Dear Berkeley City College Community,
Happy Inauguration Day! Today marks a national tradition in the peaceful transition of power in the highest office of the United States of America. Like many of you, I found myself making space to observe this herstoric event, while preparing for the beginning of the Spring 2021 semester. It is a remarkable exhibit of democracy at work and a reminder that the power of our votes, in fact, does matter. And as a mother of two bi-racial daughters, it was a moment for them to witness the first woman and woman of color be sworn in as the Vice President of the United States. As my oldest daughter stated, “Vice President Harris was born in Oakland, just like me and my sister!” There are many ways in which one might connect with President Biden and Vice President Harris. President Biden’s message of unity is one that I welcome, as we all continue to do our work to support the racially, culturally, and fiscally diverse communities that we serve.
The following communication offers some updates as we begin the Spring 2021 semester.
Professional Development- Flex Days
BCC PD Coordinator, Susan Khan has worked diligently throughout the fall semester to develop our BCC Flex Day on January 22, 2021. The schedule of activities can be found via the College’s BCC Professional Development Website and is attached to this communication for ease of reference. I want to thank Professor Khan and the PD Committee for their diligence in providing a high quality and comprehensive set of professional development activities for all employees. I invite and encourage you to take part in the many sessions throughout the next days. I also want to share that the PCCD PD Coordinator, Inger Stark provided an overview of the District Flex Activities to launch the Spring 2021 Semester. The PCCD Professional Development Schedule for Jan 21, 2021 provides a comprehensive set of opportunities for classified professionals, faculty, and administrators.
As of today, a total of 6,021 students are enrolled in 11,233 classes at Berkeley City College. The spring 2021 enrollment has generated 1,218 resident full-time equivalent students (FTES) and 123 non-resident FTES, totaling 1,341 FTES. The resident FTES rate is 83% of our spring 2021 FTES target. We are offering a total of 443 classes and the average productivity is 13 (17.5 is our goal). I am grateful to the comprehensive efforts of instruction and student services to provide ongoing opportunities for students to learn about programs and services, as well as how to enroll via the Express Registration events throughout the past week.
Berkeley City College will continue to offer instruction, academic and student support services fully online via distance education platforms for the spring 2021 semester. In my previous communications, I shared that VPI Hay and the instructional deans were working with department chairs and the faculty in Biology and Chemistry for possible hybrid instruction in the spring semester. During the January 19, 2021 board meeting, Interim Chancellor Walter shared that the PCCD colleges may offer face-to-face instruction and labs for non-essential, hard-to-convert courses, with a waiver and strict adherence to the County of Alameda health and safety protocols (more information to come during District Flex Day). The unique nature of being a one-building college calls for us to address additional health and safety protocols. VPI Kuni Hay and the instructional deans will work with department chairs and key faculty for next steps.
Welcome to the Spring 2021 semester! During the first week of the semester between Jan. 25th – 29th from 9am – 5pm, the Office of Student Activities & Campus Life will be Welcome Week to help students register for classes, navigate Canvas, and provide information on resources and opportunities for students. Staff and faculty can refer students to this flyer for students to join the Zoom sessions.
The California Department of Public Health reports that as of January 19, 2021, there are 2,996,968 COVID-19 cases with 33,739 fatalities. Despite the behaviors of many to shelter in place, to wear face coverings, to wash hands for at least 20 seconds, to limit gatherings that increase exposure, the County of Alameda has provided Updated Shelter In Place Orders effective December 7, 2020 and until further notice. Across the Peralta Community College District, there have been reported cases of exposure, as well as some COVID-19 confirmed cases. These documented exposures and positive diagnoses have been diligently followed by the Human Resources department (for employees) and by Dr. Mia Kelly and the Roots Clinic (for students). The combination of state, local, and district wide data inputs serve to inform us of critical next steps.
The Berkeley City College campus will continue to be open for faculty, staff, and administrators who need to perform essential function on Tuesdays and Thursdays, between 10:00 am – 2:00pm. Please continue to submit your Building Access Form to gain approval and access to offices and classrooms. It is imperative that you continue to practice health and safety protocols while on campus, such as wearing a face covering, washing your hands, and maintaining 6 feet of social distancing.
Business & Administrative Services Update
Please join me in welcoming Ms. Ava Lee as our Interim Director of Business Services effective January 20, 2021. Ms. Lee joins us with over 20 years of service to PCCD and as a current colleague and Business Supervisor at the College of Alameda. She earned her Associate’s Degree in Finance from Laney College, her Bachelor’s Degree in Business & Finance from CSU East Bay, and is currently completing her Master’s Degree in Finance from CSU East Bay. She is well equipped to support BCC during this transition, while we move towards the recruitment and hiring of our permanent administrator for the department.
Also, I would like to inform the community that our colleague Mr. John Pang has retired effective January 4, 2021. Due to health and family matters, John’s retirement is a bit sooner than he originally planned. John has been a long standing colleague with over 25 years of service to the district and most recently as the Senior Business Supervisor for BCC. Please join me in wishing him well as he begins his retirement. The recruitment and hiring process for his replacement will begin within the next few weeks.
During the Spring 2021 semester, the PCCD will begin to update the District Strategic Plan, in accordance to BP and AP 3250 related to Institutional Planning. At the college level, we will begin our efforts to review and update the BCC Strategic Plan and Education Master Plan. The plans serve as both a guide and a vision for the Berkeley City College that we want to become. We have much to celebrate and much to strive towards for academic excellence. These efforts will follow our participatory governance processes and will include opportunities for campus wide forums for community input. Your respective constituency group representatives in the Institutional Planning Committee, the various Senates, and the College Roundtable for Planning & Budgeting should be sharing this information with you throughout this process.
Berkeley City College successfully submitted its Institutional Self Evaluation Report on December 18, 2020. Our next milestone is to welcome our Visiting Team virtually during March 1 – 4, 2021. VPI Hay and BCC Accreditation Steering Committee will lead the College to ensure that every part of our community will be ready for this visit. Please visit the Accreditation website to access information regarding our ISER and other related information.
We recently celebrated the national holiday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Since my early college years, I have appreciated Dr. King’s words, written in the February 1947 of the Morehouse College student newspaper, “The Purpose of Education”:
“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically… Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.”
As community college educators, we have the unique privilege and responsibility to provide access to higher education for millions of students across the country. For the local communities that surround BCC, my hope is that they not only see a pathway to higher education, but an opportunity for liberation. The very fabric of our democracy calls for promoting critical thinking, character building, and contributing towards a more just society.
I have grown to see that this IS the BCC way.