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Biden Draws on Colleges to Aid in Transition

November 12, 2020
 
 

President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team is drawing significantly the nation’s colleges and universities to prepare to take the reins of government on Jan. 20.

Of the nearly 600 mostly volunteers announced by Biden’s transition team to serve on agency review teams to help coordinate the transition from the Trump administration, nearly 80 are professors.

Biden is also drawing from think tanks, unions, state governments and major lobbying firms for people to serve on the teams, who will start by meeting with former officials of federal agencies and policy experts. Once the General Services Administration recognizes Biden’s victory, they will work with current department officials to coordinate the transfer in power to the new administration.

For instance, among those working with the Education Department will be Norma Cantu, a law professor at the University of Texas at Austin; Robert Kim, senior Title IX/EEO investigator at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice; and Paul Monteiro, Howard University’s chief of staff and assistant vice president of external affairs.

Former Navy admiral Michelle Howard, now a George Washington University international affairs professor, and Frank Mora, a politics and international relations professor at Florida International University, will be among those working with the Defense Department.

Law professors Christopher Schroeder, of Duke University; Indiana University’s Dawn Johnsen; Stanford University’s Pam Karlan; Harvard University’s Richard Lazarus; Martin Lederman, of Georgetown; Barb McQuade, of the University of Michigan; and Yale University’s Cristina Rodriguez will be working with the Justice Department.

Among the others working with the transition are Cynthia Giles, guest fellow at Harvard University’s environmental and energy law program; Joseph Goffman, the program’s executive director; and Ken Kopocis, an adjunct associate law professor at American University, who will be working with the Environmental Protection Agency.

Mahlet Mesfin, visiting scholar at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement; Juan Sepúlveda, a Trinity University political science professor; and David Skorton, president of the Association of American Medical Colleges will be on another group working with arts and humanities agencies, including the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Science Foundation and the Smithsonian Institution.

The group is one of the most diverse among those that have done similar work in previous transfers, Biden’s transition team said in a press release. More than half are women, and approximately 40 percent represent communities historically underrepresented in the federal government, including people of color, people who identify as LGBTQ and people with disabilities.

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