President Presents Annual State of the College and Highlights Speech Communication Degree Program

This morning Saddleback College President Dr. Tod A. Burnett hosted his Fourth Annual State of the College address at a community breakfast attended by an audience of elected officials, business and industry representatives, and other community leaders. This year’s report, entitled “Complete to Compete,” focused on student success and improved completion rates, which have become a centerpiece of the national conversation on higher education.  

The audience included Rhonda Reardon, Mayor Pro Tem of Mission Viejo, Trish Kelley, Mission Viejo City Council, Joe Brown, Laguna Niguel City Council, and Dr. Jim Wright, South Orange County Community College District Board of Trustees.

Dr. Burnett addressed implementation of new policies following passage of SB 1456, the Student Success Act, which is the legislative cornerstone of a reform initiative to help improve educational outcomes for students and better prepare the workforce for the state’s changing economy.  The bill, which was recently signed by the governor, calls for system-wide reforms in the California Community Colleges to help more students reach their goal of earning a degree, certificate, or transfer.  These reforms include changes in enrollment prioritization, restructuring how student support services are delivered, improving system-wide performance metrics, enhancing assessment for student placement, and incentivizing successful student behaviors.

Dr. Burnett stated, “Saddleback College is poised to implement the historic reforms addressed in SB 1456 to help our students succeed and increase the number of student completions.  In addition to addressing the measures in the bill, we are working to identify new and innovative ways to support our students.”  

Dr. Burnett also presented his top 10 projects for the 2012-13 academic year, which include developing strategies for implementing the reforms in SB 1456, formalizing the college’s high school student success partnership program, developing student completion metrics, updating the college’s strategic plan, new faculty training and development, campus-wide alcohol and drug prevention, campus safety and emergency planning, foundation office staffing, the opening of the Library and Learning Resource Center, and creating a one-stop payment services and veterans center.

The breakfast also featured a presentation from Professor Heidi Ochoa on the college’s speech communication program and student speakers from the college’s championship forensics team.

The president’s Annual State of the College provides an overview of the past academic year and a preview of the coming year’s opportunities and challenges for Saddleback College. A full copy of the report can be found on the college website or click here to download a PDF of the full report.