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2019 TAA Council elections – Cast your vote

2019 electionsSeven candidates are running for five open positions on the TAA Council, the association’s governing board. Three are officer positions, Vice President/President-Elect, Treasurer, Secretary; and two are Council positions. Terms begin July 1, 2019. Officers serve two-year terms and Council members serve three-year terms.

A link to the ballot was emailed to TAA members on March 8. To be eligible to vote, individuals must be members in good standing. If you are a TAA member and cannot vote electronically, contact Kim Pawlak at or (608) 687-3106 to request a paper ballot. The deadline for voting is Monday, April 8, 2019. Winners will be announced April 19.


Kevin PattonVice President/President-Elect
Kevin Patton

Position Statement

“I’ve been a member and enthusiastic supporter of TAA for decades. I’m excited about recent new directions taken by TAA as it continues to evolve as a vital provider of services to textbook and academic authors. Having served previously on the TAA Council, including briefly stepping up to fill a vacant position as Secretary, I’m familiar with the workload, responsibility, collaboration skills, and leadership experience needed to guide TAA along its path of innovation and service. My goals as a TAA leader include supporting and expanding professional development opportunities, promoting broader diversity of membership, and growing into a more widely recognized voice of textbook & academic authors in a rapidly changing global publishing environment. But most importantly, I hope to facilitate the conversation and mutual support among our members and allies—preserving and strengthening the collegial culture of TAA.”

Kevin Patton Ph.D. is long-time member and former Council member/officer in TAA. His decades of work in textbook authoring has produced award-winning works in human anatomy & physiology (A&P) in multiple editions in several languages. He is an active blogger and podcaster, as well as a social media influencer within his academic discipline. Patton remains active in the Human Anatomy & Physiology Society (HAPS), where he has served many leadership and service roles–and currently serves as President Emeritus. A full-time textbook author, Kevin also teaches an undergraduate A&P course and mentors A&P professors in a graduate program.

Juli SaitzTreasurer
Juli Saitz

Position Statement

“I am currently serving as Treasurer and would love to continue!”

Juli Saitz, CPA is a Senior Managing Director at Ankura Consulting Group. She leads the contract and royalty compliance practice at Ankura and has extensive experience serving clients including several textbook authors as well as multi-national corporation licensors. Her work in this area includes developing and implementing royalty compliance programs and performing audits of licensees around the world. Saitz has helped authors and corporate clients recover millions of dollars in asserting their audit rights related to licensed copyrights, trademarks and patents. She is focused on the shift in the publishing industry to electronic content delivery methods and adaptive learning platforms. In addition, Saitz has served as a damages expert in matters involving royalty disputes in the publishing industry. She has a degree in Accounting from New York University.

Brenda UlrichSecretary
Brenda Ulrich

Position Statement

“I currently serve on the Publishing Practices Committee of TAA and am a regular presenter at the annual conference. As part of the council I could help guide the organization and members on the legal challenges present in a rapidly changing textbook publishing landscape.”

Brenda Ulrich is an intellectual property lawyer who advises clients on copyright and trademark issues, with a special focus on publishing and higher education-related matters.

Laura JacobiCouncil Member
Laura Jacobi

Position Statement

“I have attended the TAA conference the last few years and have become increasingly more involved each year–as a presenter, and this year as one of the members of the conference committee. I believe in the mission of TAA, and I am committed to doing my part in contributing to that mission. If appointed as a new council member, in addition to sharing new ideas from my vantage point as a scholarly writer, I pledge to assist in whatever capacity needed by TAA.”

Laura Jacobi (PhD, University of Minnesota) is an Assistant Professor at Minnesota State University, Mankato in the Department of Communication Studies. Previously, Laura taught at the University of Minnesota and the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. Her research pursuits include instructional communication, interpersonal communication, and spiritual communication. Recently, she has published articles in the Journal of Intercultural Communication Research, the Journal of Educators Online, and the Journal of Pedagogic Development.

Erin McTigueCouncil Member
Erin McTigue

Position Statement

“My diverse professional experiences provide a unique viewpoint on the needs of academic authors – both skillwise and social-emotional. As a tenured literacy education faculty at a research university, I personally experienced (and survived) a ‘publish or perish’ atmosphere. However, during a professional leave, I worked at a Norwegian university and experienced an alternative model – a more positive environment placing high value on writing quality and less on quantity. This experience made me consider how to translate such approaches within the constraints of US universities. Now, through strategies and coaching, I aim to help faculty create a sustainable and healthy writing practice.”

After being a traditional academic for over ten years at Texas A&M University, Erin McTigue started The Positive Academic, through which she coaches academics in writing and productivity, as well as runs workshops. While at Texas A&M, she co-directed a university-wide writing support program and developed a writing course for international students. Additionally, to keep up her craft, Erin continues to collaborate on research projects at the National Reading Center of Norway. Erin has published over 50 peer-reviewed journal articles, won teaching and mentoring awards, and aims to help faculty reduce stress and find more joy their work.

Rick MullinsCouncil Member
Rick Mullins

Position Statement

“I am hoping to be elected to the TAA Council in order to give back to an organization that has given me much over the last three years. I have experience in professional organization leadership, serving the Cincinnati Local Section of the American Chemical Society (~1,200 members) as Auditor, Secretary, Co-Chair, Chair, Trustee, and now as Councilor to the National ACS where I serve on the Committee on Economic and Professional Affairs. Being an in-progress first edition author of an organic chemistry textbook, I will bring a unique perspective to the Council where I can hopefully design programming for early career, aspiring textbook authors. My experience as Chair of the Faculty at Xavier has given me important insights into the broader textbook market, especially as it relates to impressions of non-authoring faculty.”

Rick Mullins is a Professor of Chemistry at Xavier University and is working on a first edition organic chemistry textbook with Pearson Education. He started at Xavier after earning his Ph.D. in Chemistry from Indiana University in 2004. An award winning teacher, he was promoted to Associate Professor in 2010 and then to Professor in 2017. He has been actively involved in faculty governance at Xavier University, serving most recently as Chair of the Faculty. He has held multiple leadership positions in the local and national American Chemical Society, currently serving his second term as Councilor.

Sasha VodnikCouncil Member
Sasha Vodnik

Position Statement

“TAA has helped me in many ways since I joined, from trading stories with other authors at conferences to learning new skills from TAA online resources. I’d like to help the organization continue to serve its vital role for authors. In addition to helping plan for the organization’s future direction and activities, I bring a keen interest in helping the organization and my fellow members strategize around how authors can exert influence on the changes to our roles as the industry undergoes a significant transformation.”

Sasha Vodnik is the author of several textbooks on computer programming for the web, and teaches programming at General Assembly in San Francisco. Sasha has also written and recorded several video courses as an author for / LinkedIn Learning.