New chancellor announced at City Colleges
By David Struett
The current leader of City Colleges of Chicago, Chancellor Cheryl Hyman, will be replaced by local community organizer Juan Salgado, current president of the Pilsen-based Instituto del Progreso Latino.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel picked Salgado after a “search committee” of board members and faculty sifted through a national pool of applicants. Emanuel announced his pick March 17.
“I am honored that Mayor Emanuel has given me the opportunity to lead and build on the momentum City Colleges has gained in recent years,” said Salgado in a City Colleges press release.
“As a community college graduate myself, I know the value our City Colleges hold in creating better access to education and viable pathways to employment for residents throughout our great city,” he said.
Salgado is the president and CEO of the Pilsen-based Insituto del Progreso Latino, an educational program for career advancement and college preparation.
Instituto del Progreso Latino has “pioneered” an educational system that helps low-income Latino residents gain higher-paying jobs in healthcare and manufacturing, according to the MacArthur Foundation, which awarded Salgado a $625,000 “genius grant” that year.
Salgado grew up in Calumet Park. He attended Moraine Valley community College, got his bachelor’s at Illinois Wesleyan, and a master’s of urban planning at the University of Illinois-Champaign.
Salgado is a mayor-appointed member of the Chicago Park District board of commissioners, and was a co-chair in Senator Durbin’s re-election campaign in 2014.
“We are pleased that he has experience with and understands the importance of education for non-traditional students, including students who need adult education, English as a second language and developmental education,” according to Faculty Council’s April board report. The report also praised Salgado for being open to “shared leadership” with students and faculty.
Faculty have responded to news of the new chancellor with cautious optimism.
Faculty are happy that Chancellor Hyman is leaving, since many thought her leadership was detached and aggressive. But faculty are reluctant to believe that Salgado can completely reverse the changes of reinvention and consolidation that have altered the workings of the city colleges in the last decade.
Salgado is “going to have an issue of trust,” said Jennifer Alexander, president of FC4, the city colleges Faculty Council, but said the council would give him a chance.
“I can easily say that we’re going to start from a place assuming we’ll have mutual respect and trust. I don’t see the point of dwelling in the past,” she said.
“It’s our genuine sentiment and belief that if we can have open communication and respect, that we are already starting out in a better place in terms of our future of the city colleges,” said Alexander.
The faculty union said they were “cautiously optimistic” about the incoming chancellor in a press release.
“He’s entering a challenging climate, with what the last chancellor did with reinvention,” said Kaitlyn Skoirchet, chief of staff of the Cook County College Teachers Union Local 1600. “But as long as he can work with faculty and listen to the needs of the community, he’ll be fine.”
Salgado replaces Hyman, who implemented “reinvention” in 2010 to raise the graduation rate and increase job placement. Reinvention consolidated programs into specific campus “hubs.” Hyman said her program is succeeding and referenced an improved graduation rate of 17 percent, up from seven percent when she started.
Hyman defended her tuition hike in 2015 as necessary to stave off the worst cuts from state funding. “The increase generated $17 million in much-needed additional tuition revenue in FY2016 and has helped us avoid the worst of the State budget impasse,” according to the city colleges’ 2016 five-year-plan.
“At this time presidents are withholding any comments on the new chancellor other than those welcoming him,” according to a City Colleges’ spokesperson. “They are looking forward to getting to know and work with him.”
Chancellor Hyman announced her delayed resignation June 2016, four months after Faculty Council gave her a vote of no-confidence.
Salgado’s appointment by Mayor Emanuel needs to be approved the board of trustees, which is also also appointed by the mayor.
The official transition of chancellors is July 1, the day after Hyman’s contact expires.