Presidents Summer and Fall planning for 2021

Brisa Flores, Reporter

A new addition to the Presidents’ virtual seminar series was hosted by Nicky Damania, Director of Student Life, which was held March 2. The topic of this seminar was Bakersfield College (BC) students and the student information desk.

Panelists of the seminar were BC President Sonya Christian, Gian Gayatao, the BCSGA President, Dr. Zav Dadabhoy, the Vice President of Student Affairs, and a small team from the student information desk.

Christian opened the webinar and spoke about how the schedule of opening the campus is starting to look different due to how COVID-19 vaccines are becoming more available for people to get their dose or doses. 

“Initially, we were not planning on opening up the summer very wide because we were anticipating the vaccination situation to trickle into the summer semester, and then in the fall we were going full-blown opening up our campus, but now we may rethink it,” said Christian. 

Gayatri gave a brief statement about the importance of late start courses, “I just wanted to share the importance of helping all my peers get the best of their career here,” he said. Late start courses are being offered so students can take the classes they need to graduate; some of these courses are face-to-face classes such as body conditioning, fine arts courses, and welding.

“A lot of students have been eagerly waiting to get back onto campus and have been,” said Damania. Dadabhoy spoke about how a “digital era would transform higher education.” He added that it was slow to embrace this new technological era and slow to improve student services as a higher education school. “We justified it by claiming it was a student preference,” he said.

Dadabhoy added that due to COVID-19, student affairs moved and had to learn to adapt to the online environment, “that did not mean we were taking care of student needs,” he said.Student affairs had to learn to take care of the needs of students during the pandemic. “The SID is just one example that I am proud to re-introduce to you,” said Dadabhoy.

The SID was launched last May on the zoom platform. The student information desk (SID) is like a one-stop-shop, and the hub for all students’ needs such as financial aid, counseling, registration, admissions, etc., were moved to the online environment. With SID, faculty can see more students in a day than they would face to face. 

“Online advising works,” said Dadabhoy. Students wait for a shorter amount of time than they would if they were going to these services in person. 

The way SID works is students would first speak to a co-host who will move them to a breakout room so that students may speak with someone; depending on if they need to speak to someone from a specific department, the student will be moved to a breakout room catered to that department.