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Andy Brantley has served as president and chief executive officer of CUPA-HR since July 2005. With the leadership and guidance of high functioning boards and great national office colleagues, Andy has led the transformation of CUPA-HR. The association has grown from 1,500 member institutions to over 2,000, and from 6,600 institutional reps to more than 31,000. Attendance at the annual conference has more than doubled, and CUPA-HR's annual revenue has almost tripled. In 2007, the association built a new office home, and paid off the mortgage in less than three years.
Andy has also written extensively on the challenges faced by higher education human resources professionals and the higher education workforce. He serves on a number of higher ed and workforce management-related boards including the steering committee of the Washington Higher Education Secretariat. Andy is a frequent keynote and workshop presenter at meetings across the country and recently contributed to The Rise of HR, a collection of essays written by 73 HR thought leaders to highlight the critical issues facing business and talent professionals.
Before he was employed at CUPA-HR, Andy worked for 17 years in higher education, serving as associate vice president and chief human resources officer at the University of Georgia, assistant vice president and director of human resources at Davidson College, and director of human resources at the University of North Carolina at Asheville. He completed his MBA in 1986 and began his professional career as a labor relations representative for the Chrysler Corporation.
Menah Pratt-Clarke is the Vice President for Strategic Affairs and Diversity at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech). She is also Professor of Education in the School of Education in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, with affiliations in Africana Studies, Women’s and Gender Studies, and the Department of Sociology.
She has more than 20 years of administrative, academic, and legal experience in higher education, with a focus on executing and coordinating large-scale strategic initiatives that promote institutional transformation. Prior to joining Virginia Tech, she had senior administrative positions and faculty positions at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and VanderbiltUniversity. As a scholar-administrator, she believes in the importance of praxis and using scholarship to inform and lead change in higher education.
She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa with a major in English and minors in Philosophy and African-American Studies. She received her master’s degree in Literary Studies from the University of Iowa and a master’s degree in Sociology from Vanderbilt University. In addition, she earned her PhD in Sociology and her law degree from Vanderbilt University. While at Vanderbilt, she taught African-American Studies and English at Fisk University, and taught English and Public Speaking through American Baptist College’s program in the men’s and women’s maximum and minimum security prisons. She is licensed to practice law in Illinois and Tennessee.
Her research interests include critical race studies, Black feminism, and critical race feminism, with a particular focus on issues of transdisciplinary analysis of diversity issues in higher education. In addition to her first book, Critical Race Feminism and Education: A Social Justice Model (2012), two other books, Journeys of Social Justice: Women of Color Presidents in the Academy (Peter Lang, 2017) and Reflections on Race, Gender, and Culture in Cuba(Peter Lang, 2017) were released last year. New for 2018, A Black Woman’s Journey from Cotton Picking to College Professor: Lessons about race, gender, and class in America (Peter Lang, 2018). A Black Woman’s Journey was selected as a 2018 American Education Studies Association 2018 Critics’ Choice Award for recent scholarship deemed to be outstanding in its field. http://www.educationalstudies.org/awards.html#2
She is frequently invited to speak on issues of diversity and inclusion, race and social justice, equity, leadership, education, women and gender, and promoting a more just and inclusive society and empowering the powerless.
Zulema Valdez is Associate Vice Provost for the Faculty and Professor of Sociology at UC Merced. Areas of research and teaching expertise include the study of immigrant entrepreneurship, undocumented students in higher education, and health disparities and food access in low-resource immigrant and ethnic minority communities. She is currently developing a new area of research on the “future-present” of climate change. Professor Valdez has received fellowship and grant support from the Ford Foundation, American Sociological Association, and the Social Science Research Council. Her work has been published in many academic journals and edited volumes. She is the author of two books, The New Entrepreneurs: How Race, Class and Gender Shape American Enterprise (Stanford, 2011) and Entrepreneurs and the Search for the American Dream (Routledge, 2015). In her efforts to advance social justice and engage with the larger community, she volunteers as facilitator for the Insight Garden Program at Chowchilla Women’s Prison and serves on the advisory board for the American Bar Foundation’s Network for Justice research initiative, “The Future of Latinos in the United States: Law, Opportunity, and Mobility.” Valdez holds a PhD in Sociology from UCLA.
Dr. Jamal Watson is an award-winning journalist. He has held numerous roles at Diverse: Issues In Higher Education. He has been a senior staff writer, executive editor and is currently the editor-at-large. He has written for the publication since 2005. A native of Philadelphia, Watson earned his bachelor’s degree in English and Theology from Georgetown University, a master's degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, a master's degree in Higher Education from the University of Delaware and a master's and a Ph.D. in Afro-American Studies from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. His writings have appeared in numerous publications including The Baltimore Sun and USA Today. He is the author of a forthcoming biography on the Reverend Al Sharpton and is on the graduate school faculty at Trinity Washington University.