Saddleback College Recognizes 2016 Professors of the Year

Saddleback College named Professor Steve Teh, a full-time biology instructor, Jeffrey Oderlin, an associate professor of liberal arts, and Lisa Messenger, an associate professor of health and wellness in the Emeritus Institute, as the 2016 Professors of the Year. The instructors were nominated by their students and will be recognized at the college’s commencement ceremony on Tuesday, May 24th.

Dr. Tod A. Burnett, president of Saddleback College, stated, “Professors Teh, Oderlin, and Messenger are truly dedicated educators who have very positively influenced many lives. Congratulations to these remarkable instructors for the work they do every day for our students.”

The Professor of the Year is Steve Teh, who has been teaching at Saddleback College since 1999. Steve is beloved by his students for his evident passion for teaching biology, and fostering a family environment in his classroom that cements lasting friendships between students. His students love that he always incorporates fun into learning, inspiring many to major in Biology. It is his compassion, love for the subject, and encouragement that make his students say he epitomized what a professor should be.

The Associate Professor of the Year is Jeffrey Oderlin, who has been teaching English at Saddleback College since 2011. Jeffrey is well-known for genuinely caring about his students and their success, encouraging them to think critically and view all aspects when analyzing an issue. His students praise him for his engaging teaching style and compassion for his subject.

The Emeritus Institute’s Professor of the Year is health and wellness professor Lisa Messenger. Her students describe her as a rare gem who teaches with contagious enthusiasm. Students also shared that her teaching style contributed to their mental and physical health, vitality, and engagement to the world around them. Among her students, Lisa is considered one of the best teachers they’ve had throughout their academic lives.

Congratulations to the 2013 Professors of the Year

Saddleback College named Dr. Scott Fier, a chemistry instructor, Farida Gabdrakhmanova, an interior design and computer-aided design (CAD) instructor, and Melinda Smith, a fashion instructor in the college’s Emeritus Institute as the 2013 Professors of the Year.  The professors were nominated by their students and will be honored at the April 29th meeting of the South Orange County Community College District Board of Trustees.

The students’ nominations of Professors Fier, Gabdrakhmanova, and Smith speak to the dedication they have to their students and the passion they have for teaching. Saddleback College has so many exceptional instructors that it is always difficult to select our professors of the year, but it is clear that these superb professors have very positively influenced many lives.

Saddleback’s Professor of the Year is Dr. Scott Fier, who has taught at the college since 1993 and was praised by one student as being “the greatest educator I have ever had in all my years in education.” His students also said that he is more than just a professor; he is a mentor who is there for them inside and outside the classroom.

Dr. Fier stated, “I am truly honored by this award. I feel very fortunate to teach at a school with a wonderful faculty that always puts students first, and with a great staff and administration that is always supportive. Students come to Saddleback College because they have goals and dreams, and for those in my classes I try to help them reach their potential. My favorite thing to hear from former students is how well they were prepared for university classes by Saddleback College.”

The Associate Professor of the Year is Farida Gabdrakhmanova, who began teaching interior design and CAD classes at Saddleback in 2011. Gabdrakhmanova’s nominating students used the words “compassion” and “caring” to describe her and said that they appreciate that she is tough on them when they need it. Students stated that her willingness to help promoted the success of her students.

Gabdrakhmanova stated, “I am so deeply honored to have been chosen as Professor of the Year. This award does not belong just to me. I share it with my colleagues, who were also my teachers at Saddleback. They challenged me to start teaching two years ago and continue to support and encourage me today. I share the award with my students, who inspire and motivate me every single day with their commitment and positive attitude toward learning. I teach to help my students grow, learn, and gain confidence in everything that they do. I am not an ‘easy’ teacher, but I have high expectations of my students because I believe in them and I want them to leave college prepared and ready to succeed in the real world.”

Emeritus Professor of the Year Melinda Smith has been teaching fashion classes for Saddleback College’s Emeritus Institute since 1999. Emeritus Institute classes are developed to provide older adults personal, social, cultural, economic, and environmental benefits to positively impact their lives. Smith’s classes are some of the fastest-filling in the Emeritus Institute and it’s easy to see why when her students say, “I schedule my activities around this class so that I don’t miss any days because [Smith] makes each day exciting” and “She is so respected by the students you can hear a pin drop while she is lecturing.”

Smith stated, “It is truly a pleasure to teach what I love to such creative and enthusiastic students in the Emeritus Institute. I love the interaction and exchange of ideas that take place in the classroom. My students are delightful and I am so appreciative of this award.”

Saddleback College Recognizes Professors of the Year

Saddleback College named Dr. David DiLeo, a history instructor, Ken Lee, a landscape design instructor, and Rob Henry, a consumer health issues instructor in the college’s Emeritus Institute, as the 2012 Professors of the Year.  All three professors were nominated by their students and were honored at the April 30th meeting of the South Orange County Community College District Board of Trustees.

Saddleback College has so many exceptional professors that it is always difficult to narrow it down, but the student feedback spoke volumes for Professors DiLeo, Lee, and Henry. Students sang their praises and it’s clear that these superb professors  have very positively influenced many lives.

Dr. DiLeo Addresses his History Class

Dr. DiLeo Addresses his History Class

Professor of the Year Dr. David DiLeo teaches history and has been a full-time professor at Saddleback College since 1993 and was praised by his students for being one of the most devoted and kind professors they have ever learned from. He was also commended for providing an inclusive learning experience that broadened their minds and pushed them to learn new ideas.

“I am honored to represent the entire Saddleback staff and faculty as the 2012 teacher of the year recipient. It is most certainly a privilege to do what we do. The pursuit of knowledge, and its cousin, understanding, is a necessary and worthy endeavor,” said Dr. DiLeo. “My hat is off to a tireless support staff, a dedicated board and administration, and my talented colleagues.”

Associate Professor of the Year Ken Lee

Associate Professor of the Year Ken Lee

Associate Professor of the Year Ken Lee began teaching landscape design classes at Saddleback in 2000. Lee’s nominating students called him their mentor and expressed appreciation for inviting them to his landscape design business for a glimpse into practical applications of their studies. Lee was described as professional, welcoming and down-to-earth.

“As a teacher and a mentor for a young generation, I believe that teaching should be a passion, not just a job. All teachers should be passionate about what they do. Without it, it would be impossible to influence the next generation to become better. Passion from a teacher, about any subject, is contagious, spreading out to everyone in the classroom,” stated Lee.

Emeritus Professor of the Year Rob Henry

Emeritus Professor of the Year Rob Henry began teaching for the Emeritus Institute in 2005 after teaching in the Division of Health Sciences and Human Services since 1987 and was  been nominated by his students an astounding 40 times! His emeritus students say he is an outstanding example of what an educator should be and his class is a “must” for everyone.

“I spent 18 years instructing traditional students on campus.  It wasn’t until I began teaching emeritus classes as well that I became fully fulfilled as an instructor,” said Henry. “The exchange of ideas and knowledge is truly rewarding.”