BC president discusses plans for college

Marcus Castro, Editor in Chief


Now that the contract issue with Bakersfield College President Sonya Christian has been resolved, Christian talked about her plans and focuses for BC.

“Often we have rough patches that we need to go through, but I’m a firm believer that it really makes us a lot stronger,” said Christian. “I want everyone to feel optimistic and positive and just do what we do because it is the right thing to do, and to not lose faith in that regard.”

Christian’s main focus is to influence college ready students who come to BC, with college level math and English, to complete a degree in two years.

“We want to improve those numbers in terms of students getting a degree or transferring. See, that’s my big focus. We’re calling it the Renegade Promise,” said Christian.

Christian explained that in order for this to work, there must be enough classes for students, quality counseling, and the push for students to come to BC with a plan.

Christian said that in the past BC did not have the funding from the state to offer classes. She told the faculty and staff that more sections needed to be opened up, and that, if necessary, they need to take money from other places to put the focus on opening up classes.

Sacramento later ended up supporting BC with opening up more classes by helping with the funds.

Christian explained that it is important to have classes, but it’s also equally as important to help with student success in these classes.

“It’s not just about access but also success,” said Christian. “We set up this huge network of what we call Academic Support Services, so you cannot fail. No you can’t, and we’re being intrusive about it.”

Christian also intends to focus on a goal of getting BC connected with the community as it was before. She explained that the connection with the community allows for more opportunity for the students.

Connecting BC with the community is one thing, but Christian also hopes to raise awareness to the state of what BC does.

“The third thing is really to raise the visibility of what Bakersfield College does statewide. I don’t want BC to just be implementing policies and rules that come down from Sacramento. We have such talent here at the college that I want us to be shaping what the future looks like for California community colleges,” said Christian.

Christian explained that she wants BC to be the school that helps in shaping policies in technology, equity, student success, and more.

This fall semester, there was an 8 percent increase in student enrollment at BC, and administration was aware of the increase but did not expect the number to be so high.

Christian explained that there is an enrollment target for the Kern Community College District, and the target determines the funding that the school gets for growth.

“We wanted to make sure that as a district we were meeting that enrollment target so that we would get all of the dollars that were potentially allocated for KCCD. We wanted to be economically smart,” said Christian.

The target growth was set at 4.5 percent. This fall semester there was a growth in population at BC of 8 percent.

“We were not ready for 8 percent. It was crazy,” said Christian. “But people responded. Even our SGA responded, so we had volunteers that were ready in the first week.”

Christian explained that she is expecting the same amount of students to be here in the spring semester. She explained that there has already been preparation at BC in places such as counseling, the cafeteria, and public safety earlier this semester.

“We’re going to be way more prepared in the spring term to deal with it,” said Christian.