Professor Salas is a graduate of North Carolina State University and received his Juris Doctor from Wake Forest University in 1971. He joined Florida International University in 1975 and is a professor in the School of International and Public Affairs. As Associate Vice President for Research, Dr. Salas fosters and promotes sponsored research, as well as coordinates and plans research and technological development for centers reporting to the Office of the Vice President for Research. These centers consist of the International Hurricane Research Center (IHRC), which includes the Wall of Wind, and the Applied Research Center (ARC). Additionally, he works directly with the Vice President to develop the FIU Research Foundation, and other matters pertaining to research development and the Office of Research and Economic Development. He has served as the director of the Center for the Administration of Justice (CAJ) since 1984. CAJ is widely recognized as one of this country’s premier justice reform institutions working in developing countries.
A criminal law specialist, Dr. Salas has been linked to efforts to improve the administration of justice in Latin America since the first regional program of the Administration of Justice, sponsored by the U.S. Agency for International Cooperation. Dr. Salas has been a consultant to a number of state, federal and international organizations as well as private consulting firms. He has conducted technical assistance, training, and evaluation consultancies for USAID and other international donors in Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Venezuela, and beyond the region, in Jordan. Salas was contracted by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) to conduct an assessment of Public security in six post-conflict countries (Guatemala, El Salvador, Haiti, Rwanda, Somalia, and Mozambique. As the lead technical consultant to the Harvard Institute for International Development (HIID) and Harvard Law School Rule of Law Project in Central America, Salas worked on modernizing Central American property systems (real property, personal property, intellectual property and copyrights) as well as linking them with land cadasters. He also led an initiative of the Florida Attorney General to educate Spanish-speaking people about crime prevention and the legal system in the state of Florida.
Dr. Salas is a professor in the School of Criminal Law where he teaches courses on comparative systems of justice, criminal procedure and other process materials. His publications include several books and numerous articles on issues of justice.