Congtatulations to Brooke Sauter, Classified Employee of the Year!

Photo Courtesy of Mike Sauter

At Classified Staff Development Day I was honored to announce Brooke Sauter as Saddleback College’s Classified Employee of the Year!

If you’ve been fortunate to work with Brooke, you know how deserving she is of this award, and if you haven’t worked with Brooke, you’ve undoubtedly heard about her excellent work ethic and infectious enthusiasm.  Brooke is a senior administrative assistant in the college’s division of counseling services and special programs where she is appreciated and admired for her professionalism, efficiency, skills, and willingness to help in all areas of the college.  Brooke’s service is instrumental in our Veterans Education and Transition Services (VETS) program, where her ability to connect with men and women who have returned from military service helps them ease their stress and anxiety.  Brooke also offers her savvy skills to several campus-wide activities including commencement, senior day, and programs in our outreach and student development departments.  She is known as a person who gets things done and is sought for her vast knowledge.

To get an idea of just how respected Brooke is, take a look at some of the quotes included in her nomination packet:

“Veterans that I have had a chance to talk with have noted that Brooke is the ‘back bone’ of the VETS Center.  She is always attentive, alert, and willing to help any individual in any situation with any problem.”

“Brooke is resourceful, efficient, and willing and able to gather exact information in a timely manner, a trouble shooter, extremely courteous, and easily builds rapport with co-workers and students.”

“With my transition from military to civilian life Brooke has personally assisted me with that transition which in return has made me a better college student.”

“It is not uncommon to see Brooke actually run to answer a phone, allow a veteran to study in her office, or take the time to coach a student through a FAFSA application.”

“She carries herself in a way that makes you feel comfortable approaching her because she is open and willing to provide assistance regardless of how small or large the task is.”

“It is a pleasure to work with Brooke.  Her professionalism, sense of humor, willingness to work with others, honesty, and insistence on doing what’s best for all students makes her a natural leader.”

As you can see, Brooke is praised throughout our college for her tremendous service, and that praise is more than well-deserved.  Congratulations to Brooke for her outstanding contributions to Saddleback College, students, faculty, and staff.  We appreciate all that you do for us!

Classified Employee Outstanding Service Award Recipient and Nominees

Presenting Valerie Senior with her Classified Employee Outstanding Service Award

I am pleased to congratulate Valerie Senior who was selected as this year’s recipient of the Saddleback College Classified Employee Outstanding Service Award.  For those who many not know Valerie (though this is doubtful), she is an Application Specialist II in our acclaimed Center for Instructional Design and Distance Education (CIDDE).  I am thrilled that Valerie has received this much deserved honor, and commend her for her excellent work for our students, employees, and college.  I also commend her many nominees for recognizing the excellent job she has done for us.  Here is just some of the praise for Valerie her colleagues offered on their nomination forms:

“I truly respect what an incredible asset she is to CIDDE.  She has been a terrific mentor to me.  Her suggestions, recommendations and insights all come from a position of respect and kindness.”

“Valerie conceived and implemented the 2011 iPad project, which tracked faculty members taking the educator online courses and their success in the program.”

“Valerie has been an employee of Saddleback College for over 16 years, but her drive, enthusiasm, energy and fresh ideas are indicative of a new hire.”

“Valerie is excellent at her job.  She’s reliable, thorough, and patient when working with faculty one-on-one.  She conducts training sessions with professionalism, and shows not only her extensive knowledge, but also her dedication to the success of the faculty in teaching.”

“She’s smart, efficient, witty, friendly, and quick.  As a professional, she’s reliable, organized, and knowledgeable.  In sum, Valerie is a top-notch employee, and I am grateful to have her as a colleague.”

“I have witnesses Valerie make appointments for as early as 7:00 a.m. to accommodate faculty schedules.  She is ready to work from the moment she steps through the door with back-to-back appointments throughout the day.”

“Valerie collaborated with faculty to create the curriculum and the program for the online educator certificate program, which has been instrumental in increasing the quality of online education and promoting student-centered learning environments.”

“Valerie has not only taught technology to us at Saddleback, but has shown us her special traits that through generosity, a positive attitude, and by being friendly, helpful, and accommodating, there are ways to combat work-related stress and be more productive at work.”

As you can see, Valerie has many fans, and deservedly so.  Congratulations again to Valerie for this well-deserved recognition of her many accomplishments!

I also would like to congratulate several other outstanding individuals who were nominated by their colleagues for the Classified Employee Outstanding Service Award:

Barbara Benavides, Senior Transfer Center Specialist

Matt Brodet, Video Production Specialist

Linda Hall, Senior Administrative Assistant, Division of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Mira Manchik, Senior Administrative Assistant, Division of Business Science and Economic and Workforce Development

Don Mineo, Career Guidance Officer

Brooke Sauter, Senior Administrative Assistant, VETS Center

My Troung, Admissions and Records Specialist II

Marlene Weintraub, Senior Administrative Assistant, Division of Liberal Arts

All of our nominees are much deserving and thanks to all who took the time to give their colleagues recognition for their hard work and dedication to Saddleback College.

Classified Senate Donates Thanksgiving Baskets to 33 Student Veterans

The Saddleback College community does it again! Following the Classified Senate’s second annual Thanksgiving basket drive, 33 student veterans were able to bring home a gift card to purchase their Thanksgiving turkey and baskets loaded with all the trimmings. This is a great way for our campus to give back to these men and women who have done so much for our country. I am very proud of the fact that we were able to collect enough food for 33 families, four more than last year!

Thank you to everyone who was able to donate and the Classified Senate for making this happen, especially Tracy McConnell who organized the food collection and basket distribution.

Dr. Georgina Guy, EOPS/CARE Coordinator, Receives California Outstanding Service Award

Dr. Georgina Guy

EOPS (Extended Opportunity Program and Services)/CARE Coordinator and CalWORKs Director Dr. Georgina Guy was given the Outstanding Service Award by the California Community Colleges EOPS Association. Dr. Guy’s staff submitted the nomination form in hopes of recognizing her for going above and beyond the call of duty. One California EOPS employee is chosen for the Outstanding Service Award for making an “outstanding contribution and provided outstanding services to EOP&S.”

Orlantha Nin, EOPS Counselor, stated “Dr. Guy deserves this award for her tireless efforts to advocate for college students in the EOPS population.  She does this at the local level by coordinating our program at Saddleback College and she is also very involved in advocating at the regional and state level.  We are all very proud to know that her efforts are being recognized.”

Recently, Dr. Guy has taken the initiative to make two major changes on our campus. First, she converted her programs into a fully-paperless systems. This serves both as an efficiency and as an environmentally-friendly means of providing a service. The paperless system allowed the EOPS students to be the first group on campus to move fully to online student educational plan.

Dr. Guy also spearheads the new EOPS Student Success Committee. This summer, all students who found themselves facing challenges were required to meet with Dr. Guy and a counselor to review their situation. This hands-on approach and intervention made a significant impact on students and aided in making informed programmatic changes in the following term.

Congratulations on your well-deserved award, Dr. Guy! The entire Saddleback community is proud to have you on our team!

Flex Week Wrap-Up

One of my favorite weeks of the year has once again come and gone. This year’s In-Service Week was another great success. I always enjoy welcoming our faculty and staff back to campus and meeting for the first time the newest members of our Saddleback College family. Special thanks to Professor Jane Horlings, our superb Flex Week Coordinator, who puts in countless hours organizing the week. I also want to thank everyone who made presentations this year!

President-Hosted Events

I was pleased to see you all at the President’s Faculty Breakfast and President’s Classified Staff Luncheon on Wednesday, August 17th; and the President’s Associate Faculty Dinner on Thursday, August 18th.  Those who attended these events were the first to see my Annual State of the College report. If you missed this information, it is available online here.

At the faculty breakfast, I was pleased to announce 17 new tenure track faculty that were hired to begin this semester. While many colleges are looking at layoffs as a way to cut costs, Saddleback is so proud to be able to hire new, quality faculty!

Welcome to all the new tenure-track faculty!

Our new tenure-track faculty are: Deanna Avetisian, Mathematics; Teresa Bear, Chemistry; Christina Bowles, Nursing; Hencelyn Chu, Medical Laboratory Tech/Phlebotomy; Carolyn Danko, Nursing; Ryan Even, Photography; Kirill Gliadkovsky, Music; Lawrence Grihalva, Emergency Medical Technician; Safiah Mamoon, Health Information Technology; Maria Mayenzet, Screen Acting and Video Production; Patricia McGinley, Nursing; Jedrek Mularski, World History; Candy Nelson, Nursing; Lucas Ochoa, Speech Communication; Stephen Robertson, Speech Communication; Penelope Skaff, Matriculation Coordinator/Counselor; and Kolin Williams, Veterans/Generalist Counselor.

At the Classified Luncheon, I was pleased to announce even more new hires! Seventeen classified staff were welcomed to Saddleback College and we are delighted to have so many people who will assist in helping our students achieve their goals.

Welcome new classified staff!

The newest classified staff are: James Baldwin, Administrative Assistant, Transportation Services; Ion Brezoi, Custodian, Facilities: Custodial; Rafael Granados Gomez, Groundskeeper, Facilities: Grounds; Elliot Klinge, Front of House Office Manager/Box Office Assistant, Fine Arts; Gina Lakow-Oram, Health Office Assistant, Student Health Center; Inna Link, Admissions and Records Specialist I, Admissions, Records, and Enrollment Services; Michelle Macdougall-Jackson, Theatre Production Manager, Fine Arts; Thomas MacKenzie, Application Specialist II, Distance Education; Andrea McGinley, Financial Aid Specialist, Office of Financial Assistance; Anthony Micallef, Senior Accounting Specialist, Saddleback College Foundation; Ashley Mooney, Program Assistant, Health Sciences; David Mora, Custodian, Facilities: Custodial; Courtney Motak, Program Senior Lab Technician, Health Sciences and Human Services; John Oropallo, Building Maintenance Worker, Facilities: Maintenance; Joyce Speakman, Administrative Assistant, Mathematics, Science, and Engineering; and Robyn Wilson, Senior Health Office Assistant, Student Health Center.

Patti Flanigan, Dean of Online Education and Learning Resources, Addresses the Audience

Finally, at the Associate Faculty Dinner, we were pleased to see more than 100 smiling faces in attendance! It was a great event and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting some new people and getting reacquainted with old colleagues.  It was also a pleasure to host this dinner with Dean Patricia Flanigan and Professor Teresa Bear, who organized a wonderful event to provide information on the resources available to our associate faculty.

The Annual State of the College Report

This year, I once again presented my Annual State of the College Address, which includes my top ten projects for the 2011-12 academic year. This year’s report is entitled “Being the First Choice” and is based on the college’s vision statement that was developed in 2009:

“Saddleback College will be the first choice of students who seek a dynamic, innovative, and student-centered postsecondary education”

In the report, I discuss what it means to be the first choice, and how our number one focus must be student success.  Over the past three years we have made great strides in our infrastructure and have improved immensely through the accreditation process.  Now it is time for our college to come together and find ways to help our students better prepare themselves for college, and the steps they need to take to success in their academic endeavors to achieve their educational and career goals.  We have all the tools in place to be the first option of graduating high school students and now it is time to put those tools into action.

Student Success

Fostering greater student success is at the top of my priority list, and it is also on the top of Chancellor Gary Poertner’s priority list. In his Opening Session, he stressed the importance of working collaboratively as a district to ensure our students get the highest-quality education possible. Everyone is on board with the student success efforts, including State Chancellor Jack Scott, who recently announced that the state board of governors launched a student success task force to develop a strategic blueprint to help community college students to succeed.

To meet the task force’s goals by 2020, California’s community colleges will need to at least double the number of completions. This means that Saddleback will need to double its number of degrees, certificates, and transfers over the next decade—and together we can achieve this critical goal. Beginning this fall, our college will embark on a campus-wide effort to discuss what’s at stake and begin the conversation of how our entire campus can take part in improving our completion rates.

My Top 10 Projects

Again in this year’s report, I presented my Top 10 Projects for the coming academic year.  These are the projects that I am personally focusing on during the 2011-12 school year.  This year, they are:

1. Student Success Meetings – The college will hold campus-wide meetings to discuss student success. We must bring together our entire college community to discuss what’s at stake and begin the con-versation of how the whole campus can take part in our student success efforts.
2. High School Partners – The college will develop and implement a comprehensive pilot program with local high schools to enhance student preparedness and success while marketing the college to prospective students.
3. Accreditation – The college’s accreditation will be reaffirmed after addressing the ACCJC’s recommenda-tions for the district and submitting a successful follow-up report in preparation for a second team visit in the fall.
4. Major Facility Projects – The college will complete renovation of the James B. Utt Library and Learning Resources Center and finalize architectural designs for constructing the new sciences building and for renovating the technology and applied sciences building.
5. New Faculty Center – The college will renovate the Center for Instructional Design and Distance Education (CIDDE) to provide a more optimal learning environment for faculty to strengthen teaching techniques and use instructional technology for on-campus and online classes.
6. Capital Campaign – The Saddleback College Foundation will initiate a major capital campaign to raise external resources for renovation of the athletic stadium and construction of a new wellness center.
7. Alumni Outreach – The college and the Saddleback College Foundation will reach out to all of our more than 500,000 alumni for the first time in history.
8. Economic and Workforce Development – The college will survey the south Orange County community to assess its economic and workforce training and development needs.
9. Student Success Technology – Saddleback will implement new technologies to facilitate greater student success while realizing significant efficiencies.
10. Advanced Technology and Education Park (ATEP) – Saddleback will establish a vision for the college at the district’s ATEP development project in Tustin.

Click here to view the full text of my Annual State of the College Report.

This year, I hope you will all join me in making student success a priority! Have a wonderful fall semester and I’ll see you on campus soon!