Matthew Beyersdorf, English instructor, was named Distinguished Faculty
(Santa Ana, CA) - Santa Ana College (SAC) recently held its annual Faculty and Classified Awards for Excellence Program as a virtual ceremony. The program acknowledged the award winners, newly tenured faculty, retirees, and Service Pin recipients.
The awards recognize classified employees and faculty who reflect leadership, collaboration, dedication, positive attitude and professionalism. Candidates are nominated and chosen by their peers for multiple categories. The most prestigious honor is the Distinguished Faculty Award, which merits an honorarium of $1,250 presented by the SAC Foundation. The Faculty Awards are given across various categories, including Adjunct Faculty Awards, Career and Technical Education Award, Creative Expression Award, Innovation Award and Professional Achievement Award. The Classified Awards also include Classified Employee of the Year, Bill Brush Colleague Appreciation Award, Professional Achievement Award and Half-of-the-Time Award.
Dr. Linda Rose was honored for four years at SAC and for her retirement this year.
Matthew Beyersdorf was honored with the Distinguished Faculty Award, which is the highest honor bestowed by colleagues upon a SAC faculty member. He began his career at SAC as an adjunct faculty member in the English Department in 2004 and was hired full-time in 2006. Since then, he has served as Department Chair for English, the Academic Senator for the Humanities Division, and has been a member of many committees including Program Review, Guided Pathways, Veterans Advisory and Nursing Admissions Committee. While his campus involvement is truly impressive, it is his work in the classroom and behind the scenes that he is most proud of.
Beyersdorf says creating fun and engaging assignments that still require writing skills is a top priority. Using books such as “The Cask of Amantillado” by Edgar Allen Poe requires his training as an attorney to teach students how to effectively argue and gather evidence. While the play “A Doll’s House” was written by Henrik Ibsen in 1879 and may appear to be unrelatable to SAC students, Beyersdorf explains that topics presented in the play, such as relationships, the role of women and their lack of opportunity are issues that are still relevant today.
When not collaborating with departments across campus, Beyersdorf can often be seen tidying up the campus, picking up trash, lowering umbrellas in the wind and trying to remove graffiti. Most importantly, he is always there for his students and has more than once helped a hungry student by purchasing a meal for them.
What makes Beyersdorf an amazing teacher is his humor and willingness to open up to students as he shares his family story of immigration, struggle, hard work and success. His love and dedication to SAC and his hard work make him truly worthy of this recognition.
Anushi Seneviratne was awarded the Adjunct Faculty Award in Credit Programs, which recognizes an adjunct faculty member with an honorarium and plaque who has demonstrated excellence in their teaching. Seneviratne has worked in the Early Childhood Education field for the past 28 years, beginning as a certified Montessori teacher, and later transitioning into the role of director. She owned two schools in Orange County for 11 years prior to joining SAC in 2015. In addition to teaching at SAC, she has taught at Santiago Canyon College and California Polytechnic University, Pomona. Her colleagues at SAC describe her as a relationship-builder and team player. She is intentional, innovative and reflective in the professional arena and in the classroom. She engages her colleagues and her students in thoughtful and productive discussions, always mindful of guiding students to completion of their academic, professional and personal goals.
Eric Glicker was given the Adjunct Faculty Award in the School of Continuing Education. Glicker started his career as an ESL instructor at Centennial Education Center in 1993. He has taught all seven levels of ESL from Beginning Literacy to Advanced High. In addition, he has taught Pronunciation, Conversation, Computers, High School Subjects, Composition, Writing, Reading, Family Literacy and Citizenship. He has taught at community centers, churches and elementary schools. He is part of the ESL Committee for Continuing Education and is currently in a leadership role with the ESL Professional Learning Community, which he has been part of for over eight years. He has also served as a Mentor Teacher for colleagues at Centennial Education Center and has mentored many students throughout the years. Glicker says that his proudest moments are seeing his students successfully reach their goals, and he feels so fortunate to be a part of their journeys.
Dori Dumon and Adam Morgan are the “dynamic duo” who earned the Career and Technical Education Award, which honors an exemplary occupational program that provides outstanding service to both students and the community. Dumon and Morgan were honored for their contributions to the Business Applications and Technology Department. The two “rebooted” the department by updating and developing new curriculum to provide students with professional business skills and technology training required in today’s workforce. They made major improvements in all programs, including Digital Publishing (Adobe), Microsoft Office Professional, Business Apps and Technology, Office Management and Spanish-English Interpretation and Translation. To Dumon and Morgan, there’s nothing better than to hear a student say how they started a career or received a promotion due to the courses and programs of the Business Applications and Technology Department at SAC.
Elliott Jones was awarded the Creative Expression Award, which honors a faculty member whose prose, poetry, audio/video, artistic creations or photography has added to the current body of knowledge in his/her discipline and brought recognition to the institution or resulted in other noteworthy benefits by being published, exhibited or performed. Jones had the opportunity to take sabbatical leave in spring 2019 to compose a musical based on Mary Shelly’s classic Gothic novel, “Frankenstein.” The piece was performed at the end of the Fall 2019 semester by the SAC Choirs. While that performance took the form of a concert rendition, the piece is conceived as a dramatic work firmly rooted in the music theater tradition. The work consists of 25 movements in two acts and lasts approximately two hours, including intermission.
Michael R. Taylor was awarded the Innovation Award, which honors a faculty member demonstrating excellence in the development of innovative projects or activities to support instruction, strengthen counseling and increase awareness of a program. Taylor was instrumental in developing Agency Production at SAC, a concept that has been established over the course of two years. Agency Production hires SAC students to produce print collateral, web graphics and video content for Rancho Santiago Community College District, SAC, Santiago Canyon College and non-profits. It gives students a competitive real-world client-driven production experience and allows them to build a portfolio of professional work. The agency also generates outside revenue to support the program.
Henry Kim was honored with the Faculty Professional Achievement Award, which is given in recognition of a faculty member whose professional contributions have enriched their field of teaching, professional organizations or committees, and generated a significant and positive impact on student success that brings recognition to the awardee, SAC, or the School of Continuing Education. Kim has been teaching English as a Second Language for the past 20 years at SAC, School of Continuing Education, after transition from North Orange County Community College District to pursue his dream of teaching ESL students at CEC. He coordinates the CEC English Language Lab faculty and staff who are providing Zoom sessions and software programs for temporary remote instruction to over 209 ESL students. He also oversees the Resources Center at CEC that provides textbooks, instructional resources and equipment, and supplemental materials to faculty. He serves as the department chair for ESL.
John Nguyen was named the Classified Employee of the Year, which is granted to exceptional permanent, full-time employee that exhibits dedication, exemplary skills and traits, and a commitment to excellent work performance over their tenure. Nguyen is the student service coordinator for the Associate Student Government. He works directly with more than 30 student leaders on a daily basis. He is well-known to go above and beyond in all he does and prides himself on making a difference in SAC students’ lives and making a positive impact on campus.
Tanisha Burrus was chosen to receive the Bill Brush Colleague Appreciation Award, which recognizes an individual who is nearly indispensable and works diligently behind the scenes. The recipient exhibits dedication, resourcefulness, sensitivity, enthusiasm and a positive attitude. Burrus has worked four years at SAC, and is a student service coordinator for the Counseling Division. She assists with coordinating activities and programs in the center. In her presentation, it was noted that she “represents this award with her dedication, diligence and positive attitude. Her attention to detail, positivity and resourcefulness are appreciated by all.”
Nandini Puri received the Classified Professional Achievement Award, which is given to an employee that exemplifies service to students, colleagues and the college as a result of continued professional development, education, and experience. The recipient displays the value of being a “life-long learner.” Puri has been the scholarship coordinator at SAC for nearly two years. She enjoys guiding students to present their best selves in any opportunity they encounter. She has a “can-do” attitude and goes out of the way to make others feel included. She is committed to her work and the impact it has on students across campus.
Michelle Ayala was named winner of the Half-of-the-Time Award, which recognizes an exceptional permanent part-time employee that exhibits dedication, exemplary skills and a commitment to excellent work performance over their tenure. Ayala is an SAC alumna and a job developer for CalWORKs work-study. One of her primary responsibilities is to help students find job placements campus wide. She tracks students’ work performance, evaluating work hours and class schedules to fit site needs. As she assists with job placement around campus, Ayala ensures that student resumes and interview skills are top quality. She is known to be very positive, organized and detail oriented, and her colleagues note that she is proactive and a team player.
For more information about Santa Ana College, visit sac.edu.
About Santa Ana College
Santa Ana College (SAC), which turned 100 years old in 2015, serves about 18,000 students each semester at its main campus in Santa Ana. The college prepares students for transfer to four-year institutions, and provides invaluable workforce training and customized training for business and industry. In addition, another 11,000 students are served through the college’s School of Continuing Education located at Centennial Education Center. Ranked as one of the nation’s top two-year colleges awarding associate degrees to Latino and Asian students, the college is also recognized throughout the state for its comprehensive workforce training programs for nurses, firefighters, law enforcement and other medical personnel. SAC is one of two comprehensive colleges under the auspices of the Rancho Santiago Community College District.