Tag Archives: Mary Jo Pasek

A Beautiful Rainy Week at BC

Good morning Bakersfield…It is Saturday, March 24th and a great day to be a Renegade.

This past week Bakersfield was rejoicing in the rain that kept visiting us and revisiting almost every day of the week.  What a blessing!

So many highlights from this week…the brightest of them all was the recognition of Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg.

The “Nan” Touch

Nan Gomez-HeitzebergMany know the incredible value that Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Executive Vice President of Instruction Emeritus, has brought over the last 35 years to Bakersfield College and across the Kern Community College District. Yet her impact has been felt beyond our campus, so much that one of our partners, FIELD (Farmworker Institute for Education and Leadership Development), honored her Friday with its Cesar Chavez Legacy Award. (Check out the video for more.)

BC supporting Nan Gomez Heitzeberg as the receipient of the Cesar Chavez Legacy Award

Horace Mitchel and Nan Gomez-HeitzebergThe Cesar Chavez Legacy Breakfast is one place where community champions, who quietly work behind the scenes, are illuminated for their phenomenal dedication. Our own Nan is a part of this special group.

This years other honorees included Dr. Horace Mitchell, California State University Bakersfield President, who was recognized with the Cesar E. Chavez Lifetime Achievement Award, and Esther Tarango Uranday whose key role in the United Farm Workers earned her the Cesar E. Chavez Si Se Puede Award (posthumously). The Kern Service and Conservation Corps (KSACC) and a group of EPIC High School students and ESL students were also highlighted with Si Se Puede Awards.

It was wonderful to see many community leaders there supporting the event, such as Assemblyman Rudy Salas, Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Jay Tamsi, and the office of Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez. There was also a table full of BC leadership.

Sonya Christian and Rudy Salas March 23 2018

Rudy Salas and Sonya Christian

BC table at Cesar Chavez Breakfast

BC table at Cesar Chavez Breakfast

Cindy Collier, Danielle Hillard, Khushnur Dadabhoy, Isebelle Cataneda

Many walked away with a sense of empowerment and renewed vision for their own causes after hearing from keynote speaker Paul F. Chavez, the son of the late UFW labor leader Cesar Chavez.

Paul Chavez

Paul Chavez

Paul Chavez shared personal father-son stories that tugged at the hearts of many in attendance. At one point, Paul reflected on advice his father shared with him, especially in moments of despair and struggle – in particular two that stay close to Paul’s heart: have faith in people; and persevere.

His father always saw what others could become; he saw potential, and his vision helped others find their own path of success.

I connected with Paul’s story. It made me think about the wonderful work we do at Bakersfield College; our goal is also to show hope and success to our students. We want them to see their potential, and we encourage them to never give up. In the words of Cesar Chavez, “Si se puede.”

I was moved to hear the story that Jose Gaspar (who was emceeing the event with Norma Gaspar) told about the passing of Cesar Chavez and how Corny Rodriguez addressed the KC Board of Supervisors to recognize the passing of a great leader.

Corny Rodriguez, Sonya Christian March 23 2018

Sonya Christian, Corny Rodriguez

 

 

 

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We are BC

Last year was the inaugural year for this event and the first recipient of the Cesar Chavez Legacy Award was Sandra Serrano.  Check out my blog from one year ago: https://sonyachristianblog.com/2017/04/01/an-absolutely-uplifting-week-at-bc/

Thank you David Villarino!

Lydia Otero at BC

Tina Mendoza

Tina Mendoza welcomes Dr. Otero

For Women’s History Month and in light of BC’s efforts to preserve and share our local history, Dr. Lydia Otero from the Mexican-American Studies program at the University of Arizona came to the Fireside Room on Thursday to share about the historical preservation projects she’s spearheaded in downtown Tuscon.

BC’s Office of Student Life and the Women’s History and More committee invited Otero as part of the Distinguished Speaker Series. Otero, who grew up in downtown Tuscon, was inspired to capture the history of the Mexican-American communities in her hometown that were displaced by urban renewal projects. To Otero’s surprise, her 2010 book “La Calle: Spatial Conflicts and Urban Renewal in a Southwest City” sold out in the Tuscon area within five hours of the first book signing, Otero said.  “Even I didn’t appreciate the desire for local audiences to read about local history, you want to read about yourself.”

Dr. Lydia Otero

Dr. Lydia Otero

While local or regional history can often be seen as less important than larger-scale historical analysis, it’s important to fill in the smaller details about an area in order to understand the larger picture. “What do we know about world history if we haven’t studied local history?” Otero asked. “It’s a history of silences.”

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After the success of “La Calle”, Otero partnered with the Borderlands Theater Company on an ambitious project called “Barrio Stories”. A camera crew recorded oral histories from Mexican-Americans in Tuscon talking about their personal lives, then those stories were re-interpreted as theatrical plays. The Borderlands Theater performed those plays during a four-day festival that utilized promenade-style staging, meaning that audiences could walk around the old town plaza and experience these stories happening at different stages in real time. You’re able to see all of the oral histories and performances on the Barrio Stories Project website, and a documentary about the project is currently in the works.

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Olivia Garcia, Dr. Lydia Otero, Tina Mendoza

Olivia Garcia, Dr. Lydia Otero, Tina Mendoza

Otero is currently working on a book tentatively titled “Quien lo Dice?” about Maria Cordova, a Tuscon woman whose house was seized by eminent domain and all evidence that she had ever lived there was taken out in a failed attempt to make the property a tourist attraction. Throughout her presentation, Otero emphasized the importance of valuing local history and bringing research out of the classroom and into the community.
“Don’t forget the power of memory,” Otero said.

I’d like to thank Tina Mendoza, who worked with Dr. Otero, for her introduction, and I’d like to thank the Office of Student life and WHAM for putting the event together. It gave an interesting perspective on local historical preservation, which we’re working on at BC with the Digital Delano project spearheaded by our Energizing Humanities group. #WeAreBC

Ribbon Cutting in Wasco

Wasco

This week, Juan Torres, Abel Guzman, Gustavo Enriquez and principal of Wasco Union High School, Kevin Tallon celebrated the Ribbon Cutting and Inaugaration of their beautiful brand new student services building. Inside, the building it’s filled with beautiful pieces of art that celebrate the rich history of Wasco High School.

Kern Disability Collaborative

As your community college, BC is always seeking opportunities to improve communication and collaboration with our community partners. To this end, the Director of our Disabled Students Programs & Services (DSPS), Dr. Terri Goldstein, initiated the first meeting of what she is calling the “Kern Disability Collaborative.”  The purpose of the meeting was to pull together those who work with people with disabilities in our community to learn who we are and what we each do.  “Only good things can happen if we have a better understanding of all the resources available, as well as the unmet needs in our community,” said Dr. Goldstein. What started out with 20 invitations bloomed into approximately 50 attendees representing K-12 schools, higher education, non-profit organizations, and State agencies.  “As the meeting date drew closer, individuals were calling and asking to participate in the meeting,” Dr. Goldstein said. The response just shows the need for this kind of group in Kern County.

Kern Disability Collab

Terri Goldstein

Terri Goldstein

The idea for the Collaborative is modeled after the very successful “Kern Veterans Collaborative” which meets monthly at the National Guard Armory.  After voting, the attendees decided that the Kern Disability Collaborative will continue to meet on a bi-monthly basis at Bakersfield College.  The next meeting will be in May 2018, after college graduation, then the meetings will go dark for the summer, reconvene in August prior to the start of the fall 2018 semester, and meet every other month thereafter.

In addition to discussing future meetings, establishing a listserv and web presence, everyone presented their organizational affiliation, populations served, and services provided. BC faculty member, Jaclyn Krause, announced establishing our Interpreter Training Program; which made everyone happy since there are never enough sign language interpreters to go around.  Jimmie Soto, Executive Director of the Independent Living Center of Kern County, spoke about the need to support each other in our quests for additional funding— including partnerships, and letters of support. BC was well represented with DSPS, EOPS, Office of Student Life, Wellness Center, and Veterans Services. There were also representatives from Bakersfield City School District, Kern High School District, Kern County Superintendent of Schools, Taft College, Valley Achievement Center, Bakersfield GLAD office on Deafness, New Advances for People with Disabilities, Path Point, CA Department of Rehabilitation, Kern Vet Center, Kern Regional Center, and Autism Society Inc.

Kern Disability Collaboration

For more information about the Kern Disability Collaborative, please contact Dr. Terri Goldstein at terri.goldstein@bakersfieldcollege.edu, or call 661-395-4590. Everyone is welcome at these meetings!

Bidders Open House hosted at BC

On Thursday morning, BC hosted the local Bidders Open House to educate local contractors about the logistics of bidding on public construction projects. Harold Pierce wrote a great article explaining the event and its purpose in, “As more than $1 billion in school construction projects begin, districts attempt to lure local contractors to work.

Bidders Fair

Bakersfield College is so enthusiastic about the incredible things coming to our community. Thank you Bakersfield and Kern County for supporting education and investing in BC through a Yes on Measure J!

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Eric Mittlestead, Rafaela Cisneros, Kim Crews represented KCCD on the show floor

For all the photos, visit BC’s Smugmug. And thank you to Harold Pierce at the Bakersfield Californian for attending to share the exciting news with the community of Bakersfield. It was nice to see KCCD Trustee Kyle Carter, Trustee Romeo Agbalog, Mike Turnipseed and others attend this event.

Harold Pierce and Trustee Carter

Trustee Carter and Harold Pierce speak to a guest at the Bidders Fair

We received this email from Mikin Plummer about the event.

The BC staff was fantastic!!! Thank you! Thank you! The gym was put together perfect and made set up very easy!
Mikin Plummer

Thank you Bill Potter, Eric Middlested, Ramon Puga, and Jim Coggins for pulling together this amazing event.  Thank you Mary Jo Pasek.  Thank You Marlene Heise who works behind the scenes.  #WeAreBC

National Cemetery

Armando Trujillo, Student Veteran Educational Advisor and Lisa Robles Kent Program Manager, Office of Student Success & Equity were honored to represent Bakersfield College at a ceremony that provided full military honors for unaccompanied veterans interred at the National Cemetery who do not have family to recognize and remember them.

National Cemetary (6)

Armando Trujillo, Bakersfield College; Randy Dickow, KC Veterans Collaborative; Maximo Perez, American Legion.

It’s a privilege for BC to honor the great men and women who paid the greatest sacrifice for our country. While there, Armando and Lisa stopped to visit the graveside of Vernon P. Velenzula. I recall that he was spoken of so fondly by KCCD Trustee, Bill Thomas at our Veterans Resource Center unveiling.

National Cemetary (4)

Vernon touched the lives of so many people here at BC and in our community. I only wish I had the privilege of meeting such an inspirational man. A Purple Heart recipient, Valenzuela’s desire to help veterans began early following his return from a tour in Vietnam in 1968. In the early 1970s Valenzuela served as president of the Associated Veterans Students club at Bakersfield College and later as a counselor supporting student veterans. Valenzuela worked for years as a professional therapist who focused primarily on aiding veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and difficulties in making the transition between life in combat and life at home as a civilian.

Art with Impact

Movies for Mental HealthOn Wednesday, students gathered in the Fireside Room to  #SubvertStigma, the goal of  Movies For Mental Health. “Stigma” was the hook, the tag line used by Leslie Poston, our facilitator, to open our awareness and provide perspective on the very complex personal, cultural and societal issues surrounding mental health and mental illness. The audience of 50 students, staff, faculty and community has steadily grown over the past four semesters since Student Health and Wellness Services began hosting Movies For Mental Health. And, so has the diversity of responses and perspectives on the question of what is “stigma.” Audience contributions included: “Shaming”, “barrier”, “judgmental”, “labeling”, “prejudiced”, “isolation” to name a few but ultimately, “stigma” is an erroneous and negative stereotype.

Movies for Mental Health

This is where the movies come in. These are independent submissions, judged in competition; the films are poignant, evocative and selected by Art With Impact to stimulate discussion and reveal the unexpected, uncomfortable and inconvenient in the human condition.

Following the movie screenings and the facilitated discussion, as well as a light meal of fresh seasonal fruit and wraps provided by Chef Eric Sabella, we listened to a panel discussion. The first panelist was a student named Caitlin who shared her very personal experience with profound depression and suicidal tendencies. Following Caitlin was our own Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Rosealinda Carrillo, who shared her own path to strengthen her own personal mental health but also in becoming a professional counselor. Rosealinda exemplifies the adage “you can’t care for others if you can’t care for yourself.” Panelist and Professor of Psychology, Tim Burke lead us through the impact of suicide in his family, his reaction to a diagnosis and treatment for lymphoma and research-proven self-care modalities like meditation, yoga, mindfulness and of course exercise.

The BC Student Health and Wellness Team was joined by guests from the Health Services program of Antelope Valley College, which will be hosting Movies For Mental Health on their own campus for the first time this May. Among those from Antelope Valley College were Dr. Jill Zimmerman Dean of Student Life & Services, Health Clerk Jennifer Winn and Monteigne Long, Veterans Program Coordinator.

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What is the value and importance of #SubvertStigma to students? As individuals and friends, cultures of origin and faiths, and society in general, we must free mental illness and mental health from stigma, shadow, and shame.

 

Spring Fling and 18-19 BCSGA Elections

James Tompkins and Ashley Harp.jpg

James Tompkins and Ashley Harp

This week was “Spring Fling” week at Bakersfield College with various events hosted by BCSGA as well as the Office of Student Life. Kicking off the fun was the “BCSGA Ice Cream and StudOrgs” event. BC’s clubs and organizations were joined by Ben & Jerry’s to promote various student organizations. On Monday afternoon, students were welcomed by BCSGA’s President Dezi Von Manos for her monthly “Cafecito Time” event where students can discuss issues or questions they may have in an open and inclusive way, and on Monday evening, BCSGA hosted an “Easel Event” where participants engaged in a fun evening of painting and light refreshments.

Tuesday was the “Community Movie Day” where the movie Justice League was played for students to enjoy during lunch. On Wednesday we hosted the “Epic Proportions Tour” featuring the musical talents of Gabe Kubanda and People Who Could Fly.

Wrapping up the wonderful events, students also had the opportunity to vote in elections for next years BCSGA leadership. Congratulations to next year’s BCSGA President, James Tompkins and Vice President, Ashley Harp.

Hate Speech and Free Speech Forum

The Levan Center hosted a panel discussion on Wednesday providing legal and historical context to the ongoing debate about hate speech and freedom of speech on college campuses. Students filled out anonymous surveys before the panel asking them some basic facts about First Amendment law and their thoughts about various free speech issues. Levan Center Director Jack Hernandez then gave a brief introduction about some of the recent protests over white nationalist speakers appearing on college campuses before introducing the panel of BC faculty and administration.

Communication professor John Giertz started with a brief overview of the Supreme Court decisions that have shaped free speech law in the United States. Colleges are bound by the First Amendment interpretation established in the 1969 case Brandenburg v. Ohio, which states that no inflammatory speech can be punished unless it incites “imminent lawless action.” In the 80s and 90s, many campuses attempted to enact speech codes and free speech zones, which have all been struck down as unconstitutional on the grounds that a listener’s right to be protected from hateful speech is not as important as someone else’s right to speak hatefully or however else they choose, Giertz said.

left to right: Communication professor John Giertz, Director of Student Life Nicky Damania, History professor Erin Miller, and Levan Center Director Jack Hernandez host a panel discussion about free speech on college campuses on March 21st.

left to right: Communication professor John Giertz, Director of Student Life Nicky Damania, History professor Erin Miller, and Levan Center Director Jack Hernandez host a panel discussion about free speech on college campuses on March 21st.

Dr. Nicky Damania, BC’s Director of Student Life, gave students a practical description of the ways that he deals with free speech issues on the BC campus every day. At BC, Damania is in charge of enforcing academic freedom, which is the legal right of both students and faculty to teach or communicate controversial ideas or facts without fear of bias or punishment.

BC history professor Erin Miller closed the panel with a discussion of the motivating history behind the United States’ free speech protections. Before the Revolutionary War, England used its common law to silence colonial dissent, which is why James Madison made free speech the first priority of the Bill of Rights to the US Constitution. Hateful speech is protected, Miller argues, because once a government agency begins to arbitrate which types of speech are considered acceptable, then speech that challenges authority can be silenced.

High Schools, BC, CSUB coming together

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CCGI

On Thursday morning, BC hosted an intersegmental initiative on data exchange of student academic information.  Right now we (high school districts, BC, CSUB) all have different data systems for maintaining student academic records and as these students in our community move from one segment to another, their academic records are transferred manually.  This is unacceptable in the highly evolved tech world that we live in.  The CSU systemwide Chancellor’s Office and the Community College statewide Chancellor’s Office have come together to solve this problem.  BC is part of this pilot program that is fully funded by the Community College Chancellor’s Office and other private philanthropic groups.

Here are some photos from the work session.

Virginia, Tess De Roy, Ben Duran, Sonya Christian, Grace Commiso, Anna March 22 2018

Virginia Madrid-Salazar, Tess Deroy, Ben Duran, Sonya Christian, Grace Commiso, Anna Garcia

 

 

Steve Watkin and Ben Perlado March 22 2018

Steve Watkin, Ben Perlado

McFarland Superintendent Victor Hopper and team.jpg

McFarland Superintendent Victor Hopper and team

Ryan Gievet and Ben Sherley.jpg

Ryan Gievet, Ben Sherley

Paul Chave and Delano Team with Abel Guzman and Zav Dadabhhoy

Zav Dadabhoy, Assistant Superintendent Jason Garcia, Paul Chavez, Abel Guzman

Steve Watkin, Ben Perlado, Michelle Pena, Ryan Gievet, Ben Sherley

Steve Watkin, Ben Perlado, Michelle Pena, RyanGievet, Ben Sherley

Dave Barnett, Craig Hayward

Dave Barnett, Craig Hayward

Grace Commiso, Anna Garcia, Sonya Christian, Ben Duran.jpg

Grace Commiso, Anna Garcia, Sonya Christian, Ben Duran

Ben Duran, Virginia Madrid Salazar, David Abernathy, Kalina Hill

David Abernathy from Wasco High speaking

David Abernathy, Kalina Hill, Elysa Vargas

David Abernathy (Wasco), Kalina Hill (BC), Elysa Vargas (Wonderful Academy)

See all the photos at BC’s SmugMug.

Future Teachers

The Education Futures Grant sponsored a Future Teachers Open House March 20th on the Panorama Campus. Close to 100 attendees braved the pouring rain to enjoy an informational and engaging evening with presentations, 10 breakout sessions, raffles, social media contest, and vendor booths.

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Presentations and vendors included BC Education Pathways, CSU Bakersfield, University of Lavern, Bakersfield College Career and Technical Education (CTE) & Student Employment Department, Bakersfield College Future Teachers Club, Brandman University, Child, Adolescent, and Family Studies (CAFS) at CSUB, Community Action Partnership of Kern (CAPK) Head Start, Community Connection for Child Care (CCCC), National University, Point Loma Nazarene University, and Western Governors University (WGU). A similar event was held at the BC Delano campus on March 3rd.

A huge thank you to the Future Teachers Open House Planning Team, Education Futures Director, Kimberly Bligh, Anthony Cordova, Isabel Castaneda, and Erica Menchaca. 

Future Teachers Open House Planning Team

Future Teachers Open House Planning Team

Public Safety Metamajor Pathway Open House

CTE and Public Safety Pathway teamed up to host the first ever Public Safety Open House with 92 Kern High School District students in attendance. The event went full circle beginning with department faculty who provided an overview of the program outcomes and trainings available; student service representatives were available including staff from Financial Aid, CTE and Student Employment; finally, industry representatives from the City Fire Department, County Fire Department, EMS Department, Kern County Sheriff Department, Bakersfield Police Department and California Highway Patrol presented on a panel to share events and experiences in their professions.

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Students were given the opportunity to ask questions, participate in simulations and were even provided a tour of the different department vehicles. It was a great event that provided insight to the pathways available in Public Safety at Bakersfield College. Thank you to Brent Burton, Dominica Dominguez, BC Public Safety Faculty, Department Staff and the industry partners who worked so hard to put this event together.

For all the photos, visit BC’s SmugMug.

KCCD and BC Leadership at CISOA/3CBG

Group Photo

Closest to the screen on the left-Todd Coston (BC), beyond him-Hernando Mondragon (DO), beyond him-David Barnett (DO), moving to the right-Micelle Pena (BC), then Grace Commiso (BC), Somaly Boles (BC), Zach Quiroz (BC) and closest to camera on the right Dena Rhoades (DO).

The Kern Community College District and Bakersfield College were out in full force both attending and presenting at the CISOA/3CBG conference earlier this week from March 18-20th in Ontario, CA.  The conference site says this about the conference, “The partnership of California Community College Chief Information Systems Officers Association (CISOA) and California Community College Banner Group (3CBG) allows us to leverage our resources to present an outstanding array of conference sessions of interest to those who are part of the information technology arena in California’s Community College system.”

BC’s Grace Comisso, Michelle Pena, and consultant, Becky Weaver, presented on Using Starfish for Guided Pathways.

BC’s Todd Coston and Dave Barnett from the District Office presented on Improving IT Communication Using Free and Low Cost Tools

And our Chief Technology Officer, Gary Moser, from the District Office presented on Are You Ready for a CCC Statewide ERP System.

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Finally, the participants had an option to rate each session via a conference app.  As proof that the KCCD/BC team rock the house, check out this rating for Dave and Todd’s session. Todd tells me he isn’t quite sure how you can get 6 out of 5 stars, but he’ll take it anyway!

Rating

An American Education Agenda with Lance Izumi

KCCD and BC were present at a luncheon put on by the Kern Citizens for Sustainable Government with guest speaker, Lance Izumi, author of The ‘American Education Agenda’  Top 15 Recommendations for Improving Education. Lance discussed his newly published report, which offers policymakers concrete reforms they can adopt today to ensure every student learns in a safe and nurturing environment, and is well-prepared to meet the changing demands of the 21st century workforce.

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Trustee Romeo Agbalog, Cindy Collier, Lance Izumi, Trustee Bill Thomas, John Means

League of Dreams

The League of Dreams, a nonprofit sports league for young athletes with physical and developmental disabilities, held its opening ceremonies for the 2018 season at CSUB’s Hardt Field on Sunday.  Snagged this picture of Mayor Karen Goh with BC Renegades representing the College in their jerseys during the event.

League of Dreams Opening Day

STEAM Academy

Odella Johnson and Sonya Christian May 19 2017Odella Johnson was featured on KGET’s News at Sunrise program on Wednesday morning to talk about the STEAM Academy, a series of courses to promote science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics.

Johnson spoke about the importance of the academy, which hosts a course every Saturday from September to April to help students build skills that they can use in their future careers. Open enrollment for next year’s academy, of which BC is a partner, is starting now.

Oliver Rosales

History professor Oliver Rosales wrote an article in the Community Voices section of the Bakersfield Californian on Sunday urging voters in the community to let their lawmakers know that funding for the humanities should be a top priority.

Rosales, who chairs the committee on Energizing Humanities in the Central Valley committee, wrote about how proper funding of the National Endowment of the Humanities and California Humanities will allow those organizations to meet the demand for community enrichment projects in writing, history, philosophy, social studies and other subjects.

“It’s important that we maintain a robust National Endowment for the Humanities, while at the same time mobilize voters to support state funding, as well as opportunities to increase public-private partnerships,” Rosales said.

Oliver Rosales Community Voices March 19 2018

Chris McCraw on Twitter

 mccraw2Official National Ag Day was marked on March 20th and I’ve enjoyed following BC’s wonderful Agricultural Business faculty, Chris McCraw on Twitter @CMcatBC as he shares our BC Ag Club at Kern County’s  #farmdayinthecity! It’s so exciting to see our BC Ag Club students have the opportunity to share their agricultural knowledge with over 2,000 elementary students during this multi-day event!

Kern County is the #1 Ag County in the U.S. and Ag Day is a special time to say THANK YOU to all our farmers and laborers, as well as our BC Agriculture students and faculty for educating and inspiring the next generation of agriculturists!

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So fortunate to have a real vibrant Ag faculty and staff.

Lynette Zelezny

On Thursday, Cal State Bakersfield announced that Lynette Zelezny will be the new president to succeed Horace Mitchell at the end of the academic year.

The announcement was featured in a front-page Q and A article in the Bakersfield Californian written by Harold Pierce, as well as an article by Chloe Carlson for KGET. Zelezny is CSUB’s first female president, and she’ll be transitioning from her role as the provost and vice president of academic affairs at Fresno State to come to Bakersfield. Zelezny has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in psychology from Humboldt State University, a Ph.D. in applied social psychology from Claremont Graduate University, and an MBA with distinction from Fresno State.

City of Bakersfield visiting the Chamber

This week we had the Grater Bakersfield Chamber Board meeting.  I am honored to be on the Board of this wonderful organization — great board members, great CEO and great staff.

I was delighted to see leaders from the City of Bakersfield visit us to discuss some critical needs including the need for more police officers.  The team who presented included City Manger Alan Tandy, Councilman Andrae Gonzales, Concilman Bob Smith, BPD Chief Lyle Martin, Assistant City Manager Chris Huot.

Cindy and Liz

Liz Rozell and Cindy Collier are two amazing people who continue to inspire us all. I loved this photo because we all need to just lean on each other sometimes. Thank you Cindy and Liz for your dedication to BC and the Kern Community College District.

Cindy and Liz

 

We are BC

Sonya Christian at Cesar Chavez Breakfast March 23 2018

 

That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Bakersfield, a Community that Supports BC and our Students

Good morning Bakersfield. It is Saturday, August 5th,  and at 5:15 a.m. it is 74 degrees … a beautiful morning, a great week full of community leaders, BC leaders, veterans and congressmen.  A great week to be a Renegade.

I had a series of productive meetings this week.  The Kern Promise completion coaching community met for the first time and I forgot to take a photo.  Darn it.  But I might have pictures of some of the individuals in my photo library on word press.

 

 

 

Shanell Tyus with Lisa Kent and Maria Wright.  Lesley Bonds

Just a great group of BC folks discussing the students in the cohort to make sure that they are positioned to successfully complete their first milestone at the end of the fall semester — 15 credits of course work.  In addition, we are focusing on students completing their college-level English and college-level math in their first year.  Jennifer Achan, Director of Financial Aid, did a detailed presentation of the Financial Aid status of each student.  Keri Kennedy, the counselor responsible for this cohort, reviewed the courses that these students are enrolled in.  We also have a student in the group.  Here are some of the faces of the completion coaches for the affinity group The Kern Promise.

 

 

 

Jennifer Achan with Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg. Keri Kennedy.

We also submitted the 2017-2020 Educational Master Plan (EMP) for Board approval.  Thank you Dr. Janet Fulks for leading the effort on the EMP work.  I love this picture of Janet with her granddaughter.

Janet Fulks 2

Janet Fulks

Sonya Christian black and whiteI thought you might enjoy some excerpts from the President’s letter in the EMP

Bakersfield College (BC) started in 1913 as a vision and a plan for educational opportunity and community service with 13 students in a borrowed classroom on the Kern High School campus. From that hopeful start, BC now provides approximately 30,000 students a year with educational opportunity, serves as a cultural center for its community, and trains the workforce for a vibrant community of industry partners.

BC’s Vision today remains true to that founding vision:

“Building upon more than 100 years of excellence, Bakersfield College continues to contribute to the intellectual, cultural, and economic vitality of the communities it serves.”

The visionaries of 1913 could not have imagined the growth or rapidly changing society, however, they would instantly recognize the individuals today who tirelessly help our students (many still first in their families to go to college) attain their dreams. It is the shared work of college faculty, staff, and administrators, and our community.

 

BC’s 2017-2020 Educational Master Plan embarks on a systematic Guided Pathways redesign of how we guide students to complete their educational goals. Guided Pathways is built on four pillars:

Pillars of Guided Pathways

  1. Clarifying educational pathways for both Career Technical Pathways and Transfer Pathways.
  2. Getting students on the path starts by getting 9th grade students to see college in their futures.
  3. Keeping students on the path calls us to ensure that every precaution is taken to keep students on their educational pathway to degree completion.
  4. Ensuring learning invites as to develop a learning environment both in and out of the classroom to create adaptive learners who can communicate effectively, think critically, demonstrate competencies, and engage with their communities.

The 2017-2020 Educational Master Plan calls for an approach that better serves BC’s 30,000 students by grouping them into 18 completion communities – 10 meta-majors and 8 affinity groups, which include the identified underrepresented groups in BC’s Equity Plan. Each meta-major and affinity group will be surrounded by completion coaches ranging from 10 to 20 faculty and staff that will form a safety net around their cohort of students. The high-touch, personalized approach of these completion coaching communities combined a with the high-tech data analytics will help coaches to monitor progress and target student communications.

 

BC History on Facebook

Keith Woolaridge

Keith Wolaridge, Tom Gelder

This week, Keith Wolaridge shared a Facebook post with me featuring historical photos of the Bakersfield College campus. The post on Kern County Historical Society’s page was posted by Fatima Al-Bugharin. It’s incredible to see how supportive, interested, and dedicated the residents of Kern County are to BC.

Thank you Keith for your support of Bakersfield College.  Here you see Keith with Tom Gelder, being recognized for his leadership role on the Measure J committee.  Keith is also a community mentor in BC’s Astep program with Dr. Paula Parks.

In 1913, Bakersfield leadership and the community were visionaries. They knew that higher education was absolutely critical for Kern County and so they created a community college in Bakersfield. In the 50’s, leadership and the community again showed their commitment when they supported BC’s move to have its own campus.

The land was chosen – it was empty, barren, and probably very dusty and it was right there – 1801 Panorama Drive… this 153-acre lot on the China Grade Bluffs. The ground was not yet broken, but the seeds for the future were planted and the location was chosen; this was the place. This was the place where hundreds of thousands of students would make their way “up the hill” to attend college for the very first time.

FacebookSixty years later, many things have changed, but one constant piece remains – Bakersfield is a community that realizes the importance of a college education and undeniably supports Bakersfield College.

Fatima, in her post linked two articles for those interested in learning more about the history of BC and I’d like to share them as well. From The Bakersfield Californian, “History: Growing up and headed for college”  and “Bakersfield College Centennial: 100 years of higher education.”  Both fantastic articles. Thank you.

Supporting our Veterans

Paul Beckworth Being InterviewedOn Wednesday, August 2nd, morning, Paul Beckworth and BC student and US Navy Veteran, Robert Enger were featured in a story on ABC 23 about the Forever GI Bill. Straight from the story, Paul Beckworth said,

It will extend the benefits for stem majors up to one academic year which is indicative of the federal government recognizing we need stem majors and this is a way we can help veterans get those degrees so they can enter the workforce.

Thanks to your loyal support through Measure J, our student veterans will be getting a brand new, state of the art, stand-alone Veterans Resource Center. Thank you Bakersfield, Thank you Kern County! Thank you Congressman McCarthy for your work on the Forever GI Bill and for your continued support of our veterans. Also, a big thank you to all of our political leaders such as County Supervisor Leticia Perez and Assemblyman Rudy Salas. And finally, thank you to all our BC student veterans for trusting us with your education — you can go far and BC is here to support you.

I invite you to watch the video clip or read the article at www.turnto23.com.

BC Veterans

Library of Congress Veterans  History Project

On Thursday, Congressman McCarthy was at BC participating in the Veterans History Project.

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Zav Dadabhoy, Kevin McCarthy, Armando Trujillo, Mary Jo Pasek

The United States Congress created the Veterans History Project in 2000 to collect, preserve, and make accessible the personal stories and accounts of American war veterans so that future generations can hear directly from the veterans, in their voices, and better understand the realities of war.

Love this photo — a Manny selfie 🙂

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Manny de Los Santos, Kevin McCarthy, Marvin Belcher

 

 

 

 

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Mary Jo Pasek, Miriam Kann

One of the veterans interviewed was Miriam Kann.  You see her here with Mary Jo Pasek. Steven Mayer of The Bakersfield Californian did a great story on Kann in the July 27th paper titled Bakersfield woman, on eve of 100th birthday, says she joined up because she was ‘mad at Hitler’.  Loved the header…. Here are some excerpts from the article

Then in her mid-20s, Kann joined millions of other American women who participated in the war effort in those dark days when Hitler’s armies had occupied much of Europe and the Japanese Imperial Navy had control of much of the Pacific.

She served in San Francisco and at other locations training new pilots using the Link Trainer, an early flight simulator. Many, she said, credited the training with saving their lives.

Steven Mayer concludes with:

“On the flight, several of the guys were just ga-ga over her,” recalled Kim Whitaker, an Honor Flight volunteer.

But one man, Jack Henslee, asked for her number.

“I met her on Honor Flight in 2013, and we have been seeing one another ever since,” Henslee said. “She’s a lady.”

The joke going around is that Kann is robbing the cradle, as Henslee is a mere lad of 91. But she seems sweetly embarrassed by the suggestion.

And just in case anyone might suggest something untoward is going on, Henslee repeated his admonition.

“She’s a lady,” he said.

She certainly is.

 

Miriam Kann turns 100 today.  Happy 100th birthday Ms. Miriam Kann.  We thank you for your service to our country.

The veterans were interviewed at Bakersfield College on Thursday, August 3rd.  Dick Taylor, Armando Tuijillo, and Kevin McCarthy did the interviews.  Thank you Dick Taylor for your continued support of Bakersfield College.  And thank you for bringing the Airforce Band to BC’s outdoor theater.  Here is a link to my July 1, 2017 blog featuring the Airforce Band. https://sonyachristianblog.com/2017/07/01/time-flies-when-youre-at-bc/

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Here is the list of veterans who participated.

Andrew Perales, Marvin Belcher (WWII), Greg Underwood (Vietnam), Tom Svare (Vietnam), Augustine Flores (WWII), Jessica Brown (Navy 2011-2015), Aaron Coates (Iraq War), Henry Ochsner (WWII), Victor Killingsworth (WWII), Miriam Kann (WWII)

 

 

 

 

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Thank you to all involved with this project, including Mary Jo Pasek, Manny De Los Santos, and John Farrand.

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Here is John and Manny in action, a post from Mary Jo Pasek’s Facebook.

Bakersfield College Students Intern with Congressman Kevin McCarthy

Mary Jo Pasek got this great photo from Robin Lake-Foster.

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Congressman Kevin McCarthy’s 2017 Summer Internship Program

Included in this group photo, albeit gloomy weather, are college students from the 23rd Congressional District who participated in Congressman Kevin McCarthy’s 2017 Summer Internship Program, where they spent two weeks in McCarthy’s Bakersfield District Office and six weeks in the DC offices, where their time was shared serving three weeks in the Congressman’s congressional office and three weeks in the Office of the Majority Leader.

The students from Bakersfield College are:

Halle Cornejo (left back row, auburn hair and cream blouse)
Austin Machado (kneeling down in front row, white shirt with striped tie
Nicolas Montero-Garcia (to the right of the Congressman, pink shirt, no jacket)
James Priest (next to Nicolas, gray shirt with striped tie)

#WeAreBC

BC’s Ag Department

BC is located in California’s agriculturally rich San Joaquin Valley and has the history and resources to move Ag students in the right direction. Our Ag program has rich history too, dating back to it’s beginnings in 1915 — making it one of the first community college agriculture programs in the nation. Since then, BC continues to educate students for a career in all ag fields.

 

This week, a fun email was forwarded to me. Charles Parker, Agriculture Education Consultant shared Ag Teacher Trivia – how many of these did you know?

Charles wrote, “To start of the year, I thought I would provide you with some teacher trivia. Enjoy and let me know if I am missing anyone.”

COUPLES

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LeAnn English, BC Ag Dept.

LeAnn English, Bakersfield College and Matthew Riley, Bakersfield College
Allison Ferry, COS and Charles Abee, COS
Koren Martins, Mt. Whitney and Zach Brown, El Diamante
Courtney Serafin, Golden West and Jared Castle, Hanford
Elizabeth ??, Strathmore and Donald Thornburg, Woodlake
Jenna Villacana, Kern ROC and Jacob Eyraud, Bakersfield

RELATIVES
Audrey Bonomi, Sanger and Amy Vivenzi, Washington (Sisters)
Don Clark, Wasco and Vernon Clark, Foothill (Dad and Son)
Alex Gutierrez, Caruthers and Nancy Gutierrez, Reedley College (Brother and Sister)
Erin Hanger, Summit Charter and Robert Hanger, Kern Valley (Brother and sister)
Roz Lopez, Central and Robert Calvert, Selma (Mother and Son)
Charles Parker, Regional Supervisor and Steve Parker, Taft (Brothers)
Matthew Riley, Bakersfield College and Carolee Trimble, Kern ROC (Brother and Sister)

FORMER STATE FFA OFFICERS
Joe Buffington, Bishop (Nevada)
Vernon Clark, Foothill
Amber Cleaver, Delano
Kristi Mattes, Minarets
Natalie Ryan, North

CHILDREN OF AG TEACHERS
Annie Andersen, Hanford and Eric Andersen, Retired
Adam Bullard, Independence and Edwin Bullard, Retired
Robert Calvert, Selma and Roz Calvert, Central
Vernon Clark, Foothill and Don Clark, Wasco
John Coon, Redwood and Bob Cummings, Retired
James Corbett, Monache and Max Corbett, Deceased
Erin Hanger, Summit Charter and Greg Hanger, Retired
Robert Hanger, Kern Valley and Greg Hanger, Retired
Nicole Potstada, Sanger and Leanne Potstada, Retired
Matt Riley, Bakersfield College and Roger Riley, Retired
Glen Sailors, Coalinga and Tim Sailors, Retired
Carolee Trimble, Kern ROC and Roger Riley, Retired
Matt Wenstrand, Caruthers and Gerald Wenstrand, Retired
Brad Wyman, Sierra and Edward Wyman, Retired

Bill Kelly

Bill Kelly

LONGEST TENURED TEACHERS
Bill Kelly, Bakersfield College – 51 years
Frank Tebeau, COS – 41 years
Kristi Mattes, Minarets – 40 years
David Caetano, Tulare – 38 years
Charles Parker, Region Supervisor – 37 years
Ralph Mendes, Kern ROC – 36 years
Ken Dias, Clovis – 35 years
Darlene Gilles, Madera – 33 years

Student Affairs Retreat

Student Affairs Retreat August 2 2017

Lesley and Grace

Grace Commiso, lead for meta-majors  and Lesley Bonds, lead for affinity groups.

Bakersfield College’s approximately 30,000 students represent a multitude of individual goals and needs. With a student to counselor ratio of approximately 1000:1, the Guided Pathways structure prompts the development of Completion Coaching Communities, which are the mechanism for ensuring that the individual student needs are more effectively met within the context of meta majors. By assigning a fully-equipped support team to each of 10 meta majors, Bakersfield College is able to address the specific needs of each meta major in a more personalized, more relevant way.

Going a step further, BC has identified eight affinity groups where additional personalized support exist, and has developed completion coaching communities around those groups as well, providing another layer of support and personal resources for students.

Through the development of these structures, Bakersfield College has developed a strategy for applying a very personal, case management approach to helping our 30,000 students stay on the path to success. Thank you to

Completion Coaching Communities will focus their work on supporting students in their progress toward critical milestones in the journey to successful, timely completion:

  • Completion of 12 to 15 credits in their first semester of college.
  • Completing both college-level Math and English in the first year.
  • Completion of 30 credits in the appropriate pathway in the first year.
  • Completion of 60 credits in the span of two years.

The photo you see below is of four superheroes in our Academic Support area.  They are geared up this year to provide intensive tutoring services for English and math in particular to support students in their courses.

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Eileen Pierce, Maria Baltazar, Yvonne Armendariz, Maria Wright

I popped in and out of the retreat in between my meeting schedule.  So I caught a few of the discussions that inspired me.  Here you see BC’s Financial Aid Director who is a bundle of energy and works with an incredible team in our Financial Aid Office.

 

 

 

Did you know that BC currently has over 45,000 active Financial Aid accounts?  I did not. Did you know that students have a window between October 1, 2017 and March 2018 to file for financial aid for the following year.  The sooner applications come in the better their chances of getting things squared away.  So why wait.  Plz complete your applications before the end of October this year!

Go team Financial Aid!

National Endowment for the Humanities Grant

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We received an announcement this week that BC has been awarded $100,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities to complete a three year project titled, “Energizing Humanities in California’s San Joaquin Valley.” Complementing the local legacy of energy production, Energizing Humanities in California’s San Joaquin Valley examines the concept of energy broadly from historical and literary perspectives, as well as the intersection of humanities with music/performing arts. Each year, faculty cohorts will engage critical scholarship within the fields of history, literature, and cultural performing arts. A regional conference highlighting faculty pedagogical innovation, student panels, as well as keynote speakers, will conclude the grant project.

Several other projects receiving grants from NEH will help preserve fragile historical and cultural collections and make them more accessible to the broader public, such as grants to safeguard a collection of Native American and Medieval and Renaissance art at the Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa, Oklahoma; for the preservation of Civil War artifacts recovered from the USS Monitor warship in Newport News, Virginia; and new initiatives in Arkansas and Georgia to digitize historic local newspapers for inclusion in the Chronicling America database at the Library of Congress.

Thank you to the National Endowment for the Humanities for your support of BC!

To see the official press release, visit www.neh.gov/news/press-release/2017-08-02

Here are the three faculty who will be the Principal Investigators for the grant.  Oliver Rosales, History (lead); Andrew Bond, English; Josh Ottum, Music.

Oliver Rosales, Andrew Bond, Josh Ottum

Special Thank you to Oliver Rosales, Andrew Bond, and Josh Ottum

BC Team at CTEOS

BC Team at CTEOS

Craig Hayward, Karen Snow, Stephanie Baltazar, and Corny Rodriguez

The California Community College CTE Employment Outcomes Survey (CTEOS) began as a pilot project with fifteen colleges in 2012. CTE Dean’s, frustrated at the lack of relevant outcomes measures for CTE students, determined to pool resources and to scale up employment outcomes surveys that had been conducted by some individual colleges. The CTE Outcomes Survey has grown to include all 113 California Community Colleges, and several non-credit CTE programs.  In the photo, BC’s Team at CTEOS on Aug. 3rd and 4th.

Craig Hayward was a presenter at the event and his talk was titled Accreditation and Calculating Employment in the Field of Study with the CTEOS (CTE Outcomes Survey)

Bloom in Bakersfield — Asha Chandy 

Asha Chandy in The Bakersfield Californian July 2017

Asha Chandy. Picture from TBC

The Bakersfield Life Magazine featured Asha Chandy in their July issue “Millennial Voices: Bloom where you are planted.”

It’s an insightful and thoughtful piece commending Bakersfield for the little things that make this town special to those who live here and the experiences that brought Asha to appreciate Bakersfield too. She said after coming back to Bakersfield, that she “constantly recognized faces in passing cars, when shopping or walking downtown.” and “Servers in coffees shops recognize your face and remember your usual order.”

Besides the friendly and familiar faces, Asha explained that quickly after coming back, she “soon met mentors who actually invested time and effort in young people…. millennials who lacked direction but had the potential to thrive.” and she said Bakersfield is the perfect incubator for young professionals.

Asha Chandy worked tirelessly, side-by-side with the fabulous Nicole Parra, to help  Bakersfield College pass Measure J…

 

 

 

 

Of course, how can I forget the campaign dog Bruce.

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Thank you Bakersfield for passing Measure J and for being a rock of support for our young people, higher education, and all BC students! Thank you Kern County!! Have I mentioned recently that I am the luckiest and happiest college president ever?

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

Former Taft College President, David Cothrun

David Cothrun from TBCFormer Taft College President Dr. David Cothrun wrote a piece in the July edition of the Bakersfield Life Magazine praising the quality of life in Taft, where he’s lived for the last 21 years.  I so enjoyed this piece and wanted to share it with the larger community.

Despite being retired from Taft College since 2001, Cothrun has chosen to stay in the area because of the “community that cares and gives back” and non-profit organizations that provide transportation for health care and events while funding scholarships and creating a welcoming atmosphere for students with disabilities.

Cothrun took a moment to highlight Taft College’s important Transition to Independent Living (TIL), a two-year residential program that teaches students with disabilities the skills they need to become independent and able to live alone. The TIL program is one of the only ones of its kind in the United States, and it’s providing amazing opportunities for success that disabled students never had before.

Cothrun has been in the Taft Rotary club for 37 years and the Taft Chamber of Commerce Board for 14 years. He also serves on the Kern County Board of Trade. Read the whole article at Bakersfield.com.

Van Ton-Quinlivan

Van Ton Quinlivan from Doing what matters website

Van Ton-Quinlivan

The Chronicle of Higher Education published an interview about the future of career training and vocational education with Van Ton-Quinlivan, the Vice Chancellor of Workforce and Economic Development for California community colleges.

The video, which corresponded with a Chronicle of Higher Education report titled “The Future of Work: How Colleges Can Prepare Students for the Jobs Ahead”, focuses on the plight of stranded workers, an unemployment statistic that’s become a catch-all term for those who don’t see themselves in our future automated economy. After the recession of 2008, work productivity increased even though unemployment increased due to a confluence of technological advances and developments in artificial intelligence and machine learning. Many people looking to return to the economy found themselves without the skills needed to compete for positions in a post-industrial world.

Ton-Quinlivan discussed the numerous paradigm shifts that will have to happen in education to get distressed workers the skills to return to the economy. Where educational institutions once had the luxury of extensively training students before they enter the work force, they now have to scale their educational services to prepare for workers who need to come back to school to keep up with evolving technologies and business practices.

Ton-Quinlivan wants to “modularize delivery of education” with low-impact, 3-6 month Certificates of Specialization that would allow adults to continue education while contributing to the workforce. She also would also like to see the California community college system forge more direct partnerships with employers through apprenticeships and structuring curricula to meet the demands of the labor market.

“The economy is becoming more and more unforgiving to those without skills,” Ton-Quinlivan said. “With apprenticeships, you’re not divorcing the education from the employer needs.”

One way companies are bridging the skills gap is through on-site “maker-spaces”—augmented learning environments where laborers can work directly with expensive new equipment to develop competency.

In addition to maker-spaces, Van Ton-Quinlivan emphasized the role of community colleges in identifying a student’s skill sets and shepherding them into the best education program to utilize and develop those skills. She highlighted a capstone program a few California community colleges conducted for veterans to transition from security work into positions as systems operators or utility workers based on a pre-employment screening. These kind of creative collaboration between counselors, educators and industry leaders can close the education gap in California and transform people’s lives.

It is wonderful seeing California Community College leadership setting the national trends in education.  So proud!

Super hero Anna Meyer

Aaron Kidwell Aug 2 2017

Aaron Kidwell

As I was heading out from a meeting on wednesday to the Student Affairs retreat, I saw Aaron Kidwell and stopped to talk with him.  He raved about how Anna Meyer, who is in payroll in the Human Resources department.  Thank you Anna for doing what you did to support Aaron and thank you Aaron for sharing.  Here is a photo of Aaron that I snapped when he shared his good news.

Talking about Anna Meyer, there is another Anna who is a superhero in HR, Anna Gonzalez, who was at BC and is now at the District Office. I had the opportunity to work with Anna on faculty recruitment and Jennfer Marden and I had an Anna Gonzalez fan club going.

Lori Carlson, Anna Meyer, Anna Gomzalez

Lori Carlson, Anna Meyer, Anna Gonzalez

Tonya Davis at BC

Talking about Human Resources, KCCD has a new Vice Chancellor of Human Resources, Tonya Davis who comes to us from southern California.  Here are two photos of Tonya that I snapped on July 18th when she was at BC for a meeting.  She specifically wanted to check out the Veterans hub a small space that supports our student veterans.  Through Measure J, our first project will be a wonderful Veterans Resource Center.  We ran into fabulous Dennis Spencer on our way back to the office.  Here you have Tonya with Armando Trujillo, Advisor to the BC student veterans and Dennis Spenser.

 

 

 

Summer Bridge Continues

Some photos from this week’s summer bridge

Summer Bridge 1

 

Summer Bridge 2

Summer Bridge 3 with Talita Pritt

Summer Bridge 5 with Bill Kelly.jpg

Summer Bridge with Nick Strobel

So what about Neo?

Well….he continues to love to spend time in his mud/sand bed.  Here he is Sunday, July 30th sometime mid morning not happy when I directed him to move away from his frolicking activities in the mud.

 

 

 

Then there is the happy puppy mud face on August 2, 2017

August 2 2017 Neo

Neo

And then there is his chew toy.

 

 

 

He is 45 lbs.

sonya-at-eddie-palmerie-slasa-may-3-2015-at-yerba-buena-gardens-festival

That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Time Flies When You’re at BC!

Can you believe it’s already July? Where does the time go?

Good morning, it is Saturday, July 1, 2017 and such a wonderful day to be a Renegade

Jury Duty

As we approach Independence Day, the right to a trial by jury is one of the primary factors contributing to America’s decision to fight for independence. Jury rights were written into Article III of the US Constitution and the Sixth Amendment, which guarantees all Americans “the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed”. In contrast to the magistrate process popular in 18th Century Europe, where the judges lead the prosecution, the US legal system forces each side to conduct its own investigation, present evidence and argue its side in open court.

As it happens, I spent much of my time last week on Jury Duty and was reminded daily of two things. First, how much I love the community of Delano and second, how thankful I am to live in a society that gives every citizen a voice and a way to serve and contribute.

McNamara and Horace MitchellThe Judge who did the orientation in Bakersfield was Judge McNamara, a previous faculty at CSUB. I found this CSUB blog post which shared photos and the story of when Judge McNamara was appointed. Both he and the Judge Tafoya in Delano had significant respect for veterans.

I enjoyed the short drive from Bakersfield to Delano daily. Dr. Oliver Rosales mentioned in an article last year that the 99 has been “dubbed the most dangerous road in America” but that he, too, enjoys his drives to Delano. In the article, he mentions the fields surrounding the city and cleverly says BC Delano is surrounded by “fields of dreams.”

After spending three days in Jury Duty, I wanted to learn more about the Delano Court. The California Courts website says,

The Superior Court of Kern County operates two facilities in northern Kern County: the Shafter/Wasco Branch in Shafter, and the Delano/McFarland Branch Courthouse, also known as the North Kern Regional Court, in Delano. The Delano facility serves the communities of Delano, Elmo, Famoso, McFarland, Pond, Richgrove, Vineland, and other outlying rural areas. This court also handles cases from two neighboring prisons: Kern Valley State Prison and North Kern State Prison.

It’s incredible to think of the large area that Delano services.

Robert Tafoya MArch 28 2015 from TBCMy week of service reframed my thinking on Jury Duty.   Jury duty is not only a good thing to do, but also one of the most important ways we can be responsible citizens. It is an opportunity to make use of our mind and voice… while making it count on matters that are life changing and profound. Jurors have a tremendous responsibility and what an honor it is to be trusted as a collective of regular citizens. A guilty or not guilty verdict will and can change a life forever.

Also, it was a real treat watching Judge Robert Tafoya in action.  He is one of the most authentic individuals I know.  Thank you Judge Tafoya for all that you do for our communities of Bakersfield and Delano. Check out this piece on Robert Tafoya, March 28, 2014, in the Bakersfield Life Magazine of The Bakersfield Californian titled What I am Reading.

Photo: Rod Thornburg of TBC

http://www.bakersfield.com/bakersfield_life/what-i-m-reading-judge-robert-tafoya/article_c218bd28-cdf2-5fe4-aa53-9ec272b3e8b6.html

Student Success Retreat

On Monday, we held a student success retreat which focused on understanding real student data, beginning the process of taking action through the Completion Coaching Communities Structure, identifying students who are off the path in some way, and helping them get back on path to completing their educational goals.

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Discipline faculty, counselors, educational advisors, and the entire management team gathered in groups organized by our ten Learning and Career Pathways.  Each team of Completion Coaches reviewed the schedules of the students in their Learning and Career Pathway.  Using the “Completion Coach Student Evaluation” (photo attached), Completion Coaches manually reviewed and discussed their individual students’ schedules to ensure they are on path toward their educational goals.  While this work is time intensive, it’s critical in ensuring each of our Renegades are equipped with the information and tools necessary for their success.

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Craig HaywardCraig Hayward, our Institutional Researcher, led the Completion Coaches in a discussion to identify the key themes present among the data.  The Coaches identified issues related to the first three pillars of the guided pathways model:

  1.      Goal Clarity: Lack of clarity in the pathways and educational maps
  2.      Enrollment Roadblocks: Onboarding to the wrong path through registration
  3.      Lane Assist: Need for tracking to ensure students stay on path toward their educational goals

Thank you Lesley Bonds for the photos.

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Summer Bridge Video and Registration Rocks

I received this video from Jordan Rude.  You can see why Summer Bridge is so important and successful.  Navigating the road of college isn’t easy, especially if you’re right out of high school. BC’s Summer Bridge is here to help!

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FsummerbridgeBC%2Fvideos%2F1919455238277482%2F&width=450&show_text=false&height=252&appId

Check out the work of John Farrand and Francis Mayer for July 11th — Registration Rocks

I will cover this event more in next week’s blog.

The Air Force Concert Band is off to the Hollywood Bowl

Beautiful garrison flag welcoming our guests Wed night

Photo by MJ Pasek

What a lovely evening it was last Wednesday for a live concert!  We were so lucky to have the U.S. Air Force Concert Band give a free concert at the outdoor theatre.  The USAF Band of the Golden West, on their way to play at the Hollywood Bowl, played so many of the great songs that are familiar in a creative, inventive way.  They played selections from Aaron Copland, Pat Methany, a Medley of Gershwin classic, the lively jazz piece from 1955 called “Malaguena” (by Ernesto Lecuona).  Giving us a little bit of history from each of their selections, they told us the story of “Yankee Doodle Dandy.” Check out this brief video of Yankee Doodle from the Air Force Band

Most people don’t know about the history of the song, but it’s really quite humorous.  British soldiers of the revolutionary war made up the words (the melody itself had been around for a long time already) to make fun of the rough-around-the-edges [in appearance and organization] American Colonials.  British soldiers liked to laugh at the unkempt Americans who would think they were high-class if they were to stick a feather in their dirty hat.

USAF Band-8

Veteran's Center mobile unit did a brisk business all evening

Photo by MJ Pasek

Not ones to sit around and be mocked, American soldiers started singing the song as a sign of defiance.  Even changing a few verses to mock the Britons and hail George Washington.  So what was originally meant to mock the Americans had the tables turned on it to become something proudly sung throughout the army.

Mary Jo Pasek always has fantastic pictures of every event at BC! More photos to come next week!

https://twitter.com/BandGoldenWest/status/880243635823951872

I also loved seeing this picture at the concert posted later on Facebook with Art Professor, Diego Monterrubio and History Professor, Paul Beckworth.

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The concert started with a rendition of Hoedown

Check out Fascinating Rhythm.

Here is a short video of their last song honoring each branch of the Military to Caissons Go Rolling Along

 

It was a treat to see the community out enjoying incredible music, supporting our veterans and being a part of the Bakersfield College community.

Thank you Dick Taylor for bringing the Air Force Band of the Golden West to Bakersfield and to Bakersfield College.

Here is an excerpt describing the band from their website

The United States Air Force Band of the Golden West is stationed in the San Francisco Bay area at Travis Air Force Base, California. The only active duty Air Force band west of the Rockies, the Band of the Golden West is comprised of about 60 talented and versatile Airmen-musicians under the command of Captain Rafael F. Toro-Quiñones. In addition to performing for civilian communities throughout the states of California, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, and Utah, the band supports 13 Air Force Bases, 8 Air Force Reserve Wings, and 6 recruiting squadrons in over 250 annual performances for 1.5 million listeners.

And thank you Mary Jo Pasek, for all that you did to make this happen.  Here is a picture that SGA Vice President Lawrence Salcido snapped when the Band Conductor invited Mary Jo to come up and be recognized.  Mary Jo then invited me to come along.  She did all the work, and I get to share the credit with her.  You see why I am the luckiest and happiest college president ever.

Mary jo receiving a recognition June 29 2017

Here is a screen capture of Dick Taylor’s Facebook post recognizing the amazing work done by Mary Jo.

Dick Taylor recognizing Mary Jo Pasek on Facebook

Most of the photos are from our own William Velasquez, from the BC IT department. Thank you William for the photos!

 

Celebrating our Fire Grads!

In last weeks blog, I mentioned our Firefighter Graduation, but this week Tim Capehart, our Fire Technology Director, sent me some great photos and information so I thought I’d revisit that incredible celebration. Tim said, “The F/F 1 Academy is over 524 hrs. long. It meets three times a week in the evenings and all day Sat. and Sun. so students can maintain a day job and still complete the academy. The Academy that just finished meets the new curriculum requirements for F/F 1 IFSAC and Pro Board accreditation. This means our students can apply for jobs anywhere in the United States. We graduated thirty two students who all passed the State skills and written exams.”

ff1academy2

Furthermore, Tim added that all thirty two students held full time jobs along with studying, training, and continuous testing throughout the six month journey. In this year’s graduating class, we had dedicated husbands, parents, marines, an airborne ranger, Cal State Berkeley football player, ferrier, Alabama volleyball player, CSUB swimmer, and a division one baseball athlete. The young men and women represent the many different and diverse groups of future firefighters. We are BC!

 

Chris McCraw and E. Kika De La Garza  Fellows Program

BC Ag Professor, Chris McCraw participated in the E. Kika De La Garza Fellows Program.

The official brochure says,

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Office of Advocacy and Outreach (OAO), Hispanic-Serving Institutions National Program (HSINP) E. Kika De La Garza Fellowship Program offers faculty and staff from Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) the opportunity to work collaboratively with USDA to gain insight and understanding of the Federal Government. Through the fellowship, participants learn about opportunities that are available with USDA and other Federal Agencies for their respective institutions and their students. Fellows share their experience with students at their respective HSIs, motivating them to pursue careers in agriculture, science, research, technology, and other related fields of study. Furthermore, the fellowship strengthens and expands USDA’s partnerships with HSIs and the communities they serve.

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The Chris McCraw and E. Kika De La Garza  Fellows

 

Working together across KCCD to implement better systems

Students across KCCD June 2017

Lisa Couch, Jason Andrews, Terri Goldstein

On Monday and Tuesday, the student conduct officers from all three KCCD institutions came together at Bakersfield College to learn the our new student conduct case management system, Maxient. Lead by Dr. Nicky Damania, the group spent two intense days learning the system while implementing processes that would not only increase positive experiences within student conduct process, but also bring efficiency to their workflow when processing case paperwork. The new process will convert the student conduct process completely online thus being able to effectively communicate with students in a timely manner.

 

Student Leaders across KCCD June 2017

Val Garcia, Jason Andrews

National Camera Day

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The Bakersfield Californian featured our Art Department Chair, Kristopher Stallworth’s photos and a brief blurb on Thursday for National Camera Day. Check it out on Bakersfield.com.

Stallworth has been taking photos for 25 years. His first camera was a 110 film point and shoot camera, and his first serious camera was a Canon AE-1 that was his father’s.

Community Events

BC at Bakersfield Wing Festival June 25 2017.jpg

John Kelly, Tina Mendoza, Sandra Beckworth, Paul Beckworth, Terri Goldstein, Nicky Damania

 

natesha-sonya-karen-nov-4-2016-kern-housisng-authority-galaBC employees always support our local community organizations and partners. Sunday June 25 at the Kern County Fair Grounds was the second annual Bakersfield Wing Fest where several Renegades supported our community partner, NaTesha Kindred Johnson’s group, Upside Productions.  NaTesha is a great friend of BC and did a lot of work on Measure J.  Thank you NaTesha!  Here is a picture of NaTesha that I found in my blog library.  We were at an event organized by Norma Rojas Mora.  Here is NaTesha with Karen Goh and me.

Bakersfield Wing Festival June 25 2017

Paul Beckworth, John Kelly, Tina Mendoza, Sandra Beckworth, Terri Goldstein, Nicky Damania

The event brought the community together to not only enjoy delicious wings from around Bakersfield, but also raise awareness and funds for the Alzheimer’s Disease Association for Kern County and Grandma Whoople Enterprise (a non-profit anti bullying campaign). This year Happy Hour won the wing competition but we all won a great taste of community pride!

Superheroes Behind the Scenes

Have I told you lately that I’m the happiest and luckiest college president in the world? One reason is because of the fantastic faculty and staff at Bakersfield College, and one example is Kristina Whitmore in the department of Student Success and Equity. Above and beyond her work at BC, volunteering is an important part of her life. She said,

Helping others is an essential part of who am I, If I am not helping others I am not helping myself. I do not feel whole as a person when I am not advocating and doing for others. I find joy and hope in helping our students at BC, here I know each student will go on to accomplish great things. I find light in a dark place when I am in Prison helping. These men have made bad choice that have found them behind bars, but they are not to be forgotten!

Marleys Mutts Program (1)

Kristina Whitmore

The specific program Kristina mentions is called Pawsitive Change Prison Program by Marley’s Mutts. The website says,

Pawsitive Change is a progressive and intensive rehabilitation program which matches Death Row dogs with inmates inside California State Prisons.  Our goal is to reduce inmate recidivism by providing them a viable skill, while at the same time saving dogs lives.  The program is guided by four of our experienced trainers over 14 weeks, during which the inmates work toward vocational accreditation and the dogs towards their Canine Good Citizen Certification.  Both man and mutt will use the skills gained in this program to better their lives and stay out of prisons and/or shelters, respectively.

Marleys Mutts Program (3)

On the homepage, there is a testimony that stood out to me and shows how lifechanging and “pawsitive” is.

“We live inside a place where we can’t show our emotion — it’s considered a weakness.  But with this program, we can feel, give, and receive affection.  We become cold in here, much more cold than when we entered.  But these dogs give us a chance to be human.” -Inmate Participant, Cyclell

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Thank you Kristina and thank you Marley’s Mutts for all that you do.  This is an inspirational program.

Marleys Mutts Program (4)

Neo

Speaking of puppies, on Wednesday Neo had his third visit to the vet (by the way, a great supporter of Marley’s Mutts…). Two vaccines — Bordetella Bronchiseptica and Canine Distemper.  The first picture was taken on June 2nd (his second visit to the Vet when he weighed 19 lbs) and the second picture on June 28th (this third visit to the Vet at 30 lbs)

I must say this time the drive to the vet was much more pleasant than three weeks ago, he was calm, self-assured, and not the distressed puppy in a car moving fast!

Here he is making a reckless uncontrolled dash for the ball.

Renegade Passings of Joyce Teague and Rich Wise

joyceteagueOn Tuesday morning, I received a notice from Jerry Ludeke that we’ve had another passing in the Renegade family. The email from BC Archives said, “We are very sad to report that Joyce Teague (Kite) passed away last evening. Joyce began working for Bakersfield College in 1983 and retired on August 17, 2013. She loved her job in the M&O Department, where she was the go-to woman! She was also known for her outgoing and fun personality. You could say that she was a “character!” Later in her career, she moved to the Fine Arts Department. She will be deeply missed.”  I remember Joyce very well from my time as faculty at BC.  She ran a tight operation and was fearless in telling folks, including new department chair, what to do 🙂

4419330Last week, news also spread that Richard Wise passed away. Dr. Wise was devoted to his students and Bakersfield College and always encouraged students reach their goals and gain knowledge to  be successful. His students and colleagues admired his diligence and tenacity while teaching and doing battle with his illness.  He will be missed dearly and Liz Rozell said in an email, “I can tell you that he always was friendly with his colleagues and pleasant to work alongside. When I was Rich’s supervisor, he participated in a committee and communicated good insight with critical issues. I always enjoyed passing him in the hall because I knew he would smile at me and give me a friendly greeting. That means a lot in a work environment.”  It’s special people like Rich Wise who make BC so special.

East Hills Mall

I shared with you back in January in my blog that big plans were announced for the East Hills Mall and this week, The Bakersfield Californian shared an update with all the various stores that have been requested for the space. Check it out at The Bakersfield Californian website. None are guaranteed yet, but they would make great additions to the neighborhood.

Fun Photos

Thank you Corny Rodriguez for sending me photos of our new M&O building going up.  Here is the latest from June 30, 2017

June 30 2017 M&O Building

Came across this photo of Nicole Parra in action with Norma Rojas Mora and Bill Thomas when we were in the middle of the Measure J campaign.  Thank you Nicole for saying yes to BC or was it yes to BT 🙂

Nicole Parra Norma Rojas Mora Bill Thomas

Nicole Parra, Norma Rojas Mora, Bill Thomas

A few summer bridge photos from Kimberly Bligh

And this one is from Francis Mayer.  He titled it “Mega phone Matt” 🙂

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Sonya Christian

 

That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

An Absolutely Uplifting Week at BC

Good morning Bakersfield.  It is Saturday, April 1, 2017 and just a fabulous day to be a Renegade.

This past week the campus has been abuzz with activities…..an absolutely uplifting week.

Here is an email with a picture that I got from Francis Mayer.

This is an image I grabbed last week while running errands on campus.  For me, it captures the essence of BC. The father (or father type) is standing beneath the shade of a beautiful tree adjacent to the LA building, and he’s smiling and his posture is relaxed..on second viewing, we see that his two munchkins are scrambling up the arms of this generous tree…and all is well.

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Is Mom attending classes? Is he enjoying a break with his children before attending classes? While both are lovely notions, in the end it doesn’t matter. BC is a place that is perfect for everyone.

Indeed it is Francis…..BC is a place that is perfect for everyone. #WeAreBC

Here is another great picture I snapped as I rushed out of the Office of Student Success and Equity,  Shauna Turner and her two boys.

Shauner Turner and her two boys March 2017

Let me start with yesterday, when Bakersfield celebrated the inaugural Cesar Chavez Day with a breakfast organized by David Villarino.

1st Annual Cesar Chavez Legacy Breakfast

It was a beautiful morning celebrating the life of an absolutely inspirational and life changing man. We remember Cesar as a great labor organizer. He gave voice to the voiceless; he became a face for the invisible, and an advocate for social justice. He was a servant for his community and a champion of education as a means leading toward a better life.  Cesar once said, “The end of all education should surely be service to others.” It was fitting that the morning recognized Chancellor emeritus of the Kern Community College District and Bakersfield College’s 7th president, Sandra Serrano.

Sandra Serrano reciving the award from David Villarino March 31 2017

Sandra Serrano receiving the award

With a powerful combination of a strong legal mind, a compassionate heart, and passion for education, there was no one better suited to influence our higher educational community than Sandra Serrano. Her educational leadership is a gift; her work for the community at the local, regional, state and national levels is emblematic of education in service to others.

At the state and national level, she has lived a life of service:

  •    As a member of the Finance and Operations Committee for the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
  •    On many boards and committees for the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities.
  •    As President of the oard for the Chief Executive Officers of California Community Colleges;
  •    As Chair of the Board for the Community College League of California;
  •    and as a member of the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office Consultation Council.

…  just to name a few.

At the regional level, she has served on:

  •    The Board of Directors for the Kern Economic Development Corporation and
  •    The Central Valley Higher Education Consortium and
  •    The California Council for the Humanities

… just to name a few.

Sandra has served this community over and over, in ways that are visible and in ways that have gone unrecognized. Her work has touched so many lives. Her life of service is part of the strength of our community. It would take more time than I have just speaking to all that she’s done for Bakersfield College – that she’s done for the Kern Community College District, and the thousands and thousands of lives that have been touched, whether they knew it or not, by her work.

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Sandra Serrano, Tom Burke, Sonya Christian

It was an honor to introduce this quiet, sincere, dedicated, fearless, and dynamic woman who has committed her life and her education in service to others.  Thank you David Villarino for putting together the first annual Cesar Chavez Legacy Breakfast, and thank you also for giving me the opportunity of introducing the first recipient of the Cesar Chavez Legacy award.

There were so many dignitaries in the room.  At the main table there was Supervisor Leticia Perez who is a great supporter of education in general and Bakersfield College in particular.  Then there was Assembly Member Rudy Salas who introduced the keynote speaker, Mayor Anthony Villaraigosa.  When it was my time to speak I shared the story of how Rudy Salas made BC feel so special when i went up to Sacramento to testify to the Senate Budget Committee.

 

It was a joy to see familiar faces at the event, including Chris Cruz, a BC student who works at St. Francis and dedicated his free time to supporting Measure J. It’s incredible to see our BC students contributing to their communities and giving back to the organizations important to them.

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Sonya Christian, Heidi Scott

I also had the opportunity to finally meet the “voice of an angel” Heidi Scott, the director of music and liturgy at the parish. I mentioned hearing Heidi sing in my blog a few weeks ago titled, “Every Day is Something to Celebrate” – Check it out here. She truly is gifted and talented and her voice can inspire and touch my soul.

We had a BC table… of course.

BC at Cesar Chavez Breakfast March 31 2017

Manuel Rosas, Chelsea Esquibias, Victor Diaz, Sonya Christian, Olivia Garcia, Lisa Kent,       Yvonne Almendaris, Maria Wright

Love this picture of Chelsea and Lisa….girls just wanna have fun…..

Chelsea Esquibias Lisa Kent March 31 2017

Chelsea Esquibias, Lisa Kent

The students from FIELD (Farm worker Institute for Education and Leadership Development) helped out with the event.  Lisa snapped this picture with Manuel and me with the Field Students in the background.

Field students March 31 2017

Inspiring post by Professor Bryan Hirayama

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Professor Hirayama with his Distinguished Teaching Award

Speaking of being inspired, Professor Bryan Hirayama wrote a powerful post in the blog detailing his experiences in Bakersfield College’s Inmate Education Program illustrating the depths of the prison industrial complex and how hard we’ll need to work to change the perceptions of incarcerated people in the United States. When people are released out of jail, they’re often told by correctional officers, “We’ll leave the light on for you.” It’s a cynical reference to an old marketing campaign that’s meant to imply that the person getting out of jail is almost certain to come back. Correctional officers know the realities of recidivism rates and the difficulties people on probation or parole face when they go back into society, and many have become numb to the fact that they’re part of an institution that houses more prisoners than any country in the world.

In Bryan’s blog, he describes how he was able to cut through this cynicism for a moment and create an opportunity for the staff to consider why saying “we’ll leave the light on for you” might be a cruel twist of the knife for those inmates who are genuinely striving to rehabilitate themselves.

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Talking about Inmate Education, Chelsea Esquibias partnered with the Opportunity Institute to host the first meeting to Serve Our Formerly Incarcerated Students.  The “Corrections to College California” forum was sponsored by Opportunity Institute/Renewing Communities and Stanford Law School/Stanford Criminal Justice Center. Community partners included Bakersfield College, CSU Bakersfield, Sheriff’s Office, Probation, Parole, Garden Pathways, MAOF.  Chelsea and BC students spoke on panels.

Mayor Karen Goh welcomed the numerous community partners and members of the justice system including CDCR, Lerdo Jail, and the Parole Dept.  Chelsea Esquibias of Bakersfield College, Dr. Jacqueline Mimms of CSUB, and Lisa Stephens of Cerro Coso presented on their school’s initiatives.  The meeting allowed the community to partner with the colleges to build student success for our formerly incarcerated students.  Thank you to the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office for attending and the continuous support.

Thank you Chancellor Tom Burke for attending the event.

Celebrating the life of Danell Ward

The BC community lost one of our own this month, Child Development Center Director, Danell Ward. Danell’s time with us was too short but her impact was meaningful and lasting. Those who knew her, understand how much she loved Tinkerbell, from Disney’s Peter Pan. There is a saying, “’All you need is faith, trust and a little pixel dust” which Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg mentioned during the memorial. She said it best through her heartfelt words, “Danell was generous with her faith in others and her trust that there was a better tomorrow was boundless. I am sure that whenever you need a little pixie dust, she has left some behind for you…….. So in her memory, have a little more faith in others than you think is necessary, always trust that tomorrow will be better, and remember that a little pixie dust is always available to you.”

My closest interaction with Danell was in Summer 2015, when the administrative team decided to add in a little fun into our summer planning retreats.  Check out my October 15, 2015 blog for more http://tinyurl.com/mv6ovgd

The entire admin council was divided into groups and Danell was in the group along with Ramon Puga, Liz Rozell, Odella Johnson and myself.  We were supposed to pick and song and lipsync in a competition.  Before any of us could volunteer a song, Danell enthusiastically presented that we should do I wanna be like you from Jungle Book.  And although none of us were thrilled with the selection, who could dare go up against the enthusiastic Danell.  So here you see us performing on the day of our competition.  Danell got sick the previous day and could not join us, so we asked Manny Mourtzanos to join us in her stead.  Enjoy seeing us making complete fools of ourselves in all earnestness and remember Danell and her pixie dust.

Annual International Faculty Appreciation Dinner

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The Annual International Faculty Appreciation Dinner took place on Wednesday and is about building bridges of friendship among international students and their invited faculty guests. The international students plan cultural shows and a formal dinner, as they acknowledge BC faculty who work so diligently every day to ensure that the engine of progress never stops moving.

This event is a joint effort by ISA
(International Student Affairs program ) and  the ISO( International Student Organization). Last night’s event brought together approximately 80 students and faculty for an evening of storytelling, cultural immersion, and  international food; prepared by our own Chef Eric Sabella. You’ll have to check out the photos with the delicious looking international cuisine. This year our international students come from 20 different countries. The largest number of students are from India, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, and Indonesia. More pictures are available here!

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Petro Stories at BC’s Levan Center

Thursday evening March 23rd in the Levan Center 20-25 students discussed the Oil Age, Symbolism of Oil. Guest speaker from UC Davis a young rising star in the growing field of ecocriticism, which examines the relationship between literature and the physical environment.

Petro StoriesKern County is one the most prolific oil-producing counties in the state of California. In fact, Kern County is the fourth largest oil-producing region in the entire country. Kern County produces 66% of the oil in California, about 10% of the U.S. oil supply, and approximately 1% of the world’s total oil production. That works out to about 560,000 barrels of oil per day, which at $12 to $15 per barrel is something similar to $2.4 billion to $3.0 billion worth of oil every year.

Petro culture studies Michael Ziser says Oil is everywhere. It’s in the clothes we wear, the cars we drive, the roads we drive on and the buildings we live in. Its production employs us and its sale sustains our booming economy. Our lives, our cities, our world are shaped by oil, from the arrangement of streets to the arrangement of geopolitics. According to Ziser, our culture’s investment in oil is not just material, but symbolic as well. If we can recognize the power of oil as a symbol, we just might be able to separate myth from reality, and make more sensible decisions about a sustainable future.

JoshOttum,VanessaEmmett

Commercial Music Professor Josh Ottum also spoke at the event. I recently ran into him with his wife Vanessa and son Emmet at the Haggin Oaks Farmers Market where one of my favorite things to pick up is the fresh, local produce. If you’ve never been, it’s a real treat and you never know who you’ll bump into! You might even catch me at my favorite stand with the sweetest, most delicious oranges.

Speaking of Josh, he recently shared with me a promotional video created by his students highlighting the Commercial Music Program at BC! Check it out at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZH1d7ODRQA

Renegade Athletics

Bakersfield College Athletics is a valuable extension of our college that takes folks who want to improve themselves and gives them the tools to do so!

Baseball: Last week, I told you that we’d talk about a baseball player who has made a name for himself this season, and he has done so by taking advantage of resources like BC’s Baseball Coach Tim Painton.

Luke Andrews pitched for Bakersfield College last season, but this season he has been a revelation! According to Coach Painton, he has bought into our program 100 percent, and the results have been phenomenal. He’s walked just eight batters in 64 innings pitched! I am not a baseball expert, but friends who follow baseball tell me this is excellent! Coach Painton says Andrews did this by working hard in the offseason and having faith in hard work! Now he is drawing attention from top scouts, so we know his experience at BC is going to take him places, whether that’s to a professional baseball career or a four year degree. Way to go, Luke!!

Cross Country: Speaking of going places, Cross Country runner Emily Freeman was recently entered into the California Community College Athletic Association’s prestigous Scholar Honor Roll at the CCCAA Spring Convention in Concord, CA.

Athletic Director Sandi Taylor and her indispensable partner, Associate Athletic Director Keith Ford, were both in attendance to honor Emily as she was recognized for her achievement in both athletics and academics.

Emily Freeman, you know what’s coming…You rock!!

Emily Freeman with Sandi Taylor and Keith Ford MArch 2017

BC Swimming hosted The Bakersfield College Relays last weekend, and while Clovis came out on top as a team, Coach Matt Moon was happy with the day for more reasons than wins and losses. Wasco High School’s team came and watched the Relays today, and they got to watch alumni like Steve Santana turn in great performances. Santana is the first college attendee in his family, and he will attend University of California, Santa Barbara in the fall to study Chemistry.

“My family immigrated to this country, so they don’t understand the gravity of me getting in a UC,” Santana told Sports Information Director Francis Mayer, “But swimming really showed me how hard I can work. I wasn’t the best student in high school, and I wasn’t the fastest swimmer. But coming to BC showed me just how hard I need to work, and how it’s possible for me to keep up if I try and apply myself. This was life-changing.”

Harlan Hunter

The BC Track and Field team also competed last weekend, and I know high jumper Jacob Bookout is having another great season. It’ll be exciting to see what he can do at the next level! It was great to see Harlan Hunter, faculty member in Criminal Justice, volunteering his time to help out with track and field.  I snapped this picture of Cesar Patino, sophomore from Wasco High School in the relay where BC placed third.

Cesar Patino March 2017

Cesar Patino

Making Transfer Opportunities a Reality

National University was on Campus Wednesday March 29th to connect with as many Bakersfield Students as possible. Rita Jones and Oscar Hernandez were just a couple of the NU staff available to meet and greet the BC students and help answer all of their questions. Some of the most popular programs asked about was the Bachelor of Science in Nursing-RN completion as well as the Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education. They are also the only local university to offer a Bachelor and Master’s degree in Communication. The members of NU were on location from 10 am to 2 pm where they also gave students a chance to spin and win fun NU gear and were also passing out hotdogs and drinks to all those who stopped by. In all, more than 250 BC students stopped to obtain information and speak to the helpful NU associates. As students make it to the end of their time at BC and are considering their options to move to the next step in their academic year, it is opportunities such as these that allow students to have a full array of information and options.

You might remember, BC recently hosted a HBCU Caravan Tour of Historically Black Colleges and Universities. I covered it in my recent blog entry here. This week, I was informed by Lisa Kent that 60!!!  total number of acceptances were provided at this years HBCU event and scholarships amounted to $657,480.00! These opportunities are fantastic for our students

High School Students going to College

I was so excited to see the news that KHSD and CSUB have created a University Promise that codifies and clarifies student pathways from high school to university.  Here is a photo of Superintended Bryon Schaefer, KHSD) and President Horace Mitchell, CSUB, with the beautiful Brenda Lewis.

KHSD CSUB University Promise March 2017

Taft College has Taft College Promise.  BC’s sister campus, Cerro Coso Community College will be announcing the Kern Promise in the Ridgecrest area on April 4th.  And to round off the College Promises being made in our County, BC working in partnership with BCSD, KHSD, and CSUB will be making an announcement on April 28th.  Exciting times!  and great collaboration among the different education sectors.

Check out Harold Pierce’s article in The Bakersfield Californian at http://tinyurl.com/l7lwl72

Project MALES

On Thursday evening, Dr. Emmet Campos and Dr. Victor Saenz, two researchers from the University of Texas at Austin discussed their Project MALES (Mentoring to Achieve Latino Educational Success, which is Texas’ boys & men of color) program at BC. Specifically, they highlighted how K-12, the community colleges, and Texas universities have been working together. They tailored their presentation around projects that our K-12 system, Bakersfield College, and the CSU system might work together on in the future.

Dr. Emmet Campos, Dean Rodriguez, Dr. Victor Saenz, Dr. Mark Martinez

Dr. Emmet Campos, Dean Rodriguez, Dr. Victor Saenz, Dr. Mark Martinez

The goal is to highlight how different education systems can create successful education pathways to graduation for boys and men of color. But it’s especially towards highlighting how Ed.D. / Ph.D. programs and institutes of higher education can do more than provide teachers, by also providing faculty mentors, assessment, and real time research of local education programs. You can check out UT Austin’s Mentoring to Achieve Latino Educational Success program online at http://diversity.utexas.edu/projectmales/

Project MALES March 30 2017.jpg

Dr. Victor Saenz, Dr. Mark Martinez, Dr. Sonya Christian, Mayor Jose Gurrola, Dr. Emmet Campos

It was great seeing so many friends of Bakersfield College.  Here is a picutre of attorney Win Eaton with Miguel Orozco a screenplay writer from Southern California

Win Eaton and Miguel Orozco

Win Eaton and Miguel Orozco

It was great seeing Jeff Flores and Camilla Chavez at the event.  And thank you Dr. Mark Martinez for your collaboration with BV.

Here is a photo of incredible program managers at BC who make things happen.

Lisa Kent, Shanell Tyus, Maria Wright

Lisa Kent, Shanell Tyus, Maria Wright

 

The Art of the Selfie

So many incredible speakers have made their way to BC this week, including Crystal Galindo who shared with a large group of students and faculty, “The Art of the Selfie”.  This exhibit highlighted the Chicana culture, in particular, selfies of the artist herself. In true form of celebrating Women’s Month, Crystal shared her ideas on the stereotypes that surround many women today and how her hope is that her art will show that beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors. As a Latina woman, she felt that it was important to showcase artwork that would reach a wider audience. As an art student at Sonoma State University, her art professors often were critical of her work telling her that she should, “make it less Mexican” so that she would appeal to a wider audience. Crystal knew passion and what started off as a tribute to herself later turned into a form of self-expression and celebration.

Crystal

Crystal Galindo, Photo by Amber Smithson

 

She hoped that her art would speak to those who are not typically portrayed in art and therefore after her show “The Art of the Selfie” her drive to connect with others pushed her to start painting others, those that maybe she had never met in person but had seen the beauty in them. Before she knew it, her artwork was being requested from all of the United States due to her marketing on social media. She soon moved to the bay area where her art shows have been on display and she has been welcomed with warm accolades for her work and portrayal of Latina’s. Regardless of the size jeans you where, the style of your hair, or the color of your skin, as women we must learn to appreciate every inch of ourselves. Take a selfie, strike a pose, but above all find your self-beauty and love yourself!

FiresideRoom

Photo by Amber Smithson

On Thursday, March 30th, I dropped by another presentation in our WHAM series– The Evolution of the Selfie: Deconstruction of the Female from 1400 to the Present”

Panel WHAM March 30 2017

Bakersfield College faculty Andrea Thorson & Erin Miller joined Taft College’s Jessica Grimes, faculty of English, & Faheemah Salahud-Din, Executive Director of First and Always Melanin (FAAM), to address the historical & social constructions of femininity, as well as the power these stereotypes continue to exert through language, self-presentation, & individual interpretation.  Tina Mendoza moderated the event.

It was a treat to see the roomful of students and community members to hear from these powerful women speakers.

Here are photos from Olivia Garcia’s Facebook post

Fireside room packed March 30 2017

Group at WHAM event March 30 2017

Juan Felipe Herrera at The Levan Center

Writing about poetry can be one of the most demanding tasks that many students face in a literature class. Poetry by its very nature requires dedication and makes demands on writers who attempt to analyze it, in ways that other forms of literature do not. So it was no surprise on Wednesday March 29th that over a hundred students and faculty attended an evening to remember inside of the Indoor Theater.

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Juan Felipe Herrera. Photo: Lovie Johnson

American poet, author, and activist, Juan Felipe Herrera became the poet laureate of the United States in 2015. He was the first Hispanic to serve in that position and is best known for his autobiographical poems on immigration, Chicano (Mexican American) identity, and life in California. Herrera is also a performance artist and activist on behalf of migrant and indigenous communities and at-risk youth. Herrera spent his early years living in tents and trailers in farm communities around Southern California. He shares his life’s information eagerly, and wants his audience to relate to his struggle in life. Encouraging young poets to write poems on anything, even PG&E bills. He shows the audience a son of a migrant farmworkers whose writing fuses wide-ranging experimentalism with reflections on Mexican-American identity through poetry. Herrera, who recently retired as a professor at the University of California, Riverside, mentioned he would use his new position to encourage young poets, and non-poets, to find their voices.

I loved this Facebook post from Olivia Garcia

Juan Felipe Herrera and Olivia Garcia March 29 2017

What a priceless moment it was for me to see my former Chicano literature/poetry professor Juan Felipe Herrera deliver a powerful presentation this evening at Bakersfield College. I even got a chance to introduce my students to him. Here was a Central Valley boy who became the U.S. poet laureate. Like his wife Margarita said, he’s still influencing and inspiring minds, young and old. Thank you, Juan Felipe.

Community Town Hall

BC students, their families, and members of the neighboring Bakersfield community were invited to the Levan Center on Thursday, March 30th to engage in a town hall on issues of immigration law. The event was hosted by the Immigration Justice Collaborative (IJC) in collaboration with CSUB and Bakersfield College. The IJC is a network of twelve lawyers who volunteer their time to host these town halls in various locations in Kern County, to educate our community on their constitutional rights in the United States. Panel discussions were presented in both English and Spanish, and were followed by the opportunity for attendees to engage in one-on-one discussions with local lawyers. The event was organized by Dr. Mark Martinez, Department Chair of Political Science at CSUB, Jay Tamsi President/CEO of the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Lisa Kent, Program Manager for Equity and Shanell Tyus, Program Manager for Student Support and Success Program.

Many of the attorney’s you see on this program are on the advisory committee for BC’s Pre-Law program.  Thank you!

Immigration Forum (1)

The Renegade Room, Fine Dining at the Campus on the Hill.

I’m constantly impressed by the level of elegance at BC’s Renegade Room, our public restaurant operated by the students enrolled in the Culinary Arts program. This past Wednesday, an exquisite lamb burger was on the menu and I can tell you now… it was juicy and tender, absolutely incredible.

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The goal for the Renegade Room is to have students learn professionalism and service industry standards in a fast-paced, realistic environment. The program entails classes in Nutrition, Cost Control, Supervision, Management, Baking, Food Production, Dining Room Services and Sanitation. Master Chef Suzanne Durst, Chef Alex Gomez, and Chef Anna Melby have over  fifty-years’ experience and  everyone is still  anxious, even the staff when it’s time to open up for the day. The Renegade Room is not even simply room at all, but an affordable upscale restaurant. It’s a great way to enjoy a fine dining experience and one of the best reasons to visit the campus on the hill.

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Next time you want to have a night out on the town, start with dinner reservations at The Renegade Room on Tuesdays or Thursdays… or plan your next business lunch for Wednesday afternoon. You won’t be disappointed, and the students appreciate your support.

Let Freedom Sing

Let Freedom ring….Let Freedom Sing! Last Friday, the Bakersfield College Choir and Chamber singers did just that, conducted by Dr. Jennifer Garrett and accompanied by Patrick Bender, performing a remarkable tribute to the various aspects of freedom.

 

The first half of the concert was dedicated to all those who helped each and every one of attain and maintain the freedoms we hold true today. The Choir and Chamber Singers came together in perfect harmony to sing the National Anthem, after which Dr. Garrett took a moment with the audience to show appreciation for all the Veterans in attendance. As each of the Veterans stood, scattered throughout the seats of the indoor theater, the audience erupted in applause of great gratitude. It’s moments like these that give me chills. I’m proud that #weareBC!

Guest artists accompanied the BC Choir and Chamber singers throughout the night such as, Audrey Boyle on flute, Marla Hansen on violin, and Kris Tiner playing the trumpet.

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Here is a solo piece by Ken Burdick that I posted last week but felt I should repeat.

The second half of the performance was a beautifully commissioned piece written for the BC Choir by Dr. Ron Kean entitled “The Journey of Harriet Tubman”.  This multipart multimedia piece written by Dr. Kean in collaboration with his daughter Hannah was magnificent.  Dr. Garrett and her students also contributed to its creation.  Here is an excerpt with Caley Mayhall that I posted last week and here it is again.

The Bakersfield College Choir has an immense amount of talent and they are in the process of making arrangements to travel to Sydney Australia in June 2018 where they hope to have the great privilege of performing at the famous Sydney Opera House.  So I have two asks of you community members: (1) plz help fund this trip for our students and (2) mark your calendars to take you summer 2018 vacation in Australia and let’s pack the Sydney Opera House with the Bakersfield Community supporting its college.

 

Tonight, they will host a fundraising dinner with choral entertainment themed around Spaghetti Dinner and Broadway. If you have other plans for tonight, change them 🙂  Stop by the BC Cafeteria. The show begins at 5:30 and limited tickets are still available. $15 per person at the door.

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 Levan Faculty Colloquium:

I stopped by the indoor theater on Friday, March 31st,  packing in as many events as I could to support our faculty, staff and students at BC.  Dr. Ron Kean, this year’s recipient of the award, discussed his composition process in three recent commissions including a live performance of the Bakersfield College choirs singing, “Follow the River/The Journey of Harriet Tubman.” This is a five-movement work that incorporates eight African American spirituals in a West African musical framework. “The White Birds,” by W. B. Yeats, is composed in a traditional Irish musical style. “The Rose That Bare Jesu” is a setting of a 14th century English poem using antique style features. These techniques will be discussed and demonstrated in a presentation that is dedicated to the artist in all of us.

Ron opened with the songs Wade in the Water and Sometimes I feel like a Motherless Child.  Check out this excerpt.  Just beautiful.  So happy for so much talent at BC….so much dedication….. I am the luckiest and happiest college president event.

Math Articulation Day

Math articulation day March 31 2017

Math Articulation Day was celebrated yesterday as a way to build strong relationships across the independent institutions that serve our communities students. BC math faculty, as well as faculty from local high schools, CSUB, Taft College, Cerro Coso and Porterville Colleges, and math specialists from BCSD gathered to exchange ideas, update each other on curriculum changes and discuss strategies to increase student success. Workshops throughout the day included, dual enrollment, acceleration and compressed courses, “laugh with math” programs, planetarium shows, and using the robotics lab and 3-D printers. Free t-shirts were given to all attendees.

Thank you to Regina Hukill and the entire Math Department for all your work in hosting this great day.

Was so happy to see all of Mary Jo Pasek’s post on Facebook about our Math Articulation Day.  Thank you Mary Jo for all that you do.

Here is a copy of the email Regina sent out after the event:

Hello All—

Math Articulation Day was a lot of fun!  We had around 60 people attend including math instructors from BC, Porterville, Cerro Coso, Berkeley (yes, Eddie Ham was here in the flesh!), UC Davis, CSUB, and KHSD.  We had about a dozen BC students who participated as well.

We appreciate the College Futures Grant which funded the event and paid for the food and t-shirts.  Claudia Sandoval, the representative for the College Futures Grant was also briefly in attendance.  The BC staff for Dual Enrollment helped in getting all the purchases completed through the grant, so we want to thank Cindy Collier, Marissa Jeffers, and Anna Laven.

Many thanks to all of you who worked on this event:  Math Faculty–Tom Greenwood, Kurt Klopstein, Kris Toler, Mike Fredenberg, Alba Romero, Jon Brown, and Donna Starr.  Other BC Faculty—Erica Menchaca, and Nick Strobel.   CSUB Faculty—Charles Lam.  KHSD Math Specialist—Kyle Atkin.  BC Students—Freddy Padilla, Isabelle Recinos, Kevin Starr, Tyler Starr, Devin Serna, Patrick Chao, Allyson Milburn, and Emily Davis.

We also want to thank our dean, Steve, who supported us in putting on this event, and his staff Janet Thomas and Heather Barajas.

And, a special thank you to Josh Lewis who worked diligently to set up the speakers, write the agenda, help with the planning, and who was the MC for the day.

We do have some t-shirts left, so if anyone who couldn’t attend Math Articulation Day wants a t-shirt, please come see me, or send me your shirt size and I’ll put one in your mail box.

Great Day!  Great Fun!

Regina Hukill

Some posts from twitter:

Kimberly Bligh tweet math articulation day Nick Strobel March 31 2017

Kimberly Bligh tweet Erica Menchaca

Kimberly Bligh Kris Toler Math Articulation Day

BC’s incredible Automotive Program:

BC’s automotive program is very much integrated with our business and industry partners in the community.  Here is a Facebook post from faculty member Andrew Haney

Starting in August I ventured into the process of writing a grant. I had no idea what I was doing but had some great help from faculty member that did. They guided and directed me with great experience. Today I was able to finalize all the purchases that the grant awarded to us. I ordered four (4) new factory level software subscriptions to use on the factory scan tools and one new factory scan tool for Chrysler.

I went to Three Way Chevrolet and signed the purchase agreement for the Brand new 2017 Chevrolet Bolt and will have it on Monday on campus, it will be used in training new technologies to student and for program promotion and business when needing to get around town. I then confirmed the order is placed and will be shipping soon for a brand new Generation 3 smog machine which if we did not get Bakersfield College would have lost our Smog and Emissions training certification program from the state. All said and done it totaled just over 80,000.

Thank you Sarah Futrell Baron Liz Morris Rozell Sonya Christian Nan Gomez Heitzeberg and everyone else who was involved in this for helping and guiding me through the process. WE ARE BC, and the automotive program is going to be so much stronger going forward with all the work that has been done by all the faculty that works in this program area.

 

Friday, March 31st at BC:

I started the day with the inaugural Cesar Chavez Celebration and then popped in to see our faculty and staff working away on BC’s accreditation self evaluation work.  And then attended part of Ron Kean’s presentation and finally the Math Articulation Day.  Here are some photos and Facebook posts.

BC’s accreditation Laboratory, Friday, March 31st:

Group at Accreditation Lab March 31 2017

Michele Pena, Sue Vaughn, Debi Rosenthal, Jennifer Johnson, Maria Wright

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Todd Coston presenting at the Accreditation Lab

Qiu Jimenez and Talita Pruitt Accreditation Lab March 31 2017

Qiu Jimenez, Talita Pruitt

 

 

 

I’d like to end with one more quote from the Cesar Chavez.

Once social change begins, it cannot be reversed. You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read. You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride. You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore.” – Cesar Chavez,  Address to the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, Nov. 9, 1984

Thank you BC for an absolutely uplifting week!

Sonya Christian cropped March 17 2017

 

That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Inspiration All Around Us!

Good morning Bakersfield, it is Saturday, March 4th and a fabulous day to be a Renegade.

Had a crazy long week and am so happy to be back in my own bed at home, sipping coffee, hearing the “hoo-h’HOO-hoo-hoo” of the barn owl in the back yard.

Sunday through Thursday I was chairing an accreditation team – actually, both the district team and the team for one of the colleges within the district.  Lesley Bonds was also on the team.

The Accreditation Process in the United States is truly remarkable.  It is a peer review process of assurance of institutional quality and integrity.  Larry Braskamp wrote about the peer evaluation process in his essay, on Being Responsive and Responsible in the CHEA publication.

“Faculty have had a remarkable history of being able to run their own affairs, i.e., the academic community itself has determined the standards held for the faculty and has judged the quality of their work. Accreditation is one manifestation of this position, since it serves as a mechanism for peers, mostly within the academy, to judge the worth, value and merit of academe. Despite this, the work of the faculty (academics) has never been totally isolated from the larger society. Being accountable-responsive and responsible-has always been embedded in the social contract between society and higher education.”

Site visits are an incredible experience.

Driving Back to BC!

 

After the site visit Lesley and I were driving back to Bakersfield when a truck in front of us dropped several large sheets of thick glass on the road.

The first picture is Lesley holding a piece of glass that was stuck in the groove between the windshield and the hood of the car.  The second picture is Lesley checking  out the tire pressure.  The third picture is with Florenzio who was definitely a talker and very charming.

Florenzio, our mechanic was from Beliz. When he learned we were heading back to Bakersfield, he was excited that we might know something about the dairy industry. He shared with us a cultural tradition: El pajarete. As I understand, el pajarete is an early morning drink made from fresh cow or goat milk, tequila, a bit of powdered chocolate, and sometimes instant coffee.

College Council and leadership Academy:

Friday morning I spent at College Council and was so happy to be back on campus and see the faces of the folks I work with.  We have several substantive items on the agenda and each with ha task group with substantive, collaborative, and rigorous presentations.  Have I told you recently that I am the luckiest and happiest college president ever?

One if the items presented and discussed was SB 769 which is the follow up to SB 850 the legislation that was passed in 2015 to allow 15 community colleges to offer a baccalaureate program.  SB 769 will expand SB 850 to include more colleges or have the same college offer more degrees.  Bakersfield College had several candidates on the list last time when we finally decided to pick Industrial Automation.

Right after College Council I hopped in the car and headed out to Delano where Rich McCrow was hosting the Leadership Academy of the Kern Community College District.  This year’s cohort of the Leadership Academy is just a very engaged and action oriented group.

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When I walked in Chelsea Esquibias was presenting on the Inmate Education program.  Did you know that BC has the largest Inmate Education Program in the country?  I did not. Now with the passage of Proposition 57 it is even more critical that we develop the skills essential to find a job for those who are transitioning out of incarceration.  Prop 57 was on the November 8, 2016 ballot that supports increasing parole and good behavior opportunities for individuals convicted of nonviolent crimes.

Rich McCrow is the lead administrator for BC responsible for this program and he has done an outstanding job developing an effective program in collaboration with faculty and staff. Bryan was the pioneer at BC to teach at Kern Valley Prison.  He started a reflections on prison education blog that you must check out
https://reflectionsonprisoneducation.blogspot.com/

Here is a post from his January 22, 2017 blog signed as Professor H

The semester is off and running. I meet my last group of new students tomorrow and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t eager to get back to work. Two of the yards I am teaching in this semester are new and one I taught in last year at this time. Seems to me that I am going to encounter the usual suspects every semester. Regardless of whether or not they have taken a class from me in the past or not, the similarities between them are obvious. These bright, dedicated, and knowledge-seeking students want more than the government issue. Students are walking in with the nostalgia every professor hopes and dreams of with a new crop. Eyes wide open, pencils freshly sharpened, and whatever paper they could scrap together, the feeling in the area is something good is on the horizon. I feel so honored to be a part of this work and witness the changing of the tide. Here is to another great semester inside. I will keep you posted as we move along.

After Chelsea we heard from Trustee Romeo Agbalog and Trustee Bill Thomas.  It is a real treat having our trustees engage with activities on our campuses.

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Trustee Romeo Agbalog, Trustee Bill Thomas

Both trustees had their beginnings at a community college. Trustee Agbalog at the Delano Campus of Bakersfield College and Trustee Thomas at Santa Ana College. Trustee Agbalog talked about the intentionality and leadership of individuals in Delano that resulted in an Elementary School, a high school, and a college all being located on the same street– Heitt Street.  Only place you can go from Kinder to college.  He inspired the group by telling them leadership was not about a position or title, but the engagement and the actions of the work.  Trustee Thomas shared the history of the Kern Community College District and engaged in Q&A about the financing.  The two trustees were well received by the Leadership Academy cohort.

After a great lunch, we heard from a panel that talked about our partnership with Delano and what is working and what not so well.  Some of them were operational issues and some policy.  Since there were many of us listening to the issues (John Means, Vice Chancellor of Ed Services, Trustee Bill Thomas, Trustee Romeo Agbalog, Director Rich McCrow and myself), I think we will get these issues resolved!

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Paul Chavez, Martin Lonza, Marleni Florez, Vanessa Renteria, Elma Barraza

Here are the panelists:

Paul Chavez, Director CTE & Dual Enrollment, Delano Joint Union High School
Martin Lonza, Principal, Wasco Independence High Schools

Marleni Florez, Asst. Director, Wasco Adult Ed Programs

Vanessa Renteria, Assistant Principal, McFarland High School

Elma Barraza, Assistant Director, Operations, Fresno Pacific University(Bakersfield)

Rich McCrow and the Delano gang did an outstanding job hosting the Leadership Academy.  Victor Diaz brought me to tears with a fabulous introduction.  And I loved that Victor and Tarina distributed the link to my blog.  Thank you!  I got to meet Matt Wanta, Director of Nusring, from Cerro Coso and Elmer Aguilar, Program Manager of the SSSP/Equity.  Both incredibly motivated and committed to student success.  Also enjoyed getting to know Deanna Campbell, Director of the Mammoth and Bishop centers of Cerro Coso Community College.  Just an incredibly smart and engaged individual.  Deanna invited us to have a retreat up at Bishop or Mammoth and I’m taking her up on it – the Exec Team of BC will be doing out summer retreat up there.  Thank you Deanna.

Here is the list of participants in this year’s Leadership Academy:

Chris Dison, Christine Morales, Gustavo Enriquez, Raquel Lopez, Reese Weltman, Tarina Perry, Tracy Lovelace, Victor Diaz, Zenaida Tutop, Matthew Wanta, Rebecca Rock, Elmer Aguilar, Patricia Serrato, Cathi Jacob

 

BC Kicks off Women’s History Month:

Erin Miller and WHAM (Women’s History And More) got the show on the road with a great presentation on March 2nd at the Levan Center on slavery, race, sexuality and stories to go along with the topic of African American enslaved women crossing the Middle Passage. Jennifer L. Morgan, a professor of Social and Cultural Analysis from New York University visited with the intention of discussing what it meant to be one of the women on the ships.  Professor Morgan is the author of the book, Laboring Women: Gender and Reproduction in New World Slavery, published in 2004 and she wanted to pursue the topic of enslaved women because of family ties, African American history, and share these stories. She stated that her speech was intended to, ” show how they were treated, how from scraps of archives and evidence we learn that women suffered the horrors of the middle passage, and struggled with the knowledge of how to express it.” The Middle Passage refers to travel from Africa to the Americas in the 1600-1800’s and includes the Caribbean, and Latin America. Professor Morgan mentioned in her speech that enslaved women were mistreated by serving as “bedfellows for Englishman on board, thrown overboard to serve as examples for others on board, and even had to give birth while in the depths of the ship.”.  Here is a “copy and paste” from Olivia Garcia’s Facebook page:

In the words of BC history professor Oliver Rosales, “it was a great evening for history at BC.” Students, faculty and staff were treated to a thoughtful dialogue on “Women in the Middle Passage: Gender, Slavery, and the Problem of Writing History,” presented by Dr. Jennifer Morgan, a historian who teaches at New York University. The Levan Institute was jam-packed. Special thanks to WHAM organizers, history professors Erin Miller and Tina Mendoza, and Jack Hernandez of the Levan Institute. #bc #history

 

Thank you to Cara Jackson for the photos!  And Olivia Garcia, I got some of the photos from your Facebook post.

Fernanda Martinez our student reporter from the Renegade Rip did a great coverage on the lineup for WHAM.  Check it out

http://www.therip.com/features/2017/03/01/bc-prepares-lineup-for-womens-history-month/

So proud of our Renegade Rip and our student journalists!

National Engineers Week

In celebration of National Engineers Week, the Bakersfield College Engineering and Industrial Technology Department partnered with the local chapter of the American Society of Petroleum Engineers to host an Engineering Day for approximately 500 high school students from across Kern County last weekend.

These students had the opportunity to get a glimpse into college life, find out about various STEM majors, learn about career possibilities for each major, and query BC faculty. This year, the BC Baccalaureate Industrial Automation students provided demonstrations of two interactive class projects. Additionally, community organizations such as Chevron, Summit ESP, AERA, California Resources Corporation, American Society of Civil Engineers, American Society of Safety Engineers, Taft College, and the Society of Petroleum Engineers provided high school students with information about careers in engineering throughout Kern County.

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Thank you to all the faculty and student presenters who supported the event, as well as the fabulous planning staff – Yadira Guerrero, Mary Jo Pasek, Steve Watkin, Ashlea Ward, Martin Perez (BC) AND Allison Escovedo (EB Resources) and Pam Willis (Aera Energy).

Financial Aid Awareness Week

Visitors, guests, and even some students walk through Bakersfield College campus each and every day and give little heed to the large building located in the center of campus that has the ability to change lives. Just past the large glass doors, is an area full with information. It can be overwhelming to say the least. However, it’s there that students are fortunate enough to take part in one of the many workshops that BC’s Financial Aid offers to all BC students.

This week, February 27th – March 3rd, 2017 is dedicated to Financial Aid awareness. And it’s during this week that the campus especially goes all out to help all of BC students get the most out of their budgets. For example, on Tuesday February 28th, a “Cash Course Management” workshop took place where the Financial Aid team shared tips about when to start the FAFSA process and even had a time set aside where they were able to walk the students through those steps and give them help on their paperwork. They discussed the various types of grants, scholarships, and loans that are available to the college student today and how each one of them has their own pro’s and con’s, or special requirements.

The underlying theme of the week was that each one of us has the power to have financial stability in life. It’s ok to ask questions, in fact it’s the best thing you can do. Students on campus every day are encouraged to ask, explore, debate, and question. It is not only important to have that sense of determination with your studies but to have them with your finances as well. If there is something that you are not familiar with, look it up, seek out the information you need.

Take advantage of their knowledge at the Financial Aid office and allow them to help you help yourself! The struggles are real with finances, the cost of classes, books, supplies, and even how much to spend on food – why not make a budget so that instead of worrying about money matters, you can focus on academic matters.

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Track

It’s a great time for BC Track! The first conference meet held was in Ventura on Feb. 24th, and had three double winners for the Renegades. Coach Kelley and her staff have done a great job preparing our track teams despite the cold rainy weather, weather that even forced the cancellation of a track meet in southern California.

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In just the third meet of the year, two freshman and a sophomore led the Renegades to a second place finish for the men and a third place finish for the women.

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Cesar Patino

Freshman Cesar Patino won the 1500 meters in 4:03.02 which is on pace with state championship times. He also won the 800 meters (1:59.35) and was second in the 3,000 meters (9:06.51).

Sophomore Jacob Bookout won the high jump at 6’5”, triple jump at 42’7” and was second in the long jump at 21’ 7”.

Freshman Jasmine Green won the 100 meters (12.79), 200 meters(26.72) and ran on the winning 4×100 relay team (50.57). Green also placed 2nd in the long jump 16’ 3”.

Check out more at http://tinyurl.com/htrojap

More on athletics

After playing what is likely the toughest pre-season schedule, Coach Painton‘s baseball team is 2-0 in conference play. They play  are at home tonight at 6:00pm against West Los Angeles College. Offensive leaders include Harry Tyler with a .310 batting average and Tyson Brewer with 5 extra base hits and 10 runs batted in.

Coach Hill‘s Softball team (8-6 overall, 4-1 WSC) put up 50 runs and 50 hits as they beat Santa Monica 25-5 and 25-1 in WSC action Tuesday at Santa Monica.

Alexis Solis led the Renegades with a total of 3 homeruns and 16 RBI for the day!

Jefferson Elementary Classes Visit BC!

img_0229Tuesday was an exciting afternoon for the 4th and 5th graders visiting campus from Jefferson Elementary. Two classes of 4th graders and one class of 5th graders traveled through the halls of the various campus buildings to catch a glimpse of what college really looks like. I’m told they were so enthusiastic and even waved at students in their classrooms saying, “Hello smart people!” In addition to the campus tour, the children were treated to a special showing by Nick Strobel at BC’s Planetarium.

Judy Dudley, a tutor at Jefferson Elementary sent over a packet of thank you cards, drawings, and notes for Dr. Strobel. They are just too cute – I have to share a few.

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Jennifer Garrett Visiting Liberty

I often say I’m the luckiest college president in the world. It’s true! It’s true for many reasons, but one is I get to work with the most incredible staff and faculty in the world. Jennifer Garrett, BC’s Choral Director often visits various High Schools to share all the upcoming and exciting things happening in our music programs. I know she is an inspiration to our future Renegades!

BC at Condors Game

Last Friday night, the Bakersfield Condors graciously invited the BC family to their home game at Rabobank against the Ontario Reign.  What an exciting game!  If you missed it, the Condors made an incredible comeback to win in the third period.  The energy at the games is always fun and contagious!  We are so grateful for a strong partnership with the Condors and love everything they do for our great town during games and in the community.  Thank you Matt Riley for being a friend of Bakersfield College.  And thank you Mary Jo Pasek for making this happen.

Flying Saucer cookies from BC!

On Facebook, there is a group called “Kern County of Old,” where in last July someone posted about these great cookies they used to have at Bakersfield College.  The story goes that Valentina Valena (1909-2002) came up with this recipe while working in the BC cafeteria.  Valena had worked at one of the first directors of the BC kitchen while the college was meeting at Kern County Union High School (now known as “Bakersfield High School”).  By the time Valena retired after 40 years with KHSD and BC, she had made a simple oatmeal cookie that people remember to this day.  What an amazing little bit of BC history!

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Here is the post on Facebook, but make sure to see some of the comments where people have posted tips and updated versions of the recipe.

 

Thank you Fred Misono from the Bakersfield West Rotary Club for sending me the link to the Facebook post.

Check out my June 4, 2016 post where I met Fred Misono for the first time when we presented Measure J to the Rotary Club.  He made the visit so much fun.  Click on the link and enjoy Fred Misono!

https://sonyachristianblog.com/2016/06/04/a-community-together/

 

Susan Wiggins

It’s wonderful to hear stories about BC and our alumni. It seems like every person is connected to our campus in one way or another. If you’re not an alumnus/a yourself, a family member, friend, or their family has a connection to the Renegades and it’s wonderful to see how alive “The Renegade pride” is in our community.

Have you seen Robert Price’s article about Susan Wiggins? What an amazing article about an even more amazing woman. We have incredible people in our community – people who are dedicated, fearless, kind, and able to accomplish anything. Check out the article about Susan here: http://tinyurl.com/zey6dnc

Both photos are file photos from The Bakersfield Californian website.

Susan, you’re an inspiration! And I just can’t wait to see what our current Renegade students will accomplish in their futures too.  And thank you Bob Price for this great article.

Summer Bridge 2017

I can’t wait for our third year of Summer Bridge to roll out.  This program has become a key student success strategy for Bakersfield College – to have an on-boarding process for our incoming students through a one-day orientation.  Summer Bridge in most colleges and universities is conducted by Student Affairs with some level of engagement from instructional faculty in various disciplines.  What makes BC’s summer bridge different from others is that faculty in various disciplines are core to the architecture of the program.

Kimberly Bligh has started the orientations with the faculty for Summer 2017 as they gear up to welcome our new students.  Here are some cool photos.

 

Got this message from Kimberly Bligh:

“Gathering faculty leads…  training , team building, organizing, getting them to own their role as mentors of mentors… love my job!”

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summer-bridge-2017

william-velasquez-and-sonya-christian-march-4-2017As I was rushing from College Council to get in the car and drive to Delano, William Velasquez, one of our new IT people stopped me just to introduce himself and say how much he loved working at BC.  wow…. i loved it.  So, I had to do a selfie with him

 

Talented, smart, focused, dedicated, and fun faculty and staff at Bakersfield College.  Thank you for having me as your president!

sonya-warmly-dressed-for-a-walk-dec-26-2016

 

That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever