Tag Archives: Kay Meek

Finals Week for Fall 2017 is a Wrap!

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, December 9, 2017 and fall semester is a wrap.  A great day to be a Renegade and a great semester to be a Renegade.  BC students have been completing their finals all week long and the cool, chilly weather has us all in the holiday spirit.

And then Felix Adamo from The Bakersfield Californian dropped by during a lunch meeting at Don Perico.  I was so delighted to listen in on the banter between Felix and Nan.  Did you know that this fabulous photographer with the twitter handle @TBCpix is a veteran, was a student at BC, was the photographer for the Renegade Rip and the Raconteur….  Just wonderful.  Also, try a google image search with “Felix Adamo”…. you will find thousands of photos, but not one photo of him.  So I felt quite sneaky stealing this picture of Felix with Nan and then blasting it on social media — twitter and now my blog 🙂

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Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Felix Adamo

He was the student photographer for the 1975 Raconteur when BC won the Rosebowl championship.  James E. Meadows was the sports editor and started the article with

On December 11, 1975 a crowd of only 21,200 gathered in the sun-warmed Rosebowl in Pasadena for the Los Angeles Times sponsored Junior Rose Bowl — the 22nd of its kind …

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And as I scrolled through the Dec 1975 Raconteur I found this picture of Bill Thomas and Sharon Thomas by Lewis Wakeland.

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Thank you Felix Adamo.
I’m so proud that such a talented photographer is a Renegade!

100th Graduating Class of the BC Associate Degree Nursing Program

On Thursday evening, we celebrated the momentous occasion of the 100th Graduating Class of the BC Associate Degree Nursing Program.

Did you know the Nursing program at Bakersfield College is the 6th oldest RN program in the state? An article in one of the BC Archives newsletters says, “It all started in 1951 when a vocational nursing program was initiated in cooperation with Kern General Hospital (now Kern Medical Center). Its first group of nurses graduated in 1952.”

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GlennBultman, Ed Simonsen, and Pearl Wassen at Registered Nursing Graduation in 1960

It continued, “The original intention of the vocational nursing program was to train nurses to address the shortage brought on by World War II. It is thought that the program might end when the registered nursing program was initiated, but this did not occur.”  The registered nursing program began at BC in 1957 under the direction of Kathryn Cafferty. Accreditation was granted in June 1958 and the first graduating class was the following year.

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Thursdays Ceremony had 59 graduates and all grads have received and accepted job offers. The evening began with a performance by the BC Drumline and attendees were welcomed by the Master of Ceremonies, Jaime Mendiola and the Pledge of Allegiance by Gagan Jattana. Speakers for the evening included Carla Gard, Director of the Nursing Program, Lisa Harding, Faculty, Jeanette Harvey and Haley Wayts, Students, Ronnie KnabeDebbie Kennedy, and Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg.  

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Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg

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Lisa Harding

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In recognition of the 100th Graduating class of the Bakersfield College Associate Degree Nursing Program, the department shared a few mementos that commemorate the amazing milestone. This is such an exciting time for the department and our college.

Special thanks to Cindy Collier, Carla Gard, Michelle Burton, Bryan Lainez, Treana Adams, and Vanessa Reyes.

See all the photos at the Bakersfield College Smugmug.

Culinary Caroling

I walked into the third annual Culinary and Caroling dinner event to find this distinguished gentleman playing the piano to greet the guests.

Mark Wilcox Dec 2 2017

Mark Wilcox, the proud father of the talented, passionate and beautiful Jen Garrett.

On December 2nd, the BC Chamber Singers and BC Culinary Arts partnered to create their third annual Culinary and Caroling dinner.  Last year’s event was on Dec 3, 2016.  Here is my blog post from last year https://sonyachristianblog.com/2016/12/10/17775/

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Sonya Christian, Jen Garrett with Chamber Singers Dec 2 2017

Chefs Alex Gomez, Suzanne Durst and the Renegade Room staff hosted a delicious holiday dinner, and host Christian Flores made sure all guests were taken care of. Decorations were by Christine Foth.  My guests this year included Mayor Karen Goh, Chancellor Tom Burke and his wife Tina, KCCD Trustee Romeo Agbalog and his wife Lily, and Ed Davis and his wife Shelley Davis.

Each table had a chamber singer assigned to take care of the guests.  Our chamber singer was the fabulous Mark who you see in the picture below.

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Special Guests at the Culinary Caroling Dinner

The beautiful voices of the BC Chamber Singers under the direction of Dr. Jennifer Garrett, always make this special annual event magical. One piece had a student signing to it and I love that they added this. Here is a short video:

 

CulinaryCaroling_PattDavisSingingSantaBabyPatt Davis sang Santa Baby and here is a picture when she visited the table with our Chancellor, Tom Burke. So fun!

It’s heartwarming to see multiple departments at BC come together, along with the support from local businesses that donated items and services. It’s a joy to see the amazingly generous attendees enjoy their visit to our campus and experience the true talent of our students and staff.

Here is Trustee Romeo Agbalog visiting with faculty and staff — in the pictures below you see him with Cindy Collier, Dean of Allied Health and Career and Technical Education and Talita Pruett, faculty member in Communication.

Chef Suzanne and Jen Garrett thank you for another great event.

 

Loved this picture that Lily Agbalog texted me with the photos of Santa captioned.

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Santa!

Markelle (Mark) Taylor, one of our students and a music major was in charge of our table. Mark performs in a lot of musical theater in the community.

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Here is Matt Garrett with his mom Barbara Garrett who did the m&m counting for the jar of 1000 m&ms and his grandpa Roger Garrett.

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Roger Garrett, Matt Garrett, Barbara Garrett

Here is Chancellor Tom Burke with his lovely wife Tina, and the lovely Suzanne Durst.

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Tom Burke, Suzanne Durst, Tina Burke

Karen Goh, Lily Agbalog, Romeo Agbalog, Jen Garrett, Sonya Christian, Shelley Davis, Ed Davis

Front Row: Mayor Karen Goh, Lily Agbalog, Sonya Christian.  Back Row: Trustee Romeo Agbalog, Jen Garrett, Shelley Davis, Ed Davis

Special thanks to Dr. Jen Garrett and the BC Choirs, Chefs Suzanne Durst, Alez Gomez, Christian Flores, and our BC Culinary Arts students. And thank you to everyone who purchased tickets and visited “Harvard on the Hill” for this special annual holiday evening. I know we’re already looking forward to next year.

Mayor Karen Goh has some lovely photos on her Facebook

BSO & BC Choir

On Saturday, December 16th, the Bakersfield College Choir is partnering with the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra for the winter concert, Home for the Holidays. The show begins at 7PM at Fox Theater and tickets are available now at www.thebakersfieldfox.com.

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LVN graduation

In addition to the RN nursing students graduating, this Friday, December 8, 2017, we had our LVN cohort graduating as well with the ceremony being held at the Indoor Theater.

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After three semesters of hard work and perseverance, the students from our Vocational Nursing program got to walk across the stage and earn their pins at a special ceremony Friday night in the Indoor Theater.

Along with their certification as Licensed Vocational Nurses, the graduates were awarded a special pin commemorating all of their hard work and success. The pin is a traditional badge of achievement, and each nursing school’s pin is different.

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After a brief welcome from Jennifer Johnson and MC Kren Campbell, student speakers Krystal Shendo-Quidachay and Juana Aguilar spoke about all of the hard work that the group of 21 graduates had to endure in order to earn the licensure; the support they received from family, friends, BC faculty and their peers; and the relief that the effort resulted in a certification that enables them to achieve their career goals, or to continue their nursing education.

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The holiday spirit was in the air as Aguilar lead the audience in singing “Feliz Navidad” while poinsettias decorated the theater.

The graduates and their family members in the audience were often moved to tears as the nursing staff recited the Nightingale Pledge and pinned the graduates. Faculty speaker Sandra Davis spoke highly of all her graduating students, and was ecstatic for all of the lives that she knew her students would go on to help save.

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I’d like to congratulate all of our newly licensed vocational nurses and our nursing staff for all the work they do to transform the lives of our students and community through the education that they provide.

Community Christmas Parades

We are so fortunate to have a variety of local community based Christmas Parades. BC was so happy to walk in the Shafter Parade a few weeks ago. I shared photos in my blog last weekend here, and I loved the photos from Mayor Jose Gurrola from the Arvin Christmas Parade. It’s great to see our community leaders working together and supporting our various communities.

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Rudy Salas, Leticia Perez, and Jose Gurrola

Leaders Leticia Perez and Former Mayor Harvey Hall both came together with a financial donation to support the Arvin Christmas Parade. The Bakersfield Californian covered this here.

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A few nights ago, the community came out to see the Bakersfield Christmas Parade and The Bakersfield Californian has some incredible photos available here. I also loved the opening of this article, “Christmas Parade kicks the holiday season into high gear.” Author, Steven Mayer wrote,

There were toddlers wearing footed PJs dancing in the street. There was a man sporting a black sombrero riding a Brahma bull. There was a dude herding cats — although he claimed he was director of the Washington Middle School Marching Band. There were thousands of smiles, hundreds of princess parade waves, and enough good will toward men to make you feel like everything is going to be all right after all.

Don’t miss the article. It’s fantastic.

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BC Holiday Party

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BC Rural Initiatives Team

On November 30th, right before the busy week of finals, our campus faculty, staff, and administrators came together for a little holiday party in the Fireside Room. An assortment of treats and hors d’oeuvres were available including the famous bread pudding with caramel sauce from BC Food Services. There was a raffle for dinner for four at the Renegade Room, various BC shirts and sweatshirts, and mini desktop christmas trees. Kris Tiner and our BC musicians provided festive music.

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Kris Tiner and BC Musicians

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Renegade Wrestling

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Adrian Godinez

Jon Mettus of The Bakersfield Californian reported on BC Wrestling this week in his article, “BC wrestlers on potential state championship collision course.” BC’s Adrian Godinez is the number one ranked 184-pound wrestler in the state and BC’s Jeremy Maas is the second ranked. The article describes the two, “Godinez is dynamic upright while Maas works well down on the mat. Godinez excels with his footwork and Maas has heavy hands.”

Renegade Basketball

The BC women’s basketball team got a huge effort from Octavia Croney this week, in a 83-67 victory over Taft College. Croney poured in 27 points, had 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 5 steals to lead the Renegades.  Brianna Mendez and Jasmyn Rodriguez also scored in double figures with 19 and 15 points respectively.  Aubrey Stone led BC in rebounds with 13.

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And the Men’s Basketball Tournament scheduled for this weekend has been canceled due to the ongoing fires in California. The Bakersfield College Men’s Basketball team has added two games to their schedule to make up for the games lost this weekend. The added games are January 3rd at LA Valley and January 9th at Oxnard.

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

Kerntax

This week was the annual Kern Tax Annual Installation Luncheon.  Tom Burke is a member of the board and invites me and several others to sit at his table.  Mike Turnipseed, CEO of Kerntax has done a remarkable job connecting various entities and aggressively educating our community on due diligence with tax dollars.  It seemed as it the all of the community leaders were there at the end.  I quickly snapped this picture of Chancellor Tom Burke with the President of the KCCD Board, Kay Meek.  Trustee Romeo Agbalog was present as well.  He was sitting at Mike Turnipseed’s table.   I was sitting right next to Vice Chancellor John Means and had a great time listening to the speakers and catching up with John.  Life is good.

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Tom Burke, Kay Meek

BC OChem Letters

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A copy of the newest BC OChem Letters, Volume 5, Number 1, crossed my desk this week. It’s incredible to see the work of Professor Kenward Vaughan and our students. In the editor’s notes, Professor Vaughn mentions the challenges of the separation and identification of components of binary liquid mixtures using various research techniques spanning distillations, physical and chemical characterizations, and spectroscopic work.

The intro states “People in general tend to categorize things that they encounter as a way to organize information. Observations of similarities and/or differences are used to make correlations between things, which in turn, people can make predictions of other characteristics an unknown may show. This is especially important in the field of chemistry, where matter is studied all the way down to its microscopic level. Observations of various atomic structures have been made throughout the years, which paved ways to methods of separations of mixtures using the differences of physical and chemical properties between substances.”

Fun photos

On Friday, I received this fun text from Zav Dadabhoy. It said

“Engaging in a deep discussion about copyright law, and debating which “G” is better (they are identical, except for the colors.) Georgia State or the Green Bay Packers!”

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Zav Dadabhoy and Chris Hine

 

Loved seeing Dennis Spencer and his grandson Andrew visiting BC and our office — Andrew, a future Renegade

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Snapped these pictures of Liz Rozell with granddaughter May at Don Perico on Oswell where we were having a meeting while enjoying the fabulous lunch buffet. Liz and May joined Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Jennifer Johnson, and myself.

And then I ran into Joshua Gonzales having lunch with his family.  Josh is a Rad tech student who is graduating in May 2018.  He was very complimentary about the program Nancy 🙂

Joshua Gonzales Rad Tech Student Dec 8 2017

 

 

BC Foundation Holiday Dinner

I was at an accreditation meeting in LA and could not attend the Foundation Holiday Party.  I want to thank the Bakersfield College foundation for all their support in passing Measure J.  And thank you Karen Thompson for your leadership through the entire process.

We had our choir perform at this event as well.  Here are a few photos.

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Jen Garrett at the Foundation Holiday Dinner Dec 7 2017

We are BC!

December 5 2017

 

That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Saying Hello to Fall 2017

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is August 19, 2017, the birthday of my grandmother, Hilda Sparrow.  And a great day to be a Renegade

I woke up to a flurry of emails early Saturday morning from BC employees supporting students.  How cool is that!  Here are two examples:

Email from Dr. Manny Mourtzanos at 7:00 a.m. Saturday morning to the student

Manny Mourtzanos ConvocationGood morning, [name of student]. I was so inspired to read your message to President Christian, as well as her response this morning. I can’t think of a better way to start the day. We’re here to help. I’d love the chance to meet. Let’s make it happen early and often. I will be at the Welcome Tent by the Fine Arts building on Monday morning from 7:30 – 10:00 am. If you’re in the area during that time, please drop in. My office is located in FA-69 (Fine Arts Building). If I’m not there, someone will be able to help you schedule an appointment with me. I’d like for us to discuss your plans for law school, as well the many professional options our program can offer you. It is a unique program developed by the State Bar of California, and reserved for only a handful of colleges in California, including Bakersfield College. You’ve picked a great college to attend!
Be well,
manny

Then at 7:03 a.m. on saturday, this email from Maria Wright to the student popped into my inbox

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Maria Wright

Good morning [name of student],

Welcome to BC! As President Christian mentioned in her email, I am the Director of Academic  Support Services and I look forward to supporting you on your pathway to success! Please stop by to meet me next week, my office is in the Center for Student Success (CSS) building, second floor, room 184-A.

When we meet, I will give you a tour of our support services. In the meantime, I am attaching a document that will help you to identify some of the services available to you.
I look forward you to meeting you and please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns!
With Renegade pride,
Maria Wright

 I am the luckiest and happiest college president ever!

August 21st, first day of classes

On Monday, August 21st, the campus will be alive with students filling each hallway and classroom.  BC has been growing in enrollments over the last four years and this fall we are seeing another 6.5% growth.  So students, parking is going to be crazy the first two weeks.  I ask that you to have a friend or family member drop you off and pick you up, or car pool, or take public transportation, or bike to school.  Plan on being early.

Enrollments

Where did this summer go?  It flew by so quickly! But, here we are and fall is about to begin. It’s my favorite time of the year, gearing up to welcome students back on campus for a new academic year.

Fall 2017 Opening Day

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Sonya Christian — 2017 State of the College

 

On Thursday, August 17th, we celebrated our Opening Day – a time where faculty and staff come together to review all we’ve accomplished and the things we look forward to accomplishing this year.  This year, the indoor theater was packed and Jennifer Marden needed to organize an overflow room.  And plz note that there are three reds in the planning team — Jennifer Marden, Monika Scott, and Kristin Rabe!

Dezi Von Manos

President Dezi Von Manos

Our morning began with a welcome by SGA President, Dezi Von Manos – a BC Communication major and a true student leader.  I will see if I can have her talk posted on my blog next week.  I promise you, you will be inspired by her and her story.

One of the highlights of the morning was Kay Meek, President of the KCCD Board of Trustees.  I heard so many positive comments from everyone on how much they appreciate Kay and how much they appreciated hearing from Kay.  Trustee Meek was very positive about the future of KCCD and talked about how much the college will benefit from Measure J. She pointedly looked at me and said she wants the Veterans Resource Center sooner than later to which the audience responded with an applause.  Thank you President Kay Meek for attending our Opening Day.  We are so fortunate to have you at the helm of KCCD.

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Kay Meek, President of the KCCD Board

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Kay Meek — A Renegade Fan

 

This was my fourth State of the College address as President of the college.  Here are snippets of the content of my remarks.

Let me start with our Core Valuers which permeate everything we do.  During the State of the College I had our new employees read the Core Values.  Here is Neeley Hatridge reading the core value of Diversity.

 

Neeley Hatridge reading the Diversity Core Value

Neeley Hatridge

 

Sonya Christian BC Core Values

Sonya Christian — BC Core Values

We have also been laser focused on the safety and security of our campus.  BC has a dedicated Public Safety department led by Chief Counts.  Since we are an open campus with no walls surrounding us, our Public Safety department makes sure that we go through professional development to be able to respond to all kinds of emergencies.  Our slogan is, if you see something, say something, do something.  Here is Chief Christopher Counts addressing the BC employees on Opening Day.

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Chief Christopher Counts

I have been blogging about the Guided Pathways work at BC and the strategy of creating Completion Coaching Communities around the 10 metamajors.  Well, at Opening Day, we had a team from the Arts and Humanities metamajor model that their roles will be as completion coaches for the students in that group.  Each speaker was exceptionally good and I thank Grace Commiso, Manny Mourtzanos and especially Lesley Bonds in working with the group.

Grace Commiso Lesley Bonds June 23 2017

Grace Commiso, Lesley Bonds

Here are the completion coaches who spoke at Opening Day

Arts and Humanities Completion Coaching Team

Manny Mourtzanos (Dean and Administrative Lead):

Manny Mourtzanos

Dr. Manny Mourtzanos

1972….Not only the year I was born, but also the number of students in the Arts & Humanities pathway. 1,972. How can one person possibly know each of these students on a personal level enough to make a difference?

That’s why we have “Completion Coaching Communities.” By bringing together specialists and discipline experts, we can share the duty to ‘know’ our students. As the Pathway Lead, I can ‘know’ our 1,972 by reviewing data. I might not know their stories, but by working with our Data Coaches and colleagues in Institutional Effectiveness, we can identify which students could benefit from additional support, resources, information or intervention. As Pathway Lead, my ‘breadth’ of knowing students is wide, though shallow. However, discipline experts are uniquely positioned to have a shorter ‘breadth’ of students to know, but they can be known in a much ‘deeper’ and more meaningful way. For example, of our 1,972 students, 101 of them are Spanish majors. As the discipline expert for Spanish, Qiu Jimenez is poised to coordinate efforts with the other three full-time faculty in Spanish to know their students on personal level….that’s only 25 students each…a very doable mission. As the Pathway Lead, I’m committed to bringing our experts together, along with our Data Coaches, Faculty Chairs, Counselors and Ed Advisors, to identify students in need of additional support, and using our infrastructure to reach them.

You’ll hear today from my fellow Completion Coaches.  We each have different responsibilities to ensure that we know our students so that they:

  1. Complete college-level English and math in the first year,
  2. Complete 15 pathway-applicable units by the end of their first term,
  3. Complete 30 pathway-applicable units by the end of their first year, and
  4. Complete 60 pathway-applicable units in two years

With that, I invite my fellow Completion Coaches to share with you their experiences as Coaches responsible for these 1,972 students.

Eleonora Hicks (Data Coach):

Eleanora Hicks

Eleonora Hicks

My name is Eleonora Hicks.  I am a sociology professor in the Behavioral Sciences department and since I find quantitative analysis “super” exciting, I also function as a data coach and work closely with BC’s completion coaching communities within the framework of our guided pathways.

 

There are four main pillars in the guided pathways approach.  The first pillar involves not only achieving clarity but to quote President Christian, it involves achieving relentless clarity in the curricular pathways that students follow to complete their academic and career goals.

As a member of the Arts & Humanities Completion Coaching Community, I am the Data Clarifier. It’ is my responsibility to provide clarity, help my fellow coaches understand the right questions to ask, , interpret questions they’re not sure how to ask, and make meaning of the cohort reports I provide as a liaison with the Office of Institutional Effectiveness.

As a data coach and part of a completion community, I have specifically worked within the framework of Pillar #1 by collaborating with the Office of Institutional Effectiveness in several ways: I have helped my Completion Community see the classes in which our students are enrolled, provided feedback about the clarity with which we communicate program requirements, goals, and outcomes and am currently assessing the most common courses across programs within meta-majors, which could become an important tool in advising and course mapping.

Yvonne Armendariz (AccuSQL Lead)
Yvonne ArmendarizGood morning, my name is Yvonne Armendariz and I am the Basic Skills Program Manager. As a Completion Coach, I lead our campus efforts to utilize a tool called AccuSQL to track attendance for all student support services. So while Eleonora distributes to her Completion Coaching Community a report based on student cohort data in Banner, I can help provide you a report that shows our students’ behavior throughout the semester.

At the beginning of each semester, I will set up automated reports for each instructor to receive every Monday morning at 7 am. These reports will have detailed information regarding the students in your course that attended an academic support service the week prior. This report will include student name, ID, center where services attended, and time spent.  For weeks, 4, 8, and 12 each instructor will receive a cumulative report for all students that have attended a support service at that point. Any Completion Coach can use this information to track, in nearly live time, how engaged your students are in academic support services.

If you have any questions regarding your AccuSQL reports, please feel free to contact me or reach out anyone within the Academic Support Services Department and they will put you into contact with me. Thank you.

Jonathan Schultz (Counselor):

Jonathan Schultz

Jonathan Schultz

I am Jonathan Schultz, a Counselor and Completion Coach.  While there are many things I love about the pathway model, the group collaboration is my favorite. Having a group of people, working together is not only fun, but it really helps our students succeed and get on their path to completion. A perfect example of this is over the summer, I received an email from Helen Acosta, Department Chair of Communication, replying to a student who she met at Summer Bridge. This student had questions about what career path would be best for her. Helen, knowing the system we have in place on campus, referred her to me since I am the “Personal and Career Exploration” counselor, and we were able to help her set up an appointment to begin researching career options and begin her on a path.

 

As a Counselor focused on undecided students entering our campus, I review cohort progress data, take direct responsibility for reaching out to undecided students in groups, and work with them to move them toward a clear, attainable educational goal using various career exploration tools, working with job placement specialists, the transfer center, and my colleagues in academic support services.  I take responsibility for recognizing and intervening when I see our students are off-path to help them get back on-path by taking the right courses at the right time.  As a Completion Coach, I commit to ensuring each student I meet leaves our interaction with a clearer sense of purpose and the tools they need to navigate their pathway successfully.

Roberta Ayala (Financial Aid Tech):

Roberta Ayala

Roberta Ayala

My name is Roberta Ayala and I am a Financial Aid Technician. With nearly 80% of students being the first in their families to attend college and over 65% relying on financial aid to pursue their goals, we know that helping students start on the right path financially is critical in their success.

 

As a Completion Coach, I work to ensure our students’ success and remove any financial barriers along their path while shaping their behavior for their long-term success. I achieve this by assisting students throughout the financial aid process including completing their FAFSA, keeping open communication regarding status and requirements, and providing support throughout their journey.

More specifically, I track and provide financial aid information to my fellow coaches within the A&H pathway.  It is my personal goal to educate my fellow coaches and our students, and to provide them with the many financial resources available. With the list of the 1971 students Eleonora provides, I am able to quickly identify those students who have incomplete FAFSAs, are missing critical documents, or are in danger of losing their financial aid.  By identifying the students early, I can contact each student with a tailored message to ensure they set off on the right path financially toward their educational goals.

Paul Beckworth (Discipline Faculty, Starfish Implementation Lead):

Paul Beckworth

Paul Beckworth

My name is Paul Beckworth, and I was not born in 1972.  I’m a history faculty member and serve as BC’s lead for veterans.  While our Dean, Manny Mourtzanos, set the stage with a focus on the 1972 students in the Arts & Humanities Learning & Career Pathway, I am focused on specific, intrusive support to history majors. As a coach, I know I have a direct responsibility for knowing the 222 of History majors at BC.

Launching into a new year brings new possibilities, not just for us but for our students.   The possibility to finish strong can become a probability through vigorous course work and “intrusive caring.”  One of our primary roles as educators is to help students finish what they started.  But you might be wondering how do we, as teachers, get students to stay on the path that the awesome counselors and advisors put them on?  If a student isn’t in my class, how can I play a role in helping them finish what they started?

We know students see us more often than anyone else on campus.  They come to talk to us, sometimes about class, but often times about life.  Struggles often show up in classroom performance.  What an opportunity to keep them on their path to getting a whole team behind them, not letting them deviate from their goals!

So, beyond creating an environment in my classroom where students can learn and grow collectively as historians, I am committing to take responsibility for ensuring their success as BC Renegades.

As a member of a Completion Community, I work with my colleagues in the History department to ensure the data Eleonora provides remain a constant focus for each of us in our department meetings.  We will work together as a department to ensure our syllabi reflect our emphasis on academic support services and student engagement.

I get to say, I am a completion coaching community team member.  Listen, guided pathways is happening with us, not to us.  Our students are coming in with pre-entry attributes that we must work with.  We meet them where there are.  Where are they?  They are here!  And they are BC!

Regina Hukill (Department Chair, Math):

Regina Hukill

Regina Hukill

My name is Regina Hukill and I am the Math Department Chair and a member of the STEM Completion Coaching Community.  But today I am here as a department chair to ensure that math completion is a clear focus for everyone as we work to help students stay on path to complete college-level English and math.

 

In the past year, we have been engaged in an intensive strategy to engage every student in academic support.  Using Basic Skills funds, we developed an Extend the Classroom for Math as well as for English.  By using, Extend the Classroom to target those students taking basic skill math courses who need extra one-on-one tutoring in math and to help them complete the math they need to stay on their academic path.

We are happy to see that the Extend the Classroom for Math location has been moved from being tucked away in a corner of the Writing Center, to a more desirable location which will be in the Math Science Building.  A convenient location can really make a huge difference in the number of students we can get to participate in this program.

Our two professional math tutors, Christopher Anderson and Alana Austin will be there to help students from 7 am to 8:30 pm Monday through Thursday, and on Fridays from 8 am to noon.  Math faculty will continue to support the Extend the Classroom by providing help as well.  We have found that instructors like Josh Lewis and Donna Starr who are available in the Extend the Classroom get a good number of their students participating.  Some of my fellow math faculty coaches and I are committing to allocate points in the course that students can earn by getting tutoring outside of the classroom to emphasize our goal of math completion for all students.

 

Keri Wolf (Discipline faculty, Extend the Classroom):

Keri Wolf

Keri Wolf

My name is Keri Wolf, and I have been involved in Extend the Classroom as an English faculty member and Completion Coach to ensure college-level English completion is a clear focus for each of you.  BC has 253 English majors, but we know every single student who steps foot on campus with an AA in mind needs to complete English 1A. With our goal for students to complete college-level Math and English courses during their first year, this places English faculty in a unique position to foster a collaborative environment through classroom interactions and extending the classroom programs.

Extending the classroom provides a distraction free, collaborative learning environment. Supplemental Instruction study groups allow students to gain the support of not only an experienced peer who knows the instructor and that specific section’s material but also the support of classmates.

As a Completion Coach, I work with my colleagues in the English Department to expand our use of SI, specifically for English 53, an accelerated course to the transfer-level English 1A.  As a result, students who take English 53 their first semester and then follow it with English 1A their second semester are able to complete English in the first year.

Since English provides these foundational courses, extend the classroom exposes students early to the network of support services. And many students have credited SI as pivotal to their success.

Transfer and CTE are all pathways to a job:  The Community College Chancellor’s Office is focused on “jobs” at the email of a college degree whether it is an Associates degree or a Baccalaureate degree.  The whole Guided Pathways approach starts with the “end in mind”.  At BC, we have organized our 72 programs into 10 Metamajors and within each metamajor there are both CTE pathways and transfer pathways.  So, during the State of the College address, I invited both Janet Fulks and Cindy Collier to speak about Transfer and CTE respectively and our work for 2017-18.

After the State of the College, we heard from Chancellor Tom Burke who reviewed the Measure J plans, his goals for the next two years and his visit to the Kern Valley Prison to see students in the Japanese course do presentations.  He was clearly moved by the testimony of the students.  Thank you Chancellor for attending BC’s 2017 Opening Day!

Tom Burke 2017 Opening Day

I always look forward to hearing from the leadership of the employee groups. Bernadette Martinez with CCSEA, Isabel Stierle with CCA, Steve Holmes with Academic Senate, and Sue Vaughn on behalf of Management.

Bernadette Martinez

 

Isabel Stierle

 

Steven Holmes

 

Sue Vaughn

BC’s Academic Senate President Steven Holmes always has fun during campus wide gatherings.  He is known to be in flip flops for most of the year and at the last campus wide gathering, Debbie Rosenthal  challenged him to get a pedicure.  And here he is at the next campus wide gathering, confidently displaying his pedicured toes with dark red nail polish 🙂

Steven Holmes Nail Polish

And here he is in a video that Zav captured when Steven was removing the license plate from my Land Rover.

 

Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg

Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg

After we heard from the employee groups, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg introduced us to the new employees including the 55 new faculty.  Nan concluded her remarks with the quote: Only the educated are free. Powerful!

You can find all our new faculty here
https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/employees/new-academic-faculty

Stretch Breaks:

Thank you to Coach Matt Moon and Coach Zach Peters for leading us through a stretch break.  Also thank you to BC SGA leaders Dezi Von Manos and Jose Cortez.

Matt Moon and Zach Peters

 

Dezi Von Manos and Jose Cortez Lead Stretch Break

Accreditation:

We are working on our Institutional Self Evaluation report (ISER) and will have the accreditation evaluation team on campus in October 2018.  Jason Stratton, History Faculty, and Liz Rozell, Dean of Instruction, are leading this work.  They did a real nice job jeopardy-style to engage the audience.

Jason Stratton

Wondering about the two of them leading the work on BC’s Institutional Self Evaluation after I saw this photo.

Liz Rozell and Jason Stratton Chairs ISER Fall 2017

Liz Rozell, Jason Stratton — Chairs of ISER

 

The morning concluded with the Margaret Levinson Faculty Leadership Award being presented to Dr. Kimberly Bligh for all of her dedication to BC and our students. As you know, she was instrumental in the advancing and growth of Summer Bridge.

Kimberly NickellThis is how Prof. Kimberly Nickell introduced Dr. Kimberly Bligh.

I am always amazed by the leaders I get to work with on our BC campus. And as I work with these leaders, I experience their drive, vision and pursuit of excellence.  Dr. Kimberly Bligh is the epitome of this leader.

From the implementation of the CAS workshops, Summer Bridge, creating her math textbook, and directing Title V, as well as many other projects she is involved in, I have witnessed Kimberly leading the charge, and with each endeavor her drive, vision, and pursuit of excellence is apparent. Kimberly strives to elevate the BC campus, promoting student success while mentoring and inspiring others to be leaders. That is true leadership.

So please, let’s put our hands together for our 2017 Margaret Levinson Leadership award recipient, Dr. Kimberly Bligh.

Kimberly Bligh

Kim Nickell, Kimberly Bligh, Pam Boyles

Kimberly put together a tribute to those who supported her as a thank you during her acceptance speech of the Levinson award.  Here it is

The final award presented was the Norm Levan Faculty Colloquium Announcement awarded to Rafael Espericueta.

Susan Pinza

Here is the description of Rafael’s talk.

Every day you make use of software based on deep learning. You use it every time you do a Google search, or look for a movie to watch on Netflix. It’s used to enable computers (and phones) to recognize objects, understand spoken language, diagnose illness, and countless other applications.

Recently, deep learning has made profound breakthroughs that are making possible tasks that hitherto have been impossible for computers to accomplish. And the breakthroughs keep coming! Soon autonomous vehicles will be driving our roads, and human driven vehicles may well become a thing of the past. Many jobs will disappear, as machines become more capable of tasks once reserved exclusively for humans.

Deep learning will increasingly effect all of our lives, and it behooves us all to gain at least a basic understanding of this exciting new and disruptive technology.  It now seems likely that machines may soon actually attain sentience, or at least act as though they were as sentient as you or I.

The ethical ramifications of this technology are vast and will be increasingly pertinent. Our very species’ survival may well hang in the balance. But whether you are terrified at imagined dystopias this technology may engender, or excited by utopic visions of the future this technology can make possible, artificial intelligence is evolving at an exponential rate.  The day of the sentient machine is coming, whether we like it or not.  The more one knows about what’s coming, the more power one yields to help steer it in a more desirable direction.

Whatever your own field of study, deep learning will become increasingly relevant to your future. Come to Rafael’s talk to learn more about deep learning – what recent breakthroughs have been made, and what we may expect in the near (and distant) future.  Though it may sound like science fiction, this is an engineering reality right now.  Come learn what it has accomplished, as well as what it portends for our species’ future!

Friday, Nov. 3rd
Levan Center
11:30 AM (an hour later than usual)
Mathematics Department…Rafael Espericueta

Rafael Espericueta Levan Faculty Colloquim May 12 2017

 

There were three major initiatives for the year that I highlighted: (1) Completion Coaching Communities intended to create a case management approach and in this case a cohort management approach to ensure that no student goes unnoticed. (2) Measure J as we move to implementation and (3) accreditation.  The videos were produced by the very talented Manny de Los Santos using the Superhero theme.  Enjoy them!

Let me introduce you to our superheroes Todd Coston and Liz Rozell:

Let me introduce you to our Superhero Bill Potter, Director of Facilities

Let me introduce you to numerous superheros that form a completion coaching community around each student.

I can’t thank everyone involved enough for the incredible way the day turned out. It’s a group effort from various multiple departments.

The talented Manny de los Santos!

Manny extreme selfie using drone Nov 26 2015

Manny de Los Santos

ASL Interpreters

I’d like to thank Tom Moran and Brittany King, for their work interpreting during Opening Day.

Tom does so much on campus and it’s always a joy to see him. He was also a giant supporter during the Measure J campaign, and even has taught me how to sign both “Yes on J” and “We are BC!”   Thank you Tom!

Food Services at BC

MJFoodServices081817During Opening Day, Mary Jo took the time to thank our Food Services crew for all the work they do to provide food for students and catering at important events like we have on Thursday.

 

Eric Sabella and the crew worked hard to provide breakfast burritos and lunch wraps for the faculty and staff on Opening Day, then got straight to work on a beautiful barbecue chicken dinner for everybody at the New Student Convocation that evening. I’d like to thank them for their tireless work and for keeping us fueled with delicious food.

Mary Jo Pasek posted this photo on her Facebook! I can always count on MJ to have some of the best photos.

Thank Yous

I have to give special thanks also to our team of ushers:  Lori Ortiz, Savannah Andres, Roseanne Lewis, Trudi Blanco, Cecilia Lopez, Yolanda Aguilera, and Bernadette Martinez.  Thank you Chris Glaser for leading this effort.

Ushers

Video, media services, and photographers: Kristin Rabe, Kevin Ganger, Manny De Los Santos, Earl Parsons, Eric Carrillo, and John Farrand.

Content Contributors, Lesley Bonds, Grace Commiso,  Manny Mourtzanos, Eleonora Hicks, Yvonne Armendariz, Jonathan Schultz, Roberta Ayala, Paul Beckworth, Regina Hukilll, Keri Wolf, Janet Fulks, Cindy Collier, Jason Stratton, Liz Rozell, and Chris Counts.

Our fabulous emcee, Francis Mayer, and the planning team, Jennifer Serratt, Monika Scott, and Aricia Leighton.

 

New Faculty Seminar

2017-2018 New Faculty

matt JonesOn Monday, our 55 new faculty members met in the first seminar in a year-long series that will help them connect with BC resources and make the most of their time at Bakersfield College.  We are excited to welcome this new and very dynamic group of faculty to the college – the largest incoming class of new faculty in our history!

Topics ranged from how to get involved in pathways and completion communities to learning the ropes of human resources. We look forward to offering New Faculty Seminars every month for the rest of the semester.

Flex Week

BC’s fall 2017 Flex Week was a busy one, packed with almost 60 workshops, including four Opening Day breakout sessions focused on important campus initiatives. Workshops ranged from practical skills related to accessibility using Google and Grackle, to workshops designed to help faculty integrate new creative media, like PowToons—and everything in between. In addition to Flex workshops and Opening Day breakout sessions, the Pathways Institute drew a sizable crowd of completion coaches and other dedicated faculty and staff from all over BC. As of Thursday afternoon, Flex Week drew over 385 logins/sign-ins, including over 208 individual attendees. Thanks, BC!

Dr. Chike Akua

Dr cAs part of Flex Week on Wednesday, acclaimed public intellectual Dr. Chike Akua hosted workshop about how to keep students of color engaged in their academic pursuits and education as a key to fighting structural inequality.

BC was honored to host this important professional development workshop with Akua, a member of the Teacher Transformation Institute and author of books such as “Honoring our Ancestral Obligations: 7 Steps to Black Student Success”. Akua’s presentation, titled “Education for Transformation: Keys to Releasing the Genius of Black Students”, focused on concrete ways that instructors can supplement their curricula with the contributions of African-Americans and other marginalized groups that have been omitted from textbooks or otherwise edited out of the canon of human intellectual achievement.

“Who are the models of intellectual authority you’re putting before your students?” Akua asked. “Even though the population of our students has changed, in many ways, our curriculum has not.”

 

By drawing attention to marginalized innovators in math, science, art, architecture and countless other fields, it allows students within those marginalized groups to see themselves reflected in a given field of study, and Akua showed data that reflects how students that are able to relate to their study material grow more confident in their academics and matriculate more successfully through their educational pathway.

“This has become one of the critical mediating factors in my students’ success,” Akua said.

Akua also used the events in Charlottesville last weekend as a lens to guide his discussion on the role educators have in shifting the toxic perceptions about race relations in America today. When educators begin engaging students to critically examine the world around them while spreading awareness of structural inequality and social issues like the school-to-prison pipeline, Akua posits that we’ll begin seeing the national conversation about race change, and in many ways the shift has already started to happen with the work of organizations such as Black Lives Matter and the ongoing debate about law enforcement accountability in communities of color.

“Their innate sense of justice will cause students to speak out on issues,” Akua said. “Allow your students to bring their whole personality to class.”

Akua also stressed the importance of a diverse faculty in bridging the “engagement gap” in education, while showing data indicating that higher learning institutions need to do a lot better at hiring people of color. The national leader for hiring African-American faculty among major four-year state institutions is The University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa, whose faculty is only 6.8 percent black despite having an 11.1 percent black undergraduate population, according to the website College Factual. The state leader among four-year colleges in California is UCLA, whose black faculty only comprises 3 percent of the faculty population despite making up 4.8 percent of the student population.

“It’s important to have faculty who look like your students,” Akua said. “How can we say we’re a nation who values diversity with these numbers?”

Akua’s conversation gave our faculty a lot to think about how they might be unintentionally alienating a lot of their marginalized students while giving some good advice about how to keep those students engaged.

Welcome International Students

In addition to welcoming new faculty and staff, we have 90 students from around the world in our ISA program for Fall 2017, majoring in everything from Business Administration to Theatre Arts. There are 18 students from India, which represents 20 percent of the group. There are 15 students from Saudia Arabia and 10 from Vietnam, as well as representatives from Nigeria, China, Bangladesh, France, Ivory Coast, Australia and more for a total of 29 countries to be welcomed into the BC family.

international students

New Student Convocation

Bakersfield College welcomed its 104th class of incoming freshman to the family Thursday night at the Outdoor Theater during the New Student Convocation.

F17Convocation14

The annual event is a gathering before the start of the fall semester for new students and their families to learn about different programs on campus and what will be expected of them for the upcoming year. Todd Coston was in the audience as a parent of a young woman starting her freshman year at BC.  I snapped this picture.  See if you can spot Todd off in the distance.

Todd Coston and his daughter at convocation

Steven Holmes led BC faculty through a pledge to provide students with the support they’ll need to make it through a short but eventful school year, while SGA President Dezi von Manos led students through their pledge to rise to the occasion and perform the hard work it requires to achieve their dreams. Dr. Janet Fulks led the families, friends and supporters of the students through a pledge as well.

I grabbed these photos from Lawrence Salcido’s Facebook page.  Thank you Lawrence!

Dezi Van Manos

Sonya Christian 2 at Convocation

 

Steven Homles at Convocation

 

 

 

 

 

 

There was amazing entertainment throughout the event, with a DJ booth in front of the Outdoor Theater providing music while students visited booths for the Agriculture and Automotive programs, the Student Health Center and countless other student organizations. When students walked into the theater, they were greeted with a performance from a few students in last semester’s Commercial Music class. Jennifer Garrett led the BC choir through the national anthem, “When You Wish Upon a Star” and Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water”,

The BC cheerleaders closed the convocation with an exciting performance.  Thank you Heather Foss for your dedication to the BC Cheer Team.  And thank you Becki Whitson for all of the years you spent with the team.  We miss you and hope to see you at the games.

 

Here is the BC Fight Song

 

Go out and Get Them

 

There’s an awesome video BC counselor Jonathan Schultz put together on YouTube speaking to student athletes about taking advantage of opportunities. Jonathan presents a very simple but true philosophy that successful people are able to do seemingly impossible things because they are willing to go lengths others aren’t to be the best.

“You have to do what others won’t if you want to have what others don’t,” Schultz said. “I never waited for an opportunity to come to me. I went out and found an opportunity.” When you’re willing to go the extra mile in your athletic, creative or cognitive development, people will recognize the work you’re putting in and opportunities to succeed will open up that you never thought possible. The greatest athletes were the ones who had the drive put in time and effort that their coworkers didn’t, transcending what people previously thought was humanly possible. “What are you doing that other people in your exact situation are not doing?” Schultz asks. “What pushes you outside of yourself? What’s your why?”

Football Practice Begins!

I loved seeing this post on Instagram. BC Football is gearing up!

Are you following BC on Instagram?! What about Facebook and Twitter?

IMG_6265

 

FCDC Summer Chair Academy

The Faculty Chairs/Directors Council met this week as well to wrap up the summer. This group of dedicated individuals discuss, review, and resolve operational issues and to provide collaborative interaction between student services and instruction in development of seamless process to meet student needs. Welcome to the new department chairs this year: Mark Osea, Counseling; Helen Acosta, Communication, and Kirk Russell, Library.

 

 

 

Eclipse Information

Nick Strobel

Nick Strobel

Nick Strobel also sent an email out to various campus groups sharing some awesome details about the upcoming eclipse. He said,

“You’ve probably heard something about the upcoming eclipse of the Sun on Monday, August 21. The eclipse for us in Bakersfield will be just a partial eclipse. See the Planetarium’s homepage at www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/planetarium for the stats for Bakersfield and how to view the Sun safely.

What’s the big deal about this total solar eclipse? Here are some reasons:

  • Total solar eclipses (New Moon totally covers the Sun’s photosphere surface) are RARE and awesome!
  • First one in the lower 48 states since 1979.
  • First one to sweep across the entire country since 1918.
  • First one to be solely visible in the United States since 1776 (yes, 1776)
  • Approximately 391 million people in the U.S. will be able to see the eclipse (total or partial).
  • Literally millions of international tourists will be coming to places in the path of totality. The totality strip is just 68 miles wide.
  • The few minutes of totality are the only times we can view the Sun’s corona (outer atmosphere). The corona is about as bright as a full moon.

See https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/planetarium/bakersfield-night-sky/bakersfield-night-sky-august-19-2017 for more about this eclipse and future eclipses in the U.S.

 

 

A great story. Thank you Joe Coughlin of Coconut Joes

Joe Coughlin and Glen Campbell in 1971 form TBCWhen Joe Coughlin of Coconut Joes heard about the passing of the celebrity Glen Campbell, he picked up his guitar and strummed the Rhinestone Cowboy.

Does that get your attention…..Well, click on the link and read his August 12th Opinion piece in The Bakersfield Californian — Gentle on My Mind: My long unique connection to Glen Campbell.  http://tinyurl.com/y8bssflx.   A pretty cool story.

I never heard Gentle on my mind by Glen Campbell.  Thank you Joe for introducing me to this piece by Glen Campbell.  I enjoyed it.

 

Rosebowl Watch

Thought you would enjoy the Facebook exchange with community members about the Rosebowl watch.  I actually wore it for Opening Day.  Here is a screen capture.

Facebook post about Rosebowl Watch

So what about Neo?

At 5 1/2 months, he is 52 lbs, and teething.  Can you guess where he is in the picture below?

August 13, 2017 Neo in Sonya's Office

Neo

Being obnoxious and then sweet like an angel when he is asleep.

 

Sonya Christian 2017 Opening DayThat’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Love Endures… Happy Easter

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, April 15, 2017 the day before Easter and such a great day to be a Renegade.

Sean Murray April 2017 Picture TBC website

Sean Murray. Picture from TBC website

I want to start this weekend’s blog with Herb Benham’s piece titled In Times of Grief Love Endures in The Bakersfield Californian on Good Friday, April 14, 2017.  Our community lost a wonderful young man Sean Murray, a Renegade, son of Steve Murray of Murray Farms. Benham says:

 

Love is the good that comes from this and, if we are made from the same cloth as Sean, it courses through the next generation. Love is both message and mantra; as the Bible says, “It bears, believes, hopes, endures and does not end,” even as we falter.

Yes….Love bears, believes, hopes, endures and does not end…

for more see http://tinyurl.com/lllw7er

 

BC Main Campus Hosts KCCD Board of Trustees

Students

BC Students Welcoming KCCD Trustees!

On Thursday afternoon, the main BC Campus hosted the monthly Board of Trustees meeting. These meetings are normally conducted at the District location, so it was special to have the Trustees and dignitaries, as well as faculty and staff from Porterville College and Cerro Coso Community College.

The afternoon began with lunch at the Renegade Room where SGA President Matthew Frazier and SGA Officers, Dezi Von Manos, Alex Apatiga, Jose Cortez, Rayven Acosta Webb, Lawrence Salcido, and Emmanuel Limaco introduced the four pillars of the Guided Pathways project. One of my favorite quotes came from Rayven, who said “The ASL program has taught me that I have not suffered from hearing loss but blessed with Deaf Gain…Deaf can do anything; I can do engineering.” I invite you to read the script from the students which has been made available on our website here.

Pillars

 

April 13 BCSGA presenting the GPS at Board luncheonHere is a picture tweeted by Kimberly Bligh.  I love it.  The students are here with Nicky Damania, Lesley Bonds and me.  Nicky and Lesley worked with the students to get ready for the Board presentation.  Zav Dadabhoy and I were chuckling that both Nicky and Lesley were looking at the group as though they were very proud parents.  I love these students and the fabulous team of Damania and Bonds.

Sonya Christian Lesley Bonds Nicky Damania with students April 13 2017.png

Emeriti at Lunch April 13 2017

Following an informative lunch, the group moved to the Levan Center to recognize emeritus faculty and instructional administrators, and retirees. There are 27 emeriti from 2010-2016 among them with a total of 802 years of service. Of the 23 retirees of 2016-2017, they have a total of 570 years of service.  Photos are available on Smugmug.

I’d like to highlight a few of them now.

Chancellor Burke April 13 2017

Chancellor Tom Burke

Hillary Neumeister

Prof Emeritus Hillary Neumeister with KAy Meek April 13 2017

Kay Meek, Hillary Neumeister

23 years (Retired 2013)

Hillary Neumeister grew the Developmental Writing courses into thriving offerings in many locations to meet Kern County’s basic writing needs.  Under Hillary’s oversight, the BC Tutoring Center, now serving over 1000 individuals per semester on the Panorama Campus and additional individuals at the Delano Center, has had its tutor training program certified by the International College Reading and Learning Association.  Thank you Professor Emeritus Hillary Neumister for your 23 years of dedicated service to Bakersfield College. (Note: Hillay and I were in the same new faculty cohort)

Prof Emeritus Vera Diaz with Kay Meek April 13 2017

Kay Meek, Vera Diaz

Vera Diaz, Counselor       
27 years (Retired September 2014)

Vera Diaz served as an EOPS Counselor and has built very close bonds with her students and assisted in many ways to help with their education. She was truly dedicated, in particular to our first generation students.  Throughout her employment she served her BC family and community in various ways. She was a member of the Latina Leadership Network of the California Community Colleges also served on their Executive Board; she was a member of the Kern County Hispanic Educators also serving on their Executive Board. She was the Staff Diversity member on various Hiring Committees on campus. She has also received President’s Certificate of Merit under the presidency of Greg Chamberlain.

Prof Emeritus Phil Mesel with Kay Meek April 13 2017

Kay Meek, Phil Mesel

Thank you Professor Emeritus Vera Diaz for 27 years of dedicated service to Bakersfield College.

Phil Mesel, Professor, Computer Studies
30 years (Retired May 2014)

Phil Mesel has been a part of computing at Bakersfield College for a large part of our history.  His BC career started in our IT department, and even after he moved to a full time faculty position, Phil continued to assist in making sure that our labs were up to date and fully functional.  Phil served as department chair and was instrumental in the development of many of our programs, but he will be remembered by his students for his willingness to spend extra time helping them succeed.  Phil also is known for his deep work with Martial Arts.  Thank you Professor Emeritus Phil Mesel for 30 years of dedicated service to Bakersfield College.

Prof Emeritus Randy Messick April 13 2017

Kay Meek, Randy Mesek

Randy Messick, Professor, Performing Arts
30 years 10 months (Retired December 2015)

When you think of the Kern Shakespeare festival the name that comes to mind is Randy Messick.

Randy taught acting, technical theatre, Introduction to Shakespeare, Introduction to Theatre, and directed plays.  Randy’s passion was Shakespeare. For more than two decades he served as the founding director of the Kern Shakespeare Festival, bringing the Bard to thousands of Bakersfield residents every fall, directing and often performing in dozens of Shakespeare plays.  Randy has created beautiful memories for the Bakersfield Community, families who have watched Shakespeare under the stars on warm summer nights. Thank you Professor Emeritus Randy Messick for over 30 years of dedicated service to Bakersfield College.

Prof Emeritus Dale Gradek with Kay Meek April 13 2017

Kay Meek, Dale Gradek

Dale Gradek
33 years (Retired 2010)

Dale Gradek was an integral part of the welding program for three decades. He was focused on preparing students to move directly into a job or advance in a career.

He modeled the same high level of professionalism that employers look from the programs graduates. Dale also participated in the work of the college community, he served on accreditation standard teams and many other campus committees. You can still find Dale volunteering for campus events.   Thank you Professor Emeritus Dale Gradek for your 33 years of dedicated service to Bakersfield College

Arlen Mark Dommer, Engineering & Industrial Technology
(Retired May 2016)

Prof Emeritus Mark Dommer with Kay Meek April 13 2017

Kay Meek, Mark Dommer

Mark began his career at Bakersfield College teaching welding courses in the early 1980’s.

In 2003, he transitioned into a new role of leading the Construction Technology program.  For the past 22 years he has served as the only instructor providing for this program that transitioned students directly into a job or a career.  Mark also worked with students from community-based organizations to help people learn the building trade.

Thank you Professor Emeritus Mark Dommer for 35 years of dedicated service to Bakersfield College.

Pat Coyle, Professor, Family & Consumer Education
35 years (Retired June 2014)

Prof Emeritus Pat Coyle with Kay Meek April 13 2017

Kay Meek, Pat Coyle

If you have ever eaten in the BC cafeteria.
If you have ever eaten in The Renegade Room.
If you have ever attended a BC Event.
If you’ve ever eaten food at the BC Stadium or the Huddle.

If you have ever attended graduation, the Honor Brunch, Twilight in Tuscany, A Taste of the Town, Independent City, The Amgen Tour, The Ag Awards, the Forestry meetings, The Chemistry Department awards, Fireworks Show, the Sterling Silver Event, the Red & White Festival, the 100 year celebration, the Garden Festival, The BC BBQ,…

Then you know what Chef William Patrick Coyle has been doing for the last 3 decades. Keeping you from going hungry while on campus.  Chef Coyle, Professor Emeritus, thank you for 35 years of dedicated service to Bakersfield College.

Prof Emeritus Robert Reader with KAy Meek April 13 2017

Kay Meek, Robert Reader

Robert Reader, Counselor.
38 years (Retired 2010)

Robert Reader made a lasting impression on many students because he would go the extra mile. Recently, a community member shared that Robert and Larry Robinson approached him while he was in the Police Academy about continuing his education. The story goes that Robert and Larry later came to the police station to continue ‘encouraging’ him to further his education. Police Chief Lyle Martin says that if it was not for Reader and Robinson that he would not be where he is today.  What we need today are more people like Robert and Larry, counselors who made it their business to make a difference.  Thank you Professor Emeritus Robert Reader for your 38 years of dedicated service to Bakersfield College.

See a small snippet on Robert Reader in My December 24, 2016 blog at https://sonyachristianblog.com/2016/12/24/happy-holidays-from-bc/

Bill Thomas Sonya Christian Robert Reader April 13 2017

Bill Thomas, Sonya Christian, Robert Reader

IMG_9918.JPG

Land in Arvin

Harold Pierce reported earlier this week that the City of Arvin is donating more than 32 acres of land to KCCD for a satellite campus in the city. The piece quotes KCCD Trustee, Bill Thomas, saying “This is the most ideal situation you could ask for the higher educational needs of those communities now and for the foreseeable future.”

Check out the article at, http://tinyurl.com/luk2vfo

And on friday, April 14th, the editorial in the Bakersfield Californian was about the potential Bakersfield College Outreach Center in Arin,  Bringing Education to those who crave it.  Here is an excerpt:

It’s not just time for Arvin, though. Kern County’s binary economy, driven by oil and agriculture, needs an educational jolt, and not just so its two core industries can find reinforcements. The Kern County economy must diversify, and educating our homegrown talent is an important way to do it.

For more, read http://tinyurl.com/mq6de3r.

Joe Gurrola, a Renegade and now Mayor of Arvin, tweeted

Mayor Jose Gurrola tweets April 14 2017

Trustee and Retired Congressman Bill Thomas read out the resolution related to this item on the Board agenda.

Board of Trustees April 13 2017

CIO Conference in San Francisco

CraigHaywardDeborah Wuff

Craig Hayward, Dehorah Wuff, Sonya Christian

On Wednesday, April 12th, I presented  with Craig Hayward at the Chief Instructional Officers (CIO) conference in San Francisco on Guided Pathways.  Deborah Wuff is the CIO from Cuesta College who introduced us.  She told a story about Greg and Lara Baxley who were at BC as chemistry faculty when I was at BC as a dean.  The Baxley’s were great and it was so nice to listen to Deborah talk about them during her introduction.  The CIO is a great group of hardworking individuals.  As Chief Instructional officers at their respective colleges they have, in some ways, the toughest jobs on campus.

Ed Buckely, retired CIO, took this picture.  Ed does a newsletter, News and Views, for the CIO group.  Here is a link to the most recent edition of the nesletter.  Enjoy Ed Buckley and out fabulous CIOs http://www.ccccio.org/documents/NewsViews123s.pdf. You will notice that Dr. Michele Bresso is named the new CIO of Gavilan College.  Here is a tweet from Michele:

Michele Bresso CIO April 12 2017 about Sonya Christian

I took time to walk to walk to Embarcedero the evening I arrived in San Francisco.  What an incredible city.  Passed a little Urban Redwood Park that was wonderful.

Urban Redwood Park San Francisco April 11 2017

Urban Redwood Park in the heart of San Francisco

On a walk San Francisco April 11 2017.JPG

Embarcedero.  Just glorious

On the train back from Emeryville.  A long ride back home and the train got in late, after midnight.

Riding train from Emeryville April 12 2017.JPG

Just left Emeryville on Amtrak heading back home. Exhausted.

Love Endures

Love bears, believes, hopes, endures and does not end.

Nick Strobel in today’s Californian

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Nick Strobel

Nick Strobel’s Stargazing feature was, as usual, very good.  He ends with a commentary on the Peer Review Process that we use in Higher Education in the United States for Quality Assurance.  Here is a copy and paste

 

The week before Spring Break I was at a conference about the accreditation commission that accredits the 113 community colleges in California, including Bakersfield College, plus the ones in Hawaii and the Pacific islands, such as Guam, American Samoa, Palau, and Micronesia. Accreditation is a voluntary, peer review process that is unique to American educational institutions. The peer review of accreditation reminded me of the importance of peer review in the process of scientific discovery.

Unlike the echo chambers of our social media and politics today, peer review in the science research arena is a rigorous, critical process where claims are tested and either validated or thrown out. Peer review works best if the ones who critically analyze an explanation have an alternate explanation and try to poke holes in the other person’s explanation. (Sometimes that “poking” is pretty brutal!)

In his book “The Demon-Haunted World”, Carl Sagan noted, “Perhaps the sharpest distinction between science and pseudoscience is that science has a far keener appreciation of human imperfections and fallibility than does pseudoscience.” It is possible to arrive at various interpretations of the same data or facts and to develop various explanations of the underlying causes at work. Our culture, egos, and personal beliefs provide a filter through which we interpret the data and develop explanations.

Decades of psychology and social science research have shown that our perceptions, intuitions, and even the reasoning about our intuition can lead even the best of us astray. That is why scientists lay their results open to the very critical scrutiny of others. And they agree to accept the criticism and re-submit their work when they have improved their argument through better data or give it up when the observations show that their idea does not have merit. They don’t blame the “establishment” or make personal attacks.

Finally, the peer review process gives the discovery or explanation credibility and fosters innovation as thoughts are shared and debated in an open competition of ideas. Innovation from a competition of ideas is the key to the past success of the United States.  Innovation can’t happen if government bureaucrats and politicians control the review process—that would only solidify the status quo.

Jazz Day

BC’s second annual Jazz Day was a great success. Over 10 local high schools and 3 junior highs were welcomed at the campus on the hill for the daylong event. The program included special guests, noted clinicians, a lunchtime jam session hosted by the Bakersfield Jazz Workshop, a showcase performance by the BC Jazz Ensemble directed by Kris Tiner, and a presentation of “Billie Holiday at 100” by jazz vocalist Susan Scaffidi and her Quartet.


Each student group that participated received a half-hour clinic with our panel of jazz educators before their public performance in the Indoor Theater. Altogether, nearly 400 local music students enjoyed a full day of immersion in great music – sharing, listening, and learning!

Renegade Athletics

Jeff Evans of The Bakersfield Californian published a great piece highlighting the incredible young women on the BC Tennis team. In the title he mentioned how they struggled in 2015 but now are competing as “a state power” Don’t miss his piece highlighting the fantastic turnaround of this team! http://tinyurl.com/mg8dsl3

And speaking of incredible Renegades, have you seen the piece on Jacob Bookout at Gogades.com? The article mentions, “Bookout, at the Glendale Vaquero Invitational last weekend, smashed his previous personal record jump of 6’8-set just over a month ago on March 4th at the Stanisalus Kim Duyst Invitational-by nailing a 6’11 leap that is not only a new PR for Bookout, but the best mark in California this season.” Way to go Jacob!

Culinary Arts Open House

The Food and Nutrition Program held an open house on March 29, 2017. We hosted 30 high school students from Monache High School’s Hospitality Academy. Students received information on the various Food and Nutrition programs at BC highlighting Culinary Arts and they even toured the Renegade Room and kitchen. During the tour, the kitchen was preparing Wednesdays lunch menu, so students were able to see the true culinary operations in action.

Culinary-Arts-Tour-Summary

The response from students was truly positive and they were able to see what a career in Culinary Arts would involve. One student spoke about how interesting it was to see the chefs preparing lamb.  Before coming to the Renegade Room, BC’s Outreach Department gave a tour of the entire main campus and afterwards, there was a scavenger hunt and time set aside for Q&A. Winners of the student scavenger hunt received CTE (Career and Technical Education) merchandise branded with the BC logo! How cool is that?

Culinary-Arts-Tour-Summary1

Thank you to all involved, especially the speakers: Chef Suzanne Durst, Pamela Gomez, and Lupe Aguirre.  Also to Chef Alex Gomez, Outreach tour guides Dhruvi and Veronica, and Outreach Advisor, Debbie Anderson.

Anthropology and Archaeology at BC

Anthropology and Archeology are global disciplines that we can find right here at Bakersfield College. We have Physical, Cultural, North American Indians, and Biological anthropology, and also Anthropology of Religion and Ritual. Through these courses, students can explore the world of archaeology, and it was in one of those classes that our Renegades studied the habits of their fellow cohorts. In their project, named, “Garbology”, groups had to examine two trash cans found on campus. One trashcan was found in the entryway of the administration building and the other was located by the large rock nestled in the heart of the BC campus.

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The project, supervised by Ramon Puga, was a great hands-on project as it allowed the students to categorize all of the content found to be later analyzed and used to create their reports. Throughout the experience however, it enabled the students to have a remarkable discussion on several different topics but some of those consisted of what is considered “trash” and what is considered “recycling” ? It’s not just the simple matter of what they found, but it also about looking deeper into the meaning of what they found. What does someone’s trash say about them? Can you really tell a lot about a person by what they discard? What does your trash say about you?

Last month, these same students recorded a mock archaeology site. Thank you to Behavioral Science Faculty, Krista Moreland, for sharing the awesome photos.

site1

 

The Kern County Business Academy

Jay Tamsi has been doing some amazing things over the last 3 years as the CEO of the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.  One annual event that he and his team started is making positive changes in small businesses all around our county. This year, our own Richard McCrow, director of our Delano campus, has been working with Tamsi and the Delano Chamber of commerce to expand this wonderful business education opportunity into Delano.

The program’s 10-week course has graduated over 320 students from Bakersfield, Lamont, Arvin, Shafter and Taft.  Keep up the great work Jay!

 

Kern County Business Academy by the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Kern County Business Academy by the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

 

Jay Tamsi is a great friend of Bakersfield College.

Bakersfield College was closed yesterday in observance of the Easter weekend.  Today I think is a movie day…Perhaps Beauty and the Beast.  Two weeks ago, it was Logan, a terrific x-men movie where Hugh Jackman plays Wolverine for the ninth time.  Check out the New York Times review of the movie

Talking about movies, the first trailer of the next Start Wars movie was released last friday.  Check out what the New York Times had to say

I would like to close my Easter blog with the spirit of Sean Murray, …..

Love Endures

Love bears, believes, hopes, endures and does not end.

Happy Easter Bakersfield

 

Sonya Christian April 12 2017

 

That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Looking Forward to Spring 2017

We make history at Bakersfield College. It’s what we do – it’s what our students do – it’s what our community does!

Good morning Bakersfield. It is Saturday, January 14th, my grandfather Arthur’s birthday and an absolutely fabulous day to be a Renegade.

This week was so crazy and sooo good… ups and down, a roller coaster.  A definite downer was when I got on the 6am direct train to Sacramento, having forgotten to take my power cord for my laptop, had to get off at Wasco, get back to Bakersfield, and catch the next train/bus back up to Sacramento for the Accreditation Commission meeting. To make matters worse, I got soaking wet as I transitioned to the bus in Stockton and to the cab in Sacramento.

Don’t get me wrong… I do love the rain – just not getting soaked in cold rain.  After all I grew up in Quilon, Kerala, India where the monsoons are dense and spectacular.  Here is a 1:11-video to introduce you to where I grew up

But then there were so many ups this week…. The Governor’s Budget with $150M for Guided Pathways, the Winter Institute at BC, the Condors playing at Memorial Stadium (thank you Matt Riley), and Opening Day.

So let me start with Spring 2017 Opening Day on Friday the 13th.

Spring 2017 Opening Day

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Bill Thomas, Kay Meek, Tom Burke, Steven Holmes

Yesterday, we celebrated a dynamic Opening Day for the upcoming Spring 2017 semester! It’s fantastic to see faculty and staff brighten with excitement for the incoming students and a brand new semester. But also, for moving our work forward, continually improving and changing standards to always build a better BC!

Thank you Janet Fulks, Lesley Bonds, and Steve Waller for all that you do to improve student success.  And thank you Maribel Montelongo for saying hello and taking this selfie with me.

It was wonderful to have the President of the KCCD Board of Trustees, Kay Meek join us for Opening Day.   Kay was welcomed to the podium with a standing ovation and she thanked the college on behalf of the Board especially for the phenomenal work on the passage of Measure J.  We also had Congressman and Trustee Bill Thomas join us and briefly address the group.  Here is a tweet from Lesley Bonds

lesley-bonds-tweet-jan-13-2017

It was also wonderful having our Chancellor Tom Burke join us with his new beard and all. He was warmly welcomed by the Renegades.  Here are pictures of 3 of the many speakers at Opening Day

I find it endlessly exciting to be able to wrap up one part of Measure J, while looking forward to the work we will put into utilizing a $500 million investment from our community. BC is about to change in a way it hasn’t seen since it broke ground on the hill in 1956. Amazing! #WeAreBC

Thank you Bill Potter and Eric Middlested for starting to work on the details of implementation of Measure J.

We also heard from the constituent group leaders.  Classified Union — Bernadette Martinez and here she is with Helen Calip who won Woman of the Year in Delano.

bernadette-martinez-and-helen-calip-jan-13-2017

Bernadette Martinez, Helen Calip

We also heard from Isabel Stierle, Faculty Union President; Sue Vaugn, Management Association President; Steven Holmes, Academic Senate President; Matthew Frazer, Student Government Association President; Susan Pinza on the Levan Faculty Colloquium; Todd Coston who led us in a stretch break; and myself.  It was wonderful seeing Tom Moran who was signing from the stage; and usually Tom Moran is behind the camera and it is a treat getting him in front of a camera.  Thank you Cara Jackson and Earl Parsons for the great photos.

Talking about our Academic Senate President Steven Holmes…. well, he is smart and extremely engaged in making sure that the interests of the Bakersfield College students are met….but he is also a trickster 🙂  On Opening Day Steve hazed the senior level administrators — myself, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg and Zav Dadabhoy.  Zav captured this video of Steve removing the license plate from my car as a prop for his presentation.  This video is really funny.  Here it is

Here are some additional photos:

Loved the jacket Robby Martinez was wearing.  Prof. Martinez is a faculty in music, a Grammy award winner and got the Bakersfield College jacket you see in the picture at a vintage store in Hollywood.  What a story!

Thank you to all who came to Opening Day

Just three years ago, we waited for students to arrive at our campus where they would be met with one of the most life-changing experiences – attending college for the very first time.

But today, times have changed. Local students all throughout high school are starting to see possible pathways that extend above and beyond their 12th grade year. These options include higher education, unlimited student support, clarity of goals, and mastery of skills.  The Guided Pathways program is not about limits, it’s about clarity – a relentless clarity – so that students can navigate change and do what they need to do.

You see friends, Guided Pathways is not a new concept for us at BC.  It is an integration of what we do best…. It is connecting what was not connected before…. It is amplifying certain aspects of what we have done.

We engaged, on Opening Day with Guide Pathways through our stories.  Stories that were told by 14 talented faculty and staff who spoke to the four pillars of Guided Pathways. I asked the room of attendees to fully listen to these 14 colleagues with an open mind and an open heart and see themselves and to see BC through these stories.

Here are the four pillars and the 14 speakers:

Pillar 1: Clarify the Path with Jennifer Johnson, Faculty co-chair of the curriculum committee; Michele Pena, Director of Admissions and Records; Reggie Bolton, Department Chair of Health, Physical Education and Athletics

Jennifer Johnson Michelle Pena Reggie Bolton Jan 13 2017.jpg

Pillar 2: Getting Students on the path with Steve Watkin, Director of Outreach;
Dr. Matthew Garrett, History Faculty; Maria Wright, Director of Academic Support

Steven Watkin Matthew Garrett Maria Wright Jan 13 2017.jpg

Pillar 3: Keeping Students on the Path with David Moton, English Department Chair; Mark Staller, Communication Department Chair; Dr. Nicky Damania, Director of Student Life; Dr. Paula Parks, English Faculty.

David Moton Mark Staller Nicky Damania Paula Parks Jan 13 2017.jpg

Pillar 4: Meaningful Learning with David Neville, Spanish Faculty; Anna Agenjo, Department Chair, Library; Lisa Harding, Nursing Faculty; Dr. Joe Saldivar, Biology Department Chair.

david-neville-anna-agenjo-lisa-harding-joe-saldivar-jan-13-2017

It is equally inspiring that BC has begun our Accreditation process, hand-in-hand with Guided Pathways. Governor Jerry Brown recently announced $150 million to support California Guided Pathways and Bakersfield College has been at the forefront, advocating for this promising transformation. Talk about innovating the community college education system! Accreditation will be our measure of Guided Pathway’s success. I’m ready for an incredible journey!

Kate Pluta planned the accreditation self evaluation launch in the Fireside Room after the early morning session of Opening Day in the Indoor Theater.  So proud of our faculty and staff who presented and also those who attended.  The presenters included: Bill Moseley, Mark Staller, Janet Fulks, Jason Stratton, Liz Rozell, and Kate Pluta.  Jason Stratton and Liz Rozell will be leading the self evaluation work and Mark Staller and Janet Fulks will lead the Quality Focus Essay (QFE) work.  Here are some photos I took with my iphone

The leaders for our 18-month work on the Self Evaluation and the Quality Focus Essay–Jason Stratton, History Faculty; Liz Rozell, Dean of Engineering and Industrial Technology; Mark Staller, Department Chair of Communication; Janet Fulks, Dean of Institutional Effectiveness

The person behind the accreditation work…the fabulous Kate Pluta in action.

 Thank you to all who came out to support YOUR Bakersfield College.

Winterfest & The Condors

The incredible hockey game last weekend made ESPN! How cool was it to see our Memorial Stadium, our Bakersfield Condors, and our incredible fans and community on ESPN?!  You have to check out the video at

http://www.espn.com/video/clip?id=18429665&sf49966194=1

selenaIt was a rainy, blustery and cold evening, but nothing could stop us. I saw a text from Selena Gasca, a student employee in our student life department who sent over a selfie and said “The outdoor Condor’s game was a fun experience for both my brother and I – a night to remember!”

Trustees, faculty, staff, fans, and people from around the state brought together for such a memorable evening. Reagan Fletcher  and little Tyler came all the way from San Francisco to see the event and I loved seeing dignitaries, Bill Thomas, Romeo Agbalog, Lily Agbalog, JPLake, Ingrid Lake sitting rinkside.

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Lily Agbalog, Ingrid Lake, JP Lake, Sonya Christian, Bill Thomas, Romeo Agbalog

Thank you to all of you who came out and showed support for OUR HOMETEAM -The Bakersfield Condors!!!

Was great to see Lynette Smith, faculty in Rad Tech and Janet Tarjan, faculty in math.  Here is the picture of Reagen Fletcher and little Tyler, all the way from San Francisco.  Tyler’s grandfather got him the rinkside VIP tickets for his birthday.

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Here are some more fun pictures:

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face off Condors Reign Jan 7 2017 at the Memorial Stadium.jpg

KGET Spotlight

Early this week, KGET cast the spotlight on financial aid benefits for our youth and the underserved of Kern County. It’s no surprise that financial aid systems are often complex and hard to navigate, but at BC our dedicated staff is always willing to help. Stop by sometime or give them a call. We’re always here to help our students! Pictured here are Alyse Braaten, Kern Community Foundation and Frank Ramirez, Youth 2 Leaders with KGET’s Jason Galvin.

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Jason Galvin, Alyse Braaten, Frank Ramirez

Greater Bakersfield Chamber Installation Luncheon

On Thursday, January 12, the Greater Bakersfield Chchamber-installationamber of Commerce, of which I am a proud Board Member, hosted its annual Board Installation & Awards Luncheon. It was a wonderful time of honoring the hard work and dedication of our immediate past Chairman, Steve Murray (Murray Family Farms), as well as the inauguration of our incoming Chairman of the Board, Derek Abbott  (Tejon Ranch Company). Our very own Dr. Greg Chamberlain was also recognized for his service and dedication as an outgoing Board Member.

Here featured in the picture: Corny Rodriguez, Lisa Kent, Mayor Karen Goh, Yadira Guerrero, Greg Chamberlain, Manny Mourtzanos, Chris McCraw, Steven Watkin, Ashley Ward, Bill Moseley.

BC is fortunate to have countless community partners and friends in the Chamber, such as Mayor Karen Goh (pictured with our BC representatives), J.P. Lake (Rain for Rent), Carla Musser (Chevron), Aera Energy, The Wonderful Company, Hall Ambulance Service, The Bakersfield Californian, KGET, and so many others.

And btw, Nick Ortiz the CEO of the Chamber is just wonderful!

Emails worth sharing – Huge Antarctic Iceburg poised to break away

 I received an email from Kenward Vaughan that I wanted to share. Kenward said “Who knows… we may yet be owners of shorefront properties!”

I invite you to check out the article and learn more about this massive iceberg hanging by a thread at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-38522954

Winter Institute

In fall 2015, BC was selected as one of just 30 colleges nationwide to participate in the AACC Guided Pathways Project.  The project is designed to help us implement the #GuidedPathways model that integrates our student success work campus wide.  Since then, small leadership teams have traveled to various institutes where we learn from experts in the field and share the incredible work happening right here in Bakersfield.  We hosted over 400 people for a statewide summit on Guided Pathways in February 2016, and have been working as a college to engage faculty and staff through professional development institutes, book panel discussions, and focus groups.

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We had long planned this winter institute. We built towards it with an amalgamation of our smaller teams from AACC and then a larger college-wide implementation team.  150 faculty and staff representing 20 discipline areas and virtually every office on campus poured into our Fireside Room for two days (1/11 and 1/12) of robust dialogue, debate, research review, pathway development, and a commitment to support our students in innovative ways.

It was just icing on the cake to hear that over parallel efforts on the statewide front aligned a large investment in CA Guided Pathways in Governor Jerry Borwn’s budget which was unviled on January 10th.  I was on the train to Sacramento when the Governor released his budget.  Here is my tweet from the train

sonya-christian-tweet-governors-budget-jan-10-2017

I do want to recognize Chancellor Eloy Oakley of the CA Community College system as well as Mario Rodriguez, Vice Chancellor of Finance.  They are just super cool!  Taking CA Community Colleges to the next level. #CACommColRock!

Back to BC’s Winter Institute……on the second day of the Institute, faculty and staff had lunch with BC students, asking questions about their experiences and learning the things they feel they most need to navigate college successfully.

I enjoyed reading the attendees’ remarks on the institute evaluation.  Here are some standout reflections on guided pathways:

 “Every student needs to be seen and know who to see”

“It’s our job to open windows, doors, and walls for students to pass through”

“Students shouldn’t have to be extraordinary to get a college degree”

Attendees bravely wrestled with the difficult questions and tough decisions – the whats, the hows, the whens.  What kinds of curricular changes need to happen?  How do we ensure every student has access to the right course in his or her pathway and at the right time?  When can we make this happen?  Why should we do this?

All I can say is that students come to BC with a great hope..hope for getting a good job that can sustain their family hope for a great future.  The work we do results in greater social mobility for our community and greater economic health.

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I especially loved seeing this wordle  on attendees’ responses to why they chose to pursue a career in education. As the amazing Nick Strobel stated, we have the right people here for the right reasons: students and learning.

Now dear friends, you can see why I love BC! #WeAreBC!

A special thank you to Janet Fulks for her leadership of the BC Guided Pathways Implementation Team and for making this happen.  And thank you to all on the pathways implementation team members for committing to this important work of the college: Stephen Waller, Matthew Garrett, Krista Moreland, Andrea Thorson, Abraham Castillo, Nick Strobel, Matt Jones, Reese Weltman, Maria Wright, Tim Burke, Heidi Forsythe, Mindy Wilmot, Lisa Kent, Shannon Musser, Jessica Wojtysiak, Shauna Turner, Cindy Collier, Jennifer Johnson, Sarah Baron, Mark Staller, Grace Commiso, Klint Rigby, Andrew Haney, Bill Moseley, and Lesley Bonds.

Also, loved that our Counseling and Advising Department did a pre Institute on January 9, 2017.  Thank you Grace Commiso, Zav Dadabhoy, Steve Watkin, and Kathy Rosellini for making this happen

Counseling and Advising PreInstitue Jan 9 2017.jpg

Retiree Passings

This is a sad message about two of our family.
First, DAN NYSTROM, 88, died on December 12.  He was a BC zoology teacher from 1958 until 1984.  He and Arleen were married for 47 years and raised three children.  After Arleen died in 1998, Dan married  Mary Horst in 2000 and they had 16 years together before she passed away earlier in 2016

Second, DALENE OSTERKAMP, 84, passed away on December 27th.  Dalene was a distinguished BC art teacher (listed in Who’s Who of American Women and, in 1989, given the First Annual Service to Women Award from the American Association of Women in Community and Junior Colleges.)  Primarily a print maker, she retired to Glennville and worked in prints, stained glass, mosaics, etching, pottery, and jewelry making.  At BC she was also a counselor and worked with the Women’s Studies Department.

The entire BC family holds each other in deep respect and affection as some leave us and new ones join.  I know I’m not the only one who is grateful for our common bond in the Bakersfield College family.

Thank you Jerry Ludeke for keeping us informed.  Jerry Ludeke and the Archives…true BC gems!

Here is a picture from my January 7th exercise class.  Here is Donna Plater the English Department Chair at Foothill High School.  We have such a great relationship with Kern High School District.  Bryon Schaefer is doing good work!

sonya-and-donna-exercise-class-jan-7-2017

Sonya Christian, Donna Plater

And here is a dedicated group on January 9th preparing for the accreditation site visit of our Baccalaureate program.  Thank you Liz Rozell and Jason Dixon and all the faculty and staff for your leadership.  Particularly Blaire Pruett a great industry partner and chairs the advisory committee to the baccalaureate program.

preparing-for-site-visit-jan-9-2017

And, throughout the jam-packed week, I still managed to find time to take a selfie, super tired, while waiting for the train to Bakersfield, in Stockton.

sonya-july-2-2016

 

That’s all for now.  

Until next week.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya — the luckiest and happiest college president ever

A community together

 

Calla Lily June 4 2016

A calla lily for you

Good evening Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, June 4, 2016…the day the community came together at St. Francis to celebrate the life of Tharrell Ming, a diehard driller and a Renegade.  The church was packed by the time I got there at 10:53 a.m. for the 11:00 a.m. mass and they had already run out off the stack of booklets.  I spotted Coach Jeff Chudy, Trustee Kay Meek at the service and noticed that Carl Bowser‘s name led the list of honorary pall bearers followed by  Don James, TH Lockard, Bob Millinich, Bob Morton, Richard Russell, Sid Thompson, Gene Toschi, Rick Twisselman.

 

Bakersfield is a great community and as I am writing this blog, unusually at the end of the day instead of the beginning, I see the burst of flowers in the backyard and the burst of yellow from the calla lily. So here is a calla lily for you, my community, for all that you do on a daily basis to support each other and support the students at BC.

Tharrell Dean Ming June 4 2016 Booklet

Now, back to Tharrell Ming…..Monsignor Craig Harrison was his usual remarkable self, funny, warm, comforting and efficient with the mass.  We are blessed to have  Father Craig (as he is warmly referred to) in our community.  The music was minimal and powerful and here are two songs that I listened to throughout the rest of the day.  And whatever your religious leanings or non-religious leanings for that matter, I am sure these two songs will move your spirit and soul as it did mine sitting with hundreds of community members this morning at St. Francis.

Shephard me O God with acoustic guitar on youtube.com

I googled the musical composition of Psalm 23 and learned from the United Methodist Church website that Marty Haugen had composed the haunting melody for the lyrics.  For more on Marty Haugen, check out:

http://www.umcdiscipleship.org/resources/history-of-hymns-shepherd-me-o-god

How Great Thou Art.  Maybe this is a non-traditional approach to have the Elvis version here in my blog.  But here I go…..

Here’s to a great Renegade, Tharrell Ming.

I started my day early today preparing for a morning meeting with the two Vice Presidents, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg and Zav Dadabhoy, of Bakersfield College at Starbucks.  There were a few things that came up that required this early morning meeting on a Saturday during summer.  I know…. crazy…. but that’s what faculty and staff do at BC!  The talent, commitment and dedication of faculty, staff and administrators at the college is just remarkable.  We are…BC! It is a good time to be at BC!

Nan Sonya Zav FM EDIT

Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Sonya Christian, Zav Dadabhoy

Here are a few highlights from the week:

 

Transfer Award from College Opp June 2 2016

Beebe, Koeth, Christian, Pluta, Siqueiros

BC wins an award for transfer degrees.
Earlier this month we received an email from the President of the Campaign for College Opportunity, Michele Siqueiros, that Bakersfield College was one of 13 community colleges in the state being recognized for the growth in the number of transfer degrees.  The event was held in Sacramento in June 2nd, Thursday, and the BC team that headed north to receive the award included: Trustee Dennis Beebe, Dean of Instruction Kate Pluta and Faculty member David Koeth.

 

 

The Bakersfield Group at College Opp awards June 2 2016

Beebe, Chavez, Koeth, Huerta, Christian, Pluta

The Campaign for College Opportunity is a group dedicated to advancing the educational attainment levels in California by impacting policy at the state level.  The staff are great.  A special thank you to Michele Siqueiros, President; Audrey Dow, Vice President, External Affairs and Operations; Linda Vasquez, Regional Affairs Director. For more check out their website at http://collegecampaign.org/.

 

Here is a picture with the group from Bakersfield that included Dolores Huerta who received a lifetime achievement award and her daughter Camilla Chavez. Congratulations Dolores!

We also connected with Connie Conway, a wonderful member of the Board of Governors for California Community Colleges and now a member of the Board of Directors of the Campaign for College Opportunity.  Also, the fabulous Dean Florez, who is an advocate for education and in particular Bakersfield College.

Dean Florez Connie Conway Dennis Beebe June 2 2016

Dean Florez, Connie Conway, Dennis Beebe

Thank you Trustee Beebe for making this long trip to support BC receiving the award.  It is always wonderful to have our Board members celebrating with us.

In the Bakersfield Californian:

The piece on Corny Rodriguez which was in the Bakersfield Magazine was published in the June 2nd issue of the Californian along with Odella Johnson’s piece on BC’s promising professionals.

I loved the opening by Laura Liera about Corny

On his 10th birthday, Cornelio Rodriguez was picking strawberries in Artesia during the early hours of the morning instead of making a birthday wish. He spent summers picking okra in Indio and Coachella and was even driving his dad’s gardening truck by the age of 12.

 

Here is another excerpt from the article:

But after a conversation with his dad, a visit to the career center led to the applications of Cerritos College, Cal State Fullerton, Cal State Long Beach, UCLA and USC.

It was a Tuesday when the first college acceptance letter came in. Rodriguez was accepted to USC.

“I got scared because we were so poor and I couldn’t afford to go,” Rodriguez remembered. “I was panicking because I thought I had gotten my family into trouble.”

The next day, the UCLA acceptance letter arrived.

“I said, ‘Dear Lord, now I have to go to TWO colleges?’” Rodriguez said.

 

Check out the Californian: http://tinyurl.com/ztwbxva

Promising Professionals:

This is a must-read piece written by Odella Johnson.  Johnson writes about the Promising Professionals and highlights the story of two students — Tamika Narvaez and Linda Esquivel. She writes about Tamika

Students like Tamika Narvaez, a mother of eight who survived abuse and arrived on campus to complete the requirements to transfer, demonstrates how BC delivers student initiatives that allow them to take critical next steps, which result in positive academic outcomes.

and Linda:

Linda Esquivel, a local graduate of South High School and a first- generation college student, left the community to attend San Francisco State University in fall 2013 and, after a semester, left to attend Bakersfield College for financial reasons. Believing that she would not fit in, she felt frustrated and uncertain about the next steps in her journey; however, when she became a student ambassador/ Promising Professional, she admitted that “BC made my future possible,” so with a renewed spirit, Esquivel’s next steps include attending a predoctoral program at the University of Michigan and Penn State this summer.

Johnson ends the article with:

Narvaez and Esquivel’s diversity as students is our strength and we recognize their potential. They embody the spirit of Promising Professionals – students who have passion and purpose.

Kristen Barnes Philanthropy-MattersFor more: http://tinyurl.com/h74g7np

On June 2nd, Kristen Barnes, CEO of Kern Community Foundation and a great partner of BC wrote a wonderful Community Voices piece–Philanthropy Matters: Growing Scholarships, Growing Futures.  Here is an excerpt:

Scholarships close the funding gap students experience. They are one way to provide critical financial support for students – to help make higher education a reality. In many cases, the financial assistance provided by scholarships is a key factor. Gifts for scholarships help students to invest their energies more fully in their course work and pursue internships and leadership opportunities that enrich their personal development and career preparation.

For more, check out http://tinyurl.com/jg47rwq

 

Misono Christian FM EDIT

Misono and Christian

At Rotary West
On Wednesday, I had the opportunity to visit the Bakersfield West Rotary Club. The club went all out with BC colors for the table decorations and traditional “flying saucer” cookies that have been a staple on BC’s campus for  decades.

 

Local CPA and BC alum Fred Misono hosted the meeting in West Rotary President Roger Griess’ absence, keeping the event light and funny.

I was able to give a brief history of the College and recount some of our recent accomplishments. Jay Rosenlieb shared the podium as a member of BC’s Blue Ribbon Committee that is working on a facilities initiative for the college — A Better BC 2016…2066.  This initiative, if approved by the KCCD Board of Trustees in July, could becomes a bond measure on the November 2016 election.  Thank you Jay for taking the time to co-present with me. Check out the the website at http://www.abetterbc.com/

I must say that this is a fun club.  There is a lot of teasing back and forth and great camaraderie and fellowship.  At the end of the presentation, all about Bakersfield College, President Misono presents me with a Taft College T-shirt 🙂 I attempt to get away but he was too quick for me.

 

Acting President Misono made the day very special for Bakersfield College.  He then followed up with the photos and wonderfully warm and fun emails after the meeting. Thank you Russell Johnson, John Pryor, John Fallgatter and others at Bakersfield West for your support.  Rick Kreiser, thank you for that great introduction and your service to the Bakersfield College Foundation for so many years.  You are the best! and thank you Tom Gelder, for getting BC on the agenda.

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Rick Kreiser, Sonya Christian, Tom Gelder

Honoring Our Veterans on Memorial Day:

1000Flags2Last weekend, I hope you had a chance to stop by and walk around Riverwalk Park or at least drive by to catch a glimpse of the incredible view. Memorial Day is regularly celebrated on the last Monday of May thanks to the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, but did you know its roots go back to 1868 when the day was originally known as Decoration Day?  “On the first Decoration Day, General James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, after which 5,000 participants helped to decorate the graves of the more than 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried in the cemetery” (History.com).

It’s always humbling to reflect on the sacrifice that so many men and women have made and continue to make for the United States and her people. The Bakersfield Breakfast Rotary Club (BBRC) is a group of local community members who through their leadership and friendship, get things done in our community and for the past few years, they have lead a project of planting one thousand flags at Riverwalk Park over Memorial Day weekend.

Volunteers, sponsors, and the BBRC make this annual event, including activities and formal ceremonies at the park possible. What a great way to be reminded of our freedom, liberty, and justice thanks to our courageous service men and women.  Liz Rozell, Mary Jo Pasek, Marlene, Heise, Cheryl Scott and others at BBRC, you did a fantastic job!

I would also like to share an email I received from Paul Beckworth, our veterans faculty lead at Bakersfield College. He sent this last Monday – Memorial Day:

AdminPaulBeckworth

Paul Beckworth

Memorial Day Message 2016

The warrior-poet, King David, wrote, “Blessed be the LORD my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight.”  This quote may sound familiar to any fan of the Tom Hanks, World War II epic, Saving Private Ryan.  It is quoted in earnest by the in-residence sniper, Pvt. Jackson, during a pivotal scene in the film.  Inevitably, most of the cast is killed off, as was our popcorn.  However, we know life is not a movie and memories of comrades lost do not go away when the lights go on.

So, what of Memorial Day?  What of those men and women whose hands were taught to war and fingers to fight, who lie still in the ground on this warm May evening?  This is not about the history of Memorial Day.  You can go look that up on Wikipedia.  But, what of those who we remember and honor today?  Today, we see the aged World War II and Korean War veterans, canes in hand, gait a bit unsteady, but minds sharp when recalling battlefields of another time.  Today, they see the friends they lost on those battlefields.  Today, we see 28 year-old OIF/OEF veterans with physical and emotional scars of Iraq and Afghanistan.  Today, they see their lost friends buried at Arlington or the Bakersfield National Cemetery.  Today, we see tatted up, motorcycle riding, leather vest, patch wearing, Vietnam veterans who speak of Tet, and of Khe Sanh.  Today, they see lost buddies who did not get the due deserved them thanks to a divided nation and a callous youth population who called them baby killers.

Today is not about the bullet that barely missed its mark.  Today is about the person whose bullet that found its’ mark.  Today is about the forever young sailor who drowned on the USS Indianapolis, or was killed on the destroyer escort USS Samuel B. Roberts, while fighting toe to toe with Japanese battleships in what became known as the “Last stand of the tin can sailors.”  Today is about the Rangers killed taking Point du Hoc on D-Day, June 6, 1944, and the airborne paratrooper of the 101st or 82nd who never made it out of his chute alive.  Today is about the 1,170 corpsman killed during World War II, often cut down while responding to the blood curdling cry of “Corpsman up!”  Today is about the Marine who never left Guadalcanal, Saipan, Tinian, Iwo Jima, or Okinawa.  Today is about the pilots who never returned to the airfield, or the submariners who are now on “eternal patrol.”  Today is about the young Coastie who maneuvered his landing craft on to the battered shores of Sicily, Salerno, and Anzio only to stay ashore forever.

Today we remember.  We memorialize the “Frozen Chosin” dead who were carefully carried out by the living rather than being left behind in the rugged mountains of North Korea.  Today is about those killed on countless hills in Korea, so numerous to count they were simply numbered by height.  Today is about those who fell defending the Pusan Perimeter, and those who never left the beaches of Inchon.

Today is about those that this country dishonored in so many ways that it is a stain on the honor of this nation.  Today is about those nearly 60,000 Americans killed in Vietnam.  Today is about those who did not evade the draft, but answered to the nation’s call, despite often not understanding what that call was all about.  Today is about those were cut down in the hot, steamy, jungles and in the highlands, in Hueys and in huts.  Today is not about those who were cursed at when they returned home but about those who were cursed at, despite never making it home.

Today is about Cold War warriors who died doing special operations and of Gulf War warriors, whose deaths were few, yet nonetheless paid the ultimate sacrifice.

Today is about Fallujah Marines who are now at Arlington or other national cemeteries.  Today is about those who never left the Triangle of Death.  Today is about the Helmand Province men who are finally still.

The warrior-poet wrote King David wrote, “A thousand fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.”  Today is about the thousand who fell at the left side and the ten thousand who fell at the right hand.  So, today, let us, the living, be comforted and know that those whose hands were taught to fight are at rest.  Today, let us, the living, be comforted and know that today and for eternity, those who fingers were made to war are finally at peace.

Let us remember.