Tag Archives: Mike Giacomini

Let’s keep our community healthy! Wear masks. Do physical distancing. Regularly wash our hands.

BC Family – Let’s be role models for our students and community.
Wear masks. Do physical distancing. Regularly wash our hands.
These are tough times that call for tough measures.

Path to Zero Dashboard: In early July, I started using the Path to Zero dashboard from the Harvard Global Health Institute that tracks the county-by-county risk level by number of daily new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 in the last seven days. When I checked the numbers today, I was disheartened to see that Kern County is the highest in this index at 83.3 cases per 100,000.  This is more than three times higher than the state’s average of 23.8 cases per 100,000.

The Harvard Global Health Institute uses a color-coded system to indicate risk level. Green is 0.0 cases per 100,000; yellow is between 0.1 and 10 per 100,000; orange is 10.1 to 25 per 100,000; and red is anything higher than 25 cases per 100,000.

Kern County is over three times the limit for a RED designation!

The graphic below gives a color-coded picture of California’s COVID-19 threat level on a county-by-county basis.

The following table demonstrates the rates of daily new cases per 100,000 for each county in the “red” category. Kern County tops the list and has 15 more daily new cases per 100,000 than the next highest county on the list.

CountyDaily New Cases Per 100K
Kern83.3
Colusa68.3
Kings48.9
Imperial48.0
Madera43.1
Tulare42.8
Stanislaus42.1
Merced41.7
San Joaquin40.2
Mono38.6
Fresno37.6
San Bernardino30.9
Glenn29.7
Los Angeles27.6
Riverside26.8
Santa Barbara25.9

The Exec Team at BC is asking that we all take this seriously….spread the word on safe and healthy practices during this pandemic. Plz share this video with colleagues, friends, and family members.

Good morning Bakersfield
It is Saturday, June 25, 2020…A great day to be a Renegade

Yesterday, I received these photos of the progress on the construction at our BC Southwest site. As you can see, the campus is coming along nicely!

BC expands Early College program with KHSD

Kern High School District and Bakersfield College have partnered to expand BC’s Early College program by offering four new pathways for KHSD students.

KHSD students can now work toward earning a college degree in Industrial Automation, Public Health, Administration of Justice, or Psychology, as they simultaneously complete their high school coursework.

You can read Ema Sasic’s article about this partnership here.

Since we are talking Early College let me drop a few of the video that from the Early College celebration in June.

Remarks from KCCD Trustee Romeo Agbalog:

Remarks from Abel Guzman, Executive Director of our Delano Campus and Rural Initiatives:

And the second of four videos recognizing our graduates. This one is from Wonderful Company Prep Academy:

Bakersfield College Launches Contact Tracing Course to Train “Coronavirus Detectives”

Bakersfield College announced the launch of a week-long infectious disease Contact Tracing Course running from July 27, 2020 to July 31, 2020.  As the need for more contact tracers ramps up, This one-week course will allow individuals to gain the skills needed to provide contract tracing for employers and the community.  

You can find out more on the Bakersfield College website.

Fire Department conducts training at BC

This week, Bakersfield Fire Captain Chris Campbell  and several fire fighters from Station #8, conducted Rescue Systems training at the Bakersfield College P7 parking lot.

According to Captain Campbell, the training is designed to teach firefighters the proper techniques for rescuing victims from areas of steep terrain, such as the Panorama bluffs. Participants in the training included a number of probationary “rookie” fighters.

Executive Director of College Safety Shelly Castaneda and Chris Glaser were on hand to greet Captain Campbell and his crew, and observe some of the training. This is just one of the examples of the cooperative working relationships that Bakersfield College maintains with our community partners.

Shelly Castaneda takes photos of the training session

Commencement 2020

Here are a few more videos from our 2020 Commencement broadcast event from July 11.

Remarks from KCCD Chancellor Tom Burke:

Remarks from BCSGA President Samantha Pulido:

Graduate Recognition, Part II:

You can find more videos and photos on our 2020 Commencement website.

3 Community Voices pieces in The Bakersfield Californian

I wanted to share a piece from Jack Hernandez published this week in the Bakersfield Californian.

“Most of all, let us treasure our families and friends. Talk more with them, and as the pandemic eases, spend more time laughing and listening to their deepest voices. Sharing our stories, fears and hopes, weeping and laughing. Sharing our souls.”

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And then today, here is a piece by Nick Strobel about how we consume information via social media which could be one of the causes for the polarization that is deepening in our society. Strobel brings in Harari’s framewok of large scale cooperation among Homo sapiens as a standout feature that contributes to the power of the species.

Instead of creating a more connected world, social media has enabled us to gerrymander our social interactions so effectively that unfamiliar experiences and ideas that would challenge our beliefs or intuitions are excluded from our lives. The different sides of an issue rightly claim that people on the other side are living in an echo chamber, acting like “sheep,” but they don’t acknowledge that they themselves behave in the same way. With all the choices we have now, we can construct whatever reality that suits our tastes and technology has enabled us to build electronic communities of individuals from anywhere on the planet and exclude all others.

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Also this week, Vladimir Romilus, one of our international students, wrote a piece for the Bakersfield Californian about the importance of international students to our campus community.

Vladimir, who is from Haiti, is studying architecture and architectural drafting.

“International students are important because the knowledge and perspective we bring will shape the future of America. This country is a place where people from around the world come together to build new things, and international students bring a motivated, entrepreneurial spirit that strengthens the American economy.”

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CSSO statement on international students

Less than 24 hours before ICE rescinded the F1 Visa decision, the Chief Student Services Officers Association of the California Community Colleges (CSSO) released a statement in support of international students and the F1 visa program.

Dr. Zav Dadabhoy

“[International students] contribute to America’s scientific and technical research and bring international perspectives into US classrooms. We must be more resolved than ever to open our doors wider and embrace the global knowledge our international student community has to offer.”

CSSO represents all student services professionals in California’s 113 community colleges, and their current President is BC’s own Dr. Zav Dadabhoy.

Comet Neowise makes closest pass to Earth

You may have been lucky enough to spot the Comet Neowise in the Bakersfield sky recently. It made its closest pass to earth on July 23.

“Comet NEOWISE is now moving to high above the orbit planes of the planets, getting closest to Earth on July 23 at a distance of about 64 million miles. When the comet was coming into the inner solar system, the elliptical orbit was shaped to have a period of about 4,500 years (so this is a once-in-a-civilization visit).”

You can read more on the Bakersfield Californian’s website, and you can read an archive of all Nick’s Bakersfield Night Sky articles on the Bakersfield College website.

Corny & Sandi Retirement Celebration

Last week, I shared two videos of testimonials from colleagues of Corny Rodriguez and Sandi Taylor, as part of heir retirement celebration.

This week, I am sharing Part 2 of their testimonials.

Corny Rodriguez:

Sandi Taylor:

Portraits in Their Own Words: National Endowment for the Arts Grants BC $10,000

The National Endowment for the Arts has granted Bakersfield College an award of $10,000 for its project entitled Portraits in Their Own Words. This is in addition to the $5,000 grant previously awarded for the project from California Humanities. 

The grant is part of the Arts Engagement in American Communities program which supports arts projects in all artistic disciplines, extending the National Endowment for the Arts’ reach to communities across the United States. These grants engage the public in diverse and excellent art, in geographic areas underrepresented in national arts funding.

Portraits in Their Own Words will entail the creation of an art exhibit and digital archive featuring autobiographical narratives and portraits of Bakersfield College students who have been previously incarcerated. The goal is to lift their voices and experiences through the written word and visual art in order to encourage conversations about imprisonment and the stigmas associated with it. 

Professors Andrew Bond (English), Kristopher Stallworth (Art), and Shawn Taro Newsom (History) are directing Portraits in Their Own Words and  plan to use the additional funding from the National Endowment for the Arts to expand the project’s reach and offer more opportunities for students and faculty to participate. More information is available on the Bakersfield College Social Justice Institute website.

To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities, visit: www.arts.gov

#LightACandle: A Juneteenth conversation

Today, I am wrapping up our videos from our June 15 program. I will continue to share videos from programming on other days, so please check back next week.

Remarks from BC Student April Whitfield:

Remarks from community member Bernita Jenkins:

A message from Pastor Robin:

A message from Traco Matthews, Adjunct Professor and social pastor

Please visit the Bakersfield College Juneteenth website for more videos, testimonials, and other resources. And please, continue the conversation and remember to #LightACandle.

Crazy Hair Day with the Child Development Center

Dean of Instruction Jessica Wojtysiak shared this photo from the Child Development Center‘s Sand Dollars virtual classroom.

The Sand Dollars classroom occurs entirely through zoom. Here, some of the students are engaging with their teachers for “Crazy Hair Day.”

It’s great to see our CDC teachers continuing to find ways to connect with their students, even at a distance.

Spotted on Social Media:
Wear A Mask Edition

I was thrilled to see our BC sharing their safe mask wearing practices on social media this week.

Kalina Hill, program manager for our testing and placement center, stays safe with her family:

Endee Grijalva, Adult Education Program Manager, wore her mask while checking out a new homeless shelter as part of her work with Project HireUp.

Matt Jones from our Academic Technology

Bill Moseley — Dean Academic technology

I also enjoyed this post from Prof. Gloria Dumler in our English Department reminding us all what not to do:

Love this Facebook video on our BC Choirr.

BC Choir

Closing Week

On Monday, we took a stretch break and enjoyed photos from the year:

On Tuesday, we enjoyed a tribute to our Nursing Students:

On Wednesday, Todd Coston treated us to another humorous welcome:

On Thursday, I shared a message for our faculty to thank them for their hard work during an unprecedented semester:

You can view all of our videos from Closing Week on the Closing Week website.

Athletics

Jim Ryun Awarded Medal Of Freedom

Jim Ryun, who set a world record in the mile (as a high schooler) at 3:51.1 in our very own Memorial Stadium on June on 23, 1967 (53 years ago!), was awarded the nation’s highest civilian honor on Friday when he was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the White House by President Trump.

Originally from Kansas, Ryun made world news with his record in the mile that day in 1967 and then went on to represent the U.S.A. in three Olympic Games. He would then go on to a career in the U.S. House of Representative in Washington, D.C.

In 2017 we had a special ceremony at Memorial Stadium to honor the 50th anniversary of Jim’s phenomenal world record. We are thrilled to see Jim awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and remain proud of what he accomplished on that summer evening in 1967 on our beautiful campus.

To read the official White House release, click here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/president-donald-j-trump-award-medal-freedom-072120/

You can also read the Bakersfield.com story here, or the story from The Hill here.

You can also watch the story from our 50th anniversary celebration of Jim’s world record: 

I was honored to meet Jim when he visited Bakersfield College back in 2018 for the State Track meet. I wrote about that visit in two blog posts: here and here.

That’s all for now.
Until next time.
With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.
sonya –
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Wrapping up Fall 2019

Pearl Harbor Anniversary Sunrise. Dec 7, 2019.

Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, December 7, 2019… A historic day for America. A day of reflection for me, an immigrant to this great country. Proud to be an American. Proud to be a Renegade.

I searched my blog for “Pearl Harbor” and found this post, published on July 30, 2017 when I was in Hawaii. It brought back great memories on my visit to Pearl Harbor. Check it out https://sonyachristianblog.com/2017/07/30/live-love-ohana-aloha/

The video clip of Franklin Roosevelt addressing the nation after the Pearl Harbor attack (see blog link above) reminded me of the other President Roosevelt whose biography I am reading — Edmund Morris’ The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, a remarkable piece of work done by a great biographer of a great leader. Thought I would share a tidbit on Theodore Roosevelt’s influence positioning the US as a naval powerhouse.

Teddy Roosevelt was only 23 when he published his first book The Naval War of 1812. This piece of work and his continued interest in naval matters resulted in Theodore Roosevelt playing a critical role in the Spanish-American war, resulting in the US displacing the Spanish in Cuba, as well as in the US gaining exclusive use of Pearl Harbor initially in the late 1800s, leading to the establishment of a full fledged naval station after 1908.

Enjoying BC Choir Carols in December

December at BC is a just a great month. We have so many music performances where our choir fills our hearts with the spirit of Christmas with fabulous music. In my four December blog posts, I will include a sampling of their music to bring joy to your hearts as they do mine. Here is the first installment from the BSO-BC annual Home for the Holidays event at the Rabobank on December 6, 2019. More on that in my next blog.

We Need a Little Christmas — BSO and BC Home for the Holidays Concert Dec 6, 2019
Henerot Halalu BSO and BC Home for the Holidays Carl Topilow on the Clarinet

Jean Fuller Podcast

“Hello Bakersfield” is one of my recommended podcasts because it spotlights local people doing wonderful things in our community, as well as highlighting the culture, traditions, and positive happenings in our growing town. Recently, “Hello Bakersfield” co-hosts Andrae Gonzales (Bakersfield City Councilman), Rachel Magnus, Jesus Gonzalez, and Carla Barrientos chatted with Jean Fuller, who many know as our retired State Senate and Republican Leader Emeritus in the California Legislature.

Since her retirement, our campus has been fortunate to have her attention as she has become an ambassador for educational attainment in our rural communities. She is a leading advocate of the Early College Program, which aims to provide a pathway to college for our rural high school students, with hopes that by the time they graduate from high school, they will have earned a certificate or degree from our college. It’s an innovative program that is a part of a national conversation to increase college attainment. The need is even greater in Kern County.

Olivia Garcia and Jean Fuller

Do listen and hear what Jean Fuller has to say about Early College.

Employee Holiday Lunch Reception

BC faculty and staff gathered in the Renegade Room on Wednesday for this year’s Employee Holiday Reception.  Guests were able to enjoy some quality time with their colleagues, as well as live music from our amazing music department faculty and students.

Manny de los Santos put together this great highlight video that showcases the event.

The menu consisted of items courtesy of Chef Alex, Chef Suzanne, Chef Anna, and our fabulous Culinary Arts students.  Some of the most popular items were deviled eggs, Chinese chicken salad, stuffed mushrooms, and bread pudding.  Check out the gallery below for some great photos of the hard-working staff and delicious food.

Seeing all of the smiling faces at the reception really warmed my heart. We truly are a Renegade family.

This event was made possible by the Management Association, BC Foundation, CCA, CSEA, and individual donors.  Another special thanks goes out to Barnes & Noble, BCSGA, BC Athletics, CTE, EOPS/NextUP/Care, Loma Linda Restaurant, and the Renegade Room. I’d also like to thank our Holiday Party Planners for putting on this event, including Judy Ahl, Kristin Rabe, Leah Carter, Pat Smith, Susan Pinza, and Tracy Lovelace.  Happy holidays, everyone!

Tom Gelder’s Retirement Party and Foundation Board Holiday Dinner

The annual BC Foundation Board Holiday Dinner was held on Thursday evening in the Renegade Room. The group of sixty was entertained by a performance by the choir, and the singers enveloped the room in beautiful renditions of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and “Jingle Bells”.

The students of the Culinary Arts program prepared and served a delicious meal of Beef Wellington and a trilogy of cheesecakes for dessert. The Foundation dinner is the final exam of the semester for the students in the program.

The night was made even more special as Tom Gelder was celebrated for his five and a half years as Executive Director of the Bakersfield College Foundation.

Foundation’s chairman of the board, Jeff Bell, spoke about Tom’s time with the Foundation and the connection that was developed through working together. And board member, Rick Kreiser and Corny Rodriguez roasted Tom about his golf game not being up to par. After comments from Jennifer Achan about the rivalry of their Michigan home town teams, Tom stood on his chair to show off his Michigan State, winning team socks.

Tom and I worked very closely on the two-year campaign for Measure J and the various Sterling Silver events that we hosted over the five years of Tom’s tenure as Exec Director of the Foundation. I described Tom’s writing as the coming together of the clear thinking of a Thurgood Marshall and the character descriptions and storytelling of a Charles Dickens.

Tom Burke, Kevin McCarthy, Jerry Ludeke, Sonya Christian, Tom Gelder
Tom Burke, Kevin McCarthy, Jerry Ludeke, Sonya Christian, Tom Gelder

Manny de los Santos sent over this little video of Tom Gelder’s retirement party. Great work, Manny!

Want to see more from the party? Check out SmugMug for the full photo gallery of the party.

Patriots From the Barrio

Author Dave Gutierrez shared passages out of his book “Patriots From the Barrio” in the Levan Center on Tuesday as part of the final Vet Month event before the Veterans’ Resource Center unveiling next week.

“Patriots From the Barrio” tells the story of Company E, a United States Army combat unit from World War II made up entirely of Mexican-Americans from the barrios of South Texas. Dave’s relative Ramon Gutierrez served with Company E and was awarded the Silver Star and three Purple Hearts for his efforts. Actor Wilmer Valderrama recently purchased the film rights to “Patriots from the Barrio” and plans on shooting a TV series based on the story.

I’m very happy that the Levan Center helped put on this event, and grateful for Dave Gutierrez coming to speak and sign books for students. Lastly, I would like to thank our BC student veterans for all their hard work and sacrifice. I hope to see you all at the Vernon Valenzuela Veterans Resource Center unveiling on December 10.

Arun Gandhi Video

Bakersfield College is fortunate to have talented faculty who connect our students with opportunities to develop their skills and talents. One of those faculty Jeff Huston, connected his students with our marketing department to experience on-campus events and activities to develop their video skills. Through this connection, Monika Scott invited two students to BC’s event with Arun Gandhi in September.

Arun Gandhi speaks at Delano High School in September 2019.

Mario Esquer captured the special event through a short, engaging, and video. So proud of Mario’s work. Check out the video.

Burritos with BCSGA Prez Pulido

Burritos! Burritos! Burritos! On Thursday, BCSGA hosted another fun Burritos with Prez Pulido event in Levinson Hall. This event brought students together to discuss what is going on at BC. Director of Student Organizations Samuel Schissler hosted the event.

The meeting gave students the chance to voice their concerns and get questions answered about parking, the health center, student constitutions, Distinguished Speakers, and the new Veterans Resource Center. Schissler made sure to acknowledge the students’ opinions and speak on behalf of BCSGA to address their needs.

Holiday Ceramics Sale

On Wednesday, students in our ceramics classes displayed their projects in the Fine Arts building as part of a sale held at the end of every semester. Students and members of the community were invited to tour the facility and purchase cups, bowls, sculptures, and other materials created by BC students.

Fine Arts professor Darrin Ekern said the overwhelming majority of the projects made by students are food safe; however, the pieces developed using a Japanese technique known as Raku firing were not food safe. Beautifully-decorated figures were displayed on the shelves next to hand-sculpted plates, bowls, and cups, as well as ornamental vases, necklaces and pendants.

Thank you to the BC Art Department, professor Ekern, and our Fine Arts students for putting their work on display for the Ceramics Holiday Sale.

New Employee Orientation

Our December New Employee Orientation included four new employees: Jacqueline Petrini (Executive Secretary to Dean Mourtzanos), Sabrina Aguilar (Program Manager for Early College and Inmate Education), Maribel Lopez (Teacher’s Assistant in Delano), and Cristal Rios (Budget Analyst).  These new Renegades were welcomed into the BC family by our New Employee Orientation Team of Michele Bresso, Todd Coston, Dena Rhoades, and Pam Rivers).

Our newest Renegades, left to right: Jacqueline Petrini, Sabrina Aguilar, Maribel Lopez, and Cristal Rios

They had the chance to hear about technology use, the culture of BC, emergency preparedness, Human Resources, and much more. They ate at the Huddle and ended their day with a tour by Todd Coston. Welcome to the team, everyone!

Renegade Football Players Help the Homeless

Renegade Football’s Fano Maui, Justin Harrington, Larry Harrington, and Darius Richardson helped serve the homeless at The Mission at Kern County on Thanksgiving, and even snagged a picture with Mayor Karen Goh. It’s great to see these student-athletes choosing to serve the community during the holidays.

The best thing about this is that these young men did this on their own, out of the kindness of their hearts.  Pearl Urena happened to overhear them talking about it one day and volunteered to go with them.  Way to go, Renegades!

Athletics Updates From This Past Week

Check out the links below for the latest scores and updates.

Football Highlight Video

We had many spectacular plays made throughout the season by our Renegade Football team. Enjoy this movie edited by BC media student Jacob Amado, who was there to capture the action on the sideline throughout the season.

Next Level Renegades

Congrats to three of our Renegade student-athletes for committing to continue their academic and athletic careers at the next level. Zach Hartsfield from Renegade Football has committed to play for Eastern Michigan University located in Ypsilanti, MI. From Renegade Women’s Soccer, Rhyan Acosta has committed to play at Cal State Bakersfield and Emma Gross has committed to Fresno Pacific.

Congratulations to Zach, Rhyan, and Emma!

BC building bridges

BC building bridges always…..

2019 Convocation BC Chamber Singers with Bridge Over Troubled Water

I have to start by welcoming BC’s 39 newest faculty to the Home of the Renegades! This year is going to be the best one yet because of the leadership and engagement of faculty and staff. At BC, we create engaged learning environments, strengthen support so students are successful, and we create bridges towards a better BC, a healthier community, and a stronger college going culture with a goal of increasing baccalaureate attainment in Kern County.

Welcome new faculty, I am so happy you are at the Home of the Renegades.

Browse our new faculty online at the New Academic Faculty webpage on the BC website.

Opening Day

Faculty and staff came together in the Indoor Theater on Thursday for the biggest Opening Day celebration that I recall. It is always a joy to arrive in the morning and feel the buzz as staff and faculty mingle and connect over a beautiful spread of breakfast goodies provided by Food Services.

I had so much exciting news to share with everyone in my annual State of the College report, which is why our team put together an Opening Day extravaganza. Samantha Pulido is the BCSGA President this year and her opening remarks were inspiring. She spoke of short term goals and long term goals, like graduating next year.

I opened State of the College with an overview of enrollment and student success data, which continues to rise. Since the 2013-14 semester, BC has seen 4.6 percent growth in annual headcount… we now serve 37,000 students. A 25.9 percent growth in Full Time Equivalent Student (FTES) over the last 5 years, and 10 percentage point growth in distance education.

In that same time period, the course success rate for traditional students is up 7 percent, and course success for distance education students is up 10 percent. It’s amazing that we’ve been able to improve our course success rates while our student population continues to grow significantly at the same time.

With this growth, our need for more faculty has also gone up, and we’ve increased our Full Time Equivalent Faculty by 46.9 percent since 2013-14 to carry out our high-tech, high-touch strategy via the Guided Pathways model.

We also reviewed a visual created by the Office of Institutional Effectiveness which shows the student body distribution by Meta-Major. As you can see, Health Sciences is in the lead at 18% with Arts, Humanities, & Communication close behind at 14%.

Our two Vice Presidents Zav Dadabhoy and Billie Jo Rice introduced the new faculty, classified staff, and managers,

Steve Holmes and Mike Giacomini
Steve Holmes and Mike Giacomini

Vice President of Finance, Mike Giacomini was joined by Academic Senate President, Steven Holmes for a report on budget. They shared the news that the College is financially healthy and being fiscally responsible. Bakersfield College and Kern Community College District have been well positioned to respond to the new Student Centered Funding Formula, and we’ve been fiscally prudent during the transition. 

Trustee Romeo Agbalog spoke about how he is proud to be a Kern Community District Trustee and he is proud of the work of BC’s faculty and staff. He spoke about Early College being the solution for rural communities to advance college attainment levels — a strong leading indicator of economic and social mobility. BC is truly blessed to have a trustee with so much commitment to our rural students and approached solutions that are results oriented and fiscally smart.

Senator Fuller moderated a panel of community leaders — Barbara Grimm, CEO and Founder, Grimm Family Education Foundation; Aaron Resendez, Superintendent of McFarland Unified School District ; David Franz, director of Shafter Education Partnership . I will cover this in my August 30th blog.

Aaron Resendez, Barbara Grimm, David Franz
Ken Keller, Sharlet Briggs, Jeet Singh, and Norma Rojas-Mora
Manny De Los Santos
Manny De Los Santos on Opening Day

BC’s videography specialist, Manny De Los Santos is editing some special videos for upcoming blogs so stay tuned!

After our panelists, the BC Drumline led faculty and staff out of the Indoor Theater to have lunch on the lawn next to the gym.

In the afternoon we spotlighted the need to increase baccalaureate attainment in the Central Valley and we know it will be increasingly important in an era where automation is on the rise. The slide below spotlights a data point from the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) that by 2030, California will need an additional 1.1 million in the workforce holding baccalaureate degrees.

Bakersfield College is rising to meet this demand, with various complementary strategies, each bolstered by a number of initiatives and support services. The first strategy is community colleges throughout the state offering more baccalaureate degrees. BC has been fortunate to be one of the original 15 community colleges to pilot a baccalaureate degree, and we’ve done this successfully with the Industrial Automation program.

Blair Pruett from Kern Steel Fabrication took time out of his day to talk about his role on the Industrial Automation advisory board and the importance of preparing Kern County’s workforce for our automated future. He said:

Blair Pruett at BC
Blair Pruett, August 23, 2019

I applaud you for being here today. Education is the ticket to financial independence, to personal growth and understanding, and it will open doors for students, they don’t even know exist.
The world is fast approaching another paradigm shift where Automation and Information Technologies will work together to facilitate useful Artificial Intelligence. A.I. will allow us to solve vexing problems in every industry. BC stands ready to support the Automation needs of Kern County businesses.

At every opportunity, Kern Steel has Automated our processes. We robotically cut steel plates, beams and tubes with lasers. We weld with robots. We design in 3D and we track all our materials electronically. If there is a process that we can automate, we do, or at least we try.
Automation is key to our success and the success of many industries in Kern County. Whatever career students choose, Ag, Oil, Manufacturing, Distribution or many others, they will find that Automation is a key process. Kern County is full of opportunities for advanced Automation and new technologies and Kern Steel is just one example.

Blair Pruett, President of the Industrial Automation Advisory Board at Bakersfield College

Additionally, the second strategy is to expand transfer. BC’s Finish in 4 collaboration with CSUB is closing the gap for Renegades who are transitioning into Roadrunners, and enrollment in our Bachelor of Science in Industrial Automation continues to grow.

Sonya Christian, Richard Winn, Stephanie Droker, Mary Okada, Ian Walton
BC President Sonya Christian at the NACIQI meeting where the recommendation was made

With NACIQI’s recommendation to expand the baccalaureate programs at community colleges across California, we hope to provide more opportunities to empower the next generation of students with the education they need to turn their dreams into reality.

The new BC SouthWest campus will be triple the size of our current facility, and after lunch, we heard from Jessica Wojtysiak, Jason Stratton and Fernando Lara about their plans for the future of BC SouthWest.

Jessica, Jason, and Fernando – BC’s SouthWest Team

We then heard from our constituent leaders such as CSEA, CCA, Academic Senate, and the Management Association. I was especially humbled by the kind and thoughtful remarks by Tina Johnson and the recognition from our classified staff. This will be one of the top honors I will receive during my tenure as president… one that I will cherish always and hold dear to my heart. BC’s classified staff are a core pillar of strength which allows the college to serve an every increasing number of students each and every day.

We heard from Ann Tatum, President of CCA as well as from Susan Pinza, Director of the Levan Institute and Reggie Williams, Director of the Levan Center.

For the awards portion of the program, Talita Pruett introduced Helen Acosta and Donna Starr introduced Regina Hukill for the Shirley Trembley Distinguished Teaching Award. Erin Miller announced Bernadette Towns as the winner of the Levan Faculty Colloquium Award, and Kimberly Bligh introduced Kimberly Nickell for the Margaret Levinson Distinguished Leadership Award.

I’m proud to report that the State of Bakersfield College is strong, and it will only continue to get stronger as our initiatives grow and expand. I’m looking forward for 2019-20 to be another great academic year for Bakersfield College. Thank you to everyone who attended, packed the Indoor Theater, the two overflow rooms, and watched online. I can’t wait for the new year to begin next week

New Student Convocation and Family Bridge to BC

On Tuesday evening, the BC community prepared new students and their families for life as Renegades during the BC Open House and New Student Convocation in the Outdoor Theater.

History faculty welcoming students and families

This year’s convocation featured a scavenger hunt where students had to familiarize themselves with the campus. Representatives from each building stamped completion of tasks for scavenger hunt participants as they made their way through the campus. The first students to finish the hunt received prizes courtesy of the Bridge to BC program.

Ag table at convocation
BC’s Ag crew had a booth too!

In addition to the scavenger hunt, there was a resource fair in front of the entrance to the Outdoor Theater featuring booths from the Student Health Center, Public Safety Training, BCSGA, and a number of our student organizations. There was also a pathways booth on the lawn in front of the Counseling area, which offered more information about all ten of our learning and career pathways. Walking throughout the campus, you could hear the sound of spinning prize wheels reverberating off the walls.

After a delicious Indian dinner catered by Food Services, the processional started promptly at 7:13 p.m., or 19:13 in military time, to commemorate 1913, the year that Bakersfield College was founded. After a beautiful Bhangra Dance performance in honor of Mahatma Gandhi and a performance of the national anthem by the BC Chamber Singers, emcee Nicky Damania gave a brief introduction on the meaning of the word “convocation”, which is a call to bring people together.

Renegades! Can I hear you?!

I spoke very briefly about our amazing faculty and academic support programs before turning it over to Steven Holmes, Kimberly Bligh, and BCSGA President Samantha Pulido, who lead the audience in oaths for faculty, parents and supporters, and students, respectively.

It takes a village to help just one student finish their education, and these oaths help all of the stakeholders in that journey stay accountable to themselves and each other.

Public Safety Officer Ricardo Orozco also reinforced the importance of BC’s motto – “If you see something, say something, and let’s do something about it.”

The entertainment for the evening was spectacular, from the Chamber Singers’ performance of “You Will Be Found” and “Bridge over Troubled Water” to the closing performance of the BC Call and Fight Song by the Renegade Cheerleaders.

Kimberly Bligh and Isabel Castaneda
Kimberly Bligh and Isabel Castaneda

This year’s convocation was a beautiful way to start off the new semester, and I’d like to thank Dr. Nicky Damania, Office of Student Life, Dr. Kimberly Bligh, Isabel Castaneda, the Bridge to BC Team, Outreach, and everyone who attended to make this year’s the best yet.

It was great to see the event covered in The Bakersfield Californian’s “Incoming BC students, families attend convocation to ease fears” written by Ema Sasic.

Director of Counseling and Student Success, Marisa Marquez even shared this fun photo from the event! She said:

The wonderful Advisors, Counselors, Student Assistants and Administrative Staff of Counseling and Student Success hosted a Pathways welcome fair for the class of 2021! GO RENEGADES!!!

Marisa Marquez, Director of Counseling and Student Success
Steve Watkin and Andrea thorson take a selfie
Outreach Director, Steve Watkin and Dean of Instruction, Andrea Thorson

Flex Week

Matt Jones leads a flexweek workshop
Matt Jones leads a session for Flex Week

This week we celebrated the start of a new academic year with a very successful Flex week. We welcomed New Faculty at our new faculty seminar and had record attendance for our workshops. We received trainings from the CCC Accessibility Center on accessible word and PDF documents and video captioning. We welcomed a faculty member from Peralta College to train on equity and the online equity rubric. Our adjunct faculty seminar was one of our largest in recent years and gave our adjuncts a chance to hear about equity, accessibility and enrollment management.

Given recent current events all of our staff had the opportunity to learn about Active Shooter Response in several sessions throughout the week. We also had other unique offerings this year that ranged from Foundation training, to several Canvas courses, including Canvas Mastery Paths. These workshops have provided valuable information for faculty and staff as they gear up for a new academic year.

Special thanks to Pam Rivers and Bill Moseley for their dedication and commitment to continued learning.

Industrial Automation is Brought to BC’s Delano Campus

With funding presented by Assembly Member Rudy Salas this past July to expand our baccalaureate program in Industrial Automation in Delano, Electronics faculty Tom Rush and Michael Larson were able to work diligently this past week and over the weekend to assemble and prepare three portable Electric Motors and Controls lab training systems.

Tom Rush, Mike Larson, Lora Larkin, and Abel Guzman
Tom Rush, Mike Larson, Lora Larkin, and Abel Guzman

Professors Rush and Larson transported the units to the Delano campus themselves to get the classroom ready for Industrial Automation students’ first day! They were joined by Lora Larkin and Abel Guzman. Thank you Tom and Michael for taking the Industrial Automation program out to our Delano community, and Abel for helping to make this happen!

Project Next Step

Bryon Schaefer, Karen Goh, Lyle Martin, Sonya Christian, Vernon Harper, Steve Watkin (photo: from Mayor Goh’s website)

On Saturday, August 17th Bakersfield College hosted approximately 500 guests for the 3rd Annual Project Next Step Conference. The Project Next Step Conference is an opportunity for new and continuing high school students, made possible by the collaboration of the Kern High School District, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, the Bakersfield Ivy Legacy Foundation, Bakersfield College, and the Bakersfield City School District. Several organizations from the community also participated as sponsors and hosted a table at a resource fair that was provided during lunch. 

Sonya Christian and Bryon Schaefer
Sonya Christian and Bryon Schaefer

The day began with welcoming remarks from myself and other community representatives, including Kern High School District Superintendent Dr. Bryon Schaefer, Dr. Vernon Harper from CSU Bakersfield, and Linda McKnight from Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. Then James Burton Jr. from Farmers Insurance gave a motivational speech on the important of having a goal in mind and taking strategic steps to get there.

Students and parents then left the indoor theater to attend a series of workshops prepared for them on topics like dressing for success, applying for financial aid, participating in dual enrollment, and different college options available to them. The day was a great opportunity to instill students and parents with the confidence that they need to find success in high school and college.

Project Next Step wrote about the event in their blog as well! Check it out!

BC’s Renegade Pantry

Last week, I shared in my blog that BC’s Renegade Pantry announced that they will be receiving a $20,000 grant to help students with hunger and food insecurity. The pantry is run by student employees and is continuously getting restocked thanks to donations and sponsorships from the community. In addition to food, the pantry offers many different types of hygiene items.

Group Photo with check for the Renegade Pantry
Thank you Kern Partnership for the support of the Renegade Pantry

A check presentation on Monday included Cindy Uetz, a Board member of the Kern Partnership for Children and Families and the Chief Deputy Director for the Kern County Department of Human Services and Social Service Supervisor Jana Slagle. Representing BC, we had Nicky Damania, Danyel Ritter, Tom Gelder, and BCSGA President Samantha Pulido.

Umoja Orientation Prepares Students for a Successful Semester

Incoming Umoja Community African-American Success Through Excellence and Persistence students engaged in activities designed to prepare them to make the most of their fall semester.  Umoja offered two orientations for students enrolled in the core courses of English 1a, Library 1, and Student Development 6. During the two days, students participated in team building activities, learned about how to apply for on-campus jobs, found out how to avoid academic probation, and learned about the ins and outs of financial aid.

Thanks go to Vikki Coffee, Dr. Michael McClenic, Angela Williams, respectively for presenting informative sessions. In addition, Umoja student leaders gave the new students tips for being successful at BC. Umoja Counselor Jonathan Ward talked with students about taking personal responsibility.  Umoja Coordinator Dr. Paula Parks led students in cultural activities that helped them learn more about the Umoja Community and about its educational philosophy.

For more information about the Umoja program, visit the Bakersfield College website and check them out on social media!

Early College Workshops Happening Now!

BC team with Justin Derrick at McFarland High School
Principal Justin Derrick with the BC Team

Our high school partners welcomed students back earlier this month and our Early College and Outreach teams were there to partner with them and help kick things off! This year, Early College has teamed up with Outreach to offer enrollment services to each of our 31 high school partners who offer dual enrollment courses on their campuses. Since the first day of school, the team has been busy going out to schools to assist students with applications and updates and to tell them more about the early college opportunities that they are embarking on. 

Thank you, Early College and Outreach teams for providing these services and this support to our young early college Renegades! 

Continuing to Level the Playing Field

The Rural Initiatives Early College team has also been active this past week assisting students with matriculation steps in order to enroll in their second course in their pathway. All incoming freshmen at Shafter High School will be taking a minimum of two college courses and over 50 students have taken advantage of the opportunity to join the General Education pathway to complete up to 38 college credits while in high school.

Thank you Rural Initiatives team for continuing to level the playing field for these underserved communities in Kern County, especially to the lead Counselor, Jesse Oropeza and lead Program Manager, Jaime Lopez.

Safety First

BC Sidewalks

With school starting next week, we ask that everyone on campus please make sure to pay attention to signage and follow the designated walking paths.  Please be aware of the temporary sidewalk closure on the east side of the Campus Center area and when in doubt, check out the current footpaths at A Better BC’s website under the Construction Maps link.

Campus Center Virtual Tour

We’ve been lucky to work with some great companies on the Measure J construction, and we’re just starting!  Ordiz-Melby Architects, Inc. created this great virtual tour where you can really feel what the campus atmosphere is going to be once the Campus Center is completed.  I loved unveiling it at this year’s Opening Day, and hope that others will share it as well!

Keeping it Local

Community Relations Manager Tamara Baker unveiled the newest Measure J project: the “Keeping It Local” video series.  These videos will highlight the work of local companies working on these construction projects. It’s important for Bakersfield College that we share these stories as these projects evolve.  BC is excited to collaborate with the local construction community as we all work together to build A Better BC! Thank you to Danny Ordiz and Jeannie Bertolaccini of Ordiz-Melby Architects, Inc. for participating in this video, and for all of your hard work! Also, thank you to videography student, Thanh from Jeff Hustons class for recording and editing the video.

Visiting the Getty

Raji Brar, Jean Fuller, Barbara Grimm, Lynette Zelezny, Sonya Christian
Raji Brar, Jean Fuller, Barbara Grimm, Lynette Zelezny, Sonya Christian

I visited the Getty Villa on the Malibu Coast with a group of friends, including Senator Jean Fuller to take in sculptures, art and other antiquities that are thousands of years old. We are fortunate to have such beautiful and magical places nearby.

Getty Villa
Getty Villa, photo from Wikipedia

The Getty Villa is an amazing place. In 1954, billionaire oil tycoon J. Paul Getty started building two museums at his property in the Pacific Palisades to share the beauty of ancient Greek, Roman and Etruscan antiquities with the people of Southern California. The Getty Villa was inspired by the Villa of the Papyri in Herculaneum, now known as Ercolano in Southern Italy, which was buried under the ashes of Mt. Vesuvius until its excavation in 1750. The Getty Villa opened in 1974, and Getty himself never got to visit the museum before he died in 1976.

Every year, Nicky Damania takes a group of BC students out to attend college night at the Getty, where they get to learn how ancient artifacts are restored by conservationists. I’m so grateful for the Getty foundation’s work of bringing the art of ancient cultures here from halfway across the world.

BC students at the Getty
BC students at the Getty

Emails Worth Sharing: From Mayor Goh

Mayor Goh is a cheerleader for BC students. She cares about our students and the positive impact they make on the community. Last weekend she shared with me:

This morning I attend the 6th annual CALIFORNIA KAREN YOUTH FORUM – celebrating the culture of the Karen people and commemorating the 69th Karen Martyrs Day that pays tribute to Karen fallen soldiers. Attached is a photo of Bakersfield College students Dah Dah Khu and Praise Oo . They were excited when I said I’d share their photo with you.

Mayor Karen Goh, August 2019
BC Students with mayor Karen Goh

Community Voices: Jack Hernandez

I enjoy seeing a glimpse of Jack Hernandez every time he has a Community Voices piece printed. You can read the digital version on Bakersfield.com.

Community Voices article by Jack Hernandez

Community Voices: Eileen Pierce

Eileen Pierce
Eileen Pierce

Speaking of Community Voices, it was great to see Eileen Pierce as well.

She wrote a piece on BC’s support services titled “BC academic support program promotes knowledge through interpersonal relationship building.”

Fun Photos: Dean Rodriguez Area Meeting

Dean Corny Rodriguez sent some fun photos from his area meeting.

Fun Photos: Dean Area Meetings

VP of Instruction, Billie Jo Rice, attend many Dean area meetings this week. Here are some of her fun photos.

Fun Photos: Making Wreaths

Program Managers, Kylie Swanson and Monika Scott took a small break from their focus on BC to create beautiful succulent wreaths at Flourishing Art this past week.

Monika Scott and Kylie Swanson hold wreaths
Monika and Kylie

Fun Photos: Happy Birthday Dylan

On Wednesday, the crew in A17 which makes up BC’s Marketing and Institutional Effectiveness offices celebrated Dylan Wang’s birthday with some delicious cake. 

Staff in A17 gather around for birthday cake

Renegades Continue to Lead the State in Football Attendance

 This fall we look forward to continuing the streak of leading the state in football home attendance. In 2018 we drew an average of 3,671 fans per game. The second place school, College of the Canyons drew an average of 2,671 fans per game. The complete list of total attendance and average attendance figures from the 2018 season can be viewed on the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) website.

Renegade Volleyball Set to Open the Season One Game at a Time 

Our back to back to back Western State Conference Champion volleyball team is set to begin another year dominating the court. Coach Ferreira, the 2018 California Community College Women’s Volleyball Coaches Association (CCCWVCA) Coach of the Year and 2018 Western State Conference (WSC) South Coach of the Year, and his team are looking for a fourth conference title in a row and also to make a run at the state title. Their season opener is on Saturday, August 31 when they host the  ‘Bakersfield Quad’ playing against Mt. SAC at 10am and Fullerton at 2pm in the Gil Bishop Sports Center. To read a preview of this years team visit GoGades.com

 Men’s Soccer

Men’s Soccer begins their fourth season as a program after rebooting the Men’s Soccer team here on campus four years ago, Coach Vayron Martinez is looking to build on the success’s of the past few years and go for the Western State Conference title this season. Come join them for their season opener against West Hills Lemoore on Tuesday, August 27th at 4pm on the BC Soccer Field. To read a preview of the team visit GoGades.com or click this link: http://gogades.com/sports/msoc/2019-20/releases/20190820mv54yl.

Mens Soccer Home Opener Graphic