Stars: The Inspiring Story of a Migrant Farm Worker Turned Astronaut.”

Gadfly Café

Founded by René Trujillo and continued now under the leadership of Reggie Williams, both of the Philosophy Department, the Gadfly Café is an extracurricular event that takes place six times per academic year in the Norman Levan Center for the Humanities. The Gadfly Café provides students, faculty, staff, and administrators the opportunity, and a forum, to discuss social and philosophical issues that we face as human beings in a diverse community. Topics have included terrorism, alienation, gender, race, abortion, and religion. The purpose of the Gadfly Café is to promote open, respectful discourse and communication on the difficult issues we face, better appreciating their complexity, and learning from each other’s experiences. The Gadfly Café is typically scheduled on Wednesdays at the lunch hour from 12:30 to 1:30 throughout the Fall and Spring Semesters at Bakersfield College. The next Gadfly is April 5th and will address the death penalty.  So proud that BC has these incredible opportunities through the Levan Center.  It feels more like something you’d find at a Liberal Arts college.  Thank you Jack Hernandez!

The Gadfly Cafe meeting

Gadfly Cafe is always an important, though-provoking discussion.

BC Alum Stories

Maria Madeline Herndon with a goat

Maddie and a baby goat

Last Friday, when I was in Delano with Tracy Lovelace, she shared with me some pictures and a video of a former BC student, Maria Madeline Herndon. Currently, Maddie is a junior at Davis majoring in Animal Science and Management but prior to that she went to BC. She completed her first two years here and was very involved in student government. I enjoyed hearing how Maddie loved her time at BC and enjoyed taking classes from Prof. Jerry Poncetta (Ag) and Prof. Dave Meyers (Math). She was the recipient of a highly competitive scholarship given by the KC CattleWomen.

For the past two summers, she has been involved at the UC Cooperative Extension where her day starts when the run rises, but Maddie has loved it because it truly gave hands-on experience to the Ag scene with-in KC. I love hearing stories and updates about past Renegades. Especially, students who could go away to school but whose family (and Maddie too) knew the positives of attending BC for the first two years. I know it was a great experience for Maddie to be here at BC.

Foster Youth Conference at BC

Breaking Barriers & Empowering Success, the 2nd annual conference took place on Friday, February 24, 2017 on the BC campus.  About 170 people attended including: Foster Youth adults and high school foster youth, Foster Parents, Relative Caregivers, Social Workers, CASA volunteers, school staff, and others working with children. The sponsors were Foster Youth Services, Kern County Superintendent of Schools, Quality Parenting Initiative, the Department of Human Services, and Bakersfield College. The keynote speaker was Terry Harrak, Youth Law Center staff member and former foster youth. It was great to have Judge Marquez on campus, who was also in attendance. After the welcoming and keynote speaker, breakout sessions were held with foster youth panels.

Extra information was available during the resource fair with 16 vendors and community agencies such as: America’s Jobs First, Alliance Human Services, Dolores Huerta Foundation, and more.

BC Ag department helping with Homeless Center Project

Thank you Ag community and our wonderful BC Ag students for your help at the Homeless Center in Bakersfield. What a beautiful way to brighten the day for the residents. So proud of our Ag community, partnering and planting fruits and vegetables at the Bakersfield Homeless Center with the Kern County Young Farmers and Ranchers and some fellow AG students from Bakersfield College. For more on the Bakersfield Homeless Center see http://bakhc.org/

 

Faculty Spotlight: Robby Martinez

“He leapt to the stage with contagious energy, and spoke with a charm that drew the crowd in.” What a perfectly descriptive statement for one of our talented faculty, Robby Martinez. I was thrilled to see this article from The Daily Independent in Ridgecrest. You have to check it out at http://www.ridgecrestca.com/article/20170308/NEWS/170309676.

And Robby, a Grammy award winner brought back this blanket for me from this year’s Grammy awards.  How cool is that!

 

Staff Spotlight: Isabel Castaneda

I’m so very happy to see Isable Casteneda back on campus.  Isabel is so devoted to BC and our students. She’s an Educational Advisor and very involved with our Summer Bridge program! She put in so many volunteer hours during the Measure J campaign.  I ran into her when I stopped by the cafeteria to get chicken strips. Don Chruciel, BCs new VP of FInance and Admin Services is pictured here with Isabel!  Isabel, welcome home!

Don Chruciel with Isabel Castaneda

Don Chruciel with Isabel Castaneda. It was so nice to see her again!

The BC Staff is a Family!

While browsing Facebook, I always love seeing posts by BC’s Mary Jo Pasek. Here she highlighted seeing Ramon Puga’s son and as she mentioned, Ramon is our BC Maintenance Supervisor! It’s great to see the close support among BC campus colleagues.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10208770865209102&set=a.1091935378728.2014321.1236827397

Our Town

Last weekend the talented Renegades of the Performing Arts Department presented “Our Town” by Thorton Wilder. Aside from a few tables and chairs, a stain glass window, and some stairs the set didn’t give much away, and it left the audience wondering. Brian J. Sivesind directed the rather interesting play by Wilder and greeted everyone on stage just before the performance began.

“Our Town” starts with the Stage Manager giving us details about the setting and would continue to inform us with character information. It began as a normal day in Grover’s Corners, New Hampshire in 1901. Two mothers prepared breakfast for their two children and sent them off to school, the milkman and paper boy made their deliveries, and their husbands came home from work. Later, the audience met two of the children, George Gibbs and Emily Webb, and their seems to be a romance starting to bud between them. A lot of character development was done in Act I, it gave the audience different ways to connect to each character. It was like revisiting history as told by the Stage manager; who then later informs us that the play discusses life, will discuss love, and something else the audience could probably guess in the upcoming Acts. While the play ended in tragedy, it had plenty of comedy amidst it as well. It gave the audience a different outlook and how we should appreciate the transience of human life and our companionships.

If you ever have the chance to see a production at BC by our talented Performing Arts Department, you don’t want to miss it. Thank you to Belen Martinez for the photos!

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BC Athletics

Pierce College Baseball playing at BC

BC beat Pierce College with a 9-7 win.

BC baseball team moves to 3-1 in WSC Conference play with a 9-7 win over visiting LA Pierce on Tuesday night at Gerry Collis field. The Renegades had 11 hits and drew 5 walks in overcoming a 6-3 deficit. “We did enough offensively to climb back in ” Coach Tim Painton said. “We were not very good defensively.  I don’t know how many unearned runs there were, but the majority of the runs that Pierce scored were unearned.” The Bakersfield Californian covered it here: http://www.bakersfield.com/sports/bc-downs-pierce-improves-to—in-wsc-south/article_675d87df-8e88-5dc3-958f-6abc21627225.html

Have you been to a BC softball game lately? I recently attended March 9ths game against Moorpark College. I enjoyed cheering on the Renegades with Don Chrusciel, Sandi Taylor, Zav Dadabhoy, and Janet Tarjan. I hope to see YOU at the next one!

Don Chrusciel, Sandi Taylor, Sonya Christian, Zav Dadabhoy, Janet Tarjan

Don Chrusciel, Sandi Taylor, Sonya Christian, Zav Dadabhoy, Janet Tarjan

To stay up-to-date with all Athletic activities at the Home of the Renegades, check out www.gogades.com!

Moorpark College Softball at Bakersfield College.

Moorpark College Softball at BC.

BC’s Swim Team Rocks!

Men’s and Women’s swimming competed in the first conference meet of the season Friday March 3rd at College of the Canyons.

MArch 6 2017

Men

1. LA Valley 367

2. BC 334

3. Canyons 311

4. Santa Monica  289

Women

1. Santa Barbara  381

2. BC 278

3. LA Valley 266

4.Santa Monica 226

5. Canyons 203

Top Performances for BC: Jennifer Quan: 1st 500 Free, 2nd 200 IM; Cynthia Maner: 2nd 1000 Free, 3rd 100 Breaststroke; 2nd 200 Medley Relay: (Victoria Hernandez, Cynthia Maner, Jennifer Quan, Niquelette Rimer)

Steve Santana: 1st 200 Free, 2nd 100 Butterfly; Andrew Martinez: 1st 100 Free, 2nd 500 Free; Brian Bender: 2nd 100 Breaststroke, 3rd 200 IM; 2nd 200 Free Relay: (Steve Santana, Cameron Reeves, Cesar Zepeda, Brian Bender)

 Congratulations to Sigma Chi Eta Inductees

lhp_bw.tif [Converted]Sigma Chi Eta is the official community college honor society of the National Communication Association (NCA). Since 2000, SCH has fostered growth in the Communication discipline among two-year colleges and universities. Once inducted, a student is a member for life and is expected to always strive for excellence. I’m happy to announce BC has nine students who have qualified to be inducted. Congratulations to: Evelyn A Andrad, Preston George III, Andrea Rivera Gomez, Hugo Daniel Mendez, Miguel Angel Munoz, Griselda Vanessa Navarro, Joey Ramirez, Taylor Ross, and Amber Rose Smithson.

Thank you Communication department and thank you Mark Staller!

The Empowerment Project

15894554_1249062191837632_7296633576726583240_nThe Empowerment Project is the incredible journey of a crew of female filmmakers driving across America to encourage, empower, and inspire the next generation of strong women to go after their career ambitions.Driving over 7,000 miles from Los Angeles to New York over the course of 30 days, the documentary spotlights 8 positive and powerful women leaders across a variety of lifestyles and industries. In celebration of the all-female focus in front of and behind the camera, the filmmakers turned the cameras on themselves, capturing their transformational journey. The film challenges the audience to ask themselves, “What would you do if you knew you would succeed?”  Nan Gomez-Heitzberg was a panelist at the March 8th Empowerment Project premiere at CSUB hosted by The Women’s and Girls’ Fund at Kern Community Foundation. Over 150 were in the audience including all generations, girls from 8 and 9 years old to grandmothers and said she was particularly struck by the passion, determination, and perseverance in the documentary. The women on the panel (Jenny Zorn provost CSUB, Mary Barlow supt schools, Lisa Green, district attorney, Racquel Santos Pina, MD, Kaiser Permanente. Kristen Barnes, moderator) spoke about finding their niche and being committed to their chosen profession with the underlying theme to not let others dissuade you, instead – be confident, find mentors, both men and women, and follow your heart.

The one thing all panelists had in common was education and education gives you options. What a wonderful and inspirational event.

Logan came to visit!

One of the highlights of my week was when Shannon Musser came to visit with her beautiful new baby boy Logan.  Just wonderful!

Shannon Musser with her baby son Logan.

Logan and his mom paid me a visit!

Little things that make me happy

I love it when I am travelling and I get text messages or photos about things happening at BC.  Here are two of my faves from this week.  Jennifer Marden (you can just see her left eye) taking a selfie of the office folks huddling to solve problems focusing on the document projected from Chris’ laptop on the TV screen and one with Lesley Bonds who was thrilled after spending hours and days and weeks working on the SSSP report.

We have a great team in the Office of the President and the three Vice Presidents–Jennifer Marden, Tracy Hall, Somaly Boles, June Charles, Tarina Perry, and Chris Glaser.   And as Jennifer refers to the group– Team Awesome! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! for all that you do.

 

Happy Sonya Christian after great picture from Jennifer March 8 2017

 

That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever