Conversations About the Future

Happy New Year, Brij! I’m so grateful that we have such a gifted advocate for public health right here in the Central Valley. Thank you for your insightful commentary that places these complex global issues within a local context, like your recent discussion with Richard Beene on the importance of coming back for the a second treatment of the vaccine.

I’ve spent the last few months having some really fruitful conversations about education and the future. We can’t really build the future that we want for our students if we don’t start by talking about what that future would even look like. Once our visions of the future are in alignment, we can start actualizing them in a productive way with our students. In my role as Chair of the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, I had the privilege of putting together an eight-part seminar series on the future of learning. Hundreds of educators from across the West Coast, Hawaii, and the pacific came together to engage with our panel of speakers from across the world of academia, policy, and workforce development. Throughout the seminar series, participants got to ask questions of each of the panelists and comment on their work, and you could sense our disparate visions for community college access, curriculum, and equity beginning to come into alignment with each session.

Sonya Christian on student learning.

During the Seminar Series, a number of themes began to emerge. One of the most dominant themes that emerged is that academia as a whole, and community colleges in particular, need to find ways to recognize the social construction of learning and the learning that our students have gained before they even step into the walls of our institution.

A most crucial component to this is technology, and we had Wayne Skipper from Concentric Sky to explain the innovative approach to open badging and micro-credentialing through the Badgr platform and Bakersfield College’s Program Pathways Mapper.

Bill Moseley and Wayne Skipper talk about badging and micro-credentialing.

I was honored to simply be in the company with so many bright minds in the field of higher education, and I look forward to continuing our conversation about the future of learning as we continue to build it as BC, ACCJC and beyond. Brij: what is the future of medicine, in your eyes? How can we leverage our knowledge of the human genome to transform humanity? How can we safely and efficiently bring the clinical experience directly into people’s homes, especially in rural areas where there are less hospitals and health resources in general?

It’s a wrap for me.
Until next time….


Happy 2021

Brij Bhambi receives the COVID-19 vaccine.

Happy New Year, Sonya!

I’ve been busy helping the community build awareness around vaccinations and the fight against COVID-19. I wrote at length about the logistical challenges of administering the COVID-19 treatments in the Bakersfield Californian last week, reinforcing the importance of acting as responsible citizens with our individual behaviors while encouraging everyone in the community to get vaccinated as soon as they are eligible.

I was also invited to answer some questions about the vaccine during the Richard Beene Show on KERN Radio. I would encourage everyone to listen in, as we had an honest and informative yet straight-forward and hopeful conversation about the logistics around COVID-19 vaccination in the Southern San Joaquin Valley. I also came on the show a few days ago to share my thoughts about the situation in the Capitol, calling upon the community to come together in love, compromise and camaraderie.

Today, I wanted to wish you a heartfelt start to 2021. It pains me to enumerate what went wrong with last year. The COVID catastrophe wrecked health, education, business, travel, finances, families, and fun, smothering life. The pandemic came in rising waves, punishing our exhausted humanity like ulcers growing on sores.

Helplessness punctuated loneliness. Some leaned on their vices more than usual. Nostalgic memories that weave the tapestry of our lives failed to find the precious moments in 2020.

It took a while, but rays of light are piercing the dark clouds. The vaccine is here, even if the rollout will take a while. Our prayers have found their wings, and we will ascend again, tempered by adversity, reinforced in spirit and reinvigorated by hope.

Let’s welcome the new year and the new decade. Happy 2021, Sonya, and Happy New Year to everyone in Kern County and around the world.