Mayor Rahm Emanuel has named a high-profile Latino activist to replace Cheryl Hyman as the chancellor of City Colleges of Chicago.
Juan Salgado will take over from Hyman, who announced in June that she would end her nearly seven-year run as head of the seven-campus community college system.
Hyman’s announcement came about four months after the system’s faculty gave her a vote of no-confidence, citing uneasiness with steps taken to “reinvent” the network, among them tuition increases for part-time students who make up the bulk of attendees.
Salgado has long been an Emanuel ally. He currently sits on the Chicago Park District board of directors. Emanuel is picking Salgado following what the mayor’s office called “a comprehensive national search” to find Hyman’s successor.
He takes over as the mayor’s plan has stalled to turn Olive-Harvey College on the Far South Side into a transportation and logistics center to try to prepare students for good-paying jobs. Part of the mayor’s College to Careers program, the move is caught in the state’s budget crisis and disputes between the city and Springfield.
Salgado is the president and CEO of Instituto del Progreso Latino on the West Side, where he has worked to help low-income workers acquire the education and skills they need to land higher-paying jobs. He was a campaign co-chair for U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin in 2014, and a MacArthur “Genius Grant” recipient in 2015.
He has a master’s degree in urban planning from the University of Illinois and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Illinois Wesleyan University.
Mayor Richard M. Daley appointed Hyman chancellor in 2010.
The faculty union is “cautiously optimistic” about Salgado’s selection, said Cook County College Teachers Union Local 1600 President Tony Johnston.
“He has an impressive background of community organizing and says he plans to listen to input from the faculty. If Mr. Salgado truly embraces shared governance, that will be a definite step in the right direction for our colleges,” Johnston said. “We hope to work closely with him to roll-back the failed policies of reinvention and provide the best education possible for our students.”