Who We Are
Become a Member
United Academics represents …
Your Elected Leaders
United Academics is you: the faculty that make the University of Oregon a world-class institution of higher education.
That said, we are a member-run union and we rely on the hard work of many faculty across campus who volunteer their time to serve as officers, representatives, stewards, bargaining team members, … the list goes on.
United Academics has two elected assemblies: the Executive Council and the Representative Assembly. We also have a number of committees focused on politics, communications, organizing, bargaining, etc.
The Executive Council
The Executive Council consists of the elected leadership of United Academics together with the chairs of the Politics Committee, the Organizing & Membership Committee, the Representative Assembly and the Grievance and Contract Administration Committee. The Executive Council meets regularly to discuss campus issues.
Avinnash Tiwari is an Instructor in English and Composition. He also serves as VP of Political Action for AAUP-OR, and as a member of AAUP National’s government relations committee. Avinnash’s commitment will always be first and foremost to students, especially students marginalized from (higher) education.
Avinnash does this knowing full well when it comes to power writ large, the more things change the more they stay the same. He is, however, grateful for the students and young people who continually challenge him to fight for something different when it comes to our time here at the UO.
Executive Vice President
Scott Pratt is a professor in the Department of Philosophy. His research and teaching interests are in American philosophy (including pragmatism, America feminism, philosophies of race, and Native American philosophy), philosophy of education, and the history of logic.
He was a member of the United Academics Organizing Committee when the union was formed and a member of the first UA bargaining team (as well as the second and third).
He has served in a variety of administrative roles including department head, humanities dean in CAS, Dean of the Graduate School, and Executive Vice Provost.
He sees faculty unions as a necessary part of shared governance in the present world of corporate higher education and an essential part of keeping the University of Oregon’s focus on its academic mission.
Eleanor Wakefield is an instructor in the English department and composition program. She began teaching at the UO in 2010 as a graduate student in English, continuing as a pro tem and now career instructor.
During her time as a graduate student and employee, she acted as a steward and VP of Grievances for the GTFF. She has also served a steward from English for UA and chair of the Representative Assembly.
Her scholarly work is on poetry and poetics, especially 19th and 20th century American formal verse.
Bill Harbaugh is a Professor of Economics, has been UO Senate President twice, and co-founded SAIL, the university's largest volunteer faculty diversity program. He is also the Chair of the UAUO Budget and Finance Committee.
Harbaugh has taught Economics at UO since 1995. He also edits UOMatters.com, a muckraking blog about UO* for which he was awarded the Oregon Society of Professional Journalist’s “First Freedom” award in 2012.
His academic research uses methods from experimental economics and neuroeconomics to study charitable giving and the economic behavior of children. His union work began in 1969, when he led his third-grade class in a wild-cat strike and march on the Principal’s Office, to protest boring reading assignments.
* UO Matters is not associated with United Academics.
Vice President for Non-Tenure-Track Research Faculty Affairs
Christina Karns is an Assistant Research Professor in Psychology with the Center for Brain Injury Research and Training.
She uses human neuroimaging, behavior, and interventions in kids and adults (with and without disability) to clarify how attention and self-regulation support development. What brain systems support positive social interactions, how do they affect stress systems in the body, and to what degree are these interactions changeable, demonstrating neuroplasticity?
Good science can be a powerful force toward social justice, an ethos she brings to her teaching and her research.
Vice President for Non-Tenure-Track Instructional Faculty Affairs
Mike Urbancic is a Senior Instructor in the Department of Economics, where he has been teaching both large lower-division courses and smaller upper-division electives since 2012.
He is passionate about teaching, and he loves making connections across campus both through his work with United Academics and in a variety of service roles across campus. He currently serves on the Undergraduate Council, the Committee for Academic Infrastructure, and the Board of the Provost’s Teaching Academy.
In each of these spheres—and at the bargaining table—he works to highlight and elevate the teaching mission of the university, enhance the profile of our dedicated instructors, and strengthen our institutional support and job security.
Vice President for Tenure-Track Faculty Affairs
David M. Luebke is a professor in the Department of History whose research and writing focuses on the religions and political cultures of ordinary people in the German-speaking lands of central Europe.
He has been a member of the UO faculty since 1997 and has supported the formation of a faculty union since beginning, way back in 2007.
David is especially interested in ensuring that procedures for the review and promotion of faculty members are conducted fairly, according to clear and transparent criteria, and with proper respect for the value that departments place on scholarship, teaching, and service.
Vice President for Diversity & Equity
Lynn Fujiwara is an associate professor in the Department of Indigenous, Race, and Ethnic Studies whose research specializes in Asian American Studies and Women of Color feminisms. As an interdisciplinary researcher and scholar her work engages social policy, cultural formations, and coalitional resistant strategies.
She served as the department head of IRES from 2011-2016, was a founding member and co-chair of the Faculty and Staff of Color Coalition 2003-2008, and was a founding member and inaugural coordinator of the Women of Color project in the Center for the Study of Women in Society.
Lynn is concerned with the overall state of climate at the University of Oregon, and believes UA is an important organization to support faculty from marginalized communities and address issues of retention.
Chair of the Grievances & Contract Administration Committee
Nathan Whalen is a Senior Instructor II of Spanish, in the Department of Romance Languages, and has worked at the University of Oregon since 2001. He is interested in and teaches courses dealing with cultural geography, social and political change, and artistic manifestations in Latin America.
Nathan has served as a Humanities Representative and sat on the Organizing and Membership Committees and is now Chair of the Grievance and Contract Administration Committee.
When not around campus teaching, grading, and engaged in moderate syndicalist rabble-rousing, Nathan enjoys traveling and attempting to grow and process more fruits and vegetables than is frankly necessary.
Chair of the Organizing & Membership Committee
Edward Davis is an academic expert in paleontology and the evolution of large mammals. At the University of Oregon, he is an associate professor of earth sciences and the Paleontological Collections Manager for the Museum of Natural and Cultural History.
Edward specializes in the way species respond to ongoing climate change. Most of his work is on terrestrial herbivores (plant eaters, like antelope), but his research also expands into whales and carnivores.
Chair of the Politics Committee
Lisa Mazzei is a professor in the Department of Education Studies. She teaches qualitative methodology and curriculum studies in the College of Education and is interested in philosophically informed inquiry that opens thought to the not yet.
She began teaching at UO in 2012 and has been a member of UA since her arrival. Her union roots run deep having grown up in West Virginia as the granddaughter of coal miners. Her father worked for the UMWA Health and Retirement Funds where he oversaw the administration of benefits for miners.
She believes that a strong faculty union benefits all stakeholders at the University of Oregon.
In addition to UA’s elected leaders and stewards, United Academics is supported by two full-time staff. Find out more about our staff and how to get in touch with them.
If you’re not sure who the right person to talk to is, send an email to email@example.com, and we’ll make sure it gets to the right staff person or officer.
Heather Wolford joined the United Academics team in September of 2018. Prior to that, she worked with faculty at Oregon State University while they organized their union, United Academics of OSU.
Heather attended UO as both an undergrad and graduate student, earning master’s degrees in International Studies and Public Administration, and is excited to be back in Eugene.
She’s a fan of a live music, the outdoors, and spending time in Latin America.
Kristy Hammond has worked for United Academics since February of 2014. Previously, she co-founded Cornbread Cafe, Eugene's premier vegan comfort food restaurant, and also spent seven years with the Civil Liberties Defense Center.
Kristy is a native of Wisconsin and has lived in Eugene for over twenty years where she takes every opportunity afforded to her to enjoy the outdoors with her family.
The Representative Assembly
Representatives and stewards constitute the Representative Assembly. The Representative Assembly meets twice per term to discuss workplace and organizational concerns, as well as the strategic direction of our union.
Stewards serve in a voluntary capacity and act as advocates and advisors for union members within their department or unit. They also facilitate communication with and coordinate union activities among their colleagues. Each department or unit may select at least one steward.
Representatives (reps) are elected to 2-year terms and have the authority to vote on union business, including approval of the budget and any changes to the Constitution or other internal policies. Representative positions are allotted on the basis of employment classification and by college or school. Representatives also serve as stewards for their department or unit. The Representative Assembly is represented on the Executive Council by its Chair.
Chair of the Representative Assembly
What's your current rank? Greenberg Associate Professor of Hebrew Language and Literature
Where do you work? Department Religious Studies and the Harold Schnitzer Family Program in Judaic Studies
How long have you been at UO? 16 years
Why did you want to be on the team? The union protects faculty and gives voice to our collective values. As a member of United Academics, I am committed to ensuring that my colleagues are treated with the respect they deserve and to helping the university solve problems that impede student and faculty success. I have served on the bargaining team twice before, and I hope that my experience will help the team as it negotiates a new contract. In my previous career, I worked for national employee benefit and compensation consulting firms. I have found that this knowledge has been valuable as we discuss relevant issues at the table.
Where did you go on your last vacation? Los Angeles – Thanksgiving with my family.
Standing Committees meet regularly and are always looking for new members. If you are a UA member interested in serving on a committee, email us.
CONTRACT ACTION TEAM
The CAT works to support the Bargaining Team during and in the run-up to bargaining. This year the CAT is combined with the Organizing & Membership Committee to form OMCAT.
GRIEVANCE & CONTRACT ADMINISTRATION
GCAC helps faculty during the grievance process, and in assessing whether informal processes may lead to a better outcome. GCAC works closely with the VPs for faculty affairs on matters of promotion denial.
FINANCE & BUDGET
The Finance & Budget Committee proposes the annual budget to the Representative Assembly for approval. They ensure United Academics remains a financially viable organization.
The Politics Committee vets endorsements for local and state-wide political office. They also help direct the legislative priorities of the lobbyists of our state affiliates, and maintain relationships with local politicians and university lobbyists.
The Communications Committee is the editorial board for the Duck & Cover newsletter, our social media feeds, out-going email communications and press releases. They determine the tone of all of our external communications.
ORGANIZING & MEMBERSHIP
Organinzing & Membership (currently combined with the CAT to form OMCAT) is responsible for building the United Academics community.
CONSTITUTION & BYLAWS
See the document that make us tick!
FINANCE & BUDGET
The budget and regulatory documents.
POLICIES & PROCEDURES
UA’s management policies.
Beginning in 2007, faculty started organizing meetings to discuss the possibility of forming a faculty union; faculty were concerned about the erosion of shared governance and salaries that put them at the bottom of their AAU comparators.
In 2009, faculty organizers affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers and the American Association of University Professors to begin the process of forming a faculty union at the UO, selecting the name United Academics of the University of Oregon. After two-and-a-half years of organizing conversations, guest speakers from unions across the country, and thousands of individual conversations, United Academics collected union membership cards from a majority of faculty in all sectors and filed for recognition with the Oregon Employment Relations Board in April 2012.
In October 2013, we reached our first collective bargaining agreement with the university. In that same month, we ratified our Constitution and Bylaws and approved our first budget. The Representative Assembly adopted a revised Constitution and Bylaws of United Academics on October 16, 2019. This version of the Constitution and Bylaws governs the affairs of United Academics. The first official elected leaders of United Academics took office in January 2014.
Our National & State Affiliates
When you're a member of United Academics you are also a member of the American Federation of Teachers and the American Association of University Professors. Both come with membership benefits, but perhaps the best benefit is knowing that you are part of a union family literally millions strong!
American Federation of Teachers
AFT represents 1.6 million members across the United States.
AFT-Oregon is the state affiliate of AFT. AFT-OR represents more than 12,000 workers statewide.
The American Association of University Professors
The AAUP was founded in 1918 to defend academic freedom.
AAUP-Oregon has members at UO, OSU, PSU, EOU, OIT, Marylhurst, and Linfield.
American Federation of Labor – Congress of Industrial Organizations
The AFL-CIO is the umbrella organization for 56 national and international unions.
The state affiliate of the AFL-CIO.