Tag Archives: Jennifer Marden

Leadership, Innovation, Music, Community – We are BC!

Sonya Christian and Neo Nov 5 2017 in Riverside

Sonya and Neo, Nov 5, 2017

Good morning Bakersfield from So. Cal.  Came in late on Friday night and have a busy weekend ahead.  Will try my best to chip away on my blog in between activities with the goal of publishing by the end of the day on Sunday.  But I can’t promise anything.

Brought Neo along, which of course does not help with my resolution to publish this weekend……his first trip away from home.  At 7 and 1/2 months, a friend said, “what a big boy”, which he certainly is.

It is cloudy in So. Cal. and everything appears to be beautiful…fresh air and bright colors.  Life is good.  Why would it not be when I am the president of the best higher education institution in the country.  One with the majority population being first generation college students and the faculty and staff are top notch.

Talking about faculty, let me start with BC’s amazing choir Director.  We have had a tradition of excellence with Joe Hustzi, Ron Kean and now the beautiful, brilliant and talented Jennifer Garrett.

Music of Living

 

music-of-living-1Last Friday the Bakersfield College Choir and Chamber Singers conducted their first concert of the academic year. The program, which included a full range of music history, was named “The Music Of Living” by Dr. Jennifer Garrett because “music is part of how we live.”

Matt Garrett and Jennifer Garrett Oct 27 2017In a Bakersfield Californian interview, she explained that, “[music] carries us through the challenging times in life and help us celebrate the good times,” and “music is how we truly express those emotions, opinions and memories that simply cannot be expressed through words alone.”  I so agree with her….it is music, poetry and the sheer beauty of nature that have helped me in difficult times.

music of Living stadium

Jonathan Garcia

On Friday, the theater was full and the audience there to help celebrate the life of a young Renegade taken too soon in a tragic traffic accident this fall. The BC Choir and Chamber Singers dedicated the concert to one of their own, Jonathan Garcia. “Tank” to his friends, according to the program, “was a football player, a singer, a guitar player, a volunteer, a decorated member of the Junior ROTC, and most importantly, a son, a brother, and a friend to all who knew him.” While he was taken from this life before he could perform for the Choir, “Applied students remember him for the passion he expressed about music and the joy in his eyes as he talked with other students about playing guitar for Mariachi ensembles.”

Chamber Music Festival

On Monday last week the Panorama campus was filled with the Chamber Music Festival. Each year local high school chamber choirs (smaller and often elite choirs) and guest conductor participate by invitation. This  year we brought in conductor and composer David Dickau (who went to Frontier High School & sang in the BC Choirs many years ago) from Minnesota.  He was absolutely wonderful with the choirs and everyone learned a great deal. There are sessions where the choirs sit in the audience and go up in turn to perform 2 selections.  Then the guest conductor works with each choir for approximately 12-15 minutes on stage as choir members in the audience watch and listen. Then Chamber Singers close each session by performing 2-3 pieces. This year the following schools participated:  Bakersfield HS, Frontier, Foothill, East, West, North, Stockdale (bringing 2 choirs), and Centennial.  Some of the schools decided to wait a year to come to the Festival as it is challenging to have repertoire ready so early in the year.  We had a great turnout and the whole evening went smoothly. Thanks to the College Choir members who donated their time to make it all happen, and thank you Dr. Jennifer Garrett for organizing this each year for our community and future Renegades.

 

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A Taste of BC

A Taste of BC Nov 4 2017

Last Saturday, our Performing Arts faculty and students partnered with our Culinary Arts faculty and students to create an unforgettable evening for 35 students from Standard Middle School. Starting with a tour of our Performing Arts Center, the middle school students got a ‘behind the scenes’ look at our Theatre and Music facilities.

A Taste of BC 4 Nov 4 2017

They also enjoyed an incredible performance by BC students from our recent production of Hamlet, followed by a skit from Brian’s Beard (BC’s Improv Troupe). Our Theatre majors also taught the middle school students how to do improv. Very impressive! To top off the evening, the students enjoyed a fantastic meal in the Renegade Room by our Culinary Arts majors, and were entertained with dinner music by many of our Music majors.

A Taste of BC 2 Nov 4 2017.JPG

Many thanks to Dr. Jen Garrett, Brian Sivesind, Chef Suzanne Tangeman, Kevin Ganger, Leslie Aldridge, and Kim Chin, along with our students from the Hamlet cast, 1984 cast, Brian’s Beard, Music majors, and Culinary Arts students for volunteering the time and talents to benefit our local middle school students (…and hopefully future Renegades!)  And thank you Dr. Manny Mourtzanos for supporting and advancing this work.

A Taste of BC 3 Nov 4 2017.JPG

Check out the amazing Mason!

Paul Meyer, District Superintendent of SMS sent this email.

To all involved-

On behalf of the students and staff at Standard Middle School, I wish to express my sincere thanks to the students and staff at Bakersfield College for volunteering their time to create a memorable night for my students. Manny, the experience was powerful for my students, and we appreciate the attention to the details that made everything come together so well Saturday night. Please share my gratitude with all who were involved at BC. Your staff was great to work with and the BC students seemed to enjoy it as much as my students did!

I also want to thank Morgan, Ira, and Jorge for your vision and leadership in helping to make this special night into a reality.

Last Saturday evening was a huge success, and I look forward to continuing this amazing partnership.

Sincerely,

Paul

Paul Meyers

District Superintendent

Standard School District

 

A Taste of BC 13 Nov 4 2017

 

More Amazing Faculty

BC Faculty Awarded $100,000 Grant Visit Washington D.C.

Oliver Rosales, Andrew Bond, and Josh Ottum

Oliver Rosales, Andrew Bond, Josh Ottum

Three BC Faculty members visited Washington D.C. this past week.  Andrew Bond (English), Josh Ottum (Music and Performing Arts), and Oliver Rosales (History) attended a Project Director’s meeting hosted by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) at the Constitution Center just off Capitol Hill.  Representing their project Energizing the Humanities in California’s San Joaquin Valley, the faculty spent an entire day meeting with NEH program officers, including NEH Acting Chairman Jon Parrish Peede, as well as with other current project directors from community colleges across the United States. Professors Ottum, Rosales, and Bond joined NEH’s Director of Congressional Affairs Tim Robison on Capitol Hill for several meetings with staffers from California Senators Kamala Harris and Diane Feinstein’s offices.

Oliver Rosales, Josh Ottum, Andrew Bond, and Trevor Smith in McCarthy's Office

Oliver Rosales. Josh Ottum, Andrew Bond, Trevor Smith

The trio also discussed Bakersfield College’s (KCCD) two current NEH grant projects (Energizing the Humanities and Digital Delano: Preserving an International Community’s History) in person with Congressman David Valadao from the 21st District before spending time in House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s office with staff member Trevor Smith.

Oliver Rosales, Andrew Bond, Rep. David Valadao, Josh Ottum, Tim Robison (NEH)

Oliver Rosales, Andrew Bond, David Valadao, Josh Ottum, Tim Robinson (NEH)

Everyone the BC faculty members met with showed interest in and voiced their support for BC’s grant projects, and were impressed to learn that Bakersfield College is the only California community college to receive federal funds through the National Endowment for the Humanities this year.

 

Project Directors Bond, Ottum, and Rosales returned from D.C. ready to kick off the programming for Energizing the Humanities on November 30th at 7:00 PM with noted author and Bakersfield native Gerald Haslam (Professor Emeritus, Sonoma State) giving a public lecture at the Levan Center for the Humanities. Dr. Haslam will also lead a closed workshop with the Energizing the Humanities inaugural cohort of faculty fellows the following morning.

More information about the NEH Projects Energizing the Humanities and Digital Delano can be found here:

Energizing Humanities in California’s San Joaquin Valley

Digital Delano: Preserving an International Community’s History

Last Home Game of the Season

It was great to see BC Renegades come out in full force Saturday night, our last home game, against Santa Monica which was a blowout. It was exciting to watch six different BC students make it into the end zone while our defense blocked all attempts on ours. I’m so proud of our Renegades they are 3 and 0 in conference and 7 and 1 overall with two more games to go.

And I’m always happy to see Manny De Los Santos working on the sidelines.

 

Football - Manny in Action

Here I am with Carlos Barbara and a great photo of Kimberly Bligh and Jerry Ludeke, and photos below with Janet Tarjan and Zav Dadabhoy —

colleagues out to support Renegade Football

HACU’s 31st Annual Conference

We had a large team from BC attend HACU’s (Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities) 31st Annual Conference this week.  Thank you Corny Rodriguez, Dean of Instruction and MESA Director, Consuela (Connie) Gonzalez for sending me photos.

Corny Rodriguez, Connie Gonzales, Manuel Rosas HACU 2017The conference provided a unique forum for networking and learning best practices, understanding and meeting the education needs of Hispanics. The conference allowed for BC professionals to:

  • Hear about successful, effective programs and initiatives of HACU member institutions
  • Expand partnerships and collaboration between HACU member institutions, public-and private-sector organizations
  • Discuss policy issues affecting the education opportunities of Hispanics, including HACU’s legislative agenda
  • Learn about Hispanic participation in scholarships, fellowships, internships and other such programs funded by private and government organizations

This important conference allowed Connie and BC representatives to create important partnerships and strengthen collaboration with the USDA Hispanic-Serving Institutions National Program, UC Davis, USDA/NRCS, and USDA Forest Service. Connie was able to secure a whole day dedicated to BC transfer students with Dr. Blas Guerrero, Director of the Chicano/Latino Recruitment Center, in collaboration with UC Davis’s MESA program.  BC MESA students will be able to look at engineering labs and tour the campus. Connie is working with Manuel Rosas to include EOP&S students as well. Thank you Connie for your work and forging relationships to further our MESA students’ educational opportunities.

David Villarino and FIELD was represented at this national conference in a big way.  Villarino is doing very important work among adults in rural communities to get them the required language and work skills to make them employable.  Just great work.  Here are several photos of the FIELD students as well as the FIELD dinner meeting with many of the colleges including Cerro Coso and CSUB.

Corny Rodriguez, Susana FIELD, Yvonne Armandariz, Manuel Rosas, Javier FIELD

 

FIELD Dinner Oct 29 2017

This is definitely a picture of celebrities

HACU Official, Esais Morales, Cheech Marin, Rick Najera, David Villarino.JPG

HACU Official, Esais Morales (actor), Cheech Marin (actor), Rick Najera (Director), David Villarino

Dinner with collaborating college officials

Cropped Group at Field Dinner 2017

 

Adult Education

Sonya Christian with the Adult School students Oct 2017

Endee Grijalva, Sonya Christian with students

Our first Adult Education Sample a Course event was a tremendous success. The event was held on October 30th and we saw 30 attendees from Adult Education in collaboration with the Bakersfield Adult School and Migrant Education. The event, which will also occur November 16th, is designed to highlight our EMLS courses and connect Adult Learners to our Main Campus, giving them a direct insight into the college experience. Attendee experience included transportation to the BC campus from the Bakersfield Adult School Job Spot, lunch provided by the delicious Panorama Grill, BC and Program overview and campus tour. The highlight of this event was the classroom observation. Aimed to alleviate the fears and misconceptions of Adult Learners, potential students can sample an EMLS course.

Many thanks to all who helped make this event successful including Endee Grijalva, support from the Outreach team, Food Service, CTE, Bakersfield Adult School and Migrant Education. You all make BC great for our students and for our community. THANK YOU!

Audiophile Magazine

A beautiful magazine appeared on my desk on Tuesday afternoon sent to me by David Koeth. The November/December issue of Audiophile from KVPR/KPRX features artwork from our own BC student, Argenis Maciel. David said in an attached message that Development Director, Joe Garcia emailed him earlier this year and said that they wanted to feature artwork from a BC student so he had his Digital Illustration students work on ideas. The promotions director chose Argenis Maciel’s piece. Check out the photo of the beautiful cover.

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BCSGA Leadership

Lawrence Salcido, Dezi Von Manos, Sonya Christian, Zav Dadabhoy, Nan Gomez Heitzeberg

On the morning of Halloween, Senator Jose Cortez hosted a Leadership Panel comprised of the SGA president and vice presidents and BC’s president and two vice presidents.  It was a lot of fun and I am so proud of this series that Jose Cortez is leading.  He had Senator Jean Fuller as the first speaker and Assemblyman Vince Fong as the second speaker.

Jose Cortez

Students learned about their student governments’ and administration’s  roles in reducing hurdles in the path of student success, expanding our positive impact on the community, and the importance of the spirit of leadership,  while enjoying some eggs and bacon prepared, as always, by our great Food Services crew.

Panelists at Leadership Breakfast

It was a lot of fun being a panelist along with Zav Dadabhoy and Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, as well as SGA President Dezi Von Manos and SGA Vice President Lawrence Salcido. Both Dezi and Lawrence were articulate about the Guided Pathways work.  Just incredible!

I was happy to see several faculty, staff and administrators also attend the event. Snapped this picture with Earl Parsons who is usually the man behind the camera and then here is Marcelyn Allen, one of our new faculty who teaches in the ESL department, also teaches Japanese and helps out with Summer Bridge.

And loved these two pictures of Nan and Zav

 

Advance Kern:

Liz Rozell and I had great fun having lunch with Richard Chapman and Wayne Kress to learn about the Advance Kern Initiative.  Imagine innovation thriving in our county where cultivating an entrepreneurial and creative mindsets is one of the products of our education.  That was the main topic of conversation in addition to Stig Larson’s Girl With the Dragon Tatoo series.  I am so proud of the work of KEDC and its leadership. I missed the company of the fabulous Cheryl Scott who is now leading the charge on promoting STEM education in Kern County.   Thank you Richard, Wayne, and Cheryl for advancing Kern County.

Liz Rozell, Sonya Christian, Wayne Kress, Richard Chapman Nov 3 2017

Liz Rozell, Sonya Christian, Wayne Kress, Richard Chapman

Public Health Sciences Program Partnership with UCLA

BC students got the chance to learn more about BC’s newly-formed Public Health Sciences program and our partnership with the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health in the SGA Executive Boardroom on Monday.

Public Health Info Session Fall 2017

Sarah Baron, Public Health Sciences faculty, got the opportunity to explain more about BC’s Public Health program, and several representatives from UCLA spoke in detail about the UCLA Public Health Scholars Training Program [link to 2018 UCLA Public Health Scholars Training Program Handout.pdf]. The UCLA training program is recruiting 50 students for a paid stipend to participate in an 8-week training program with structured workshops, field trips and leadership development in the public health field. UCLA Public Health Scholars Training Program is held each summer. The application deadline for the summer 2018 program is January 31, 2018, and the application window opens in mid-November.

Sarah Baron Public Health Info SessionFor more information, you can contact Sarah Baron at sarah.baron@bakersfieldcollege.edu or Public Health Scholars Training Program Manager Lindsay Rice at phscholars@ph.ucla.edu.

Pathway to Law School Program

What a way to start November! On Wednesday, BC had the privilege of hosting Leslie Cunningham, Executive Director of California Law, Inc (Cal-Law), which is the sponsoring organization of the statewide Pathway to Law School program. Ms. Cunningham affirmed BC’s ongoing position as a statewide leader in implementing this innovative program to support students in attaining a law degree.

Law Pathway group memebers

Manny Mourtzanos, Dean of Instruction, Pearl Urena, BC Educational Advisor for Pre-Law, Jeff Green, General Counsel for Grimmway Farms, David Torres, Attorney and member of BC’S Pre-Law Advisory Council, Leslie Cunningham, Executive Director of Cal-Law, Stephen Katz, Kern County Superior Court Judge and member of BC’S, Pre-Law Advisory Council Bonnie Thompson, Executive Director of the Kern County Bar Association, Zach Sullivan, President of the BC Pre-Law Scholars Student Club

Careers in Criminal Justice

On Wednesday, October 11, the BC Delano Campus hosted “Jobs in Justice: A Panel on Careers in Criminal Justice.”  The guest employers were well-prepared and provided students with a wealth of information ranging from personal education, experiences, and their unique career paths to job specifics and seasoned career advice. The panel consisted of the following individuals:

CareersinCriminalJustice2

  • Mark DeRosia, Chief of Police – Delano Police Department
  • Eddie Aguil– Community Service Officer- Delano Police Department
  • Edwin Barahona, Assistant Court Supervisor – Kern County Superior Court
  • Kathy Garcia, Deputy Probation Officer II – Kern County Probation Department, Investigations Unit
  • Raquel Segura, Agent – Alcoholic Beverage Control
  • Ana Ovando, Investigator – Kern County Public Defender
  • Brittaney Pena, Office Technician – Kern Valley State Prison
  • Salvador Hernandez, Assistant Government Program Analyst – Kern Valley State Prison

It is interesting to note that although only 36% of students indicated that the guest speaker’s topics related to their chosen career paths, 81% noted that they would attend future employer panels and 100% stated that the forum met or exceeded their expectations. This is a testimony to the breadth of the panelists’ knowledge and wisdom which they freely shared. Not only did they give the audience a thorough understanding of their particular role within their respective organizations, but they also provided an overview of various levels of employment in their respective fields and each organization’s goals. Furthermore, they imparted invaluable career advice: the value of and how to secure internships, the need to protect one’s image (employers check social media sites), the importance of being an upstanding citizen (after all, these are careers in criminal justice), and accepting the reality that a career is built (often one has to start at the bottom).

CareersinCriminalJustice1

The panelists were exceptional but the event would never have gotten off the ground without the stellar work of Lupe Aguirre (CTE Job Development Specialist) and Kim Collins (BC Academic Liaison for Adult Education). Our special thanks to them, the panelists, and all who made this event possible. It’s exciting for us whose hearts are knit to BC Delano students that these types of events are becoming increasingly available on their campus. We are all about the students. We are BC!

In the News

Renegades were in the news again this week. Victoria Coffee was quoted by the Bakersfield Californian as an attendee at the Business Expo in Many at the Business Expo were looking for the reset button. She attended to get information to give to our BC students. She is quoted as saying “I wanted to get a better look into the business industry and see how we can strengthen our infrastructure for student success.” Thank you Victoria for going the extra mile for our students.

The Bakersfield Californian also did a nice piece about BC’s Men’s Basketball. In BC men’s basketball starts attempt at 3 conference titles in a row, Jon Mettus wrote about our 5 returners and their striving for the State Championship. Coach Hugh is optimistic for our chances of a “three-peat” for the WSC South Division title this season. Come out to the games this season and support our team all the way to the State Championship.

Emails Worth Sharing

Thank you Paul Beckworth for sharing this story with me! Paul’s email said, “PLEASE read this story that Matt Garrett found in the archives awhile back.  A BC student turned soldier captured 12 Nazis thanks to his BC German professor!  Can’t make this stuff up! It is a little hard to read but worth the effort.” Matt Garrett’s email “Capturing Nazis Like a Boss” included the following:

“We were holding a town cut off from our troops. The Eleventh Panzer Division attacked us and one of the tanks got a tread blown off about 15 yards from one position where we could not hit a man behind it or on the ground near it. It was giving us trouble so we got a ‘satchel charge’ (30 pounds of TNT in convenient carrying form). Being the demolition expert of the platoon, I was elected.

“To allow free use of my hands I laid my rifle down and went out to blow up the tank. When I got there I discovered nine Jerry infantrymen around the tank, concealed from my pals and with their rifles in position. They were as frightened as I was. I managed to stutter, ‘Weg werfen deine Waffen Komm hier mit Hande hoch’ oder sic warden tot gewesen.’ [Throw down your weapons. Come here with your hands raised or you will die] How they would die I didn’t know but they believed me. One said, ‘Nicht schessen,’ and I said, ‘Wir warden nicht schiessen.’ [We’ll not shoot] (Notice the we.) So they gave up.

“They’d have shot me if I hadn’t been quick with the lip—so maybe I learned something in school after all. But we’ll credit (BC German Professor) Miss Schafer for the capture.”

“Adelaide Schafer Credited with Capture of 12 Nazis,” Renegade Rip, April 26, 1945, p. 3.

Fun Pictures

Precious picture of Jennifer Marden now Jennifer Serratt at her 2008 graduation

Jennifer Graduation Photo

Our title V Director, Dr. Kimberly Bligh and Ed Advisor Isabel Cataneda in Washington DC for the Title V meeting.

Kimberly Bligh and Isabel Cataneda in Wahington DC Oct 2017

Sonya Christian and Neo Nov 5 2017 in Riverside

 

That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Tradition of Renegade Red

Good morning Bakersfield, it is Saturday August 12, 2017……A great day to be a Renegade! A week of Renegade Red everywhere.

Welcoming Kern Promise Students to BC on August 9, 2017

Let me start with the 160 Kern Promise students we welcomed on campus and completed a one-day orientation.  If you remember, Bakersfield College and Cerro Coso Community College were recipients of a $1.5M grant from the Community College Chancellor’s Office for the Kern Promise.  Cerro Coso had a kick-off to the event at Ridgecrest and BC had our kick-off in a large event in the Outdoor Theater.  If was a fun event and I invite you to click on the link that will take you to the April 29th blog titled Strengthening Kern County, One Degree at a Time.
https://sonyachristianblog.com/2017/04/29/strengthening-kern-county-one-degree-at-a-time/

Here is one of the great pictures from the event.  So many community leaders out to support education in Kern County.  See of you can name them all 🙂

KernPromiseEven-042817s-37-X3

Community Leaders at the Kern Promise

So, what is the Kern Promise? The Kern Promise is a commitment in action at Bakersfield College to help students complete their Associate Degree for Transfer within two instructional years through a Guided Pathways approach, providing support, priority access to courses, and financial assistance to those who qualify. The Kern Promise focuses on a shared responsibility model where students will work with Completion Coaches and follow a clear path to success. In return, each promise student is required to maintain good academic standing and commit to their studies.

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Wednesday was a beautiful day at BC,  as we welcomed the newly admitted Kern Promise students for Promise Day, their specialized extended orientation consisting of workshops and the signing of their Promise Agreement outlining their shared responsibilities and expectations!

The program began with photos and fun with some of our awesome orientation leaders – continuing students employed in various departments on campus including Student Success & Equity, Office of Student Life, and the Welcome Center! They guided students in icebreakers, discussions on majors and career goals, and stopped at the photo wall for fun group photos to get them warmed up and excited for the day.

Shannel Tyus and Keri Kennedy

Shannel Tyus, Keri Kennedy

Promise Counselor Keri Kennedy and Program Manager Shanell Tyus welcomed students and provided an overview of the day, followed by an inspiring welcome by BC SGA President Dezi Von Manos, and additional welcoming remarks from myself.

SGA Leadership

SGA Leadership

Students then rotated between workshops designed to help them focus on transitioning to college, developing academic behaviors necessary for success, and utilizing campus resources such as Academic Support Services, Student Government Association, and the Office of Student Life. Workshops were presented by Teresa McAllister and 2nd-year Promise students Avery Gibson, Magdalena Panteleon, and Tyler Ellis, Academic Development faculty, Counselors Keri Kennedy and Jonathan Shultz, Donor Relations Coordinator Alyse Braaten, BC SGA officers Mustafa Barraj, Dezi Von Manos, James Tompkins, Monica Alvarez, Diana Martinez, Daniel Ruezga and Evelyn Hernandez, and concluded with Dr. Christine Whelan, author and professor at University of Wisconsin – Madison, who addressed students to help them “Pack their Renegade Rucksack” and plan for their academic journey ahead.

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The crux of the day, was the signing of the Promise Agreement. This carefully crafted document was developed to explicitly outline the terms and conditions of this shared responsibility model that we’ve created the Kern Promise to be. Students are expected to commit to maintaining good academic standing, completing 15 units per semester, correspond with their completion coaches regularly, and seek academic support through BC resources and those in their cohort. In exchange, BC commits to providing students with priority access to courses required for their pathway, financial assistance, and the strong support of their completion team and coaches, all in efforts to ensure their timely completion (degree for transfer) within two instructional years.

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We expect big things from our Promise students and are proud of their persistence to this point! Coming to BC college ready for English and Math is proof that our students can complete their time at BC in just two years and continue their journey to family sustaining wages and degrees from our neighboring universities!

Check out the whole photo album of Promise Day at BC here.

Renegade Football — A community tradition

2017-footballmediaday-16-x3 Tuesday was another exciting time at BC when Athletics hosted the 2017 Football Media Day in front of Historic Memorial Stadium! I’m counting down the days till football season begins. The date is September 2nd – is it on your calendar?

Francis Mayer emceed the event with three speakers — Mayor Karen Goh, Athletic Director Sandi Taylor and Coach Jeff Chudy.

 

This season marks the 67th time our Renegades have taken the field in our signature red uniforms. And Athletic Director, Sandi Taylor promised big surprises at the event. It was fun watching the giant banner being unfurled from the very top of the stadium, with a larger than life Renegade player and text celebrating the start to the season and season ticket info!

John Farrand took this great picture of the crowd cheering as the banner unfurled.  Can you spot Kimberly Bligh, Sonya Christian, Jim Lawitz, Michelle Chantry, Jennifer Marden?

Group of spectators cropped

 

Do you have your tickets yet? You don’t want to miss the home opener.

Also, kicking off this year is “The Knight Club”, the second surprise announcement of the day. It’s a VIP-type fan experience with membership tiers that include access to private hospitality services during games, among other benefits. It’s a fantastic way to support your BC Renegade athletes. It’s also tax-deductible and 100 percent of the proceeds go to support all 20 BC Athletics teams and their 500+ student athletes.

Thank you to all the media who showed for this fantastic unveiling. 

Media at 2017 Renegade Football Season Unveiling

Media at the Renegade Football Season Unveiling

Group picture

Karen Goh, Mia Cifuentes, Sonya Christian, Sandi Taylor, Ed Davis

 

And Thank you to our dignitaries, Mayor Karen Goh, American General Media President Rogers Brandon, KGET Vice President Derek Jeffries and a delegation of Helmet Club members like Ed Davis and Chad Hathaway, who were there in full force to support Bakersfield College and Renegade Football. Was happy to see our friends from the Bakersfield Fire Department — Deputy Fire Chief Tyler Hartley, Deputy Fire Chief Ross Kelly.  Thank you Mia Cifuentes, representative of Assembly Member Vince Fong for coming out.  It’s a great day to be a Renegade!

 

Bakersfield Fire department Tyler Hartley and Ross Kelly

Deputy Fire Chief Tyler Hartley, Deputy Fire Chief Ross Kelly

 

Dignitaries with cheer team Aug 8 2017

Ed Davis, Chad Hathaway, Karen Goh, Jeff Chudy, Heather Foss, Sandi Taylor with BC Cheer Team

For all the details about The Knight Club, visit gogades.com.

Two great articles followed the event by Mike Griffith of The Bakersfield Californian. They are:

Bakersfield College goes big in quest to pump up Renegade football” and

BC coach Chudy says depth a plus as Renegades open football practice.”

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And speaking of our local media, it was great to see Michelle Chantry, CEO and Jim Lawitz, the VP and executive editor of TBC on our campus.

The Bakersfield Californian is a true community treasure and has remarkable history; one withstanding a revolutionized industry, new technologies, and an expanding community that continues to grow, yet at the same time, it has for me kept that traditional “hometown content” that we’ve come to love.

Was happy that Chancellor Burke joined us to celebrate Renegade Football.

Tom Burke, Sandi Taylor, Sonya Christian, Jeff Chudy Aug 8 2017

Tom Burke, Sandi Taylor, Sonya Christian, Jeff Chudy

For the full album of photos, visit our Smugmug page.

Registration Rocks

Over the summer, BC’s outreach team held three one-day express enrollment events. This week, we held the final last chance event which welcomed 609 returning students and 635 new students back on campus. Thank you to all involved with these events including Outreach, Admissions and Records, Counseling, Assessment, and Marketing. It was great to see photos from the jam packed event  in the paper on Thursday. Check it out!

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Kern County Farm Bureau

This week, I enjoyed reconnecting with community leaders from the Kern Farm Bureau.  I got to know them better during the Measure J time and am so appreciative that they supported Bakersfield College through Measure J.  Here are some photos from the October 5, 2016 presentation to the Kern Farm Bureau about Measure J.

ag-faculty-at-kern-county-farm-bureau-oct-5-2016

Jeff Rasmussen could not make the meeting so Mary Jo and I met with Ralph Mendes and Beatris Espericueta.  The Kern County Farm Bureau is a non-profit organization that advocates for our local farmers as part of the statewide California Farm Bureau Federation lobbying in Sacramento on behalf of all our state’s growers.

Kern Farm Bureau

Beatris Espericueta, Sonya Christian, Ralph Mendes, and Mary Jo Pasek

The Kern County Farm Bureau provides outreach, networking and scholarships to the community through their Young Farmers and Ranchers program, which provides men and women between the ages of 18 to 35 with the information, resources and business connections needed to start a fruitful career in agriculture.

Exciting things are in the works in order to find out how these partnerships can continue to prepare the future leaders of our community’s most important industry. As Van Ton Quinlivan spoke about in the video I highlighted in last week’s blog, it’s important for educators to establish close partnerships with employers to ensure that we’re providing our students with all the tools those employers need when they’re looking for applicants in the job market. With the constant advances in agricultural technology, that may even require retraining people who are already in the industry on the newest equipment and techniques.

Spotlight on Summer Bridge

This was the last week of summer bridge.  I was able to attend a small part of it.  This is just a phenomenal activity for incoming students and I got to experience how exhausting it is the the faculty and staff who work summer bridge.  It is fast paced and engaging.

Anna Laven and Mindy Wilmot

I have been covering images from Summer Bridge routinely over the last several weeks, but if you are still wondering what Summer Bridge is all about…..

Throughout the summer, students are mentored by multi- discipline faculty, peer mentors, and support services staff how to best access and utilize campus resources during engaging sessions and demystify questions that ALL new students have BEFORE their first semester begins. On a more practical level, the day focuses on introducing skills necessary for college success, including effective communication, time-management, library research and other critical skills! The topics covered at Summer Bridge to BC are designed, and proven, to ensure students are successful during their FIRST semester in college.

Summer Bridge

BC Summer Bridge Team

BC Summer Bridge Peer Mentors Ruben Chavez and Kenneth Mireles and Bridge Director Dr. Kimberly Bligh.

Summer Bridge Peer Mentors, Ruben Chavez and Kenneth Mireles with Bridge Director, Dr. Kimberly Bligh

Throughout the day, collaborative activities take place where students come up with a creative presentations to provide information to the rest of the participants about important “tools” to have in their life toolbox in order to achieve academic and lifelong success demonstrating the importance of GRIT, believing in a  growth mindset, understanding the importance of role models, and knowing how to manage their time, balance their life, stay organized, and utilize campus resources.

BC served over 400 students last year and more than doubled enrollments this year to serve 1000+ student during 25 sessions from April through August! The final four sessions take place August 7th through August 10th. Over 100 staff, faculty, and peer mentors participated in Bridge to BC in 2017. That’s how we roll at Bakersfield College.

Here is a photo of Summer Bridge in Delano

Delano Summer Bridge

Here is a 7-minute video put together by Teresa Mcallister

Cabinet Retreat

We closed out our admin summer retreats last monday, 8/7/2017. with President’s Cabinet meeting to finalize workplans for the the 2017-2018 academic year.

Let me introduce you to members of the President’s Cabinet

2017 President's Cabinet June 5 2017

Here are a few photos from the August 7th meeting

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Maria Wright, Steve Watkin, Lesley Bonds, Michele Pena, Nicky Damania

 

 

Delano Team Retreat

I enjoyed visiting the Delano campus team during their retreat Tuesday, August 8th.  The passion and dedication of the faculty and staff is so visible.  Love #BCatDelano.

Delano Team

Loved this Facebook post by Endee Grijalva

Endee Grijalva Aug 8 2017

Shout out to BC Food Services

And throughout the busy week, as always our Food Services staff have been even busier taking care of us…taking care of our students.  And what delicious food.  I snapped a picture of the smiling Chef Eric Sabella and Penny Loos as they were hard at work.  Long tiring and back breaking days.  Thank you Food Services!

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Here is Penny Loos and Eric Sabella from BC Food Services.

 

Chef Coyle came to visit!

IMG_2265And speaking of treats, I ran into Chef Coyle, former director of the culinary arts program, who deeply loves BC! Chef Coyle was on campus preparing for the class he is teaching this fall.

I’m definitely the luckiest and happiest college president ever!

Project Next Step

IMG_2260It’s always great to see familiar faces on the news sharing great info. This week, I caught Odella Johnson on KGET, along with Brenda Lewis, sharing information about Project Next Step. BC is honored to be one of the many local organizations participating in Project Next Step this weekend on Saturday, August 12th from 9:00AM to 2:30PM at CSUB’s Dore Theater.

ProjectnextstepProject Next Step is a conference and resource fair that aims to provide local junior high students and their parents with the tools they need to succeed in high school, college and beyond. Students will obtain resources on completion, college options, homework support, classroom etiquette, test-taking strategies, FAFSA and scholarships, peer pressure and leadership, and the importance of mentoring.

Presenters include Bakersfield Chief of Police Lyle Martin, Mayor Karen Goh, and Gloria Cannon, the first African-American female judge in Kern County. The keynote speaker for the conference is Arleana Waller, an ambassador for She Power.

Project Next Step is a collaboration between educational leaders and community organizations to prepare students for high school, college or a vocational career.

Bill Henry

vv-98-front-fixed-237x300There was a great article by Nancy Vigren about the new President of Porterville College, Bill Henry, formerly Porterville College’s Vice President of Academic Affairs. Bill, who has worked at Porterville College since 1998, takes over for outgoing president Dr. Rosa Carlson, finishing a term of service in education that has lasted over 40 years.

The photo of Bill on the right is from the website of the article by Vigran.

Check out the article published by Our Valley Voice.

porterville college

BC Superstar Mindy Wilmot

Mindy Wilmot Adventures in InformationBC reference librarian Mindy Wilmot presented a speech on information literacy at the 2017 International Association of School Librarianship (IASL) Conference in Long Beach last week. Along with Katie McNamara, the faculty librarian at North High School, Wilmot’s presentation focused on how to help find the research that students need through pre-search, print and online references and using booleans to narrow down the information more specifically. The IASL was founded in 1971 to provide a forum for school library professionals to network and discuss their practices together. While this year’s conference was held just a few hours away from Bakersfield at Cal State Long Beach, conferences are held around the world, and last year’s conference was hosted in Tokyo.

BC Students raise $5000 for Charities

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BC Faculty, Heidi Forsythe

This summer, BC students raised about $5000 for Ronald McDonald House Charities while learning small group communication and problem solving skills.

Two of Heidi Forsythe’s Small Group Communication classes brainstormed, planned and executed a two-day donation drive in the span of a week, developing a mission statement and guidelines for their groups while developing conflict management strategies to work together for their common goal. Ronald McDonald house director Scarlet Sabin, who reached out to the media for the event to get coverage on Channel 17, Channel 23, 94.1 FM and KNZR, said that the donation drive will help the organization get through the rest of the year. Check out the video on KGET!

Fun Photos

BC faculty, Joe Saldivar and two future renegades (his sons) visited Stonehenge on their way to Normandy. I’m always amazed and filled with wonder when I think or see photos of Stonehenge. The English Heritage website, says “Stonehenge is perhaps the world’s most famous prehistoric monument. It was built in several stages: the first monument was an early henge monument, built about 5,000 years ago, and the unique stone circle was erected in the late Neolithic period about 2500 BC.”

Sebastian Saldivar, Christian Saldivar and Joe Saldivar Summer 2017

Sebastian, Christian, and Joe Saldivar at Stonehenge

Did you know it was also largely believed that the building process was so extensive that it could have lasted on and off for anywhere from 1500 to 7000 years? Check out this site for incredible facts about some of the world’s most famous places!

And Todd Coston on a cruise

Todd Coston family celebrating parent's 50th anniversary July 2017.jpg

Todd Coston and family took a 4-day cruise to Catalina and Mexico to celebrate his parents 50th wedding anniversary.  The picture is of the family in Catalina getting ready to board the ferry back to the cruise ship.

Great American Eclipse of 2017

NickStrobel

Nick Strobel

Have you run into Strobel recently…. well if you did what is the first thing he tells you….. it is all about the eclipse….that’s all I have heard for the last 6 months 🙂

Nick Strobel recently posted that the great American Eclipse of 2017 is coming up shortly. He says, “On August 21, the new moon will come exactly between Earth and the sun and its shadow will sweep across the United States from the Oregon coast to the South Carolina coast. The narrow strip of total solar eclipse will be just 68 miles wide. Those outside of that narrow strip will see the sun partially covered by the moon.”  Learn more at https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/planetarium/bakersfield-night-sky/bakersfield-night-sky-august-5-2017

And Tarina Perry has been puppy sitting and hanging out with Japanese international students

Riley bad puppyMason Blair, an Officer in Public Safety has a new 4-month old black lab puppy named Riley. When Riley got out of the laundry room, which is his holding place when no one is home, he was trying to let everyone know how unhappy he was being cooped up.  He chewed up a “memory foam” pillow and then threw up all the stuffing onto the floor!

And here is an email she sent me about Coach Paula Dahl and Coach Nick Jacobs about the experience of the Japanese students.  It is an uplifting email and so beautifully written.  Now do you see why I am the luckiest and happiest college president ever…

Somaly Boles and Tarina Perry May 12 2017

Tarina Perry with Somaly Boles

Hi Sonya,

My visit with our BC Athletics Department:

I recently had two students from Wakayama, Japan for a weeklong homestay through the Bakersfield Sister City Program.  Back in Japan, Nanaka plays basketball and Konomi plays tennis, so I set up a meet & greet with our BC coaches.  I envisioned a team working out and practicing basketball moves on the gym floor and maybe receiving directions from a really tough coach.  Instead, the entire team was sitting on the floor in a semi-circle facing three coaches.  Each teammate took turns offering up words of encouragement, acknowledgements of one another’s attributes, and sharing information on ways to better balance basketball with classes for a successful semester.  The more experienced teammates advised the newer ones to take advantage of study hall, office hours, tutoring… and simply to speak up and ask for help, because most teachers are understanding.  I didn’t expect to witness such an amazing and intimate experience! 

 This was not just a group of students or a basketball team, but this is a family!  I felt so much BC Pride!  Coach Dahl ended the experience with a team photo that our Japanese friends can take home and share with everyone.  Coach Dahl also taught them the fist-bump!

A similar experience took place when meeting our very enthusiastic Tennis Coach Jacobs.  He engaged with Nanaka and Konomi, we toured the facilities and he recommended best practices for them to focus on in order to better their playing skills.

I learned there is much more behind the title Athletic Coach.  I have just a little more understanding and a lot greater respect of our Athletics Department.

 

So what about Neo?

He is 48 lbs

 

 

August 10 2017 Neo

Neo

 

Sonya Christian cropped Aug 8 2017

 

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…

BillPotter_Sonya

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.

sonya-christian-measure-j-oct-1-2016

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!

Instagram

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.

17admincouncil02_resized

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?

AdminRetreat-(9)

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.

Team 2

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.

Team 1.JPG

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…

writingcentermain_0

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

 

Spring 2016 Opening Day: The Force is With…BC

Good morning Bakersfield!  It is Saturday, January 23, 2016…..a good day to be a Renegade.

It’s been a wild week here at BC.  Of course, every time we start a new semester and welcome thousands of ready-to-roar Renegades back to campus, it’s a time of excitement, activity and barely contained chaos.  We have approximately 7% more Full-Time Equivalent Students this spring compared to spring last year.  It is a good time to be at BC!

Almost a month ago, on December 27th I did a blog on the new Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens http://bcpresidentblog.com/2015/12/27/a-holiday-blog/.  

That led to a series of texts to Manny De Los Santos and Francis Mayer followed by phone calls to the creative team. 

 

Did you spot the Sriracha?

So, the Creative Team made it all happen as fluidly as J.J. Abrams himself.  From an idea fleshed out by Shannon Musser, Dylan Wang and Francis Meyer, BC’s videographer extraordinaire Manny de Los Santos, with his newly acquired drone, shot an amazing 3-minute short film to kick off Opening Day, bringing the entire world of Star Wars to the Bakersfield College campus.

Watch the Millennium Falcon take off and circle over 1801 Panorama Drive, the Imperial stormtroopers and R2-D2 strolling around campus, and the roar of Zav Dadabhoy aka Wookiee Chewbacca.

 

Put all that together — and you’ve got Spring Opening Day 2016.  Looking out at the collected BC family in the Simonsen Performing Arts Center theater last week made it one of the best semester kickoffs we could have imagined.  I received several emails appreciative of Opening Day.  Here is one from Gayle Richardson or should I say Darth Richardson:

What an amazing start of a new semester! This is the start of my 69th semester at BC and I am a proud Renegade as I am certain you must know.

Kudos to those who magnificently presented the best Opening Day I have ever seen!  I am hoping the live stream will be saved to a land not so far away in order for faculty to take bits and pieces to energize students.  Big Smile!

Many years ago I was named “Darth Richardson” by students in 4 consecutive classes.  It is a story, Sonya, that I would love to share with you in person.

As a new Star Wars fan, I can’t tell you how much fun it was to sit in Han Solo’s captain’s chair and fly the ship that made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs with my incredible crew — even if it was all just movie magic shot in our BC studio!  But truly, all the work we have accomplished in such a short period of time is magic indeed.

Our Star Wars theme carried over as members of the BC team talked about some the amazing accomplishments we’ve achieved together in recent months.  Here are the three videos:

Video 1:

 

Video 2:

 

Video 3:

 

Putting all the fun of droids and Jedis and Death Stars aside, Spring 2016 Opening Day also stands out for another important reason: the soft launch of The Renegade Promise.  Mark your calendars, on April 29th, BC led by our SGA President Clayton Fowler will be ready to make the Renegade Promise officially to our community.

Opening-Day-02

SGA Prez Clayton Fowler leading the Renegade Promise Team at Spring 2016 Opening Day

Students come to BC to expand their educational opportunities and turn that new-found knowledge toward a broader, more lucrative employment future. What often goes without saying is that our students and their families want the process to happen YESTERDAY and as President Fowler stated on Opening Day, he does not want to spend 6 years at BC to get a doctorate.

Well, we feel like it’s time to SAY it — we want you to move on too!  As much as we love each and every BC student, Bakersfield College is committed to fulfilling the new Renegade Promise — assuring that every BC student attains their educational goals, graduates, or transfers as quickly as possible.  All this without compromising the quality of learning that is our hallmark….the development of creativity, critical thinking and problem solving.

As a collective, the BC family is making the Renegade Promise a pledge to position students on a path to reach graduation or transfer requirements within our promised 60-credit window.  Can this be done in two years?  Of course this could happen if the responsibility is shared by BC and the student.  BC by ensuring that the courses are available with the necessary academic support and the student committing to 15 credits per term.  Now, if the student instead chooses to take 12 or 9 credits per term (remember, most of BC’s students work), it will mean the extension of the timeline for 60 credits from 2 years to perhaps three.  Still a huge improvement. Now, should this “shared responsibility” extend to the community as well. Absolutely!  The community has done an incredible job supporting education though providing internships and scholarships to help our students prepare for the workforce and quickly make progress on their educational pathways.

The Renegade Promise is a simple pledge…yet not always as simple to pull off as you may believe.  Any number of delays, both personal and scholastic, can push a student off-course.  Under the Renegade Promise, we’re all taking an active role in trying to foresee those delays for each student and chart pathways around those obstacles.

Top to bottom, Spring 2016 Opening Day was a tremendous day.  Huge thank yous go out to several people, including my fellow presenters — SGA President Clayton Fowler, BC Campus Chair Ed Borgens, CSEA President Tina Johnson, Management Association President Sue Vaughn, Academic Senate President Steve Holmes.

Also major thanks to the ushers, the logistics team and M&O team members who made the day happen so seamlessly!  Francis it was such a treat to work with you.  You have talent!  and thank you to the fabulous red, my Obi-Wan Kenobi, R2D2, and Yoda–Princess Jennifer.

 

 

To wrap up, I’d like to share my concluding remarks from Spring 2016 Opening Day:

Colleagues, we’re all instrumental in keeping Bakersfield College at the vanguard of local intellectual, cultural and economic vitality.  As we continue to be accountable, and as we move the dial on student success, let us not forget that what makes life wonderful, rich and expansive is the little somethings that are not rational. It is the pure lightness that fills our hearts when we see the mountains at the far edges of the valley when the air is clear.  Or the vibrations we feel when our drumline students perform in the gym. It is the excited text from Cindy Collier after the Deputy Sector Navigators visited our CTE program and her sense of pride in our faculty.  Or what I experienced watching Liz Rozell at a breakfast keynote speaking about her life.  It is hearing Nan talk about how we got the colors on a building wrong, or lamenting that the beautiful oleander bushes should not be trimmed down to resemble miniature poodles.  Or noticing that my mentee from Shafter high who was stuck to me through the whole fall term is now a promising professional.  It is the pride of Chef Sabella and team as they prepare a wonderful meal.

This is the essence of who we are as “humans in community.” This is the essence of BC.   We impact each other in all we do.  When we create the conditions to make our days rich with little somethings, we create the best environment for ourselves, for our colleagues, and for our students.  This is the essence of our work to be accountable; but “little somethings” are the fundamentals of excellence.

I received an email from Matt Garrett on November 15, 2015.  He wrote:

 

In 1945 Grace Bird’s message to the student body began by claiming the tune “You can be Better Than You Are” as the school theme song, and explained:

“Your College–your faculty and your student leaders–bring you opportunities to develop skills and enrich understanding. We ask you to bring your minds and your hearts. ‘In preference lies the root and essence of all excellence.’ Among the multitude of activities opened to you during the year, chose wisely.” –Grace Bird

 

Matt added that Grace Bird was quoting George Santayana’s essay “Value Irrational” found in his book titled “Little Essays” (1921), which prompted me to read this little gem.  All three pages of it.

 

Here is an excerpt from the final paragraph that for me captures the little somethings that define our lives because they come from a deeper place of being:

Values spring from the immediate and inexplicable reaction of vital impulse, and from the irrational part of our nature. The rational part is by its essence relative; it leads us from data to conclusions, or from parts to wholes; it never furnishes the data with which it works. If any preference or precept were declared to be ultimate and primitive, it would thereby be declared to be irrational …

 

So colleagues, here’s to Spring 2016.  A term of great rationality…. a term of data, and moving the dial, …… all this sprinkled with a great deal of irrationality and the little somethings that differentiate BC from the rest.

The Force is with…..BC!

We are….BC!

Check out the 12-minute photo roll video that Shannon put together as everyone was gathering in the indoor theater for Opening Day