Norma Rojas-Mora snapped this picture of Paula at yesterday’s Hall of Fame event and I felt it was appropriate to start my blog with the person who taught me the word Umoja and the importance of unity.
Also, KCCD was well-represented at last week’s Community College League of California Annual Legislative Conference in Sacramento. Trustees Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg and Yovani Jimenez met with colleagues from around the state to discuss the importance of our California Community Colleges and the road ahead to support students.
Nan also presented with Dr. Martha Garcia, president of College of the Desert.
One highlight of the conference was the legislative town hall featuring Assemblymember Jose Medina, whose work on AB 927 – which makes the Baccalaureate Degree Pilot Program permanent – will be transformational for so many of our students, and for the communities we serve.
Working together and building partnerships to improve our students’ lives – that’s what we do at the Kern Community College District!
Good morning, friends… It is February 12, 2022. The sun shines bright over KernCCD.
This week, the Pirates, the Coyotes, and the Renegades continue to #DareMightyThings
PC Returns to In Person Instruction on the 14th
PC President Dr. Claudia Habib informed the campus community on Feb 9 that PC will be returning to in person instruction starting Monday, Feb. 14th.
In a letter to the campus community, Habib stated, “I am optimistic that with everyone’s help, we will manage conditions on campus and continue to provide the safest environment for our students, faculty, and staff. Currently, Tulare County’s Positivity Rate is at 22.1%. This number reflects improvement on pandemic conditions over the past several weeks, and I hope it continues trending this way.” She did add a bit of reality to that optimism, stating, “It is, however, essential to remember that COVID isn’t over, and there are still new cases in our community every day. For that reason, department staffing will continue to adapt with flexible schedules as needed.”
Students, faculty, and staff continue to use the KCCD App every day to support a successful return. Thank you to our students, faculty, and staff for continuing to take these essential steps to keep yourself and our community safe.
PC is spreading the word about a fantastic program created to provide resources and support for African American and other students.
Umoja, which is a Kiswahili word meaning unity, is a community and critical resource dedicated to enhancing the cultural and educational experiences of African Americans and other students.
Students participating in UMOJA receive academic advising, culturally relevant professional and personal development resources, support for their academic success, access to a multi-college and university network, peer mentorship, and access to the PC UMOJA Village.
The PC Men’s Basketball team grabbed a critical win against Fresno City College on Wednesday (74-65). Join our Pirates as they head back home for the next step towards a winning season this Saturday, February 12, versus West Hills Coalinga at home!
The Pirates were ranked 28th going into this week in the California Community College Men’s Basketball Coaches Association Poll. Cheer on the Pirates as they fight to finish the season in the top 30 for the state.
Spectators are allowed in the gym for this game (thank you for wearing your mask and protecting our student-athletes), so SHOW US YOUR RED, Porterville!
Cerro Coso Community College
How About Them Coyotes
The Cerro Coso men’s basketball team entered their home court on Wednesday night with a season long goal of pursing the playoffs in focus. But in order to do so, they would need to go through conference rival, San Bernardino Valley College. SBVC came into the Cerro Coso Gym as the #1 team in the IEAC and ranked #8 in the CCCAA coaches poll with a record of 9-2/17-4.
From the very tipoff, Cerro Coso controlled the tempo and won in the “little parts” of the game. Josh Miller (21 pts) won the tip and from there the Coyotes would roll on to a big 96-87 win over the Wolverines. Cerro Coso’s high energy performance was led by the hardnosed play of Kyren Gardner(17 pts) who really stepped up for his teammates Wednesday night by fighting for rebounds, playing strong on defense, and attacking the basket to keep the Coyotes on pace. Nathaniel Jackson also proved to be a key to the victory as he helped to keep a stingy SBVC defense out of rhythm with some shifty ball movement and cashing in on 20 points.
With the win, Cerro Coso moves to 17-5 overall and 8-3 in conference and will travel to Palo Verde this weekend and face the pesky Pirates.
Cerro Coso returns home next weekend for their final home series when they face College of Desert on February 19 and 20.
Valles says CC Guides You Toward Bigger Goals
Meet Cerro Coso Promise student Geraldine Valles. Originally from Laredo, Texas, Valles followed her boyfriend to Ridgecrest when he was picked up to play Baseball for the Coyotes. Vales, an athlete herself, has been playing on the Women’s Volleyball team for two years. She plans to graduate this May with a transfer degree in Liberal Arts Math and Science. Her goal is to transfer to the University of Texas at Austin next fall and major in exercise science and psychology. Ultimately she would like to become a sports psychologist to help athletes reach their full potential not only on the court/field but also mentally.
Valles says the Cerro Coso Promise program has not only helped her focus on helping others at Cerro Coso and in the community of Ridgecrest, but has also helped her financially with books, transportation, and tuition. She believes other students should apply for the promise program “because it gets you involved at Cerro Coso by meeting new people, helping out around the campus, and has a great financial impact on college expenses.”
Her favorite memory of Cerro Coso “has been forming relationships with not only her fellow students but also faculty and staff. Especially, Ms. Connie…she has always motivated me and made me feel like Cerro Coso is my home, she always asks how I’m doing and it’s great to always see her around campus to catch up whenever we can.
Valles encourages others to consider Cerro Coso because, “they have the best faculty and staff to help you throughout your college journey. They helped me tremendously. Even though, when I got to Cerro Coso Covid-19 had just started, the college implemented great ways to connect to professors and offered new technological advances for many subjects.
For the first time since launching in 2017, the Cerro Coso Promise Program is opening up for new applications this spring offering students up to two full-years of tuition-free education. The Cerro Coso Community College Foundation (CCCC Foundation) launched the program in 2017 to ensure that no deserving student is denied the opportunity to earn a college degree or certificate. Besides covering two full years of tuition-free education, the program helps with textbooks, counseling, and the kind of hands-on support that is helping student within the Kern Community College District service area develop an education plan to meet their career and academic goals.
What makes this program unique is that it is not based on personal income and is open to all full-time students…new, returning, continue students who meet the criteria.
The Cerro Coso Promise program provides access to community college education for students who might otherwise have been excluded due to financial barriers.
Information and application for the Cerro Coso Promise Program is available on the college website at www.cerrocoso.edu
The Cerro Coso Promise is funded through the support of generous donors and the statewide California College Promise.
Students attending Cerro Coso Bishop and Mammoth Lakes campuses are eligible to apply for the Inyo or Mono Promise.
5th Graders Attend Cerro Coso College Day Virtually
As they approach middle school, now is an ideal time to get fifth graders thinking about higher education. What does a day in the life of a Cerro Coso student look like? That and many other college related questions were the focus of the 5th Grade I’m Going to College Day held virtually on Tuesday, February 8th, 2022.
Cerro Coso is no stranger to technology, and now our society is better equipped than ever before to connect with each other virtually and that includes fifth graders. Unable to hold the event for the last two years, CC Outreach Director Katie Bachman leveraged college and local school technology to hold the event virtually and helped elementary school students embrace the new normal. Three area elementary schools participated in the three-hour event via Zoom with 146 5th graders in attendance. Activities allowed the 5th graders to experience college in a playful, creative, and collaborative way that would inspires them to pursue a higher education.
Instructors and staff offered engaging sessions to help those in attendance learn about the educational options available to them at Cerro Coso. Dr. Sean Hancock opened by welcoming and encouraging the students to consider their future as a Coyote at Cerro Coso. Paralegal Professor Dawn Ward held a fun “Who Did It” session, English Professor Melanie Jeffrey’s led classes in Mad Libs, Counselor Karee Hamilton shared how high school students can earn a degree before graduating high school through the college Dual/Concurrent Enrollment program, Ashley Nichols familiarized students with the Library with some fun activities, and Cerro Coso students talked about student life on campus and their experiences at the college. Not sure what they want to do after high school? That’s okay, Jennifer Marshall showed students how the CC Career Center can help.
Each child will receive an “I’m going to college” t-shirt, share the Kern Pledge with mom and dad, and will sign a Kern Pledge banner indicating they intend to be responsible citizens by going to college or directly into the workforce.
The experience is one they will never forget and stresses the importance of going to college long before they are ready to go. “You have BRAINS in your HEAD. You have FEET in your SHOES. You can STEER yourself any DIRECTION you CHOOSE.” – Dr. Seuss
Cerro Coso Holds Evacuation Drills
Knowing what to do and where to go in an emergency can save lives. The week of January 31 through February 4, Cerro Coso exercised a series of Emergency Evacuation drills at all campus locations.
Everyone in a building that was being evacuated was instructed exit the building in the quickest and safest route and travel to the closest evacuation assembly area.
These drills are held every semester so everyone in the buildings knows and understands the evacuation plan and knows what to do in the event of a real emergency. They also provide an opportunity to identify areas of concern to be addressed, and alter plans accordingly.
Keeping everyone fully trained is the best way to ensure an evacuation drill is effective at fulfilling its purpose.
Umoja Celebrates Black History Month
BC’s Umoja Community kicked off Black History Month with their 4th annual conference. CSULA professor/performer Funmilola Fagbamila engaged attendees in a conversation on building coalitions in the Black community. The chat was on fire with comments and questions from BC students, BC faculty, and community members. Please consider joining one of the remaining events this month, including:
Congratulations to Olivia Garcia, KCHCC’s Newest Chair
This past weekend, the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual awards dinner and welcomed in the new Chair of the Executive Board, BC’s Professor of History, Olivia Garcia.
Bakersfield College was also recognized with an award, which was accepted by KCCD Trustee President, Romeo Agbalog.
Ralph Bailey congratulated Olivia and KCHCC President Jay Tamsi, who received a Humanitarian Award, on his show:
BC Art Professor Speaks to Liberty High School Students
Joseph Tipay, Professor of Art, presented to the Hispanics in STEM Club at Liberty High School just before the holidays. In addition to discussing his professional accomplishments, Joseph shared about being a first-generation college student, being system impacted, growing up facing adversity, and failing early in his college career.
After the presentation, students shared inspiring stories about their own journeys and dreams for the future. Joseph noted, “I’ve done panels and large Zoom conferences, but these intimate conversations are often the most impactful.” Tipay teaches Art classes in the Rising Scholars Program and at other BC locations. You can learn more about his work at Joseph Tipay Art.
Chancellor’s Seminar Series
Last week, the Chancellor’s Seminar Series focused on budgets with a session called “Dollars and Sense of Budgeting”.
Mike Giacomini shared insight into the process at Bakersfield College:
Lisa Couch spoke about Cerro Coso Community College:
The Loop published this article about Cerro Coso Dean of Career-Technical Education Nicole Griffin, who spoked at the monthly Tehachapi Mountain Branch AAUW (American Association of University Women) of Tehachapi meeting.
Her talk described the transformative power of education for all, especially women and those in marginalized groups.
Fun Photos & Spotted on Social Media
Check out these photos Diego Gutierrez Monterrubio shared from his figure drawing class:
“We’re getting art show work ready! My Figure Drawing class was FIRE last night!I’m happy their enthusiasm and morale has them creative from beginning to end.“
Porterville College shared this from the KCCD Leadership Academy:
“What a wonderful and inspiring day sharing about PC projects and programs with the KCCD Leadership Academy!“
The Cerro Coso Learning Assistance Center shared this beautiful snapshot from campus:
“It’s a great day to close the textbooks and take a walk through campus. Or, gather your things and find a spot to study. Happy Friday!“
Spotted John Means with Dolores Huerta on Facebook
I loved these beautiful flowers that BC Astronomy Professor Nick Strobel shared:
“The first of our California Poppies are blooming along with our African Daisies.“
I hope you are all staying safe and enjoying a wonderful holiday – even though it likely looks very different from other years. It is a holiday season of pain and suffering for many as our nation continues battling the Coronavirus pandemic. But it is also, I think, a season of hope and unity.
On Christmas Eve, a friend sent me this article from David French in Time Magazine. In it, he describes how difficult it can be to get into the Christmas Spirit when there is so much going wrong around us.
“But times of great suffering are also times that can reveal deep truths,” he wrote.
He then discussed the Christmas hymn “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day,” which is based on the poem “Christmas Bells” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
It ends with the line:
The Wrong shall fail, The Right prevail, With peace on earth, good-will to men.
It shows us that even in the darkest moments, we must face the world together and find those glimmers of hope.
The bells of Christmas this year bring a reminder of the difficulties of this past year – but they also bring hope.
Jack talked about how we are all connected – and we must recognize this connection both now, during the pandemic; and later, when we are past this difficult time.
“If this pandemic has taught us anything, it should be that we are all connected, all one with each other, our family, our friends, our neighbors, strangers and those of other nations. Yet, we too often stress our islands of individuality, forget that we are all linked as a community. In a philosophy class I taught years ago at Bakersfield College, a student from Africa, who later transferred to Stanford University, mentioned that when he first came to our country, he was struck by our emphasis on individuality in contrast to his home’s emphasis on community. The lesson for that day. The lesson for us now.”
After this year of pandemic and turmoil, I hope that we all come out with one positive idea – the idea of unity. I hope that everything we have experienced together over the past 12 months will in fact bring us together to face our new world and create a better tomorrow through unity.
The Christmas bells are tolling for each of us, to find our strength in unity and push through the end of a tumultuous year.
This week, we saw a sign how everyone and everything is connected on a cosmic level when we witnessed a truly once-in-a-lifetime event. In fact, it was once in many lifetimes. The Great Conjunction of Jupiter & Saturn is something that hasn’t been seen in our night sky for nearly 800 years. A conjunction occurs when planets appear very close to one another due to the way they line up with Earth in their orbits. Jupiter and Saturn align about once every 20 years, but haven’t appeared this close since 1623. And it hasn’t been viewable at night in nearly 800 years.
Our resident astronomer, Nick Strobel, shared these photos he took of the event:
And check out this webcast of the winter solstice “Great Conjunction,” provided by the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, California. You can read more at space.com.
Good morning, Bakersfield. It is Saturday, December 26, 2020…My last blog entry for 2020. A great day to be a Renegade.
Becki Whitson — A Renegade Legend
Bakersfield College lost one of our greatest cheerleaders last week. Our hearts are heavy with the news that Becki Whitson passed away.
Becki was a BC alum, and she also was a faculty member in the Behavioral Sciences department for many years – and served as department chair for 7 years. She is perhaps best known as the former head cheerleading coach. I remember when she retired in 2017, KCCD Trustee Kyle Carter said, “Becki Whitson is Bakersfield College.”
Becki was always an ardent supporter of Bakersfield College, serving as president of the Bakersfield College Alumni Association for over 25 years. At Opening Day this year, she helped me announce the Renegade Alumni Council. Becki’s Renegade pride is evident in the way she speaks about Bakersfield College:
There will be a celebration of life on July 26, 2021, and I will share that information at a later date.
“BC’s tutoring program is vibrant, boasting nearly 100 thoroughly trained tutors to serve all BC students, even while running virtually. The tutors are all students themselves, so a student reaching out for help need not feel intimidated as might happen during a professor’s Zoom office hours. The staff is extremely involved in the entire appointment-making process and will carefully match a student with the best tutor. Drop-in and recurring appointments are available. Staff, several faculty and tutors are in the Zoom lobby over 40 hours a week, ready to greet potential tutees warmly and direct them to a breakout room with their tutor.”
Community Voices: Kayla Moore
Critical care nurse & BC RN program graduate Kayla Moore also wrote in the Californian about the importance of education.
“We hear a lot of talk about “gifts” during the holidays. This seems like the perfect time for me to thank our generous community — and the BC nursing team — for their gift to me: the gift of education. Their kindness has made a lasting impact on my life, and without it I would not have had the opportunity to complete my education and begin my career as a critical care nurse. I will never forget the generosity that was extended to me and I plan to pay it forward by contributing to scholarships in the future.”
Umoja Community Celebrates Kwanzaa
Umoja Community held a pre-Kwanzaa Celebration and acknowledged both students and mentors.
Kwanzaa is celebrated December 26 through January 1. It is a non-religious celebration focused on African values. Created by Dr. Maulana Karenga in 1965, each day of the seven-day holiday has a theme.
Umoja students explained each of the Nguzo Saba (seven principles). Zariyah noted that “each principle is to reinforce a basic value of African culture that contributes to building the family, the community, and the culture.”
Then, all participants played a Kohoot game to test their knowledge of the seven-day celebration. It got competitive, with some faculty trying to win against some of the students, or a particular faculty member.
The winners were Hortense (first place), Mercedez (second place), and Umoja Librarian Ms. Faith (third place). While all three got all the questions right, it came down to speed in answering.
Mentors were also shown some love. In this virtual environment, the Umoja mentors were even more needed. Hortense appreciated the “uplifting emails every week to get me through the day to make sure that I stayed on track” from her mentor Ms. Kathleen Hicks.
The caring Umoja team that also includes Michael Little, Mychael Phillips, Gilbert Ayuk, Steve Agard, Melissa Gonzalez, and Coordinator Dr. Paula Parks is truly dedicated to students.
Steve Watkin, AAI lead, expressed appreciation from and offered the continued support of the administration. The administrative team, including the deans, are an invaluable support and much appreciated partner in the success of Umoja.
Dr. Parks added that the students are always part of the Umoja Community and should consider the whole amazing team part of their forever support system. She added, “I was so impressed last semester with how engaged, inquisitive, and kind the students were.” She gave a shout out to peer mentor Alexis, who went above and beyond to tutor and encourage students and to help them form a community.
Sha’ron said, “I would like to say a big thank to Dr. Parks. There have been times when I’ve been at my lowest. . . and I really appreciate you.” Dr. Parks is like “your second mom that you can just go to for anything. I want to say thank to her and Ms. Faith because I’ve cried in her office too.”
Kaleb’s ending comment reminds us of the importance of the program and its values. He said he remembered having a 1.3 gpa. “Now its almost a 3.0, and I only have one more semester until I graduate. I wouldn’t be where I am without the Umoja program.”
The Umoja Community program includes courses with an African-American focus, mentoring, counseling support to stay on track and graduate, and academic and cultural trips. Available classes for spring are the following: English b1b, Comm b1/Lib b1, Astron b2, Music b23, Math b22, and Psych b5.
Spotted on Social Media
Mary Jo Pasek shared this story & photo:
“Months before the picture with Santa my only sibling died in a tragic accident. My Mother and Dad did the best they could to hold it together. This was taken in early December at Dayton’s in St Paul. I was NOT having any part of this man. Nothing my Aunt or Mother could say made me smile. He simply looked so suspicious and all I wanted was my brother back with me. Along with this cute hat and fur piece I had a muff. Always decked out for the cold weather. A precious keepsake for me!“
Maria Wright shared this photo of her husband, Dr. Jamal Wright, receiving his degree on his birthday:
There is still time to order your Nike Renegade Athletics gear from their official team uniform supplier – Eastbay. Items available for purchase include T-shirts, Long-Sleeves, Polo’s, Hoodies, Sweatshirts and more in both men’s and women’s sizes.
Show your Renegade pride and get that piece of Nike BC Renegade team gear you’ve always wanted. The store is open from now until Jan. 1, 2021. Items will ship once the store closes. All proceeds from sales will directly benefit BC Athletics.
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.