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A holiday message from Chancellor Walter

24 November 2020

We are living in unprecedented times, during which your health and the health of your family, friends, and community all depend on our collective actions. Health experts have warned us to not have family over this Thanksgiving and during the December holiday season. I know not being able to be with one’s family, to hang with friends, to unburden oneself in the company of others, can make this season feel unusually difficult.
I strongly encourage you to follow the health officials’ advice. I hope you can find solace and joy by visiting over the phone or online. Or, even the very, very old-fashioned method of yester years: Write a thoughtful letter to those you know and love. I am sure they will treasure getting an old-fashioned piece of snail mail from someone they love. Most important is to remember gratitude.

Personally, I plan to stay at my home this Thanksgiving. I am going to try my hand at making some new dishes, —along with my world-famous sweet potato pie!

I hope you try some new dishes, new treats, learn something new, and read new things during this cocooning time. I know this is not going to be normal Thanksgiving season, but we have much to be grateful for. I am so grateful for the opportunity to work with you: the amazing faculty, classified professionals, and administrators who have dedicated our lives in the service of students at the Peralta colleges.

In the meantime, we keep on making it happen at the Peralta Colleges, pressing forward, realizing our dreams.

Be well, 

Dr. Carla Walter

Interim Chancellor

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Dr. Rudy Besikof appointed President of Laney College and Dr. Nathaniel Jones III appointed President of College of Alameda

12 November 2020

Oakland—The Peralta Community College District has appointed Dr. Rudy Besikof President of Laney College and Dr. Nathaniel Jones III President of the College of Alameda.

Dr. Besikof served as Interim President at Laney and Dr. Jones served as Vice President at Moreno Valley College in Riverside County prior to their selections this week by the PCCD search committees.

“We are pleased to announce the appointment of two exceptional leaders, Dr. Besikof and Dr. Jones,” said interim PCCD Chancellor Carla Walter. “We were fortunate to have an excellent field of candidates compete for these important positions. With Dr. Besikof and Dr. Jones we have selected administrators who are dedicated educators that will continue to build on the progress we are making for students, faculty, staff and our communities.”

Dr. Besikof and Dr. Jones each thanked the PCCD search committees and said they were honored to accept their appointments.

“I look forward with anticipation in carrying on the legacy of my predecessor at Laney,” Dr. Besikof said. “My goal is to provide the counseling, tutoring, technology, academic support and basic support to students to help them accomplish their educational, career, and life objectives.”

Dr. Jones said “I am committed to a student-centered education. Creating a culture of diversity and inclusion is vital in making these important attributes a dynamic part of the fabric of the educational process.”

The Peralta Community College District serves 30,000 students at four colleges in Alameda County. Laney is the largest of the four colleges with 16,000 students. College of Alameda serves approximately 6,600 students and is celebrating its 50th anniversary in December 2020.

Background on Dr. Rudy Besikof

Dr. Besikof has been at Laney College since 2018, when he was hired as its Vice President of Instruction, the same position he previously held at Mt. San Jacinto College for more than two years prior to joining Laney.

Dr. Rudy Besikof

Prior to becoming a Chief Instructional Officer in 2016, he served for five years as a dean, first at Woodland Community College as its Dean of Instruction and Learning Resources, and later at Los Angeles Valley College as a Dean of Academic Affairs. Prior to becoming an administrator in 2011, Dr. Besikof taught English and English as a Second/Foreign Language in two and four-year colleges not only in California, but also in Colorado, Japan, and France.

Dr. Besikof is a 2010 graduate of UCLA’s Educational Leadership Program. His dissertation, The Role of the Community College President in Fundraising: A Best Practices Study, was recognized with the UCLA School of Education’s Outstanding Dissertation Award.

As Laney’s Interim President, Dr. Besikof has focused on increasing the number of students who graduate with degrees or certificates, improving enrollment numbers, supporting online classes during the pandemic, and continuing the implementation of Guided Pathways, and reaffirming Laney’s accreditation status.

Background on Dr. Nathaniel Jones III Ph.D., MBA

Prior to his permanent appointment as President of College of Alameda, Dr. Nathaniel Jones III was Vice President, Business Services at Moreno Valley College of the Riverside Community College District. Dr. Jones oversaw Moreno Valley College’s Comprehensive Master Plan Update and played a leadership role in the college’s reaccreditation and other strategic College and District priorities including Guided Paths implementation, Call to Action Against Racism, redesign of the Budget Allocation Model, and the COVID-19 response. Dr. Jones also stewarded several bond-funded capital projects that sought to provide students with high quality instructional and support services facilities.

Dr. Nathaniel Jones

Dr. Jones’ professional career has spanned more than 33 years of which the past 20 years have been in higher education. He has held administrative and faculty positions at institutions including University of California, Riverside; Pepperdine University; and Dartmouth College.

He earned a Ph.D. in Health Policy in 2002 from the University of Maryland after completing a Master’s degree in Business Administration and a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical

Engineering. Dr. Jones is a thoughtful and creative leader who enjoys spending time with family, playing tennis, and teaching Sunday-school to fourth graders.

“I look forward to bringing my skills in strategic planning, fiscal matters, instruction, research, and evaluation to the College of Alameda and working closely with students, faculty and staff to build upon the College’s progress,” Dr. Jones said.

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International Education Week at Peralta

3 November 2020



International Education Week (IEW), November 16-20, 2020, is an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide. This joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education is part of our efforts to promote programs that prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn, and exchange experiences.

The Office of International Education invites you to celebrate International Education Week with us November 16-19. With lectures, panels, films, and even a talent show, there is something that is sure to virtually transport you to another part of the world.

We kick off the week on Monday November 16th with a STUDY ABROAD PANEL (12:00pm) featuring faculty and students who have previously participated in these programs. Come learn from their experiences and how and where you can study abroad with Peralta in the future. Think of teaching or studying Business in Japan, English in Belize, Dance in Ghana, Economics in France and Germany, and more!

Tuesday November 17th offers two events including an EXPLORATION OF FUTURE ALTERNATIVE POLITICAL SCIENCE SCENARIOS (9:30am) with COA Political Science professor Robert Brem, and a PEACE CORPS PANEL (12:00pm) to learn about volunteer opportunities around the world.

Join us on Wednesday, November 18th for INTERNATIONAL FILM SCREENING: SOFTIE(3:00pm).  We will be watching Softie, a 2020 film documenting political activism in Kenya, followed by a discussion on themes of activism, politics, and more.

Our week ends on Thursday, November 19th with INTERNATIONALS GOT TALENT (1:00pm), our first ever international student talent competition! With an esteemed panel of judges and amazing prizes you will be in for an afternoon of laughs and fun.

International students contribute so much to our colleges and local communities. At the Peralta Community College District we enroll more than 700 students from 60+ counties in a broad array of academic programs from Culinary and Computer Information Systems to Business and Architecture and much more. Come support our international programs in celebration of International Education Week.

See you there!


Drew Gephart, M.S.
International Services Manager

Students may click here to see my availability and book an appointment

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Late Start Essential CE Courses and Athletic Conditioning Update

14 September 2020

Dear Peralta Community,

I hope the Fall 2020 Semester is going well for you!  Last month we announced preliminary plans to proceed with late start in-person Career Education (CE) classes and athletic conditioning programs this semester. I am pleased to confirm that these classes and programs will proceed as planned beginning on September 14, 2020. Here are the details: 

  • College of Alameda, Laney College, and Merritt College will provide late-start Face-to-Face lab sessions for Career Education (CE) courses for essential industries only. These lab classes start on or after September 14, 2020.
  • The Athletic departments will be able to start training and conditioning on September 14, 2020 (air quality permitting).  Per the county health guidelines, the teams will not be permitted to practice or play. 

The health and well-being of students, faculty, staff, and the greater Alameda County region is the top priority for the Peralta Community College District.  Before making this decision to proceed as planned with these in-person classes and athletic programs, we established protocols for our employees and students, and aligned ourselves with the guidance provided for CE and athletic training courses provided by the state authorities. We will follow the protocols outlined in this Tier 1 Plan Document as we return to in-person classroom instruction and campus work environments. It should be noted that any faculty member may opt out of teaching. While offering these in-person CE classes and athletic training are positive steps, I want to emphasize that the risk of COVID-19 remains high and Alameda County is in the “purple” range of the heat map.   

We also will plan for Spring 2021 semester classes to be like Fall 2020, with most classes offered online and only essential CE programs being with face to face in-person instruction. These times are unprecedented, but I’m thrilled at how the Peralta Community has come together to serve students with these CE and sports opportunities.  

Thank you to the Administrators, Classified Professionals and Faculty who continue to demonstrate remarkable dedication in service to students and our community. 

The latest updates from Peralta regarding COVID-19 are available at the Safe Peralta website

All my best, and please be well! 


Dr. Carla Walter 
Acting Chancellor, Peralta Community College District 

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COVID-19 Update

28 August 2020

Dear Peralta Community, 

We learned on August 27, 2020, that one of our DGS employees has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.  The employee has been in self-quarantine at home now for nearly two weeks.  

The health and well-being of our students and employees are paramount. If you develop flu or other symptoms including dry cough and fever, please contact your medical provider, and do not come to work on campus.  

We cannot identify the employee who tested positive for the virus because of privacy laws.  However, we have gathered the names of those few employees that worked in proximity with the person who tested positive.  Following our protocols for safety, those employees have already been contacted and advised to also self-quarantine and follow up with their health care provider. 

The District Office facilities and the college campuses are officially closed until January 4, 2021, with exceptions made for individuals performing essential roles on campus, and for food giveaways.  I ask that you not make unnecessary trips to any campus at this time unless you are performing essential functions (which can also include preparing for online instruction). 

If you, as an employee, have medical questions, please contact your health care provider. Students with concerns can contact the Roots Clinic at (510) 533-1248 (please provide your student ID during the call). 

If you have concerns about your working environment on campus, please let me know. 

The health and safety of Peralta students and employees remain our top priority.  It is critical that we maintain the best practices for health and safety:  wash your hands; wear a mask; maintain social distancing of six feet when around other people.  

Please visit for the most up-to-date information and resources regarding COVID-19 for students, faculty/staff, and the community. 

Thank you and stay safe. 

Chanelle Whittaker

Interim Vice Chancellor of Human Resources & Employee Relations

Filed under: Uncategorized

Late Start Essential CE Courses & Athletics Conditioning Update

11 August 2020

Dear Peralta Community,

The health and well-being of students, faculty, staff, and the greater Alameda County region is the top priority for the Peralta Community College District. As the Fall 2020 semester rapidly approaches, the District continues to work around the clock and consult with Alameda County’s Public Health Department to adhere to the Statewide Public Health Officer Order issued July 13, 2020, and to ensure that we provide the safest modalities of service and instructional continuity to our community.

Acting Chancellor Walter and the College Presidents, in consultation with the Peralta Federation of Teachers (PFT), write to you today to provide you with the following updates:

  • College of Alameda, Laney College, and Merritt College will provide late-start Face-to-Face lab sessions for Career Education (CE) courses for essential industries only. The tentative start dates for these courses are September 14, 2020 (provided health conditions, and Alameda County authorization allow for us to run these labs).

  • The Athletic departments will also tentatively be able to start training and conditioning on September 14, 2020 (provided health and safety conditions allow us to hold these sessions). Per the county health guidelines, the teams will not be permitted to practice or play.

  • These programs will only proceed if official approval is received from the Alameda County Public Health Department, indicating that all the necessary social distancing guidelines and protocols are in place.

  • Faculty and Administration are working to convert all science and non-essential CE courses to online courses wherever possible.

These decisions were not made lightly, and we relied heavily on the recommendations of faculty, Alameda County Public Health Department guidelines, and Peralta CCD Health Officials, as well as our peer institutions. The goal of having these programs start later in the semester is to minimize the potential of individuals gathering in large group areas and ensure that the campuses can maintain social distancing protocols. This promotes the safety of our community.

For the most up-to-date information and resources regarding Peralta’s response to limiting the spread of the novel coronavirus, please visit We appreciate your continued dedication to providing excellent service to the members of our community.

We’d like to thank everyone for thoughtful collaboration on this issue.


Dr. Carla Walter, Acting Chancellor

Dr. Angélica Garcia, President, Berkeley City College

Dr. Don Miller, Interim President, College of Alameda

Dr. Rudy Besikof, Interim President, Laney College

Dr. David M. Johnson, President, Merritt College

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Chancellor Announcement: Campus Closures Extended Through Fall 2020

31 July 2020

Dear Peralta Community,  

The campus closures previously announced through August 2, 2020 have been extended to January 4, 2021.  Student services will continue to be offered online, including Admissions and Records, Financial Aid, and Counseling. As is currently the case, personnel performing essential functions may be required to work on-site. If you need access to campus, please check with your supervisor or college President’s Office to make arrangements.  

The Peralta Community College District continues to work closely with local public health officials and the State Chancellor’s Office to determine the safest way to serve the community and meet our mission. Like other community colleges across the state, Berkeley City College, College of Alameda, Laney College, and Merritt College will offer most courses this Fall 2020 semester 100% online. Some courses that do not lend themselves to online learning easily, such as career education and laboratory classes, will be offered face-to-face on campus where it is safe to do so as an exception to the campus closures. However, we may need to cancel these in-person classes, (or hybrid face-to-face sessions) that are currently offered in the schedule if we cannot provide them in a safe environment. The health and safety of everyone in our community is the top priority at Peralta Community College District.  We are concerned that even with several months of sheltering-in-place the COVID-19 cases in Alameda County, the state of California, and across the nation continue to rise. We are strongly considering the possibility that campuses will remain closed during the Spring 2021 semester, making that semester predominately online as well. We hope to provide the community with an update on Spring 2021 status by the end of September 2020.  

Thank you to the custodians, groundskeepers, and engineers who have been reporting to campus throughout the shelter in place orders, and to the Administrators, Classified Professionals and Faculty who continue to demonstrate remarkable dedication in service to students and our community. 

Please visit  for the latest status information and resources for students, faculty/staff and the community. 

Thank you and take good care, 

Dr. Carla Walter 

Acting Chancellor 

Filed under: Uncategorized

All Four Colleges Now Offering Free Meals

14 July 2020

Merritt Food Distribution

On May 26, 2020, Peralta Community College District reported that Laney College and College of Alameda had formed partnerships with Steph and Aisha Curry’s non-profit Eat.Learn.Play and the World Central Kitchen to provide free meals for students.  Now all four colleges have solidified their partnership with these great nonprofits to serve our community.  Merritt College started their program on May 28. Berkeley City College began their program on Friday June 5th.

  • Laney College Lunch & Produce is available on Mondays and Wednesdays from Noon to 2pm with drive thru pickup available at 900 Fallon Street. Laney also offers organic produce boxes each Friday.
  • College of Alameda “Grab-N-Go Free Lunch” is available on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 11:30am to 1:30pm with drive thru pickup available at 555 Ralph Appezzato Memorial Parkway.
  • Merritt College “Grab N Go Free Lunch” is available on Tuesday and Thursday, from Noon to 2pm, off-campus at the David E. Glover Education and Technology Center located at 6948 Foothill Blvd, Oakland.
  • Berkeley City College lunches are available on Fridays from 11:30am to 2pm at 2050 Center St., Berkeley.  BCC also provides free groceries at the Berkeley Food Network on 1001 University Ave. Berkeley, CA 94710 between 12pm – 3pm every MondayWe are looking for volunteers on Monday if you’d like to help out.

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12th Annual African/African American Graduation

10 July 2020

Dear Peralta Colleges Faculty, Saff and Administrators 

The 12th Annual African/African American Graduation Planning Committee cordially invites you to participate in this year’s virtual celebration of the Peralta Colleges graduating African and African American students. Please join us for the recorded graduation celebration at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, July 25, 2020Click on the link below to access YouTube for viewing: 

“And…Still I Rise: Strength, Resiliency and Beauty in the Black Community” is the theme of this year’s graduation. The virtual occasion will be marked by libation, inspiring speaker remarks, drumming, uplifting music, and the personalized recognition of the 2020 African and African American graduates from the College of Alameda, Berkeley City College, Laney College, and Merritt College. As always, this cultural celebration is in service to our African/African American students and will highlight the significance of their higher educational achievements to their family and the broader community, as well.

Questions? Please feel free to contact one of the following committee members:

We look forward to your participation in celebrating the educational achievements of the 2020 Peralta Colleges African and African American graduates.  

Ramona F. Butler

EOPS/CARE Coordinator

Berkeley City College

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Peralta Saves Taxpayers $5 Million with Bond Refinancing

1 July 2020

Oakland, CA – In the latest demonstration of financial stewardship by the Peralta Community College District (PCCD), the District has sold General Obligation bonds from bond measures passed in 2006, 2009, and 2018 to finance capital projects throughout the district while saving taxpayers $5.1 million in reduced debt service.

In April, the District successfully sold $115 million of general obligation bonds authorized by the voters of Alameda County in the election of 2006 (Measure A) and 2018 (Measure G) at a much lower rate than what was promised to taxpayers, successfully minimizing any added debt.  Soon after, the District refunded $22.9 million of its series 2009 (Measure E) bonds to generate $5.1 million in debt service savings for taxpayers. Like the district’s new money issuance, the refunding bonds received high ratings of AA- from Standard & Poor’s and AA by Fitch Ratings.

Screen Shot 2020-07-01 at 11.03.52 AM

This was made possible by the careful planning, successful marketing strategy, and expert monitoring of market conditions by the District and its financing team.

“We’re pleased to save the taxpayers over $5 million dollars while fulfilling our mission to deliver educational services and programs that enhance the region’s human, economic, environmental, and social development. This latest success wouldn’t be possible without the leadership of Dr. Carla Walter, Vice Chancellor of Finance and Administration, who led a team of financial advisors, bond counsel, bankers, underwriters, and more to make this savings for taxpayers possible,” said PCCD Chancellor Dr. Regina Stanback Stroud. “We continue to be grateful to the people of Alameda County for making capital improvements of the Peralta Community College District a priority.”

Bond funding is being used to support the District-wide facilities master plan, which includes renovating aging classrooms, building new science and technology labs, and modernizing facilities that are decades old. This will provide all of the students who attend Peralta Colleges with the first-rate educational environment they deserve. To learn more about the different capital projects underway at Laney College, College of Alameda, Berkeley Community College, and Merritt College, please visit

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  • Peralta Colleges

    Wednesday 25 November 2020
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  • Peralta Community College District is comprised of Berkeley City College, College of Alameda, Laney College, and Merritt College. Together they provide northern Alameda County a range of educational programs and life-long learning opportunities.
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