When Associate Professor Manuel Salgado, PhD, is asked to describe his job at ECC, the answer goes far beyond “I teach psychology.” In his words, “I facilitate and support the learning of students from diverse backgrounds and identities.” This is a role he takes seriously, thoughtfully preparing lessons with diverse perspectives, helping students work through challenges, and encouraging college community involvement.
Salgado notes that when he started at ECC in 2003 as a counselor, the college had a less diverse employee population. He was fortunate to connect immediately with other Latinx and African American professionals. "This beginning experience gave me hope and a sense of relief that I was not alone and I may count on others to understand and empathize with my experience,” Salgado explained. This shared experience and empathy for others continues to guide Salgado’s work today.
Read more about Salgado and his passion for education and social justice below.
What is your greatest accomplishment since you’ve been here?
In 2012, I was awarded/recognized with a certificate of excellence “in recognition of continuous support and dedication on behalf of undocumented students.” The most rewarding part of this recognition was that it didn’t come from higher level administrators or even colleagues, this came from the community of students I was involved with in their quest for justice and identity.
What’s something about your job that others should know?
Time in the classroom is only one small part of the job. The true work of facilitating learning and personal growth happens outside of the classroom. Some examples include preparing a lesson with a diverse perspective, addressing a student problem (life problem) in a way that is respectful and encouraging to the student, and involvement in student events and policy development.
What would you do if you were the ECC president for a day?
I would use the time to talk to leaders in our community who work with our most vulnerable or under-resourced populations to develop relationships, partnerships, and get ideas of how to best serve their needs.
If there was a movie about your life, who would you want to play you?
Edward James Olmos. Mr. Olmos has been involved in what I would consider impact movies. Movies that address a difficult topic or problem in our society—and did a great job doing so. My life has been devoted to the service of others, and I would want someone who could display the passion, confidence, and complexity that is typical of such a life.
What’s on your “bucket list?”
Traveling to and experiencing life in a developing country; sitting courtside at an NBA game, preferably the Bulls, Minnesota Timberwolves, or Golden State Warriors; flying in a helicopter and/or jet.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work (i.e., hobbies/interests)?
I enjoy spending time with family—movie nights, watching NBA games and Spanish soccer (la Liga), and playing soccer and basketball.
Where was the best place you’ve traveled? Or where would you like to visit?
The best places I have traveled are Queretaro, San Miguel Allende, and Guanajuato, all Mexican towns/cities.
What’s one fact we should know about you?
I am passionate about issues related to immigration (immigration reform, DACA extension with a path to citizenship), education (education funding reform), and multicultural competencies.
What would be your “theme song?”
Un Puño de Tierra by Ramon Ayala or Mojado by Ricardo Arjona.
What was your first job out of school?
After earning my Masters in Counseling Education from NIU, I worked as a mental health clinician at Lutheran Social Services on the northwest side of Chicago.
What quote best describes your philosophy?
“Cada sacrificio tiene su recompensa” (There is a reward for every sacrifice in life). Or "The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others," by Ghandi.
Complete this sentence: “I enjoy working at ECC because … my job offers a variety of opportunities to influence change in people’s lives.”