Bakersfield College Hosts Inaugural “Week after graduation” Professional Development Institute

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Thank you Lesley Bonds for coordinating this institute and writing this blog.

During the week following commencement, over 100 faculty, staff and administrators gathered to attend myriad sessions designed to support both their personal and professional development. Read on for an overview of each session and to hear about the experience from those who facilitated these important seminars.

Day 1: Using Data to Inform Planning & Decisions
Jordan Horowitz, Vice President of Foundation Relations and Project Development for the Institute for Evidence-Based Change, kicked off the Institute by prompting attendees to share what inspired them to pursue work in higher education. Laughter, collective empathic nods and even a few tears littered the room as attendees shared the stories of what and – most importantly – who, inspired them to pursue their current paths. Following this activity, Mr. Horowitz shared strategies for data use that tells the stories of successes and challenges our students face. This session helped to provide a framework for the ways in which data can be used to drive institutional change to support student success.

Day 2: Assessment and Student Learning Outcomes
Michele Bresso, Associate Vice Chancellor of Governmental & External Relations, and David Neville, Professor of Spanish and Assessment Committee Co-Chair, led the second day of the Institute. Professor Neville shared that the Professional Development Summer Institute was a great success. He said, “The assessment committee appreciated the opportunity to make significant headway on the mapping as well as assessment. This lays the ground work for everything else that we will be doing this next year in our committee and as a part of Program Review.”

Following the session, Neville noticed a flood of positive comments, despite challenges when it came to accessing information from CurricUNET. “We are beginning to have the right discussions dealing with how assessment figures in both at the institutional level and at the course and program level,” he noted. He also observed discussions about how courses and programs align, as well as how assessments could be performed better with the ultimate goal of improving instruction.

“If I were to choose one phrase that permeated the institute and was evident in the comments of the participants, it was that in order to make positive change at Bakersfield College, we must participate. This is the difference between being an employee of Bakersfield College and Being BC. WE ARE BC.” -Dave Neville

Day 3, Part 1: Program Review
On Wednesday, May 20, the Program Review Committee (PRC) hosted a hands-on workshop to guide approximately 60 faculty, staff, and administrators through the Program Review process. After a brief overview, workshop attendees worked on their 2015 program review forms while PRC representatives offered 1-on-1 support and guidance. Below are their thoughts on the experience:

“I enjoyed the work-session format for Program Review. On a personal note, being able to assist on a one-to-one basis with the technology and facilities requests was a great experience. I was able to have meaningful conversations with both faculty and staff who are charged with filling out the forms. It was great!” – Kristin Rabe, PRC classified co-chair

“I was impressed with the number of people who showed up and how much work they accomplished!” Kate Pluta, past PRC faculty co-chair

“This workshop empowered attendees to begin the program review process earlier than ever in preparation for submission in the Fall 2015. Attendees reported a greater understanding and appreciation of the program review process and its impact on institutional effectiveness. Way to go, Team BC, for coming together and keeping the Program Review Train moving full-steam ahead!! A special thanks to the members of the Program Review Committee for organizing this helpful and productive workshop.” – Manny Mourtzanos, PRC admin co-chair

“It seemed as though those who attended the Summer Institute for Program Review were able see the importance of the program review process and its impact on the BC campus. They were able to see how important the work is that they do in their departments and the value of reflecting on that good work. Connecting with members of our BC family from other departments was extremely beneficial for all of us. We were able to alleviate some of the fear and dread of the program review process and answer many questions that bubbled up during the hands on portion.” – Kim Nickell, PRC faculty co-chair

Day 3, Part 2: College-Wide Equity Initiatives
Odella Johnson leads Summer InstituteOdella Johnson, Interim Director of Equity and Inclusion, and Bryan Hirayama, Professor of Communication and Faculty Co-Chair of the Equal Opportunity and Diversity Advisory Committee (EODAC), challenged attendees to center the needs of at-risk students in this dynamic, hands-on session. Johnson opened the session by sharing important updates and strategic goals outlined in the Student Equity Plan. The two facilitators then led the group through a consciousness-raising activity where small groups of faculty and staff members brainstormed how Bakersfield College can implement more equitable policies, procedures and perspectives that support students and lessen the achievement gap. Johnson interjected with tangible, concrete changes, such as a statement about equity on course syllabi, as well as faculty office hours repurposed as “student hours” in acknowledgement of the important relationship that exists between faculty and students. She charged all faculty to continue the conversation beyond the session and to focus on equity in the classroom. Hirayama closed the session by sharing a personal moment of growth in recognizing and combating unconscious biases in grading. The session provided a foundation of dialogue from which future programmatic initiatives, like those discussed during the morning session of day 3, may grow in intentional and meaningful ways.

Day 4: Rethinking and Redesigning Student Support Services
Flow chart - predictive analytics lead us to equity plans, student services success plan, achieve the dream & making it happen mentorship, habits of mind and MIH classroom intervention.Janet Fulks, Interim Dean of Student Success and Precollegiate Studies kicked off the final day of the Professional Development Summer Institute with a report-out on the Making It Happen (MIH) initiative. Her presentation, ripe with student success data, helped attendees learn more about how enhanced communication, one-on-one student contact and improved course placement through Multiple Measures is improving student success at an exponential rate. Following Dr. Fulks’ presentation, representatives from several student support services areas, including Financial Aid, Math Lab, Student Success Lab, Supplemental Instruction, the Tutoring Center and the Writing Center broadened the scope of the discussion to include the interventions in place to support students once they’re enrolled at Bakersfield College.
After lunch, all attendees ventured out to the Student Services building and Library for individualized tours and presentations of the student services areas to round out the day. Attendees reported that they were thrilled to have the opportunity to visit spaces on campus they had never been and to learn more about how they can refer students to services that will support their success both in and outside of the classroom.
BC would like to extend a special thank you to the incredible catering crew who kept our attendees well-caffeinated and well-fed throughout the Institute. The support from other on-campus departments, including Information Technology and our Maintenance and Operations crew did not go unnoticed.


Delano Graduation Celebration. Just wonderful!


Bakersfield College Delano Campus graduates with Rich McCrow, Director of BC’s Delano Campus and Rural initiatives

On May 15th, Bakersfield College celebrated the commencement ceremony for its 2015 graduates, an event filled with all the pomp, circumstance, grandeur and spectacle you would expect in seeing more than 1,000 grads complete their arduous, but ultimately rewarding academic journeys.

And while it’s a lot of fun to watch hundreds of students and thousands of friends and family celebrate such a monumental day, it’s just as satisfying for me to attend the vast variety of smaller, yet no less significant ceremonies honoring sub-sets of our sprawling graduation class during this hectic season.  Bryan Hirayama did the photos which you can find at

delano_graduation_2015This May marked the 40th year that students were graduating from Bakersfield College’s Delano campus — and just as with the larger BC ceremony, it was with the same level of joy and pride that our executive team was on hand to watch 95 Delano students revel in their achievement at a pre-commencement celebration on this very special campus.

Most of those grads would also walk during the larger BC campus commencement later that night, but this joyous afternoon affair allowed those Delano students to congratulate each other and celebrate together in a more intimate, more familiar setting… the very same place they made their dreams come true.

With Rich McCrow, Director of the Delano Campus and BC’s Rural Initiatives, leading the ceremony and the spirited Mariachi Nuevo Grullense providing musical accompaniment, it was a fitting way to honor the hard work and dedication of those 95 students.

Even though the students were the focal point of the ceremony’s theme “A Celebration of Success,” that sentiment could also be applied to Delano and the campus as well. After celebrating the 100th anniversary of its incorporation two years ago, Delano continues into its second century as an agricultural hub, a hotbed of equality for farmworkers’ rights and one of the region’s true backbone communities.

And for the last four decades, Bakersfield College’s Delano campus has been furthering the city’s commitment to advancement through betterment of one’s self and the community around you. Since opening their doors in 1975, nearly 3,000 Delano students have earned their AA degrees, while another 1,300 have achieved professional certification.


Executive Vice President Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, President Sonya Christian, Vice President Zav Dadabhoy, Vice President Anthony Culpepper

I think I can safely speak for Rich and the rest of our BC leadership team at the ceremony — Anthony, Nan and Zav — when I say how privileged we all are to have contributed in ways great or small to the ongoing success of those new Delano grads.

They are a continuing testament to the amazing work being done 34 miles up the road.

Thanks to Rich and his incredible team for making this beautiful day happen.

BC’s faculty and staff are rock stars

Jen Matt Sonya at La Spada June 19 2015

Sonya Christian, Matt Garrett, Jen Garrett at La Spada in Florence. June 19, 2015

I just got back from four days in Rome.  I know it is crazy to go all the way for just four days but what an incredible 4 days. During this trip I was wowed by our students who performed in Rome, Florence and Venice. And equally wowed by Jen Garret, our faculty director who made all this happen for our students.  Stay tuned for a future blog.

Liz Rozell 2

Liz Rozell, Dean of STEM

And then I found this email (see below) from Liz Rozell, Dean of STEM, applauding our Engineering and Industrial Technology faculty who provided an opportunity for middle schoolers to explore their curiosity, creativity, and love of the Sciences through a one week camp–Project Lead the Way.  Let’s hear from Liz.

Hi Manny & Roy,

Thank you so much for all the creative work you did with the middle school students at the PLTW camp this week.  Today at the final meeting, when you showcased the video presentations the kids created to present to their families, I had tears in my eyes because they were so amazing.  The leadership you brought to this camp, and the example you set for the BC STEM Mentors who assisted you, is just stellar.  Adam Alvidrez from Chevron was incredibly impressed and parents were telling me afterwards that they wanted their kids to participate next year.

This was a huge success that we should build upon!  Middle School is a tender age when kids begin to identify with schools and life interests.  This camp provided great opportunities for building our future STEM pipeline.


Project Lead the Way

Bakersfield College hosted its first Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Camp for Middle School students active in various PLTW Gateway programs. Manny Fernandez and Roy Allard, STEM faculty facilitators, along with five STEM mentors (Kevin Galloway, Nick Bakich, Zack Allen, Diana Le, and Noah Kearns) led 24 students on an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) adventure.

This was an engaging experience in which each student learned to fly UAVs, build motors, assemble drones, collect video footage via the UAV, and create a video documenting it all!

Project Lead the WayPLTW is a comprehensive STEM program that incorporates project-based learning to increase critical thinking and problem solving skills among students in kindergarten through high school. It is an education model that empowers students in their learning and provides an environment for collaborative team work.

Chevron is a national partner with PLTW and donated the funding for this year’s camp. We appreciate the support that Chevron has provided to BC STEM students over the last seven  years, and now the support to build the future STEM pipeline by garnering interest in cutting edge technologies among young engineers.

Chicano/Latino Commencement, World’s Got Talent Show: Two Awesome Events, One Super Busy Night

2015 World's Got Talent ShowPart of the pleasure of being a member of the BC family is that there’s always something happening on this campus.

Always. Almost literally.

It is a very rare night during the school year when at least one performance, exhibit or gathering of one kind or another isn’t scheduled in one of our facilities. (The college does quite well given that it was built in the 50’s and is in need of serious infrastructure upgrades and remodeling of classroom and laboratory spaces.)

More and more frequently in looking at our calendar the question isn’t which event to attend. It’s HOW MANY to attend. On any given night, two or more stellar events at various campus venues can be vying for our attention.

Such was the case on May 6th when some of our most crazy-talented BCers were showing their stuff in the Simonsen Performing Arts Center Indoor Theatre stage as part of the final round of The World’s Got Talent Show, hosted by the International Student Organization. Thank you Shohreh Raman!  Meanwhile, just footsteps away in the center’s Outdoor Theatre, family and friends gathered to honor 2015 BC graduates at the beautiful Chicano/Latino commencement ceremony.

Getting emails like this one from BC Criminal Justice faculty member Pat Smith brings it all home…

“I attended the talent show last night and brought a friend of mine who is also a BC graduate and a retired probation officer.  I must tell you that I was so proud of our college students who showed off their talents on stage. It was quite fun and so entertaining.

My alumni friend had not been on the campus lately and was impressed with the indoor and outdoor theater upgrades. She expressed how wonderful BC looked at 100 years old and as we peaked down at the Hispanic commencement that was still going on, she was in awe of the outdoor theater upgrades and stated BC should have more concerts for the public and bring Mentu Buru and jazz artists.  I mentioned there were two recent concerts, but she was not aware of them.  She stated she wants to support BC more after seeing the wonderful campus upgrades…I am so proud to be a Renegade!”

Despite having so many talented students, only one could win it all — and a big congratulations to BC freshman Tristen Bangi for taking home the title with her amazing vocal performance.  The 18-year-old kinesiology major made it to the finals with knockout renditions of Broadway hits “Defying Gravity” from “Wicked” and “On My Own” from “Les Miserables,” then took home the trophy with a bravura diva turn on the Barbra Streisand classic “Don’t Rain on My Parade” from “Funny Girl.”

While the talent show was going on inside, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house outside as hundreds came out to celebrate the success of our 2015 Chicano and Latino graduates at an intimate, heartfelt commencement ceremony.

The bilingual ceremony gives the Spanish-speaking family and friends of our Chicano and Latino students the chance to share in the pride and achievement of our amazing graduates. Thank you Corny Rodriguez and Joanne Acosta and the rest of the team for organizing the event.

And a word of advice to anyone attending the ceremony in coming years — bring tissue.  Because it’s impossible not to get emotional hearing stories of perseverance and joy from students who often had to overcome so much just to see a day like this become a reality.

Don’t take my word for it — just watch this fantastic video below from the ceremony by BC videographer supreme Manuel de los Santos.  Manny, u r the best!

A truly magical night on this truly magical campus…

2015 MESA Awards: BC Student Achievements Shine

MESA Awards Banquet 2015Bakersfield College continues to focus on low-income communities by providing opportunities that result in economic advancement.  And there’s no better opportunity for a first-generation college student than to dive headfirst into careers in industries clamoring for qualified workers: engineering, science and  mathematics.

So an organization focused on supporting and mentoring disadvantaged students into those in-demand and high-wage careers is one that gets BC’s highest seal of approval!

MESA Awards Banquet 2015On May 7th, members of BC’s MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement) program held their 11th annual awards banquet, honoring the 2015 achievements of our own MESA students.  It’s wonderful to see how many have accepted the academic support and industrial advantages MESA provides and are now ready to jump into that active job pool.

Under the oversight of MESA Director Connie Gonzalez, the banquet was a great event celebrating the determination of some of BC’s hardest-working students.

Consuelo GonzalezCongratulations award winners!


11th Annual Bakersfield College MESA Awards winners:

Industry Sponsor of the Year: Aera Energy LLC
Outstanding Individual Award: Traco Matthews
Professor of the Year Award: Richard Darke

Scholarships: Jeremy Duke, Jose Chavez, Evaleena Reyes, Amanda Jones, Brian Thayer, Edward Berdon, Oswaldo Marquez, Devin Pozas, Mary Baires, Randy Duong

Chevron Merit Scholars: Joshua Sosa, Tyler Starr, Edward Berdon, Tamara Kozareva, Jordy Dobbs, Jose Salinas, Daniella Bosze, Brian Thayer, Neftali Santos, Zeph Nord, Amanda Jones, Reymil Fernandez, Oswaldo Marquez, Marco Sanchez, Colton Nichelson, Zachary Allen, Yessenia Acosta, Ghillmar Mancia, Evaleena Reyes, Saul Mosqueda

MESA Awards Banquet 2015Transfers: Jeremy Duke, Zack Allen, Daniella Bosze, Brian Thayer, Matthew Gaitan, Tamara Kozareva, Devin Pozas, Anthony Prieto, Mary Baires, Sheri-Amor Craig, Alejandro Cruz, Randy Duong, Travis Renteria, Joshua Sosa, Jose Salinas, Gazali Ezzeddeen, Diana Herrera, Martin Alvarado, Austin Fowler, Joanne Jeong, Aeri Kim, Edison Quinonez, Juan Ramirez, Irabiel Romero, Anabel Salazar, Marco Sanchez, Alejandro Santos

Senate Certificate of Recognition: Jose Chavez, Jeremy Duke, Ghillmar Mancia, Reymil Fernando, Evaleena Reyes, Oscar Santos, Zack Allen, Amanda Jones, Danielle Bosze, Jessica Bravo, Zeph Nord, Brian Thayer, Edward Berdon, Matthew Gaitan, Oswalso Marquez, Mark Martinez, Tamara Kozareva, Devin Pozas, Jose Salinas

Internships/Research: Jose Chavez, Ghillmar Mancia, Reymil Fernandez, Evaleena Reyes, Jose Salinas, Oscar Santos, Amanda Jones, Jessica Bravo, Zeph Nord, Edward Berdon, Mark Martinez, Anthony Prieto Jeremy Duke, Sheri-Amor Craig, Zack Allen


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