LANCASTER — In a typical year, Antelope Valley College’s 2020-21 Scholar in Residence Glenn Haller would have been named at the annual Faculty Recognition event. It’s a big event, with food and beverage that draws a large crowd.
However, this is no typical year. The COVID-19 pandemic closed the college campus to the public, moved instruction online, and thrust social distancing into the vernacular.
The Scholar in Residence is chosen by a vote of the Academic Senate, the college’s faculty governing body. It is the highest honor that can be bestowed on a faculty member at the college. Haller is an elected member of the Academic Senate, so he knew he was nominated. He could also vote. However, he didn’t know he was selected.
“It was announced by the president on the day that the Faculty Recognition would have taken place,” Haller said. “It was announced by the president of the senate during that meeting.”
Perhaps that was just as well. Haller has a form of autism called Asperger syndrome.
“It’s more difficult for me to manufacture feelings and the like. I can’t do it, and I’m incredibly honored by it. My understanding is that my reaction was, well some people said it was priceless,” Haller said.
Pressed for details, Haller could not offer much.
“You’d have to ask someone else who was watching it,” Haller said.
Haller said any peer honor is an amazing honor.
“I guess this just shows that people respect my work and that really kind of humbles me too,” Haller said.
There are six criteria for the award: The scholar is a full-time member of the college’s teaching staff who increases knowledge for a discipline, brings credit to the college, is a compassionate and skillful educator who facilitates visionary insight for students, is acknowledged by the educational community as a learned individual, and demonstrates persistent dedication to innovation and excellence in education.
Haller, 61, has been teaching at AV College for about 31 years. He started in 1989 as the school’s first sports information director and an adjunct instructor. He became a permanent member of the faculty in early 2000. He has been granted tenure and the academic title of professor.
In 2015, Haller was named department chairman of Kinesiology and Athletics. In 2018, he elected to a second three-year term as Kinesiology, Athletics, Health Education and Recreation Department chairman.
“There’s something to the fact that I know some of the ins and outs of the curriculum and that kind of thing. There’s a lot to it as well. A lot of the coaches, they don’t want to just be coaches, they’re also teachers; they’re also instructors. Their idea is if I have extra time I want to work on coaching,” Haller said.
Haller is one of two full-time faculty members in the Kinesiology Department who are not coaches. He played sports at Hart High School in Santa Clarita.
“I was the player that was always on the team, always made the team but I was never a starter. I knew I wasn’t going to continue that into college,” Haller said.
Haller started as a sports writer. He worked for the Santa Clarita Valley Signal when he was in high school. He attended Fresno State on a partial journalism scholarship. He worked editorial for a couple of years until a job opened up in the sports information office.
“I thought it was interesting and I just took to it,” Haller said.
He also discovered he was good at it.
Haller ran the Marauder Sports Information Office for 29 years. He was responsible for acting as a liaison between AV College’s athletic department and the media, compiling and maintain statistics.
During that time, Haller chronicled 50 Marauder conference champions, nine football bowl games, eight state championship basketball tournament appearances (six men, two women) and 22 State Scholar Athletes and one State Scholar Team. For the Marauders he kept stats for more than 250 football and 1,000 basketball games in those 28 years, along with a sizable number of baseball and softball contests.
In early 2000, Haller was listed 16th on the Top 20 People Who Shaped AVC Athletics list compiled by the Antelope Valley Press.
“It kind of surprised me then,” Haller said. “I think it also kind of bothered me because a reporter, Jon Michaels, did that story. It was kind of like, ‘Yeah, well, did you do that so you could get better stuff from me?’ ”
In 2006, the California Community College Sports Information Association honored Haller as their BRASS Top Award Winner. BRASS TOP stands for “Bringing Respect And Superior Service To Our Profession” and is given annually to an individual who has made a positive impact in the field of sports information and through their work advances the cause of the community college sports information professional.
In 2007, Haller received the Scoop Hudgins Outstanding SID Award by the All-American Football Foundation. The award is given by the Foundation to those who excel in their efforts to promote the game of football.
Haller graduated from Fresno State University in 1983 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism (public relations option). He also has a master’s degree in physical education (athletic administration emphasis) from Fresno State. He received a juris doctor in June 1998 from the Ridgecrest School of Law.
“I didn’t pass the bar but I went through law school,” Haller said.
Haller said he probably didn’t pass the bar because he did not want to pass the bar.
“Looking back on it, I don’t think I can practice law right now,” Haller said.
Haller’s law degree proved helpful after all.
He was the primary author of the current Academic Senate Constitution and Bylaws.
He is on the Academic Senate’s the Legislative Committee. He is the Legislative Liaison for the Academic Senate,
He headed the Academic Senate Constitutional and Bylaws revision task force and the Academic Senate Constitution was approved by the faculty and came into force in August of 2015.
Haller lives in a house he built in Bouquet Canyon with wife Rebecca, and numerous cats and dogs. The couple have three adult sons, including one who is an Eagle Scout like his father.