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Chancellor's Update

Raul RodriguezDear Colleagues,

Welcome to the fall semester and the 2017-2018 academic year! A sense of renewal comes from seeing thousands of students returning to our campuses and educational centers. It makes me proud to recognize the great work that you are collectively doing to advance student success.

As you read in my last communication, although this new academic year comes with its particular fiscal and enrollment challenges, I believe we are doing critical work that changes lives one student at a time. That work is essential to our communities and each of you plays a very important role in our accomplishing our collective goals. Thank you for what you all do each and every day.

New Academic and Student Support Programs

At Santa Ana College

I am very excited about the four new programs that are being launched this fall at SAC. First and foremost is the college's bachelor's degree program in occupational studies. As you know, SAC is among the 15 community colleges selected to offer bachelor's degrees as part of a pilot program. Beginning this fall, 30 students are enrolled as part of the program's first cohort.

Second, SAC is introducing two new Open Education Resources (OER) degree pathways - Liberal Arts and Business Administration. Through OER designated sections, students will have access to Open Educational Resources from day one of classes, providing a no- or low-cost alternative to textbooks. For students who struggle to afford textbooks, this approach provides a very appealing alternative. In total, there are 127 OER class sections planned. Congratulations to the entire Distance Education Office and especially Distance Education Coordinator, Professor Cherylee Kushida, for her leadership in creating these pathways for our students.

Third, Santa Ana College is kicking off the fall with a new peer-to-peer student recruitment program. The new Student Outreach Ambassador program will involve 15 students in paid hourly positions who will be trained to visit local high schools and community events to draw more students to the college. The program is funded by the California Endowment Foundation and by Student Equity funds.

Last, but certainly not least, under an approved three-year pilot program, all Santa Ana College credit students will be provided a free OCTA bus pass. In its first year, the program is being fully subsidized by the Low Carbon Transit Operations Program. Not only will these passes provide easier access to classes for our students, but they will also reduce our district's carbon footprint. Full time non-credit students at both Santa Ana College and Santiago Canyon College will participate in a similar program funded through the Adult Education Block Grant. .

At Santiago Canyon College

I am also excited about four new or renewed programs at Santiago Canyon College. First, on the academic front, the college is poised to launch the Business Information Worker (BIW) and IT Technician (ITT): Stage I - Computer Retail Sales and Support certificate programs. The first is a 12-unit program that will be offered as part of the statewide Strong Workforce Initiative at Canyon High School in Orange. A cohort of 17 Canyon High School students will take two classes for eight weeks this fall and another two classes in the spring. SCC students will also benefit from the on-campus program that will prepare them to fill the 13.6 percent spike in BIW jobs expected in our region by 2020.

Second, SCC will offer the 18-unit ITT program at Villa Park High School. This certificate program will introduce young people to business, information technology and entrepreneurship. By 2021, there is expected job growth of 11.6 percent for IT technicians. It is hoped that both of these new programs will drive students to SCC to pursue an associate degree and/or prepare for university transfer.

Third, I am happy to share that SCC received official notification from the U.S. Dept. of Education awarding the college the CAMP (College Assistance Migrant Program) grant for another five years. This program helps students from migrant and seasonal farm worker backgrounds to successfully complete their first year of college. CAMP, a federal program that was established over thirty years ago by the U.S. Department of Education, has helped thousands of students achieve their educational goals. Among its services, SCC CAMP provides personal, career, and academic counseling through a dedicated CAMP counselor; book vouchers; financial aid; bus passes; peer mentoring; and math and English tutoring. SCC has one of three CAMP programs in community colleges in California and the only one in Southern California.

Fourth, SCC expanded its annual Discover SCC initiative from a one-day orientation session to a four-day comprehensive Summer Advantage Academy targeted to assist students in their transition from high school to college. The Summer Advantage Academy was offered two times this summer and provided at no cost to new SCC students. Hundreds of students received college success tips, gained reading and writing strategies for mastering college-level materials, acquired math success skills, learned about college programs and services, received an interactive campus tour, and upon completion were awarded priority registration for their second year of college.

New Leadership Appointments

Since the spring, there have been many personnel changes to keep up with at Rancho. I would like to acknowledge and thank Interim Vice Chancellor of Human Resources Judy Chitlik for the due diligence of the entire HR team that made all of the hires and appointments possible.

In June, Dr. John Hernandez was named the fifth president of Santiago Canyon College. We are so honored to have John in this critical role. At the District level, we are happy to congratulate Dr. Toni Bland, who was just formally approved by the Board of Trustees as chief of district safety and security. With 28 years of varied experience in public safety Toni brings a wealth of expertise to this role.

At Santa Ana College, we welcome Carol Comeau as interim vice president of academic affairs, Frances Gusman as interim vice president of student services, and Victoria Lugo as interim dean of counseling. We congratulate two new deans at SAC - Madeline Grant, dean of business; and Dr. R. Douglas Manning, dean of kinesiology, health and athletics.

At Santiago Canyon College, recent appointments include David Vakil as dean of arts, humanities, and social sciences; Sheena Tran as assistant dean of financial aid, scholarships and veterans; Elizabeth Arteaga as interim associate dean of business and career technical education; and Charles Wales as facilities manager.

New Faculty Hires

Please join me in welcoming 21 new faculty members to RSCCD - 16 at Santa Ana College and 5 at Santiago Canyon College.

At Santa Ana College, we welcome Annette Bui, assistant professor/counselor; Lisa Carriger, assistant professor of nursing; Amberly Chamberlain, assistant professor of theatre arts; Dori Dumon, assistant professor of business applications & technology; Michael Ha, assistant professor/counselor/Continuing Education; Daniel Horenstein, assistant professor of astronomy; Megan Lange, assistant professor of history; Jose Lopez Mercedes, assistant professor of ESL/Continuing Education; Dawn McKenna-Sallade, assistant professor of occupational therapy assistant program; Suanne Oh, assistant professor of mathematics; Rebecca Ortiz, assistant professor of psychology; Daniel Peraza, assistant professor/counselor; Nicole Quinn, assistant professor of anthropology; Adriana Ramirez, assistant professor of history; Sean Smith, assistant professor of mathematics; and Shantel Thornton, assistant professor of psychology.

At Santiago Canyon College, we welcome Maria Chaidez, assistant professor/counselor; Ryan Murphy, assistant professor of English; Steven Nguyen, assistant professor of chemistry; Sandra Sanchez, assistant professor of biology (anatomy and physiology); and Yanina Valdos, assistant professor of anthropology-physical.

I wish you all outstanding success in your career at Rancho!

New Way to Share Your Questions and Concerns

In recent weeks, the District launched our new online anonymous channel for employee feedback and questions, Suggestion Ox. We encourage you to use this link to provide any constructive input or questions. We are committed to providing feedback and responses in a timely manner. As always, I invite you to contact me with any feedback, questions, or concerns.

Wishing you all the best in the coming year,

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.