In November 2021, UAA members were given the opportunity to fill three open seats on the Governing Board.  Voting members selected the following individuals to serve on the Board.

Cathy Yang Liu
Georgia State University (United States)

Cathy Yang LiuCathy Yang Liu is a Professor and Chair of Department of Public Management and Policy at the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University. She directs and teaches in the Planning and Economic Development Concentration in its degree programs. She conducts research and publishes widely in the areas of community and economic development, urban labor market and inequality, migration and entrepreneurship, as well as international urban development. Her edited book “Immigrant Entrepreneurship in Cities: Global Perspectives” was published by Springer in 2021. She received her MPP from the University of Chicago and Ph.D. in Planning from the University of Southern California.

Dr. Liu has been actively involved in UAA conferences from 2007 and serves as GSU’s institutional representative from 2012. Her recent service activities include member of Best Conference Paper Award Committee (2013-4), Conference Program Committee (2016-7, 2017-8), and Ad Hoc Journal Committee (2018). She was Chair of the Asia/Pacific Special Track Committee (2015-6 and 2018-9) as well as Chair of the Governing Board Nominations Committee (2020-1). In addition, she currently serves as a Senior Associate Editor for Journal of Urban Affairs (previously Managing Editor from 2016 to 2021).

Dr. Liu seeks election to the Board to further bridge the urban affairs scholarship and discussion across different disciplinary fields and across different parts of the world. She is also interested in exploring community-building activities outside of the annual conferences.


José Meléndez
University of Oregon (United States)

José MelendezDr. Meléndez is Assistant Professor of Planning for Engaging Diverse Communities at the University of Oregon’s School of Planning, Public Policy, and Management. Trained as a learning scientist/urban planner at the University of Illinois at Chicago, his research applies concepts and methods typically associated with the learning sciences to investigate planning contexts where findings inform and expand related practice and theory. Specifically, Dr. Meléndez’ research centers on the design of participatory and decision-making processes, to identify how language usage and tools, modes of participation, and the inclusion of new participants in these processes impact one another and influence process, policy, and learning outcomes.

Dr. Meléndez has been a UAA member since 2014. As a Ph.D. student, he attended his first conference and found his home community which has been instrumental to his professional development. From 2016-2019, he served on the Ad Hoc Committee on UAA Honor Society, tasked with creating UAA’s Upsilon Sigma. In 2018, Dr. Meléndez founded, and has since coordinated, the Teaching Effectiveness Academy for UAA, consisting of half-day professional development workshops for instructors. Finally, during the Covid-19 shutdown, Dr. Meléndez was a panelist for two of UAA virtual professional development panels.

In the same way he learned while participating at the annual conferences what needs there were that he could than focus on addressing, Dr. Meléndez wants to first learn the needs the board has before deciding where to apply his energy.

Rachael Woldoff
West Virginia University (United States)

Rachael WoldoffRachael A. Woldoff is an urban sociologist and Professor of Sociology at West Virginia University. She received a PhD in sociology from The Ohio State University, specializing in crime and community. Her work focuses on neighborhood crime and disorder, urban redevelopment, and racial/ethnic differences in neighborhood attainment, as well as the subjects of neighborhood racial change, gentrification, housing affordability, and creative class cities. Her research has appeared in Social ForcesUrban Affairs Review, and Urban Studies. Her book, White Flight/Black Flight: The Dynamics of Racial Change in an American Neighborhood, was awarded the UAA Best Book Award. Dr. Woldoff received the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Researcher Award. She has coauthored three other books including High Stakes: Big Time Sports and Downtown Redevelopment and Priced Out: Stuyvesant Town and the Loss of Middle-Class Neighborhoods. She is Deputy Editor of the journal City & Community and is Chair of the American Sociological Association’s Community and Urban Sociology Section (CUSS). Her newest book, Digital Nomads: In Search of Freedom, Community, and Meaningful Work in the New Economy (Oxford University Press 2021), examines community, creative class cities, and the rise of remote work.

Rachael has served on UAA’s conference Host Committee and Book Award Development Committee, and she has delivered a seminar on book publishing for UAA.

Rachael seeks election to the Board to continue her work bringing greater visibility to urban and community research, especially as it relates to critical perspectives, scholar activism, public sociology, race/ethnic studies, and criminology.

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Note: These three individuals formally begin their new term on the UAA Board in April 2022.