Fall 2021 Semester Begins – September 3, 2021

Dear Berkeley City College Community,

We are off to an incredible start for the Fall 2021 semester with faculty, classified professionals, and administrators coming together to provide quality teaching & learning spaces for students. Our college Opening Day provided a comprehensive professional development program that was focus on student success, completion, and equity. As we head into a holiday weekend, I want to provide some communication updates to the college community.

COVID-19 & Return to Campus Efforts

Interim Chancellor, Dr. Jannett Jackson provided district wide updates as well as follow-up communications regarding COVID-19 and return to campus efforts. The most recent Peralta Gems includes the announcement that the Peralta Community College District is requiring vaccinations by October 7th, 2021, for both employees and for students who are coming to campus for classes. For information on how to provide your vaccination records or access vaccination declination forms, please go to the Safe Peralta website for further instructions and all updated communications regarding COVID-19 protocols.

In collaboration with the College leadership teams, the district Human Resources colleagues are in discussions with local bargaining units regarding the process for SEIU employees returning to campus. I will communicate status updates to the BCC community, as information is made available. I recommend that you reach out to your union representatives to provide your input and questions.

Fall 2021 Instruction & Student Services

There are 21 classes scheduled as face-to-face instruction this semester (9 late start). It is great to have students and faculty on campus and I have seen how students are grateful to come back home. The leadership team has worked collaboratively with one another and district colleagues to support a safe and healthy return to campus for instruction, including regular debrief sessions across the district to address real-time needs with the screening elements of Company Nurse (employees) and Campus Shield (students).

The Student Services team has hosted Express Registrations for new and returning students throughout the month of August, supporting students through the enrollment steps. I would like to thank our colleagues who provided these sessions to provide immediate enrollment support of students for the fall semester. For many new students, colleagues in these sessions became the face of BCC, and I am grateful for the welcoming space you provided them.

Accreditation Update

The spring 2021 semester included the culmination of the college’s Institutional Self-Evaluation Report (ISER) and our peer site team visit. In June 2021, ACCJC wrote to the PCCD Presidents to extend the accreditation status of probation and request a follow up report on specific accreditation requirements regarding finances and governance that is due October 1, 2021. Chancellor Jackson hired a consultant, Dr. Janet Fulks, a retired California Community Colleges microbiology faculty member and a former trainer for ACCJC site visiting teams, to help draft these follow up reports.

On Monday, August 30, 2021, Interim Chancellor Jackson hosted a district wide webinar providing progress updates on the ACCJC Reports due on October 1, 2021. The recording of the webinar is now posted on YouTube and is available here. The embedded slides provide an overview of the report components.

The draft versions of the college reports are now moving through the Colleges’ collaborative governance processes and will be reviewed by the Board of Trustees at the September 28, 2021 board meeting so that the reports can be delivered to ACCJC by the October 1, 2021 deadline. The BCC Academic Senate endorsed the draft report and Teach Out Plan during its September 1, 2021 meeting.

You can find the latest versions of the college draft reports, evidence, and teach out plans on the District website at https://web.peralta.edu/accreditation/2021-accjc-reports/

Participatory Governance Update

The chairs/co-chairs of the college governance groups have met two times (June 21, 2021 and September 3, 2021) to review and revise the college’s Participatory Governance Manual. This work has included incorporated the recommendations for improvement made by the peer site team, which indicated the BCC should formalize the participatory governance self-evaluation process and annual updates of the Participatory Governance Manual. Over the next two months, committee chairs will work within their respective groups to ensure that the committee charge, membership, governance placement, etc., are revised. I am grateful to the levels of professionalism, collegiality, and leadership that each colleague has shared during our work together. I trust you will receive updates on the progress made in your upcoming committee meetings.

Cafécito with the President- September 22, 2021 (College Hour 12:20- 1:30 pm)

The first of the fall 2021 Cafécito with the Presidents will be on September 22nd during College Hour. This is a space where colleagues can come to ask me questions and hear updates on pressing items. Topics for September 22nd include: Return To Campus, Higher Education Emergency Relief (HEERF), Institutional Effectiveness (Ed Master Plan, Strategic Plan)

Closing Comments

My 6-year old daughter has this impressive ability to ground me when I feel like life does not make sense. During her bedtime routine last night, she stated, “Mama, I know you love me because you read to me every night and you build Lego worlds with me.” These simple words reminded me that most of what we do as educators is to show up in the spaces we can in the best way that we can. She didn’t point out the times I have missed family dinners or the times I said “not right now,” when she asked me to build Legos with her. She commented on how the times that I have been able to show up made her feel loved. So, I leave you with this sentiment as you go into the holiday weekend. Show up the best way that you can to yourself, your loved ones, and your BCC community. This is one of the ways that we can express care and compassion as colleagues, educators, and co-conspirators in creating an educational community that values students and the diversity of experiences from which they come.

In Community,

Dr. Angélica Garcia
Berkeley City College