2011-12 Distinguished Service Award: Dayana Salazar

2011-12 Distinguished Service Award: Dayana Salazar (photo by Christina Olivas)

By Amanda Holst, Public Affairs Assistant

The Distinguished Service Award recognizes a faculty member for exemplary service in a leadership capacity to the university and/or community or profession that brings credit to San Jose State University.

For Dayana Salazar, executive director of CommUniverCity San Jose, service means sometimes setting aside personal goals, ideas and direction in order to see what is needed to make a meaningful contribution. Showing by example and contributing to the mission of the university through service have earned her the 2011-2012 Distinguished Service Award.

“To be of service, you need to be prepared to alter your preconceived goals, ideas and general course of action in order to be effective,” Salazar said.

Since joining SJSU’s faculty in 1991, Salazar has demonstrated exemplary service in many ways. A professor of urban and regional planning, she is committed to serving the campus community, providing invaluable hands-on training for students, and building a solid infrastructure between the university and surrounding community.

“I am consistently impressed by how well she works with diverse groups of people and that she is always a professional and positive representative of this institution,” wrote a nominator.

Through her work with CommUniverCity, Salazar interacts with nearly 100 SJSU faculty and staff members, representing 45 departments and programs from every college, to lead more than 9,000 students working with nearly 40,000 neighborhood residents on service learning projects that address local concerns. Salazar said the experience allows her to meet “dedicated and smart faculty and staff members, students and neighborhood leaders” who inspire her and renew her commitment to community-based education on a daily basis.

She is equally committed to teaching and mentoring. Salazar provides students with the knowledge base and practical skills to work as urban planners in real-life settings. She has also served her campus community by helping lead the Search Committee for the Associate Vice President of Undergraduate Studies, the Campus Planning Board Design Subcommittee, the Community Outreach Partnership Center, and the University Library Board.

“What has truly convinced me that SJSU is my home away from home,” she said, “is the spirit of collaboration that runs through every single class, through the faculty members that I meet, and the staff members with whom I interact.”

Salazar earned a bachelor’s degree from Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá, Colombia, and a master’s degree from the University of Cincinnati.