OCBJ Article of Julianna Barnes

MISSION VIEJO, CA - Since assuming the role of Chancellor of the South Orange County Community College District (SOCCCD) in fall of 2022, Chancellor Julianna M. Asperin Barnes has been making waves in the Orange County community. With a track record of dynamic leadership and strategic vision, Chancellor Barnes has swiftly established herself as a driving force for innovation and progress.

To report about her innovative progress, Chancellor Barnes will take center stage on Friday, March 1, 2024, to present to the community—the SOCCCD inaugural State of the District address. The event was initiated through the vision of the SOCCCD Board of Trustees to showcase the district, its colleges—Irvine Valley College and Saddleback College, and the great work of Chancellor Barnes.

During her tenure as Chancellor, Dr. Barnes has taken on numerous leadership roles, displaying her commitment to advancing education and workforce development. Notably, she currently serves as the Chair of the Community College League of California (CCLC) Board of Directors and as President of the Board of the Chief Executive Officers representing all 116 California Community Colleges where she is the voice of community college leaders across California in Sacramento, CA and in Washington, DC. Her role as a key leader and advocate at the state level is demonstrative through her service to the California Community Colleges (CCC) Consultation Council, which helps develop and recommend policy changes to the CCC Board of Governors. Additionally, she was recently appointed to the California Community College Chancellor’s Office – Artificial Intelligence Committee. Her involvement in this esteemed committee highlights her expertise in emerging technologies and her dedication to shaping the future of education and innovation.

At the local level, Chancellor Barnes is also creating ripples in various spaces. In recognition of her exceptional leadership abilities and dedication to the betterment of the Orange County workforce community, Chancellor Barnes has been appointed to the Orange County Business Council (OCBC) Board of Directors, most recently being elevated to the Executive Council. Her involvement in the OCBC not only reflects her standing within the business community but also highlights her proactive approach to fostering collaboration between academia and industry.

Furthermore, Chancellor Barnes has recently been appointed as the Co-Chair of the OCBC Workforce Development Committee, a role that emphasizes her commitment to preparing students for the demands of the modern workforce through the excellent education and training offered at Irvine Valley College and Saddleback College. Her strategic insights and forward-thinking approach are expected to drive impactful initiatives aimed at bridging the gap between education and employment.

Her local involvement and impact can also be felt through her service on the Orange County Community College Legislative Task Force as well as the Orange County Regional Consortium—both collaboratives of the Orange County community colleges that work together on behalf of students and their success.

Under Chancellor Barnes’ leadership, the South Orange County Community College District has seen significant growth and development. In a recent economic impact study conducted by Light Cast, SOCCCD is reportedly an economic engine in Orange County with an overall $7.1 billion impact to the local economy in recent years.

President of the SOCCCD Board of Trustees, Timothy Jemal said, "Our community college district has been greatly enriched by the impactful leadership of our chancellor. Her strategic vision, dedication to excellence, and tireless advocacy for students have set a standard of success that inspires us all. Under her guidance, we've seen remarkable growth and achievement, and we look forward to continuing this journey of advancement and empowerment."

Remarkably, Chancellor Barnes has played a pivotal role in leading new developments at the Advanced Technology & Education Park (ATEP), including the establishment of partnerships and ground lease agreements with Advantech – a global leader in industrial and embedded computing solutions; the Goddard School; and Saddleback College @ATEP facilities to support expansive culinary arts and automotive technology. These initiatives are emblematic of Chancellor Barnes’ commitment to driving economic growth and fostering educational opportunities in the region.

Shortly after her arrival to SOCCCD, Chancellor Barnes released a 100 Days of Listening Tour Report, to outline her observations and goals for the immediate future. As an extension of that report, the inaugural State of the District address will communicate her vision for the future of the South Orange County Community College District along with opportunities and challenges ahead. Her transformative leadership and unwavering dedication to excellence will undoubtedly guide the district towards new heights of success and impact. To learn more about Chancellor Barnes and the inaugural State of the District, please visit the district website https://www.socccd.edu/events/state-district.


About the South Orange County Community College District: SOCCCD serves nearly 50,000 students per year through our two colleges, Saddleback College, and Irvine Valley College. The district serves nearly one million residents and employs more than 2,000 faculty and staff.