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Chancellor's Update

Raul RodriguezDear Colleagues,

As 2017 comes to a close and the holiday season begins, it's a good time to take a moment to pause, reflect and give thanks for the gifts we receive, for the opportunities we are afforded, and for the people who touch our lives.

Here at Rancho, we have much for which to be thankful. Above all, I am grateful for the dedication of our administrators, faculty, and classified staff to the academic success of our students and the betterment of our community. You each go above and beyond to make a difference every day for which I am very grateful.

Board of Trustees

I am also thankful for the support of the RSCCD Board of Trustees. In particular, I would like to extend my appreciation to outgoing Board President John Hanna for his ongoing dedication to the District, its colleges and its students. He has made a significant difference at RSCCD and in our students' lives for over 18 years.

At last night's Board of Trustees meeting, officers were elected for 2018. Trustee Nelida Mendoza will serve as Board President, Trustee Phil Yarbrough will serve as Board Vice President, and Trustee Claudia Alvarez as the Board Clerk. I look forward to a very productive 2018 with their collective leadership.

Aspen Prize

Among the achievements we can celebrate is Santa Ana College and Santiago Canyon College both being named among the 150 community colleges eligible to compete for the $1 million 2019 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. The Aspen Institute utilized nationally available data on institutional performance, improvement, and equity in student retention and completion to determine those who are eligible to compete for the prize, which is the nation's benchmark of measuring performance in America's community colleges.

SCC decided to apply for the competitive Aspen Prize and completed an application that was in-depth and required the participation of quite a few members of the SCC community. Ten finalist colleges will be named in May 2018 based on student outcomes, institutional data on completion, labor market outcomes, and learning assessment, as well as descriptions of how institutions have achieved and improved student outcomes. We look forward to the Institute's decision on their application.

Community Partnerships

I am also very grateful for the numerous community partnerships that help RSCCD provide quality educational programs and services to the community. The depth of our partnership with the Santa Ana Unified School District (SAUSD) was evidenced at the joint board meeting of the RSCCD Board of Trustees and the SAUSD Board. The goals were twofold: to provide a Santa Ana Partnership update and to reconfirm our two districts' joint commitment. Our relationship dates to 1915 when Santa Ana Junior College opened its doors as a branch of Santa Ana High School.

Dr. Rose and I teamed on presenting an overview of the Santa Ana Partnership, which includes SAUSD, SAC, Cal State Fullerton, and UCI. The Partnership was born out of concern for the troubling trend that young Latinos were increasingly less academically prepared for college.

Dr. Rose shared some very positive outcomes of the Santa Ana Promise program, which provides for all SAUSD graduates to enroll for a free first year at SAC. Both boards questioned how Assembly Bill 19, which opens the door for free tuition for all California community college full-time first-year students, will impact the Santa Ana Promise program especially because there is currently no funding for the bill. We will follow the development of this bill and keep you posted.

We heard from SAUSD Superintendent Dr. Stefanie P. Phillips about the outstanding success of Middle College High School on the SAC campus and the benefits of dual enrollment pathways. Discussion took place on how to better engage the parents of the SAUSD students in ESL and GED programs. I believe joint efforts such as the Remington Center will help with this adult engagement.

All in all, it was a very stimulating exchange about how the partnership between SAUSD and RSCCD could grow in the coming years. During this joint meeting, we had two special guests. First, Supervisor Andrew Do, who attended Santa Ana College, promised to assist both boards and spoke of his concern about ensuring that all children have equal educational access. Second, Congressman Lou Correa shared several intriguing linkages for our programs with federal agencies. Some areas of interest include cybersecurity, hiring veterans in construction trades, and career technical training.

The evening provided many possibilities for strengthening our districts' relationship. I look forward to future joint meetings.

Industry Roundtables

I am also thankful for the participation of business and industry in the two roundtables hosted by RSCCD in partnership with the Orange County Business Council (OCBC) during November.

On November 9, the District hosted a Healthcare Industry Roundtable. In addition to the involvement of administrators, faculty, and staff from both colleges and the District, we drew important community participation. Talent acquisition professionals attended from St. Joseph Health, St. Joseph Hospital, Saddleback Memorial Medical Center, MemorialCare Health System, and Kaiser Permanente. Two representatives from the OCBC were also on hand.

On November 28, the next in the series of industry roundtables focused on advanced manufacturing. This roundtable resulted in wide involvement from both colleges and the District as well as interested industry representatives from Santa Ana-based BEHR Process Corporation, Irvine-based International Vitamin Corporation, and Irvine-based MEGGITT. Partners from the OCBC and U.S. Commercial Service also attended.

Both roundtables covered the following topics: industry hiring needs, workforce training and development needs, internship opportunities, the programs and training that colleges should offer, and potential areas of collaboration. I look forward to continued conversations with these key industry sectors as well as future roundtables in the works for global trade and logistics, retail/hospitality/tourism, and small business.

Measure Q Bond Sale

In breaking news this morning, I'm pleased to report that the district sold $71 million of Measure Q bonds to enable our moving forward on the various projects at Santa Ana College. The bond sale went very well. The bonds sold quickly and at a low interest rate, which is good news for the taxpayers who will be paying less on the financing cost. I appreciate the team headed by Vice Chancellor Peter Hardash and Assistant Vice Chancellor Adam O'Connor who orchestrated such a good result for the district and am especially grateful to the voters who demonstrated their belief in the district by passing Measure Q.

Holiday Celebrations

As we enter the holiday season, I encourage you to enjoy the holiday celebrations and potlucks scheduled at various District and college locations over the coming weeks. It is a great time to connect with our colleagues who make such a difference in our daily work here at Rancho.

Once again, thank you for all you do!

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.