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Berkeley City College President’s Report – September 27, 2023

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Presidential Finalists Meet with BCC Community at Public Forum

Berkeley City College and the Peralta Community College District hosted a Public Forum for three finalists selected to serve as the next President of Berkeley City College. The three finalists for consideration are Dr. Denise Richardson, Dr. John al-Amin, and Dr. Rafe Trickey, Jr. 

The Peralta Community College District and Berkeley City College (BCC) began their search for candidates on May 26, 2023. A hiring committee was formed on August 4, 2023, comprised of Berkeley City College faculty, classified professionals, and administrators from BCC’s sister colleges in the Peralta Community College District. The committee reviewed 30 applicants, interviewing 10 candidates, and recommending three finalists.

The Public Forum was an opportunity for members of all community groups to meet and engage with the finalists. Each candidate was given 10 minutes to present their background and vision for the future as President of Berkeley City College, followed by a 40-minute question and answer period from members of the audience who attended in-person and on Zoom.

About the Candidates:

Dr. Denise Richardson is an experienced educational leader committed to equitable student access and success. She has a proven record in data-informed and collaborative decision-making, as well as student-centered budgetary practices. Dr. Richardson began her journey at Peralta Community College District as part-time faculty, teaching both at Laney College and College of Alameda before being hired as a full-time political science instructor at Laney College. For over two decades, with graduate degrees in political science and educational leadership, Dr. Richardson has successfully served in several leadership positions. These roles include the Academic Senate President at Laney College, District Education Committee Co-chair, Dean of Math and Sciences, Vice President of Instruction at Merritt College, and most recently, Interim President at Berkeley City College. With a firm belief in the power of community colleges, Dr. Richardson would be profoundly honored to continue to serve Berkeley City College and PCCD.

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Dr. Rafe Edward Trickey, Jr. currently serves as President and Chief Executive Officer of the North San Diego County Promise, a San Diego County-inclusive, collective-impact partnership that is united by a shared vision of all youth and adults reaching their fullest potential in college, career, and life. He is also President and Chief Executive Officer of the Greater Pacific Planning and Effectiveness Group, a success-supporting consulting practice. For over four decades, he has championed the maxim that when some among us are not succeeding, none of us is really succeeding. He has served as President of Comanche Nation College, a Tribal College in Oklahoma, President and Chief Executive Officer of Sisseton Wahpeton College, a Tribal College in South Dakota, as Vice President of Student Services and as Vice President of Planning and Institutional Development at the College of the Marshall Islands, as Executive Director of Development and External Relations at Citrus College in California, as President and Chief Executive Officer of the California-wide CHP 11-99 Foundation, and he has held the elected office of City Treasurer in the City of Oceanside, California.

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Dr. John al-Amin has spent nearly three decades in higher education, gaining skills, knowledge, and experience within the community college, CSU, and University of California systems. He has served in various roles in institutional or district operations, covering instruction, student services, and administrative services. Whether as a program instructor, research fellow, student advisor, analyst, or administrator, his focus has always been on student success and achievement through the effective use of college and district resources. He currently serves as a Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration at San Francisco City College, where he provides management and direction over district business and accounting operations, risk management, facilities construction and planning, buildings and grounds services, police and safety, and informational technology services.

The event was organized by BCC Public Information Officer Tom Rizza, PCCD Human Resources Analyst Natasha Spivey, and BCC Audio Visual Technician Joe Bay. It was moderated by Dr. Martin de Mucha Flores, Dean of Counseling and Student Equity at Berkeley City College.

“We’re proud to publicly present these exciting candidates to serve as the next President of Berkeley City College,” said BCC PIO Tom Rizza. “It was great to see healthy participation from members of our community ask questions, gain insight, and provide their own comments to share with the District Interim Chancellor to help guide their decision in deciding this critical role for the future of Berkeley City College.”

Berkeley City College looks forward to the announcement of the hiring decision at a future Peralta Community College District Board of Trustees meeting later this year.


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20th Annual Animation Show of Shows Hosted by BCC Animation Club

The Berkeley City College Animation Club hosted the 20th Annual Show of Shows presentation in the BCC Auditorium on Wednesday, September 20th. The Animation Show of Shows is a presentation of 15 animated shorts produced from around the world. The theme of this year’s production involved exploring the many facets of human relationships.

“Animation is such a flexible and open-ended medium that it lends itself to exploring the innumerable aspects of what it means to be human,” says founder and curator Ron Diamond. “And this year’s program, as much as any of our past presentations, really illuminates human strengths and foibles, and the bonds that unite us across cultures and generations.”

The event was free and open to all in the community. Nearly one hundred community members tuned in to the production, some viewing in person and some on Zoom. We thank Mary Clarke-Miller and the students in the Animation Club for organizing the event.


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BCC Latinx Heritage Month Celebrations

Latinx Heritage Month is observed from September 15th to October 15th, and Berkeley City College’s Hispanic Serving Institution grant Conocimiento Los Caminos, Undocumented Community Resource Center, Puente Project, and Latinx Unidos club have teamed up for a series of events titled Cultivando Cultura Y Comunidad (Cultivating Culture and Community) showcasing Latinx heritage, food, creators, and celebrations with our BCC Familia! ALL ARE WELCOME!

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The first event was Tacos Y Karaoke in the Student Lounge and was held Thursday, September 21st. Students had the chance to grab a couple tacos and cheer on their classmates who sang hits from today and yesteryear by Billie Eilish, The Eagles, and José Feliciano. Even administrators including Interim President Richardson joined in the fun!

Later events include:

  • Thursday, October 5th from 12:20pm to 1:20pm in the Student Lounge – Screening of Bakosó: Afrobeats de Cuba
  • Tuesday, October 10th from 12:20pm to 1:20pm in the Atrium – Undocumented & Unapologetic with Julio Salgado, hosted by Conocimiento Los Caminos and the Undocumented Community Resource Center, in collaboration with Freight and Salvage
  • Thursday, October 12th from 11:30am to 2:30pm at the Downtown Berkeley Plaza - La Pachanga celebration with live music, community resources, and lunch served by Tacos Sinaloa
  • Wednesday, October 25th, from 12:20pm to 1:20pm in the Atrium - Celebrando Dia de los Muertos

Make sure to follow @berkeleycitycollege, @u.c.r.c., @bccpuentefamilia, and @latinxunidos.bcc on Instagram to get engaged!

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The Basic Needs Center is joining in support of Latinx Heritage Month, sharing recipes for foods of South American, Mexican, Central American, and Caribbean origins using ingredients that can be found in the BCC Food Pantry! The first offering is a gallo pinto recipe! Follow @bcc.bnc to fill out your cookbook with good eats, and grab the ingredients at the BCC Food Pantry every Thursday from 12:00pm - 3:00pm in the BCC Atrium! Bring your own reusable bag and stock up on fresh produce and dried goods! Did we mention it’s FREE for everyone?


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BCC Welcomes Second Girls Inc. Apprentice Cohort at Launch Event

On September 8, 2023, Girls Inc. of Alameda County, alongside partners Berkeley City College (BCC), the Partnership for Children and Youth, and Early Care & Education Pathways to Success (ECEPTS) welcomed their second cohort of 15 Expanded Learning Apprentices and their families.

This two-year program is the first of its kind in the Expanded Learning/Afterschool field and provides the opportunity to start or advance a career in Expanded Learning/Afterschool Programs through paid work and professional development training with Girls Inc. of Alameda County. Simultaneously, participants receive focused support in free college courses through Berkeley City College with the potential to earn up to 48 transferable units, a Child Development Permit, and an option to pursue an Associate Degree.

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At the program cohort 2 launch event, Apprentices gathered at Girls Inc. of Alameda County’s Simpson Center for Girls in downtown Oakland, where they received backpacks, school supplies, and laptops, and took the monumental step of registering for classes. After a commemorative photo, the Apprentices reconvened to hear from some of the program’s biggest supporters, including Julayne Virgil, Girls Inc. of Alameda County CEO, and Kourtney Andrada, Girls Inc. of Alameda County’s Senior Director of School-Based Programs, who also co-chaired the Workforce Strategy Committee that informed the inception and development of this Expanded Learning Apprenticeship. Additional speakers included Dr. Joya Chavarin, Faculty Coordinator for the Education Teacher Preparation Program at BCC and BCC Lecturer in the Child Development Department —Dr. Joya will continue to be a mentor for the Apprentices throughout their journeys and will also be teaching one of their courses. Chris Lewis, BCC’s Dean of Math Science and Career Education, Natalia Fedorova, BCC Project Manager of Grants and Special Projects, and Gail Pendleton, BCC Enrollment Services Coordinator were also on hand to lend their support.

Research shows Expanded Learning is critical to providing young people with exposure to mentors and new ideas, skill-building opportunities, relationships, and social capital in safe, supportive environments. These programs are a critical support system for youth from under-resourced communities and their families, who have been disproportionately impacted by longstanding systemic inequities as well as the effects of the global pandemic. Despite the importance of quality out-of-school time, staffing these programs has been a continual struggle due to staff shortages and burnout, leading to program waitlists, and increased program expenses nationwide. COVID-related health concerns and safety protocols have further exacerbated staffing shortages, making the need for afterschool staff greater than ever.

The Expanded Learning Apprenticeship is a direct result of the California Department of Education Expanded Learning Division’s priority to address staffing shortages in the field and to develop and implement an earn-and-learn model that will promote career advancement and economic mobility for low-income people and people of color.

“Our Apprentices have the opportunity to do meaningful work with youth in afterschool programs, fostering positive relationships, creating safe environments, and facilitating engaging and intentional activities, while also focusing on their own professional development and growth within a network of support from each other, their employer, and their educators,” said Kourtney Andrada, Girls Inc. of Alameda County’s Senior Director of School-Based Programs.


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Student Stories: BCC Poetry Student’s Short Story Memoir Published

A Berkeley City College poetry student published a book of personal short stories over the summer and is seeing a fair share of success with hundreds of copies sold. Skinny Woman in a Straw Hat: Memoir of a Vietnamese American by Hao C. Tran is currently holding a 5-star rating on Amazon.

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Hao C. Tran left Vietnam as a young man to go to college in Australia and later settled in the United States. Shortly after he left Saigon, the war ended, and he couldn’t return for 20 years. Since 1994, he has gone back to his homeland a dozen times, and many of his short stories are based on these journeys. Hao’s stories are from the perspective of a Việt Kiều, a Vietnamese living overseas. He writes about his own experience as an immigrant, his family, the people he encountered in his travels, and the heart-breaking changes in post-war Vietnam.

After retiring from the US Forest Service where he held a position as a scientist, Tran began taking creative writing classes at BCC in the summer of 2010. He had spent the majority of his life doing research and writing scientific reports and was not familiar with creative writing.

“I took a summer class with Sharon Coleman, and it opened something, a gate, a door, a valve, and I felt this is how you do it – this is how you can let the stories flow out,” said Tran.

He took a poetry class with Coleman for 5 consecutive semesters and found a community of authors and an instructor in Coleman that helped him workshop stories and find his voice. “I’m still friends with the community, we’re still writing together in self-organized groups. The friendships last a long time and the connections are strong. We bonded over the class.”

Over that time, he was able to compile stories that would ultimately form the backbone of his book, with the encouragement of Coleman and his classmates. Coleman wrote the foreword for the book and gave tips on how to market and get it out in the community. Skinny Woman in a Straw Hat was published by Autonomous Press in late May 2023.

“My background in science was to tell everything, but to learn a new trade-in storytelling is like a painting. It’s taking the reader through the experience without telling them what they’re supposed to see and feel,” said Tran. “Instead you make them care. Sharon called it find your poetic voice, write with your senses. She builds community in her classes, and I owe a lot of this work to her.”


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Voter Registration Day at BCC

On Tuesday, September 19th, Student Ambassadors and volunteers assisted Berkeley City College students and community members with registering to vote on Voter Registration Day. Our team helped support the registration process and answer any questions folks had about voting.


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Club Rush Offers Students a Chance to Network and Have Fun

On Wednesday, September 13th, Berkeley City College hosted its Club Rush event in the college Atrium. Over 30 clubs tabled the event, providing an opportunity for students to learn about cultural, academic, and extracurricular clubs available to join and network with the club officers. The event ran at the same time as BCC’s free lunch program, offering a chance for people to grab a bite to eat and meet with their peers.

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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 26, 2023. To view it as a PDF, click here.

Tags: Berkeley City College


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