Kern CCD Board of Trustees Announces Steve Watkin as Acting President of Bakersfield College

steve watkin

Thursday, March 9, 2023

The Board of Trustees of the Kern Community College District (Kern CCD) announces the selection of Steve Watkin as Acting President of Bakersfield College (BC) to succeed Dr. Zav Dadabhoy who was recently appointed Deputy Chancellor of Kern CCD last week.

“On behalf of the Board of Trustees I want to congratulate Steve Watkin on his selection” said Romeo Agbalog, President, Kern CCD Board of Trustees. “Steve Watkin's expertise in the areas of enrollment and outreach are critical pieces of work for BC and Kern CCD, his leadership and knowledge in these areas ensure continuity and growth for the college and the Board of Trustees is confident in his abilities,” Agbalog said.

Watkin was hired at BC nine years ago by President Sonya Christian, now Chancellor of Kern CCD to establish an outreach program at the college. “Steve Watkin is a local who knows the community, understands BC and its mission, and has a demonstrated track record of success increasing student access to higher education, increased enrollment, and establishing key partnerships throughout Kern CCD,” said Kern CCD Chancellor Dr. Sonya Christian. “Steve will bring people together and hit the ground running to ensure BC continues to meet the higher education goals of students within BC's service area,” Chancellor Christian added.

Watkin built a robust outreach program in partnership with local area high schools. Eight years later, BC reached more students than ever before with an over 44% increase in the number of students enrolling at the college. Through his continued leadership and the courage of the college faculty and staff, students continue to experience campus-wide gains in college access, and student achievement and completion. In 2019, Watkin began to direct BC's Dual Enrollment program; under his leadership, BC has established the largest Dual Enrollment Program in the State with over 18,227 (2021-2022) enrollments.

"I look forward to stepping into the role. My 33-year career has been student-centered and it has been fruitful to see the tremendous growth in the programs I've led working with faculty, students, staff and community partners," said Steve Watkin, incoming Acting President of Bakersfield College. "I am confident that as we continue this work together, Bakersfield College will continue to thrive and live up to the standards set by those who came before me."

Until his selection as Acting President, Watkin served as Associate Vice Chancellor of Enrollment Management at Kern CCD. Watkin assumes the role of president with an expanse of experience and knowledge having worked previously at both public and private higher education institutions like BC, California State University, Bakersfield, and Fresno Pacific University.

"I have always been impressed with the talent and commitment of our team at Kern CCD. I know Steve Watkin and have been fortunate to see the growth and impacts of the programs he leads," said incoming Interim Chancellor Tom Burke. "I know we will continue to work on strengthening and growing opportunities for all students under Steve's leadership."

Watkin earned his Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration and Master in Education degrees from Fresno Pacific University. In addition to his service to BC and Kern CCD, Watkin has served as Pastor of Church of God in Christ in Arvin, California for the past 11 years. Watkin has been married to his wife Kimberly for 34 years and is the proud father of six children and grandfather to 11 grandchildren. Watkin will begin the role as president of BC on May 15, 2023.