WHAT THE CV-HEC IS HAPPENING BLOG (March 2023): CCC Chancellor-Select Sonya Christian
The role of higher education in the Central Valley is increasingly recognized by our state’s elected officials and the public at large. So it carries a particular significance that on Feb. 23, the California Community College Board of Governors appointed Dr. Sonya Christian, chancellor of the Kern Community College District, as the incoming chancellor of the state’s community college system. Dr. Christian is a proven champion of the under-represented populations served by the community colleges in the San Joaquin Valley. For this month’s “What The CV-HEC Is Happening” blog, CVHEC’s Executive Director Benjamin Duran connected with Dr. Christian to capture her thoughts about her work in the Central Valley, and the California Community College system as a whole, before she formally steps into her new role this June.
Higher Ed in the Central Valley
A look at a tenure of accomplishments by KCCD Chancellor chosen to lead the CCC System – Part 1
Benjamin Duran: Thank you, Sonya, for taking the time to speak with us here at CVHEC, and congratulations again on your appointment to the state Chancellor’s office. We are elated to have an administrator from the Central Valley representing higher education in such an important office. What are your thoughts on the work being done in the valley, and how that ongoing work will inform your work statewide?
Sonya Christian: Thank you for inviting me, Ben. My focus will be to continue to advance student success and student access with equity … without distractions. This has been my work as president of Bakersfield College (BC), as chancellor of the Kern Community College District (Kern CCD), and it will continue to be my focus as the statewide chancellor.
The critical challenges we face in the Central Valley are emblematic of the challenges and opportunities we face in California – e.g. the enrollment decline during the pandemic and the basic needs of our students. The challenges are magnified in the Central Valley’s populations with higher levels of poverty, lower educational attainment levels, larger proportions of first-generation college students… and I believe the work we have been doing and will continue to do in the Central Valley should serve as a model for advancing student success with equity in the rest of the state.
Let me take a moment to brag about the innovation that has happened in the Central Valley, and acknowledge the leadership role that CVHEC has had in this work.
Dual Enrollment and Early College
I see Dual Enrollment and Early College as being essential. High school students need to know that they are on the path to college and can succeed on that path. This is all the more important for our first-gen students.
I believe that all our work should be supported by the data. Let me share with you some of the data for the Dual Enrollment/Early College sections in the Central Valley.
- Total special admit enrollments increased by 25% in 2021-2022; from 74,629 enrollments in 2020-2021 to 93,248 enrollments 2021-2022 (CA state growth was 5%)
- 21% (93,248 out of 441,691) of all special admit enrollments in California in 2021-2022 were from the Central Valley Region
- 5 out of the 9 high schools that received the CDE’s California Dual Enrollment Exemplary Award were from the Central Valley Region
- Arvin High School- Bakersfield College
- Delano High School- Bakersfield College & Cerro Coso Community College
- Robert F. Kennedy High School- Bakersfield College & Cerro Coso Community College
- McFarland High School- Bakersfield College
- Avenal High School- West Hills College, Coalinga
The Central Valley has done remarkable work supporting the detailed institutional clarification and creation of transfer pathways, including the implementation of Program Pathways Mapper. E.g., about two years after UC Merced, Merced College and Bakersfield College began collaborating on clarifying transfer pathways as part of a Learning Lab grant, enrolling transfer students took a big jump relative to the overall UC system. In fall 2021 they enrolled 19% more transfers, and in fall 2022 it was 14% more.
In all, UC Merced has published 27 vetted transfer pathways with Merced College and another 29 with Bakersfield College. UC Merced has also been engaging all Central Valley community colleges in linking their program maps to UC Merced to establish a network of transfer pathways for the region.
CSU Bakersfield has also been a leader in transfer pathways mapping with 39 transfer program maps currently linked to Bakersfield College programs.
And CSU Stanislaus has just begun onboarding onto the Program Pathways Mapper, adding more transfer momentum to the region’s guided pathways efforts.
The 15 colleges in the Central Valley/Mother Lode (CVML) Regional Consortium have been advancing equity and access for students in many areas:
- Increased the number of students who earned a degree, certificate, or apprenticeship by 5%
- Decreased the average number of units accumulated by First-Time Associate Degree Earners by 4%
- Developed over 120 programs in high-priority industry sectors to address skills gaps in the workforce
Here are some examples of great work from our colleges:
- Fresno City College and its sister institutions, Clovis, Madera, and Reedley, are pioneering an apprenticeship program called the California Tribal Environmental and Cultural Equitable Vocational Training to close equity gaps for indigenous residents in two programs: Environmental Science and Protection Technician and Cultural Protection Technician/Monitor. This project is a collaboration with the California Tribal Emergency Response and Relief Agency (CTUAC) and the California Tribal Unilateral Apprenticeship Committee (CTUAC). The purpose of the project is to recruit 25 apprentices from tribal communities.
- Bakersfield College hosted the first CVML Apprenticeship Forum in December 2022 to provide best practice strategies in meeting Governor Newsom’s equity goal of having 500,000 apprenticeships by 2029. Additionally, it received the California Apprenticeship Initiative: New & Innovative grant to develop apprenticeship programs in Information and Communication Technology as well as Perioperative Nursing for underrepresented students.
- West Hills College Lemoore is leading a regional project called Jumpstart for rising seniors to learn about Industrial Automation and gain work experience in an accelerated summer bridge program with Reedley College, College of the Sequoias, and Porterville College.
- Recently, 9 of the CVML colleges (Columbia, Fresno, Bakersfield, Cerro Coso, West Hills College Lemoore, Madera, Merced, San Joaquin Delta, Modesto, College of the Sequoias, Porterville, and Taft) received the second largest award for the Regional Equity and Recovery Partnership (RERP) grant, a partnership among the Labor and Workforce Development Agency (LWDA), the California Workforce Development Board (CWDB), and the California Community College Regional Consortia via the California Community College Chancellor’s Office. These colleges are coordinating a regional effort to improve job quality and access for women and underrepresented populations to help meet economic, social, and environmental needs of the community.
- Bakersfield College, Fresno City College, Merced College, Modesto College, San Joaquin Delta College and West Hills College Coalinga are part of the Rising Scholars Network, a CCCCO DEI initiative, that serves justice-involved and formerly involved students earn certificates and degrees to either transfer or to attain a mid- to high-wage job.
- Fresno City College and Modesto Junior College are two of 14 California community colleges participating in the 3-year College Homeless Housing Insecure Pilot Program to address the 19% of unhoused students.
These selected initiatives make visible the scope of committed work in the Central Valley to support access with equity, and success with equity.
Ben: Whoa, that is a lot of data! I guess that is what you get when you have a conversation with a former math faculty. Now, Early College and Dual Enrollment has a lot of potential in the Central Valley, and Kern CCD has been one of the leaders in that space for several years. How has your work in this area as President of Bakersfield College and Chancellor of Kern CCD prepared you for this new role?
Sonya: It has been the greatest pleasure of my career to be able to give back to the district where I started in higher education as a math instructor. I came to USC as a foreign graduate student and was first hired as a math faculty at BC. The President at that time, Rick Wright, and the Chancellor Jim Young, sponsored me for my green card. And now I am a citizen of this amazing country.
The 25,000 sq miles of Kern’s Service area includes rural communities with lower economic and educational attainment levels, and includes a range of strong industries like agriculture, energy, defense and aerospace, healthcare and logistics. The work done by the three colleges in the Kern district – Porterville College, Cerro Coso College, and Bakersfield College – has focused on advancing equity in access to a college education, equity in completing a degree or certificate, and equity in placement in good jobs. Various initiatives that were started as innovative projects have been institutionalized and are now a part of how we do our work.
The Early College efforts started with our rural communities of McFarland, Delano, Wasco, Shafter and Arvin/Lamont. Kern has also see
n rapid growth in our health care programs and we are working closely with industry and community-based organizations to move our energy-
With the Governor’s ambitious climate agenda, I see community colleges as providing the necessary infrastructure and engagement for all of our communities, offering educational attainment with equity, and creating economic mobility with equity. Kern has established a satellite presence of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory called the California Renewable Energy Laboratory (CREL).
And I have to mention the deep work that Kern has done using the Guided Pathways framework, work that has resulted in significant improvements in student success outcomes with equity.
This work was done to meet the needs of students of the colleges of the Kern Community College District (KernCCD)and the Central Valley. But of course the fundamental needs are in common to students at colleges across the state. In that regard meeting the needs of the populations we serve at the Kern CCD and the Central Valley has prepared me well for the work ahead.
Ben: Throughout your career as an administrator, you’ve demonstrated a forward-thinking, outside-the-box approach. What are some of your other big priorities as you step into your new role as state chancellor this June?
Sonya: At the February 23rd, Board of Governors meeting where I was appointed, I made the following comment:
The Board of Governors is tasking the 11th Chancellor of the California Community Colleges to be both implementer and visionary, all at once, to further advance the next frontier of student success with equity. Our work then is twofold: (1) Implement the Vision for Success with equity, fidelity, at scale, using the identified metrics, and (2) expand the canopy of community college learners , to accelerate the socio-economic mobility for our most marginalized communities through partnerships that will reach working adults, disconnected youth and others left behind.
Let me call out a few specific pieces of work:
One of my first priorities will be to work alongside the Cal State and UC systems to improve intersegmental transfer from the community colleges into four-year institutions. We’ve talked previously about implementing the Vision for Success and the Governor’s Roadmap with equity and at scale, and that includes the community college transfer students moving to a four-year university and completing their bachelor’s degree.
Workforce Development has been on the top of my mind the last few years. Systematically providing opportunities for working adults, disconnected youth and other learners who previously have been bypassed, is the next wave of our Guided Pathways work. Our work today is creating the future of learning where there are many more flexible onramps to educational pathways that lead to quality jobs.
The Governor’s Roadmap calls out four priority sectors – healthcare, climate action, education and early education. Community colleges – together with our partners – must lead the way to meet these goals.
At Kern, I have been working on the Climate Action agenda specifically in the areas of Carbon Capture and Sequestration, Clean Transportation, and Grid Resilience. I believe that Community Colleges are essential in advancing the state and federal goals for decarbonization and climate action, and it will be especially important to support the clean energy transition in the Central Valley.
Last and certainly not least, supporting our students with their basic needs by providing customized support for the diverse students we serve. This includes the work we have started with mental health support, affordable student housing and the Cal Grant Reform.
Ben: Sonya, I am glad you mentioned transfer. You know that CVHEC has identified this as a priority and has done great work on transfer pathways. How do you see this playing out at the state level?
Sonya: Increasing baccalaureate attainment has always been a priority for me, ever since I started as President of BC. Many of the underserved rural communities in Kern’s service have low educational attainment levels – this is why we launched, with urgency, the Rural Initiative as an equity imperative to advance educational attainment levels with the goal of advancing the socio-economic standing of these communities. In this work, we specifically focused on: (i) increasing baccalaureate completion by creating transfer pathways from high schools through the community college to a four-year university as well as (ii) bringing bachelor’s degrees closer to home by developing local Community College Baccalaureate programs that lead to high-wage jobs.
The transfer legislation SB 1440 and the creation of the Associate Degree for Transfer (ADT) helped Kern increase completion rates of the transfer degree. The graph shows the number of ADTs awarded at Kern increased from just over 1,000 five years ago in 2017-2018 to just over 2,500 in 2021-22; that is an increase of 146%.
And for California Community Colleges as a whole, the five-year increase from 36,101 ADTs conferred in 2016-17 to 62,934 in 2020-21 represents a 74% increase.
As more and more students complete the ADT, we need to ensure that the number of applications to our transfer institutions is increasing, as well. This will be a priority for me as I transition to my new role.
The Community College Baccalaureate is important to me. I remember the excitement that rippled through California’s Community Colleges in 2015 when SB 805 passed that launched the 15-college baccalaureate pilot program. And later in 2021 with AB 927 institutionalizing the pilot. In the Central Valley, Bakersfield College is providing high-wage, workforce-focused baccalaureate degrees and has two baccalaureate degree programs: Industrial Automation and Research Laboratory Technician. Also, Modesto Junior College offers a Respiratory Care B.S. degree, and other Central Valley colleges are developing baccalaureate degree programs. The Community College Baccalaureate will be a priority as I transition to my new role.
Ben: As always, it looks like you have an ambitious agenda, and I’m excited to see how the community colleges evolve to support students with equity under your leadership. The Central Valley stands ready to support you in your new role. Thank you again for speaking with us. I know you’ll continue to make the Central Valley proud!
CVHEC DIRECTOR’S MESSAGE (March 2023): Spring forward!
Spring forward to our CVHEC summit, Math Bridge Kick-off and Kern Mentors!
Welcome to this month’s CVHEC e-Newsletter. As we move into the spring of 2023 with a little more daylight on our hands, we are happy to share some timely items following our last issue.
First, as we in the Central Valley continue to bask in the pride and excitement of our own Dr. Sonya Christian, chancellor of the Kern Community College District, being chosen by the California Community Colleges Board of Governors to lead the California Community College System, we are delighted to feature her in this issue’s “What the CV-HEC Is Happening Blog.”
The Chancellor-select reflects on her time working in the valley with her fellow presidents and chancellors on the CVHEC Board of Directors and the strides we have made as a united voice for higher education in our nine-county region [or Kern Co if that is what the blog focuses on]. Please enjoy her guest blog in this month’s issue and, once again, congratulations Sonya!
Registration for the CVHEC Annual Summit is now open!
Please plan on joining us May 12 for this great event as well as our special CVHEC Welcome Reception the day before at Arte Americas. The summit – always historic in that it brings together the higher education leadership in our nine-county region – provides the opportunity to showcase the great work that is taking place in our Central Valley colleges and universities to provide meaningful pathways for our students seeking a higher education.
In furtherance of our mission to increase access to college for students, we are pleased to announce the Central Valley Math Bridge Kick-off May 18 in downtown Fresno with our partners College Bridge and the Rand Corporation. With this the formal launch, we are excited to shine a light on the great work that can come out of small colleges in the Central Valley that we will share with the rest of the state and eventually nationally as this project creates a model for meaningful dual enrollment math pathways and expansion that can be replicated in other regions of California.
This same spirit carries forth in the South Valley where our Kern Master’s Upskilling Project is now recruiting community college professors to serve as mentors for high school teachers enrolled in the project to earn master’s degrees in math or English. In collaboration with the Kern Regional K-16 Education Collaborative, we are working to improve student progress from high school to postsecondary education and ultimately into the workforce by providing 100 South Valley high school teachers the opportunity to earn a master’s degree that achieves state qualifications for teaching community college dual enrollment English or math courses at local high schools.
We encourage Kern area community college math and English professors to join us in this innovative project.
And finally, as we close out March next week, let us acknowledge Women’s History Month by expressing our appreciation to the incredible women leaders who serve on the CVHEC Board of Directors as the presidents or chancellors of the colleges and universities in our region, led by board chairwoman Dr. Kristin Clark, chancellor the West Hills Community College District.
As you read through this issue, we hope you find inspiration in the many great higher education advancements taking place in the Central Valley. Thanks for being a partner and a friend of CVHEC.
CVHEC NEWS: EdSource Roundtable features dual enrollment alumna March 22
Brianna Zatarain, a dual enrollment alumna who served on the student panel at the Central Valley Higher Education Consortium Summit last year, will be featured on a virtual roundtable presented by EdSource March 22 (4-5 p.m.): “Dual enrollment: How to increase access for all students.”
Brianna enrolled in dual enrollment classes while a student at Robert F. Kennedy High School in Delano CA through Bakersfield College before completing her bachelor’s degree in liberal students in just three years at Cal State Bakersfield in May 2022.
She is a substitute teacher in McFarland while currently working on a master’s degree at National University. All three colleges are CVHEC member institutions.
The panel, moderated by EdSource reporter Ashley A. Smith, includes prominent higher education experts: Olga Rodriguez, director of the Public Policy Institute of California Higher Education Center and Senior Fellow; Raquel Torres-Retana, dean of Rosemead & Northwest Campuses and Educational Partnerships at Pasadena City College; James Espinoza, principal of Middle College High School in San Bernardino City Unified; and Anne Vasquez, chief executive officer of EdSource.
CVHEC IN THE NEWS: College Bridge Dual Enrollment Math Bridge Project
WHAT THE CV-HEC IS HAPPENING GUEST BLOG (February 2023): College Bridge and Dinuba HS
This month’s “What The CV-HEC Is Happening” guest blog is presented by Agustina Sanchez, a counselor at Dinuba High School in Tulare County who has participated in the College Bridge Math Pipeline Readiness Project (M-PReP) since it was implemented in 2013. During the three-year project in concert with CVHEC-member Reedley College, Dinuba students not only acquired the necessary skills to become college-ready, but also passed college-level math classes through M-PReP, all in the span of their senior year. Mrs. Sanchez, who earned a bachelor’s degree at Fresno State in 2001 and master’s and PPS Credential in 2003, has been counseling for 19 years. Here she shares her experience with College Bridge and how its life-changing strategies helped high school students through initiatives such as M-PReP and its new Dual Enrollment Math Bridge Project announced last month.
Hard Pass? No more!
A rural Central Valley high school teams with College Bridge and
a CVHEC member for student math success through dual enrollment
BY AGUSTINA “AUGGIE” SANCHEZ
Dinuba High School – Dinuba CA (Tulare County)
Hard Pass! This was the typical response I received when registering high school juniors for a senior year math experience.
AP Calculus? AP Statistics? Pre-Calculus? No. No Way. Hard Pass!
As a high school counselor, I knew that our college-bound students were going to see math again (and, most likely, again and again). I did everything in my power to get college-bound students to take a math course, and while some took my advice, many did not because they “didn’t want a hard senior year,” or they would “just wait and take their next math in college.”
In fall 2018, I was introduced to a new partnership for Dinuba High School (DHS) with College Bridge. The goal of this partnership was to increase the number of students in a senior math experience, namely Dual Enrollment (DE) Math.
The concept was actually quite simple.
DHS partnered with a local community college to offer Dual Enrollment (DE) math courses to our seniors in areas of statistics, college algebra, college trigonometry and calculus. College Bridge literally created a bridge between DHS and Reedley College to ensure our students’ success in this area. Our senior students enrolled and successfully completed these DE math courses with a C or better, many of them finishing their general education math for their bachelor’s degree while still high school students.
To build a foundation for student success, College Bridge created a system of support in all areas — administrative, instruction, counseling and student learning:
- To train in course curriculums, from statistics to calculus, DHS teachers received professional development in cohort with Reedley College professors.
- Reedley College faculty not only came to mentor our teachers, but they were also released from the college to come and teach weekly at DHS while our teachers observed.
- Reedley College faculty members then observed our teachers in action and guided them throughout the semester until our instructors demonstrated comfort in, and a comprehensive understanding of, curricular content and methodology.
- To engage students, a counseling mentor was provided to help promote, market, entice and enroll students into courses.
- Parent nights were held, classroom presentations were conducted in Math 3 classes, and College Bridge helped interested students complete the necessary steps to apply to Reedley College.
- Our DHS math instructors taught the Reedley College content three days a week, offered tutorials the other two days, and additional after-school assistance was available three times per week.
- Students were monitored and interventions applied early to ensure positive student learning outcomes.
DHS now had a new approach and convincing talking points to encourage students to enroll in a senior math experience:
- Do you want to complete your math for your bachelor’s degree here at DHS?
- This is your chance to complete your first year of calculus at DHS with the support of our teachers.
- Why wait until you get to Reedley College or Fresno State; this is your chance to finish your math here at DHS with your teacher’s support and interventions.
Needless to say, senior math enrollment increased.
In our first year of implementation, DHS just focused on Math 11 (Statistics). College Bridge took things a step further, deeply investing efforts in the “striving math student.” A pre-Statistics course was offered in the fall and then the magical Math 11 (statistics) DE in the spring, thus preparing students for a full semester before enrolling them into the DE course.
Our more advanced students took the Math 11 DE in the fall term, and a Quantitative Reasoning course in the spring (non DE). DHS senior students achieved their goal and entered college “math done” for their degrees. Over the next three years, DHS added algebra, trigonometry and calculus to DE math course offerings.
Now, nine years after the first implementation of College Bridge, dual enrollment math is still strong.
We have two full-time teachers who teach DE courses for a total of 10 sections and are currently registering current 11th graders for next year. Our student math conversations are not difficult; many students have already made a DE math choice, and compelling arguments and evidence — including the pros and cons of dual enrollment math — typically convince those students who are hesitant to choose the path to college credit.
The senior math experience “hard pass” era is no longer viable. Instead, our current students will “hardly pass” up this amazing opportunity to excel.
CVHEC DIRECTOR’S MESSAGE (February 2023): CVHEC Summit 2023
Spotlight on Unique Approaches To
Transfer and Dual Enrollment in Central California
February ushered in what promises to be a very productive and exciting spring and that is well illustrated here in the final week of the month with the historic appointment of our esteemed colleague and CVHEC board member, Dr. Sonya Christian, as the 11th chancellor of the California Community College System.
From all of us at CVHEC: congratulations Chancellor-Select Christian! See our story in this issue.
Also, in this month’s e-newsletter, we are happy to announce a SAVE THE DATE for the annual CVHEC Education Policy and Legislative Summit May 12 in Fresno with our quarterly CVHEC Board of Directors meeting the day before.
The annual summit provides an opportunity to showcase the impactful work being accomplished by our member colleges and universities in the Central Valley to our partners, friends and legislators who serve our region. Please plan on joining us later this spring to learn more about this work, including the unique approaches to transfer and dual enrollment in the valley — just to mention a couple of topics that will be covered. Registration info will be forthcoming in March.
In the South Valley, we are pleased to present the addition to the CVHEC family of two respected Kern County higher education professionals who will serve as faculty mentor coordinators for our Kern Master’s Upskilling Project: Drs. Vikash Likhan and Liz Rozell.
The Kern project, which assists high school teachers earn an MA in math or English qualifying them to teach dual enrollment, includes a mentoring component that joins high school teachers with community college professors. Drs. Likhan and Rozell will work with our project lead, Tom Burke (KCCD chancellor-emeritus), to identify and recruit South Valley community college professors to serve as mentors.
If you are interested in serving our students in this way, or know potential candidates, I invite and encourage you to connect with our team.
There is much more in this month’s edition. Please read on and enjoy.
WHAT THE CV-HEC IS HAPPENING GUEST BLOG (January 2023): Master’s Upskill
This month’s What The CV-HEC Is Happening guest blog is presented by Ginny Sandhu, an English teacher at Sunnyside High School in Fresno who earned a master’s degree in December, 2021 through CVHEC’s Master’s Upskilling Program. She earned her bachelor’s degree at Fresno State in 2008 (credential 2009) and has been teaching for 13 years. Here Ginny shares the value of the upskilling program and how it will benefit not just her personal and professional advancement but also her students through dual enrollment.
Master’s Upskill Program Leads to Dual Enrollment Courses; Student Benefit
BY GINNY SANDHU
Sunnyside High School – Fresno CA
My latest academic journey – obtaining my Master of Arts last summer – officially began at National University in January 2021. But as I reflect on the years past, it really started long before that.
Having taught writing-centered courses like AP Language and Composition and Expository Reading and Writing for many years positioned me perfectly to want to improve my art for a very important reason — my students.
I wanted to pursue a graduate program that helped me become a better writing instructor for students who take high stakes courses like the AP courses I taught. So much of who I was (am) as a professional at the time aligned so well with the courses offered in the program (Master’s of English, specialization in Rhetoric) that once I learned about the opportunity, I happily enrolled immediately.
From the start, the program had many entities that were involved to make the initiative a success for its candidates — the Central Valley Higher Education Consortium, Fresno Unified School District, Fresno County Office of Education and National University — all supported this enormous effort to help individuals like me achieve academic goals without any financial burden.
Once the courses began, I was assigned a wonderful mentor from Fresno City College, a tenured professor, who supported me with various facets of the program. Some of the concerns he assisted me with were academic while others were career-related. I was able to get feedback on major essays and projects and, any time I felt like I was reaching a point of burnout, his wisdom, knowledge, and experience guided me accordingly.
In my courses, I learned about ancient and modern rhetoric. In one class, I was able to develop a revision method using various research-based approaches that we studied in class.
In another class, we delved into education and technology and how the world of writing is changing because of all the technology that is conveniently available to a modern-day student. We even took a course on Noir as a genre and learned about Film Noir and Femme Fatales. Romanticism came close to being one of my favorite courses, but History of Rhetoric took the trophy for being one of the most informative and enjoyable courses for me. I appreciated learning more about Emerson who believed in the importance of receptivity as we interact with the world, with nature, and believed in the complete submission to the sublime experience as a way to a spiritual clearing.
But it was the History of Rhetoric course that took us through the most beautiful journey starting first with the Greeks then the Romans, and onwards to more modern rhetoricians. The course allowed us to see how rhetoric has expanded over the centuries to include broader concerns of epistemology, social construction, ideology and the study and use of symbol systems. It also allowed me to see the power of language and the many facets of rhetoric as an art form. I came to understand the hegemonic power of political structures in creating metanarratives through language that strive for homogenization of people—thereby reducing people to a single story. This led me to study Plato, Cicero, Quintilian, Lyotard, Nietzsche, Goddard, Said, Sartre, Hegel, Freud, and numerous other philosophers who have shed light on the power structures that are constructed through language.
The most gratifying moment in the program for me was my Capstone project in which I rhetorically analyzed Frantz Fanon’s Black Skin, White Masks. While the labor was long and arduous, I felt well-supported by the faculty in charge and the two months allotted to just writing my thesis.
My hope was to understand how language as a power tool operates in our world and Fanon’s psychoanalytic approach to racism and his characterization of psychic violence through his radical stance against established scholarship allowed me to see that it is indeed possible to challenge oppressive systems and language gives you that ability. Personally, this program gave me the tools to deconstruct language around racial conflicts, such as the ones in Punjab, and the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States.
Currently, I am teaching Dual Enrollment English 1A at Sunnyside High School in Fresno. Like the master’s program, I was fortunate to have been assigned a mentor again, and lucky for me, I got to work with the same mentor as my MA program: I gladly call Jeff Tannen a friend now.
I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to get a master’s degree with so much support built around me — and all of this without any financial investment of my own and entirely online, allowing me the flexibility I needed to sustain a full-time teaching position and be there for my family.
BOARD NEWS: CVHEC Board Reviews AB928, Eyes Retreat In 2023 and Bids Farewell to One of Its Own (Photo Gallery)
The Central Valley Higher Education Consortium Board of Directors held its final quarterly meeting of the year Dec. 8 highlighted by a discussion of Assembly Bill 928 regarding transfer reform and a farewell to a beloved colleague.
Dr. Lori Bennett, outgoing president of Clovis Community College, was presented a retirement gift during her final meeting sitting on the CVHEC board and representing her institution of higher education.
After a presentation by two dear friends and colleagues — Dr. Kristen Clark, CVHEC board chairperson and chancellor of the West Hills Community College District; and Dr. Claudia Lourido-Habib, president of Porterville College — President Bennett expressed her appreciation for her CVHEC colleagues.
“There is nothing that I’ve done in my whole career that has been better than being president at Clovis Community College and part of that is being part of CVHEC,” said President Bennett whose retirement is effective Jan. 3.
“It’s amazing what we have here in this valley, all of you in this room, all of us getting to know each other and meeting up and talking and including all the different colleges,” she told the board. “It is beyond my wildest dreams that I could have been part of something like this. I want to thank all of you for the friendship and the work that we’ve done together over the last several years.”
The hybrid board meeting, only the second in-person session since the pandemic for the presidents and chancellors of CVHEC’s 30 member institutions in the nine-county Central Valley region, was hosted by the California Health Sciences University and board member Florence T. Dunn, CHSU president. Dr. John Graneto, CHSU dean pf the university’s College of Osteopathy Medicine, welcomed the academic CEOs with a presentation about the medical school.
Also presenting at the board meeting was Jessie Ryan, executive vice president of the Campaign for College Opportunity, who joined the meeting via Zoom. Discussing AB928 (Berman), Ryan acknowledged the role CVHEC has played in the transfer reform movement over the years, noting that the Central Valley is ahead of many in the state.
Ryan said the bill sought three things: to create an intersegmental transfer task force to talk about critical issues related to the production of the Associate Degree Transfer and improving the transfer process for students across the state; to create a common lower division general education pathway into the CSU and UC; and to more strategically ensure that the ADT became the preferred pathway for students where an ADT pathway for transfer existed
The board also heard CVHEC Executive Director Benjamín Durán report that the Consortium will be undertaking strategic planning measures in 2023 that include a program evaluation and a CVHEC Board Strategic Retreat next summer.
Several other CVHEC Projects were discussed; including a progress report on the CVHEC Transfer Project/Program Mapper, updates on the four CERF regions K-16 Collaboratives, and a discussion about the Online Educational Resources/Zero Textbook Costs (OER/ZTC). (See full agenda here – view details).
The CVHEC Board of Directors will meet again in spring 2023.