Yudof joins Bush’s transition team as education advisor

by Erin Ghere

University President Mark Yudof has been asked to serve on President-elect George W. Bush’s transition advisory committee on education, but knows little about the specifics of what he’ll be doing.
“I am honored to be included on this team,” Yudof said. “Educational policy and reform are long-time interests of mine, and I look forward to discussing these critical issues with those charged with setting our nation’s policies.”
As a result of the shortened transition period Bush has before his inauguration Jan. 20, Yudof said plans are even more hectic than normal.
The committee will not meet until after the president’s inauguration, Yudof said. But once they do, he said what they will actually be doing is still up in the air.
The 31-member transition team for the Department of Education will be an advisory group to the president during his first months in office. But Yudof is unsure whether the group will advise Bush solely on policy, or will also consult on his personnel appointments to the department.
Yudof knew Bush when the U president was provost of the University of Texas system before coming to the University in 1997. Yudof also served on several state education committees.
“I’m a maven of education,” he said, referring to positions he has served in, a book he wrote and a freshman seminar he teaches at the University.
As an advisory group member, Yudof said he hopes to focus on several areas, including emphasis on literacy programs, preparing students in higher education so they can better contribute to the economy and have better living circumstances, greater financial access to higher education through loan and grant programs, and more administrative accountability of K-12 and higher education programs.
Yudof is unsure of the length of his term. Bush’s transition team contacted him after the extended presidential election was finally settled but asked him not to announce the news of his appointment until after they had released it from Washington, D.C.
Yudof said he was not surprised that he was asked to be involved with the Bush administration because of their prior relationship, but he was surprised that he was asked to be part of the transition team.
Bush has named 475 individuals to work on 15 transition committees.