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Michael B. Poliakoff, President

Michael B. Poliakoff, PhD

Dr. Poliakoff became part of the ACTA team in March 2010 as the Vice President of Policy and became ACTA’s third president on July 1, 2016. He previously served as Vice President for Academic Affairs and research at the University of Colorado and in senior roles at the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Council on Teacher Quality, the American Academy for Liberal Education, and the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

He has taught at Georgetown University, George Washington University, Hillsdale College, the University of Illinois–Chicago, and Wellesley College. He received his B.A. magna cum laude from Yale University and went on to study at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, and the University of Michigan, where he earned a Ph.D. in classical studies. He has been a junior fellow at the Center for Hellenic Studies, and his research has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst, and the Alexander Von Humboldt-Stiftung. He is the author of numerous books and journal articles in classical studies and education policy and has received the American Philological Association’s Excellence in Teaching Award and the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Distinguished Service to Education Award.

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Armand Alacbay, Vice President of Trustee & Government Affairs

Mr. Alacbay is responsible for trustee and government affairs related projects. He oversees ACTA’s external affairs team to promote public policy objectives at the federal, state, and institutional levels. He works directly with members of Congress, senior executive branch officials, college and university trustees, and coalition leaders on priority higher education issues. Mr. Alacbay has testified before state legislatures in South Dakota, Michigan, and Maryland, and he has appeared on the Wall Street Journal‘s Opinion Journal program. He has been a contributing author on accreditation issues to volumes published by Johns Hopkins University Press and by the Heritage Foundation. His industry reports for ACTA have been featured in outlets including the Wall Street Journal, the Associated Press, Fox News, and Forbes.

Prior to joining ACTA, he worked in private practice as a trial attorney and later managed an educational services startup company. Mr. Alacbay received a B.A. in economics and English from the University of Virginia and his J.D. from George Mason University School of Law, where he served as Editor-in-Chief of the George Mason University Civil Rights Law Journal.

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Jonathan Pidluzny, Vice President of Academic Affairs

Dr. Pidluzny joined ACTA in May 2019 as the Director of Academic Affairs. He is responsible for developing and overseeing ACTA’s academic publications, expanding ACTA’s faculty network, and maximizing the effectiveness of ACTA’s outreach by working closely with trustees, faculty, and administrators on behalf of higher education reform. Prior to joining ACTA, Dr. Pidluzny was an associate professor of political science and the political science program coordinator at Morehead State University, where he won several awards for teaching excellence. A strong advocate of shared governance and prioritizing instructional spending in higher education budgeting, he served as the elected faculty regent on the institution’s governing board from 2017 to 2019.

Dr. Pidluzny received his Ph.D. in political science at Boston College and holds B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of Alberta. He is a 2006 Claremont Institute Publius Fellow whose research focuses on the social and civic prerequisites of liberal democracy—at home and abroad. He has recently published papers and book chapters on Alexis de Tocqueville, the American Founding, and the failure of the Arab Spring.

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Emily Koons Jae, Director, Fund for Academic Renewal (FAR)


Emily Koons Jae serves as Director of the Fund for Academic Renewal, a program of ACTA that works closely with higher education donors to design, monitor, and evaluate transformative gifts that meet their philanthropic objectives. In this role, Ms. Jae collaborates with ACTA’s Vice President of Communications & Development to identify philanthropists who would benefit from FAR’s services and build strategic partnerships that further our mission.

Prior to joining ACTA, Ms. Jae served as the director of entrepreneur engagement at the Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy Alternatives in southeastern Pennsylvania. Before that, she worked for the Jack Miller Center, serving in a progression of roles on the organization’s academic programs, communications, and development teams. Ms. Jae holds a B.A. in history from Davidson College.

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Launched in 1995, we are the only organization that works with alumni, donors, trustees, and education leaders across the United States to support liberal arts education, uphold high academic standards, safeguard the free exchange of ideas on campus, and ensure that the next generation receives an intellectually rich, high-quality college education at an affordable price.

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