Chabot College has been around since the 1960s and has had endless teachers, administrators, students, and presidents who have come and gone. As of 2012, Susan Sperling was appointed Chabot College’s President. President Sperling has been at the college for almost 30 years. She has worked as a teacher, administrator, and community liaison. Now she is representing and showcasing Chabot College as its President.
Graduating from the University of California Berkeley, Sperling studied anthropology. She wanted to deconstruct racism from the perspective of anthropology, to also look at issues of gender, and inequality. Moreover, to also bring the perspectives, and research in anthropology to help students understand the importance of cultural diversity, respect between individuals, and to educate about the richness of living in a multicultural society.
Sperling came from an immigrant family. Her father came from Berlin, and her mother came from Russia. Because of this, Sperling has always been passionate about the topic of immigration, to recognize them and to show interest in immigrants. “We are a culture of immigrants, and that this is something that has made us an outstanding multicultural society,” Sperling says.
Before Sperling started her term as President, she taught anthropology at many places before settling at Chabot College. At Chabot, Sperling was able to teach anthropology and eventually become the administrator for social sciences. With her social science and anthropology background, Sperling spent many years, researching and publishing in the areas of deconstructing racism. As well as, looking at issues of gender and inequality. “I want to bring the perspectives, and research in anthropology, to help students understand the importance of cultural diversity, respect between individuals, to educate about the richness of living in a multicultural society and to teach the errors and harms done by racial ideas of the past and present.”
Being at Chabot for 30 years Sperling expressed why she stayed at the college for three decades. “I am deeply honored to be a teacher and now a college president. Chabot is an incredible community of creative and committed educators and students. I couldn’t think of a better place to be. I mean that genuinely.” She continues to state that, “Chabot has shaped me as much as I influenced chabot and probably more so. Although I didn’t think I would be here for 30 years, I couldn’t have found a better place in which to exercise my commitments and abilities as an educator.
When asked about how Chabot College students are using their voice, Sperling responds with, “I am very deeply impressed by the ability of Chabot’s student government to open an arena in which all perspectives and all sides could be brought forth by students”, continuing with, “college students and young people are the hope of the future, and I’m very hopeful with the activism that I see around me right here.” Sperling expresses deeply that community colleges are the hope of the future for many many students across the country. Through her time as Chabot’s President, Sperling is happy to see that the students of the college are using their voice in a way that leads to positive changes.
As she continues her journey at the college, she hopes to raise enough money for grants and to develop a regular kind of balanced funding foundation from the state through the districts’ funding allocation models. Hoping that when the next president comes, the school will have stable funding sources.
Sperling shows compassion, honesty, kindness, and hope for the future of Chabot and it’s students. She believes in the students and has so much for them in the future. Believing that they can accomplish anything, “you have taught me more than I could have ever taught you and I have been moved and endlessly impressed by your gifts and abilities,” she says to future, present, and former Chabot students.