Gavilan College promotes Susan Sweeney to Interim Dean, Student Success and Workforce Pathwaysby Jan Janes on Aug 9, 2020
Susan Sweeney has been named Interim Dean, Student Success and Workforce Pathways, with Gavilan College Board of Trustees approving the move at a recent meeting. She fills the vacancy created by Sherrean Carr’s retirement.
Susan Sweeney promoted to Interim Dean,
Student Success and Workforce Pathways.
“Sitting in Sherrean’s office, I am trying to get my feet under her desk,” said Sweeney. “She is one of those individuals who work until the very last second. I am so excited she’s my mentor and good friend, she’s amazing.”
“Susan Sweeney has been a champion of career education and industry based partnerships for many years,” said Dr. Kathleen Rose, Superintendent/President of Gavilan College. “Her ability to connect with our partners will be a key component of her new role as we continue to focus on student success goals during our challenging pandemic year.”
As Director of Community Education and Career Pathways for the past three years, Sweeney partnered with Carr and the Career Education staff.
“The legacy she has left for the college is stellar, and I want to make sure to honor that,” said Sweeney. “The faculty and staff are wonderful to work with, a solid team generous like she is, and she prepared her staff for my arrival.”
Sweeney worked closely with Carr and Dr. Randy Brown, Interim Dean of Student Learning and Student Success, Foundational Skills and Academic Support, who oversees noncredit programs and certificates. The trio developed Gavilan’s Workforce Program Development Decision Tree to determine the community needs, labor market trends, feasibility and program incubation pathway: noncredit, community education and career education.
“Community Education would incubate, test the feasibility and viability of new educational programs,” said Sweeney.
This fall, Career Education will launch a new construction management program, which uses the successful concrete management program as a model. Students can explore paid externships, internships and apprenticeships while simultaneously completing their classes. “Three programs – Aviation, Water Management and HVAC – have placed a lot of students earning good money,” she said.
Sweeney brings to this new position more than 15 years of program development. While director of CalWORKS, she launched the Fresh Success program and the Gavilan Pantry. During her three years at Community Education, she reversed its unprofitable history and generated revenues within the first year.
For the fall classes where students meet in person, including cosmetology and aviation maintenance, Sweeney will work with staff and faculty to train students in safety protocols and social distancing.
“The faculty really care and are invested in the students,” Sweeney said. “The mission of the college reflects our values and strategic plans. Safety and employment are part of the plan. We want to lead in those goals.”
During the transition, she will train Linda Bernabe, former site director at the Morgan Hill campus, to step into her previous position. “I built something with community education I want to see continue,” said Sweeney. “Linda is passionate and will take it to the next level, adding her personal vision and new ideas.”
“At the new Hollister site, there are lots of opportunities for career education,” she said. “With the electrical classes and ag technology, we will make sure we have the facilities to build over the years.”
“This is an exciting time for Career Education. The Strong Workforce funding from the Chancellor’s Office keeps the focus on pathways to work,” said Sweeney. “We will keep career education nimble. It will change as the workforce and community needs change.”