Executive Council

The United Academics Executive Council is made up of the elected officers and chairs of the union. They meet bi-weekly in the union office. They are charged with initiating, overseeing, and revising the program of the union and the conduct of the business of the union.


Chris Sinclair is an associate professor of mathematics with research interests in random matrix theory, mathematical statistical physics and the distribution of algebraic numbers.  He joined the University of Oregon in 2009 after postdocs in Boulder and Vancouver.  Chris loves the Pacific Northwest, Oregon, and Eugene, and sees the University of Oregon as the principal economic and cultural driver of the Eugene area.  He sees United Academics as a mechanism by which faculty can help steer the University not only in the direction of sustained academic excellence but also towards enriching the educational and cultural offerings of our unique corner of the world.


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 Communication, Organizing, and Grievance Committees with United Academics.  He is also the Chair of the Collective Bargaining 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.


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.


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Bill Harbaugh is a Professor of Economics, UO Senate President for 2018-19, and co-founder of SAIL, the university's largest faculty-run diversity program. He is also the Chair of the UAUO Budget and Finance Committee. Professor 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 organized a strike of his third-grade class in protest of boring reading assignments.


Maram Epstein is an associate professor in East Asian Languages and Literatures, specializing in narrative aesthetics, gender, and cultural studies in late-imperial China. She has been at the UO since 1994. Maram is committed to working with faculty to address issues of equity, access, and transparency on the campus. She has a particular interest in advocating for a faculty voice in determining institutional priorities and believes that United Academics has an important role in helping to develop policies that promote a true commitment to academic excellence.


Mike Urbancic is an Instructor in the Department of Economics, where he has worked since 2012. He teaches large lectures of principles of macroeconomics and a survey course for non-majors as well as introductory courses in urban economics and game theory. Mike serves as one of the two primary advisors for his department, and he sits on the Board of Directors of The Duck Store. His interests include stargazing (when the weather allows), playing tabletop games, and writing song parodies.


  Mike Strain is a Senior Research Associate and Director of the CAMCOR Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Facility, a core service center which supports research and research training for faculty, graduate students, undergraduates, and regional commercial researchers in the areas of Chemistry, Life Sciences, and Materials Science.  Mike arrived at the UO in 1985 as a postdoc in the Institute of Molecular Biology after studies in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry at MIT & Yale.  He currently serves on the UO Senate representing NTTF research faculty and the IP Committee.


Michael Hames-García was hired in Ethnic Studies at the UO in 2005, talk with michael small white borderserving as Program Director from 2006-2008 and Department Head from 2008-2011. They publish and teach courses on many topics related to race, gender, sexuality, and identity, with a special foci on incarceration and on critical theory.


Heather Quarles joined the Department of Romance Languages as an adjunct instructor in 2003. Now a Senior Instructor II, she teaches a variety of courses in Spanish, including but not limited to representing el español as a U.S. language in her role as a founding member of the Spanish as a Heritage Language Program. You can also find her with the UO Dreamers Working Group promoting the belonging and safety of our Dreamer students, as well as the Latinx Strategy Group collaborating to improve educational access and equity among Latinx students at UO and in the local area. She has been helping UA members resolve workplace issues and problems as Chair of the Grievance and Contract Administration Committee since 2015.


David Woken is the History and Latin American Studies Librarian at the UO Libraries, building the library's collections for History, Spanish and Portuguese, Latin American Studies, African Studies, and Medieval Studies as well as providing research and instructional support for faculty across these disciplines and programs. He is also the curator of the archival collections on Latinx history housed in UO Libraries' Special Collections and University Archives, particularly the records of the Oregon farmworker union Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste (Northwest Tree Planters and Farmworkers United, PCUN). Prior to becoming a librarian he studied Latin American labor history, focusing on the anarchist militants of early twentieth-century Argentina. His professional interests include the use of critical pedagogy with archival collections, open access publishing in the global south, and the history of Oregon's Latinx community.


Avinnash Tiwari an Instructor in the English department and Composition program. He teaches mostly first year students how to read, think, and write critically and for an academic audience. His research interests, as well as teaching, focus on power and difference, and he is thrilled to serve as Interim Associate Director of the new Black Studies program. Avinnash hopes to serve all of his fellow union members and wider university community by working on both state and local issues while building stronger coalitions outside our University community, with other local organizations and State and local representation, all towards best serving our shared values and goals for the U of Oregon.