On Saturday, headed out to Morgantown home of West Virginia University where my best friend from high school teaches in the Life Sciences department.
On Sunday headed with the team to Washington DC to elevate the visibility of the work being done at California Community colleges. The team included – Deputy Chancellor Daisy Gonzales and Vice Chancellor of Government Relations David O’Brien; from the Board of Governors, President Amy Costa & Pamela Haynes; from the Foundation for California Community Colleges, Executive Director of Workforce Development Tim Aldinger.
Then headed to San Diego for the DEI Conference and then back home Friday night.
Here are some photos:
Morgantown visiting my friend who cooked great Kerala dishes and event packed some food for the road…. yuuum.
Washington DC visit
Department of Education:
Department of Energy:
Department of Labor:
Senator Alex Padilla:
A must-do photo of the Washington monument every time I visit DC:
Check out Little Amal who visited DC. Little Amal represents a fictional nine-year-old Syrian girl, representing displaced children today. The giant puppet was created by the South Africa-based Handspring Puppet Company.
“The Walk” tells Amal’s life story, her search for her mother and her flight to safety.
Check out this video from Georgetown University about it:
Goodbye for now DC
After a few jam-packed days in DC, we headed to San Diego for the DEIA in Action Institute.
At the conclusion of my talk, I invited the leadership at the Chancellor’s Office to come up on stage with me – John Hetts, Daisy Gonzales, Pamela Haynes, Marc LeForestier, Lizette Navarette and Aisha Lowe. Check out the photo.
What a wonderful week!
Good morning California. It is September 23, 2023. A good day to be a Community College Champion
From California Community Colleges. Our Time is Now!
CCC Presidents Selected for Aspen Presidents Fellowship
The College Excellence Program announced the cohort of college presidents for the 2023-2024 Aspen Presidents Fellowship. Several of our California Community College Presidents were selected:
Las Positas College hosted its first annual Black Family Day. “It really ties into our educational master plan, which is to be the destination campus for Black students and other students of color here in the Tri-Valley,” said LPC President Dr. Dyrell Foster.
Cerritos College Hosts Event For The College Tour Episode
Cerritos College is featured in a 30-minute episode of The College Tour, an Amazon Prime streaming series. This week, Cerritos College hosted an exclusive screening of the episode at their Performing Arts Center.
San Joaquin Delta College Launches Free Public Fitness Court
Delta College celebrated the opening of a new outdoor exercise facility known as a Fitness Court, part of an initiative by National Fitness Campaign (NFC) to plan, build, and fund healthy communities across the country.
The Nandi Symposium will center the voices of Black women while also creating space for all professionals and students in the California Community College System to be in community with one another. The Nandi Symposium is being brought to you in partnership with the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office.
From CA Assembly Member & Speaker Emeritus Anthony Rendon:
Yes! This is exactly why we formed the paid Community College Internship for the Assembly. This is such an important program. Community college students are incredibly diverse, and have so much to offer. Uplifting them benefits everybody.
The Assembly’s community college interns are placed in Member offices (both Republican and Democrat) to learn how the legislature functions. One of these interns, Frank Arenas, works in my office. He’s an aspiring attorney, and has been a wonderful addition to the team.
From Lassen College:
Thank you to our amazing students and staff for representing LCC this morning at The Out of the Darkness Community Walk. This walk is a journey of remembrance, hope, and support. It unites our communities and provides an opportunity to acknowledge the ways in which suicide and mental health conditions have affected our lives and the lives of those we love and care about.
From Kern CCD Trustee Yovani Jimenez:
Grateful for an inspiring State of the College event at @PCollegePirates, celebrating their achievements and future vision with Dr. @PortervillePrez and the PC team. I am excited for what’s to come!
And From the Home of the Renegades
BC Hosts Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for New Learning Resource Center in Delano
Bakersfield College hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday morning for the newly finished multipurpose building at BC’s Delano campus. The ceremony marked a significant milestone for the college in its commitment to providing enhanced and expanded educational opportunities to students in North Kern.
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.
I enjoyed seeing Jules last weekend, a sweet, well made movie about how a rural man’s life is turned upside down when a UFO crashes in his backyard and he befriends a mysterious alien. Ben Kingsley plays the 78-year old senior citizen, Milton, who has a routine life which includes taking his civic responsibilities seriously and attending the weekly city council meeting in quiet, cozy Boonton, Pennsylvania. Fellow senior citizens Sandy (Harriet Sansom Harris) and Joyce (Jane Curtin) become co-conspirators with Milton in keeping Jules, the alien, a secret from the rest of the town.
Kingsley is a fave of mine and I really liked his portrayal of Mahatma Gandhi in the 1982 movie Gandhi. He was born in England to a British mother and an Indian father of Gujarati descent.
I have always enjoyed Jane Curtain’s deadpan expression when delivering funny lines in Saturday Night Live…. also enjoyed both John Lithgow and Jane Curtain in 3rd Rock From The Sun.
Check out the trailer:
Talking about spaceships … India successfully landed a spacecraft on the moon’s surface. India is now the fourth country to land on the moon – and the first to land on the south pole.
Chandrayaan-3’s lunar rover Pragyan is now spending 2 weeks roaming around an area of the moon’s surface that has never before been explored.
Scientists think that there could be substantial quantities of water ice in the rocks of the polar craters, which are permanently in shadow. If this water can be extracted, it could lower costs of future human moon exploration, or be split into hydrogen and oxygen to make fuel for rockets.
Good morning California. It is August 26, 2023. A good day to be a Community College Champion
From California Community Colleges. Our Time is Now!
College of San Mateo Dual Enrollment Team Hosts Summer Experience
Earlier this month, the College of San MateoDual Enrollment team hosted a 2-day summer experience, “Strategies for Successful Teaching in Dual Enrollment” for the college’s new and returning faculty who will be teaching dual enrollment courses in the new academic year.
Oxnard College Receives $100,000 Grant from Metallica’s All Within My Hands’ Scholars Initiative
Oxnard College has been selected to receive a $100,000 grant from the Grammy Award-winning band Metallica and its foundation, All Within My Hands. The award will support students in the college’s Culinary Arts, Dental Hygiene and Fire Academy programs as the band continues its multimillion-dollar investment in critical workforce programs at community colleges nationwide.
Public Policy Institute of California: Improving College Access and Success through Dual Enrollment
The PPIC recently published a report about how College and Career Access Pathways Programs can improve access to higher education, as well as success for those students.
Students gain an array of benefits from participating in dual enrollment in both high school and college: participation is associated with higher high school completion, college readiness, attendance, retention, and academic achievement (Berger et al. 2014; Edmunds et. al 2015). Dual enrollment students also enroll in college at higher rates and accumulate more credits, earn higher GPAs, and attain overall higher achievement in college (Allen and Dadgar 2012; An 2013; CLP and KCCD 2022; Giani et al. 2014; Struhl and Vargas 2012; Fink, Jenkins, and Yanagiura 2017; Ryu et al. 2023).
LA Times: A big remake is coming to California community college education, new chancellor says
Recently, I spoke with LA Times reporter Debbie Truong about some of my goals for the California Community Colleges.
“The fundamental principle of Vision 2030 is the idea of taking college to the future learner. One is definitely dual enrollment. We have 436,000 eighth graders going into the ninth grade. What if, in the ninth grade, the default schedule was for those students to have at least a one college credit class — bringing college to them so they can start seeing what college is about. Twelve credits is a specific goal by the time they finish their four years of high school.”
LA Times De Los: What former first-gen students wish they knew about college
I saw a piece in LA Times’ De Los publication about former first-gen students, including Audrey Dow – senior vice president at the Campaign for College Oportunity.
“I was this 18-year-old Chicana from East L.A. talking to this white professor, and he’s like, ‘My suggestion is you drop out.’ And I said, ‘Drop out of your course?’ And he said, ‘Drop out of Brown.’”
Compton College shared this student success story:
“At Compton College, Every Student is a Success Story! Congratulations to Kaitlyn Gomez who graduated from Compton Early High School in 2023, earning both a high school diploma and an associate degree from Compton College. She is headed to UC San Diego this fall to major in astrophysics. Through our partnership with Compton Unified School District dual enrolled high school students can earn both a diploma and a degree simultaneously – saving time and money in completing their higher education!“
In the latest post from the Kern CCD TALE Blog, Robert Simpkins discusses his family’s trip to the Walt Disney Studio Lot in Burbank.
Although the studio on Hyperion Avenue no longer exists (a Gelson’s market now stands in its place, but inside are photos of the studio), standing at its former site helped me feel the presence of all those early artists working together and wonder what impact they had on each other, as they each evolved creatively while working collaboratively.
I also wondered what the equivalent experience could be in my own field of education, and how to bring together educators of different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives into a place where we could learn from each other, be inspired by each other, and seek to improve ourselves with each other’s support.
Students from the Citrus College Cosmetology program recently provided free haircuts to local elementary & middle school students to kick off the new school year with confidence & excitement. Thanks to @sierrasubaru for hosting the back-to-school event!
And From the Home of the Renegades
BC Welcomes Students Back to School for Fall 2023
The first week of the fall semester was a success for new and returning students at Bakersfield College. All students had the opportunity to get involved in events and find community on campus
On Sunday, I headed out to Lake Tahoe with the Kern Community College District Team for ACBO’s spring conference.
I spoke to the group about upcoming priorities for California Community Colleges, given that the state will be dealing with some financial difficulties in the next couple of years.
Kylie Campbell and Mike Giacomini presented on Dual Enrollment at the District, and did a fantastic job showcasing the work that the District has done in expanding this program.
Statewide, only 6% of 9th graders are participating in dual enrollment in CA, which means we have a huge opportunity with the remaining 94% of 9th graders that we can reach as early as this Fall. I am excited to support this work throughout the California Community College System, and work to provide opportunities for students across this great state. And of course, Kern is at the forefront of this work.
Our time is now!
Also, check out the article by Emma Gallegos of Ed Source.
Christian believes that community colleges, which serve California’s “most vulnerable students,” have the potential to not just change the socioeconomic fortunes of its students but to help the state address issues such as health care and climate change. She wants to see colleges make the bold changes their communities need. “We just make things happen,” said Christian. “We don’t look for something external to give us permission to do what is right.”
Whenever I talk about Dual Enrollment, I find myself thinking about how this work began with a partnership with Wonderful Academy, and then McFarland went wall-to-wall because of the bold leadership of Superintendent Aaron Resendez. The beautiful moments of our lives become wonderful memories to enjoy. Here are a few.
As I flew into Reno for this work, what a view as we were landing:
The Truckee River, which flows through Reno on its way from Lake Tahoe to Pyramid Lake, was full and flowing fast.
As I took time to walk around a bit to check out the sights and sounds in Reno, I stumbled upon the musical Anastasia playing at the Pioneer Center. The music of “Anastasia” features a blend of catchy, Broadway-style show tunes and heartfelt ballads. It includes well-known songs from the original film, such as “Journey to the Past” and “Once Upon a December,” as well as new songs specifically written for the musical. The music captures a sense of romance, adventure, and longing, reflecting the emotional journey of the characters. Thought would give you a taste with this piece from Youtube “Once Upon a December.” The cast of characters at the Pioneer center were different … the song and the setting the same. Just beautiful!
Back in Bakersfield I was enjoying taking time at home, though I headed to KCCD to wrap up some transition work. The garden is bursting with springtime blooms which seem to be plentiful because of the heavy rains this past winter. In 2013 as BC’s new president, I purchased about 20 Renegade Red and White rose plants that were bred specifically to commemorate the centennial year. Those plants are now 10 years old and they flower with a vigor and intensity that is indescribable. The sheer number of roses have been weighing down the plants so I have been regularly clipping them for vases indoors. Thank you Lindsay Ono and BC’s Ag department for the Renegade Red and Whites. #WeAreBC
And when my busy schedule resumes in June, I will miss hanging out with Neo in the backyard.
Good morning friends. It is May 27, 2023. Memorial Day. The sun shines bright over Kern CCD.
Memorial Day – Let’s Remember.
Three years after the end of the Civil War, the Grand Army of the Republic – an organization of Union veterans – established Decoration Day as a day for the nation to put flowers on the graves of those killed in the war. Major General John A. Logan declared the commemoration should be May 30, likely because flowers would be in bloom across the country.
That year, an observance was held at Arlington National Cemetery, with speeches and flowers strewn upon the graves of soldiers.
The practice spread throughout the country, with many state legislatures passing proclamations designating May 30 as Decoration Day. After World War I, the day was expanded to honor those who have died in all American wars.
In 1971, Memorial Day was declared a national holiday, with the date placed on the last Monday in May.
I was browsing my previous post and saw this message from Paul Beckworth Memorial Day 2018
Wow… Let us take a moment and reflect on these handwritten lists of BC students killed or MIA in action from World War II. Paul mentioned one of them died in a POW camp after being captured and these lists may or may not be comprehensive. But regardless, these lists are very telling — they are our history.
In honor of Classified School Employee Week, a few of the photos I’ve seen celebrating our California Community College classified employees:
And to my classified colleagues and friends with whom I have worked side-by-side for a long time. Thank you!
And from the Home of the Renegades…
On Friday, May 19th, Bakersfield College in collaboration with CAPK (Community Action Partnership of Kern) celebrated the first cohort of graduates who completed the BC Applied Leadership Program in the BC Fireside Room. 17 CAPK administrators and leaders on every level committed themselves to the rigorous and innovative program born from Bakersfield College’s very own Dr. Maria Wright, former Senator Dr. Jean Fuller.
My daughter snapped this photo while we were at Mother’s Day brunch at Brizo in Marina Del Rey.
The Thursday before, we checked out the music scene at the Market Place.
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.
Earlier this week, I joined the CCCCO Exec Team for dinner and some planning.
Good morning friends. It is May 20, 2023. The sun shines bright over Kern CCD.
The end of the Spring Semester is always a wonderful time at a community college. It’s so rewarding watching students’ years of hard work pay off in their commencement celebrations.
Here are a few photos from around the state as we celebrate our amazing graduates:
Cuesta College: 1,207 graduating students earned 1,614 degrees will be conferred, including 697 associates in arts, 233 associates in science, 292 associates in arts for transfer, and 392 associates in science for transfer.
Porterville College: 683 degrees awarded to 540 students, 31 of whom are dual enrollment students receiving their high school diploma and AA degree at the same time.
San Joaquin Delta College:2,715 graduates with 1,904 graduating with honors, completed 3,782 degree and 647 Certificates at San Joaquin Delta College’s 88th Annual Commencement Ceremony
Kylie Campbell was selected as the first president of hte CA Alliance of Dual Enrollment Partnerships
Thank you to Daisy Gonzales for sharing this photo with Daisy & Eloy Oakley at the Executive Team Planning Session:
Kern CCD Trustees Yovani Jimenez, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, and Romeo Agbalog with incoming BC President Steven Watkin and outgoing BC President Zav Dadabhoy at Bakersfield College’s commencement:
And from the Home of the Renegades…
Bakersfield College Hosts AgTechXEd Summit
The Western Growers Center for Innovation & Technology, California Department of Food and Agriculture and Bakersfield College partnered to host AgTechXEd Summit – a half-day event dedicated to developing the next generation of tech-savvy agricultural workers on Tuesday afternoon.
The AgTechXEd Summit at Bakersfield College included 3 panels, covering topics such as education, workforce development strategies, and current and future workforce needs on the farm. This event was part of the AgTechXEd Initiative – a statewide effort, led by Western Growers and California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross, to cultivate a future workforce with the skills and knowledge needed to navigate emerging on-farm technology.
Happy Mother’s Day to all of the mothers. I hope you have an enjoyable and restful weekend.
Check out this 23-sec video of a hummingbird from Sunday morning in the garden when I was having my morning coffee on the porch.
My mom loved hummingbirds. Mom, this is for you!
This week, Chancellor Emeritus Tom Burke comes back to lead the Kern Community College District.
Welcome back home, Tom!
In the meantime, I have been reflecting on my time as Kern CCD Chancellor, and Bakersfield College President, and looking over some of my past blog posts.
But first – a heartfelt congratulations to all of our graduates celebrating commencement this weekend! Your years of hard work have paid off, and I wish you all the best in all of your endeavors in the future.
Graduates, remember at KCCD, we Dare Mighty Things
Good morning friends. It is May 13, 2023. The sun shines bright over Kern CCD.
A Look Back
As I finish my time as Kern Community College District Chancellor, here are some memories from my blog over the past 2 years. Would you carve out sometime to click on the links and walk down memory lane with me?
July 3, 2021: My first blog post as Kern CCD Chancellor
I shared my reflections on the UN International Day of Peace and the Bakersfield College Peace Initiative.
My remarks from BC’s virtual International Day of Peace gathering:
I also shared this update from Bakersfield College’s Early College Program, which announced a new Early College option to McFarland High School freshman to earn a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Automation in five years!
Every year, I look forward to my Veterans Day post where I honor our student veterans. In 2021’s post, I shared an excerpt from an email from Jenny Frank, manager of Veteran Services and Programs at Bakersfield College:
“Through their service, they have been honed into warriors and possess a warrior spirit. A veteran’s experiences and their duty to protect our country can create challenges to finding the sometimes-elusive peace they seek, beyond those of the average citizen.”
I also shared from events that our colleges held:
December 18, 2021: Ending My First Semester as KernCCD Chancellor
Bakersfield College celebrated the official grand opening of its newest addition on campus and a crown jewel of the Measure J infrastructure bond, the 71,061-square-foot Science & Engineering Building that will house several disciplines like biology and geology, as well as a high-tech robotics lab.
One of the things I was thankful for was the generosity in our community. Check out these photos from the Coyote Cupboard, which held a food distribution on Friday afternoon at the Desert Dog Pet Store for the community.
On December 6th and 7th we had our Chancellor’s Winter Retreat which included Chancellor’s Cabinet and other administrators across the district. We heard presentations on Early College, Rising Scholars, Supplemental, Adult Learners, and several other projects. The session helped to focus the teams as we built our workplans for the spring semester.
Bakersfield College and Arvin High School welcomed 60 new 9th grade students into the Early College program, joining the other 10th – 12th grade students who are also working on earning an associates degree while in high school.
Kern Community College District hosted the inaugural KernCCD TALEFEST. The Teaching-and Learning Exchange Festival was created to celebrate and support Kern CCD educators through the sharing of teaching-and-learning stories and the discussion of strategic new directions in a festive, positive environment showcasing achievement and innovation, peer-learning opportunities, and building district-wide mutual understanding and connections – in support of the goals of continuous improvement toward ensuring student learning and achieving student success with equity.
It has been an amazing two years, and I am so thankful for this time spent helping students in our Kern Community College District.
Remembering Hannah Douma
It is with a heavy heart I share this email from BC Communications/Journalism professor John Harte, about the passing of a truly remarkable student, Hanna Douma:
It is with profound sadness and a broken heart that I share with you the passing of one of the finest photography students to ever study at Bakersfield College. Hannah Douma, a beautiful, funny, sweet and remarkable young lady who battled through autism and became a photographer of stunning vision and drive, passed away yesterday after a four-year battle with cancer. She was 28.
Hannah started in my press photography class in 2016, then moved to Kris Stallworth’s black and white photo class. She was in Jeff Huston’s digital photography class when she was diagnosed with thymoma, a rare bone marrow cancer, and had to withdraw from Jeff’s class. She then developed leukemia, which is what took her life.
Hannah embraced her photography throughout her illness, and made thousands of photographs with a skill and beauty I have never seen in my 26 years at BC. I am stunned and inspired by the caliber of images she made as she fought so hard for her life.
Hannah’s parents have given me permission to publicly share her photography, and I have made this slide show to showcase it. If you have a few minutes, please give it a look. She is one of the most remarkable photography talents to come through BC, and she was such a sweet young lady, taken from us way, way too soon.
In the News
A guide to earning college credit while in high school
Emma Gallegos wrote this guide for EdSource going over some of the ways high school students in California can earn college credits.
Fun Photos & Spotted on Social Media
Lizette Navarette shared this update from ATC 2023:
We reach our @CalCommColleges Vision goals and meet our commitments to students through strong partnerships! TY @ccleague for inviting us – great turnout for the Partners in the #VisionforSucces session at #ATC2023
Andra Hoffman, LA Community College District Board President, was named California Community College Trustees (CCCT) board president.
Women’s Caucus at the League Conference
Neo in the backyard while I am returning phone calls in the evening.
And From the Home of the Renegades…
BC’s Women’s Wrestling Finishes Off First Season
The Bakersfield College women’s wrestling team competed at the inaugural CCCAA Women’s Wrestling State Championship in Norwalk, CA at Cerritos College. Ten CCCAA teams competed, and although the BC team did not have a full team competing for each weight class, they did have three athletes place in the tournament, including a first All-American. Athletes Chloe Espericueta and Diana Cardenas both placed 6th in their weight class, while Galilea Chavez took 2nd place securing the All-American title. BC hopes to continue their first-year success and bring on new recruits next season.
The Workforce & Economic Mobility Blog blog shares approaches to workforce and economic development, with a goal of supporting economic mobility for our community while staying committed to the health of our people and the health of our environment.