Feliz Año Nuevo – Happy New Year!

January 9, 2023

Dear Berkeley City College Community,

Feliz Año Nuevo – Happy New Year! I hope you are well and that you were able to enjoy the holiday break. Like many of you, my family and I had travel plans, but those were promptly derailed with one of my daughters having the flu and the weather conditions keeping us home throughout the break. Our home was filled with sibling arguments, incessant holiday music, the smell of cooking tamales, making homemade Bolognese and pasta, and so much baking by my 12-year old that our neighbors were on a regular rotation of dessert deliveries. I enjoyed walks in the rain with our dog and a chance to read several books on my “wish list.” And while I enjoyed my break, we also had some challenging family matters that required much of my attention and energy. However, my return to campus this week includes excitement to see many of you. I hope your return to the BCC community is filled with the hope of an incredible semester and ready to work with your colleagues and serve students in the Spring.

Berkeley City College is building on the success of our Fall is Free program and expanding the benefits with our new Spring to Success program. Our team has designed a tiered system that promotes persistence and allows students to maximize their benefits based on enrolled units. All instate students qualify for free enrollment/campus fees and free weekly meals, with no minimum unit requirement. Instate students who enroll in 6 or more units of in-person instruction at BCC will receive free parking, free AC Transit bus passes, and an entry into drawings for $150 BART clipper cards. And instate students who enroll full-time in 12 or more units can receive a Spring to Success grant up to $700 through the Office of Financial Aid. To qualify, all students need to do is enroll at BCC as their home college and fill out a FAFSA. Please look at the Spring to Success website, and share with current students, alumni, neighbors, and friends.

I want to thank my colleagues on the administrative team for their work in budgeting and brainstorming the incentives that will impact students’ desire to choose BCC as the pathway to a career, certification, or transfer to a four-year institution. You should soon be seeing our marketing efforts in the community. My almost teenager was excited to see the social media ad when she was playing a game on her phone last week. I would also like to thank our faculty and classified professionals for their work in the implementation of this historic, no-cost experience in higher education. Your quality instruction and student services fulfill our mission as a public institution and is paying dividends in uplifting our community out of the devastation of the Covid-19 pandemic.

On December 1, 2022, the PCCD community received communication that effective January 2023, masks would not be required on district property. I encourage everyone to continue wearing masks, while on campus, but it is no longer required. The updated policy has been posted to the Safe Peralta website and can be read here.

This year, 2023, will be a landmark year for Berkeley City College as we will receive communication from the ACCJC on our accreditation status, we are developing our 2024-2028 Educational Master Plan, and continue our efforts to support students and increase equitable outcomes in their success and completion. I thank my colleagues currently serving on the EMP Steering Committee, and look forward to hosting community forums as we shape the future of Berkeley City College. I encourage all to visit the EMP page on our website to peruse the documents and leave feedback. Your input is important for the plan’s implementation.

I would also like to remind you BCC is hosting Flex Day on Friday, January 20 from 8:30am – 5:00pm. The program includes on-campus community building activities, as well as a catered lunch. While Flex Day will be a hybrid event, I encourage you to visit campus so that we may be in each other’s presence and, in many instances, introduce yourself in-person to your colleagues for the first time. Please keep an eye out for communications from the Professional Development Committee to RSVP for the event.

In closing, I want to share that over the holiday break my 7-year old daughter turned a corner as she worked through her struggles with reading. She went from being incredibly frustrated while reading, to sticking with it, making mistakes, and working through the frustration. Her almost teenaged sister provided her with this moment of a safe space, where she shared her own struggles with reading and now love of reading. She sat with her younger sister and they read aloud, working through challenging words together. I was reminded that when we feel seen, heard, and supported, we can accomplish so much. I believe this to be true about each of you in your work and presence to the students and community of Berkeley City College. I wish us a spring semester with many shared experiences of teaching and learning together.

Dr. Angélica Garcia (she | her | ella)
President, Berkeley City College