Tag Archives: Mount Carmel Convent

Historic Moments and Exciting Times for Education

Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, August 3, 2019… A great day to be a Renegade.

Bakersfield Sunrise Aug 3 2019

After being gone for an entire week, I enjoyed Bakersfield’s beautiful sunrise while walking Neo this morning.

Gavilan College Lends a Helping Hand

In the aftermath of another senseless tragedy, this time in Gilroy, California, one community college offered its resources to help victims and families feel safe.

Gavilan College in Gilroy offered one of its parking lots as a reunification center after a shooting at the town’s annual Garlic Festival left three people dead, including a 6-year-old child. Festival attendees loaded up in buses outside of Christmas Hill Park to meet up with their families and loved ones at the college, located several miles south of the location where the shooting occurred.

Gavilan College
Gavilan College
Photo from Wikipedia – By Loki733 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=35150937

An article in the Gilroy Dispatch describes how the reunification center helped people feel less confused and afraid during this extremely traumatic experience.

While there are individuals in this world driven by their extreme ideologies to hurt and divide us, the way people respond after these tragedies reminds us that the human impulse is to help and support each other when times are desperate.

In the wake of this tragedy, Dr. Nicky Damania sent an email to campus faculty and staff.  Here is an excerpt:

At these times, community acts of violence can be hard for a lot of individuals. If you or a fellow colleague is having difficulties coping with the recent event, the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is here to help KCCD employees. During this difficult time, we want to make sure everyone is aware of the EAP resources that may be helpful to those impacted in any way. These resources are available to employees and anyone who lives in their household. Services provided by the EAP are always confidential and never shared with your employer. ….

Additionally, if you notice changes in student/classroom/group behavior, attendance, or interactions, (or someone who may need some extra assistance), please let me know, so we can reach out to your class or certain individuals. Also, inform your students that BC does have Mental Health Providers who can assist them personally. Students can schedule to meet with a counselor by scheduling an appointment at the Student Health and Wellness Center .

Sadly, these are real threats we must face and the reality is that it can happen to anyone – in any place – even familiar places and community. Keeping our students, faculty, staff, and community safe is an ongoing and constant effort at Bakersfield College. It requires constant awareness, understanding, and progress. We must also remember that our campus is an open institution and we are an integral part of our community. Active shooter training cannot be a taboo subject; we must engage with the best practices, the drills, the exercises, and we must be prepared. Such efforts can save lives.

During the upcoming flex week, please try to attend one of the Active Shooter Training Sessions if you can:

  • Monday, August 19 – in L147 at 9:30 a.m.
  • Wednesday, August 21 – in L147 at 1:30 p.m.

My thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected by this senseless tragedy.

NACIQI Supports ACCJC Expanding Scope of Accrediting Baccalaureate Degrees!

On Tuesday morning, I was part of the ACCJC team in Washington, D.C. at the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI) meeting where ACCJC was supported in a big way. The NACIQI vote recommended ACCJC for renewal of its recognition by the U.S. Department of Education for the full 5-year period and to expand the scope of the agency to accredit baccalaureate degrees without limitation! Yes!

Sonya Christian, Richard Winn, Stephanie Droker, Mary Okada, Ian Walton
Sonya Christian, Vice Chair of ACCJC; Richard Winn, President of ACCJC; Stephanie Droker, Senior VP of ACCJC; Mary Okada, President of Guam Community College; and Ian Walton, Chair of ACCJC
Stephanie Droker, Mary Okada, Sonya Christian
Left to right: Stephanie Droker, Mary Okada, and Sonya Christian

The Bakersfield Californian’s Ema Sasic covered this in her article “Bakersfield College hopes to bring in additional baccalaureate degrees in the future.

Fun image of Ema Sasic that I found on Ema’s twitter feed

Thank you to all the individuals who worked hard for this and are making a difference for students now and for students to come. With the support of California’s Community College system, we can raise the baccalaureate degree attainment rate statewide!

While I was in DC, I made sure to walk the national mall between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial almost every day.

BC at the Interactive Policy Summit hosted by IHEP and AIR in Minneapolis

After Washington, DC, I traveled to Minneapolis… my first visit . The state of Minnesota is known as “the land of 10,000 Lakes”, and it was awesome to see some of these beautiful bodies of water in person.

Kylie Swanson and Lesley Bonds by the Lake

Aside from bordering Lake Superior, the largest of the Great Lakes that sit at the border between Canada and the Midwestern United States, Minnesota is also the starting point of the Mississippi River, which begins at Lake Itasca in northern Minnesota and flows 2,320 miles all the way to the Gulf of Mexico.

The city of Minneapolis lies on both banks of the Mississippi River, and there are 13 lakes and myriad creeks and waterfalls within the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. The name Minneapolis is a combination of “mni”, the Dakota Sioux word for water, and “polis”, the Greek word for city.

In the heart of downtown Minneapolis, you will find the Nicollett Mall, where I also stopped for some fun photos!

Table 15 was a powerhouse at the conference

The reason for traveling to Minneapolis was for a select group of BC leadership to attend the Interactive Policy Summit hosted by the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) and Association for Institutional Research (AIR).

It was in early spring 2019, that Bakersfield College responded to a call for proposals to attend an interactive policy summit.  Through a competitive application process, BC developed a winning application detailing the ways college leaders, faculty, and staff utilize data to promote student success and affect policy change.  BC was selected by IHEP and AIR for our proven track record in utilizing data to improve student success locally, regionally, and statewide through the guided pathways framework. 

Attendees from BC included Sonya Christian, Senator Jean Fuller, Kylie Swanson, Craig Hayward and Lesley Bonds.

The BC crew enjoying great company at dinner – Kylie Swanson, Sonya Christian, Jean Fuller, Craig Hayward, and Lesley Bonds
Fun Times with the BC group enjoying donuts at midnight
Senator Jean Fuller, President Sonya Christian
Fun selfie with Jonathan Turk from American Council on Education

Harper’s Ferry

During my visit to Washington, DC, I visited my friend from high school and got to experience the natural beauty of Harper’s Ferry National Historic Park in person. Harper’s Ferry sits at the nexus of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers, where the states of Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia meet. The Shenandoah River is also mentioned in one of my favorite songs, “Country Roads” by John Denver.

Harper’s Ferry is home to John Brown’s Fort, a military garrison that abolitionist John Brown famously attempted to capture and use as a base of operations for an armed slave revolt in the Southern plantation states. A company of US Marines, led by First Lieutenant Israel Green, defeated Brown and his 22 accomplices on October 18, 1859, and Brown was later executed for his act of treason. Brown’s raid on Harper’s Ferry triggered a series of events that led to Abraham Lincoln’s presidential election in 1860, which caused the Southern states to secede from the Union and kick off the Civil War.

Harpers Ferry

Ken Burns Launches New PBS Series

Talking about Harpers Ferry and the Civil War reminds me of the world famous Ken Burns and his 9-part PBS series on the Civil War and his upcoming 8-part documentary on country music. If you’ve not yet seen the Civil War series, it’s available on Netflix and worth a watch.

  • Ken Burns
  • Ken Burns
  • Country Music A film by Ken Burns
  • Fox Theatre marquee
  • Young boy and girl playing fiddles
  • Young man playing guitar
  • Young girl singing
  • Ken Burns and friends

The pictures are from Mayor Karen Goh‘s Facebook posts.

Last weekend, it was wonderful to see so many from our community to hear Ken Burns at the Fox Theater for a special preview screening of his Country Music Roadshow and for some special performances. The film, according to Valley PBS, will “connect the history of country music to the larger story of America, looking at how artists and songwriting reflected periods of depression, war and cultural upheaval, and how radio and television later impacted the art form.” Bakersfield was fortunate to be stop #2 on the 30-city country music tour happening now leading up to the film’s release on Sept. 15 on PBS. The Bakersfield Californian’s Robert Price did an excellent post-show interview with Ken Burns and team.

Check out the audio interview with Ken Burns on Kern Valley Public Radio or check out The Bakersfield Californian’s “Ken Burns (and local children musicians) to take the stage at Fox for ‘Country Music.’

Also, I enjoyed the young Bakersfield talent. For example, listen to this young man perform Folsom Prison and you will swear it is Johnny Cash.

Bakersfield young talent performing at the Ken Burns event

Now let’s check out Johnny Cash doing the same song

Talking about Johnny Cash, here is Joaquin Phoenix singing my favorite Johnny Cash song.

Exploring Regional Priorities and the Work of Bakersfield College

On Monday afternoon, a team of BC’s leadership met for lunch in Delano with Dr. Kathy Murphy and Amanda Stayton, Legislative Aide to Congressman TJ Cox. The group gathered to discuss the work of Bakersfield College as it relates to the health, equity, and success of our region.  The conversation kicked off by exploring education, specifically touching on the excitement around Early College. Amanda inquired about what a typical day was like for an Early College student, while Dr. Murphy explored the specific pathways available.

Group sits at the roundtable for discussion
The group sits down for a roundtable discussion.

Steve Watkin was able to share a ton of great info about BC’s high school outreach and the tremendous impact it has had on incoming students around BC’s service area. Abel Guzman highlighted the incredible students who have overcome significant barriers to attend BC, especially in our rural areas. Norma Rojas-Mora led the discussion about the network of partners supporting the HEAL Health Equity and Learning Collaborative.

Dean of Instruction, Jessica Wojtysiak, shared the care and commitment that goes into each and every student through the development and structure of the completion coaching communities at BC. The lunch gathering ended with a special tour of the Delano campus led by Carolina Madrigal and Jaime Lopez, two amazing people who support BC’s rural students. Abel Guzman shared with me that Dr. Murphy also brought a sampling of books from the Library of Congress, which she hopes will be a fantastic resource for our students.

Special thanks to Dr. Murphy and Amanda Stayton for visiting Bakersfield College, supporting students in Kern County, and sharing in our excitement for the great things happening.

See all of the Delano lunch photos on BC’s Smugmug

Students Attend a Youth Empowerment Conference at UCLA

Earlier this summer, student leaders from Latinos Unidos Por Educación and Project Conexiones Estudiantiles de Bakersfield College attended the 12th Annual Immigrant Youth Empowerment Conference (IYEC), hosted by UCLA’s AB540 Project and IDEAS.

The goal of the IYEC is to serve as a mechanism to empower students to become leaders of their communities. It was an educational day-long event open to community college and high school students, educators, allies, and community leaders in an effort to raise awareness about the urgent issues that impact the immigrant community. 

  • LUPE Students
  • LUPE Students
  • LUPE Students
  • LUPE Students
  • LUPE Students
  • LUPE Students
  • LUPE Students
  • LUPE Students
  • LUPE Students
  • LUPE Students
  • LUPE Students

Through keynote speakers, dynamic workshops, and interactive activities, the conference educated and empowered attendees with a platform to understand and navigate the legislation process, financial and legal resources, mental health services, and the complex intersectionality within the immigrant community and student activism.

After the IYEC, students enjoyed their evening by relaxing and having fun at the Santa Monica Pier.

More than 1,500 students attended the conference and left UCLA with renewed confidence in themselves, having developed a wider network of supportive colleagues throughout California’s colleges/high schools, and learned how to effectively advocate for social change within their communities and respected campuses.

Thank you to Manuel Rosas for sharing the details of this wonderful conference!

Erin Auerbach on Rural Initiatives

This week, BC Journalism professor Erin Auerbach wrote about our Rural Initiatives program in Bakersfield Life Magazine.  In the article, she explains how our Rural Initiatives program makes higher education more accessible to all areas of Kern County, such as Delano, Shafter, Wasco, Arvin, and McFarland.  Increasing educational services in rural communities has been one of my main focuses since I became president in 2013. By providing access to quality education for all of Kern County’s students, our city and county will continue to grow and thrive well into the future.  Thank you Erin for writing such a great piece on the work BC is doing in our rural communities.

Erin Auerback on Rural Initiaitves Bakersfield Life pg 1
Page 1
Erin Auerback on Rural Initiaitves Bakersfield Life pg 2
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Read Erin’s entire article on Bakersfield.com

For even more about the Rural Initiatives program, check out some of my previous blog posts:

Bakersfield Construction Jobs Need Building

According to a recent article on TurnTo23.com, there’s a construction worker shortage in Kern County.  With so many job openings that are going unfilled, many local construction companies fear they could lose business to companies in other cities.

That’s where Bakersfield College comes in.

Carlos Medina
Carlos Medina

BC offers many construction courses, including welding, HVAC, construction management, and architecture/industrial drawing. Job Development Specialist Carlos Medina says a lot of these programs are 50% classroom, 50% hands-on, and 100% employer-related.  These specialized courses are just what the community needs to build the necessary skill set and fill these construction job openings.

Recent Bakersfield College graduate Britnee Gamble completed her Associate’s degree at BC. Now, as an employee at JTS Construction, she’s going back to school to get more construction design training.  I am so proud of the work BC is doing to instill this type of forward-thinking initiative, which will provide our local workforce with the proper education and training to be gainfully employed for years to come.

Read the entire article on TurnTo23.com

Fun Photos

The Future Home of BCSW

This week, modular units were spotted arriving in southwest Bakersfield at the new location of the BC SouthWest colocation at CSUB. It’s an exciting time to be in Bakersfield!

VP Rice on the Beach

Even Vice Presidents need a day off every now and then. Check out how Vice President of Instruction Billie Jo Rice spends her day off at the beach.

Billie Jo Rice and dog
Billie Jo Rice and friend

Ruben Rosales

Caroline Walth sent me this incredible letter that was written by Ruben Rosales, who is retiring from BC after 23 years as a custodian with M&O.  Ruben gives some wonderful advice about how to succeed as an employee at BC and, most importantly, how to be a good example for our students.  The letter ends with Ruben’s recommendation to always follow the three Ps: priority (job first), punctuality (be on time), and performance (do your best).

Thank you for all your years of service and hard work, Ruben!  You are BC!

Fun photo – my high school — Mount Carmel Convent

Photo of Mount Carmel Convent taken by Sydha Salihu Dec 27 2018

Seen on Facebook: Shawn Newsom

BC is fortunate to have such incredible faculty like Shawn Newsom who teaches history at BC for our Inmate Scholars program. The note below is a testament to committed faculty who care for our students and want to make learning fun, engaging, and something that can change their life.

Shawn Newsom letter from prisoner

Letter to the Editor: Congratulations to Bakersfield College

I saw a wonderful letter on Bakersfield.com about the Performing Arts Department’s production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.”  Martha Ingle of Shafter was overjoyed with the amazing performance and hard work of the cast and crew.  It warms my heart when members of the community who went to BC share how proud they are to be a Renegade.  We are BC!

Read the letter on Bakersfield.com

Football Season Tickets on Sale Now

Come join us this fall for another exciting season of Renegade Football. 2019 Renegade Football season tickets are now on sale. Tickets range from $35 to $60 for the season and can be purchased on-line at Vallitix.com or by calling 661-322-5200 or in-person at the Bakersfield College business office.

2019 Bakersfield College Home Football Schedule

9/7      vs.  Mt. San Antonio College – 6 PM (Tailgate Theme: Tri-Tip Kickoff Classic)

9/28    vs.  Golden West College – 6 PM (Tailgate Theme: Fiesta Night)

10/19    vs.  Ventura College  *Homecoming* – 6 PM (Tailgate Theme: Deep Fried Heaven)

10/26  vs.  Long Beach City College – 6 PM (Tailgate Theme: Wing Knight)

11/16    vs.  College of the Canyons – 6 PM (Tailgate Theme: Patriotic American Salute)

Come See The New Turf!

The Renegades open up the 2019 season at home on Saturday, September 7th against Mt. SAC at 6pm at Memorial Stadium. This will be the first time the team will play a game on the new field turf that was installed in the stadium this summer. This will be the first season in Renegade football history that the Renegades will play their home games on field turf.

Football Media Day

Come join the Renegades in kicking off the 2019 football season with Football Media Day on Wednesday, August 14th at 11:30 am at Memorial Stadium. This will also be the first opportunity for the public to view the new artificial turf installed this summer at Memorial Stadium. Those attending will be able to claim a free souvenir piece of the new turf (limited to one piece per person and while supplies last). The event is free to the public. Attendees are encouraged to park in the lot south of the stadium and enter the southeast gate. Speakers will include Bakersfield Mayor Karen Goh, Athletic Director Sandi Taylor and Head Football Coach Jeff Chudy.


That’s all for now.

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.

sonya-
the luckiest and happiest college president ever