What a difficult, active week at the virtual Home of the Renegades as we continue to Shelter in Place and engage with a world coping with COVID-19, the recession, and the horrific public death of George Floyd.
The picture above is from a friend’s garden. These are the Mexican bird of paradise (Caesalpinia pulcherrima). They bloom when the temperature gets above 90.
Renegade Baseball Pitcher Sends Caring Note To Bakersfield PD
Through social media and television we have seen many protests around the country, and our community has been no different. After one of this week’s protests in downtown Bakersfield, the Bakersfield Police Department shared a photo of a card that a ‘black teen’ had given one of the BPD officers earlier that evening.
We soon found out that ‘black teen’ was none other than one of our Renegade Baseball student athletes, PJ Roberts. PJ is a pitcher and has been on the team the last two years. While PJ did not share this card with the officer to be recognized publicly, we are beyond proud of his actions to bridge the gap at this critical point in time. Way to be the change you wish to see in the world, PJ! #StudentTeacher
Good morning Bakersfield It is Saturday, June 6, 2020 – a great day to be a Renegade.
I’d like to start off this week with a video I saw from Trevor Noah, who hosts The Daily Show. In it, he talks about how different events are connected and knock into each other like dominoes, causing a great wave.
#LightACandle: A Juneteenth Celebration
On the heels of the recent death of George Floyd and mass unrest across the country, Bakersfield College will host a two week conversation and virtual celebration leading up to June 19 or “Juneteenth,” a day that commemorates the end of slavery in the United States.
I believe that in the 50 years since King asked this question – What is it that America has failed to hear? We have made enormous progress that we can and should be proud of. But we need to hear what George Floyd’s Memorial Day death – and our national reactions to it – are saying. It is a long and painful history, which makes it harder to hear. It is a dark and confusing time, which makes it harder to see how to move forward. But as Bakersfield College Renegades, we owe it to our community, to our veterans, and we each owe it to George Floyd, to join together, listen with humility, and to bring light that can illuminate the way ahead.
In this spirit, I invite you to join Bakersfield College for a two-week series of Juneteenth conversations across multiple platforms to #LightACandle and #ShineALight on the gut wrenching and horrific experiences of our Black brothers and sisters as they go about their business contributing to the economic wellbeing of our community, volunteering to help the neediest in our society, enjoying a family stroll in the neighborhood park with their children. We invite you to listen, learn, engage, and make an action-oriented commitment to speak up, lean in and create an environment that values every human.
Thank you to the leadership of the #LightACandle Juneteenth Planning Team: Steven Watkin, Paula Parks, Tommy Tunson, and Jennifer Achan.
Led by Pastor Oscar Anthony of St. Peter Restoration Community Christian Ministries, and Pastor Ignacio Valdez of New Hope Family Worship Center, with the support of networks such as Kern County Ministers Conference, Kern Leadership Alliance and CityServe, hundreds assembled to acknowledge the pain our community is in, while promoting promote reconciliation healing.
I was grateful to walk alongside Steve Watkin and our BC team in solidarity for #BlackLivesMatter.
#RealTalk on Race with Danny, Reggie, and Julian
On Thursday, June 4, BC launched the first of a series of #RealTalk on Race discussions, hosted by Danny Morrison Media. Over 7000 views in just 3 days!
Danny, always a friend to BC and an ardent supporter of our African American Initiatives and Inmate Scholars program, kicked off the discussion with a reflection on the recent high-profile deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmed Arbery. I was struck by the weight of the dialogue as he recalled a long history of murders of Black men at the hands of those in power… the stories of Philando Castile, Eric Garner, and Emmett Till.
Reggie Bolton, BC professor of kinesiology, and Julian West, director of the Career Ladders Project, described their personal experiences coming to terms with race and racism as Black men. As I listened to Reggie, Julian, and Danny, I felt the enormity of the moment we are in as a nation and the responsibility we have as educators to shine light on these stories. The words of these men – brilliant, courageous, kind hearted, and committed to our students – should strengthen our resolve to work for racial equity at BC and beyond.
The livestream also featured a video from Steve Watkin.
BC in the News: The Bakersfield Californian
The Bakersfield Californian published a great article on BC’s plans to shine light on the ways education can advance justice. Thank you, Ema Sasic, for capturing not only our plans for the weeks ahead, but also the ways BC has been advancing educational equity for Black students through the remarkable work of our African American Initiatives team. I enjoyed reading the highlights of our progress on increasing access and success for our students over the past five years:
Increased overall enrollment of Black students by 45% to more than 1,000 students
Increased first-time Black student enrollment by 72%
Increased Black student enrollment in Early College opportunities by 1,017%
Increased Black student completion of associate degrees by 223%
Umoja students share feelings on recent killings by police
Umoja Community students and faculty gathered virtually to discuss recent killings of African Americans by police. Over the past few weeks, the murders of Ahmad Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd have dominated the news. Repeated exposure to lynching is traumatizing.
Floyd’s murder, captured on video and widely circulated, has ignited pain and anger in the Black community and resulted in protests nationwide. The Umoja Community – a program designed for African-American students that includes coursework, mentoring, academic and cultural trips, and counseling support to keep students on track to graduate – routinely provides space for students to share and process their lived experiences.
Students said this latest incident feels different from other police murders captured on camera because of what the video shows: Floyd was handcuffed when he was pushed onto the pavement. You observe the officer rather nonchalantly with his hands in his pocket and with his knee on Floyd’s neck. Over 8 minutes and 46 seconds, you see Floyd plead for his life and call out “Mama,” then slowly lose consciousness and die. Three officers watch and the crowd shouts out that “he ain’t moving.” It seemed to students the most extreme example of police abuse and of an undeserved, agonizing death.
In addition, Floyd evokes Eric Garner’s words, “I can’t breathe” sixteen times. This painful revisit of the 2014 New York case is a reminder as one student put it that “the deaths keep increasing.” The police aren’t charged or convicted even with video evidence, which emboldens police, students explained, to continue to abuse their power. Black people are re-traumatized with each death, understanding that they are similarly at risk. One student said she felt “numb.” Another reported that she was at “the breaking point.”
Being in the middle of a pandemic and somewhat isolated, they noted, adds to their anxiety because they have fewer outlets while being constantly bombarded with videos of Floyd’s death and mass protests. Students are suffering from a double injury: fears for their basic physical safety from police as well as threats to their physical and mental health from COVID.
Said one student, “racism is our (constant) virus.”
I was happy to see in The Bakersfield Californian this week two pieces from BC faculty and staff lending perspective on how we move forward.
Lesley Bonds, BC’s Director of Student Success & Equity reflected on the significance of Juneteenth in the midst of mass unrest. She calls upon white people to learn to practice anti-racism. Read her suggestions for how people can practice anti-racism HERE.
“Anti-racism is more than simply not acting racist. Anti-racism requires constant vigilance — an unlearning of our conditioned behaviors, beliefs and biases, and constant, intentional, new learning of the ways we can recognize and dismantle racism in ourselves, our community, our institutions, and the systems we navigate daily.”
Nick Strobel, Astronomy professor and Director of BC’s planetarium called upon us to reconcile the “story of American society” with the stories we are reading today in order to give meaning to the popular hashtag #WeAreAllInThisTogether. Read Nick’s piece HERE.
“If American society is to survive, we all need to recognize that an alternate story, that has been told in word and deed for many, many decades at least, has grown more powerful than the shared story of opportunity and equal application of the law… Do we want that? Do we really believe that the shared story on which this nation was founded is not real and can never be real?”
BC launches free immigration clinics
Bakersfield College is partnering with the UFW Foundation to offer Immigration Clinics for BC students, faculty and staff. The next two Clinics are on Tuesday, June 9th, and Thursday, June 25th, from 9 AM to 6 PM. DACA renewals are being prioritized and Fee Assistance is available at this time.
Bakersfield College has been named as one of twenty recipients to receive part of the $24 million Job Corps Scholars Program funding, provided by the U.S. Department of Labor.
This national program serves Job Corps eligible youth by providing free tuition for their first year in the Job Corps Scholars program, career technical training, and intensive personal and career counseling services towards program completion.
Back to College
I wanted to share with you all a story from one of our student Renegades, Martha Lopez. She was left jobless when the Coronavirus pandemic hit, and decided to try out our Back to College program.
“I had just started a new job working at a Distribution Center when the Coronavirus hit. The entire center was shut down and everybody was left without a job, and we didn’t know for how long it was going to last. I started looking for a new job, but then I heard about the Back to College program on TV. I had been going to BC on and off for over several years and always struggled and felt like it was not for me, but I decided to give it one more try. From the start, the counselors helped me with Financial Aid and helped me find classes that were required for my major, and that were also interesting to me. The professors were all very clear from the beginning by telling us exactly what was required, and they were always there when we had questions. I had taken online classes before, but this time was a huge difference. Not only did I get As and Bs in all my classes, but I actually enjoyed them, especially Art which I was not expecting, and I’m excited to keep going in the summer and fall. At first I was only planning on getting my degree in Sociology at BC, but after talking to my counselors and professors, I’ve decided I want to actually transfer to CSUB and go on to become a Substance Abuse Counselor.”
Our Back to College program is still going strong with courses for this summer. Please check it out!
Fun Social Media
Our Admission & Records director, Jackie Lau, earned her Masters degree this year. The Admission & Records department shared a wonderful tribute on Facebook to celebrate her achievement.
Before each day’s celebration, we shared a few videos from throughout the year – including this performance of “Bridge Over Troubled Water” performed by our BC choir, faculty, staff, and administration:
Student Affairs earned a President’s Leadership Award:
And incoming BCSGA Vice-President Emma McNellis shared her remarks:
Coach Littlejohn Leading The Way Staying Fit During The Pandemic
Our newest Renegade Coach, Coach R. Todd Littlejohn of BC Football is leading the way in showing our campus how to stay fit during the pandemic. Here’s a picture of him doing hang cleans during his CrossFit workout this last week. Details for how the 2020 fall sports season is going to look are still being determined by the CCCAA, but one things for sure – Coach LJ will not be out of breath running up and down those sidelines coaching his team this fall!
Q&A With Sandi Taylor
The Renegade Rip ran an article where Editor-in-Chief Haley Duval interviewed retiring athletic director and softball coach Sandi Taylor. Sandi talked about her greatest memories, proudest accomplishments, what she’ll miss, and what changes she saw during her time at BC. Thank you for the well-written article, Haley, and thank you for your years of service Sandi!
That’s all for now. Until next time. With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality. sonya – the luckiest and happiest college president ever
Memorial Day started in 1868 as Decoration Day, a remembrance of those who died during the Civil War. Over the years, cities and states designated it as a legal holiday, and in 1971, Congress established Memorial Day as a national holiday to take place on the last Monday of May every year.
Every Memorial Day, a special ceremony is held at Arlington National Cemetery, where the President or Vice President lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
At BC, we are proud of our veteran students and have a particular duty to support them through their education. We’re reaffirming that commitment to our local veterans with the construction of the new Vernon Valenzuela Veterans Resource Center, the first Measure J project, slated for completion this fall.
We remember the sacrifices made and lives lost defending the freedom and sovereignty of the United States. Your sacrifice will never be forgotten.
I’d like to share this quote from James A. Garfield at that first Memorial Day commemoration at Arlington National Cemetery in 1868.
“We do not know one promise these men made, one pledge they gave, one word they spoke; but we do know they summed up and perfected, by one supreme act, the highest virtues of men and citizens. For love of country they accepted death, and thus resolved all doubts, and made immortal their patriotism and virtue.”
Emails Worth Sharing
I’d also like to share this email that our Director of Veterans Services Paul Beckworth sent on Monday. Our duty to support veterans goes much deeper than academic support, as Paul’s words of encouragement for our veterans make clear. Thank you for all that you do Paul, and thank you to those who have served our country.
“Hello Region V Veteran Services colleagues,
Today, May 27, 2019, is Memorial Day.
The vast majority celebrate it as the unofficial start of summer. Many Americans honor the day and the dead, in a variety of heartfelt ways. However, there is a much smaller group whose acknowledgement of the day goes deeper than most. It is personal, it is emotional, and it is visceral. While today we remember the fallen, we must keep in the mind the ones who were left behind; their families and fellow warriors. There are people I know who wish to be left alone today and others who do not want to left alone for fear of what their emotions might lead them to. Sometimes, people remember with laughter and tears, while others do so with the bottle and with tears.
For those who lost comrades, or family or best friends, please do not go to those dark places inside you. If you do go there do not stay there. We need you, here, with us. We know the 22 a day suicide rate among veterans. It is terrible. Do not be a part of the 22. Do not be afraid to ask for help. Depression is serious. It is a weight the likes of which cannot be described, only experienced. If your arm is hurt, you go the doctor. If your head/heart hurts, go to a doctor. There is no shame in it. It is often said that the soldier is not the only one who goes to war. The family does, too, in its’ own way.
Those of you who work closely with veterans may not have lost a loved one, but assisting veterans for years can take a toll, especially for counselors and advisors. Who counsels the counselors? Seriously. There are several of you who have worked with veterans for many years now. Make sure to take care of yourselves. Go to veteran-specific conferences, sit in the hotel lobbies and have venting sessions with your colleagues from across the state. Let iron sharpen iron. Get help just like we tells our veterans to do. I am pretty sure most of you have walked a veteran to your on-campus mental health professional at least once. If you need to take a walk to one yourself, please take it. We need you, here. Your military-affiliated students need you, here.
While today can be very emotional, one of the best ways we can honor the fallen is to take care of our minds, bodies, and spirits. In this way we can continue the work ahead of us, making them proud.”
Paul Beckworth, May 27, 2019 Memorial Day
BC Friends in Sacramento
Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE) hosted its 2019 Latina Action Day in Sacramento on Wednesday, May 22. Our own Nicole Parra facilitated a panel discussion, and I was thrilled to see BC students impromptu participation. Evelyn Torres, a Studio Arts, Graphic Design & Communications major volunteered to be the voice of millennials on the panel.
The panel on California’s Present and Future Workforce examined the challenges and opportunities the state is facing as we look to filling workforce needs. The conversation regarding career education included an informative discussion of the value of apprenticeship programs, and the role community colleges in meeting workforce needs. Evelyn shared a student perspective on the importance of providing opportunities for all students, including those who need short term training leading to employment.
Thank you Norma Rojas Mora for your work in Sacramento.
Rural Initiatives Classified and Support Staff Appreciation Celebration
Last week, the Rural Initiatives classified and support staff were recognized by the management team in a surprise celebration of Classified Appreciation week. This celebration brought together members of the RI team that serve a region that extends from Arvin to Delano. I’m grateful for the focused dedication and passion for serving our rural students. Thank you Rural Initiatives Classified and Support Staff for everything you do for our Bakersfield College Rural Renegades. Also thanks to our RI Management team, especially Jaime Lopez for coordinating such a special celebration.
Administrative Council Retreat: Day 1
This last Thursday we had the first day of our annual summer retreat with our college-wide administrative council. BC Food Services provided a fantastic breakfast spread and a delicious salad bar later in the day for the lunch. I opened the session with an overview of our college strategic plan and highlighting the fact that we now have 37,000 students! Our administrative council fanned out across campus in teams as they completed in a scavenger hunt.
Members of our college Program Review Committee briefed the council on best practices for conducting their program reviews for this coming year and Manny Mourtzanos provided a training on aligning work plans to direct us as embark on a new year. It was a great retreat and great work that we will regroup on to finish up on a second day in early June.
Umoja’s End of the Year Celebration
This week, Umoja held its end of the year celebration to acknowledge its graduates and mentors. Students joined together to celebrate their academic success and celebrate their mentors who dedicated time and energy to support their scholarly journey at BC. Thank you to Dr. Paula Parks for sending over these photos, and for your dedication to our students. If you’d like to learn more about Umoja, make sure to check out their website!
Conexiones Rurales Dreamers Conference
The Conexiones Rurales Dreamers Conference on Friday, May 17th at the Delano Campus allowed our Rural Renegades to learn about several topics including programs and services offered by our college and other local institutions. This opportunity was funded by the Catalyst grant received by Bakersfield College. Thank you to our Conexiones Estudiantiles/LUPE student organization, their advisors and the Rural Initiatives team, especially Jesus Oropeza, Jessica Garcia, and Jaime Lopez for bringing these fantastic opportunities to our rural communities.
BC Cheerleaders at the New Kids On the Block Remix Tape Concert
Wow! Does BC know how to pump up the crowd, or what?! Also, what an amazing throwback to have the New Kids On the Block perform here in Bakersfield! They definitely have “the right stuff.”
I want to thank Cheer Coach Heather Foss for making possible this phenomenal experience for our students. It’s hard to describe the energy of the packed Rabobank and and the pride I felt in seeing our students on stage.
Thank you Manny de Los Santos for capturing this video. You are the very best!!!!!!
Cooking a Healthy Meal with Chef Alex Gomez
This week our Executive office team demonstrated their culinary skills at our Wellness & Professional Development Session: Cooking a Healthy Meal with Chef Alex Gomez. The team learned cooking and cutting techniques, and were given recipes to prepare — then eat! We enjoyed Cauliflower Tacos, Cilantro Rice, and Grilled Zucchini.
The Executive Office has a standing Wellness Initiative that began a couple years ago, as well as a new Training/Professional Development Initiative that began last year. Chris Glaser and Tarina Perry worked with Chef Alex for help in meeting goals for both initiatives and did he ever deliver! The training was clear and engaging, the menu healthy, and the food delicious. We worked in teams to prepare the meal, and then enjoyed our meal together as we discussed our takeaways from the day. Thank you to Chef Alex and Chef Suzanne Tangeman for working with our team on this, and thank you to Chris and Tarina for organizing the activities!
Progress on Memorial Stadium
The renovation of the Memorial Stadium track and football field is moving along nicely. The work will be completed in time for this fall’s football season. We are all excited to see the finished product! Also, thank you to Brandon Urry for capturing these photos.
Photos that make me happy
Family weekend at Lake Arrowhead
Memorial Day weekend with family at a cabin in Lake Arrowhead.
Good morning Bakersfield. It is Saturday, April 14, 2018 …a quiet cool morning …a great week to be a Renegade!
Renegade Talks 2018 Lineup
Based on the popular TED Talks of “Ideas Worth Sharing”, Renegade Talks bring together BC faculty and students to deliver short, innovative, subject-based presentations. This year, the lineup was fabulous including:
“Rolling the Dice” by Chris Cruz-Boone, Professor of Communication
“Black Masculine Identity” by Julian James West
“Smooth Endoplasmic Reticulum: A Fork in the Academic Road” by Joe Saldivar, Professor of Biology
“Twelve Seconds” by Amber Smithson, BC Student
“Manners and Today’s Society” by Teena Bensusen, BC Student
“The Burden of Freedom” by Daniel Mechem, Veteran and BC Student
Indoor Theater filling up before the show
If you were not able to attend, videos are being edited. Keep your eye out for them in my blog next week and on BC’s YouTube! For now, here are two teasers from Joe Saldivar and Julian West.
On Thursday, BC leadership welcomed the KCCD Board of Trustees to campus for their monthly Board Meeting and we started the afternoon with a luncheon provided by BC Food Services and Chef Eric Sabella.
Liz Rozell gave an informative presentation regarding the Industrial Automation Program and introduced one of our upcoming graduates of the first Baccalaureate Class in 2018 – Richard Van Horne. He spoke highly of the program and how he earned a Political Science degree from BC and was inspired to return upon the news of the Bachelor of Science in Industrial Automation. Richard shared that he receives offers for internships, being approached by local industries and said he’s getting his degree at a fraction of the cost of friends who attend other 4-year institutions.
Bachelor of Science in Industrial Automation Student, Richard Van Horne
The Board Meeting then took place in The Norman Levan Center with one highlight being our Emeritus and Retiree Recognition. I had the honor of introducing them, so I’d like to share each of them one more time, highlighting their service.
Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg , Vice-President, Instruction – 35 years, 6 months Nan is the best coach that I know, the best arbitrator of disputes, the best diplomat, the best cheerleader for students, the most articulate person for issues of equity…… and always kind and generous with her time. Today, we have the opportunity to give our voice of thanks to her years of humble service; we have the opportunity to make visible her focused work behind the scenes that has greatly shaped our community, and so many lives; and we have the opportunity to recognize this tireless and true champion of education.
Katherine Pluta, Dean of Instruction – 32 years, 5 months
Kate provided 32 years of dedicated service to Bakersfield College. She has served many leadership roles including, Division Chair, President of the Senate, President of CCA and recently, Dean of Instruction. And if you look at major initiatives over the years, Assessment and Student Learning Outcomes, Strategic Planning, the Integration of Accreditation into the work of the college, you will see that Kate has been in the forefront. She has been a loyal friend to BC and a friend to me. Kate, you will be missed.
Gilbert Merjil, Groundsworker II – 31 years, 2 months
Gilbert Merjil was a groundskeeper and irrigation specialist for the campus. Although a quiet worker, behind the scenes he took care to ensure we could be proud of our campus grounds. In particular, Gilbert kept the campus green and looking good thorough one of our states worst droughts all while reducing campus water usage. Gilbert resolutely guarded BC’s lawns and sprinklers and was known to chase down vendors who may have driven over the lawn.
Andrea Garrison Professor, Biology 28 years, 8 months May 11, 2018
Professor Garrison has been a cornerstone to motivating the faculty of the College to being excellent teachers. She is respected for her leading the faculty through challenging times. As a true Biologist, she created awareness of important issues in respecting our environment as we function as a College, and she created and organized the club for students to incorporate their faith into their education. When the College started Guided Pathways, she was one of the first faculty to embrace this effort and used that to encourage her students in class to know their pathways and be prepared in all ways for the expectations of learning after transfer. Andrea has been the President of CCA and a winner of the Levinson Leadership Award.
Odella Johnson Professor, Academic Development 24 years, 10 months
Odella Johnson will be remembered for her passion for students, her passion for equity and her leadership both on campus and in the community. Odella participated as a member of the Black faculty, served as faculty advisor to the BSU, served as Director of the Educational Advancement Program (EAP), Director of the Assessment Center, served as ACDV Department Chair, Director Equity and Inclusion and on many college wide and district committees. Prof Odella Johnson thank you for 24 years of service to Bakersfield College.
Susan McQuerrey Professor, ELS 25 years, 10 months
Susan McQuerrey has been a valued member of the EMLS Department and the Bakersfield College community since 1988, when she started as an adjunct. She was hire full-time in 1992. She has served on many committees including as co-chair of the Curriculum Committee and president of the Academic Senate. She also served as the department chair for the English/ESL Department before the two departments split. Her students love and respect her with comments like, “Very respectful; highly recommended,” and “She is a good professor. Very strict, but for our own good. Love her.” Certainly, Susan’s professionalism, experience, and love for teaching will be sorely missed at Bakersfield College.
Jimmy (Smitty) Smith, Skilled Craftsworker, M&O Technician 17 years, 3 months
Smitty as we called him served BC for nearly 20 years as the skilled craftsman and locksmith. He was always eager to assist and made sure it was done the “right way”. His myriad skill sets and care will be hard to replace!. In his role as locksmith, Smitty had a big job to ensure faculty and staff had access to all of the buildings as needed. Smitty was instrumental in helping transition our campus to the new key card system.
Dennis Spencer, Electronics Technician – 10 years, 2 months
Dennis was originally hired as the phone technician. As technology changed and phone systems moved towards voice-over IP technology, Dennis was able to transition and oversee maintenance of campus elevators, fire alarms, and small electronic equipment. He personally oversaw the audio equipment set-up for all administrative events. Dennis always has a great story to share and was the eyes and ears of the campus. Dennis provided personal attention to ensure we had what was needed and ensured every detail was covered when helping out regardless of the projects – from the phones, to computers to the fire alarm system, to large events.
BC’s esteemed retirees
Student Employee Appreciation Week
Today’s Students, Tomorrow’s Workforce. This week is National Student Employee Appreciation week, and with close to 500 students employed each year at Bakersfield College there is much to celebrate. The Office of Student Employment in FACE 16 coordinated this fabulous event, that recognized our Student Employees hard work throughout the year. Students were provided a token of appreciation in addition to resources that will help tie their experience on campus to their future careers. For students seeking on-campus opportunities please send them to the Student Employment Lab (FACE 9) where they can schedule an appointment with a job development specialist, apply for on-campus employment through Jobspeaker, search off-campus jobs, create a resume or print career related materials for free. Special thanks to Stephanie Baltazar for spearheading this incredible program for our students.
Inaugural English Student Colloquium
The English Department hosted its first English Department Student Colloquium in the Levan Center on Friday, April 13, 2018. The Colloquium held an essay contest from which three finalists were selected to present at the Colloquium and compete for awards generously donated by the Levan Center. The English Colloquium Committee was pleased with the many well-written submissions they received from Bakersfield College students.
The three finalists, Steven Ledesma, Sarai James, and Brian Melgar, presented their essays vying for the first prize of $1500, with second and third place receiving $500. All three finalists also received an invitation to the BC Donor Dinner.
The English Colloquium, an educational seminar where participants come together to discuss their work, was given an “American Idol” twist. The three finalists each had a chance to perform on stage by presenting their essay, and the judges (a.k.a. committee members) sat on the edges of their seats critiquing the would-be stars. After the presentations, the judges adjourned for discussion and subsequently announced first place winner of the $1500 prize – Brian Melgar. Second place – $500 – Steven Ledesma and third place – Sarai Jaime.
Brian Melgar, Sarai Jaime, Steven Ledesma.
Special thank you Rae Ann Kumelos for leading this Inaugural English Colloquium and to the committee members: Keri Wolf, Richard Marquez, Cynthia Powell, Jennifer Jett, Denise Mitchell, Alicia Skipper, Jason Spitzer, Justin Bell, Jeremy Casabella, Tiffany Wong, and Kaitlin Hulsey. I would also like to thank Anna Poetker and Reggie Williams for lending their colloquium organization knowledge, experience and advice to the English Colloquium Committee. Thank you Eric Sabella for the delicious refreshments and Kristen Rabe for technical support. Thank you Eric Carillo for creating such a beautiful green event poster that Rae Ann believes brought the rain to turn the hills of Bakersfield green. A large thank you Jack Hernandez and the Levan Center for the support and making the English Colloquium possible.
Eric Carrillo’s Poster
A very special guest showed up to the Colloquium — Rae Ann’s father, Laddie Kumelos. She was very proud to tell us that he began teaching English 70 years ago. She certainly did not fall far from the tree as she continues to teach English at BC. She joked that when she wrote him letters while away at school, he would return them, marked up with red ink.
Rae Ann’s dad (tan shirt on the right) in the audience awaiting the start of presentations. And looks like he is texting!
We joke about the red ink of an English teacher, but writing is extremely important for a better workforce and for a better community. Communicating through the written word, understanding it, interpreting what those before us have written enriches our lives, educates us on the past, helps us educate others, and allows us to share our ideas. Events like the English Student Colloquium encourage students to further engage in communicating ideas and strengthening their writing skills. It also gives us an opportunity to see what our students have learned and how they have grown from their education at BC. The three finalists certainly shine as examples of this. I look forward to next year’s English Colloquium. See all the photos at BC’s Smugmug.
The finalists drawing the presentation order from the “golden chalice”
Korean Culture Day
The students in BC’s Korean Culture Club organized an all-day event on Monday in the Fireside Room and cafeteria celebrating the richness of Korean culture. English professor Andrew Bond helped organize the 2nd Annual Korean Culture Festival, which featured Korean music, food, and a performance by the Long Beach-based K-pop dance troupe, The Last Bite.
Sonia Silva, a representative from CSUB’s International Students and Programs office, was on hand to provide future Cal State transfers with information about study abroad opportunities at the university. See more photos on BC’s Smugmug!
Korean Dancers at BC
Faculty working on assessment of Student Learning
On Monday, I stopped by L160 to talk to Nick Strobel and found faculty hanging out and working on assessment of student learning long after the workshop had ended. Just wonderful! In the picture you see Di Hoffman, the outgoing faculty chair, and Brent Wilson, the incoming chair. David Neville on the far right was Assessment Chair before Di, so in one photo we have three generations of Assessment Committee chairs. Here the beautiful woman in the Renegade Red shirt if Sandy Davis, faculty in nursing.
Di Hoffman, Sandy Davis, Brent Wilson, David Neville
BC team at Banner Ellucian Conference
The BC team was at the Ellucian annual conference in San Diego, examining configuration options and models for the upcoming Banner 9 upgrade. I am told that one of the more significant Banner upgrades will go into effect this summer.
Dena Rhoades, Jennifer Achan, Morgan Bohnsack, Michelle Pena, Zav Dadabhoy, Mark Osea, DJ Vanderwerff, Somaly Boles, Ashlea Ward
Watch for workshops and information from the BC Banner team leads: Jennifer Achan and Michelle Pena.
Also caught this photo posted by Tonya Davis, Vice Chancellor of HR on twitter,
AAMP Open House
On April 6, 2018, the Bakersfield College African American Mentor Program (A.A.M.P.) had a packed house for its second annual AAMP Open House. With nearly 200 African American high school students, BC was able to make a significant contribution to preparing African-American students for college before they even arrive on a college campus.
AAMP Open House 2018 attendees
We kicked off the event with an address from our most distinguished keynote, LaMeka Ross. LaMeka faced trials and tribulations early on in her life, with the loss of her father at a young age. Despite the adversity she overcame her obstacles and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and a Master’s in Business Administration. LaMeka is now working in Human Resources Business Partner Role for Aera Energy. She serves as a living testament to the possibility of enduring and overcoming adversity and to reach success.
The overall theme of the event was to encourage students to exceed academic expectations. Students were split into 2 groups; one group consisted of all seniors while the other was all non-seniors. The senior high school students went to learn about the Umoja ASTEP Program here at Bakersfield College; they got to hear the experiences of prior Umoja students and meet the esteemed faculty that make it all possible. Afterwards, students were able to apply to the program, be accepted, and actually register for the program at the event.
The non-seniors were learning from three amazing workshops that exposed them to their options of dual enrollment, the importance of math, and STEM careers. The entire event was inspirational as students prepared for the transition to college, we planted seeds of encouragement and hope, and we educated students on the opportunities that college can offer.
Thank you to Julian West, Paula Parks, and the whole AAMP team.
Open House 2018 Julian West
AAMP Paula Parks Presenting
Congratulations 2018 KCCD Leadership Academy
The Kern Community College District is committed to supporting professional development that informs employees’ leadership abilities. Each year, the Leadership Academy works to develop classified, faculty and management employees to prepare for leadership roles at every level of the organization.
Through experiential learning opportunities from September through April, the KCCD Leadership Academy offers employees the opportunity to interact with district executives, KCCD trustees, state-level education leaders and others. Participants generate a greater understanding of our geographically expansive district and build cross-district relationships with coworkers.
On behalf of the entire BC community, congratulations to this year’s Leadership Academy participants! And for those of you who have not participated, applications are out for the 2018-2019 cohort. Apply now.
Heather Barajas is currently a Department Assistant III in Human Resources at the Bakersfield College Campus. She has worked at BC for four years and loves being able to see her work/committee participation in action by just simply taking a walk around the campus. As a participant of the KCCD Leadership Academy she enjoyed it because it pushed her out of her comfort zone and gave her more insight of how the district and colleges operate together, in addition to getting to know other people from her campus and the other colleges.
Keith Ford is the Associate Athletic Director at Bakersfield College who has been with BC for almost 3 years. He is involved with campus-wide initiatives and serves on committees including facilities and safety committees. His goal is to one day serve as the Bakersfield College Athletic Director to be able to provide the best opportunities to the student-athletes to achieve their goals, whether it is in athletics, academics or life in general.
Michael McClenic is a program manager at Bakersfield College where he serves students on probation. He started his career at BC in 2015 as an adjunct instructor and seven months later took on the role of Program Manager, Probation and Early Alert. As a participant of the KCCD Leadership Academy he enjoyed the opportunity to meet, interact with and learn from people from other colleges in the district. His takeaway are the words of our esteemed Chancellor – -”What happened in Sacramento, stays in Sacramento”.
Mindy Wilmot is faculty/reference librarian for Bakersfield College. She is finishing up her fourth year (and just received tenure). As a Leadership Academy participant she enjoyed her time learning more about her school and district, as well as getting to work with colleagues from the three campuses. She considered the Legislative Conference to Sacramento the highlight of the academy.
Mike Barrett is a System Support Specialist working at the Bishop and Mammoth Lakes campuses of Cerro Coso Community College. He lives in Bishop California and work at the Bishop and Mammoth Lakes campuses – that’s like a win-win-win-win! He really enjoyed the opportunity to take part in the KCCD Leadership Academy. Having had a chance to tour all of our campuses and see first-hand some of the different challenges each college has in providing educational opportunities for their service areas. He believes our colleges and the district office work well together and is really happy to be a part of such a great team.
Nikki Gardepe is an Assessment Assistant at Cerro Coso Community College. She has been at Cerre Coso for four years. She coordinates student assessment testing activities critical to student academic performance and placement. She knows what it’s like to be in someone else’s shoes trying to deal with the sometime complex education system and finds it rewarding when she can truly help others.
Stephanie Olmedo-Hinde is the current Counselor and Coordinator for Porterville College’s Disability Resource Center. She has worked for the KCCD for 16 years. She comes from a family of KCCD employees, her father Robert Olmedo worked for Porterville College for 12 years and her mother, Perla Olmedo, worked for Porterville College for 35 years. “What I loved most about the leadership academy was the lifelong connections I made with my colleagues from BC, CC, and District Office. My team was full of the best people I’ve ever met and we worked together so well, I love knowing they have my back and I absolutely have theirs”
Steven Alexander is the Director of IT Security and has been with KCCD for almost two years. He lives in Bakersfield with his wife and three children. His favorite experience in the leadership academy was traveling to Sacramento to meet with our state legislators and advocate for our district.
Cammie Ehret-Stevens is a native of Bakersfield and joined the Kern Community College District in July 2011 as the Purchasing Coordinator/Analyst. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting from California Coast University and a Public Procurement Certification from NLPA. In her free time she enjoys camping and traveling abroad. Cammie recently completed the KCCD Leadership Academy in April 2018, where she gained insight to the district and established multiple networking connections.
KCCD in Oregon
A team from Porterville College, Cerro Coso Communty College, Bakersfield College and the District Officer were in Oregon along with staff from Kern High School District and Delano. We have been scaling up rapidly in KCCD with Dual Enrollment and this trip will help systematize some of our processes. Don’t you see Cindy Collier leading this systems development? This is what Cindy does!
Gearing up for Summer Bridge
I’ve been told that 30 out of the 34 scheduled summer bridge sessions are FULL! That is over 1,350 enrollments! I was overjoyed to see the number of faculty and staff who signed up for some dates to mentor at this year’s Summer Bridge, but we have lots of room left!
Thank you to the advisors and counselors that will be helping us throughout the summer! And Allison Burch, Angela Bono, Bill Chapman, Bonnie Hammond, Brent Wilson, Brian Sivesind, Bryan Hirayama, Bryan Russell, Catherine Starling, Cherilyn Haworth, Chris Cruz-Boone, Christian Zoller, Christina Touchstone, Daniel Gomes, Debra B. Strong, Diana Cason, Dinorah Castro, Don Brady, Eddie Rangle, Eleonora Hicks, Elvira Martinez, Emily Poole, Erica Menchaca, Erineo Garcia, Faith Bradham, Gilbert Ayuk, Glenn Samples, Gurpreet Grewal, Heather Pennella, Helen Medrano, Isaac K. Vannasone, James McGarrah, Jeannie Parent, Jessica Wojtysiak, Kaureen Brady, Keri Wolf, Kim Arbolante, Lisa Harding, Lisa Rogers, Marcelyn Allen, Mathew Garrett, Michael Fragoso, Michelle Hart, Mindy Wilmot, Neeley Hatridge, Olivia Garcia, Sara Wallace, Silvet Holcomb, Stephanie Vega, Stephen Tavoni, Sue Vaughn, Talita Pruett, Teresa McAllister, Tina Posey, Tina Zito, Tracie Grimes, Travis Steele, Vayron Martinez, Veronica Lucas, Wade Ellis, and Yvonne Armendariz. #WeareBC!
Transfer Pathway Advising
Khushnur Dadabhoy, Director of Transfer Pathways, and Grace Commiso, Dean of Counseling, leading the ed advisors and other key team members in a strategy session on transfer pathway advising.
Khushbur Dadabhoy and Grace Commiso lead the presentation
We are BC Treats
Dean Manny Mourtzanos sent 3 boxes of We Are BC donuts to counseling to lift spirits in our big sprint for registration.
Bernadette Martinez with a box of treats
Sarah and John from Dunkin Donuts
John Lyon is the Manager/Owner of the Dunkin Donuts location who made these. Sarah is the young woman who created them. Thank you John and Sarah!
Loved these photos of Manny De Los Santos indulging in the treat. We are BC!
Levan Humanities Review
The 2018 issue of the Levan Humanities Review is published! This years issue has thoughtful, engaging pieces, including the Sufi concept of divine love, the meaning of public, including Confederate, statues, Father Garces, and Gerald Haslam’s essay on the valley and his life as a writer. The editors invite you to enjoy this issue, which will contribute to our daily search for wisdom and our understanding of how the humanities help us in that search.
I loved browsing the copy which was delivered to me this week and seeing contributions from Faith Bradham, Olivia Garcia, Matthew Garrett, and Catherine Abbey Hodges, a professor from Porterville College.
Thank you to the Editorial Board including Dr. Portia Choi, Lily Hirsch, Dr. Rae Ann Kumelos, Erin Miller, Nick Strobel, and Reggie Williams.
On April 11-12th, our Office of Institutional Effectiveness team including Craig Hayward, Karen Snow, David Buitron, Alma Livingston, and Nicole Griffin attended the 2018 RP Conference, the largest gathering of institutional researchers and planners in the California Community College System.
Office of Institutional Effectiveness
Craig Hayward at the RP Conference
Craig Hayward, Dean of Institutional Effectiveness, presented during multiple sessions on a range of topics such as student outcomes and policy changes with AB 705, tips and tools for identifying disproportionate impact, and shared how BC’s new program mapper can help clarify the path. Alma Livingston, Research Analyst, also presented with Craig Hayward on how academic advising and CCSSE data benchmarks can guide student engagement and success outcomes, while Karen Snow, Research Analyst, gave a poster presentation on how CATEMA is an integrative tool that will advance student equity. So proud of the OIE team. #WeAreBC
Karen Snow at the RP Conference
It’s a great day any time we get to share and learn ideas for best practices among a group of amazing CA Community Colleges! The tools and information learned at the event will positively impact how institutional research, planning, and effectiveness can positively transform our institution for student success.
Alma, Nicole, and David from BC’s OIE
UC and CCC sign agreement to boost transfers
Chancellor Eloy Oakley at BC, May 2017
Exciting news from the University of California and the California Community College Chancellor’s Office this week. The UC President Janet Napolitano and CA Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Oakley signed a memorandum of understanding that outlines goals and details of how the community colleges and the UC’s will work together in “Enhancing Student Transfer.” The goals are to guarantee admission for all California Community College Transfer students to the University of California campuses. For details on how our ADT’s could work to our students’ advantage in guarantying acceptance at a UC and how TAGs will be effected, I encourage you to read the University of California’s Article.
KCMEA Jazz Day
Speaking of why I am the luckiest and happiest college president ever! BC had the privilege of hosting the third annual KCMEA Jazz Day on Thursday. Our very own Kris Tiner, Director of the Jazz Studies Program, and member of Kern County Music Educators’ Association has been working hard over the last four months to organize and produce this annual event in between his regular faculty duties.
The Highland High Jazz Band performs in the Indoor Theater on April 12th.
With 10 high school ensembles, 3 junior high groups, and a showcase performance by the BC Jazz Ensemble, it was a festival of music and peer sharing in the Simonsen Performing Arts Center, but as Kris said “the focus of Jazz Day is education.”
Taft High School Jazz Ensemble performs in the Indoor Theater
Unlike many competitive festivals, students who participate in Jazz Day have the opportunity to interact directly with expert clinicians and Bakersfield College music faculty. Each group receives a private half-hour clinic in the band room where they polish and refine their performance, and then they play their set on the Indoor Theater stage. Their performances are professionally recorded and additional clinicians give written feedback. Students are immersed in great music throughout the day – sharing, listening, and learning together!
Head clinician Adam Benjamin works with students from Mira Monte High School
You can see why I am so lucky and happy to be the president of a college with such great faculty so involved in the community and furthering education throughout the county.
This year’s head clinician was Adam Benjamin, a Grammy-nominated pianist with the band Kneebody, and Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Nevada, Reno. Benjamin performed with the BC Faculty Jazz Ensemble and gave a masterclass where he treated the audience to an incredible solo piano performance.
BC Faculty Jazz Ensemble with pianist Adam Benjamin (photo by Pete LeGrant)
Afterward, the BC Jazz Ensemble took the stage to perform a selection of tunes from their “BC Jazz plays The Beatles” concert coming up on April 23. Read this great article about the KMCEA Jazz Day, Kris’ observations on the state music education, and all of the support from Bakersfield College faculty and administration in Matt Munoz’ Bakersfield Californian Article MATT MUNOZ: KCMEA helps touts music education and all that jazz.
Basketball Academy at BC!
I was extremely excited to hear our first session of the BC Basketball Academy had 46 participants. We had past and present Renegades coaching, high school coaches who played or had children play for me and Several BC alumni who brought their children, which is what the RENEGADE SPIRIT is all about.
Coach Dahl’s opening message was that we celebrate mistakes because that means you are learning and you have to be uncomfortable to truly become great. The camp ended with a great message from Stig Jantz about the importance of hard work, doing your job and serving others.
Joint EOPS and MESA Student Educational Excursion
EOPS and MESA students kicked off their spring break by visiting UC Davis, UC Berkeley and San Jose State. EOPS and MESA collaborated to identify students interested in STEM majors who are participating in both programs to provide them with a 3-day Educational Excursion. The purpose of this collaboration is to encourage students from underrepresented backgrounds to pursue STEM majors. BC alumni currently attending each of the respective campuses greeted the EOPS and MESA students. They provided personal tours and highlighted STEM facilities, majors, support services such as EOP and MESA, and shared their respective experience as transfer students.
At UC Davis, BC alumni, Emily Schoenborn shared her experience as a transfer student and provided helpful tips to help prepare students for the UC application process as well as the transition. During the visit to UC Berkeley, BC Alumni, Colton Nichelson and Janell Orazco welcomed our EOPS/MESA students and provided a personalized campus tour, shared the benefits of being a student at UC Berkeley, and challenged their peers to go beyond their comfort zone. The final excursion stop was at San Jose State University where BC Alumni, Jose Sanchez, dedicated his Sunday morning to highlight his campus and provided insight on the transfer process as well as the importance of internships. As the students made their way back to the parking lot, BC Alumni, Vu Nguyen and Andrea Hernandez, spotted our BC students. They also briefly, shared their experience in relocating and preparing for transfer. Students who attended the trip were appreciative of the experience and returned highly motivated and encouraged. Special thanks to EOPS and MESA staff for coordinating this successful educational trip.
EOPS Priority Registration Festival
The EOPS department conducted their Registration Festival during first day priority registration on April 4th from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Prior to this day, pre-registration workshops were conducted to provide additional assistance on course registration planning to students. The majority of the students served under the EOPS, CARE, and CalWORKs programs were prepared to register since they already had their courses mapped out on their Comprehensive Student Educational Plan, which is closely monitored and updated by the EOPS Faculty Counselors during each of their three counseling contacts requirement.
There was a constant flow of students from the beginning through the end of the Registration Festival. Although many of their students were prepared to register on their own, the Registration Festival was offered to EOPS students wanting help with registration from counselors and peer mentors.
Seen on Media both social and traditional
Our Chamber Singers received an extra special surprise when the 1965 BC Choir came out to surprise them with a donation to their Australia Tour.
Our faculty are the best — check out the video snippet of Olivia Garcia being interviewd
I saw Olivia Garcia, History Faculty quoted in a news coverage on KERO. Always great to see our faculty contributing to the community.
Professor of Philosophy, Reggie Williams hosted the Gadfly Café with the topic, “What is beauty?”
The hour long, round table discussion was packed with students, faculty and staff from all ages and backgrounds with most not afraid to voice their opinions when called on.
Reggieopened of the conversation with a question: “What is beauty and what does it mean to you?” Thank you Reggie for providing these enriching opportunities for discussion and exploration.
The postponed Spring fling Carnival was well worth the wait. You may remember it was postponed because of the beautiful rain we had a few weeks ago. It was great to see Renegades and their families come out for the carnival fun.
Central California World Language Project
Last Saturday, April 11 was the last CCWLP workshop for this academic year. Central California World Language Project offers this program to the foreign language teachers of Kern County to assist them in keeping current in their field. This academic year, we had 58 participants. Bakersfield College is proud to be the host institution for this project.
Celebrating Pam Boyles
Professor Pam Boyles was inducted into the North High Athletics Hall of Fame on Saturday, April 7, 2018. It was a great event and I wish I got the video of Pam’s speech from Andrea to publish it on my blog. Pam’s remarks were from the heart and recognized various coaches who had shaped her life include Coach Pam Kelley.
There was a “Pam Fan Club” group from BC that sat together at the event to celebrate this amazing woman…a great athlete, a great teacher, a great leader,….and an amazing grandma 🙂
Let’s read about Pam (Ash) Boyles, North High class of 1983. Love the pitcture!
Sandi Taylor, Andrea Thorson, Keith Ford
Ann Tatum, Sonya Christian, Pam Boyles, Kate Pluta
Coach Casey Goodman putting BC Softball on the map
It was a treat heading to our softball game against Alan Hancock. BC won 5-1 and it was a delight waking up in the morning and seeing Jon Mettus’ article header BC Softball cements dominance at top of Conference. Yes! Check out the article herehttps://tinyurl.com/y7f572yu
The BC College community came out in full force to support the team including Trustee Romeo Agbalog whom you see in the picture below. We had the KCCD Board of Trustees meeting on campus earlier in the day and President of the Board, Trustee Kay Meek, congratulated the Softball Team.
I stayed for two innings and then headed out and ran into Pam Boyles and Robert Boyles heading in to support our students. And then ran into Coach Scott Damron (Womens Soccer) and Coach Vayron Martinez (Mens Soccer) heading in. I am the luckiest and happiest college president ever!
Bakersfield Women’s Business Conference
The Bakersfield Women’s Business Conference is this Thursday, April 19th at the Rabobank Arena. Buy your tickets today http://bakersfieldwomen.org/
Norma Rojas Mora and I were on Univision promoting the conference. Here is a photo of us with Ofelia Aguirre.
Good morning Bakersfield. It is Saturday, March 31st and a great day to be a Renegade!
Woke up to Bakersfield College featured multiple times in the Bakersfield Life Magazine.
Let me start with page 71 and Kristen Mercer‘s awesome piece about Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg. Sit back and enjoy a little bit of Nan.
And this is Nan enjoying Bruno Mars as she walked to her car late one evening and I discretely caught her on camera.
Then on page 21 we have Olivia Garcia featured as one of the dining divas. How cool!
And then on page 90, there are photos snapped by Rod Thornburg during BC’s Future Teachers Event organized by Kimberly Bligh and other faculty and staff.
Do you see why I am the luckiest and happiest college president ever?
Spring Break on Campus
Spring Break gives us just enough time to prepare for the sprint towards commencement and the rush of end of the year celebrations. This year, campus was still bustling with activity as crews work to repair and renovate the largest student parking lot on campus, the one surrounding Memorial Stadium.
I love weeks like this because it gives me time to reflect on the various departments that truly make BC a special place to live, learn, and work.
Our Outreach team also prepared a big mailing reaching out to the next incoming class of Renegades. Zav Dadabhoy texted me some fantastic pictures and said, “Guiding students into the pathway begins with a huge mailing to ensure students register on their priority date, for 15 units and in their pathway.”
March for our Lives
Last weekend, students who survived the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida – some of them only 14 years old – organized a march that brought together more than a million people on the Washington Mall of our nation’s capital.
KERO also reported on the two local teachers who flew out to the main March for Our Lives protest in Washington, DC. Mary Miller from Foothill High and Olivia Shears of McKee Middle School held a sign that said “I March For My Students’ Lives #standwiththekids”
Many of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas students spoke on the main stage of the Washington, DC, March for Our Lives, telling their stories of how they were able to survive the shooting. David Hogg, one of the most outspoken survivors of the Parkland shooting, gave a powerful speech saying “change is here. …..The sun shines on a new day, and the day is ours.”
At BC, our Public Safety Department led by Chief Chris Counts is active in teaching our students and community how to respond in cases of emergency. Chief Counts is also educating our campus to be aware of our surroundings all the time and as he says – if you see something, say something, and let’s do something about it.
BC’s Umoja ASTEP Students Touring HBCUs
It’s an exciting time in the lives of BC’s Umoja ASTEP Students! On Monday, March 26th, I was fortunate to be able to help send off ten of BC’s Umoja African-American Success Through Excellence and Persistence (ASTEP) students for a tour of 5 Historically Black Colleges/Universities (HBCU) in the Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia areas.
Dr. Paula Parks, Umoja ASTEP Community Coordinator and English Professor, began working with Cerro Coso’s Umoja Community coordinator on joining this tour in November 2017. Paula began fundraising in December for our students’ tour costs. Students had to apply for the tour by January and selection was based on GPA, being on a transfer pathway, and interest in attending one of the HBCUs.
The 10 students attending are part of BC’s Umoja Community African-American Success Through Excellence and Persistence program. The program includes coursework (English and student development); mentoring, supported study time, a counselor who keeps students on the path to graduate, and academic and cultural trips. This is the third year of the program. The success rate is 2-4 times the success rate of Black students not in the program.
Representatives from Howard University, Norfolk State University, and Morgan State University were on BC’s campus on February 12th, 2018 for the 3rd Annual HBCU Caravan Tour put on by National College Resources. See my blog about the HBCU Visits BC from February 24th.
Dr. Parks and Jonathan Ward, Umoja ASTEP Community Counselor, are escorting the students to five HBCU’s from March 26th to March 30th. They will visit the campuses of Norfolk State University, Virginia State University, Howard University, Morgan State University, and Bowie State University. The students will be able to experience the excitement and atmosphere of being at these historical campuses. We look forward to their successful transfer to one of these colleges.
Did you know that in order to be an HBCU the historically black college must be established prior to 1964? The oldest of the colleges the BC Umoja ASTEP students will tour is Bowie State University, located in Maryland, founded in 1865. The next two, in order of age, were both founded in 1867: Howard University is a private research university in Washington DC, and Morgan State University is a Carnegie-classified doctoral research institution in Maryland. The next is Virginia State University, located 20 minutes south of Richmond and founded in 1882. The youngest the HBCU they will visit is Norfolk State University, located in Norfolk Virginia, founded in 1935.
What a wonderful opportunity for our students. Thank you Dr. Paula Parks for spearheading this educational and motivational trip for the students. I also want to thank Jonathan Ward and the Office of Student Success & Equity for their work in bringing this trip to fruition. Thank you Steve Watkin for leading the African American Initiative at Bakersfield College.
This trip has allowed me to dream much bigger than before. I have explored options that I did not know existed. I now have a great opportunity to go further in life because of this awesome HBCU tour experience — Kim Evans (Umoja student)
AlthoughBakersfield College has provided the foundation for my creator mindset, this experience just reinforced the need for my success. — Korrie Edwards
HUGE Congratulations to BC Drumline!!!
Our Drumline won First Place at last weekend’s Winter Guard’s West Regional Championships for the third year in a row. There were 81 total scholastic and independent groups at the competition. There were 10 groups in our division, Percussion Independent Open, which is the second highest in the activity.
The Drumline got a score of 90.85 out of 100 to win the Percussion Independent Open event for the third consecutive year. The group is currently getting ready to compete in the Percussion World Championships in Dayton, Ohio on April 19-21.
They’ll also be performing at Centennial High School on April 14 for the Pep and Pageantry Arts Association of Central California’s Percussion Finals competition. A ticket will support our local circuit and the young people it serves. This is an opportunity to see our team do what they do best in front of a packed gym of local students, parents, and other fans of the marching arts. Tickets are $10 for adults, $7 students/seniors, and kids under 5 are free. Congratulations to BC’s Drumline and Tim Heasley! Support BC’s Drumline by following every beat on Instagram @BCdrumline and Facebook.
BC everywhere in the state:
Honestly, I can’t keep track of our faculty and staff who are presenting all over the state. This week Michelle Pena did two presentations at the CCCApply (a tool for students to apply for admissions to CA Community Colleges) Conference.
Michelle did a workshop on understanding residency algorithms with Michael Quiaoit, Dean of Student Services. She did a second presentation with Craig Hayward and Patty Donahue the Product Manager for CCCApply on the new filtering tool for MetaMajors we got passed through the Steering Committee last year.
And then ……
Grace Commiso and Maria Wright presented at the Get Focused Stay Focused conference in Santa Barbara. Get Focused…Stay Focused! is a program that focuses on helping students acquire the wisdom and skills to flip the college decision-making paradigm without waiting a quarter of a century of hard won experience to figure it out. It achieves this by helping students to understand who they are, what they want and how they’re going to get it.
Upon completion of the GFSF program, students identify and graduate with:
A carefully-considered career path
An informed major or program of study
A post-secondary institution or training program that not only matches their career and life goals but is affordable
A unique Skills-based Education Plan that facilitates successful entry into a highly competitive workforce upon completion of their education.
BC Softball on the map
Loved this piece by Jon Mettus of The Bakersfield Californian about our new softball coach Casey Goodman.
Photo by Rod Thornburg of Casey Goodman
Here are a few excerpts of what Mettus had to say:
Togetherness is seemingly one of the themes Goodman is building the program around. The team constantly goes out to eat together, and after Tuesday’s win at Santa Barbara City College, the Renegades went to the beach.
One of the concepts central to Goodman’s coaching style is honesty. She doesn’t yell a lot like she did earlier in her career and values conversations with her players. The staff has an open-door policy, pitching coach Megan Rowe said, so the players can address any issues.
Thank you Trustee Romeo Agbalog for attending the game on Thursday. It is always a treat to have our trustees on campus.
Successful Training Day
Kudos to our Cal-SOAP staff for organizing a successful training day, “Next Steps for High School Seniors.” Cal-SOAP Spring Staff Development took place with high school Counselors and Career Technicians. Thank you, Steven Watkin, Mark Osea, Ashlea Ward, Manuel Muralles, and Pedro Ramirez for coming out to prepare our high school partners and staff for Registration Rocks Day on April 5th.
I also want to thank Dr. Terri Goldstein for introducing DSPS student eligibility and support services, Crystal Montoya for covering Next Steps for CSUs, and Maria Madrigal for the UCs.
College Council is a college wide governance committee that is responsible for policy, planning and evaluation of the college as a whole. I chair this committee that includes leaders from the various constituency groups as well as functional areas on campus. At our last meeting on Friday March 16, 2018, we had the pleasure of a presentation on BC Guided Pathways: EOPS Momentum Points and Outcomes by Imelda Simos-Valdez.
Extended Opportunity Programs & Services (EOP&S) was established in 1969 by Senate Bill 164 to encourage and retain students affected by language, social and economic hardships. BC’s EOP&S department also includes Cooperative Agencies Resources for Education (CARE) program, established 1982 by AB 3103, to collaborate with Kern County Department of Human Services for EOP&S students who are single heads of households; and California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs), established 1997 in response to 1996 federal welfare reform legislation, which collaborates with Kern County Department of Human Services to provide supportive services and resources to students (parents) in transition to achieve long-term self-sufficiency and transform lives.
Statistics show EOP&S students attempting 15+ units by the end of the first semester increased by 4.08% in fall 2017 to 15.6% and increased by 2.97% in the spring 2018 to 17.01%. Enrollment in college-level English in the first year increased from approximately 8.0% in fall 2016 to 15.7% in fall 2017 and increased from 10.3% in spring 2017 to 27.5% in spring 2018. Enrollment in college-level math in the first year increased from 6.3% fall 2016 to 8.6% in fall 2017 and from 7.8% to 21% in spring 2018.
Thank you Imelda Simos-Valdez and all of the counselors, staff and faculty that have helped in supporting our students. Their success can be attributed to the completion coaching EOP&S has put into place resulting in a focused approach to students completing their degree or certificate.
The presentation also included a little bit of Program Review for 2016-17. With the goal to increase number of students served (high school seniors/classroom presentations), EOP&S saw 2,900 applications for AY 2017-2018. 1,800 students were admitted in fall 2017, compared to 800-1,000 in previous years. In the summer, EOP&S will be adding a parent component to the second annual Freshman Day.
Did you know that EOP&S has resources for students such as book vouchers, grants and school supplies? These are just a few of the support and services that they provide in addition to reviewing/updating CSEPs, registration assistance for priority enrollment, intrusive follow-up counseling, academic progress reports, academic probation follow-up, educational/life skills workshop, career counseling, transfer assistance, university campus visits, and follow up communication: email and personal phone calls. EOP&S is an important resource for our qualifying students.
Can you see why I’m the luckiest and happiest college president ever?
Special thank you to Harold Pierce for drawing attention to this important event and for being one of the featured speakers for the Health and Social Justice Hackathon at BC, giving a presentation about using journalism to inspire community engagement.
CTE and Student Employment at BC!
CTE at BC helps create a pathway for our students while also helping them gain the hands on experience and technical training they need to be successful in the pathway they choose, while also encouraging them to be a part of the strong workforce of the future.
Career Technical Education (CTE) Vision Board
Our commitment is to help prepare our students for a wide range of high-wage, high skill, high-demand careers. CTE is at the forefront of preparing students to succeed in fast-growing, high-growth industries around the country. According to the California Community Colleges Task Force on Workforce Job Creation and a Strong Economy, the labor market is increasingly demanding a more skilled workforce and by 2020, 65% of all job openings in the U.S. will require some postsecondary education or training – though not necessarily a four-year degree.
It is CTE’s mission to provide educational leadership in developing a competitive workforce. For more information on the different Career and Technical Education programs that Bakersfield College has to offer visit the Career Pathways webpage.
Student Employment is a subdivision of CTE that supports career readiness and pathway work through on-campus employment, work experience, internships and other work based learning activities. Employing over 500 students each year, on-campus employment is a special component that moved to a 100% online application system through Jobspeaker to provide students a more realistic approach to applying for jobs. Students can access employment on and off campus through the online system in addition to the free mobile app available. Career related services such as resume review, job search strategies and mock interviews are available through appointments with Job Development Specialists, in addition to utilizing computers in the Student Employment Lab located in FACE 9.
Unsung Superstars of BC!
Have you ever wondered where all the BC forms, brochures, and posters come from? Our Marketing Department Graphics Designers and Print Shop! These four people do great work keeping up with the design and printing needs a campus of our size. Get to know these unsung heroes below! #WeAreBC!
Josephine Garcia, Matt Foster, Eric Carrillo, and Dylan Wang
Eric Carrillo, Graphic Designer
Eric is a proud alumni of Bakersfield College who began his employment while still enrolled in 2006. Shortly afterwards, he was promoted from a Publications Assistant to Graphics Designer. He credits two awesome mentors Debby Moberg, Publications Coordinator and Bill Parker, Lead Printer who passed on their knowledge and taught him much more than graphics and printing.
Dylan Wang, Graphic Designer
Dylan is a graduate from Houston Community College where he completed his associate’s degree in Digital Communications and has been working at Bakersfield College since July, 2015. Dylan is often my go-to guy when I need some beautiful artwork or design in a pinch!
Josephine Garcia, Lead Printer
Josephine considers herself a printing concierge with a vast knowledge of the industry. Her goal is to continuously provide superior results and expeditious service, all while pursuing new growth opportunities and maintaining lasting relationships with faculty and staff.
Matt Foster, Print Shop Clerk
Matt started working at the BC Print Shop as a Student Worker in 2014 and was hired full time in 2016. His job is crucial to the workings of the Print Shop and to ensure BC staff and faculty receive their ordered jobs quickly and accurately.
Galvin started as the weekend sports anchor for KGET, eventually transitioning to become one of the faces of the morning team. Good news is, Galvin will stay in Bakersfield as one of the play-by-play announcers for CSUB Roadrunner Baseball on ESPN Radio.
This week, a highlight reel about Jason’s career even had a few connections to BC and I smiled when I saw Memorial Stadium. The first was the Condors’ Winterfest game from last year, and the other was doing play-by-play commentary with Chad Manning for the Renegade football team’s game-winning run in the final five minutes against El Camino College. Jason referred to Chad as “a sports icon”. Chad is a huge supporter of Bakersfield College and Renegade Football. #GoGades
Bakersfield is truly a great community. Thank you to KGET for all the partnerships you’ve inspired.
It’s what Spring Break is about!
I love staying connected with faculty and staff, and I always love a great photo! I received some wonderful messages throughout Spring Break from faculty and staff resting, working, and gearing up for the sprint to commencement!
Picture from Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg in Wisconsin
Extra Fun Photos
Sandi Taylor emailed me this fun photo with Cynthia Williams. Cynthia recently shared with me that the last of her nine grandchildren (twins) Mason and McKenzie will be graduating from Bakersfield College this year. McKenzie will be going into the nursing program specializing in the Neo-natal field, and Mason will be going into the Ag program at either Cal State Bakersfield, or Fresno State. All of her grandchildren are college graduates and she says “they make us very, very proud. Education is the most important legacy in anyone’s life.” Thank you Cynthia!
Tracy Hall-Powell and Jennifer Marden-Serratt sent this fun photo of smiles. You may remember, Tracy embarked on a new adventure in Washington last September and we miss her smile!
And here is a photos of Bryan Hirayama and his boys from Facebook
What a gorgeous Easter weekend.
Sonya Christian and Neo out for a walk on Easter Saturday. 62 degree temp. Yes!
Happy Easter all!
That’s all for now.
Until next time.
With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.
sonya — the luckiest and happiest college president ever
Good morning Bakersfield…it is Saturday, January 20, 2018 and a great day to be a Renegade.
The week started on Martin Luther King day with the campus closed and Bakersfield coming together at the Martin Luther King Jr. Center on South Owens for a morning of honoring Reverend King. The emcee for the event was our very own Steve Watkin or Pastor Steve Watkin as he was introduced. Steve did a great job keeping the program moving along. Watching Steve in this leadership role in our community made all of us at BC very proud. And there were many of us there that Monday morning….two tables full of faculty, staff and students. #WeAreBC
Martin Luther King Jr.
Nationwide, we remembered the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Monday, which is why the Spring 2018 semester started on a Tuesday. Dr. King’s civil rights activism laid the groundwork for realizing the voting rights of millions of people, opened the way to the promise of American democracy. In this work he saw education as the key to helping people understand shared struggles, and developing empathy for struggles that are not shared.
The function of education… is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. But education which stops with efficiency may prove the greatest menace to society. The most dangerous criminal may be the man gifted with reason, but with no morals.
As we look back on Dr. King this week, we should reflect on the responsibility we have as educators to ensure that we’re not leaving any of our students behind in providing a quality education for all, regardless of ethnic background, socioeconomic status or political affiliation. We can’t grow complacent and say that the work we’ve done so far is good enough—we must push forward and continue to find where we’re falling short of advancing BC’s educational mission of BC to everyone with the drive to be successful and achieve their dreams.
Debra Strong, Paula Parks, Mayor Karen Goh, Gilbert Ayuk, Sonya Christian, Julian West, June Charles, Kim Evanson
I was honored to attend the annual MLK Community Awards Breakfast which recognizes prominent African American leaders for their achievements. I was so glad to see this picture by Felix Amado of The Bakersfield Californian on the front of Tuesdays paper.
It was so much fun catching us with friends and colleagues in the community. Here I am with Assembly Member Rudy Salas and the two vice presidents, Zav Dadabhoy and Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg.
Rudy Salas, Sonya Christian
Zav Dadabhoy, Sonya Christian, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg
I was sitting next to June Charles and the event and we had a great time enjoying the emceeing of Steven Watkin and the many honorees. I was delighted to run into my daughter’s high school friend Roopa Raman.
Sonya Christian, Roopa Raman
Sonya Christian, June Charles
Here are the Umoja students Kim Evanson and Jordan Taylor with their faculty Paula Parks and Jonathan Ward. When Jordan told me he was transferring to CSUB, I walked him over to meet President Horace Mitchell.
Jordan Taylor, Horace Mitchell
Kim Evanson, Paula Parks, Jonathan Ward, Jordan Taylor
At this year’s breakfast, those being honored included Horace Mitchell, retiring president of Cal State Bakersfield; Essie Davis, retired high school vice principal; Odella Johnson, retired Bakersfield College administrator; Lisa Green, the departing Kern County District Attorney; Ramon Hendrix, superintendent of the Greenfield Union School District; Harry “Doc” Ervin, the superintendent of the Bakersfield City School District; Darryl Johnson, director of human resources at Panama-Buena Vista Union School District; Karyn Bostick, dance director at The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center; and Bakari Sanyu, who has spent 20 years as a volunteer tutor at the MLK Community Center.
In his remarks, Dr. Horace Mitchell quoted Dr. King… “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
Keynote speaker, Chief Lyle Martin shared that we need to be “constructively kind” and that tough love with high expectations is the way to success. This made me think of our completion coaching communities and their coaches at Bakersfield College who work tirelessly to inspire and keep our students on the path to graduation and beyond.
BC was well represented at the event and I loved seeing our UMOJA students there with Dr. Paula Parks.
Back row- Professor Jonathan Ward, Mr. Julian West, and Professor Gilbert Ayuk Front row – Dr. Paula Parks, Dr. Sonya Christian, and Umoja students Kim Evans and Jordan Thomas
Welcome to Spring Semester 2018!
The BC campus came back to life this week, as students returned to school on Tuesday to start classes for the Spring 2018 semester.
Debi Anderson from Outreach hosting a Welcome Tent
The Welcome Center and Counseling area were busy with students trying to register into classes at the last minute, and students were lined up in the bookstore to get their materials for the semester.
The Office of Student Life gave away hot cocoa and cookies in front of the Campus Center, and staff held court outside of the Administration building, helping new students find their classes in the fog. The start of the semester is always a busy time, but we all look forward to helping our students leap forward into their educational future.
Mentalist Richard Aimes gave a presentation to students on Wednesday in the cafeteria, and the Office of Student Life aired a movie on Thursday in the Fireside Room. Next week, the festivities only get bigger with our Spring Involvement festival, jousting in the center of campus, our Tunes and Tie Dye event and a comedy show by Steve Hofstettler, so come on out and help us in our goal of “Conquering the Road Ahead”, the motto for our Spring 2018 Welcome Week. Photos from this week are available at BC’s Smugmug.
Students at the Welcome Center
Irish singer Dolores O’Riordan of ’90s group The Cranberries passed away in London on Monday at the age of 46.
The Cranberries–known primarily for the song “Zombie”, which was about a Irish Republican Army terrorist bombing during The Troubles conflict in 1993–reached the Billboard Top 20 with four of their albums before disbanding in 2003, according to an article by The New York Times Christine Hauser. O’Riordan’s publicist did not specify the cause of death, but it’s not currently being treated as suspicious.
Writing about O’Riordan, Hauser said that “her unmistakable Irish accent and the Celtic inflection of her melodies gave her singing a plaintive individuality and a flinty core.”
I love the song Zombie …. here they are performing on the David Letterman show.
Sweet Treat Delivery
The President’s Office had a surprise visit on Wednesday from Chef Alex Gomez and his Advanced Food Practicum B55E students, Joshua Crews, Tammy Brannon, Alma Herrera, Lora Penaloza, and Ana Mendez. Josh prepared chocolate brownies with peanut butter frosting topped with popcorn and pretzel. They were delicious. The class that Chef Gomez was teaching is Advanced Food Practicum B55E
Joshua Crews, Tammy Brannon, Alma Herrera, Lora Penaloza, and Ana Mendez with Chef Alex Gomez
I brought a piece back from my mom who loved it and wanted more. When i told her that this was part of the culinary program and not a regular item in our cafeteria, mom responded..well aren’t you president…. 🙂
GET Bus Report to the Community
Golden Empire Transit (GET), Bakersfield’s bus system, highlighted BC student Ian Kennedy in its 2017 Report to the Community newsletter. Ian, who is legally blind, rides the GET bus to BC every day to pursue a degree in music. His service dog Dominic helps him navigate his bus routes and get around the campus. Ian has aspirations of being a vocal coach after earning his associate’s degree. “Being able to travel independently is important and GET makes that possible”, Kennedy said. “GET brings me closer to my goals.”
Thank you to our friends at the GET Bus for highlighting Ian and providing transportation for all of our 31,000 students. Without GET, many of our students would be unable to make it to class every day
On top of all the activity going on during Welcome Week, Bill Moseley and the Academic Technology Department held several workshops training faculty on eLumen, the new Curricular and Assessment software we’re rolling out for Spring 2018.
We also invited over 100 adjunct faculty — from first-semester adjuncts to a 24-year veteran instructor — to eat together and learn about all of the exciting new developments on the campus.
On Wednesday night, the Renegades women’s basketball team opened conference play by beating Los Angeles Pierce College by 40 points at home. The Renegades forced 35 turnovers using a 1-3-1 half-court trap defense, and Octavia Croney scored 21 points in 23 minutes on the field to lead the Renegades to a much needed win after starting 7-11 for the season, according to an article by the Bakersfield Californian’s Jon Mettus.
This week, I had the chance to meet with Dr. Jeet Singh and the fabulous Michael Bowers. Dr. Singh is a remarkable man and co-owner of the Bakersfield Heart Hospital. This Bakersfield Californian article from 2016 shares that at the time Dr. Singh had performed the TAVR, an alternative to open heart surgery at Cedars-Sinai, but will now also be offering it in Bakersfield. “It’s a good moment for Kern County” he said, as quoted in the article.
And Michael Bowers is a fantastic friend and supporter of Bakersfield College. He is a field representative for Andy Vidak and was instrumental with his endless support in helping with the Measure J campaign at BC.
Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce Board Installation and Awards Luncheon
Carla Musser at the Luncheon Photo by April & Co.
Celebrating the past accomplishments and looking forward to new opportunities was the theme of the Chamber’s 2018 Board Installation & Awards Luncheon on Jan. 11, 2018. More than 300 people attended. The event served as the installation of the Chamber’s Board of Directors, including Carla Musser, of Chevron, as the 2018 Chairwoman of the Board. Carla is actively involved in the community and serves on several boards in Bakersfield. She is the Manager of Policy, Government, and Public Affairs for Chevron and is responsible for communications and community engagement function for major global upstream business unit covering exploration and production activities California. Carla and Chevron are great supporters of Bakersfield College and I’m so proud she is the Chamber’s new Chairwoman of the Board for 2018.
April & Co. has provided photos from the event. They are availablehere. One of my favorites features BC’s own Mary Jo Pasek with Michael Chertok and Nancy Pollard.
Michael Chertok, Mary Jo Pasek, and Nancy Pollard. Photo by April & Co
On Friday, Abel Guzman, Faculty Chris Cruz-Boone, and counselor Jesse Oropeza presented to College Council on Rural Initiatives. College Council is a collegial, consultative, oversight body designed to serve the good of the College. The group facilitates timely, factual, and clear communication between constituents and the President. It provides recommendations to the President on college-wide matters.
Choir and Chamber Singers Rehearsing at BC
I love to see the activities at BC that just never stop, and our talented performing arts students are so inspiring. Here is a post from Dr. Jen Garrett — she says “There’s some seriously good Choral music happening in Bakersfield” It’s true. If you haven’t been to a concert recently, keep your eyes on BakersfieldCollege.edu for details on the upcoming shows.
Talking about the choir, this week we had our second meeting with Trustee Kyle Carter who is spearheading the fundraising for the dollars that are needed to send our students to Australia to perform at the Sydney Opera House. Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg was there and snapped this picture.
Mark your calendars for March 10, 2018. Two celebrities in our area have stepped up to help the choir –Lydia Ranger and Monty Byrum.
Here is Lydia Ranger singing the national anthem at a Lakers game
Here is Monty Byrom singing with the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra
We are trying to sell two shows of 251 tickets each.
And here is a great video put together by Mason Edwards and other students wishing Jennifer Garrett happy birthday. It is awesome!
On Friday I presented on Guided Pathways to the North Orange Community College District. Here I am with the Chancellor and two presidents or North Orange. And Amita Suhrid who organized the event.
President Greg Schultz, President Joanna Schilling, President Sonya Christian, Chancellor Cheryl Marshall, Amita Suhrid
I remembered my friend Dr. Ken Meehan, a great researcher from Fullerton College, who passed away several years ago. Here is a photo with Ken on May 7, 2005.
And Neo turned 10 months old on Jan 17, 2018. He is 78 pounds
Neo on Jan 17, 2018 his 10th month b’day
Neo on Jan 18 2018
That’s all for now.
Until next time.
With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.
sonya — the luckiest and happiest college president ever
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