Familiar face, new hat
“I love Play-DOH,” said Dean of Sierra College’s Tahoe Truckee campus Kim Bateman, squeezing a handful. “I like how it feels. It’s therapeutic.”
And Bateman knows about therapy, with a Master’s degree in Psychology from Humbolt State University and a Ph.D. in clinical Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute.
She co-authored a new college-wide mission at Sierra Nevada College, stressing the four sustainabilities: environmental, economic, social and educational. She also helped craft programs in Art Therapy, Outdoor Leadership, Marketing and Digital Arts there.
Her education is the foundation of a remarkable teacher, and she has been referred to as an “educational architect” by a Sierra Nevada College (Incline Village) spokesperson. Her roots in the area are long-standing ” as a 1982 North Tahoe High graduate, a full-time administrator/faculty member at Sierra Nevada College and a part-time faculty member for the Tahoe-Truckee campus of Sierra College.
The Sun’s Amy Edgett caught up with Bateman during her first week as dean.
Sierra Sun: What motivated you to become the dean of Sierra College Tahoe-Truckee campus?
Kim Bateman: When I was considering the position, my mother and I visited the office. She said, “Try out the chair.” I did, it felt really nice.
SS: It’s more than the chair.
KB: Yes. My interest is in building wonderful programs that serve the unique needs of the Tahoe-Truckee area, emphasizing environmental and economic sustainability. Also, my mother is here and I have two children, a son, 20 and a girl, 14. This is an amazing place for families.
SS: Tell me about your mother’s role in your life.
KB: My mother is a beautiful woman who has modeled the importance of doing your research and approaching problems with informed assertiveness.
SS: I heard an adult speaking on a cell phone as I approached the campus. She said “Your old lady’s going back to school, baby.” Could you describe the student population?
KB: We have a lot of locals, Hispanics and an increasing population of women, ages 40 to 50. And, of course, 19-year-old-snowboarders.
SS: You taught at Sierra College when classes were held at the Truckee High School and Pioneer Center. Do you have a particularly fond memory?
KB: When I taught as a night professor, I had a young woman in a woman’s study class. I noticed she wasn’t looking at me and had this dire, concentrated face. I asked her about it. She responded she was trying to memorize my lectures for all of her tias. Talk about “community education.”
SS: You’ve won numerous teaching awards, including Faculty of the Year from Sierra Nevada College students, and in 2008 you were nominated for the part-time faculty of the year award, Sierra College. What can students expect as dean?
KB: We are shifting the class culture to day classes, our goal is to have full-time classes five days a week. This campus already feels like a college, but we are building activities in outdoor recreation: Rock climbing, orienteering, backcountry skiing. We also want to have a connection with the community, utilizing service learning. I am a stickler for having academics tie in ” don’t just volunteer. Make your experience a formal academic paper. A tie to the community is a real advantage for students. We have two interns right now with placement in their field locally, one at Squaw Valley.
SS: What other advantages does Sierra College offer?
KB: A personalized, quality education at a very low cost. The largest class size is 40 students ” it’s a campus where your teacher knows your name. We have a transfer policy with California state schools and universities, and a lot of scholarships. About 80 percent of our students do their general ed here. Our programs include a mechatronics course, business and we are wrking hard for an environmental studies. We have set up for an administration of justice program, which is becoming popular. Our professors are here because they love to teach.
SS: Tell me about a few.
KB: We have a beloved community member, Victor Hernandez, who teaches the EMT course. Barbara Robertson taught at Truckee High School for 20 years, now she is teaching human development sciences. Pam McAdoo teaches art, two dimensional art. There are very civic-minded people here.
SS: In light of the tumultuous California state budget and cuts, how will Sierra College fair?
KB: The $332 million cut is not concrete; we wait to hear on a daily basis. Luckily, the Sierra College district is prepared ” our district in particular is facing a $4 million cut. We are one of the few colleges in the community system slated to grow. The funds are in place. There will be very little effect for the short term. And we’re growing. Our goal is to have 300 full time [equivalent] students.
SS: Describe the Tahoe-Truckee Sierra College in one sentence.
KB: It’s a cool little hip college in the mountains, with the opportunity for a diverse education.
SS: Say no more.
Sierra College scholarships
Sierra College offers numerous scholarships each year, sponsored by Sierra College, the College Foundation, private and public organizations. They range from $50 to $2,500. Selection is based primarily on academic performance, but may include other criteria.
Sierra College scholarship applications for the 2009-2010 academic year are available. The deadline is Feb. 6, 2009, with selection for all awards in April. Some have earlier deadlines. The Awards Celebration will be held in May.
You must submit a completed application for each scholarship for which you are applying. To review the available scholarships and the criteria of each, visit http://www.sierra.cc.ca.us, or call the Tahoe Truckee campus at 550-2225.
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