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Chancellor's Update

Raul RodriguezDear Colleagues,

This is the inaugural issue of Chancellor's Update, a monthly e-newsletter with news specifically from the Chancellor's Office or from a districtwide perspective. My goal is to keep these communications regular, informative, and to the point.

If there are topics that you would like to see us cover or hear more about, please let me or Judy Iannaccone, director of communications and publications, know.

Teacher of the Year

Congratulations to Dr. Gina Giroux, Santa Ana College nursing professor, who was tapped last Thursday as one of five Orange County Teachers of the Year for 2015. Gina was surprised in her classroom by the Orange County Department of Education "prize patrol" led by Superintendent Al Mijares, Ph.D., who said she was the best college teacher in the county.

Gina has taught at Santa Ana College for 30 years where she specializes in obstetrics and pediatrics. For the past several years, she has served as the assistant director of the Extended Campus Nursing Program, a unique partnership with St. Joseph Hospital. As a nursing professor, Gina successfully blends the world of technology and skills known as the "science of nursing" with the "art of nursing" which brings respect, trust, care, humility and compassion to each patient encounter.

As one of her nursing faculty colleagues said, "Gina is the consummate nursing instructor, always complete, competent and professional." She brings the best of her 36 years of nursing experience into the classroom where she is an inspiration to her students. We are very proud of Gina and so grateful that she is part of the Rancho family. She contributes not only to student success, but also to community well-being.

District Sustainability Plan

In 2012, the Sustainable RSCCD Committee was launched to explore how the college district could evolve into a more sustainable workplace. For two years, this shared governance committee has worked diligently to identify a range of sustainable practices and activities underway throughout the district. Among other initiatives, these include:

  • Incorporating green building practices in construction projects, including the Santiago Canyon College (SCC) Humanities Building which qualifies for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) gold certification
  • Proposition 39 projects such as replacing interior lights with LED lights in 18 building at Santa Ana College and installing a new energy management system in the SCC Science Center
  • Sporadic recycling efforts at various sites
  • Efforts aimed at reducing water usage including native landscaping at SCC and plans to construct water retention basins at SAC
  • Earth Day activities at both colleges in 2013 and 2014

The logical next step is to develop a District Sustainability Plan to further the district's vision, goals and objectives. After issuing an RFP for consulting services to assist with this project, in February 2014, the Board of Trustees approved a contract with Newcomb Anderson McCormick. The plan, under development with the Sustainable RSCCD Committee, will follow the California Community College's Sustainability Plan Guidelines and will advance Board Policy 3406 regarding sustainable practices.

We anticipate submitting a draft to the Board of Trustees for approval in July 2014 with rollout beginning in August 2014.

Emergency Medical Technician Investigation

Since you may hear about the following investigation through media coverage, here are the facts. A few weeks ago, the Santa Ana College Fire Technology Department was contacted by the County of Orange Health Care Agency regarding an investigation. They are looking into three Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) refresher courses taught by a Santa Ana College part-time instructor. Although this instructor has worked with the college for some time, in these instances, he was not authorized by the college to provide these specific EMT recertification courses.

The Fire Technology Department is cooperating with the County of Orange Health Care Agency's investigation to determine how many EMT certifications are at risk and recourse for the victims of these violations. Rancho Santiago Community College District has also referred this issue to the Orange County Sheriff's Department. The Sheriff's Department and Orange County Emergency Medical Services have initiated independent investigations into the matter, and the District is committed to working closely with these agencies until the issue is satisfactorily resolved.

While the depth of the violations is yet to be known, if the credentials of even one person who serves as a first-responder in an emergency are jeopardized by this infraction, it's one too many. The District is committed to ensuring that any EMT - including firefighters, lifeguards and ambulance professionals, who have been affected are given the resources to quickly resolve certification issues. If you hear of anyone affected by these unauthorized training sessions, please refer them to Gary Dominguez with Santa Ana College Fire Technology at (714) 564-6405.

International Student Recruitment

The number of international students is steadily increasing on college campuses. It hit a record high during 2012-2013 and experts expect the upward trend to continue. In fact, one college I am well acquainted with, Centennial College in Toronto, Canada, benefits from $85 million of income each year from international students alone.

Both Santa Ana College and Santiago Canyon College have worked diligently to grow their international student programs. However with restrictive staffing and budgets, that growth although positive has been limited.

Because of the potential positive impact of robust international student programs at each college, the district is allocating resources to help boost these programs. Enrique Perez, assistant vice chancellor of educational services, has made one trip and will be making another to further the colleges' objectives of increasing the number of international students.

Enrique brings more than 18 years experience in international business development with the district, the City of Santa Ana and the City of Los Angeles to this important initiative. He recently returned from India where he negotiated and signed contracts on behalf of the colleges with international student recruiters in Hyderabad, Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, and Ahmedabad. These recruiters, who have proven track records, come highly recommended through our Centennial College contacts. In addition, he is scouting a location for an RSCCD office in India. We have learned that having an office in countries from which we wish to attract students increases success.

Later this summer, Enrique will travel to China where his objectives will be similar. These development efforts are funded by the RSCCD Foundation.

Why would SAC and SCC want to attract more international students? One motivation is purely economic. Instead of paying enrollment fees, international students pay substantially higher tuition. The resulting income from the $214 per unit out-of-state tuition stays with the college. In addition to increased revenues, our local students benefit from taking classes with international students who share unique perspectives. Given the increasingly global focus of the job market, anything we can do to help our local students broaden their horizons will be beneficial to their futures.

As more develops on this subject, I will share it with you.

I wish you luck with your endeavors as we bring the academic year to a close. As always, my door is open to you and I welcome your feedback.

All the best,

Raul Rodriguez signature


The Chancellor's Update is an e-newsletter distributed by the Rancho Santiago Community College District Chancellor's Office to inform district employees. If you have a question, comment or would like to provide feedback, please send us an email.