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Brooke Howard, Reporter

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This year, Bakersfield College has turned to three of its own in filling three new associate dean positions – Cornelio Rodriguez, Michele Bresso and Liz Rozell.

Rodriguez, or “Corny” as students and faculty call him, has taken the position of associate dean of Instruction for Behavioral Sciences, Foreign Languages, English for Multi Language speakers and Philosophy.

“As Associate Dean of Instruction with responsibility for Behavioral Sciences, Foreign Languages, English for Multi Language Speakers, and Philosophy my primary goal is to advocate for the needs of these disciplines,” Rodriguez stated when asked about his goals for this position.

Rodriguez was previously a political science professor at Bakersfield College before taking on this role. “Yes, I miss teaching and being in the classroom. I miss the regular first hand interaction with the students,” he said. “At times, while in the classroom, I feel as if I learn more from them than them from me.”

Rodriguez has also been significantly involved on campus wide committees for some time now and just finished his fourth term as Academic Senate president before the switch to dean. “I will say that the position of Academic Senate President did provide me with the experience and exposure to key committees that have been very helpful in my current position.”

Rodriguez did not have much of an adjustment in terms of demands on time or workload. It was also rumored the position would be a one-year trial, to which he replied, “I do not see this as a trial. I see it as an opportunity to assist BC moving forward. We had two or three administrators resign, and our leadership, specifically our President Sonya Christian did what I think is right. She recognized that there are good, caring and experienced faculty/staff with the skills to provide leadership in areas of need and she put a call out for what is called the Bakersfield College Administrative Transition Team – BCATT. The other option could have been to utilize a firm with retired educational administrators and temporarily hire from them.

“I am excited about the opportunity I have been given and look forward to the challenges in helping BC students succeed,” he said.

Bresso took on the role of associate dean of Instruction with the responsibility over English, Communication, and Academic Development and the BC Library.

“My goals as interim associate dean of Instruction are multi-fold. First and foremost, I am here to meet the needs of our students. To do so, my goal is to support our faculty, especially those in the college’s departments of English, Communication, Academic Development and the Bakersfield College library,” Bresso stated.

“Such support is a complicated task, requiring knowledge of contracts, college practices and Kern Community College District policy. I bring all of those elements into play to guide decisions that carry out faculty support. I truly love working with our faculty to solve problems and leap obstacles so that they can focus on teaching students. I am very lucky to be carrying out this role.”

Bresso also has long standing career with Bakersfield College. In 1993, Bresso was director of Marketing and Public Relations here at BC. After that she followed her passion for Communication and academia. “Eventually, I served simultaneously as one of our adjunct faculty members in Communication teaching public speaking, a subject I love! In 2004, I was hired as a full-time tenure-track faculty member in Communication at Bakersfield College. I truly believe in that subject. The better able we are to form and communicate effective messages, the more successful we will be in the workplace, at home, and in our personal lives. Communication isn’t just a college subject. It’s a life skill.”

Bresso served as faculty for seven years working directly with students and colleagues until four years ago. “I left Bakersfield College to work in the district office as KCCD Associate Vice Chancellor of Governmental and External Relations. In that capacity, I worked with state and national legislators to advocate on behalf of our colleges and our students. Transitioning to my current position at BC has involved maintaining my work with the KCCD Leadership Academy and continuing with legislative advocacy on behalf of our district while carrying out the duties of my Bakersfield College dean role,” said Bresso.

Very excited to be back on campus, Bresso expressed her love of talking to students, faculty and all the employees and community members. “The days are busy, and the work is meaningful. I feel that my blend of experience from my prior days at BC and my work at the district level provides me the ability to serve our campus and our students in a unique and beneficial way. It’s great to be back.”

Bresso ended by stating “My position does end June 30, 2015.”

Rozell began as an adjunct instructor at Bakersfield College in 1985 and was hired as a full-time faculty member in 1989. She primarily taught engineering, math, physics, industrial drawing, and computer science courses.

In 2013, she transitioned over to the position as associate dean of Instruction over Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Industrial Technology.

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