Volume II Issue IXNovember 2010 
SOCCCD Chancellor
Faculty Spotlight: Miki Mikolajczak
ASG Students Present at Statewide Conference.
Lariat Staff Win Eight Awards
Veterans Events
Food Drive for Student Veterans
Saddleback College receives $225,000 grant
Criminal Justice/Substance Abuse Career Fair
Volleyball Team Helps in Fight Against Breast Cancer
Accreditation Visit
Presidential Highlights
Upcoming Events
Join Our Mailing List
President's Greeting


Accreditation.  We've focused on it for many months now (if not years!), culminating with this month's accreditation team site visit.  I think we can all agree that the visit went very well - we had a superb self-study that the team agreed was thorough, well-written, and concise, and the team seemed mightily impressed in general with our college, programs, and employees.  It was a job well done and I thank all who contributed to the success of the visit.  The team's commendations included positive change in campus climate, development of 20-Year Capital and Scheduled Maintenance Needs plan, leadership of Academic Senate for developing program reviews and student learning outcomes, development of 2010-2013 Strategic Plan and integration with budget and resource allocations, success of Center for Instructional Design and Distance Education (CIDDE), creating a culture of transfer on campus.

October was also filled with many other campus highlights - the Gauchos showed great strength in their victory over Grossmont at the Homecoming football game, and members of our community came to our campus for my Annual State of the College Breakfast.  I'm always proud to profile our campus and programs to community members, who are often alumni themselves.  Saddleback is a true community tradition and I am proud to uphold that tradition by bringing our community to the college.

Now that November has arrived we have much to look forward to as the holiday season approaches.  I thank all of you who are engaged in collecting donations for veterans and others in our community who could use a little help this year.  It never fails to impress me how so many of our students and employees volunteer their time to aid our fellow citizens.

Thank you to all of you for your tireless work for our students and community.

Tod A. Burnett, Ed.D.
Gary Poertner Returns to SOCCCD as Chancellor
Gary PRecently, the South Orange County Community College District Board of Trustees  appointed Gary Poertner as the next Chancellor.  Gary has served as the Deputy Chancellor of the District for the past 11 years.

Gary provided leadership to the district for all business operations including fiscal services, payroll, accounting, purchasing, and facilities planning.   For many years he supervised the operations of human resources and information technology and provided oversight for the development of the Advanced Technology and Education Park in Tustin.

He served as chair of the Board Policy and Administrative Regulations Council and District Resources Allocation Council.  Under his leadership, the district was one of the first districts in the state to fully fund its retiree liability.

Gary's career spans over 40 years as an administrator in California public schools, including College of the Redwoods, El Camino College, and the Shasta Union High School District.  He holds a B.S. in Commerce from St. Louis University and a MBA from California State University, Long Beach.

Gary Poertner will begin serving as chancellor beginning December 1, 2010.
Faculty Spotlight: Miki Mikolajczak, Transfer Center Coordinator

During its exit interview, the Accreditation Team commended Saddleback College for creating a culture of transfer on the campus. While it takes everyone on campus to transfer students, a lot of the credit can be bestowed upon Miki Mikolajczak. Serving as the Transfer Center Coordinator since 1992, Miki has worked with her staff to provide consistent, quality support services for all of the Saddleback College Students.

Recently, Miki organized the college's largest-ever College Transfer Fair, bringing more than 80 colleges and university representatives to the campus.  Miki has also been instrumental in securing the fourth straight year of $225,000 funding for the Teacher Preparation Pipeline Program.  

In addition to being instrumental on campus, Miki is also very involved at the state-level, serving as a member and/or chair in more than 10 statewide committees. She has also twice been named the Counselor of the Year by the Associated Student Government.

In her free time, Miki likes to spend time with her husband, Craig, and poodles in their RV. Whenever they can, Miki and Craig also like to "escape" from their hometown of San Clemente and head to the beautiful shores of Hawaii.

Saddleback College ASG Students Present at Statewide Conference

ASG Conference

 Saddleback College's Associated Student Government, one of the four largest student government organizations in the state, participated in the California Community  College Student Affairs Association (CCCSAA) statewide Student Leadership Conference October 22nd-24th in Costa Mesa.  The Saddleback College ASG were the only students presenting at the conference, representing four of the forty-five total workshops, delivering presentations to approximately 80 students, faculty, and staff each time.


The ASG workshops were:

"Education Through Campus Involvement" presented by Melissa Fenerci, ASG President 

  • "Taking Action: Building A Socially Aware Associated Students Organization" presented by Audra DiPadova, Melissa Fenerci,  Yeri Flor, and Justin Huft 
  • Presented twice: "Active Team Building 101" presented by Brent Palmer and a large group of ASG and, on day two, ASIVC students

The Saddleback College ASG officers made valuable connections with students across the state and to continue their dialogue will start and host a blog that will be housed on this website:, along with the presentation PowerPoints.

Lariat Staff Wins Eight Awards at Conference!
Lariat Winners
From left to right: (Standing) Courtney Hunter, Sarah Black, Lab Technician Ali Dorri, Kylie Corbett, James Maloney, Evelyn Caicedo, Matt Garvey. (Kneeling) Sean Lara, Julie Tran.

By: Lariat Staff

The Lariat staff from Saddleback College brought home eight awards from the Journalism Association of Community Colleges' Southern California Conference held last weekend at California State University, Fullerton.

Competitions were a highlight of the conference, with more than 20 community colleges participating in about 60 categories that ranged from opinion writing, to page layout. Many of the categories required students to complete on-the-spot entries before a deadline.There were also numerous seminars during the conference, including sports photography, broadcast journalism, and journalism internships.

Four Saddleback College students received awards for on-the-spot competitions: Kylie Corbett received honorable mention in News Photo; Matt Garvey, a political science major, placed second  in Sports Writing; Julie Tran, a journalism major, received two honorable mentions for Copyediting and Editorial Cartoon.

Photo editor Sean Lara, a communications major, received three awards for his photography entries; He placed fourth in News Photo, second in Sports Photo, and received an honorable mention in Bring-In.

Former Lariat staff member Lee Eisler received an honorable mention for a feature story written last semester. His submission was submitted before the conference for consideration.

At the conference, editor-in-chief Shawn Heavlin-Martinez was honored for his service. This is Shawn's fourth (and final) semester on staff.


The wins were especially impressive considering that most of the Lariat students were attending the conference for the first time and are first-year students. For first-timers to earn this many places in competition against students from all over Southern California is a fantastic accomplishment! 

The Lariat is the student newspaper of Saddleback College and Irvine Valley College. The Lariat is an independent student-run public forum. It is available in print, published weekly on Wednesday, unless otherwise noted.
College Foundation and VETS Program to Host Veterans-Themed Events Culminating in Veterans Day Chili Mug Festival

The Saddleback College Foundation will be hosting a Chili Bowl Festival on Thursday, November 11th from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Saddleback College Veterans Memorial. Chili Bowl FlierCome out for a delicious chili lunch, donated by Chili's Restaurant. The $30 admission will benefit VETS student scholarships and includes chili, salad, cornbread and water or soft drinks. There will also be a 50/50 raffle, which will benefit VETS student scholarships.

Tickets for the Chili Bowl Festival can be purchased by contacting the Foundation office at 582-4479. Click here for a full-sized version of the flier

Prior to the Festival, the VETS Program and the Student Veterans Club are spearheading several activities. Throughout the week, the VETS Program's Wall of Heroes will be posted outside the VETS Center and will recognize esteemed Veterans working at or attending Saddleback College. Also, during the week leading up to Veterans Day, a field of flags will be posted in the quad, symbolizing those who lost their lives in the current Middle East conflicts.

On Tuesday Nov 9th at 10 a.m., the Student Diversity Council, in conjunction with the Student Veterans Club, will hold a panel highlighting the experiences of veterans and their transition to civilian life.

On Wednesday Nov 10th at 4 p.m., the Student Veterans Club, in conjunction with the VETS Program, will have a brief ceremony at the Saddleback College Veterans Memorial followed by a screening of a documentary "In Their Boots" in SM 313.

News from Classified Senate: Thanksgiving Food Donations Sought for Student Veterans
For a full-sized version of the flier, click here.

Please join Classified Senate in giving thanks to our student veterans. We would like to invite everyone to donate to the Thanksgiving gift baskets. We want to give as many baskets as we can to our student veterans! Baskets locations are listed below by department. The last day for collection is November 10th. On behalf of Classified Senate, we want to thank you in advance for your generous donation in making this Thanksgiving memorable for our student veterans and their families!

Suggested Items (This is just a partial list. All non-perishable items will be accepted!)

Cranberries, stuffing mix, pie filling, pie crust mix, bread mix, can veggies, potatoes, gravy mix, soup mix, nuts, juice boxes, cookies.

If you would like to donate a gift card or cash, please hand it to the person who is in charge of the basket instead of placing it in the basket.

Basket Locations

Advanced Technology and Applied Sciences, TAS 207

Business Science, BGS 226

Counseling, SSC 145

Fine Arts, FA 304

Health Science, HS 235

IT Village, VIL 2

HR/AP/Purchasing/Payroll, HR Kitchen

Liberal Arts, VIL 7

Maintenance & Operations, CP

Math, Science & Engineering, SM 334

Office of the President, AGB 103

PE/Kinesiology, PE 400

Social & Behavior Science, BGS 314

Saddleback College Receives $225,000 Grant to Provide Paid Teaching Assistant Positions to Students

Saddleback College students interested in teaching can apply for the college's Teacher Preparation Pipeline (TPP) program, which has received a grant in the amount of $225,000 from the California Community College Chancellor's stock teacherOffice to provide students the opportunity to serve as paid teaching assistants in the areas of math, science, or career technical education (CTE) at the secondary school level.  Saddleback College is one of only two community colleges in Orange County to receive continued funding through the first four years of the five-year grant.   Students who are interested in the TPP program must submit an application between November 15, 2010 and January 31, 2011.  Applications can be found at

Students who are accepted into the TPP program will complete 40 hours of fieldwork during the semester and will be compensated at $10 per hour. The students are placed at one of the program's partner locations: Capistrano Unified School District, Saddleback Valley Unified School District, Coastline ROP, and Capistrano-Laguna Beach ROP. The fieldwork experience they complete fulfills a prerequisite for the California State University Fullerton's teaching credential program.  

Students who are interested in the Teacher Preparation Program must enroll in Education 115, Secondary School Teaching, and must complete a background check and a TB test before they can work in a classroom.

Saddleback College Holds Criminal Justice/Substance Abuse Career Fair

Saddleback College held its 20th Annual Red Ribbon Criminal Justice/Substance Abuse Career Fair on Wednesday, October 27th in the campus quad. Approximately 50 agencies representing law enforcement, corrections, substance abuse treatment and prevention, and mental health provided information and resources as well as career opportunities for students in attendance. The event was co-sponsored by the Saddleback College Health Sciences and Human Services Department and the Associated Student Government.

The first statewide red ribbon campaign began in 1968 when Drug Enforcement Agency Agent Enrique Camareno was killed by drug traffickers. A red ribbon became the symbol of the ongoing emphasis on drug prevention and the programs that embrace the idea.

The human services department at Saddleback College offers certificates and associate degrees in the following fields: Alcohol & Drug Studies, Corrections & Criminal Justice, Eating Disorders, Generalist Human Services, and Mental Health.

The agencies in attendance included: Red Ribbon

Able to Change, Alcoholics Anonymous-Orange County, Bethany's Gait Youth Ranch, Birth Choice Health Clinic, Breakaway Health Corporation, Center for Addiction/Recovery & Education, Coastal Mountain Youth Academy, Collette's Children's Home, Community Alliance Network, CSP Sexual Association/Victim Services, CSP, Project PATH, CSUF SAAPSA , Embrace Recovery, F.A.C.E.S, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Her Place, HERO House, Insight Counseling, Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc., Mariposa Women & Family Center, Morningside Recovery, NCADD, New Directions for Women, New Method Wellness, OC Probation Dept., OCHCA - REACH, Pacific Clinics, Phoenix House, Saddleback College Foster & Kinship Care, Human Services, Human Services Club, Career Center, SCADP/Heritage House North & South, Sober Living by the SEA  CRC, Sovereign Health of California, Teen Challenge, and The Villa Center
Saddleback Volleyball Team Helps in Fight Against Breast Cancer
The Saddleback College women's volleyball team has joined in on the fight against breast cancer, recently taking part in a fundraising effort being held by a local salon.
Volleyball Team
The 13 ladies on the Gauchos roster visited Salon Zinnia in San Clemente during the salon's fundraiser during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  Each player paid $10 to get a pink hair extension, helping in the salon's effort to raise over $2,000 for the cause.

Breast cancer has already touched this team as the mother of one of the team's members was diagnosed with stage two breast cancer in 2003.  She underwent four months of chemotherapy and remains cancer-free today.
Accreditation Team Visit Deemed a Major Success
On Thursday, October 21st, Saddleback College received the preliminary findings from the visiting team of the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC).  The report indicated that the team was impressed with the college's self study report and that they appreciated everyone's hard work. 

The visiting team commended Saddleback College for the following achievements:
Saddleback College is one of the state's premier institutions of higher education and this accreditation visiting team confirmed this as fact. 
The successful accreditation efforts were due to the tremendous support of all faculty, staff, and management.  Members of the visiting team commented that they were amazed at how prepared everyone on campus was for the visit, and how much this helped them.  During the week, the team met with over 150 people and also held two open meetings that were attended by over 75 people.  
Everyone at the college is especially thankful to the Academic Senate, Classified Senate, Associated Student Government, and Management for their strong support and tireless efforts.  The college community also appreciates the strong support from our chancellor and board of trustees.  It is rare that visiting teams get the opportunity to interview every trustee of a district, but all seven of our trustees met with the visiting team and represented our college and district admirably.
Special thanks must be given to the many people who were responsible for the college's successful self study report and site visit.  In particular, thanks to the Accreditation Steering Committee co-chairs Dr. Bob Cosgrove and Dr. Donald Busche, and the four standard chairs:  Diane Pestolesi; Anthony Teng; Carol Hilton; and Dr. Carmen Dominguez.  In addition, the following people played important roles:
Accreditation Steering Committee
Dr. Donald Busche, Dr. Bob Cosgrove, and Dr. Rajen Vurdien (co-chairs), Dr. Tod Burnett, Dr. Robert Bramucci, Miki Mikolajczak, Russ Hamilton, Mary Williams, Melissa Fenerci, Delainey Taylor, Gretchen Bender, Diane Pestolesi, Anthony Teng, Carol Hilton, Dr. Carmen Dominguez, and Claire Cesareo-Silva.
Standard I
Diane Pestolesi (chair), Gretchen Bender, Estella Garrison, Denice Inciong, Jennie McCue, Miki Mikolajczak, Dr. Nicole Ortega, Samantha Ramos, Tamara Rice, Mark Sierkowski, Kim Stankovich, Delainey Taylor, Asha Vaswani, and Nina Welch.
Standard II
Anthony Teng (chair), JoAnn Alford, Linda Bashor, Elizabeth Castro, Jerilyn Chuman, Ana Maria Cobos, April Cubbage-Vega, Mike Engels, Melissa Fenerci, Dr. Caroline Gee, Molly Grant, Elizabeth Horan, Erin Long, Mike Long, Sumaya McCleave, Dr. Kevin O'Connor, Dr. Randy Peebles, Jane Rosenkrans, Joyce Semanik, Shouka Torabi, Lacey Trytten, and Patti Weekes.
Standard III
Carol Hilton (chair), Michelle Anstadt, Catherine Beres, Karen Bronson, Dr. David Bugay, Dr. Donald Busche, Alan Cherry, Darren England, Eric Garant, Mike James, Brad McReynolds, Beth Mueller, Cliff Myer, Terence Nelson, John Ozurovich, Ken Patton, Jim Pyle, Juan Santiago, Mark Schiffelbein, Ed Tackett, and Don Taylor.
Standard IV
Dr. Carmen Dominguez (chair), Sarah Ayad, Dr. Robert Bramucci, Dr. Bob Cosgrove, Tracy Daly, Matthew Douraghi, Whitney Florian, David Lang, Dr. Tod Burnett, Tony Lipold, Ardith Lynch, Russell Hamilton, Sandy Marzilli, Mary Williams, and Dr. James Wright.
Joe Tinervia (editor), Diane Smith, Robert Hartman, Sophie Miller, Trish Fain, Kathleen Schlick, Jennie McCue, Leslie Humphrey, Sandra Malagon, Mark Schiffelbein, Mark Sierakowski, Quentin Bohn, Jan Mastrangelo, Jessica Cha, Pablo Saldana, Paul Bonkowski, Scott Smith, Jeff Harvey, Nicole Falconer, John Hilton, Anne Rocha, Amy Wheeler, Mary Anstadt, Britnee Holmes, Donna Pribyl, Diane Smith, Karen Fong, Linda Davies, and staff in our copy center, cafeteria, innovation and technology center, and facilities, maintenance, and operations division.

Although the visiting team has finished their work and have given their preliminary findings verbally, the accreditation process is not complete until the ACCJC makes their official determination in January.  At that time, Saddleback College will be provided a final copy of the visiting team's report, along with the commission's recommendations and actions. 
Until then, the college will get back to what we all want to do and do so well: helping students succeed! Thanks to our entire college community for being engaged with our accreditation efforts and going over and above in assisting the visiting team.

Presidential Highlights - October

Hosted Facilities & Maintenance Breakfast...Hosted Annual State of the College Breakfast...Tour of Fullerton Community College & Cypress College's Culinary Arts with President Vurdien...Learning Disabilities Open House...Attended and Presented at the Network of California Community College Foundations Symposium...Accreditation Site Visit...Participated in the Great Southern California Shakeout...Attended Chancellor Hiring Committee Meeting...Attended Saddleback College Football Game at Pasadena City College...Attended Board of Trustees Meeting...Phone Briefing on California Community College Completion Report...Attended Foundation Board Meeting...Attended Irvine Valley College's Chemistry Lab Open House...California Community College Athletic Association Board of Directors Meeting...Attended Area 10 CEO Luncheon...Lunch with the President of College of Notre Dame of Maryland

Upcoming Events

November 8th-9th

California Board of Governors Meeting

November 11th
Remembrance Ceremony and Moment of Silence
Saddleback College Veterans Memorial
11:00 a.m.

November 11th
Saddleback College Foundation's Chili Mug Festival
Saddleback College Veterans Memorial
11:30 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.

November 16th
Family Night
Saddleback College SSC 212
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

November 17th
SOCCCD Board of Trustees Meeting
District Offices Building, Ronald Reagan Board of Trustees Room

December 9th

Saddleback College Employee Holiday Party
Saddleback College SSC 212
December 9th
Saddleback College Foundation Board of Governors Meeting
Saddleback College

December 13th - 19th
Finals Week
Saddleback College