Dr. Sweeney’s VP of Instruction candidate forum

The student body at Skyline was given a more distinctive chance to meet the final candidates in the running for the Vice President of Instruction (VPI) position. On Feb.21, students had the opportunity to present their questions to Dr. Frances Sweeney, the first of three final candidates.

Sweeney started off as a Spanish teacher at Saint Mary’s 20 years ago. Since then she has held various positions. Currently, Sweeney is the Chair of World Languages and Cultures, as well as the Chair of the Core Curriculum at Saint Mary’s College of California.

“I love teaching and learning, but I also realize in my life that I like administration because you can help make systemic change,” said Sweeney. “You can support the faculty, and the staff, and I still work with students a lot, and I want my life to make a difference.”

Student presented various topics for Sweeney to address, from online courses to the way disabilities could be handled in the classroom, and why Sweeney should be considered for the Vice President of Instruction position.

When asked about online language education in compression to the classroom, Sweeney expanded on the topic.

“Yes, I believe in online education,” said Sweeney. “The trick is: how do we make it have the same kind of values and richness, and cultural study that an in person class has?”

A different student, brought up potential barriers for students with disabilities and asked Sweeney what she would do to make sure it was more inclusive.

Sweeney spoke on her previous experience with embarking on something similar at Saint Mary’s, and shared information she had read about studies regarding progress.

“You can do developments, but you also have to call a question when it’s not working,” said Sweeney. “Students need avenues to go to, there should be an audit of facilities and equipment.”

When asked what sets her apart from the other candidates, Sweeney acknowledged she didn’t know the other candidates, but she pointed out she was the only candidate not coming from he community college system, which in her view is a disadvantage.

Speaking metaphorically, Sweeney referred to herself as both a dreamer and a builder and she spoke about her willingness to listen to the students’ ideas.

“I know that what I bring is a lot of experience in administration,” said Sweeney. “I use three concepts as an academic leader: purpose, achievement, and lastly relationships.”