2021 Summer Institute Online Presenter Bios

Alexandra Adams is a PhD candidate in the department of biology at Rutgers-Newark. They are the current Graduate Worker Vice President of the AAUP-AFT, and most recently served as the co-chair of the Fiscal Emergency bargaining team.

Ethan Ake-Little currently serves as the executive director of AFT Pennsylvania and has a background that spans across K-12 and higher education. His higher education experience at Temple University includes serving as an adjunct instructor (College of Education), a graduate research assistant (General Education Program), and the president of the Temple University Graduate Students Association (AFT Local #6290), where he led the local’s fifth contract negotiation. In the K-12 realm, he previously served as the assistant director of STEM Academies at the School District of Philadelphia and was a high school biology teacher first at a charter school (downtown Philadelphia) and later at an all-girls school (suburban Philadelphia).

Ziyan Bai, Ph.D. is the research assistant in the Department of Research with the national AAUP. She provides support for the AAUP research programs, including the annual Faculty Compensation Survey as well as research related to AAUP policies and standards.

Michael Bailey is the executive director at the University of Connecticut Chapter of the AAUP. He joined the Chapter in June 2014 after spending time as the executive director of the UConn Health Center Chapter and the Michigan State Conference. Prior to that he spent ten years with the University of Rhode Island Chapter. 

Robert Baines is an associate professor of English at the University of Evansville in southern Indiana. He is a member of the faculty senate and he also serves as the faculty representative on the Board of Trustees' Academic Affairs Committee. Robert is the chief content officer of the University of Evansville's AAUP chapter and a member of that chapter's executive council.

Jim Bakken is the deputy director of AAUP’s Department of Organizing and Services.

Kelly Benjamin is the new media and communications strategist with the AAUP. He brings with him over a decade of experience in the labor movement amplifying voices of working people on national organizing campaigns including Faculty Forward and the Fight for 15.

KB Brower is the organizing director for BCG, and a fellow at the Center for Innovation in Worker Organization at Rutgers. After organizing alongside janitors on her college campus, she got her start in the labor movement with SEIU 1199 New England, and then made her way back to college organizing as Domestic Campaigns Director for United Students Against Sweatshops. After her term ended with USAS, she began work with AFSCME 3299 where she learned what’s possible when unions and community partners team up to run common good campaigns. She most recently moved back to her hometown of Philly where she organized with the PA nurses union, and where she has worked with the AFGE to create an organizing program with locals around the country.

Howard Bunsis has served the AAUP in many roles, including as a treasurer and as chair of the AAUP-CBC, and has given numerous presentations to our chapters throughout the country. He also is the past president and past treasurer of the EMU-AAUP Eastern Michigan University chapter. Aside from his union work, Howard is a professor of accounting who specializes in governmental and nonprofit accounting. His education includes a PHD in accounting from the University of Chicago, a law degree from Fordham Law School, and an undergraduate accounting degree from Wharton. He is both a CPA and an attorney.

Matt Cohen is a professor of English, affiliate faculty in Native American Studies, and fellow of the Center for Digital Research in the Humanities at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He previously taught at the University of Texas at Austin and Duke University, and is the president of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s AAUP chapter.

Glenn Colby is the senior researcher for AAUP and oversees the annual Faculty Compensation Survey.  Prior to joining AAUP, Glenn worked as the director of institutional effectiveness at Cascadia College and as an institutional research analyst at University of Colorado Boulder. Glenn is an experienced educator and has taught at all levels from early childhood through college. Much of Glenn’s research to date has focused on how schools and teachers can better support diverse students.

Mark Criley joined the AAUP this year as a senior program officer in the Department of Academic Freedom, Tenure, and Governance. Previously he was a consultant for DAFTG and an associate professor of philosophy at Illinois Wesleyan University, where he taught for seventeen years.

Paul Davis has been an active member of the American Association of University Professors for over thirty years. In 1990 he was a member of the first bargaining team at Cincinnati State. He has served on the Executive Committee as the chapter’s treasurer and president and has been active in the Ohio Conference including serving on its Board of Trustees from 2002-2011. Davis also served as their conference’s president. Since 2009 he has been on the executive committee of the national AAUP Collective Bargaining Congress; and until the reorganization was chairperson of the Collective Bargaining Congress. Davis is currently the Vice-President of the AAUP. His educational background consists of a Bachelor of Arts in History, a Master of Arts in Labor and Employment Relations, and Doctorate in Educational Foundations, all awarded by the University of Cincinnati. In 1987 he joined Cincinnati State Technical and Community College as a full-time professor, where he has held several faculty positions. He is currently an Emeritus Faculty member teaching history and American government.

Michael DeCesare is professor of sociology at Merrimack College. He was co-chair (with Michael Bérubé) of the AAUP's COVID-19 investigating committee, and serves as chair of the AAUP's Committee on College and University Governance and as second vice president of the Massachusetts Conference. He served on the AAUP Council from 2016 to 2020, on the Council's Executive Committee from 2018 to 2020, and as president of Merrimack's chapter from 2012 to 2019. His most recent book is Death on Demand: Jack Kevorkian and the Right-to-Die Movement. 

Michael C. Dreiling is completing his second term as president of the AAUP Oregon State Conference and served as president of United Academics at the University of Oregon from 2013-2018. He is department head and professor of Sociology at the University of Oregon where he specializes in political and environmental sociology. He is author of two books, numerous research articles, and is presently working on a documentary film series and a comparative study of the network power of dirty energy in two capitalist democracies. With Matthew Eddy, Michael produced and co-directed the award-winning feature documentary on Costa Rica’s happy, healthy and demilitarized social democratic society – A Bold Peace, available on Amazon or Bullfrog Films. Their film has won over a dozen awards at over 200 theatrical screenings on four continents. It is now available in three languages and distributed internationally.

By training Rudy Fichtenbaum is a labor economist and has published research on income inequality, the effects of unions on wages and benefits and discrimination. He has served the AAUP in many roles, including as the president of the AAUP. He was also the chief negotiator for the Wright State Chapter of the AAUP from 1999-2015 and worked as an advisor for the Wright State Chapter until April 2020. Rudy serves as a financial consultant to the national AAUP and in that capacity has performed financial analyses for more than thirty colleges and universities. He has presented seminars on Understanding Financial Statements, Costing Contracts and Health Benefits at several AAUP Summer Institutes.

Shawn Fields is the western lead organizer for AAUP. Shawn was previously an organizer with United Academics of Oregon State University. She joined the labor movement as a member of the Graduate Employees Organization at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. During her time as a graduate employee, she served as a steward chair, a bargaining team member, and president of her local and served on several national committees and task forces for the American Federation of Teachers.

Johanna Foster is an associate professor of sociology at Monmouth University where she serves as the president of the Faculty Association (FAMCO) and chief negotiator. This is her first Summer Institute.

Ian Gavigan is a PhD candidate in the Department of History at Rutgers New Brunswick where he is writing a dissertation on the history of the Socialist Party in the US. He is also an executive council member of Rutgers AAUP-AFT and media coordinator for Scholars for a New Deal for Higher Education. 

Tim Gibson is an associate professor of communication and cultural studies at George Mason University. He currently serves as co-leader of GMU-AAUP, Mason's faculty advocacy chapter. Over the past three years, he has helped plan campaigns on multiple issues, including donor transparency, faculty participation in Presidential searches, protecting private faculty office space, graduate student support, and, most recently, expanding tenure to teaching-intensive faculty. He also currently serves on a team of Virginia AAUP leaders who are planning a statewide advocacy campaign for budget transparency.

Kevin Hanrahan is an associate professor of voice and voice pedagogy at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Glenn Korff School of Music. He has performed internationally in recitals and concerts, and has produced two recordings available on Amazon, iTunes, etc., The Songs of Diana Boom and New Art Songs of the Pacific Rim. Having served as the UNL Faculty Senate President from fall 2018 to spring 2020, he oversaw the creation and negotiation of the bylaw revisions addressing the 2018 AAUP Censure of UNL. He is currently a member-at-large of the UNL chapter of the AAUP.

Michele Hardesty ([email protected]) is associate professor of US Literatures and Cultural Studies at Hampshire College. She served as an officer of the Hampshire College AAUP chapter from 2018-2021, including as a member of the Spring 2020 negotiating team and as president during the 2020-21 academic year.

Rob Kilgore is an associate professor of English at the University of South Carolina Beaufort; president of an advocacy chapter organized online during the pandemic despite a state government and university administratration hostile to labor; member of the USC-system wide organizing committee; member of an institutional Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee; and a recovering former Department Chair and Dean. His research is at the intersection of medieval and early modern British literature, pedagogy, antiracism, labor, "community engagement," and institutional politics.

Sara Kilpatrick has served as the Ohio Conference executive director since February 2011. Sara has previously worked as the political director for the Ohio Senate Democratic Caucus; political affairs coordinator for the Ohio State Medical Association; and legislative aide in the Ohio Senate. She holds a degree in political science from Bowling Green State University and a Master’s of Public Administration from the Ohio State University, where she earned the award for Outstanding Policy/Management Paper. Sara was awarded the 2012 AAUP Georgina M. Smith Award in recognition of her efforts to preserve faculty collective bargaining rights. 

Aaron Krall is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of English at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the Executive Vice President of UIC United Faculty.

Mary Rose Kubal is associate professor of political science and department chair at St. Bonaventure University. She is president of the St. Bonaventure University AAUP Chapter and president of the New York State Conference of the AAUP. She has been involved in the state conference since 2014 and has served as secretary, interim vice-president, and as a member of Committee A and the Committee on College and University Governance. She is co-editor of the recent volume Police Abuse in Contemporary Democracies and is working on a book project tracing the global diffusion of public security models and the rise of the citizen security field in Latin America.

Sarah Lanius is a field service representative at AAUP experienced in helping bargaining teams in both the public and private sector win strong contracts. This is her second Summer Institute.

Ursula Lawrence joined the staff of AAUP in January as lead organizer for the Midwest. She works primarily with collective bargaining chapters and advocacy chapters in the process of organizing for collective bargaining. Before joining AAUP Ursula spent a decade and a half working for unions that also function as professional organizations, largely in arts and entertainment. A former graduate student at the University of Michigan, she also has a background in grad labor organizing.

Bethany Letiecq is an associate professor of human development and family science at George Mason University. She is a faculty senator and co-leads the GMU chapter of the AAUP. Recently, she co-founded the GMU Coalition for Worker Rights and has driven several campaigns on campus related to the COVID pandemic, testing protocols, and custodian working conditions.

Anita Levy has served as a senior program officer in the AAUP's Department of Academic Freedom, Tenure, and Governance since 2002. Her additional responsibilities have included staff oversight for the Association’s Committee on Gender and Sexuality in the Academic Profession (formerly the Committee on Women in the Academic Profession), the Committee on Accreditation, and the Committee on Teaching, Research, and Publications. She is also an associate editor for the AAUP’s magazine Academe. She has contributed to numerous AAUP reports and policy documents, including The History, Uses, and Abuses of Title IX, Campus Sexual Assault: Suggested Policies and Procedures, and Ensuring Academic Freedom in Politically Controversial Academic Personnel Decisions.

She has been listed in the Fulbright Specialist Roster in higher education. Before joining the AAUP’s national staff, she taught English literature and gender studies at Williams College and the University of Rochester, and is the author of two books, Reproductive Urges: Popular Novel-Reading, Sexuality, and the English Nation (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999), and Other Women: The Writing of Class, Race, and Gender, 1832-1898 (Princeton University Press, 1993), and numerous articles.

Mike Magee joined the AAUP as an organizer in the summer of 2020 and he focuses on helping chapters build militant campaigns to win real improvements at their campuses. Whether the chapter is an established union or a scrappy new advocacy chapter in a state hostile to faculty, Mike specializes in helping faculty think strategically to build power and assert the faculty voice. Currently, Mike is working with chapters in Virginia, South Carolina, and Minnesota building long-term issue campaigns to both build chapter strength and change the relations of power in favor of faculty.

Marlan Maralit, a lead organizer in the AAUP's Department of Organizing and Services, is currently working to build faculty power on campuses in the Midwest. Professional experiences include working as an organizer, educator, and facilitator with a range of labor and nonprofit organizations on issues ranging from immigrant rights to racial justice.

Mike Mauer. After beginning his career as a staff attorney with the National Labor Relations Board, Mauer did legal, representational and organizing work for a mix of private and public sector unions. This included the overseas affiliate of the National Education Association, where he served as General Counsel for Germany - North, and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), where he was Director of Collective Bargaining. His staff work with the AAUP began in 1996, and included serving as the AAUP Director of Organizing and Services. Now retired from AAUP, Mauer does consultant work.

Mauer’s publications include The Union Member's Complete Guide (Hard Ball Press, second edition, 2019), and (with Ernie Benjamin) Academic Collective Bargaining (Modern Language Association, 2006). He has taught various labor relations and labor and employment law courses at the AFL-CIO's National Labor College and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and as a visiting lecturer at Ton Duc Thang University in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Monishia “Moe” Miller serves as California Faculty Association’s Associate Vice President, Lecture South and Lecture Representative at CSU Fullerton. She is a lecturer of criminal justice and childhood adversity expert. The focus of her work is to bring awareness to the issues surrounding social inequality and (in)justice on Black/African American youth in school, community, and justice systems.

Monica Owens is a field service representative at AAUP supporting chapters across the country with bargaining and power building at the table and in the field. This is Monica’s fourth Summer Institute.

Amy Pollard, PhD, is the executive director of the Oakland University chapter of the AAUP, which represents over 800 tenure/tenure-track and non-tenure-track faculty. She spent over 12 years as a Special Lecturer in English Literature at OU and served in multiple elected roles within her faculty union from advisory forum member and chair to vice president and, finally, president of the faculty union, becoming the first non-tenure-track faculty member to do so.  She is a member of her chapter’s current bargaining team.

Missi Rasmussen is an adjunct English professor in Kansas City.

Glinda Rawls is an at-large member of the AAUP Council. She is an associate professor of counselor education at Western Michigan University (WMU). She has served in various leadership roles for the WMU AAUP, a collective bargaining chapter, and is currently a member of its contract negotiation team.

Jeff Schuhrke is a visiting lecturer at the University of Illinois at Chicago and a representative for UIC United Faculty, AFT Local 6456.

Christopher Simeone is the director of organizing and services at AAUP. Since joining the national staff in 2011, Christopher has worked with AAUP chapters across the country on membership building, contract campaigns, communications, and direct actions.

Chris Sinclair is the secretary/treasurer of the AAUP. He has recently been the president of the United Academics of the University of Oregon, and the University of Oregon Senate. He has been at the bargaining table several times, including bargaining around emergency COVID actions taken by the university. He is an associate professor of mathematics at the University of Oregon.

Sam Sommers earned her PhD from UCLA in 2018. Since that time she has been a contingent worker at public universities in Ohio, Georgia and Alabama. She currently teaches literature and composition at Auburn University. This fall she will join the UConn English Department as NTT faculty. She is a proud member of AFT Academics - Local 06593.

Michael Theune is Robert W. Harrington Professor of English at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, Illinois. Theune's professional work focuses on British Romantic and contemporary American poetry. He has published three books, including, most recently, Keats's Negative Capability: New Origins and Afterlives (Liverpool UP, 2019), which he co-edited with Brian Rejack. At Illinois Wesleyan, Theune has been active in shared governance, assuming leadership roles on numerous major committees. “Confidential Searches for Chief Academic Officers,” an article he co-authored with Joerg Tiede, appeared in Academe (November – December, 2014).

Hans-Joerg Tiede is director of research at the AAUP. He conducts survey research on academic freedom, tenure, and governance. He has also written on the history of the AAUP and the development of academic freedom, tenure, and governance in the United States. Before joining the staff of the AAUP, he was a professor of computer science at Illinois Wesleyan University. He is the editor of Policy Documents and Reports (the AAUP “Redbook”) and author of University Reform: The Founding of the American Association of University Professors (both Johns Hopkins University Press, 2015).

Kaitlyn Vitez is the government relations specialist for the AAUP. In that role, she represents faculty on capitol hill and in national coalitions, and works with elected leadership and staff to mobilize members around legislative opportunities to secure a New Deal for higher education. She is originally from New Jersey, and worked as a campus organizer and national campaign director for student activists before joining AAUP in 2021.