A Fond Farewell to José Saleta, Maestro de la Geografía


In a recent email to all Geography graduate students, José Saleta, our Student Programs Manager, commented: “As some of you have heard, I have accepted a new job at the Santa Barbara Unified School District. It is a great opportunity for me, and I am very excited about my new job, but I have mixed feelings, as I also enjoy very much my job here in the Geography department. At the end, I have decided to move on. I expect my last day in Geography to be next Friday, January 17. At the risk of sounding corny, I want to express what a pleasure it has been for me to have gotten to know and work with all of you. You are an exceptional group of people, and you’ve made my job in Geography really enjoyable. Thank you!!!”

Originally from Madrid, Spain, José came to Santa Barbara and the Department in 1990 as a graduate student after earning a degree in Forestry at the Polytechnic University of Madrid. He married a UCSB PhD grad student in Anthropology and graduated with an MA in Geography in 1995, having specialized in remote sensing for natural resource management. He then returned to Spain where he taught GIS, remote sensing, and surveying at the Public University of Navarre in Pamplona for four years. José and his wife returned to Santa Barbara in 2000, became naturalized US citizens, and then had their second son. An avid potter in his graduate years, José says his only hobbies now are his children, Pablo and Oscar.

José worked as a development engineer at the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management’s microscopy facility for several years before taking a staff position in Geography as an Administrative Assistant to Geography Professor Reg Golledge in August of 2006. He became the Student Programs Manager for the Department of Geography in 2009, and he has taught several introductory Geography classes since that time, making him, literally and figuratively, a maestro de la geografía—at least insofar as “maestro” means both master and teacher in Spanish. We will miss him.

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José is on top of the world over his new job, albeit with mixed feelings. He will give the Geography Colloquium presentation on Thursday, January 16, 2014 as a farewell gesture: “I thought I could do a brief review of some of the aspects of the graduate program, and try to answer what I’ve noticed are the most frequently asked questions. Please bring your questions so I can show how much I don’t know about the program! ;)”

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