Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Students discuss their work in class at the MESA center at American River College on April 25, 2024. (Photo: Cristian Gonzalez/CalMatters)
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    Besikof brings wide-ranging experience to Laney

    Besikof brings wide-ranging experience to Laney

    By Eva Hannan

    Sometimes the answer can be found right in your own backyard, but other times solutions are better provided by someone who has travelled to the other side of the globe and back.

    Such is the case with Dr. Rudolph (Rudy) Besikof, most recently of Mt. San Jacinto College, who is the new Laney College vice president of instruction.

    Before his appointment at the beginning of the fall semester, the VPI role had been unfilled for over a year. Laney College President Tammeil Gilkerson, who was also acting as interim vice president of instruction, was performing many of those duties.

    Besikof, a married father of three, grew up in Colorado and attended the University of Colorado, Boulder, for his bachelor degrees in English and French, and U of C Denver for his masters degree in English in applied linguistics before eventually going on to the University of California Los Angeles for his doctorate in educational leadership.

    In between, and during, his own educational journey, Besikof lived and worked as a teacher in France for two years and Japan for four years. He speaks French, Japanese, Spanish and English.

    “I started college not quite sure, but I used the first two years to figure out what I wanted to do. I was signing up for French, then two French classes, and when there were activities put on by the foreign languages department [I would attend],” he said.

    For his junior year, he was offered a chance to study abroad in France, and he took it. This involvement in extra- curricular activities was a formative experience for Besikof, and he wants to extend more options to the students at Laney College.

    “In my case, I had all these things that were going on that really connected me to my college experience, so it wasn’t just taking classes,” he said.

    “My freshman year I was a tutor, and my sophomore year I was president of my dorm. During my junior year, while I was studying overseas, I was playing on a basketball team. And a really important experience in my senior year was working in the campus Welcome Center [at U of C Boulder].”

    Besikof believes that one great way for students to succeed in college is to feel like they are a part of the campus, feel welcome and be able to explore their interests through their school.

    As the vice president of instruction, part of Besikof’s job will be making sure that students have opportunities by enriching and promoting some of the extracurricular activities available to students through clubs and other organizations.

    “Since he’s joined the administration, he’s definitely been a team player,” said Vicki Ferguson, vice president of student services. “He has valuable experience and knowledge around instruction, and I continue to look forward to collaborating with him as we work together for student success.”

    The addition of Besikof means that, for this school year, the administration at Laney is not missing any key players.

    This should enable everyone to fulfill their roles to the best of their abilities, said Derek Pinto, vice president of administration services.

    “Dr. Besikof is very interested in assisting students to move forward, and he is a great addition to the college,” Pinto said. “He is very warm and engaging with a good sense of humor.”

    Several new statewide laws, including AB-705, which changes the way students are assessed for class placement, are what Besikof sees as the biggest challenge to his first semester in his role here at Laney.

    Ultimately, he sees these challenges as opportunities for the college to provide more.

    “We’re going to support students as they go through, and we’re going to make it so our system is not a barrier to them,” he said.

    About the Contributor
    In the fall of 2019, The Laney Tower rebranded as The Citizen and launched a new website. These stories were ported over from the old Laney Tower website, but byline metadata was lost in the port. However, many of these stories credit the authors in the text of the story. Some articles may also suffer from formatting issues. Future archival efforts may fix these issues.  
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