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Berkeley City College President’s Report – September 13, 2023

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Welcome Week Opens BCC’s Fall 2023 Semester

Berkeley City College kicked off the first week of the Fall Semester with Welcome Week activities to help students feel at home. Activities included free coffee and pastries on Monday, a very popular Boba Tuesday, a campus resource fair where students met with a host of student services and pizza on Wednesday, and a Latinx Bienvenida event with music and burritos on Thursday organized by Conocimiento Los Caminos HSI grant and the Undocumented Community Resource Center. The BCC Basic Needs Center opened its Food Pantry on Thursday, providing students access to fresh produce and groceries - also providing a cute Basic Needs Center reusable bag to help them shop!

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“It has been an exciting first few days at Berkeley City College!” said Interim President Denise Richardson, “It was incredibly heartening to see so many students back on campus. Our new normal is looking pretty good!”


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Student Stories: “You Heart What You Eat” With Artist as a Citizen Students

Berkeley City College students in the Artist as a Citizen class unveiled artwork for the Berkeley Food Network at an open house on July 28. The Artist as a Citizen class is a Spring elective taught by art instructor Sharon Siskin. Its goal is for students to engage with local community partners and businesses using the arts in a variety of mediums – painting, poetry, performing, and anything that students feel can contribute to beautifying a space.

A main component of the class is field trips introducing students to Berkeley and Oakland businesses to meet with leaders and pitch their ideas. On a field trip to the Berkeley Food Network, a non-profit food distribution center that partners with BCC’s Food Pantry program, BCC students Jamie Anderson, Kristine Molina, Dana Yuen, and Josie Buckner met with BFN coordinators and felt a connection.

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“When we went to BFN, I immediately felt drawn to what they’re doing,” said Anderson. “We watched a slideshow on their mission statement, toured the warehouse, got to see all the working parts. We noticed the community room had giant blank white walls and someone asked, ‘What’s up with these walls?’ A volunteer organizer told us the walls are super boring, and they’d love to have some art up here.”

The next step for the team was to brainstorm ideas and write a project proposal, outlining their artistic vision and creating a budget. It prepares students to work with grant-funded projects and encourages collaboration with community members.

“I can’t emphasize how beneficial creating a project proposal was for us,” said Molina. “Writing out the plan, creating a budget. In the professional sense, it lets us know how to access resources to get projects done. It made community art seem possible.”

The installation, titled “You Heart What You Eat,” used cardboard and plastic waste from food containers to create multimedia paintings of produce in an eco-friendly fashion. The art was temporarily displayed at an open house while the BFN organized their warehouse and will be permanently displayed later this month.

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The students had one piece of advice for all art students: “Take Sharon’s classes!” said Molina. “It’s our 3rd consecutive semester with Sharon! She’s super community-oriented in everything she does and gives good insight into the work.”

The next step for the team was to brainstorm ideas and write a project proposal, outlining their artistic vision and creating a budget. It prepares students to work with grant-funded projects and encourages collaboration with community members.


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Berkeley High School Biotech Students Tour Berkeley City College

Berkeley City College welcomed its first cohort of Biotech Partners Berkeley High School scholars with a campus tour on August 15. Biotech Partners is supporting the partnership between Bayer, Berkeley High School, and Berkeley City College through the Bayer Community College sponsorship agreement announced last December.

Eight Berkeley High Students and Dr. Jennifer Hugenberger with Biotech Partners met BCC’s Dean of Math, Science, and Career Education Chris Lewis, Project Manager Natalia Fedorova, and BCC Student Ambassadors. The ambassadors led a tour of campus resources and BCC’s biotech lab, checking out the equipment available, and met with biotech instructors.

“Berkeley City College is proud to welcome our first cohort of Biotech Partners/Bayer Scholars from Berkeley High School!” said Dean Lewis. “Thank you Dr. Jennifer Hugenberger and Bayer Berkeley! We look forward to growing our partnership and providing equitable opportunities for students looking to work in one of Berkeley’s leading industries.”

The partnership between Bayer and Berkeley City College (BCC) is for expanding equitable and inclusive access to biotechnology careers for Berkeley High School graduates attending BCC. Specifically, Bayer has committed to hiring Berkeley High graduates now studying at BCC in paid internships. These students will receive work-based training supported by Bayer, including mentoring by Bayer staff.


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Richmond Promise Scholars Network at Berkeley City College Hangout

Berkeley City College in partnership with Richmond Promise, Inc. Hosted a hangout for Richmond Promise scholarship recipients on Tuesday, August 29. Richmond Promise’s Scholar Success team coordinates a program called Campus Network Leaders, in which they hire current Scholars as student employees to help provide peer-to-peer resources at campuses across the Bay Area. BCC’s Campus Network Leader Regina Gutierrez organized a meeting that helped orientate students to campus, laying out the location of counseling offices, financial aid, and even some study tips. Students also played games and had lunch provided by Richmond Promise.

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“We are extremely thankful for the help of Skyler Barton, Adriana Regalado, and their fellow counselors. They helped set us up in a classroom and introduced themselves to
the Scholars so now they have an even wider network on campus,” said Brian Enos of Richmond Promise, Inc. “Skyler and Dri have been great partners for RP over the last few years and we’re grateful to work with them.”


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Puente Scholar Orientation

On Wednesday, August 16th, Berkeley City College’s Puente Program welcomed its fourth cohort of BCC Puentistas with an on-campus orientation, led by HSI-Puente Counselor Dri Regalado. During the event, the Puentistas played Networking Bingo, explored BCC campus resources, and experienced a campus tour led by our incredible Student Ambassador, Pierce Byrne. They also participated in a student pro-tip panel with Puentistas from the first 3 cohorts, heard some inspiring words from Puente changemaker Luis Chavez, and had some fun!


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Outreach and Enrollment Services Roundup

Over the course of the summer, Berkeley City College outreach and enrollment services provided one-on-one support to roughly 470 students. From July 1st through August 9th, BCC held Enrollment Workshops focusing on enrolling new students, aiding with the application process, financial aid, counseling and ConexEd support, Canvas, and more. 245 students were served through that period. The schedule of workshops in the summer was expanded from operating on Wednesdays in the lead-up to the Spring 23 semester to 4 days per week for more than a month. The expansion of one-on-one support not only provided valuable and equitable support aiding student success but also made a tangible difference in BCC’s enrollment strategy.

On August 1st, BCC hosted a Beyond Emancipation workshop serving 11 students in foster youth. On August 3rd, BCC hosted a family walk-through in partnership with El Cerrito High School for 25 students and their parents.

As the semester approached, BCC enrollment services flipped the switch to Express Registration with workshops from August 14th through the 31st, which focused on retention and persistence by helping students create a schedule that keeps on a pathway to completion, along with financial aid support, and more.

On September 5th, Berkeley City College hosted a Dual Enrollment Workshop which provided similar services to incoming dual enrolled students. 64 students attended.

We thank the valuable contributions from BCC’s Student Services, particularly Dean of Enrollment Services Dr. Amy Lee, Enrollment Services Coordinator Gail Pendleton, Counselors Susan Truong and Andrea Williams, Financial Aid Director Ernesto Nery, and Counseling Staff Assistant Dana Caballo for their work in outreach, enrollment, and retention. Their efforts are a big reason why BCC has been able to get closer to achieving its enrollment goals coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic.


50 Years of Berkeley City College

2024 marks 50 years since the inception of Berkeley City College – from its humble roots as Vista College or the “college without walls,” to its permanent downtown building and rebranding to Berkeley City College, and its fourth coming expansion with a new building on the corner of Milvia and Center – there’s a lot of history to celebrate! BCC created a 50th anniversary committee to celebrate and commemorate its past and future. Be on the lookout for exciting updates – BCC can’t wait to show you what’s in store!



This article is taken from the President’s Report, written by Dr. Denise Richardson, Berkeley City College Interim President, that was presented to the PCCD Board of Trustees during their regular meeting on Tuesday, September 12, 2023. To view it as a PDF, click here.

Tags: Berkeley City College


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