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Associate Dean Dr. Kimberly Salgado: A Faculty Q&A

SNHU associate dean Dr. Kimberly Salgado.After working as a sales and marketing manager, and then corporate partnerships in the hospitality industry, Dr. Kimberly Salgado began her career in higher education. She earned her Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Western International University and a doctorate in higher education administration from Immaculata University. She is now an associate dean of Southern New Hampshire University’s (SNHU) online general education and graduate education programs, and recently answered questions about the importance of education, how she connects with students and more. 

Please tell us a bit about your professional background. 

I started my professional journey as an executive sales and marketing manager while working for Marriott. I moved up in that role, and continued to work in corporate partnership development for another 10 years.

I moved into higher education in 2005, working in corporate partnership development for a small Catholic university in Oklahoma. That is when I fell in love with higher education. I advanced to academics as a dean in 2011, and have been in higher education for 18 years. 

What year did you join SNHU?

I joined SNHU in March of 2016, as an associate dean of faculty for the online business programs with oversight of business law, international business, project management, human resources and public administration courses and faculty. 

I had the opportunity to move to the general education team in May of 2018, where I have served as an associate dean for general education and interdisciplinary studies along with graduate education. I have had oversight of humanities, social science and graduate education courses and faculty. I’ve also helped our team to design and implement the new general education curriculum, The Commons. 

What first drew you to higher education?  

Both of my parents were educators, and my father taught in higher education. My grandfather was also an educator and taught in higher ed, and had a doctorate in mathematics. They loved their work; it was inspiring and influential to me. 

What aspects of your own education have been particularly influential in shaping your professional life in academia?  

My interest in higher education culminates from a love of learning, supporting students and faculty, building connections and an extraordinary drive to make a difference. When I make a difference in a student’s life, even anonymously, it gives me an incredible feeling of joy. 

How do you continue to learn and evolve as a leader in higher education?  

I serve as an accreditation evaluator for the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs and usually evaluate two to three universities a year. I am an avid reader, and I continuously take courses in experiential learning and sustainability. 

What do you feel is unique about the faculty, students and programs you oversee? 

I feel that our faculty and students know that we care about them. I try to demonstrate care in everything I do. I believe our faculty model that behavior as well, and are truly the most talented online faculty. I see their extraordinary work every day. 

Can you think of a particularly impactful or eye-opening moment as a faculty member? 

Watching my students graduate has always been the most inspirational moment for me as a faculty and dean. The joy on their faces is priceless, and for me to have shared in their journey is a blessing. 

How have you found ways to effectively connect with students?  

I’m open to giving my students my phone number to allow for text messages and calls. I also send video messages and tutorials to those who struggle. It’s my way to inspire and motivate those who may really need that kind of communication. This has been most beneficial in building connections and bonds with students. 

What advice do you have for new and current students?  

Don’t ever give up on your educational journey; keep moving in the direction of success. It’s okay when life forces us to pause once in a while, but then you must get right back on the horse as soon as you are able.

When it comes to the future of education, particularly for programs in education, what’s on your mind?  

I feel that it is critical that we start to incorporate experiential learning into our curriculum, along with study abroad (virtual and boots on the ground) learning opportunities for our students. They want it, and they need it to truly become global well-rounded citizens. 

Why is education important to you and the world at large? 

My personal mission is to use education and research to build bridges of collaboration, that can transform students into socially responsible and ethical citizens of the future. 

Beyond work, what’s something you’re passionate about or really enjoy doing?  

I love the outdoors and animals. I like to hike, kayak, bike and travel. I’m passionate about sustainability and volunteer regularly.

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Joe Cote is a staff writer at Southern New Hampshire University. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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