Professor Reggie Williams appointed new Levan Center director


Melissa Puryear

Dr. Reginald Williams, the new director of the Norman Levan Center, outside the Fine Arts building.

Melissa Puryear, Reporter

Professor Reginald (Reggie) Williams was appointed as the new director of the Norman Levan Center for the Humanities at Bakersfield College, and will begin his role officially in the Fall of 2018. He will replace Jack Hernandez who has retired.

As the director next fall, Williams said, “I want to keep doing what we’re doing, it’s awesome, and I definitely want to preserve all of that.”

Williams said he has a desire to launch a few new programs which would include collaboration between other academic disciplines and merge it with the field of humanities. Williams used Cal-Tech Science professors and BC Science professors, collaborating with Humanities professors, in a discussion that is an important public issue, as an example. He said that the program’s purpose would be “to raise questions about human values.”

This multi-disciplinary approach will create bridges not only within the campus environment but outside the campus as well.

He said he will also work to fuse dialogue between music and humanities. He is currently discussing ideas with Kris Tiner, who directs the Jazz Program at Bakersfield College, and Josh Ottum, director of BC’s Music Department, about the program’s design which will focus on music from “a structural performance side,” with a humanities perspective.

He also said that he plans to work with BC’s Art Department, the Humanities Department, Bakersfield Museum of Art, as well as work with Cal State.

Williams said that the plans for the programs will be contingent on the budget that is available.

As director, he will still remain a philosophy professor on campus, but will also be meeting, discussing and planning programs for the center throughout the week, where he will be available in his office located in the Levan Center. An average day, according to Williams will be to line up speakers, events, attend budget meetings, create advisory committees consisting of faculty on campus, and also do plenty of research.

He said he enjoys listening to a great speaker, and said he has driven long distances just to see a professor give a talk. Williams has even flown across country, and traveled to conferences and has been been the speaker at a few conferences around the world.

On his free time, he travels to art museums in places like San Francisco, keeps his eye out on philosophy engagements in Los Angeles that he can attend, and spends time having engaging in talks with friends.

Williams said that he feels gratitude toward Norman Levan who has made so much possible at BC through his contributions. He said, “Norman Levan loved the core teaching mission at the community college, but he absolutely celebrated teaching. He celebrated the idea that a good teacher, a good academic, is someone who also remained vital in his or her field, and does research. The Levan Center was established through him, through his wishes, not just to make us better teachers, but to make us better intellectuals, and better community members, who had a broad understanding of ideas and issues, and how they connect interdisciplinarily and so forth.”

According to Williams, the Norman Levan Center for Humanities at BC which was established in 2006, in honor of Norman Levan, for his generous contribution that made the center possible, will continue to feature academic events that look at how humanities play a role in community, and in the lives of people. These free are open to the public, students, staff and faculty members, according to Williams.