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English professor brings unique approach to campus

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A civil rights activist, a staple in the global films series and a member of the teacher’s union are all things that were used to describe English professor Linda Sneed.

But her colleagues agreed that she is more than that.

A part-time instructor at Cosumnes River College since 2003, Sneed has brought a new approach to the classroom and beyond.

“Linda is the real deal,” said the Dean of the Humanities and Social Science Department Ginny McReynolds. “She is honest, funny and observant.”

Fellow English professor Lisa Abraham echoed that sentiment.

“She’s committed to doing her job to the best of her ability, she is serious about the work she does,” Abraham said.

However, that work goes well beyond the classroom. As a member of the California Federation of Teachers, Sneed is “interested in workplace issues, teacher’s rights and student’s rights,” Abraham said.

Sneed became active in the Los Rios CFT in 2007 and never looked back.

“I started out as a member of the executive board representing part-time faculty,” Sneed said. “Then a couple years later I got involved at the state level.”

She currently serves as a vice president at the state level and represents the whole union.

Not only is Sneed a community activist, but she is also an activist when it comes to global issues.

Sneed took a trip to Bethlehem through a sister city delegation that Sacramento holds with Bethlehem. The idea was to spread awareness of person-to-person diplomacy and “build a sense of kinship,” Sneed said.

“We brought a gift and a letter from Mayor [Kevin] Johnson and delivered it to the mayor of Bethlehem,” she said. “Our delegation got to spend several hours in her home with her and her daughters.”

That passion for civil rights is not lost on her colleagues at CRC.

“As a colleague, I found she has a curiosity about the world, learning new things and sharing them with us,” said English professor Heather Hutcheson.

Sneed said that passion was definitely built when she was a kid.

“I’ve always had a strong feeling for justice, I definitely felt it as a kid,” she said. “My dad was very committed to civil rights, he was very dedicated to giving charitably.”

However, Sneed wasn’t ready to give all the credit to her dad.

“Given the various ways I rebelled against him I don’t know if that was entirely it,” she said jokingly. “Kids tend to have a very fierce sense of justice and equality and when I became a teenager, I got pretty interested in it.”

That fierce sense of justice was something that was brought to CRC by Sneed. But it was her willingness to share her knowledge and help others that McReynolds wanted to point to.

“She is extremely bright and well-read, sensitive, and dedicated to the educational process,” McReynolds said. “She is very empathetic toward her students and her co-workers and frequently goes out of her way to help people who need it.”

However, Hutcheson said it is also that fire that Sneed possesses that is admired by her co-workers.

“In general, she has a very confrontational approach to issues, which challenges us to think,” she said. “It can be difficult at times, but it yields powerful results.”

Sneed brings that very same approach to the classroom as well.

“Students have a lot more skill than they realize they have and what’s often missing is the confidence,” she said. “if their own existing skill and their own ability to learn has been bolstered, then I feel I have done my job.”

With a work ethic as strong as her willingness to help people, Sneed simply wants to bring awareness to others.

“I’ve had friends say to me ‘gosh, how can you think about that stuff, it’s so depressing’ or ‘how can you think about Israel-Palestine? That stuff is so depressing’” she said. “I would be depressed if I knew this reality existed and I pretended it didn’t. Actually facing it and asking what can be done, makes me a healthier person.”

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English professor brings unique approach to campus