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Rancho Santiago Community College District Names Dr. John Hernandez as Santiago Canyon College’s Fifth President


​(Santa Ana, CA) - At its regularly scheduled board meeting on June 12, Rancho Santiago Community College District’s (RSCCD) Board of Trustees unanimously approved the appointment of John C. Hernandez, Ph.D., as Santiago Canyon College’s (SCC) president. Hernandez has served as the college’s interim president since July 2016 when John Weispfenning resigned to become the chancellor of Coast Community College District. Hernandez will assume the role of president at Santiago Canyon College on July 1, 2017.

Dr. John HernandezAfter a nationwide search, 37 candidates applied for the position and 12 semi-finalists were selected. The screening committee narrowed the field to three finalists. After public forums were held at the college on May 25, feedback was provided to RSCCD Chancellor Raúl Rodríguez, Ph.D., who interviewed the finalists on May 26 and made his recommendation to the RSCCD Board of Trustees, which unanimously approved the appointment.

“We had three highly qualified finalists for the position of president at Santiago Canyon College,” said Rodríguez. “All were talented and experienced higher education professionals. In the end, Dr. Hernandez was the top-rated candidate at every stage of the selection process. He earned the selection and I have no doubt that he will be an outstanding president for SCC. I am pleased to welcome him as the fifth president of Santiago Canyon College.”

“The Board of Trustees is pleased to have Dr. Hernandez assume the mantle of president at Santiago Canyon College,” said RSCCD Board of Trustees President John R. Hanna. “As a first-generation immigrant and a product of the California community college system, Dr. Hernandez knows firsthand the impact of our programs and services on students. As he has as interim president, he will continue to serve our students, faculty and staff well and in turn, enhance the quality of life in our community. We look forward to working with Dr. Hernandez in fully utilizing Santiago Canyon College for the benefit of our students and the community.”

John C. Hernandez, Ph.D., has been in the field of student affairs and higher education administration for 32 years, nineteen of those years in administration. As interim president of SCC, he has provided leadership in institutional planning, allocation of fiscal resources, human resources, facilities, and the delivery of educational programs and services to advance student learning and success. He also has led efforts to sustain a welcoming and supportive environment for all campus constituents. Last summer, SCC was recognized for a second year as a Great College to Work For® by the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Since 2005, he served as vice president for student services at SCC where he has been an advocate for increasing opportunities for students and for partnering with others to provide a seamless delivery of support services. In that role, he established external partnerships with local school districts and four-year universities to create collaborative programs to increase student access and success.

Additionally, since 2009, he provided administrative leadership for the college's foundation. In that role, he created the necessary infrastructure to ensure a sustainable foundation with an improved capacity, including: enhancing board development, ensuring the creation of a five-year strategic plan, purchasing a sophisticated donor management system, securing foundation funding to create a dedicated development officer, and creating a budding alumni network.

Prior to his tenure at Santiago Canyon College, Hernandez served in the following administrative roles: associate vice president and dean of students at Cal Poly Pomona; associate dean for student development at Santa Ana College; and assistant dean for student affairs at California State University, Fullerton. Additionally, he has served as an adjunct instructor in the Student Development in Higher Education graduate program at Cal State University, Long Beach, and taught counseling and student development courses at various colleges.

Hernandez has been included in a number of academic publications, including the 2014 Supporting Student Affairs Professionals: New Directions for Community Colleges edited by C.C. Ozaki, A.M. Hornak, and C.J. Lunceford. In 2004, he co-authored the article, “Leaking Pipeline: Issues Impacting Latino/a College Student Retention” in the Journal of College Student Retention. In 2000, he wrote “Understanding the Retention of Latino College Students” published in the Journal of College Student Development.

He has also been a regular presenter at higher education conferences. In 2016, he was a keynote panel member at the Academic Academy October Institute. He has received many honors and accolades, including the ACPA College Student Educators International’s Standing Committee Advocate Award, the Orange County Hispanic Education Endowment Fund’s (HEEF) Apple of Gold Award, and Cal State Long Beach College of Education’s inaugural Cynthia S. Johnson Award for Mentoring.

Hernandez earned an associate degree in arts at Fullerton College; a B.A. in sociology at California State University, Fullerton; an M.S. in counseling with an emphasis in student development in higher education at California State University, Long Beach; and a Ph.D. in college student personnel administration from the University of Maryland in College Park.

“I was originally drawn to this profession because of my desire and passion to make a difference. That still holds true today,” said Hernandez. “It is what sustains my sense of purpose and affirms my calling. Having served as the interim president has validated my desire to provide leadership in this role and at this place. I am honored to have been given this opportunity and look forward to leading this incredible college in continuing to make a difference in the lives of our students, our community, and in our region.”

About Santiago Canyon College

Santiago Canyon College (SCC) serves more than 17,000 credit and non-credit students each semester. The college prepares students for transfer to four-year institutions and careers, and provides courses for personal and professional development, as well as customized training for business and industry. The college is recognized for its adult education program which keeps the working adult - and senior - in mind by offering flexible schedules, and community locations. Serving the residents of Anaheim Hills, Orange, Tustin, and Villa Park, SCC is one of two comprehensive colleges under the auspices of the Rancho Santiago Community College District.

About Rancho Santiago Community College District

Santa Ana College and Santiago Canyon College are public community colleges of the Rancho Santiago Community College District, which serves the residents of Anaheim Hills, Orange, Santa Ana, Villa Park, and portions of Anaheim, Costa Mesa, Irvine, Fountain Valley, Garden Grove, and Tustin.. Both colleges provide education for academic transfer and careers, courses for personal and professional development, and customized training for business and industry.

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