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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 the Directory of Faculty Contracts and Bargaining Agents.

Ahsan Ali currently serves as the Director of Labor Relations at Tufts University. Previously, he held various positions at MIT for a decade, culminating in his role as the Associate Director of Labor Relations. During his tenure at MIT, significant developments occurred in labor organization, including the establishment of a libraries union and a graduate student union of around 3500 student employees. Additionally, there was de-certification of an existing international local union and the formation of a new independent union, along with the incorporation of existing positions into existing labor unions. Before his time at Tufts and MIT, Ahsan served as Labor Counsel for the City of Boston. In this capacity, he worked with a team of attorneys who were responsible for negotiating and overseeing collective bargaining agreements with the city's 21 unions, which represent 7,500 employees.

Jessica Alvarez, Interim General Counsel, Hunter College. As the college’s in-house legal counsel, Alvarez provides advice and counsel to the president and administrators on matters including governance, labor relations, litigation, students’ rights and responsibilities, and faculty tenure and promotion. As legal-affairs designee, Alvarez manages the college’s litigation in coordination with the offices of the New York State Attorney General and the University’s Senior Vice Chancellor for Legal Affairs and General Counsel. As labor designee, she manages instructional-staff labor relations with the Professional Staff Congress and serves as the liaison with the office of the Vice Chancellor for Labor Relations. Alvarez also serves as the ethics officer and public-records access officer. Before joining Hunter College, Alvarez worked as a litigation associate for Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP and served as a law clerk for The Honorable Edgardo Ramos of the Southern District of New York. She holds degrees from Dartmouth College and New York University School of Law.

Martin Balinsky has been the statewide vice president of the college bargaining council of the United Faculty of Florida (UFF) since 2018 and the chapter president at UFF-Tallahassee Community College (UFF-TCC) since 2022, where he had served as its vice president since 2016. UFF has about 9,000 members and serves over 20,000 bargaining unit members, in about 40 different chapters. Balinsky was a founding member of the UFF-TCC collective bargaining chapter in 2016, when it petitioned for and won a faculty vote for recognition, and has served as a member of the chapter’s bargaining team since that time, carrying the role of co-chief negotiator from 2016-2022 and having successfully helped bargained four contracts. Balinsky has successfully led his chapter through legislative challenges in Florida while continuing to maintain a belief in the power of collaborative relationships between faculty and administrators in successfully reaching agreements that benefit both sides. 

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.

Doriane K. Gloria, Senior Vice Chancellor for University Human Resources and Labor Relations at The City University of New York. Dorianne was appointed to this role in June 2023 after serving as vice chancellor for university human resources since December 2019. Previously, she served at the highest levels of human resources management in higher education, health care and nonprofit organizations. Most recently, she worked as the vice president of human resources at the New York Blood Center, where she was recognized for her leadership in increasing employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities. She also served in a similar capacity at the Physician Affiliate Group of New York, where she designed, built and staffed a human resources infrastructure for this primary affiliate of the NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation. Prior to that, Ms. Gloria was the chief human resources officer at Suffolk County Community College, the largest community college in the State University of New York system, where she developed and implemented college-wide policies to improve labor and employee relations, benefits planning and training programs. She is an expert in performance management, talent acquisition and retention, benefits and compensation, employee/labor relations and many other skill sets within the human resources arena. She started her career at NYU Medical Center, where she worked for nearly 20 years, rising to the position of senior director of human resources for the network of medical facilities that included NYU Hospitals Center, the Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation and the NYU School of Medicine. Ms. Gloria earned her MBA in management and organizational behavior from NYU’s Stern School of Business, and a BBA in management from Hofstra University.

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.

Jenny Ho is a mother of three and the Assistant Director of Research and Collective Bargaining for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) International Union. Jenny has over a decade of experience in the labor movement. She has previously served as the Director of Advocacy for the Washington Federation of State Employees (WFSE), a Labor Economist for AFSCME International, a strategic researcher for the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW), and a community organizer for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Jenny has a master's in Public Administration from Cornell University, in which she completed her graduate research on organizing Asian American workers.

Joseph Jelincic is the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Collective Bargaining at the California State University and serves as the Chief Negotiator for the nation’s largest four-year public university system. Located at the Office of the Chancellor and reporting directly to the Vice Chancellor for Human Resources, Joseph is responsible for the collective bargaining functions for the 23-campus system, which includes over 19,000 represented support staff, approximately 9,000 represented academic student employees, and over 29,000 represented faculty members; all of whom are contained in thirteen (13) different bargaining units with a collective annual compensation cost in excess of $4.2 billion. In his current role, Joseph provides strategic direction and is the principal advisor on collective bargaining issues for the Chancellor and their senior leadership team, Trustees, campus presidents, and other university administrators. Prior to joining Cal State in 2018, Joseph worked for seven years at the California State University Employees Union (CSUEU, SEIU Local 2579), where he served as the chief negotiator. He also has experience in private sector labor relations, in both for-profit and non-profit environments. He has represented both employees and employers in various arenas, including mediation and arbitration, the California State Personnel Board, the California Public Employment Relations Board, the National Labor Relations Board, and the California Occupational Safety & Health Appeals Board.

Alissa G. Karl, Vice President for Academics, United University Professions. Karl of Rochester, NY is an associate professor of English at SUNY Brockport and took office as UUP’s Vice President for Academics in August 2021. Before she became Statewide VPA, Karl was Brockport Chapter President (2019-21) and a member of UUP’s Statewide Executive Board (2020-21). A native of Sacramento, Calif., Karl was raised in a public employee union household. A first-generation college student from a working-class family, she has experienced firsthand how the public sector and organized labor are essential for all people to lead dignified lives. Karl’s path as a scholar and teacher has always included labor activism within higher ed. She became involved in the labor movement in 1999, when she joined the organizing committee for teaching and research assistants at the University of Washington—a union drive that successfully established United Auto Workers Local 4121. During that yearslong fight for union recognition and a contract, she also worked on various organizing campaigns around the country with the UAW. Karl began her career at SUNY in 2007 as an assistant professor in Brockport’s English Department and was promoted to associate professor in 2014. As she was earning tenure and promotion, Karl confronted the struggles that SUNY workers face with inadequate family and parental leave provisions on our campuses–an area in which UUP has since made great strides through the bargaining process. Karl is a specialist in modern and contemporary Anglophone literature; most recently, her work has focused on labor politics and economic imaginaries in contemporary literature and culture. She is author of Modernism and the Marketplace: Literary Culture and Consumer Capitalism in Rhys, Woolf, Stein and Nella Larsen (Routledge, 2009) and co-editor of the collections Neoliberalism and the Novel (Routledge, 2015) and Rereading Empathy (Bloomsbury, 2022). Her articles and book chapters have appeared in a variety of academic and public-facing venues. Karl holds a BA in English from George Washington University (1998), an MA in English from the University of Manchester (UK, 1999), and a Ph.D. in English Language and Literature from the University of Washington at Seattle (2005).

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.

Nancy Long
, Interim Executive Director, American Association of University Professors.

Brandon Mancilla is the Director of UAW Region 9A, representing over 35,000 workers in New York, New England, and Puerto Rico. He was elected to the UAW International Executive Board in the union’s first-ever direct election in December 2022. Previously, he was the first president of the Harvard Graduate Students Union - UAW Local 5118 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His experience with Local 5118 began as a rank-and-file organizer. After beginning graduate school at Harvard University, he joined the organizing drive which delivered one of the largest private sector organizing victories in the last 20 years. During the 29-day long strike of 2019, he was on the strike coordinating team planning university disruptions. As president, Brandon helped build the new local with an emphasis on developing member-led committees to address contract enforcement, anti-harassment organizing, and campus and Boston-area labor solidarity efforts. Under his leadership, Local 5118 went back on strike and won a successor contract in 2021. Brandon has also worked for UAW Local 2325 – the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys in New York City as a local staff organizer. At UAW 2325, he led negotiations on first contract bargaining campaigns and successor agreements; conducted new organizing drives; and designed and led delegate and bargaining committee member trainings. Brandon was born into a working-class Guatemalan immigrant family in New York City. His commitment to building worker power comes in large part from his experience seeing how union membership allowed his family to achieve a level of stability and job protections that working-class immigrants in non-union jobs rarely have. He has a master’s degree in History from Harvard University and a bachelor’s degree from Williams College. He currently lives in Queens, New York.

Kenneth M. Mash is the President of the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF), which represents approximately 5500 faculty and coaches at the 14 universities comprising Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education. In addition to serving as president, he previously served as vice president and chair of the faculty statewide meet & discuss team. He has also served on faculty negotiations teams and the negotiations team for coaches. He is also a member of the National Center’s Board of Advisors. He is on leave from his position as professor at East Stroudsburg University's (ESU) Political Science Department. He holds a B.A. from Queens College-CUNY and a M.A. and Ph.D. from Pennsylvania State University.

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.

Scott Phillipson is Chair of the SEIU Higher Education Council.  He is the President of SEIU Local 200United, a union of 15,000 members in New York, Vermont, and Pennsylvania.  The Local represents both public and private sector workers in a variety of industries including over 25 Colleges and Universities where the local represents members on both the academic and facilities side of these institutions.  Scott is a graduate of Le Moyne College with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Industrial Labor Relations and Human Resources and Juris Doctor from Syracuse University College of Law.

Andre’ Poplar is the Vice Chancellor for Human Resources and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at Oakland Community College.  He is a licensed attorney and has served as the Chief Bargaining Representative in collective bargaining negotiations at Oakland Community College, and in his previous roles as the Executive Director of Labor Relations and Benefits at the Detroit Public Schools Community District, and Labor and Employment Attorney for the Third Judicial Circuit Court – (Wayne County Michigan).  In his various roles, Andre’ has implemented and negotiated improved processes that increased the efficiency of both the HR and labor relations functions. He is recognized for his work in aligning people and culture initiatives to an organization’s strategic priorities and values. Andre’ holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Eastern Michigan University and earned his Juris Doctorate from Indiana University – Maurer School of Law. He also holds a certificate in Labor Relations from Cornell University.

Thomas H. Riley, Jr. is the Executive Director of Labor and Special Counsel for the University of Illinois System.  For over 35 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 System's 55 collective bargaining agreements across the three campuses in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield covering many of the approximately 30,000 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.

Julie Schmid is the Senior Director for Higher Education at the American Federation of Teachers. Prior to joining AFT, Julie served as Executive Director of the American Association of University Professors, a position she held for a decade, and as AFT-Wisconsin’s chief of staff and higher ed. organizing director for six years. From 2014-16 she served as a WISCAPE affiliate for the Center for Advancement of Post-Secondary Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Julie has published numerous articles on academic labor and is co-editor of Cogs in the Classroom: The Changing Identity of Academic Labor. Julie holds a PhD in English from the University of Iowa and has been involved in the academic labor movement since 1993, when she became active in organizing the graduate union there.

Letitia Silas is an accomplished attorney and executive leader with a diverse background in private and public sector labor and employment law, with a specific focus in traditional labor and employee relations.  She most recently served as the Executive Director of Systemwide Labor Relations, Office of the President, for the University of California. In that role, she was the chief strategist and advisor to the UC President and Board of Regents on labor relations matters and responsible for the University’s labor relations program and strategy across the University’s 10 campuses, 5 medical centers, and 3 national laboratories, covering over 130,000 union-represented employees.  Under her leadership, the UC closed multiple, historic contracts with major labor unions without disruptions to labor peace.  She was also the strategic force that successfully led the UC through a systemwide, multi-week strike by graduate student and other academic employees.  Prior to the UC, Letitia represented private employers in traditional labor and employment matters at two of the nation’s largest exclusively labor and employment law firms and served as Sr. Labor Counsel and Director of Labor Relations for Howard University and Hospital. Prior to private practice, Letitia was a trial attorney and investigator for the National Labor Relations Board; an EEO Investigator and Compliance Officer for the U.S. Department of Labor (OFCCP), a legislative aid to a state elected official, and an intern for a renown U.S. Senator. Letitia is an advisory board member for the National Center for the Study of Collective Bargaining in Higher Education and Co-Chair of the Committee on In-House Counsel for the American Bar Association, Labor and Employment Division. She also served as a Chapter Editor for the ABA’s Developing Labor Law for several years. Her written work on employee and labor relations matters has been featured in several legal and business publications.

Pamela S. Silverblatt is Senior Counsel, Bond, Schoeneck & King. Pam is a labor relations attorney helping employers manage labor negotiations, collective bargaining and other workplace issues. Pam brings a distinguished career overseeing labor relations, human resource management, higher education administration, employee benefits and employment law in public sector and higher education settings. Before joining Bond, Pam served as Senior Vice Chancellor for Labor Relations for the City University of New York (CUNY), the nation’s largest urban public university system. At CUNY, Pam developed collective bargaining strategy and led the university’s labor negotiations for more than 30,000 employees with 14 unions, including faculty, professional staff, security, nurses and skilled trades. From 2018 – 2020  Pam served as CUNY’s Interim Senior Vice Chancellor for Legal Affairs and General Counsel where she supervised a team of 15 attorneys responsible for all university-wide legal affairs and litigation management relating to faculty, staff and students, including matters related to discrimination, disability, free speech, governance, freedom of information, contractual issues, compliance, intellectual property and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Earlier in her career, Pam was appointed by two successive mayors to serve as the First Deputy Labor Commissioner for the City of New York. In this position she was the deputy chief negotiator for the City of New York, representing the mayor in all labor relations for more than 300,000 employees across more than 100 labor organizations. Prior to that, Pam was Senior Assistant Vice President for Operations and Human Resources at the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation, the nation’s largest public healthcare system. While there she managed hiring and onboarding, workforce planning and development, training, compensation, equal employment opportunity and labor relations. Among her service activities, Pam is a member of the NYC Board of Collective Bargaining responsible for reviewing and determining allegations of violations of the collective bargaining law.

Melissa Sortman, Assistant Provost of Faculty and Academic Staff Affairs, Michigan State University. Melissa serves as a strategic partner on the leadership team in the Office of the Provost developing and implementing strategic plans for the University, academic human resources policies, and negotiating academic labor contracts. She collaborates with leadership across the university to improve the organizational culture of the working and learning environment with college, school, department, and unit leaders across the university on all academic human resources-related functions for 5,700 faculty, academic staff, and executive management. Prior to coming to MSU, she worked at the University of Michigan as the Associate Director of Academic Human Resources. Melissa holds a B.A. in English and Communications from Western Michigan University and an M.A. Degree in Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education from Michigan State University.

Karen R. Stubaus Ph.D. recently joined the National Center as a Visiting Scholar, after having served for over ten years as Vice President for Academic Affairs at Rutgers University. In that role she was responsible for a broad array of matters including faculty and academic labor relations, sexual harassment prevention and culture change, increasing the diversity of the faculty, improving professional development opportunities for contingent faculty, and promoting women's leadership at all levels. Karen is currently a Board Member of the National Center and is Co-editor of Journal of Collective Bargaining in the Academy.

Alec Thomson, President, National Council for Higher Education, NEA. Alec Thomson is a professor of political science and history at Schoolcraft College in Livonia, Michigan.  He earned his Master’s degree in history from Arizona State University and his Ph.D. in political science from Wayne State University.  During his time as a graduate teaching assistant at Wayne State he was a founding member of Wane State’s Graduate Employee Organizing Committee (GEOC).  Later he served for over a decade as the local president of Schoolcraft’s Faculty Forum.  Statewide he served as the president of the Michigan Association for Higher Education (MAHE) and nationally he is the president of the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE).  Finally, he has published union focused articles in NEA’s Thought and Action journal along with their Advocate newsletter.

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.

Valentina Luketa
, National Coordinator for Higher Education, United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE).

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

Theodore H. (Terry) Curry is Special Assistant to Provost Theresa Woodruff 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 5,700 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.

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.