March 13, 2021
Dear Berkeley City College Community,
Today marks one year since we were last on campus. Over the past 365 days, Berkeley City College has risen to the challenge of providing high quality teaching and learning in a virtual environment in response to the COVID-19 health pandemic, amidst civil and racial unrest, and during change of presidential leadership for the United States.
Like many of you, I had no idea when I was leaving my office that it would be for this long. I had no idea that our educational institutions would be challenged to quickly pivot and move to a fully online environment for an extended amount of time. I had no idea that I would experience fear and anxiety at not knowing precisely what COVID-19 was doing to our communities. And I had no idea that the sheer brilliance and resilience of community colleges would shine through to meet this challenge. But let me be clear, I am not surprised that Berkeley City College, along with the entire California Community College system, rose to meet this challenge in support of students.
Over the past year, these are examples of the many things we have accomplished as a community:
- Converted hundreds of classes, workshops, and student services programs fully online.
- Students received laptops, hot spots, & instructional materials to support their distance education.
- Students received expanded access to the food pantry, prepared meals, and emergency relief grants.
- Faculty stepped into key leadership roles to coordinate Distance Education efforts across the college and the district.
- Faculty and classified professionals engaged in rich and meaningful professional development, focused on student success, building community, and working toward equity and racial justice.
- Classified professionals re-imagined programs and services in service of students.
- Administrators stepped into key leadership roles amidst retirements and transitions to support college operations.
- Successfully completed two accreditation reports and visits (Special Report in the fall; ISER and site visit in the spring)
These are a few examples of the work that each and every one of you contributed to lead to such successful outcomes, all while tending to your own families and communities amidst the health pandemic. As you think of this year in review, I encourage you to take a moment to recognize, honor, and celebrate your strength. There are days that I celebrate the small victory that we all made it through another day in one piece, without too many tears (on my part). There are other days when I am in awe of how my children model for me the ability to be creative and take me on adventures of epic proportions (I may have been a unicorn pirate during one of these adventures) during the small windows of time throughout our “zoom” days.
I encourage you to take some time today to acknowledge that you have been a part of something remarkable. You have been a part of a community that has held strong for BCC students and our community, during incredibly challenging times. It is my greatest honor to serve as President for this resilient and vibrant community.
Take a moment to go outside and take in the sun, air, and sounds of another day. May it bring you some peace and comfort to know that you make a difference every single day.