Skyline meets the candidates


Dr. Stephen Schoonmaker begins his presentation. (M ilan Subedi)

Skyline College held a presidential open forum on Oct. 26.

Over 100 people attended the event including students, faculty, staff, administrators, and members of the community all wanting to hear from the next possible president of Skyline College.

Donna Bestock, the dean of the Social Science/Creative Arts division, introduced the candidates and led the forum.

The candidates for Skyline president– Dr. Stephen Schoonmaker, Dr. David Smith, and Dr. Regina Stanback Stroud– were each given an hour to give a brief introduction and answer questions, with a 15 minute break in between presentations. All three were not present at the event together, and instead took their turns separately.

Dr. Stephen Schoonmaker, the vice president of instruction at Clatsop Community College in Astoria, Oregon, was the first to speak. He highlighted his academic qualifications and professional experiences and answered questions on issues such as equity, Skyline’s budget, his qualifications, and personal experiences in regards to administrative decisions.

Schoonmaker also expressed his opinion on the importance of community college connection with the citizens of a city or town.

“I need to go as president to communities and say ‘how is it that we can better serve you?'” he said.

He was also questioned on how he would address discrimination, harassment, and hate crime here on campus.

“I think that we have to be clear that we are talking about zero tolerance in addressing this issue,” he said. “A crime of hate is a crime not against that person only, it is a crime against our campus, and we cannot tolerate it.”

Dr. David Smith, vice president of Instruction and Student Affairs at Colorado Northwestern Community College in Rangely, Colorado was the next candidate to present. Smith was asked several of the same questions that were posed to Schoonmaker.

“What would you plan to do at Skyline to promote science and healthcare education?” asked Melissa Michelitsch, a professor of biology and chemistry here at Skyline.

Dr. Smith described science projects he oversaw and took part in at Lamar Community College in Colorado, and how he saw economic and educational opportunity to participate in an observatory construction program that brought revenue and international scientific credit to Lamar.

Dr. Smith had an appreciative closure for his presentation:

“I appreciate you having me. This is a great opportunity. You have a choice to make and I would welcome an opportunity to do a good job for this campus. I believe that I could do a good job for this college.”

Dr. Regina Stanback Stroud, the vice president of instruction for Skyline College since 2001, was the third and last to present.

She answered questions after speaking on her personal and academic experiences.

Stroud was asked by a faculty member about what she would do for Skyline College regarding community college open access and success rates among students.

“We should take more initiatives, and put them in place in more programs,” responded Stroud.

She was also asked about equity, and how she would address it in regards to educational opportunity.

“There is much more we can do. If students of color are not achieving success, then that has to be abnormal to us. It has to become a way of thinking among us to address these problems that students face,” said Stroud.

Dr. Stroud made it clear to those at the forum that she has dedicated her educational career to students, and helping support social justice in the education system.

Dr. Stroud closed by distributing a handout with her personal philosophy on education and leadership.

“I lead to liberate, strengthen and educate,” her handout began. “I lead to free the oppressed and to change the racist and sexist structures of power and privilege in society-at-large and in our daily lives. I lead to develop the depth of humanity and to maximize human potential. I lead to make a difference in the world.”

Michelitsch, who questioned all three candidates, spoke about what she thought of the forum.

“One of the biggest things that impact my students is the ability to get into the classroom, because they are all over-enrolled and waitlisted to full capacity. Since I am a new faculty member here, I am coming to appreciate how important the budget and the administration is.”