Showing Solidarity & Support for Paris

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Dear Saddleback College Family,

To show our solidarity and support for the French people after the horrific terrorist attacks that occurred on Friday, Saddleback College will be flying our American flags at half-staff this week. Additionally, the McKinney Theatre will be lit up in the colors of the French flag tonight beginning at 4:30 pm. Thank you to Tim Swiss, fine arts lighting and sound designer, for making this happen.

The attacks on innocent people in Paris were an attack on all of us. It was terrible enough to watch the news unfold this weekend, but it was especially heartbreaking to learn that a 23-year-old CSU Long Beach study abroad student, Nohemi Gonzalez, was killed in the attacks. We offer our condolences to Nohemi’s family and friends and the CSU Long Beach community for their loss.

We in the field of higher education idealize culture, arts, science, and humanities, which are at the very heart of the Parisian way of life. We also know that no terrorist can take away our humanity’s pursuit of knowledge that comes in a free society.

Aujourd’hui, nous sommes tous Parisiens. Or, in English: Today, we are all Parisians.


Tod A. Burnett, Ed.D.

South County Veterans Summit Held at Saddleback College

Panelists, Marco Williams, Bobby McDonald, Karen Williams and Terence Nelson speak on Veteran resources in Orange County.

Panelists, Marco Williams, Bobby McDonald, Karen Williams and Terence Nelson speak on Veteran resources in Orange County.

On Friday, November 6, Saddleback College had the pleasure of joining OC Supervisor Lisa Bartlett, OC Community Services, 2-1-1 Orange County and the OC Veteran Advisory Council to host the 2015 South County Veterans Summit.

The summit dubbed “Connect & Succeed” featured a variety of resources and information for local veterans including a presentation about the South County Veterans Research Study; VA benefits overview; veterans resource fair; and breakout sessions.

Lariat and Journalism Department Host Open House

Dean of Liberal Arts Kevin O’Connor, College President Tod Burnett, Journalism Department Chair Tim Posada and Dean of Learning Resources Marina Aminy.

Dean of Liberal Arts Kevin O’Connor, College President Tod Burnett, Journalism Department Chair, Tim Posada, and Dean of Learning Resources Marina Aminy.

On Tuesday, November 3, I had the pleasure of attending the Lariat/Journalism Department Open House in the journalism lab. I had a chance to catch up with Tim Posada the department chair and his fellow Journalism instructors. The Open House was a wonderful opportunity for our students to become familiar with the Lariat newspaper and the journalism department. I want to congratulate the Lariat and the Journalism Department for hosting a terrific event and thank them for sharing their department with the Saddleback College community.

Dr. Tod A. Burnett, President



Saddleback College Health Information Technology Degree Program Earns National Accreditation

The Saddleback College Heath Information Technology associate degree program was fully accredited this week by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM). The national accreditation makes Saddleback College the eighth community college in California, and one of only 14 colleges in the state, to offer an accredited program in health information technology, an increasingly growing field that helps health care providers better manage patient care through the secure use of electronic health records.

In the Southern California region, job growth in the health information technology field is projected to grow 30 percent over the next 10 years. In Orange County alone, there were 1,596 jobs reported in 2015, an increase of 6.68 percent in two years.

Dr. Tod A. Burnett, president of Saddleback College, stated, “I am very proud of our health information technology program which has shown a great deal of promise in training students for successful careers in a field with a wide range of job opportunities.”

Safiah Mamoon, health information technology department chair and program director, stated, “Congratulations to Saddleback College on gaining CAHIIM accreditation for the health information technology associate degree. Since CAHIIM enforces rigorous standards for the programs it accredits, this is a very proud moment as the program has reached a very prestigious milestone joining only seven other community colleges with accredited health information technology degree programs in California.”

Occupations in health information technology include revenue cycle management/billing/clinical coding; health information management, practice management, patient care registrar, health information education, insurance claims specialist, patient portal education/liaison, medical office administration, quality improvement analyst, help desk, release of information, and medical transcription. Health information technology professionals are employed by hospitals, ambulatory care centers, physician offices, long-term care facilities, dialysis centers, public health agencies, pharmaceutical companies, medical supply companies, rehabilitation centers, managed care organizations, behavioral and mental health facilities, law firms, and insurance firms. One hundred percent of employers surveyed stated they would hire Saddleback College Health Information Technology program graduates if openings were available.

The associate degree program prepares students for employment as health information professionals with the knowledge and skills to accurately code diagnosis and procedures for the health care services provided to patients, and to collect, maintain, and analyze clinical data in electronic health records that physicians, nurses, and other healthcare staff rely on to deliver quality healthcare. The program provides training through didactic instruction and directed practice.

For more information on the Saddleback College Health Information Technology program please visit


Saddleback Softball Plays Exhibition Game Against Team from A League of Their Own

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Yesterday, the Saddleback College softball team played an exhibition softball game against the “Rockford Peaches” in a tribute to the movie, “A League of Their Own.” The team making up the “Rockford Peaches” comprised of actresses from the film that played members of the Peaches and women associated with ESPNW. The event was sponsored by ESPNW as part of ESPNW’s Women + Sports Conference, and the Bentonville Film Festival, which champions for women and diversity in film. The conference is being held October 14-16 in Dana Point.

Click here to view the story from the OC Register.

Team Orange County Showcases Energy-Efficient Home at Solar Decathlon

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Casa del Sol, the energy-efficient home designed by Saddleback College and other “Team Orange County” students, is currently on display at the United States Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine. The nine-day collegiate competition, which opened yesterday morning, challenges teams from around the world to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective and attractive to consumers.

The opening ceremony was led by Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz. Additional speakers were Christina Shea, Irvine City Councilwoman; Gaddi Vasquez, Senior Vice President, Government Affairs, Edison International; Serge Goldenberg, Senior Vice President, Solar Business, Schneider Electric; and Puon Penn, Executive Vice President, Head of Technology and Clean Tech Commercial Banking, Wells Fargo. Representing the South Orange County Community College District Board of Trustees was Dr. James R. Wright, and Saddleback College President Tod A. Burnett and Irvine Valley College President Glenn R. Roquemore were in attendance with Daniele Stroopa, Chancellor of Chapman University, and Gregory Washington, Dean of the UC Irvine Henry Samueli School of Engineering.

Casa del Sol is a collaboration of Team Orange County, which consists of a core group of 20 students from Saddleback College, who took the lead on architecture and interior design; Irvine Valley College, who focused on construction technology; UC Irvine, who oversaw engineering and project management, and Chapman University, who led marketing and communications efforts.

Dr. Burnett stated, “I am incredibly proud of the hard work and dedication of our students, who produced a truly innovative home enhanced by phenomenal design. Saddleback College is committed to providing a first-rate Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) curriculum, which are enriched by our ability to compete in high-level activities like the Solar Decathlon.”

Blake Stephens, professor of architecture, stated, “I am encouraged by the intelligence and hard-working attitude of the students who have dedicated their efforts to Team Orange County and the solar decathlon.”

While showcasing creative and sustainable home designs, the Solar Decathlon helps build a workforce to address the need to reduce carbon pollution that causes climate change. The competition combines classroom instruction with hands-on experience to teach college students the STEM concepts used to build their Solar Decathlon houses. Since the biennial competition began in 2002, many former participants have pursued careers in clean energy and sustainable housing.

The competing teams were selected two years ago in a competitive selection process and their projects represent a diverse range of design, building technologies, and geographic locations, climates and regions. They are constructed to target a broad range of housing markets, including empty nesters, multi-generational, and single family.

In addition to Team Orange, the following collegiate teams are competing in the Solar Decathlon 2015:

California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo
California State University, Sacramento
Clemson University
Crowder College and Drury University
Missouri University of Science and Technology
New York City College of Technology
Team NY Alfred (State University of New York at Alfred College of Technology and Alfred University)
Stevens Institute of Technology
Texas/Germany (The University of Texas at Austin and Technische Universitaet Muenchen)
State University of New York, Buffalo
West Virginia/Rome (West Virginia University and University of Roma Tor Vergata)
Mass/Central America (Western New England University, Universidad Tecnologica de Panama, and Universidad Tecnologica Centroamericana)

Over the next nine days, the teams will compete in 10 contests that focus on house performance, livability, and affordability. To test the livability and efficiency of the houses, the teams will perform a variety of everyday tasks, including cooking, laundry, and washing dishes. The winner of the overall competition will have demonstrated the best blend of affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence while maintaining optimal energy production and maximum efficiency.

Team houses will be open to the public and free of charge October 8-11 and October 15-18 from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm. The overall winner will be announced on October 17 at 9:45 am. A $10 fee for public parking will be charged at the Orange County Great Park during the event.

For more information and to view photos of the event, visit the President’s Gaucho Gazette Blog, The Team Orange County Website, and the Solar Decathlon Website.
Located in Mission Viejo, Saddleback College provides quality higher education and training to the greater south Orange County community. Having served more than 500,000 students since 1968, Saddleback College offers more than 300 degree and certificate programs to help students reach their personal, career, and educational goals. For more information, please visit

President Burnett Focuses on a ‘Culture of Excellence’ in Annual State of the College

Dr. Burnett asks for a show of hands of those in the audience that attended Saddleback College.

Dr. Burnett asks for a show of hands of those in the audience that attended Saddleback College.

Dr. Tod A. Burnett, president of Saddleback College, welcomed more than 100 elected officials, business and industry representatives, and other community members at the college’s annual State of the College breakfast this morning.  The State of the College report is entitled “A Culture of Excellence” and outlines the college’s priorities and goals for the 2015-2016 academic year.

Dr. Burnett welcomed Assembly Member Bill Brough, who offered remarks on his support of Saddleback College and an update on his work in Sacramento.  Additional speakers included South Orange County Community College District Board of Trustees Vice President Tim Jemal, Associated Student Government President William Vassetizadeh, and Saddleback College Foundation President Mike Hamilton. Students of the Saddleback College Commercial Music Ensemble, directed by Dr. Ariel Alexander, performed.

President Burnett provided an update on the college, with themes covering student success, economic and workforce development, enrollments, and facilities.  The top 10 projects for the year were highlighted, which included: Governance and Organization Manual; Disaster Preparedness Training; Employee Training and Development Survey; Reimagine Student Services; Title IX Coordinator; Instruction, Student Services, and Administrative Services Operating Guidelines; Economic and Workforce Development; Accreditation; Institutional Effectiveness; and Enrollments.

An update on the college’s economic and workforce development plan was presented by Dr. John Jaramillo, dean of business science and economic and workforce development, and Israel Dominguez, director of economic and workforce development.  The plan includes implementation of a one-stop career placement center, small business hub, partnerships with business and industry, contract education, and business training and consulting.

Guests included:

Assembly Member Bill Brough

South Orange County Community College District Board of Trustees
Tim Jemal, Vice President
Marcial Milchiker
Bobbi Jay

City of Mission Viejo
Mayor Cathy Schlicht
Mayor Pro Tem Greg Raths
Wendy Bucknum, Council Member
Ed Sachs, Council Member

City of San Clemente
Lori Donchak, Council Member

Rancho Santa Margarita
Mayor Brad McGirr
Michael Vaughn, Council Member

City of Aliso Viejo
Mayor Pro Tem Mike Munzing

Capistrano Unified School District
Gary Pritchard, Member, Board of Education
Dr. Kirsten Vital, Superintendent

Saddleback Valley Unified School District
Ginny Aitkens, Member, Board of Education
Dennis Walsh, Member, Board of Education
Dolores Winchell, Member, Board of Education

Long Beach City College Board of Trustees
President Jeff Kellogg

Representatives from the Offices of Congresswoman Mimi Walters, Orange County Supervisor Lisa Bartlett, and Irvine City Council Member Lynn Schott.

9/11 Commencement Ceremony Held on Campus

9/11/15 commemoration ceremony

9/11 commemoration ceremony held at the Veterans Memorial

Today we gathered at the Veterans Memorial for a commemoration ceremony hosted by the Saddleback College Police Department to remember and honor those we lost in the terrorist attacks against the United States on September 11, 2001.

The event was led and organized by Saddleback College Police Lieutenant Michael Betzler. Following his opening statements, Sheriff Explorer Post 449 presented the colors and Erin Long, senior administrative assistant in student development, beautifully performed the national anthem. Guest speakers at the ceremony included Orange County Fire Battalion Chief Cliff Bramlette and United States Marine Corps Sergeant Juan Valdez. Each provided moving testimonies about the events of 9/11. In a final nod to the victims and the heroes, Dr. Kathy Werle, Vice President for Instruction, placed a wreath at the Veterans Memorial on behalf of the college.

Fourteen years after that tragic day, Saddleback College continues to remember and honor those we lost. I want to thank all of those in attendance that helped us in this tribute to them.

Tod A. Burnett, Ed. D.

What a Terrific Welcome Back Week!


Last week I had the opportunity to reunite with faculty, associate faculty, classified staff and management to share the highlights of my annual State of the College report and share goals and updates for the upcoming semester.

Over the course of the week, I presented my State of the College report titled, “A Culture of Excellent.” The title for this year’s report was inspired in-part by being named the number one community college in California by Saddleback’s collegewide commitment to excellence is also clearly stated in our vision, “To be the first choice of students who seek a dynamic, innovative, and student-centered post-secondary education.” To be the “first choice” we must excel, and our culture of excellence is led by one of the most talented, driven, results-oriented, and student success-focused teams of faculty, staff and management in the college’s history.

With that, I would like to share with you the Top 10 Projects for the 2015-2016 academic year:

1. Enrollments
2. Institutional Effectiveness
3. Accreditation
4. Economic and Workforce Development
5. Instruction, Student Services, and Administrative Services Operating Guidelines
6. Title IX Coordinator
7. Reinventing Student Services
8. Employee Training and Development Survey
9. Disaster Preparedness Training
10. Governance and Organization Manual

One of my favorite parts of Welcome Week is the welcoming of the new staff and full-time faculty. This year I had the pleasure of introducing the following individuals who join the Gaucho family:


New Faculty Introduced at the Faculty Breakfast

New Faculty
Jacqueline Bloink – Assistant Professor, Health Information Technology – Health Sciences and Human Services
Hollis Casey – Assistant Professor, Counselor (Generalist) – Counseling Services
Sheryl Christensen – Counselor (Generalist) – Counseling Services
Evan Enright – Assistant Professor, Mathematics – Mathematics, Science and Engineering
Karla Frizler – Assistant Professor, ESL Instructor – Liberal Arts
Michelle Gustafson – Assistant Professor, Counselor (Generalist) – Counseling Services
Kathleen Lunetto – Assistant Professor, Culinary Arts – Advanced Technology and Applied Science
Jonathan Luque – Assistant Professor, Mathematics – Mathematics, Science and Engineering
Nicole Major – Assistant Professor, Gerontology/Sociology – Social and Behavioral Sciences
Julie McGirr – Assistant Professor, ESL – Liberal Arts
Aimee Mucciaro – Assistant Professor, Counselor (Articulation & Generalist) – Counseling Services
Pete Murray – Assistant Professor, Humanities – Liberal Arts
Jacqueline Novak – Clinical Specialist, Nursing – Health Sciences and Human Services
Timothy Posada – Assistant Professor, Journalism – Liberal Arts
Lisa Tran – Assistant Professor, Counselor (Generalist) – Counseling Services

New Academic Administrators & Managers
Israel Dominguez – Director of Economic and Workforce Development – Economic & Workforce Development and Business Science
Partick Higa – Chief of Police – Office of Safety and Security
John Jaramillo – Dean, Economic & Workforce Development and Business Science
James Rondeau – Director of College Broadcast Services – Fine Arts and Media Technology

New Classified Staff Introduced at Classified Luncheon

New Classified Staff Introduced at Classified Luncheon

New Classified Employees
Sonja Arnak – International Student Program Specialist – International Students Center, Admissions, Records and Enrollment Services
Samuel Caroll – Utility Custodian – Facilities, Custodial Services, Office of Physical Plant
Rick Chan – Senior Matriculation Specialist – Matriculation, Counseling Services
Stacy Demore – Front of House Assistant – Administration, Fine Arts and Media Technology
Rosane Faanes – Publications Technician – Graphic Services, Office of College Publications
Darline Guillen – Disabled Student Program Specialist , Disabled Students Programs and Services – Transfer, Career and Special Programs
Leslie Haugen – Senior. Administrative Assistant, Administration – Advanced Technology and Applied Science
Albert Lao – Network Systems Technician I, Innovation Technology Center – Office of College Technology
Heather Larson – Scheduling & Enrollment Planning Analyst, Administration – Office of Instruction
Diana Lloyd – Office Assistant, Career Center – Transfer, Career and Special Programs
Jeffrey Long – Senior Matriculation Specialist, Matriculation – Counseling Services
Emily Maynard – Student Development Office Assistant, Administration – Office of Student Development
Janet Miller – Senior Administrative Assistant, Community Education – Community Education, Emeritus Institute, and K-12 Partnerships
Alex Prado – Utility Custodian, Custodial Services – Office of Physical Plant
Felissa Silva – Child Development Specialist, Children’s Center – Office of Student Services
Christine Swanson – Senior Administrative Assistant, Administration – Athletics
Karen Ullrich – Child Development Specialist, Children’s Center – Office of Student Services
Patrick Webster – Counseling Office Assistant, Career Center – Transfer, Career and Special Programs

To further the culture of excellent, we will continue Spirit Tuesday, where staff and faculty are encouraged to wear cardinal and gold or Saddleback gear every Tuesday. May the Gaucho Pride shine in everything you do on campus this semester. Wishing you a terrific 2015-2016 academic year!

Dr. Tod A. Burnett, President