Happy New Year Bakersfield!
It’s 2016, a new year, and The Force is with Bakersfield College!
The year just completed (2015) was a great one for BC. With over 24,000 students and an annual Full Time Equivalent Student (FTES) exceeding 13,500, the college’s student-to-faculty productivity remains high, and total operational cost-per-FTE remains low at $3,789. Student Education Plan completion has increased, with most disciplines seeing completion rates of over 70%. Matriculation percentages have increased, with 88% of first-time students completing Orientation and 87% completing Assessment. 100% of Student Support programs completed Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs), 100% of programs completed Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs). BC offers 23 Associate Degrees for Transfer and 24 dual enrollment courses at high schools. BC developed three new programs last year—Applied Music, Public Health, Multimedia and hired 35 new faculty. BC has deepened its ties with the community and has developed the Renegade Scorecard to advance the accountability of the college and the transparency to the community. check it out at https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/scorecard
BC’s key strength is its people. Faculty and staff are talented and dedicated to the students and to the institution. As such, they are motivated to do what it takes to “Make It Happen” in advancing student learning and progression towards their educational goals.
Especially with all of the hectic activity of 2015 this past week was a relatively quiet one with students and employees alike taking a break to spend time with family and friends, rest and rejuvenate for the spring term. I was happy to attend the Kwanzaa celebration held at the MLK community center on Owens Street.
This was the the first time that I attended the celebrations here in Bakersfield. The event was fun and inspiring all at once. I found the drum beat in the music mesmerizing and felt as if my own heartbeat was in rhythm with the drum. Another favorite part of the program for me was the story telling by Lynell Moore who just retired from Owens Elementary School. Moore had us in the first 30 seconds of the story about Anansi, the spider, who tried to figure out the names of the King’s daughters. Anansi, as I understand from Wikipedia, is an African folktale character. He often takes the shape of a spider and is considered to be the spirit of all knowledge of stories. African folklore, Moore said, always has a moral and as it turns out the moral of the very engaging story for the day was that we should focus on long-term goals rather than-short term. “Short-term goals are good. But long term goals are better.” Good to hold this for 2016.
For more on the Bakersfield Kwanzaa Celebration check out KBAK at: http://tinyurl.com/pbgpmdl. Also a special thank you to Bakari Sanyu for organizing the event.
I also thought you might enjoy as I did the seven principles (Nguzo Saba in Swahili) that describe the spirit of Kwanzaa. Particularly appropriate as we start a new year.
Talking about the core principles of Kwanzaa, I am reminded about BC’s core values that were developed in 2013 with Professor Wesley Simms finalizing the language and Professor David Koeth creating the symbols. Sit back and immerse yourself in the words and the images.
New Year’s eve was very special this year, bringing in the new year with friends at Buck Owens Crystal Palace. This was very different from the last three years where I watched the the Hobbit movies on Dec 31st (2013, 2014, 2015), a phenomenal movie series btw, and also a great way to bring in the new year! I love the song The Misty Mountain Cold in the Hobbit. There is a 3:00-minute version of this on youtube, but I thought I would share the extended 8:06-minute one instead. I am sure you will be enchanted with it.
This New Year’s eve saw the passing of the legendary Natalie Cole. I absolutely love her redo of the song “Unforgettable,” a beautiful love song, by her father Nat King Cole. It is not surprising that it won several Grammy awards in 1992 including song of the year. Please take a moment (3:48 minutes) to slip into the heartfelt and elegant world of this song.
To close out this post, let me share with you what a friend shared with me recently; an amazing verse from Rudyard Kipling’s If.