After another successful Flex Week, the spring semester is in full swing! Thank you to everyone who made presentations during the week and to those who attended the sessions. The sessions I was able to attend were informative and provided a great chance for two-way conversation and I heard the same about many of the other sessions. It was great to see so many faculty attending multiple sessions; I greatly admire your commitment to personal and professional development.
I want to give a special thank-you to Jane Horlings, flexible calendar program coordinator, who spent countless hours organizing the session topics, times, and locations. It is because of Jane that any of this is possible. Thank you to all the faculty, staff, managers, and administrators who made Flex Week a success.
One of my favorite things about Spring Flex Week is that we recognize the winners of the President’s Award for Leadership and Innovation. This year we had such a stellar group of nominees that I chose multiple winners in several of the nomination categories.
At the Presidents’ Faculty Breakfast, I announced two full-time faculty winners and a management winner:
Renee Bangerter co-chairs, with Associate Faculty member Dawn Lewis, the English Professional Learning Council, through which she established a partnership with high school teachers from the Capistrano, Saddleback Valley, and Laguna Beach Unified School Districts. This council not only offers wonderful collaborative opportunities for Saddleback with our local high schools, but it directly and positively impacts our work on Student Success Task Force recommendation one, which directs community colleges to collaborate with K-12 to jointly develop new common standards for college and career readiness.
Working with the council, Renee has done amazing work partnering with Turnitin.com to write six common core rubrics using the English Professional Learning Council’s input, generating three rubrics for grades 9-10 and three rubrics for grades 11-12. These rubrics are now used by teachers throughout the nation. Also under Renee’s leadership, the council offered three webinars that garnered a national audience. Renee’s efforts have put Saddleback on the map in common core standards and has complemented our already expansive efforts in partnering with our local high schools.
Kim Branch-Stewart has accomplished a great deal in the three years she has been in her tenure-track faculty position. Her accomplishments are especially remarkable given that all human services faculty, except for Kim, are part-time. Kim’s accomplishments include her leading role in having human services faculty identify core courses needed by all human services students, facilitating the process of curriculum change to help clarify critical content common in the field and encourage students to complete the core course before taking other human services courses linked to a specific certificate. This has increased student readiness, increased the number of students completing certificates, and has encouraged students to complete multiple human services certificates.
Kim also led the implementation of the ASL-Mental health Innovation Grant from the OC Healthcare Agency, through which she established a partnership with the Recovery Education Institute , which offers Saddleback courses for credit. She guided human services faculty to re-examine the Criminal Justice Program and celebrate its uniqueness by changing the name to Community-Based Corrections and now stands out as only a handful of such programs in the state. And on top of it all, Kim is a superb and inclusive teacher who engages students in active learning.
Christian Alvarado has been at Saddleback for just over a year and, in that time, has overseen a more efficient Financial Aid Office. In Christian’s short tenure, he has transformed the slow, paper-heavy financial aid process into an efficient, automated system. The process for awarding financial aid used to take several months but, under Christian’s leadership, awards are approved in 30 days or less. These efficiencies help to get students the money they need in less time, helping them to cover their expenses and stay on track.
There were also two associate faculty members, which were named at the Presidents’ Associate Faculty Dinner:
Abigail Astley proposed and piloted a new Applied Psychology 1 course for international students, helping them through the matriculation process and creating their academic plans. The class provides information to international students about various aspects of the U.S. educational system and the campus resources that are available to them. The students who took the class demonstrated a higher level of knowledge and self-confidence, and the knowledge students acquire through the class helps them complete their academic programs within their duration of status and in compliance with immigration and college policies. The class also enriches the experience for students, helping them adjust their cultural lens and seek out activities to complement their scholarly pursuits.
Brock Schermerhorn is commended for helping to elevate Saddleback’s real estate program as one of the top two programs in the state. His successful outreach efforts have focused in part on newly-discharged veterans at Camp Pendleton, who have pursued careers in real estate after earning their certificates and degrees at Saddleback. He has also developed a program to partner with real estate agents who are veterans to mentor Saddleback veteran graduates in the field. Additionally, his work with local high schools has allowed students to begin taking real estate classes before they graduate from high school. Brock has also worked to develop a successful distance education program in real estate and has accommodated students by offering a staggered start date schedule.
Finally, at the Classified Staff Luncheon, I named two full-time classified winners and one part-time classified winner:
Deborah Armstrong‘s work in the Library’s transition to the new LRC was nothing short of extraordinary. Through collaborative efforts, and while library faculty were mostly off-site, Deborah overcame several challenges to open the library to students on the first day of fall semester classes. In a very limited time she found solutions to shelve our textbook collection, ensured that all technology was up and running, and worked effectively to streamline procedures when two service areas were combined into one.
Because of Deborah, the library was open to provide services to students on the first day of the semester. And now that this urgent period is over and done with, Deborah continues to impress her colleagues through her work on the library materials security technology, integrating the stored collection, and finishing the discard process.
Donna Pribyl is commended for moving the college brand forward by creating high quality graphic design work that is seen throughout our college campus and community in the form of banners, printed marketing materials, web design work, special event pieces, and other marketing collateral that frankly, make us look good.
She oversaw the updated design of the college’s stationery, and worked extensively with vendors to ensure that prices were kept to a minimum. She also took a leading role in the college’s branding guide, overseeing everything from new logo guidelines to the design of new power point templates, including the one you’re looking at now. Donna also took the lead in designing various pieces for the White House Economic Council visit, producing quality work in a very short period of time for this high-profile event. On top of it all, Donna is an incredibly hard worker and possesses a courteous demeanor focused on customer-service, always working to help others look good.
Jon Ginnaty is a ceramic artist who provides excellent support to our art faculty and facilities, and plays an active role in our surrounding arts community. In addition to being an artist and a lab tech, Jon teaches a ceramics class here and at Chapman University.
Over the past year, Jon worked extensively with Keenan and Associates to develop safety standards for our art programs, and has been instrumental in coordinating several activities that bring the community to our campus, including the Printmaking Steam-Roller party, Happening/Unhappening, the Veterans Chili Bowl fundraiser, and the student holiday art sale. Jon always to take on additional duties and is appreciated for being a team player. He is always quick to help and greets everyone with a smile.
Congratulations to all of the winners and nominees, the work you do is a huge part of why we are successful at helping students reach their goals!
Maryam Azary, Counseling
Barbara Cox, Business
April Cunningham, Librarian
Tom DeDonno, Office Information Systems
Barbara Huggins, Nursing
Rebecca Knapp, Business
Tony Teng, Accounting
Jenny Clark, Biology
Narges Rabii, Social Science
Gordon Richiusa, English
Juan De La Cruz