This article presents a brief overview of events leading to the creation of the National Center for the Study of Collective Bargaining in Higher Education and the Professions (National Center) in 1972 at the City University of New York (CUNY) and then summarizes the National Center’s evolving leadership, programming, research, and publications over the past half-century. The article is tied with the theme of the National Center’s 50th anniversary conference in March 2023: Collective Bargaining in Higher Education: Looking Back, Looking Forward: 1973-2023. It demonstrates the uniqueness of the National Center’s origin as a higher education labor-management research center, distinct in character, and structure from labor education and labor studies programs at other institutions. While the National Center’s priorities and methods have evolved over the decades, it remains an interdisciplinary research center that organizes national and regional conferences, hosts webinars, collects data, and produces scholarship on unionization and collective bargaining in higher education.

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