Category Archives: Campus News

Classes available at Baker Station May – August 2017

Learning Gone Wild

The High Sierra Institute offers over a dozen courses. The High Sierra Institute is a partnership between the Yosemite Community College District and the US Forest Service operated under Special Use Permit on the Stanislaus National Forest.

Baker Station is situated along Highway 108 in the high Sierra at an elevation of 6,200 feet in the Summit Ranger District of the Stanislaus National Forest.

Classes are held with field studies from May – August 2017.

From Sonora:  Take Highway 108 roughly 57 miles east (just under four miles BEYOND the Dardanelle store.). Baker Station sits on the north side of the road, just past a big yellow Caltrans sign. Look for a line of rustic cabins with a dirt parking lot at the end of the row of buildings. There is also a sign that reads, “High Sierra Institute at Baker Station.” If you reach the Kennedy Meadows turnoff on the right, you have gone a quarter mile too far.

High Sierra Institute
40000 Highway 108
Dardanelle, CA 95314

For more information contact: Dr. Tom Hofstra with questions @

For registration questions, call Columbia College Admissions & Records @ 209-588-5231

2017 Baker Station Schedule Summary


Columbia College Foundation Honors Students

More than $100,000 in Scholarships AWARDED

The Columbia College Foundation and its community partners will present more than $100,000 in scholarships to qualified and deserving students at the annual Columbia College Scholarship and Awards Celebration on Thursday, April 13.  The event features student and community speakers, musical performances and presentation of the Student of the Year awards.

In the 2016-2017 academic year, the Foundation and community partners awarded more than 150 scholarships to more 90 students, totaling more $100,000 in support for their educational expenses. Many of these scholarships are contributed by community organizations and individuals, many are offered annually through the Foundation’s endowed funds, and more than 20 each year are funded through the Foundation’s Osher Scholarship Endowment, established in partnership with the Bernard Osher Foundation, the Foundation for California Community Colleges and community donors.

Columbia College students are encouraged to apply for scholarships each fall. Criteria for awards vary depending on donors’ preferences, which include area of study, academic excellence, volunteer involvement or financial need.

“I am very appreciative that so many giving individuals rally to support our students through scholarships” noted Dr. Angela Fairchilds, College President. “For many students, this provides life-changing opportunities.  The personal stories are very compelling”

It is a point of pride for the college to have many campus donors – three student clubs sponsor annual scholarships, as well as employee groups and dozens of individual faculty members and staff.

Colette Such, Columbia College Foundation President added, “Though it’s a great amount of work for all who read scholarship applications and choose scholarship recipients, it is truly a labor of love. Their stories often bring us to tears, their work inspires us, and their futures give us hope”

The Columbia College Foundation is a community nonprofit established in 1972 to promote quality higher education that enriches the academic, economic, and cultural life of our community. The Foundation’s mission is to promote student success by providing community resources that support and expand educational opportunities for Columbia College students. Donations to the Columbia College Foundation are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.

Questions about the Foundation should be directed to Amy Nilson, Director of Development, at (209) 588-5055 or

41st Annual Wine Tasting

 41st Annual Columbia Wine Tasting BenefitS
Columbia College Hospitality Management program

The Columbia College Foundation will host the 41st Annual Columbia Wine Tasting from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 9, a benefit to support the Columbia College Hospitality Management Program. More than 70 wineries and food vendors will set up shop in the State Park’s historic buildings, making it one of the most unique tastings in the West.

“The Columbia event provides wine enthusiasts a chance to sample local wineries and foods alongside a number of the state’s favorite producers while visiting unique sites in the State Historic Park,” according to Tom Bender, a wine instructor at Columbia College and longtime organizer of the tasting. “Many are small production wineries pouring new and limited release wines.” (See list of this year’s participating wineries below).

Guests will also enjoy a tempting array of hors d’oeuvres prepared by Columbia College Hospitality students. The event also features a silent auction with a selection of collectible wines, gift baskets, getaway packages and more.

Reservations can be purchased online for $55 per person in advance or $60 per person at the event as available. Attendees receive a complimentary souvenir wine glass and samples from participating wineries and food vendors. For more information or to make a reservation, check out or call (209) 588-5089.



Abundance Wines  
Ayrael Vieux Winery  
Black Sheep Winery  
Boeger Winery  
Boyle MacDonald Wines  
Brice Station Winery  
Broll Mountain Wines  
Carmenet Wines  
Carnivor Wines  
Carol Shelton Wines  
Chacewater Winery  
Chatom Wines  
Dark Horse Wines  
Edna Valley Winery  
Four Winds Winery  
Frank Family Winery  
Gianelli Vineyards  
Hahn Winery  
Haraszthy Family Cellars  
Hatcher Winery  
Heritage Oaks Winery  
Hovey Wines  
Husch Winery  
Imagine Wines  
Inner Sanctum Wines  
Ironstone Winery  
J Lohr Winery  
Kendall Jackson Wines  
Klinker Brick Winery  
La Folia Wines  
Locke Vineyards  
Louis Martini Winery  
Lucca Wines  
M2 Wines  
Maddelena Vineyard  
McFadden Winery  
McManis Winery  
Meiomi Wines  
Mettler Family  
Milliaire Winery  
Mineral Wines  
Morgan Winery  
Mt. Veeder Winery  
Muddy Boot Wines  
Newsome Harlow Winery  
Oak Ridge Wines  
Picket Fence Wines  
Prospect 772 Winery  
Quady Winery  
Regio Wines  
Renner Winery  
Ridge Winery  
Robert Hall Winery  
Robert Mondavi Winery  
Rockwall Winery  
Rombauer Winery  
San Simeon Wines  
School Street Wines  
Sera Fina Winery  
Shenandoah Vineyards  
Silkwood Wines  
Silver Oak Winery  
Sobon Estate  
St. Amant Winery  
Stevenot Wines  
Terra d’Oro Winery  
The Prisoner Wine Company  
Tolosa Winery  
Trefthen Winery  
Twisted Oak Winery
Twomey Wines      
Van Rueten Winery      
Vino Nocetto Winery      
William Hill Winery


Food Vendors

Cheesy Winer Wine Bar

Columbia College Hospitality Students

Cowboy Toffee Company

Diestel Turkey Ranch

Fiscalini Cheese Company



Little Free Library

The Columbia College Foundation partnered with the Child Development Center and Facilities staff to bring a “Little Free Library” to campus.  This new resource is located in front of the Child Development Center and is readily accessible to parents, guardians, children, staff, faculty and the community at large.

Columbia College Awarded $960,000 State Grant for Automotive Technology and Child Development Apprenticeship Initiatives

Columbia College has received formal notification of the intent to award a two-year grant to develop new Apprenticeship programs for Automotive Technology and Child Development training, beginning in January 2017. Columbia College is currently implementing a Hospitality Apprenticeship Initiative with similar grant funding and is excited about expanding opportunities to other industries that are in need of a well trained workforce.  Applications for the Hospitality apprenticeship program are still being accepted.

The new award, just announced by the California Community College Chancellor’s Office (CCCCO) Workforce and Development Division, is part of the new California Apprenticeship Initiative, aimed at broadening the range of apprenticeship programs available to California workers.

Columbia College President Dr. Angela Fairchilds expressed her gratitude “We are honored that our small, rural college has once again submitted a successful proposal in a statewide grant competition and appreciate the recognition by the state Chancellor’s Office of the demonstrated need for workforce training opportunities in the Motherlode region.”

The grant will fund the development of the Columbia College Automotive Technology and Child Development Initiatives, two pilot projects that will give up to 48 students the opportunity to “earn while they learn” at partnering Automotive businesses and Child Development programs. Designed with input from the sponsoring employers, the program is modeled on European apprenticeships, blending classroom instruction and on-the-job training in a compressed two-year program.

The college will receive $960,000 over two years to implement the curriculum, receive approval of the apprenticeships through state and federal Division of Apprentice Standards, enroll students, and launch the training at partnering work sites.

Debra Cruz, owner of NAPA Auto Parts – Debco Automotive Supply, Inc., shared “Our business has an aging workforce and it is hard to find qualified applicants. We would be extremely interested in having access to this type of program as we can see a need and benefit for both the community and our business.”

Marcia Williams, Early Childhood Services Director for the Amador-Tuolumne Community Action Agency, states “For the past several years, Calaveras and Tuolumne counties have been experiencing a severe shortage of qualified preschool and infant toddler teachers. This shortage is causing us to reduce the number of children that can be served through our programs, leaving some of our most vulnerable children without adequate preparation for school.”

Along with other potential Automotive Technology and Child Development partners in our community, the following agencies have expressed support: Tuolumne County Economic Development Authority, Tuolumne County Superintendent of Schools, Mother Lode Job Training and the Motherlode Workforce Investment Board.

Dr. Klaus Tenbergen, Dean of Career Technical Education and Economic Development, will oversee development and implementation of these new apprenticeships starting in early 2017.

“This is a unique opportunity to work with local employers to develop a skilled and educated workforce for both the Automotive Technology and Child Development industries,” Tenbergen said.

Apprentices will rotate through different professional areas at partnering sites over an 18-24 month period, receiving comprehensive training in a range of activities associated with each industry. Training in customer service and other “soft skills” will be incorporated throughout. Apprentices will complete a minimum of 2,000 hours of employer-paid on-the-job training, while completing 288 instructional hours as college students. Once students complete the Initiative components as described, they will be Registered Certified Apprentices through the Department of Apprenticeship Standards. If students desire, they may continue with additional coursework to complete an Associate’s degree.

Automotive Technology and Child Development businesses who may be interested in partnering with Columbia College are encouraged to contact Tenbergen to be included in upcoming planning meetings scheduled for late January.


For more information, contact:

Dr. Klaus Tenbergen

Dean of Career Technical Education & Economic Development

Office: 209.588.5142

Cell: 559.994.6434

CCCCO Statement of Values and Commitment to Undocumented Students

The California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office will not cooperate with any federal effort to create a registry of individuals based on any protected characteristics such as religion, national origin, race, or sexual orientation.

The Chancellor’s Office will continue to advocate for educational opportunities for all students in the community college system, regardless of immigration status, at the state and federal level.

While the Chancellor’s Office acknowledges local authority and control in the administration of our community colleges, we encourage our local community college districts to consider our system’s values when responding to this situation. We find the following strategies to be consistent with these values and recommend using them as a starting point for your local deliberations in these matters:
• District police departments should not detain, question or arrest any individual solely on the basis of (suspected) undocumented immigration status.
• Districts should not cooperate with any federal effort to create a registry of individuals based on any protected characteristics such as religion, national origin, race or sexual orientation.
• No confidential student records should be released without a judicial warrant, subpoena or court order, unless authorized by the student or required by law.

The Chancellor’s Office will actively monitor developments about possible changes to immigration policies and work with partners who are committed to protecting our students.

Additional resources that may be of help to colleges and districts include a white paper issued by the American Council on Education, a Frequently Asked Questions document prepared by the Undocumented Student Program at the University of California, Berkeley, FAQs; prepared by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund and the California Dream Act section at
For questions about the guidance described here, please contact the Chancellor’s Office General Counsel at

1102 Q STREET, SUITE 4554
SACRAMENTO, CA 95811-6549
(916) 322-4005
Statement of Values
December 5, 2016


Columbia College’s Fire Academy will hold its graduation ceremony and presentation of Certification of Completion to 35 successful students of the Fire Technology Program. The event, which is open to the public, will be held Friday, December 16, beginning at 6 p.m. in the Oak Pavilion at Columbia College.

The certificates will be awarded based on the student’s successful completion of the academic and manipulative training as mandated for a California Firefighter 1 Certification. The students must still complete six months of full-time or one year of part-time field experience before applying to the state for Firefighter I Certification. “Some of the graduates will apply or continue with reserve, intern and volunteer positions at local or state-wide fire departments since entering the academy” said Chief Shane Warner, Columbia College Fire Technology Program Coordinator and professor. “Many of the students will pursue associate degrees in fire technology at Columbia College.” “Some of the students are already applying for seasonal employment with CAL Fire, Forest Service, and local fire agencies said Instructor Andy Van Hoogmoed.

In addition to the “routine” fire training classes, specialized training was delivered involving Auto Extrication, Low Angle Rope Rescue Training, Incident Command System, Hazardous Materials Training, Seasonal Wildland Firefighting classes, Confined Space, Basic Power Saw Safety, and live fire suppression training, which was conducted at the Twain Harte’s Fire Department Training Center. A special thanks goes out to: Vics Towing, Columbia College Fire Department, Columbia Fire District, Sonora City Fire Department, Twain Harte Fire Department, Tuolumne County Fire Department, CAL Fire TCU, U.S. Forest Service, and Sierra Conservation Center.

Angela Fairchilds Ph.D., President of Columbia College, will deliver a welcome message. Mike Marcucci CAL Fire Battalion Chief will convey the Keynote Address. Erick Vanderveer Captain with Hayward Fire Department will present closing thoughts.

Family and friends will view a student produced audiovisual presentation of their intensive 16 weeks of training. The rigorous training is designed to help serious candidates meet the requirements for demanding careers as professional firefighters, including more than 576 hours of academic and manipulative training, according to Chief Shane Warner.

The fall 2016 Columbia College Fire Academy graduates:

Arendse, Colin
Bailey-Gates, Connor
Bebernes, Robert
Blagg, Austin
Boykin, Joshua
Corona, Johnathan
Danicourt, Brendan
Davis, Garrett
Fields-Richardson, Coleton
Figley,  Kelley
Findley, Erik
Hagstrom, Tanner
Johnson, Christian
Johnson, Magnus
Kassahn, Clay
Love, Tyler
Lubenko, Mitchell
Marcus, Blake
Mayberry, Sterling
McCready,   Justin
McIntyre, Thomas
Miller, Myranda
Myers, Meghan
Ogden, Randy
Saenz,   Alex
Serpa, Cheraya
Smith, Bradley
Souza, Dylan
Taylor, Justin
Townzen, Frisco
Ulvevadet, Nathaniel
Waggoner, Matthew
Walker, James
Whiting, Ryan
Zuspan, Zachary


For further information contact Fire Academy Chief Shane Warner at 588-5308 or Captain Andy Van Hoogmoed at 588-5153


WHO:        Columbia College Foundation

WHAT:      “A Changing Landscape: Tree Mortality in the Sierra Nevada”

A free community event featuring leading experts in forest ecology

WHERE:     Sonora High School Auditorium

WHEN:      Thursday evening October 6. Doors open at 6:30 pm; program 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.

A leading national researcher and local experts on forest transition will be the featured speakers at a free community event presented by the Columbia College Foundation Thursday evening, October 6.

“A Changing Landscape: Tree Mortality in the Sierra Nevada,” a two-hour evening program at the Sonora High School Auditorium, will be moderated by Columbia College Natural Resources Professor Tom Hofstra, and features a panel of leading experts who will help make sense of the tree mortality and many landscape changes so visibly under way in the Sierra Nevada from drought, fire and beetle infestation.

The October 6 program continues a community lecture series planned by the Columbia College Foundation in cooperation with college faculty and regional partners. The program is free. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. and the evening’s program will run from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Refreshments will be available after the event.

Leading the evening will forest researcher Eric Knapp, a nationally known forest ecologist with the US Forest Service. Knapp specializes in understanding how disturbances historically have altered forest systems, from food chains and wildlife to forest resilience. Knapp, Lead Research Ecologist for the Northern California Region of USFS Pacific Southwest Research Station, regularly publishes his research on forest health and forest management.

Hofstra and Knapp will be joined by regional panelists with a range of expertise, including U.S. Forest Service Entomologist Beverly Bulaon, biologist and protected species specialist Terry Strange of Strange Resource Management, and high country landowner and Columbia College forestry instructor Lara McNicol.

Speakers will focus on the big picture of tree mortality throughout the Sierra Nevada region and the long-term impacts of drought, fire and beetle infestation.

“No issue is more critical – or more visible — right now,” said Stephanie Suess , Columbia College Foundation Board Member who is organizing the event. “This is a chance to learn from experts on what we can expect in the years and decades ahead, and what choices we can make as a community.  The Foundation is pleased to bring these key players together for an educational evening.”

For more information, visit or call (209) 588-5065.

The Columbia College Foundation is a community nonprofit established in 1972 to promote quality higher education that enriches the academic, economic, and cultural life of our community. Our mission is to promote student success by providing community resources that support and expand educational opportunities for Columbia College’s students. Learn more at or call (209) 588-5055.

Columbia College Transfer Day and College Night offer all students access to college information

(Sonora, CA) – High school and college students will have a chance to speak in-person to representatives from four-year colleges and universities at Columbia College’s Transfer Day/ College Night events scheduled for Thursday, September 22, 2016. Both events are free and open to all community members, high school students, and their families.  Free parking is offered on campus all day for these events.

The Transfer Day portion of the event will be held from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM, outside the Tamarack (Library) building on the main Columbia College campus, located at 11600 Columbia College Drive, Sonora. Transfer Day is targeted at current Columbia College students seeking information on transferring to a four-year college.

The College Night portion of the event will be held from 5:00 PM- 8:00 PM inside the Oak Pavilion on the main Columbia College campus. College Night is designed to assist high school students and their families, and community members, in making plans to pursue a higher education.

Representatives from University of California, California State Universities, Columbia College, as well as private and out-of-state four-year colleges and universities will be on hand to answer questions and provide information about their institution, including academic programs, admission procedures, transfers, financial aid, student life and more.  Students will be able to go from table to table, collect literature, and speak directly with representatives from each school.  Most representatives are from admissions offices, so students can hear firsthand what they need to do to meet admission requirements and obtain information on programs, tuition and scholarships.

For more information contact: Melissa Raby, Vice President of Student Services – 209-588-5132.

Follow Columbia College on Facebook: or visit

A list of college representatives attending will be available Tuesday, September 20, 2016.