Stewards Council

These faculty members volunteer their time and experience to assist faculty members with union-related issues and concerns, and to act as conduits of information between the URI/AAUP Executive Board and faculty and vice versa. URI/AAUP members can contact any steward they wish with questions or with information that they see as a potentially important union issue. Non-members may contact them for information about membership. If you are interested in learning more about our Steward Council, please contact the Membership Committee Chairperson, Brian Gallagher at or our URI/AAUP Executive Director Jay Walsh at

Susan Brand web

Professor Susan Trostle Brand, D.Ed., Education

702 Chafee Social Science Building

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Why the union is important to me:

Referring to the mission statement on the AAUP website, the AAUP grants each of us academic freedom, as well as the benefits of shared governance and economic security. It ensures higher education’s contribution to the common good and brings professionals together for collective action when and if it is needed. It challenges the university when it violates norms of academic freedom, tenure, and shared governance. 

On a personal level, since I am undoubtedly going to reap the benefits of a union, now or in the future, I firmly believe that I need to do my share to support this organization. When I received an unfair and untruthful annual review letter several years ago, the union enabled me to challenge this letter, as well as the dean who wrote it, and quickly rectify the situation. 

As we face an uncertain political climate and related uncertain policies and procedures in academia, it is very reassuring to know that the union supports us with representation and, if needed, legal representation.

In my service as a new steward for the AAUP at URI, I look forward to consulting with faculty members when they encounter a question or challenge that may not merit their seeking advice or consultation with Jay Walsh, our URI union leader. I will advocate for fairness and equity for faculty members with whom I consult, answering their questions directly and referring them to a variety of university offices and services that will provide them with additional consultation on an individual basis.

singh sodhi

Professor Manbir Singh Sodhi, Mechanical, Industrial, and Systems Engineering

230 Pastore Hall

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"Unions at Universities have a unique role. Unlike for-profit organizations, the performance of Universities cannot easily be measured. One dimension of a University's performance is the conditions it creates for its faculty - and the role of the Union in maintaining an enriching environment is vital."

william bartels web

Rebecca Romanow, Film/Media

151 Swann Hall

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"I am a Teaching Professor and the Director of the Film/Media Program. As I am serving my first term on the URI AAUP Executive Committee, I have been continuously amazed at all that the Union helps us to accomplish. The mission of the AAUP—and the central goals of advancing and protecting academic freedom and supporting and promoting shared governance-- is essential to secure our ability to ensure a productive present and future. As I learn more about the AAUP, I am eager to serve as a Steward and to help both full-time and contingent faculty to answer and address questions and to promote the many benefits of membership in the AAUP."

Melanie Brasher

Asst Professor Melanie Brasher, Sociology & Human Development and Family Studies

514 Chafee Social Science Center

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"I try not take the union for granted. Recently I found myself chatting with a friend who works at another university and she wasn’t sure what her university’s policy was for maternity leave. I said to her – why don’t you speak to someone from the union? But she didn’t have one, so I realized that she was on her own to navigate a plan and work with her chair and dean. Which is not an easy prospect, especially for a junior faculty member.

The union is important to me as a resource – to help explain the contract, and direct me towards existing university policies, office, and services that could be of use. Especially for junior faculty, we aren’t always sure what we are entitled to, and we might be reluctant to speak up. It’s great know that the union is there for information or if something ever goes wrong.

On a separate note, I also strongly agree with the AAUP national organization’s commitment to protect democratic access to higher education, especially in this era of diminishing public support for higher education." 


Teaching Professor Miriam Reumann, History

217A Washburn Hall

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Miriam Reumann is a Teaching Professor in the History department and  President of the URI/AAUP. She views union membership and representation as important not only for shared governance and academic freedom for all, but as a vital resource for protecting faculty who are off the tenure track.  As a contingent faculty member, she is especially interested in hearing from and representing the interests of other lecturers regarding workload, URI’s promotion ladder, and any other contingency issues that they might wish to discuss with a steward. 


Professor Martha (Marty) Elena Rojas, English

308D Swan Hall


Professor Elizabeth (Betsy) Cooper, Business

7 Lippitt Hall
sethmacinko3 Assoc Professor Seth Macinko, Marine Affairs



210 Coastal Institue Bldg

julialovett Assoc Professor Julia Lovett, Digital Initiatives Librarian

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"The strength of our union is a great aspect of being on the faculty here at URI. As a steward
for AAUP, I aim to stay informed of the contract and serve as a resource for faculty members
with questions or concerns." 

Asst Professor Lehua Ledbetter, Writing & Rhetoric


326 Roosevelt Hall


Asst Professor Kathleen McIntyre, Gender & Women's Studies

Mparry Asst Professor Megan Parry, Criminology & Criminal Justice

505 Chafee Social Science Center