Life at Bakersfield College


This past week has been crazy with a lot of time spent on the road, heading down to southern California for the Board of Governors (BOG) meeting and then back up to northern California for the CCLC Convention. I got back home late yesterday and am enjoying a quiet Sunday morning. says that the high is going to be 72 today. Yes! Time for a long relaxed walk.  Maybe to the Farmer’s market.

Thought I would share with you through pictures some of the highlights from last week.  And I am certain that this list does not even scratch the surface of the happenings at BC. As we get into the Thanksgiving week let me just thank you my dear colleagues for all that you do for BC and our students.  I am so thankful to have the best job in the world.  I come to work, just delighted to hang out and work hard with you. We are….BC!

Where do i begin……. Maybe Delano.

If you are on twitter just #BCDelano or @RichMcCrown and you will catch up with the activities on our campus in North Kern.  And btw, if you are not on twitter, go ahead and get an account.  This will give you an opportunity to participate in another community virtually and follow the back channel conversations through hashtags.


Liz Morris: “You are the future of Delano. You are the change.”

Ricardo Chavez: “You need to decide if Delano is worth it.”

Janet Rananal: “There is something happening in the community that I want to be a part of …..”


Jonathan Hernandez:

Jonathan Hernandez

Jonathan Hernandez



So proud to see one of our own make headlines.

Jonathan Hernandez, a communication professor from central California, recently gained national attention for being ranked fifth highest-rated university professor in the country during the 2014-2015 academic year on the instructor-ranking site The site has collected over 16 million student ratings and the most recent installment of their “Annual Top Lists” report combined weighted professors’ scores from this year and previous years to create their ranking.

Check out the website at:


Communication Department Showcase:


Mark Staller Communication Dept Showcase Nov 2015


I briefly attended the Communication Department Showcase and enjoyed seeing Forum East packed with students, faculty, and community members.  There was great energy in the room.

And the student speech I heard was phenomenal. Thank you communication faculty, and thank you Denise Norris for the fabulous reception.

Looks like I need to replace my old iphone to take better pictures.  Here is Prof. Mark Staller, department chair, introducing the program.


Redesigning America’s Community Colleges Book Discussion:

Student Panel on Redesigning America's CC Nov 19 2015

Our student panels have been just great.  If you did not have an opportunity to listen to our students, Manny De Los Santos has the videos posted on the website.  Check it out.

Thank you Kimberly Bligh, Odella Johnson, Nicky Damania, and Lesley Bonds for pulling together the 5 student panels.

Btw, as I was writing this blog, I got an email from both Kate Pluta and Janet Fulk with a link to this report by Rob Johnstone: Guided Pathways Demystified: Exploring Ten Commonly Asked Questions about Implementing Pathways. Check it out at

BC Political Science at Rotary, Nov 19, 2015:

BC’s Political Science professor emeritus and Congressman Bill Thomas was scheduled to speak at downtown Rotary on November 19th on the Presidential election.  I invited 5 members of the Political Science faculty and students to be my guests–Steven Holmes, Faculty, Political Science and Academic Senate President; Charles Kim, Faculty, Political Science, Advisor for the Pre-Law Club, and Advisor for Phi Theta Kappa; Clayton Fowler, President of SGA; Robbie Burke, Political Science Student; Bailey Bryson, Pre-Law Student.  As it turned out Bill Thomas had to attend a funeral service and Cathy Abernathy, former Chief of Staff for Bill Thomas and current Chief of Staff for Shannon Grove, stepped up and did an amazing job filling in for Bill Thomas.

Enjoy these pictures of the event taken by Karen Goh, CEO of Garden Pathways, a great organization that helps our community by reintegrating disenfranchised individuals back into our community.  You should check out what they do.  Just incredible transformative work.


Renegade Athletics:

Our Renegade Student Athletes were so inspiring. Enjoy these pictures. Particularly Alberto Perez who gives a thumbs up to Athletic Director Sandi Taylor after doing his personal best by shaving 1:50 off his best time for the 4.1-mile race.  I bet Coach Pam Kelley was proud.

Paramedic Accreditation Visit:

As I was heading back from my trip to Washington DC I had the opportunity to call in and listen to the exit remarks from the accreditation team for BC’s Paramedic Program.  They could not say enough good things and what I loved the most was when they said that our faculty, staff and students are happy.

A quick shout out to Hall ambulance for all their support.  And talking about Hall ambulance, Mayor Harvey Hall is the best mayor ever!

Now let’s hear from Cindy Collier, Dean of CTE and Allied Health.  This is an email she sent to the department after the site visit.

I just want to take a few moments to recognize our outstanding Paramedic Program! The Program just finished their 5-year national accreditation site visit today with flying colors. The reviewers commented that the strength of the Program was the faculty/staff and their ability to engage the community partners, as well as their support for our Program.

The reviewers also went on to say that they believe this is one of the best Program’s they’ve ever seen and more importantly they also said that we had the best students that they had seen in the state.

So congratulations to our Paramedic Faculty – you guys just rock!!! I am so proud of you!!!!



I agree with Cindy.  Our faculty and staff simply rock!

At CCLC. Nov 19-21, 2015

The conference was very good.  Got some ideas on the College Promise discussion to shape the Renegade Promise work that the college is doing.  Great opening speaker Josh Tickell on Gen Y–the Millenials.  He described the boomers as conservative, Gen X as frustrated and Gen Y as entitled :) Actually, he was very good.  I’m thinking we should try to bring him to BC.  Also connected with Thomas Bailey author of Redesigning America’s Community Colleges.  He promoted the Guided Pathways Summit on February 18, 2016 at Bakersfield College. Yes! Davis Jenkins, one of the three authors, is our keynote for the summit.
I presented at the conference on a panel related to the Common Assessment Initiative (CAI).  My remarks were  from the standpoint of being a member of the Common Assessment Initiative Steering Committee member as well as a pilot college for both the CAI as well as the Multiple Measures Project.



STEM: The Next Generation.

Getting young high schoolers interested in careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields is a top priority for any higher education institution these days.  American companies need more of our best and brightest in those knowledge-hungry innovation  industries — which is why Bakersfield College has placed so much importance on reaching out to Kern County high schools and inviting their students to sample what a life in STEM could mean for them.

And we do such a good job reaching out that sometimes, those high schools reach out to us on their own.

Case in point, this email BC’s Director of Student Outreach Steve Watkin got a few weeks ago from Foothill High School counselor extraordinaire Connie Martin


Dear Mr. Watkin,

Foothill High School has enjoyed a wonderful relationship with Bakersfield College. We greatly appreciate your staff’s efforts to assist our students in achieving their academic goals. Our students have benefited from many of your programs and opportunities to make higher education accessible and possible.

This year, we anticipate sending even more students to Bakersfield College.  Many of those students are interested in STEM careers. As you know, STEM careers are in high demand, but lack qualified applicants. We would like to provide our students with the opportunity to learn about STEM careers and the pathways to this goal, but we need your help.

In an effort to increase the amount of Foothill students who attend Bakersfield College for STEM degrees and programs, we would like to take our students on a tour of Bakersfield College and CSUB. Your generous support would help us fund a bus where we could visit both campuses in one day. We are excited for the students to learn that there is a direct connection from Bakersfield College to CSUB in the area of STEM.


Kenwood_Vaughn_1Now, that’s an opportunity too great to pass up.

So this week, 20 Foothill High School students trekked over to BC for a crash course in crafting a STEM career. They saw the campus and even got some up-close & personal time with some of BC’s finest instructors, like chemistry professor and 20-year BC institution Kenwood Vaughan.

Now, it would be easy here to again emphasize the incredible importance of STEM outreach like this.  It’s critically important.  It would also be natural here to thank Foothill High, Connie Martin and Foothill’s fabulous students for kickstarting this particular visit. We love that you thought of us and we were thrilled to have you.


Dr. Kenward Vaughn

But despite all that important stuff,the man of the hour was none other than our Chemistry faculty and department chair Professor Kenward Vaughn.

This brilliant chemist had the students spellbound in his lab and I am sure the pink, flower-print lab coat and the giant “Wear Your Goggles” warning sign affixed to his goggles played a role……

BC’s STEM faculty and staff just rock!

Veterans Day, Vet Fest and Remembering America’s Best

KCCD Board of Trustees member Kay Meek presents a ceremonial American flag to BC Veterans advisor Armando Trujillo.

KCCD Board of Trustees member Kay Meek presents a ceremonial American flag to BC Veterans advisor Armando Trujillo.

U.S. armed forces veterans made the conscious decision to step up and serve their nation. And as the nation pauses today to honor Veterans Day, I think it’s important to not only thank veterans for their service, but to thank them for making the decision to do so in the first place. Since we did away with the draft more than 40 years ago, the decision to join the military has been a complex one and a responsibility that no one takes lightly.  It’s a choice born of courage that so many of us couldn’t or wouldn’t make.

Vet_Fest_04Soldiers of all branches obliged to honor our country with their service.  At BC, we feel a strong sense of obligation and responsibility to serve them with equal vigor when they transition into higher education.  We know they’re entering into a new stage in their lives, one that, in its own way, can occasionally seem as confusing and frightening as military service.

To show our ongoing support to military veterans and their families, BC hosted our 3rd annual — and best yet! — BC Vet Fest last week on the Student Services lawn.

The event, put on by the BC Veterans Club, seeks to help our student veterans in the best way we know how – with valuable resources, aid services and sage counsel to make their post-military and Bakersfield College experiences as rewarding as possible.

20151105_114958Organizations were on hand in force to make vets aware of how they could help, everyone from the Employment Development Department, CalVet, the Bakersfield Veterans Center, the Wounded Heroes Fund and BC’s own financial aid and EOP&S personnel.

As Dean of Student Success & Development Paul Beckworth put it, it’s all about respect for a veteran’s time in our nation’s service.

“You’ve earned that…this is hard-earned,” Paul told the 200+ attendees at Vet Fest’s opening ceremony.

Kay Meek

Kay Meek

We were so pleased to have KCCD Board of Trustees member Kay Meek address the crowd, not only because she’s a friend of BC, but because her family has an amazing history of U.S. military service that frankly deserves special recognition of its own.

Kay’s dad served in the Navy during World War II, while her uncle was one of the U.S. soldiers who helped liberate Iwo Jima ahead of that immortal flag-raising in February 1945.  Her brother was an Army vet from the Vietnam era.  Her 22-year-old nephew is currently in the Navy.  And her grandson and former Renegade Jordan Turner is now a Marine stationed in Norfolk, Va.

Dignitaries Nov 2015

Armando Trujillo, Dr. Zav Dadabhoy, Trustee Kay Meek, Paul Beckworth, Steve Watkin

Despite all her family’s already given, Kay was here to give a little bit more, presenting the Veterans Club with an American flag that had flown over the U.S. Capitol building. The flag, which was originally  given to her father, will soon be displayed in the BC Veterans Lounge, serving as inspiration and a lasting tribute to her dad, who passed away five years ago.

“I’m so proud of all the veterans here today.  You’re the people who make our world strong.  You’re the people who keep our world safe,” Kay said.  “Thank you for everything you’ve done for this country.”

Armando Trujillo

Armando Trujillo

BC’s new Veterans Education Advisor Armando Trujillo spoke from the heart, recounted his own difficult story of readjustment to civilian life following his time serving in Iraq in 2003.

Eyes welling with tears, an emotional Armando described how a Bakersfield Veterans Center counselor guided him toward a future after the military, eventually leading Armando to graduate from CSUB, get a Masters at USC and begin a life reaching out to former soldiers to help make the kind of impact in their lives that his counselor had in his.

“I stand as testament to all you veterans assembled here…don’t stop striving.  BC is one step on the route,” Armando said.


Fireworks at the football game on Nov 7, 2015

It was a beautiful ceremony…and with only three years under our belts, Vet Fest as well as BC’s veterans outreach efforts are only destined to grow, as BC’s VP of Student Affairs Zav Dadabhoy so eloquently put it.

“You’ve just seen the tip of the iceberg.  We’re just getting started.”

BC’s Veteran’s Day ceremonies continued during last Saturday’s BC Renegade football game.  Obviously, honoring America’s heroes helped spur Coach Chudy’s squad as the Renegades put on a spirited display in a rousing 51-7 trouncing of Pasadena.

Today, cap this amazing week with a moment of reflection on what the men and women of America’s armed services have meant and continue to mean to this country. And if you can, maybe give a veteran you know a thank you for their service.  It’s the least any of us can do for  those who chose to stand up for all of us.


Paul Beckworth

I thought you would like to see Paul Beckworth’s 2015 Veterans Day message.

“We don’t fight to hold ground.  We fight to win.”  This was said by a Navy SEAL as he reflected on his numerous combat engagements in the current conflicts overseas.  As I look back on another Veterans Day at BC, I think about what we have come from.  I look back with pride at 102 years of Bakersfield College history and how BC alumni have fought in every conflict since World War I.  I laugh when I read about World War II veterans coming to BC in the late 1940s when it still on the BHS campus, and the high school administrators’ anxiety about the smoking, and bad language the student-veterans used on campus. I am proud that those vets were called “DARS,” by administrators, which stood for Damned Average Raisers, because they did so well in class that they skewered all the grading curves.  The tide of student-veteran involvement has ebbed and flowed over the decades.  It was very active in the years after the Vietnam War, with the Veterans Club“running the campus,” as the late Vernon Valenzuela remembered.  I saw it resurrect in 2010 thanks to the OIF/OEF veterans agitating for a veteran space.  Not only has the club resurrected, it has thrived.  Now, BC has a new Veterans Education Advisor, a new veterans’ student development class, plans for a larger space for the veterans lounge, and a college president who values what you bring to the table.

After your years of service it is now your time, as Bakersfield College student-veterans, to move forward.  You have a great responsibility.   You have a great responsibility to you; A responsibility to use your military experience to better yourself, your family and your community.  You have a responsibility to get educated, and pursue your goals in a timely, productive manner.  It is indeed frustrating at times.  It isn’t easy.  If it was easy, everyone would do it.  But, you aren’t everyone.  You are the real 1%.  Only 1% ever served in the military.  If you are part of that elite percentage, then college is simply another challenge to overcome before the next challenge.  The fact that you are at Bakersfield College says this about you: You don’t fight to hold ground.  You fight to win.

From the bottom of my heart, I am proud of all of you winners.

Thank you for your service.  Happy Veterans Day.  Job Well Done!

20151105_114926IMG_4626 (2)IMG_0425

BC Faculty the very best. Reggie Williams in action.

Halloween 2015, Saturday.  Watching the USC-Cal game.  SC leading 24-7.  Great interception and then touchdown by Adoree Jackson. Fight On!

Well, let’s talk BC now.  I know I always say this and I probably sound like a broken record, but…we’ve just got the most amazing faculty here at BC.

I was reminded again of the collective brilliance our instructors bring to their classrooms and their students every day as I listened to Professor Reggie Williams’ talk on race, wealth and inheritance earlier this month at the Levan Center.

Reggie Williams cropped

Reggie Williams

First, I was so happy to walk in to the Levan Center and see a fabulous turnout of students and community members packing the house for Reggie’s talk.  Seeing all those men and women ready to dive into such a high-minded topic just reinforced for me how critical it is for BC to provide these kinds of seminars and discussions.  Especially with such a high percentage of first generation students, I’m so proud BC continues to offer venues for just this type of intellectual engagement.  If not here, then where?  Thank you Norm Levan!

Dr. Norman Levan

Dr. Norman Levan

But I know our community wouldn’t turn out for these events if they didn’t feel confident they’d be hearing from unquestionable experts.  And you’ll find no one anywhere with a deeper reservoir of knowledge coupled with a skill for grounding heavily academic topics than Reggie.

Reggie’s talk tackled the reasons behind the overwhelming wealth gap between Black and White Americans — and the numbers are stark. After appraising the value of a family’s home, stocks and other significant assets and liabilities, U.S. Federal Reserve data shows the median white household was worth $141,900 in 2013, while the median black household was worth just $11,000.

As if those figures weren’t alarming enough, it’s an even more troubling situation when you look at recent trends, which show black household median wealth dropped a stunning 34 percent between 2010 and 2013.  Meanwhile, white households saw their wealth actually rise slightly over that same period.

So, what’s going on here?  I learned from Reggie, the first thing everyone needs to understand is the difference between income and wealth.  While the U.S. has spent the past half-century trying by various means to address income disparity, there’s been little action in closing our nation’s wealth gap – and it can have a more devastating impact than many realize.

While a person’s income hopely grows throughout their life, wealth traditionally grows generationally, built incrementally as it’s handed down to each succeeding generation.

But Reggie asks, what happens when you factor in 246 years of slavery in America, effectively disallowing most Blacks from owning anything of significant value for generation after generation?  And what happens when that period is followed by another century of sharecropping and Black Codes, upholding many severe restrictions on Black ownership or their ability to work for themselves or amass personal wealth?  What happens is nothing good for African-American families trying to provide for themselves and their descendants.

It was a fascinating discussion that was only made more enjoyable by the wonderful engagement of the BC students in attendance.  I can’t tell you how proud I was of the insightful questions, well-studied perspectives and eye-opening opinions our students brought to the issue. Their participation made an already stellar presentation from Reggie that much more rewarding. Thank you Jack Hernandez for planning such wonderful programs for the Levan Center.

I am so happy to be back at BC!

BPD and BC partnering again: Police Citizen’s Forum at BC

ExplorersThe Bakersfield Police Department (BPD) is a great partner of Bakersfield College.  They respond quickly to calls, and conduct professional development activities on our campus, for example, the active shooter series organized by Anthony Culpepper, Chief Counts and Amber Chiang.

To their credit, BPD understands the vital need to stay connected to everyone they serve in this community — so it was a great pleasure to host Bakersfield Police Chief Greg Williamson and some of his officers at a community Citizen’s Forum October 15th, Thursday night.

BPD2About 100 of our northeast Bakersfield neighbors came out to join us for the eye-opening session.  It was a wonderful dialogue between Williamson, his officers, and engaged community members who don’t always know how to best help protect their neighborhoods or interact with officers in the field.

On a practical level, Chief Williamson reported the department’s efforts to cut response times on Priority 1 calls are having a positive impact citywide, particularly in BC’s northeastern “Hill” zone.  Average response time to a call is now about 5 minutes, 30 seconds citywide, down almost 31 percent from last year.  In our Hill neighborhood, average response time is down even more, about a 33 percent improvement.

While Chief Williamson had positive news to share, the primary goal of BPD’s community meetings is to increase communication and understanding between residents and officers. BPD1Officers selected members of the audience to suit up in police gear and “respond” to typical police situations to better understand what officers face on a daily basis.

This was an instance of community involvement intersecting beautifully with education.  Students in BC Professor Patricia Smith’s criminology courses joined in as new “officers” in role playing scenarios, asked to respond to police calls and interact with possible crime suspects in situations that can be either mundanely simple or, in some cases, frighteningly dangerous with little warning.

For example, BC student and criminal justice major Kenneth Mireles had to decide how to engage a man in a suit – played by a BPD detective – who may have been vandalizing a park bench with a knife. Mireles was on alert when the man was slow to show his ID, but didn’t pull his pepper spray to subdue the man until he unexpectedly lurched off the bench in the officer’s direction.

Chief Williamson

Chief Williamson Source: Dana Martin Writing

Many criminology students like Kenneth may actually become officers in the coming years, and these scenarios were both a valuable training opportunity as well as a powerful reminder of the danger and ambiguity patrol officers face every day.

Even with NFL football, playoff baseball, and an ugly night of weather vying for attention, it was one of the best-attended meetings in BPD’s current slate of community forums — and an event we’d all welcome and love to see again in the future.

A huge thanks to Chief Williamson and his officers for coming, to Pat Smith and Mary Jo Pasek for facilitating and supporting the evening for BC and to all of our wonderful neighbors who joined us!


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