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Board of Advisors

The National Center Board of Advisors is a labor-management board with a balanced membership of higher education administrators and union leaders. The Board meets semi-annually to provide guidance to the Executive Director in the functioning of the National Center, to help maintain a cooperative dialogue among labor representatives and administrators in higher education, and to provide ideas and support for the National Center’s initiatives including an annual conference and a bi-annual directory.

Deborah Bell is Executive Director of the Professional Staff Congress (Local 2334, AFT), a labor union representing 25,000 faculty and professional staff at the City University of New York (CUNY), the nation’s largest urban public university. The union seeks to improve compensation and working conditions for its members and to expand resources for public higher education.  She has been at the PSC since 2001, and before that she worked for 23 years for District Council 37, AFSCME, where she served in a variety of positions including Chief Negotiator and Director of Public Policy. She started her career in New York City government as a city planner.  In her current job, she is primarily an administrator, but her areas of expertise include collective bargaining, health care and retirement policy, as well as economic policy issues affecting women workers.

Beverley Brakeman became the UAW Region 9A Director in June 2018.  Previously, she was the Region 9A assistant director. Brakeman, a member of UAW Local 376 in Connecticut, began her work with UAW under the direction of then-UAW Region 9A Director Phil Wheeler. She was hired to run Citizens for Economic Opportunity (CEO), a coalition started by the UAW comprised of community, labor, faith-based and other allied groups with an interest in challenging corporate power and accountability. Under Brakeman’s leadership, CEO took on important fights like the lack of transparency and accountability in the use of state-funded, taxpayer-driven economic development grants and loans to corporations in return for job creation. In the early 2000s when states were fighting for better laws and policies to increase health care coverage for all, Brakeman started and led Labor for Universal Healthcare. This group fought in the legislature, in corporate boardrooms, on the streets and even in police vans against insurance company excessive CEO pay and profits. Prior to coming on the UAW's staff in 2008, Beverley worked as a temporary organizer on the successful drive to organize Foxwoods Casino dealers. She attended the Organizing Institute and worked with the Foxwoods team to build community and political support for the dealers. That year she also ran and won a campaign for her State Senator.

David Cecil
is the Executive Director of United Academics of the University of Oregon, AAUP-AFT Local 3209. He received an MA in History from the University of Oregon in 2001 and served as an officer in the graduate employee union at UO, Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation, AFT Local 3544, while earning his degree. Discovering he loved bargaining contracts more than he loved studying 19th century medical history, he left the PhD program at the UO to become the staff organizer for Local 3544. After 10 years with the graduates, he helped organize United Academics and, after a brief stint as the Chief of Staff of AFT-Oregon, became the Executive Director of United Academics in 2014. As Executive Director, he is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the union, which represents more than 1700 faculty at the UO, including tenure-track and tenured faculty, career non-tenure-track faculty, contingent faculty, research assistants, and postdoctoral scholars.

Theodore H. (Terry) Curry is Professor of Human Resources and Labor Relations at Michigan State University (MSU).  He served from 2007 until 2020 as Associate Provost and Associate Vice President for Academic Human Resources at MSU with responsibility for faculty affairs issues for more 5700 faculty, academic staff, and executive managers.  In his 13 years in the role, he managed the promotion and tenure process, reviewing more than 2,000 reappointment, promotion and tenure dossiers. In collaboration with the Office of Employee Relations, he was responsible for contract negotiations and administration with the MSU non-tenure track teaching faculty and graduate teaching assistants.  Professor Curry and his team worked closely with academic governance and the Council of Deans to revise and create policies to improve the quality, diversity and climate at MSU.  Before his appointment as associate provost, Curry served for eight years as director of the School of Labor and Industrial Relations (now Human Resources and Labor Relations). He joined the faculty of the school in 1976 rising to full professor and associate director before his appointment as director in 1999.

Malini Cadambi Daniel
, is Director for Higher Education of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Her responsibilities include the development of SEIU's national higher education campaign including new adjunct faculty organizing, policy and political advocacy, and other program development.  

Michael Eagen is associate provost for academic personnel at the University of Massachusetts – Amherst where he oversees academic human resources and faculty collective bargaining. Prior to joining UMASS, Michael served as the director of faculty and staff labor relations for the University of Connecticut, where he provided leadership and direction for the university’s employee relations and collective bargaining functions. He also served as counsel for labor and employment within UConn’s Office of the General Counsel. Eagen received his B.A. in economics from the University of Connecticut and his J.D., cum laude, from Western New England University School of Law.

Christopher Fox works as a Fiscal Policy Analyst in the Research and Collective Bargaining Department for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). In that capacity he coordinates the union’s higher education policy. He also provides financial analysis of colleges and universities for AFSCME affiliates as they prepare to bargain on behalf of AFSCME locals which represent 60,000 higher education employees around the country. When necessary, Mr. Fox serves as chief negotiator for a variety of AFSCME locals around the country.

Daniel Greenstein, Chancellor, Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE). Dr. Daniel Greenstein became the fifth chancellor of Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education on September 4, 2018. In that role, he serves as chief executive officer of the State System, which operates Pennsylvania’s 14 public universities, serving nearly 100,000 degree-seeking students and thousands more enrolled in certificate and other career-development programs.‚Äč The chancellor works with the Board of Governors to recommend and develop overall policies for the System. Greenstein previously led the Postsecondary Success strategy at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, where he worked with other higher education leaders across the country on initiatives designed to raise educational-attainment levels and to promote economic mobility, especially among low-income and minority students. He developed and implemented a national strategy for increasing the number of degrees awarded and for reducing the attainment gaps among majority and non-majority students at U.S. colleges and universities. Before joining the foundation, Greenstein was Vice Provost for Academic Planning and Programs for the University of California (UC) system. In that role, he oversaw system-wide academic planning and programs, including the University of California Press; the California Digital Library; the UC system’s Education Abroad Program; internship programs in Washington, D.C., and Sacramento; and UC Online Education. Greenstein has created and led several internet-based academic information services in the United States and the United Kingdom, and served on boards and acted in strategic consulting roles for educational, cultural heritage, and information organizations. He began his academic career as a senior lecturer in Modern History at Glasgow University in Scotland. He holds both bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and a D.Phil. from the University of Oxford.

Joseph Jelincic is the Senior Manager for Systemwide Labor Relations and Collective Bargaining at the California State University (CSU), the nation’s largest four-year public university system. Located at the Office of the Chancellor, he supervises and provides oversight of the collective bargaining functions for the 23-campus system, which includes over 19,000 represented support staff and over 28,000 represented faculty employees. Prior to joining the CSU, Joseph worked for seven years at the California State University Employees Union (CSUEU, SEIU Local 2579), where he served as the chief negotiator and as an advisor to senior leadership on collective bargaining issues. He has represented employees and employers in various arenas, including mediation and arbitration, the California State Personnel Board, the California Public Employment Relations Board, and the California Occupational Safety & Health Appeals Board.

Frederick E. Kowal, Ph.D, Statewide President, United University Professions (UUP). Running on a platform to make United University Professions a dynamic and progressive force, Frederick E. Kowal of Warnerville, NY won election as UUP President in May 2013.  UUP is the nation’s largest public higher education union and represents more than 37,000 academic and professional faculty on the State University of New York’s 29 state-operated campuses. After winning election, Kowal spent the first two years working with chapters across New York to energize and unify what had become a divided and moribund union. Under Kowal’s leadership, UUP has launched a broad and successful union organizing campaign to ensure that it had the political power to resist austerity budgeting dictated by the Cuomo Administration. This initiative created the foundation for UUP’s strength in anticipation of a ruling against organized labor in the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark anus v. AFSCME decision in 2018.  UUP has also become a politically influential organization in New York state, bringing attention to important issues such as securing long-term funding sources for SUNY, combating climate change and fighting for racial and social justice.  Central to this political work has been Kowal’s insistence that UUP take on the role of offering innovative solutions to the challenges facing New York state. His “NY25” plan, released in 2019, is a bold, wide-ranging blueprint that sets SUNY as a leader in combating climate change and the state’s transition to a sustainable future, while promoting the health of all New Yorkers and establishing reliable, long-term resources for public higher education in New York. It sets a solid course for SUNY into the 2020s.  In 2020, Kowal strengthened the bonds between the union and its members during the coronavirus pandemic, spearheading a program to provide UUP members on the front lines with hotel rooms near SUNY’s public hospitals and holding a series of “Tele-town Hall” forums with members—the first time UUP has ever held such events. He directed the purchase of personal protective equipment for essential workers at SUNY’s hospitals, including 100,000 isolation gowns and thousands of N95 masks and Nitrile gloves.  Kowal grew up in the mill town of Chicopee, MA, the son of working class, union-represented parents. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in economics from Western New England University, a master’s in economics at American University and a doctorate in political science from UAlbany. 

Risa L. Lieberwitz is a Professor of Labor and Employment Law in the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations (ILR), where she has been a professor since 1982. She is an associate in the Worker Institute at Cornell and a co-director of the Cornell University Law and Society minor. Professor Lieberwitz currently holds an appointment as General Counsel of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP). She has also served as a member of AAUP Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure. Professor Lieberwitz teaches a wide range of courses, including Labor and Employment Law, Constitutional Aspects of Labor and Employment Law, Employment Discrimination Law, Arbitration, and Theories of Equality and Their Application in the Workplace. Her research addresses these areas, with a current focus on academic freedom in higher education.

Jamie Martin is president of the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF) and a criminology professor at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Since she began her career at IUP in 1996, she has taught undergraduate, master’s and doctoral courses. Her areas of interest and expertise include qualitative research methods and the parental stress and institutional adjustment of incarcerated parents. She has presented over 25 papers at professional conferences and has published articles in journals such as the Journal of Criminal Justice Education, The Prison Journal, and the Journal of Offender Rehabilitation. She has served on a wide array of department, college and university committees and served as the chair of the National Research Committee for the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program. Before becoming APSCUF president in 2020, she chaired the IUP Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice.

Alexandra (Sascha) Matish, Associate Vice Provost for Academic and Faculty Affairs and Senior Director, Academic Human Resources, University of Michigan. Sascha was appointed Associate Vice Provost for Academic and Faculty Affairs and Senior Director of Academic Human Resources at the University of Michigan in June 2019, after serving as interim director since October 2018.  Sascha joined Academic Human Resources in June of 2008, serving as senior academic labor relations representative, associate director and most recently interim senior director.  Prior to coming to University of Michigan, Sascha worked as an assistant general counsel at Wayne State University, where she focused on labor and employment law and collective bargaining issues. Sascha also worked as a union-side attorney in a law firm specializing in public sector labor law in educational settings. Sascha has a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations and Russian Language from James Madison College at Michigan State University and a Juris Doctor from University of Detroit Mercy School of Law.

Lili Palacios-Baldwin began her career at Robinson & Cole LLP where she practiced in the areas of land use, real estate, and labor and employment law, following co-ops with the Massachusetts Land Court, Equal Rights Advocates, and the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc. Ms. Palacios-Baldwin later served as a Senior Trial Attorney at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) where she practiced for almost ten years. While with the EEOC, she litigated individual and class cases within the federal courts, conducted training and public presentations, and worked with federal investigators on both enforcement and litigation matters throughout New England, New York, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.  Upon leaving the EEOC, Ms. Palacios-Baldwin continued her law practice with the firm of Hirsch Roberts Weinstein LLP, a Boston boutique labor, employment and litigation firm.  She currently serves as Deputy General Counsel for Labor, Employment & Litigation at Tufts University, and has been at the university since 2013. Ms. Palacios-Baldwin is a graduate of The Johns Hopkins University and Northeastern University School of Law.

Alyssa Picard is the Director of the Higher Education department of the American Federation of Teachers. With 200,000 members, roughly half of whom are contingent, AFT is the largest higher education union in the United States. Dr. Picard previously served on the field staff of AFT Michigan, helping to organize and negotiate first and subsequent contracts for more than 10,000 contingent faculty members over ten years. She earned a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she was the lead negotiator for the Graduate Employees Organization (Local 3550 AFT Michigan, AFL-CIO) when it won the first-ever child care provisions in an American graduate employee contract; subsequently, she staffed the local when it negotiated the first-ever trans-inclusive health insurance benefits in an academic collective bargaining agreement in the US. She is the author of "Making the American Mouth: Dentists and Public Health in the 20th Century" (Rutgers University Press, 2009), which was named to the American Association of University Press's 2010 "Best of the Best" list, and has taught as an adjunct at Muhlenberg College and in the Wayne State University Labor School, a nondegree program for working adults.

Thomas H. Riley, Jr. is the Executive Director of Labor and Employee Relations and Special Counsel for the University of Illinois System.  For over 30 years Mr. Riley has counseled and represented private and public-sector employers on all aspects of labor and employment law issues, including substantial experience handling complex labor matters in higher education. At the University of Illinois, Mr. Riley oversees negotiations, administration and strategy for the university’s 50 collective bargaining agreements across the three campuses in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield covering many of the approximately 25,000 employees in a wide range of bargaining units such as service and clerical, health care professionals, trades, police, nurses, faculty and graduate student unions.  He counsels university administration to align human resource, budgetary and operational goals and routinely directs and advises on a multitude of labor issues, such as bargaining unit formation, compliance, strikes and picketing, retaliation, interest arbitration, labor litigation and agency matters including unfair labor practice claims and union organizing, arbitration and mediation, and preventive strategies.

Carol Robles-Román brings an exceptional breadth of experience in legal and judicial matters, government operations, higher education governance, and civil rights enforcement to her position as General Counsel and Dean of Faculty at Hunter College.  Most recently, Robles-Román served as Co-President and CEO of the ERA Coalition/Fund for Women’s Equality, where she led legal and advocacy efforts to advance constitutional equality.  From 2002 to 2013, Robles-Román served as New York City Deputy Mayor for Legal Affairs and Counsel to Mayor Michael Bloomberg. In that role, she oversaw 13 agencies and managed critical compliance matters, including issues involving the City’s Commission on Human Rights, Conflicts of Interest Board, Office of Administrative Trials & Hearings, and Environmental Control Board. She was also the Public Records Appeals Officer for City Hall. She previously served as New York State Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Rights Bureau, as well as Special Inspector General for Bias Matters and Special Counsel for the New York State Unified Court System.  Robles-Román was a CUNY Trustee from 2002 to 2016, where she chaired the Committee on Student Affairs and Special Programs and served on the Executive and Fiscal Affairs Committees, along with the Committee on Faculty, Staff and Administration.  As the College’s in-house legal counsel, Robles-Román oversees Hunter’s Office of Legal Affairs and advises the President, college administrators and faculty on a broad array of issues, including litigation, employment and labor law, governance, fundraising, contracts, real estate and regulatory matters, and administration and interpretation of University bylaws. As Labor Designee, she manages the College's instructional staff labor relations with the Professional Staff Congress and serves as the liaison with the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Labor Relations. She also serves as the College's Chief Ethics Officer and Public Records Access Officer. She holds a BA from Fordham University and a JD from the New York University School of Law.

DeWayne Sheaffer, President of the National Council for Higher Education of the National Education Association (NEA) is a graduate of California State University at Stanislaus, where he earned a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in marketing.  Following graduation, Mr. Sheaffer took a position at California State University, Los Angeles working in the Admissions and Records Office.  While completing his Master of Science degree in Counseling with an emphasis in higher education, he moved to California State University at Dominguez Hills serving as the supervisor of the graduation unit. Since 1996 he has worked at Long Beach City College (LBCC) in the Counseling and Student Development Department. While at LBCC, he has served in several leadership capacities including Department Chair, Transfer Coordinator, Career Services Coordinator, and Association President at the college.

Pamela S. Silverblatt
is the Interim General Counsel & Sr. Vice Chancellor for Legal Affairs and Labor Relations at The City University of New York (CUNY). Ms. Silverblatt joined CUNY in January 2008 after nearly seven years in the New York City Mayor's Office of Labor Relations. Ms. Silverblatt oversees and manages CUNY's Labor Relations with its Faculty and Classified Staff. Prior to joining CUNY, Ms. Silverblatt represented the Mayor in labor relations matters affecting New York City and over 100 labor organizations. Her responsibilities included managing the General Counsel's Office, Negotiators, Supervision of the Budget and Personnel Administration. Ms. Silverblatt was responsible for the management and oversight of the New York City Health Benefits Program as well as the Deferred Compensation Program. Ms. Silverblatt served nearly 12 years at the NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC), finishing as the Senior Assistant Vice President of Operations with responsibilities for all of the Corporation's labor relations departments, including Labor Relations/Labor Counsel, Workforce Planning and Development, Personnel, Classification and Compensation, Examinations and Certification. Ms. Silverblatt is a graduate of the SUNY Binghamton and received her J.D. Degree from Hofstra University School of Law.

Christopher Simeone is Director of the Department of Organizing and Services at the American Association of University Professors.

Karen R. Stubaus is Vice President for Academic Affairs and Administration at Rutgers, a position she has held since January 2013. She serves as the responsible university administrative officer at Rutgers for a broad array of academic, budgetary, and strategic matters across the university's three geographical campuses in New Brunswick, Newark, and Camden, as well as for Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences (RBHS), a new Rutgers entity created effective July 1, 2013 with the integration of most of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey into Rutgers. Karen has assumed a leadership role in the development and implementation of the first New Brunswick Campus Strategic Plan in over two decades, as well as in the implementation of the university-wide strategic plan. She is responsible for faculty and academic labor relations and provides the interface between Academic Affairs and General Counsel's Office on all faculty matters. Throughout her career Karen has been a leader in increasing the diversity of the faculty and in promoting women's leadership at all levels of the institution. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Douglass College, Karen received her Ph.D. in seventeenth-century American History from Rutgers. She teaches whenever she is able in the School of Arts and Sciences Department of American Studies and in the Department of Women's and Gender Studies. Her favorite course is "Death and Dying in American History," which her students note "is not nearly as grim as expected."

Charles Toombs, PhD (Purdue University), is Professor and Immediate Past Chair of Africana Studies, San Diego State University (SDSU). His area of specialization and publications are in African American literature. He is President of the California Faculty Association (CFA) and previous SDSU CFA Chapter President. He serves on AAUP’s Committee A, Academic Freedom and Tenure, and he is one of AAUP’s representatives to the New Deal for Higher Education Campaign Steering Committee. He was one of six U.S. union leaders invited by the Shanghai Education Union for meetings in China, March 2018. He was selected as the San Diego State University Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Unsung Hero for 2018, 2014 SDSU Faculty Diversity Award recipient, and African American Educator of San Diego County for 2011 by Phi Delta Kappa, Inc. He is committed to anti-racism and social and cultural justice.

Liesl K. Zwicklbauer
is the Associate Vice Chancellor for Employee Relations at the State University of New York (SUNY). Liesl received her bachelor’s degree from Lafayette College, and law degree from Albany Law School, Union University. She joined the State University of New York, the nation’s largest public university system, after 7 years of private practice focusing on public sector labor law. Her office represents the University in its relations with unionized faculty and staff (60,000 employees), serving 29 campuses and administering 9 collective bargaining agreements. Liesl concentrates on faculty and professional staff issues, managing and administering the collective bargaining agreement covering over 35,000 faculty and professional staff, representing the Chancellor in both the contract and disciplinary grievance process, and providing technical and strategic advice to campus administrators. Liesl has been a University representative on the State’s team for negotiations with the faculty and professional employee bargaining unit, represented by United University Professions, and the Graduate Student Employees Union, represented by the Communication Workers of America.

Ex-Officio Board of Advisors

William Connellan
is Assistant Provost at the University of Florida. He became the chief bargainer for the University of Florida in 2012, after a 41-year career at Oakland University in Michigan.  He is currently responsible for negotiations with graduate assistant and faculty bargaining units.   At Oakland University, he served in various administrative capacities, including a two-year stint as acting vice president for academic affairs.  He also had a faculty appointment in journalism and visiting scholar appointments at the University of Michigan and Harvard University. His graduate degrees are from the University of Michigan.
Jeffrey Cross is the Former Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs at Eastern Illinois University (Emeritus). Mr. Cross served in the Teacher Corps in Bowling Green, Warren County, Kentucky, and graduated from Western Kentucky University with an M.A. degree in 1972. He worked for the Illinois Department of Public Health in Springfield, Illinois, before joining the faculty and administrative staff of Ferris State university in 1976, where he served  in a variety of administrative positions including Acting Dean, and Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs. Mr. Cross was hired at Eastern Illinois University as Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs in 1998 and continues in that capacity. He was awarded a Ph.D. by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2004; his dissertation is titled, The Impact of College and University Faculty Collective Bargaining on State Appropriations to Public High Education. Mr. Cross is currently a Board Member of the National Center and is Co-editor of the Journal of Collective Bargaining in the Academy.

Gary Rhoades is Professor of Higher Education at the University of Arizona, on leave from January 2009 to serve as General Secretary of the American Association of University Professors in Washington, D.C.  Rhoades was Professor and Director of the Center for the Study of Higher Education from 1997-2009, and has been a faculty member at the Center for the Study of Higher Education since August 1986.  Rhoades’ scholarship focuses on the restructuring of academic institutions and of professions in the academy, as well as on science and technology policy, and comparative higher education.  That scholarship is informing his work with the AAUP.  In addition to his books, Managed Professionals (1998, SUNY Press), and Academic Capitalism and the New Economy (with Sheila Slaughter, 2004, Johns Hopkins University Press), Rhoades is now working on a new volume, tentatively entitled, Managing to be Different: From Strategic Imitation to Strategic Imagination. He is currently a Board Member of the National Center and is Co-editor of the Journal of Collective Bargaining in the Academy.