Professors of the year named

Nicholas Ruiz

Saddleback College named Rich Goodman, a professor of Human Services, and Louise Jacobs, an Emeritus vocal instructor, as the 2010 Professors of the Year. Professors Goodman and Jacobs will be nominated for the countywide Teacher of the Year award, selected by the Orange County Department of Education.

“When I first read the notification letter [saying I was a Professor of the Year] I was shocked… When I saw I was selected [as a Professor of the Year], I was overwhelmed with gratitude and joy. At various times during a day I think about the meaning of this honor and become very emotional,” said John Goodman, professor of Human Services and a Professor of the Year.

Instructor Goodman had a varied history before his 33 years of teaching at Saddleback Community College. Goodman was once the Los Angeles County Probation Department Narcotics Trainer for five years. He also ran a mandatory drug education program for minors sentenced to Juvenile Camp.

“Having been a Probation Officer who specialized in working with substance abusers, and given the task of educating 240 felonious minors was challenging and fulfilling. Teaching at Saddleback is another opportunity to positively direct people’s lives,” said Goodman.

One might wonder what the criteria are for being chosen as Professor of the Year. It is evident from the feedback that Instructor Goodman has received that it would have to do with the level of positive student, fellow instructor, and managerial feedback.

“Professor Goodman’s dedication to the students of Saddleback College makes being in the classroom enjoyable and educational,” said Dr. Donna Rane-Szostak, Dean of Health Sciences and Human Services. “Oftentimes, professors struggle to engage their classroom, but Professor Goodman’s students look forward to his lectures.”

Instructor Goodman’s skills in his profession seem to echo in the main reason for his love of teaching.

“My favorite part of teaching is the intellectual and social aspects of interacting with my students. I am eclectic in what may work best in any given situation. It is those mercurial moments that the opportunity for meaningful communication takes place and I love that,” Goodman said.

John Goodman was not the only one chosen, however. It is customary for one full-time and one part-time instructor to be chosen each year, which is why there were two award winners.

Instructor Louise Jacobs, who lives in Tustin, joined the Saddleback College Emeritus Institute Faculty in 1999, teaching voice and music fundamentals to older adult students. Jacobs was featured as a Registered Music Therapist on a segment about music therapy on The Today Show, has led the singing for San Pedro’s Tuba Christmas for four years, and is an active volunteer for the Pacific Symphony.

As much of the Saddleback Community College student body is of the younger crowd, some might not know what the Emeritus Institute does.

“The Emeritus Program is lifelong learning. Especially now, there is so much new information, and our classes are for aging successfully,” said Louise Jacobs, Emeritus vocal instructor and Professor of the Year award winner. “And it also gives the older adult students personal empowerment.”

According to her underlings and colleagues, Instructor Jacobs has a very hands-on approach to her teaching, which creates an atmosphere of positivity and encouragement for extended character growth.

“Professor Jacobs’ students really benefit from her extensive music and voice knowledge,” said Sandy Marzilli, Director of the Emeritus Instructional Program. “Her patience and positive outlook provides her students with a rewarding and spirited learning experience.”

It is clear that Instructor Jacobs was surprised to receive such an award, especially since she had earned a similar one before.

“It blows my mind [To receive the award] because I was actually Professor of the Year at Irvine Valley College last year. I’ve been teaching 35 years and to do something like that two years in a row is a nice frosting on the cake,” Jacobs said.

One of the advantages of winning the prestigious award is something slightly unexpected.
“The two Professors of the Year get taken to lunch by the college president. I just got invited,” Jacobs said.

The invitations would not be a surprise considering the president’s support of the Professors of the Year program.

“Saddleback College has so many exceptional professors that it is always difficult to narrow it down to two winners. The student feedback spoke volumes for Professors Goodman and Jacobs” said Dr. Todd A. Burnett, President of Saddleback College.

“Students sang their praises and it’s clear that they have positively affected many lives.”
It is immediately evident how important such an award is in this day and age when instructors have more challenges than ever before.

“As you can imagine, winning Professor of the Year is a high honor,” said Jennie McCue, Director of Public Info and Marketing for Saddleback College. “The winners should be very proud.”


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