The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Annette Barfield
Annette Barfield, academic guidance counselor, has aimed to empower students and faculty for almost 30 years. Photo by Sara Nevis | Staff Photographer | [email protected]

by Amaya Torres | Guest Writer

City College holds a staff of counselors and professors who have made it their job to assist students in a successful college experience. Among the staff is a woman who has made it her life’s work to do both. She prides herself on her work and the message she has for her students.

For almost 30 years, Annette Barfield has been a City College counselor, and in the last 20 years she has taught a class that, not only teaches students about college, but about the world they live in. And if that wasn’t enough, in the last decade, Barfield has represented her colleagues in labor negotiations with the college district.

Barfield, 61, is coming up on 30 years at City College. She is an academic guidance counselor, a professor and a labor union representative in her third term as the City College president of the Los Rios College Federation of Teachers, which represents 2,500 faculty members in the Los Rios colleges.

In her time, Barfield has made a name for herself through her services, assisting students and other faculty members. Whether students meet her in her classroom or in her office, she is the one to go to for guidance on campus.

“She was a pretty cool professor, and what I got from the class was the process of transferring to university after community college,” student Kyra Ibarra says.

Barfield understands the power of education to change lives.

“When I was in graduate school,” Barfield says, “I took an ethnic studies class. We had to write a paper addressing the question, How would you change society?  I read a very small book by Eleanor Roosevelt. She discussed how you can change many negative things about society and the people who live in society through education.”

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Barfield graduated with a bachelor’s degree in speech pathology and a master’s degree in counseling from California State University, Sacramento. Then, she began working for City College as a full-time counselor in 1989.

Barfield’s job as a counselor is to provide academic, career, personal and crisis counseling. She feels that her work as a counselor is rewarding, and she recognizes that she gets to be a part of an important time in students’ lives.

As professor of the human career development class she teaches, College Success, she wants to empower her students.

“Students are so aware of their surroundings,” Barfield says. “They are so impacted by the neighborhoods they live in, their culture, religion and family. Trying to put things in perspective as a college freshman is so overwhelming, and they are constantly evolving. I want them to know about human rights and that they have so much to offer the world.”

At the beginning of every class, she asks students to discuss current events in the community or around the world. This leads to conversations and debates, which is an important skill to have in college classrooms.

“She really tried to help us with tips on how to be a successful college students,” says former student Malik Cunningham. “What I took away from her class was knowledge on social justice issues, and not to be afraid to talk about issues that others might find uncomfortable.”

Now on top of her responsibilities here on campus, Barfield continues to serve as the LRCFT City College president. She represents faculty regarding working conditions, salary and benefits. She often meets with deans and administrators in defending the contractual rights of faculty.

Students, however, are at the heart of Barfield’s efforts.

“Opening their minds to critical thinking, combined with social justice, drives me,” she says.

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