The Renegade Rip

New deans, one coming from LA

Sara Lievanos, Reporter

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In Fall of 2015, Bakersfield College began conducting a nationwide search to fill three open administration positions as deans, which as of early December, finally concluded.
For two of these openings, BC didn’t have to look very far to find qualified faculty members who were willing to take on the job.
Bakersfield College’s Cornelius Rodriguez was hired as the new dean of instruction for the Behavioral Science Department, but Rodriguez began working at BC in January of 1991 when he was hired as a director of the Chicano Cultural Center.
In his time at BC, Rodriguez has held several positions including the Coordinator of Tech Prep, political science professor, and he worked on Outreach Programs and Services for College Readiness.
Because of Rodriguez’s extensive background in student services and having worked at least 10 years in a classroom, he believes he will bring uniqueness to his new position as a dean and said his main priority will be “to incorporate Dual Enrollment, so that students can graduate sooner.”
As for why Rodriguez decided to take on this new opportunity he said, “I have a responsibility to be engaged and cause greater change to help students succeed.”
Kate Pluta, who began working at Bakersfield College in 1979 as a reference librarian has now been hired as a dean of instruction for the English Department.
Pluta, who has been a division chair for the English Department, Academic Senate president, and an English professor since 1985, said she decided to become a dean because, “as a professor you can only accomplish so much, and I want to reach a much bigger audience”.
Pluta also says she is focused on where this college is going in the next three years, and plans on eliminating barriers and creating an overall effective institution a priority as a dean.
The last dean that was hired for the Student Development department, coming to Bakersfield College from Los Angeles Southwest College is Syed Hussain.
Over the past 26 years Hussain has worked in different community colleges in Los Angeles where he served on campus committees, was a political science professor, and provided leadership for the Student Success and Support Program.
Hussain is in his first few weeks at BC.
“I have been welcomed by incredibly nice people,” Hussain said.
He also admitted to experiencing culture shock since moving to Bakersfield from Los Angeles.
Hussain makes it clear that his passion lies in student services as he describes his many goals for BC including expanding the Career Center, the International Student Program, and the outreach programs for veterans.
Hussain asserts a main priority for him as dean will be to become number one for student achievement and transfer rates because he claims, “if the students are not successful, then I am not successful.”

[Photos By Sara Lievanos]

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New deans, one coming from LA