Random Renegade: Jacen Alexander

Every issue, The Rip will be interviewing a random faculty member at Bakersfield College about hopes and goals.

Jacen Alexander

Jacen Alexander

Zach Sullivan, Reporter

Bakersfield College adjunct English professor Jacen Alexander has been teaching at BC since 2009 while also maintaining an adjunct position at California State University Bakersfield aiding foreign students in becoming proficient in speaking, reading and writing English.

Alexander, who was born in Los Angeles in 1969, moved to Bakersfield when he was six. He attended CSUB and studied English before transferring to Northridge and changing his major to film production.

Alexander said upon transferring to Northridge, he was unable to complete his degree. “I wasn’t able to finish my degree for various reasons and dropped out. I worked for about 11 years from 1992 to 2003. So for the next 11 years, I took a total of four classes, three of those at Glendale college in L.A, otherwise I was working in warehouses shipping and receiving,” he said.

Alexander said an opportunity arose to move back to Bakersfield, which he ended up taking.

“I had the opportunity to move back to Bakersfield, so I did, because Los Angeles was hell, it was not a good experience. I came back to Bakersfield and decided I wanted to complete my bachelor’s degree. I had 5 years of college and nothing to show for it because I had to drop out. So I figured most people go four years and get their de
gree, I went five years and got zip. So in 2003 I became a full time student focused on English instead of film production and double-majored with religious studies, which in 2005, I got the degree and decided to go for a masters.” Alexander completed his master’s degree in 2012, graduating from CSUB, the first college he attended.

It was during this time acquiring his master’s degree at CSUB that Alexander taught his first classes at BC. “In 2009 I got my first classes here at BC actually teaching at their Delano campus. The first couple of years I was mostly teaching up at the Delano campus, and every so often I still get a class up there,” he said.

Alexander said he was also offered an adjunct position at CSUB in 2009, but the class he was going to teach did not have enough students and was canceled. In 2011, CSUB reached out to Alexander again to become an instructor, which he accepted, and has held the position ever since.

When asked what he enjoys most about teaching, Alexander explained he likes seeing students become interested and involved in the material he is teaching. “When students respond to the reading it can be engaging. The right individuals responding and having something to offer is enjoyable,” he said.

“I can lecture, but that gets boring after a while. I want to hear what the students are getting out of it, I want to see what the students are bringing to the class. I’m hoping students come in to my class wanting to be better communicators, that they become better writers, and be interested in the ideas that some of my reading selections are raising and respond to it. The stuff I’m selecting has real world consequences, it’s not just stuff I’m pulling out of a hat. When they are responding, and are becoming interested in the material, that’s when it becomes satisfying to me.”

Outside of teaching, Alexander claims he enjoys reading and watching movies. He said his favorite movie is “Empire Strikes Back,” and that he has been a lifelong movie watcher.

Alexander is a fan of fantastical stories, and some of his favorite authors include: Neil Gaiman, J.K. Rowling, Gregg Bear and Stephen King, among others. He said he used to enjoy cycling, but had bad experiences while living in L.A. that dissuaded him away from continuing. “I used to cycle when I was younger, but I stopped when I was in Los Angeles because I was knocked off my bike twice, run over once and had to have physical therapy. I also almost got killed twice by two drivers who were not paying attention. So cycling kind of went out of me, thanks to Los Angeles,” Alexander said.

Alexander said he is completely fine being an adjunct professor at both CSUB and BC, and has no plans to become full-time at either for the time being.