Final 2020 President’s Message to BCC

December 21, 2020

Dear Berkeley City College Community,

This will be my last President communication the college community for the 2020 year. I concluded this day with a wonderful celebration hosted by the Peralta Colleges Foundation, thanking community members and donors for the commitment to students and our local communities. Berkeley City College students benefited from the partnership with the Eat, Learn, Play Foundation in providing hot prepared meals every Friday for 5 months. I am grateful to Executive Director LaNiece Jones for bringing this opportunity to Berkeley City College and to our colleagues who volunteered weekly to distribute meals. Between meal distributions and the distribution of chrome books, learning kits for students, and text books, we had the chance to “see” students, support them, and refer them to ongoing resources.

COVID-19 Update
I hope that you are all well and staying safe during this recent COVID-19 surge of cases. The California Department of Public Health reports that there are 1,892,348 COVID-19 cases with 22,676 fatalities as of December 21, 2020. Please visit the County of Alameda Emergency Alerts site for recent updates and sign up to receive alerts and continue to wear a mask, practice social distancing, and wash your hands.

Spring 2021- Previously included in 12/15/20 Message
Berkeley City College will continue to offer instruction, academic and student support services fully online via distance education platforms for the spring 2021 semester. We were prepared to offer some face-to-face Chemistry and Biology labs on campus, After careful review for health & safety protocols, we were prepared to offer some face-to-face Chemistry and Biology labs on campus with essential PPE gear to support faculty, students, and staff. However, the Purple Tier status provides guidance on “essential vs. “non-essential” instruction, and guidance for schools that did not have students on campus previously are not able to access a waiver to bring students to campus at this time. Berkeley City College does not have any programs that are considered “essential” during this health pandemic. At this time, we will not proceed with offering face-to-face lab instruction. A final determination regarding the scope of instruction will be informed by the information we receive from government and health officials on January 7, 2021, when the current shelter-in-place order expires. I will provide any updates as soon as possible after January 7th. (Please note that my 12/15/2020 message indicated January 4th, but the correct date is January 7th).

Accreditation Update
Last week was a BIG week for Berkeley City College and our accreditation efforts! The visiting ACCJC team joined us on December 16th and 17th to follow-up on our November 1 Special Report. The team requested to meet with the President’s Cabinet and representatives from the College Accreditation team. The latter meeting included representation from across the college constituency groups of faculty, staff, and student leadership. We had the opportunity to share our pride for the work we have done in support of student success, equity, and completion, including the BCC spirit of collaboration and ‘can do’ attitude. The visiting team met with all four colleges and some district groups for additional validation of the Special Reports. I am expecting a DRAFT report to review and revise for “errors of facts” in the coming weeks. The four college Presidents and the Interim Chancellor will attend the ACCJC meeting on January 14, 2021 regarding the Special Report.

The ISER was successfully completed and hand delivered on Friday, December 18th by ALO and VPI Kuni Hay. Please join me in congratulating our colleagues who have been working tirelessly in these last week for final editing, formatting, and evidence linking – Kuni Hay, Charlotte Lee, Phoumy Sayavong, John Nguyen, JeeJun Bertuso, and Stacey Shears. This was a full community effort and the list of participants is extensive and long. We should feel proud of the final ISER and be ready to Know It! Show It! during the March site visit.

Participatory Governance Updates
With all of the critical decision points this past year, it was evident that the participatory governance process at the College has served our work well to inform key operations and innovations, such as Accreditation, the College Fiscal and Budget Development, Distance Education, and the College response to Equity and Racial Justice work at BCC. I feel privileged to work alongside amazing colleagues, who truly value and honor collegiality, consultation, and transparent processes. The collective wisdom and input from constituency groups has been instrumental in matters related to teaching, learning, student supports, and community building. Congratulations to the Classified Senate, especially Acting President Jasmine Martinez, for their immediate response to leadership changes in holding elections and securing their executive officers. Congratulations to Jennifer Lenahan, CS President, Andrea Williams- CS Vice President, and Dolores Harshaw- Secretary/Treasurer. I look forward to working with you in the new year.

Closing Thoughts
During one of the meetings with the ACCJC visiting team members last week, we invited them to participate in a “Sacred Minute,” where every person gets an uninterrupted minute to reflect on a prompt. The reflection last week was to reflect on ONE word that describes the Berkeley City College Community: Hopeful, Collaborative, Ganas, Resourceful, Committed, Innovative, Hard-Working, Community, Resilience, Joyful, Student-Centered. I am in awe of our college community and humbled to serve as your President. We have moved mountains this past year and each and every one of you has contributed to this effort. To the faculty who moved instruction fully online, the classified professionals who developed creative and real-time supports for students, and the administrators who worked to implement and support college operations to support faculty, staff, and students—Thank you!

The College is closed December 24, 2020 through January 1, 2021.

Campus will re-open on Monday, January 4, 2021.

I wish you all a much deserved break, filled with good resting, good eating, and indulging in those activities that rejuvenate you.

See you in the New Year,

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

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