The Kern Community College District announced Oct. 15 it has hired Sonya Christian, a past math instructor and dean of science, engineering, allied health and mathematics, as Bakersfield College’s 10th president.
Christian worked at BC from 1991 to 2003 before leaving for a job at Lane Community College in Eugene, Ore., according to a BC news release. She worked her way up the administrative ranks at the Oregon community college to the role of vice president and chief academic officer, a post she has held for two years.
According to the Bakersfield Californian, Christian will start working part-time at BC on Nov. 29 and take on the role of president full-time in January.
With 16,767 students for the fall semester, Bakersfield College is the biggest of the three colleges in the district, according to the news release.
Kern Community College District chancellor Sandra Serrano praised Christian's "depth and breadth" of experience, saying her experience makes her "the right person to promote education and to develop strong relationships with educational partners and the community at large," according to the news release.
Christian knows she's coming in at a time when funding for community colleges has be hammered, but the Indian American educator said she hopes to start conversations with faculty and staff and reach out to community organizations and business partners to make the hard decisions.
"During challenging times our creativity gets triggered," she said.
Christian wants to see the college continue to train students for careers and prepare students to go on to four-year universities.
"We will meet every student wherever they are in their educational pathway and provide opportunities for them to realize their goals and their dreams," she said.
The job will bring Christian closer to her daughter, who is in her fourth year of residency at the University of Southern California.
Christian has a bachelor's degree from the University of Kerala in Kerala, a master's in applied mathematics from the University of Southern California, and a doctorate in educational leadership from UCLA, according to BC's news release.