Cerro Coso Community College

O’Connor Recipient of CBEA Excellence Award

Cerro Coso Professor Karen O’Connor

The California Business Education Association (CBEA) recognizes excellence in programs and educators who make them “excellent.” Cerro Coso Professor Karen O’Connor recently received a CBEA award for leadership and development of an outstanding Business Office Technology Program at the college.

Over the past 13 years, the Business Office Technology program has evolved into its current stackable format that allows students to plug into the program at three different levels thanks to the hard work of Professor O’Connor. She is credited for having put the entire program online, expanding opportunities for a larger number of students, and created a new gateway class for the program, BSOT C100 Introduction to Business Office Technology, that assists in monitoring cohort groups, and serves as a model that increases success and retention for the program.

To ensure the program is on track with current trends, O’Connor regularly reaches out to individuals at the local and state-wide levels. As a result, the program has been accepted for both the level one and level two Business Information Worker Program, an outcome of the Doing What Matters statewide project.

The first to bring the one-unit Excel and Word classes to the state for initial review by thirty like-minded professors in the southern California region, O’Connor is currently heading the state development of Business Office Technology model curriculum serving as the primary lead for further development.

When the call came to deliver courses for dual enrollment, O’Connor stepped up and is helping to bring back business classes to the high schools, starting in California City and Tehachapi, and is working with high school teachers who are also CBEA members.

The result of all her hard work and planning is leading to a significant increase in enrollments in the program, which has resulted in a noticeable increase in completion of certificates and degrees.

O’Connor holds a Masters in Education from Simon Fraser University and an Instructor’s Diploma from Vancouver Vocational. Although she has been teaching program content online since the 90’s, she continues to take courses through @one to stay current in the use of technology and best practices.

Kern Community College District