College president finalist Sonya Christian
The three finalists for the vacant role of Bakersfield College president spoke on campus Sept. 25-26 to discuss their qualifications and ideas for the future of BC. The candidates were asked a series of questions by faculty and students, and they were able to give their views on each topic mentioned.
Sonya Christian focused on the importance of long term planning, focusing on student issues, and creating a stronger community within Bakersfield College.
“Every connection with a student is an opportunity to transform that student’s life,” she said. “Every connection with the community, a community member, or collective group, or board, is an opportunity to build a friend of BC.
“We are here to transform every student that comes to us,” she said about the job of every faculty member.
“It doesn’t matter who we are. What we come here for is the same whether we are from Lane Community College in Eugene, Oregon or Bakersfield College in Bakersfield, California.”
Christian put an emphasis on focusing on the future of BC, saying the difficult decisions the college makes now will forever shape the college’s future.
“We are in 2012 right now,” she said. “Let’s think about 2022. We’re not going to have the financial difficulties because we came through that together, making the difficult decisions.”
Christian believes there are two lenses, a practical and a subjective one, in which she sees the ways to cut BC down to its “core.”
“We need to stay committed to our basic skills agenda in a smart way,” she said.
“There is a practical lens of running an institution, and not shying away from that challenge in any way.
“We define core as a community as well. There is a subjective decision based on the values of that institution.
“Every institution needs a little something. A little something to bring the students here. A little something to keep our faculty and staff engaged and excited.”
Christian had many goals for the future of student success.
“While students go through the educational pathways, they’re going to become critical thinkers,” she said.
“They’re going to learn how to learn, and they’re going to learn how to think. That’s the vision I have.”
Despite the difficult economic times the college is going through, Christian is only optimistic.
“I believe that our greatest challenge enables us to do our greatest work,” she said.
“When our situation seems disastrous and completely hopeless, it triggers the creativity and brilliance of the people engaged with it.”