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Berkeley City College’s Class of 2016 Valedictorian and Salutatorian

3 June 2016

Introducing Selina V. Gonzalez, ValedictorianSelina

Selina V. Gonzalez, Valedictorian of Berkeley City College’s Class of 2016, arrived in the United States at age 16, a native of a town in the mountainous Hidalgo, Mexico region. “Berkeley City College challenged my way of thinking and provided me with opportunities to improve and exercise my leadership skills by helping undocumented students,” she said. “One of my goals is to advocate for underrepresented peoples and empower them to follow their dreams.”

Gonzalez is a founding member of the Peralta Community College District’s first Undocumented Community Resources Center. A member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, she is a Peralta Foundation Scholarship recipient. Her activities include membership in BCC’s Latin American Club, the Dreamers Task Force and the Political Science Association. As a former ESL student, she continues to provide math and English tutoring for others in BCC’s ESL classes. She also has helped to organize events and has volunteered at Ashby Village, a resource and support center for elders, and at Berkeley’s Chaparral House, a nursing home facility. She was accepted to UC Berkeley, UC Davis, and UC Los Angeles.

Introducing Nicole Rodgers, SalutatorianNicole

Nicole Rodgers, Salutatorian for Berkeley City College’s Class of 2016, is at once motivated and is a motivational mentor to others. She is passionate about political activity, having served at state, regional and local levels in a variety of advocacy roles for both disabled and able-bodied students. “I am hearing impaired and am an advocate for Deaf and hard of hearing students’ rights, both in the community and at the local level,” she asserted. “I am so pleased to be graduating from Berkeley City College; it has been my pleasure to reach out and help students to not only be the best versions of themselves but an empowering resource for other students.”

Rodgers’s many community activities include roles as chief justice of the Associated Students of Berkeley City College. Statewide, she serves as one of 30 student senators for the California Community Colleges Student Senate. That body represents 2.3 million students. Rodgers also was president of BCC’s Global Studies Club and founded the college’s Disaster Preparedness Club. Working with the City of Berkeley, she helps to deliver disaster preparedness resources to under served communities.

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Outstanding Grads: Samantha Rushing, BCC President’s Medallion Award Winner

16 May 2016

Samanta Rushing EditSamantha Rushing is this year’s President’s Medallion Award winner from Berkeley City College.

Rushing knew early that she wanted to be an English teacher. Growing up just outside Stockton, she wished her teachers were more inspiring. At age 16, she decided that teaching would be her professional goal and, although there were a few bumps along the road, that goal has never waivered.

At Berkeley City College, Rushing maintained a 3.92 GPA. She credits the EOPS and CalWORKs programs for helping her realize her goal. And it helped that BCC teachers, staff and administrators genuinely care about students and do everything in their power to help them stay on the right path, Rushing says.

The future teacher was hired as an English tutor her first semester at BCC and has helped dozens of students since. She has also served as the Secretary of the Associated Students at Berkeley City College. A single parent of a four-year-old girl, Rushing was accepted to UC Santa Cruz, Sacramento State University and California State University, East Bay, and she is waiting to hear from UC Davis and UC Berkeley.

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Berkeley City College President Finalists Forums May 18

12 May 2016

Announcement_BCCStudents, faculty, staff and the community are invited to the public forums for the College President, Berkeley City College Finalists, on Wednesday, May 18, 2016, from 11:45 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., in the Berkeley City College Auditorium.

Public Forum Schedule (Moderator to be announced):

Marie-Elaine Burns: 11:45 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Michael Reiner: 1:00 p.m. -1:45 p.m.

Rowena Tomaneng: 2:15 p.m. -3:00 p.m.

Candidate Bios:

Marie-Elaine Burns

Marie-Elaine_Burns_5x7 (2)

I was born in San Mateo and raised in San Francisco, I am a native Californian. I am a first-generation college student and a single parent.

As an educational leader, I am visionary, energetic, and passionate. While adaptable to change, I also am a risk taker/entrepreneur; not afraid to explore an idea different from my own or to encourage others to try their ideas. I encourage and support innovation and creativity.

My leadership style is characterized by respect, inclusiveness, transparency, collaboration, effective listening skills, and participatory governance. I am committed to equity and student success. Contributing to a positive impact on students has always been integral to the decisions I make as a college leader.

Having worked in higher education for many years, I have been responsible for college access, student retention, support services, transfer and graduation success which are major components of student success. I have worked at universities and colleges throughout the state which include but are not limited to the following: San Francisco State University where I had my first opportunity to teach; California State University at Long Beach where I assisted the Director in training college and university learning assistance professionals (faculty, coordinators and practitioners) from countries around the world; Skyline College in San Bruno where I was the Director of The Learning Center and the Student Support Services TRIO program and lead the establishment of the Jump Start Program for high school students that continued long after I left the college; and Foothill College in Los Altos Hills where I was Dean of the Middlefield Campus and established the successful Dare to EXCEL program for high school students with a grade point average of 2.0 and below.

As Vice-President of Student Affairs at San Jose City College (SJCC). I developed a vision and championed core values for student affairs and cultivated an effective Student Affairs management team. Under my leadership the College opened a Veterans Resource Center; the Annual African American/Latino/Pacific Islander/Native American Male Summit was established which I led for six years; the Mental Health Advisory Committee (MHSAC) was established and is running effectively; and I developed the first online student support services which assisted the College in being released from an accreditation sanction.

Currently, I am Vice-President for Special Services at San Jose City College (SJCC). In this position I work collaboratively with the SJCC vice-presidents and the Milpitas Unified School District partners to ensure the establishment of student services at the new Milpitas Community College Extension and a successful opening; I represent the College and participate in the Silicon Valley Leadership Group (SVLG) Working Council and the Education Committee; and assist the District and colleges in providing Title IX Responsible Employee training. These are only some of my career accomplishments.

My postsecondary educational accomplishments include a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Broadcast Communication Arts from San Francisco State University, cum laude; a Master’s of Science Degree in School Management & Administration, summa cum laude and a Doctorate in Institutional Management, magna cum laude, both from Pepperdine University.

The greatest accomplishment and success in my life, however, is my daughter Marie-Alicia Burns, who is completing her Bachelor’s Degree at California State University, East Bay.

Michael B. Reiner

MR Head Shot Jacket

Michael B. Reiner is an innovative leader in higher education with experience in strategicplanning, budgeting, outcomes assessment, accreditation, liberal arts education, workforce development, psychology, cognitive science, design of learning spaces & learning commons, international education, prior learning assessment, & promoting educational opportunities for veterans. He has been involved with numerous projects using technology and pedagogical innovation to accelerate degree completion without sacrificing the quality of learning.

He currently is a team member with the California Community College System’s Institutional Effectiveness Partnership Initiative, a state-wide project to provide colleges with consulting and technical assistance to enhance student success and achievement, improve accreditation and accountability, and advance integrated planning with resource allocation.

Previously, he served as Vice Chancellor of Educational Services for the Riverside Community College District, University Fellow in the Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor and University Provost at the City University of New York (CUNY), Provost and Senior Vice President at CUNY’s Queensborough Community College, as well as an administrator at community colleges in Florida at Miami Dade College, Florida State College at Jacksonville, Edison State College (recently renamed Florida Southwestern State College) & Santa Fe Community College (now called Santa Fe College, winner of this year’s Aspen Award as the nation’s best community college).

Prior to his administrative appointments, he was Professor of Psychology at Kennesaw State University, as well as held faculty positions at Salem College & Texas Wesleyan University. While at Kennesaw State University, he was honored with the Distinguished Teaching Award and appointed University System of Georgia Board of Regents Distinguished Professor for Teaching & Learning.

An advocate of international and global education to promote diversity and inclusiveness, he has traveled with students and faculty in Europe, Central and South America, China, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore. In addition, he has taken part in workshops sponsored by the East-West Center, spent a summer at the Japan Studies Institute at San Diego State University, and participated in a Summer Fulbright-Hays Faculty Travel Seminar in Southeast Asia. While at Kennesaw State, he had a Chancellor’s summer fellowship to study Chinese culture at Nanjing Normal University.

At Miami Dade College, his portfolio included international education and supervising the Confucius Institute.

Dr. Reiner’s Bachelor of Arts degree was from Haverford College, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude with high honors in psychology, and he holds a Ph.D. from the Institute of Child Development, University of Minnesota, where he was the recipient of a NIMH National Research Service Award.

His personal and professional mission is to help students achieve success by working with faculty and institutions to provide the highest quality education to prepare citizens for the uncertainty and excitement of our ever changing world.

Rowena M. Tomaneng


Rowena Tomaneng’s leadership, teaching, service, and research are guided by social justice frameworks and a student-centered focus. Since 2010, she has been the Associate Vice President (AVP) of Instruction at De Anza College, a 23,000-student college in Cupertino, with a diverse student population consistently ranked at or near the top statewide in transfer to universities. She oversees the Academic Services Division, which is home to a wide variety of student-centered offices and programs, including the Office of Equity, Social Justice, and Multicultural Education; the Office of Professional Development; the Vasconcellos Institute for Democracy in Action (VIDA); and Pathways programs such as the Learning Communities of Umoja, Puente, and First Year Experience.

She also oversees the collaborative units comprising the Learning Resources Division: Online Education, the Library, and the Student Success Center. She currently holds leadership roles in state initiatives including both the Student Equity and Student Success and Support Programs (SSSP); has obtained and administered state and federal grants including the Basic Skills Initiative, Asian American/Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions (AANAPISI), and Title III: Strengthening Institutions; and has worked on faculty and district-wide administrative teams for many years, completing program reviews and accreditation documents.

Prior to becoming AVP, Tomaneng served for over two years as Interim Dean of the college’s Language Arts Division, which includes 50 full-time and 140 adjunct faculty members, and offers 85 courses ranging in the English department from basic skills to multicultural literatures, as well as the departments of ESL, Journalism, Reading and Speech. She was English Department chair for the preceding three years and led initiatives to foster equity in faculty hiring and cultural competency. Prior to these administrative positions, Tomaneng was a full-time English instructor at De Anza College from 1996-2010, teaching all levels of composition and literature, including basic skills, as well as Asian American literature and culture and Women’s Studies.

She participated extensively in curriculum development and revision, including developing service learning and linked Learning in Communities (LiNC) courses. In 2006, she was a founding co-director of De Anza’s then-Institute for Community and Civic Engagement (ICCE), now VIDA, and developed various community and educational partnerships.

In addition, Tomaneng is actively engaged in culturally focused local, regional, and national organizations and has led advocacy campaigns to increase police accountability. She has written and contributed to a variety of publications and currently serves on the advisory board to the Association of American Colleges and Universities’ (AAC&U) Diversity and Democracy. Upon completion of her dissertation on the educational dimensions of Filipina migrant workers’ activist identities, Tomaneng is scheduled to receive her doctorate in International/Multicultural Education with a concentration in Human Rights Education from the University of San Francisco in December. She holds a master’s degree in English from UC Santa Barbara and a bachelor’s degree in English from UC Irvine.

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Berkeley City College Sociology Professor Linda McAllister Wins Statewide Honor for Her Excellence in Education

24 March 2016

L McAllister2016

The California Community Colleges Board of Governors this week honored four professors with the 2015-16 Gerald C. Hayward Award for Excellence in Education. One of the four statewide honorees was Peralta’s very own Berkeley City College sociology professor Linda McAllister. She received a commemorative plaque and $1,250.

“Professor McAllister typifies the Peralta faculty who go above and beyond their expected duties to make Peralta shine,” said Jowel C. Laguerre, Ph.D., Chancellor of the Peralta Community College District.

Linda McAllister is a sociology professor at Berkeley City College. She is committed to assisting students from diverse backgrounds meet their goals, find their voice and transform their own lives through education. Under her leadership, the Social Science department has been the largest non-English/non-mathematics department involved in college planning and student offerings to meet the challenges of access to our traditionally underserved, underperforming student populations.

“Linda represents my ideal of a faculty member whose passion for teaching and learning, to advancing her discipline, and to supporting her college, is superseded only by her commitment to the success of each of her students,” said Krista Johns, Interim President of Berkeley City College.

“Berkeley City College is a better college by her being here,” added President Johns.

McAllister successfully piloted a program recruiting former community college students who recently graduated with their master’s degree, and are interested in teaching at a California community college. McAllister has also developed curriculum, scheduling and degree alignment so working adults could meet their degree goals, and served as an advisor to the first LGBTQ Club and Students for Sensible Drug Policy. She also mentors cross-discipline mentorship program and in the Faculty Diversity Internship Program..

The Hayward Award for Excellence in Education was established in 1989 and is given periodically to community college faculty members who are selected by their peers for demonstrating the highest level of commitment to their students, college and profession. Award recipients are nominated by their respective college academic senates and then selected by representatives of the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges. Winners must have a record of outstanding performance of professional activities, as well as a record of active participation on campus.

The 2015-16 Hayward Awards are supported through a grant from the Foundation for California Community Colleges. The award is named in honor of Gerald C. Hayward, who served as chancellor of the California Community Colleges system from 1980 to 1985.


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Academic Excellence – PERSIST at Berkeley City College

17 March 2016


PERSIST – Personal Initiative and Social Transformation

PERSIST is a program at Berkeley City College that acts as a gateway toward achievable workforce preparedness and knowledge-based careers. Students in PERSIST identify and focus on an issue vital to their living and learning environment, working in teams on a semester-long project, gaining academic skills as well as insight on the problems facing their communities. This learning cohort approach acknowledges and even draws on the students’ personal and academic experiences that often hinders their ability to succeed. Different learning styles are identified as strengths. PERSIST students use them to develop communication and leadership skills while acquiring math, writing and critical thinking skills crucial to a certificate program or degree.

Every PERSIST faculty member is ideally trained in the ACE curriculum. Beginning in 2010, BCC has hosted its own ACE-approved Five-Day Experiential Learning Institute (FELI) each summer, held during the first or second week of June. ACE Master Mentors/PERSIST faculty Shannon Penn and Chris Lebo-Planas have co-facilitated each of the five FELIs held on site. As a result, more than 50 BCC faculty, administrators and support staff have been trained in this transformative educational model. Many more colleagues from other campuses and partnered community organizations have as well.

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Kimberly Bryant, American Ingenuity Award Winner, tech inclusion pioneer, speaks on “Black Girls CODE,” 6:30 p.m., Wed., Feb. 24, in BCC’s auditorium

17 February 2016

KimBryantKimberly Bryant, Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award Winner and tech education pioneer, will speak on “Black Girls CODE,” 6:30 p.m., Wed., Feb. 24, in BCC’s auditorium.  The presentation is free and open to the public but seating is limited.  You can reserve tickets at:

Ms. Bryant, founder and executive director of Black Girls CODE, has worked to empower girls of color to become innovators in STEM fields, leaders in their communities, and builders of their own futures through exposure to computer science and technology. Her talk is part of the “Not on the Test: The Pleasures and Uses of Mathematics” series of 2015-16 public lectures, which are jointly presented by the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI).  They are made possible by funding from the Simons Foundation.

Black Girls CODE, a non-profit organization dedicated to “changing the face of technology” by introducing girls of color (ages 7-17) to technology and computer science with a concentration on entrepreneurial concepts,  has set out to prove to the world that girls of every color have the skills to become the programmers of tomorrow.  

Ms. Bryant’s 25+ year career in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries was spent as an engineering manager in technical leadership roles for various Fortune 100 companies, including Genentech, Merck, and Pfizer.   Since 2011, she has helped Black Girls CODE grow from a local organization serving only the Bay Area, to an international organization with seven chapters across the United States and in Johannesburg, South Africa.  In 2013, she was on Business Insider’s list of “The 25 Most Influential African-Americans in Technology” and was named to The Root 100 and the Ebony Power 100 lists.

In 2013, she was invited to the White House as a Champion of Change for her work in tech inclusion and for her focus on bridging the digital divide for girls of color.  In 2014, she received an American Ingenuity Award in Social Progress from the Smithsonian Institution and was presented with the Inaugural Women Who Rule Award in Technology via Politico.  She has been identified as a thought leader in the area of tech inclusion and has spoken on the topic at events such as Personal Democracy Forum, TedX Kansas City, Platform Summit, Big Ideas Festival and many others.

Shirley Fogarino
Berkeley City College
(510) 981-2852

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Krista Johns, JD, Appointed Interim President of Berkeley City College

11 January 2016

JohnsAt a special meeting on Tuesday, January 5, 2016, the Board of Trustees of the Peralta Community College District appointed Krista Johns, JD, to serve as interim president of Berkeley City College. Johns’ appointment comes as the out-going president, Dr. Deborah Budd, assumes the position of Chancellor of the San Jose-Evergreen Community College District.

Johns will fill the position until a permanent president can be hired.

“I am very pleased that the Trustees have made this appointment and look forward to working with Dr. Johns on the important issues facing Berkeley City College and the Peralta Colleges generally,” said District Chancellor Jowel C. Laguerre, Ph.D.

“Dr. Johns is the right fit for BCC at the right time,” he added. “We are very happy to have her on board.”

For the past four years, Johns has served as Vice President for Policy and Research at the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (ACCJC). Prior to joining the ACCJC, Johns served as Vice President of Instruction at Berkeley City College.

Over her higher education career, Johns has held faculty, director and dean positions at the University of Mississippi, University of Nevada-Reno and Diablo Valley College. She has a Juris Doctor Degree from the Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago-Kent College of Law, and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. Johns has published articles and monographs on learning, change management and various legal topics.

“My four years at the ACCJC have been invaluable in enhancing my understanding and knowledge of community colleges across the state, the challenges they face, and the importance of adherence to quality standards” said Dr. Johns.

“The accreditation work heightened my awareness of the critical role district and college leaders have in actively supporting academic quality, and how their effective administrative practices can enhance student learning and achievement,” she added.

“I am excited about joining Chancellor Laguerre, the Peralta Colleges presidents and the faculty, staff and administrators at BCC in creating an environment that can serve as a model for others.”

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Peralta Matters hosted by Chancellor Jowel C. Laguerre

19 November 2015


This month on Peralta Matters, guest host Chancellor Jowel C. Laguerre, Ph. D. introduces us to three of our amazing student leaders. Adrien Abuyen is a student at the College of Alameda and sits as a student representative on the Peralta Colleges Board of Trustees. He explains his decision to attend college and drive to help fellow students. Brianna Rogers, President of the Associated Students of Berkeley City College, describes her successes as a returning student and the activities that have led to her Servant Leadership. And Serena Witherspoon of Berkeley City College details her passion for youth voter education and experiences as a college student.

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Peralta Community College District Receives $500,000 Grant For Career Technical Education

26 October 2015


CTEOAKLAND, Calif., October 26, 2015 On Tuesday, October 20, at its regular meeting, the Board of Trustees for the Peralta Community College District authorized the acceptance of a Career Technical Education (CTE) Enhancement Fund sub-grant of $505,052 (40% allocation) from Cabrillo Community College District, which is the Bay Area Community College Consortium’s (BACCC) fiscal agent that is responsible for the distribution of CTE Enhancement Funds from the California Community College State Chancellor’s Office.

The Career Technical Education (CTE) Enhancement Fund was created by a one-time allocation from the state’s FY 2014-15 budget for California Community Colleges. The purpose is to develop, enhance, retool and expand quality career technical education offerings that build upon an existing community college regional capacity to respond to local labor market needs.

Acceptance of funds by each of The Peralta Colleges (Berkeley City College, College of Alameda and Laney and Merritt Colleges in Oakland) from the CTE Enhancement Allocation will greatly enrich the educational mission of the district that serves the cities of Albany, Alameda, Berkeley, Emeryville, Oakland and Piedmont.

Many of its over 30,000 students attend the Peralta Colleges – Berkeley City College, College of Alameda, Merritt College and Laney College – in order to pursue certificates in Career Technical Education and fast-track to the every-changing job market.

This sub-grant will make a significant difference in the quantity and variety of CTE classes offered by the four-college district.

Filed under: Announcements, Berkeley City College, Board of Trustees, College of Alameda, Laney College, Merritt College. Tagged: , ,

Peralta Matters – 2015 New Faculty, Part 2

13 October 2015


In our second episode highlighting some of the new full-time faculty that joined us this year, we meet Courtney Brown, Computer Science Instructor at Merritt College, displaying his enthusiasm for the new Cyber Security program they have created. Next up, Berkeley City College Counselor Catherine Nichols tells her story, from Vista student, through various departments and roles, and now a new full-time counselor. And finally, Reginald Constant, new Public Services Librarian at Laney College, explains his work and approach to helping our students get the most out of college.

Did you miss Part 1? See it here.

Filed under: Berkeley City College, Laney College, Merritt College, Peralta Matters, Peralta News. Tagged: , , , , ,

Peralta News – Board Spotlight October 6, 2015

13 October 2015


At the October 6, 2015 meeting, the Peralta Colleges Board of Trustees conducted a Public Hearing “sunshining” articles of negotiations with our three employee unions. Berkeley City College President Deborah Budd announced plans to apply for a new CIRM grant. And Lieutenant Craft of Peralta Police Services presented the annual Clery Act Disclosure of Campus Security. Please view the entire meeting at

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Peralta Colleges Participate in EducationUSA Expo in Japan

12 October 2015

Ambassador Kennedy speaking at EducationUSA EXPOThe Office of International Education for the Peralta Community College District – Berkeley City College, College of Alameda and Laney and Merritt Colleges in Oakland – was selected to participate in the U.S. Department of State’s EducationUSA Expo, which took place in Tokyo, Japan, last month.

Drew Gephart, Peralta’s Designated School Official, attended the Expo on behalf of the Peralta Colleges, and connected with Japanese educational institutions and promoted the Peralta Colleges’ programs to prospective international students.

EducationUSA is a global network of advising centers supported by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, and assists in connecting U.S. institutions of higher education with partner colleges and universities around the world.

Gephart also attended a reception to network with Japanese counterparts and met the United States Ambassador to Japan, Caroline Kennedy (pictured at the Expo), at her residence in Tokyo. Ambassador Kennedy has launched the TeamUp campaign, which aims to increase student mobility by promoting strategic partnerships between U.S. and Japanese colleges and universities.

“Peralta’s Office of International Education looks forward to expanding the educational exchange between the U.S. and Japan by working closely with the U.S. Embassy, U.S. Department of State and the EducationUSA centers in Japan,” said Sean R. Brooke, Director of International Education for the Peralta Colleges.

The United States Embassy in Tokyo hosted the Expo in cooperation with the Japan Network for International Education, and the Expo featured a reception, college fair and information seminars for institutions and prospective students. The U.S. Embassy provided the Peralta Colleges the opportunity to attend the free Expo to promote their colleges as a premier destination for Japanese students interested in international education.


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Student Spotlight – Rachel Harkleroad

9 October 2015


Berkeley City College student Rachel Harkleroad takes time out of her busy schedule to talk with Peralta TV about her passion for video game development.

Berkeley City College’s Multimedia Arts Program prepares people for entry-level jobs in multimedia and provides skills-upgrading for those already employed in multimedia jobs.

The program is interdisciplinary and focuses on developing fine art, critical thinking, and computer skills.

The Bay Area is a hot bed for the gaming and tech industry, you can get the skills needed to be part of the gaming industry right here at Berkeley City College!

To see what Multimedia Arts courses we have to offer at Berkeley City College, please visit:

Filed under: Berkeley City College, Peralta News, PeraltaTV, Student Spotlight. Tagged: , ,

Academic Excellence – First Year Experience Program at Berkeley City College

16 September 2015


The First Year Experience Program curriculum is designed to engage students by offering complementary curriculum (joint assignments) that is both challenging and collaborative. The spirit of the curriculum is to educate, as you might expect, but to also build community amongst students and faculty.

This innovative cohort program provides intensive support and early planning to help students succeed in college.

For more information, please visit

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Classes Start August 24 – Enroll Now!

7 August 2015

Our mobile-friendly class schedule makes it easy choose the classes you need at any of our four East Bay colleges. Visit to see all the classes offered at Berkeley City College, College of Alameda, Laney College and Merritt College.

Then go to to apply and enroll. It’s that simple to get the classes you want at the Peralta Colleges.  

Enrollment Fall 2015 Social

Filed under: Announcements, Berkeley City College, College of Alameda, Laney College, Merritt College, Peralta News. Tagged: ,

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