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Obama Taps Profs. For Transition Team

This story was written by An Le Nguyen, The Stanford Daily

With the presidential inauguration rapidly approaching, President-elect Barack Obama has recruited a number of Stanford professors as advisers for his transition team. Among those selected advisers include Profs. Linda Darling-Hammond, Mariano-Florentino (Tino) Cuellar, Michael McFaul, Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall and Peter Blair Henry. These advisers will serve in policy groups formulating plans and proposals for the Obama-Biden administration.

Linda Darling-Hammond

(UWIRE) -- Darling-Hammond is the Charles E. Ducommun Professor in the School of Education and has taught at Stanford since 1998. Within Obamas transition team, she will head the Education Policy Working Group.

For Darling-Hammond, leading the education team is a natural progression from her long-running involvement with Sen. Obamas presidential campaign.

I started working on the campaign way back in the very beginning, before anybody thought Barack Obama was going to be a major candidate, she said. Its been a long, long haul over the last two years. I worked on his education policy team, helping to draft his policies, and I [then] got to D.C. to work on the transition.

Darling-Hammond now divides her time between Stanford and Washington D.C., simultaneously teaching courses and trying to build what she terms an education nation.

Our job is to take the campaign promises and platform, and figure out how to implement those legislatively and develop a set of options that are going to be handed to . . . the president and the new secretary of the agency, she said.

According to Darling-Hammond, Obamas ambitious education platform will focus on providing access to early learning, recruiting and training teachers, investing in technology, improving academic assessments and increasing school options for parents and students.

At the same time, there has been heightened speculation regarding Darling-Hammonds key role within the Obama transition and her potential nomination for Secretary of Education. Both CNN and the Associated Press have put her on the short list for the job.

This would be a notable move for a woman who began her career as a public school teacher and was named in 2006 the 10th-most influential educator by Education Week.

Nevertheless, the reserved Darling-Hammond stressed, I have a good job at Stanford, where the sun shines and I ride my bike to work every day, so Im not really looking ahead for anything beyond the transition.

Mariano-Florentino (Tino) Cuellar

(UWIRE) -- Another prominent player in the Obama-Biden transition team is professpr Mariano-Florentino Cuellar, the Deane F. Johnson Faculty Scholar at Stanford Law School.

Cuellar will head the Immigration Policy Working Group along with T. Alexander Aleinikoff. Aleinikoff is currently dean of Georgetown University Law Center and executive vice president of Georgetown University.

In an email to The Daily, Stanford Law School Dean Larry Kramer described Cuellars work for the next two months.

As a member of the transition team, he is helping prepare legislative options, consulting with staff on Capitol Hill, analyzing possible regulatory and executive changes, and generally helping the new administration to deal with complicated immigration issues that affect the economy and national security, Kramer said.

Like Darling-Hammond, Cuellar balances his role in the Immigration Policy Working Group with his professorship at the Law School.

He is . . . continuing to fulfill his teaching and other responsibilities at the Law School, Kramer said. Remarkable people cn do remarkable things, and Prof. Cuellar is such a person.

Advising for the Obama campaign is not Cuellars first foray into presidential politics. His past work includes a two-year stint at the U.S. Treasury Department in the Clinton administration. He served as senior advisor to the Undersecretary for Enforcement, and worked to combat money-laundering operations.

As a full-time professor at Stanford, Cuellar specializes in administrative law and has considerable expertise on how organizations deal with complex problems in regulation, migration, interational security and criminal justice.

Michael McFaul and Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall

(UWIRE) -- In the realm of national security, the Obama campaign has enlisted the help of two other Stanford professors, Michael McFaul and Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall.

Currently, McFaul works with Sen. Obamas Chicago-based transition team as a member of the National Security Policy Working Group.

During the presidential campaign, McFaul also served as chief advisor on Russia and Eurasia for Senator Obama. Following the Russian invasion of Georgia, he advised on one of the few foreign policy issues that received substantial attention during the presidential debates.

At Stanford, McFaul is the director of both the Center on Democracy and the Development and the Rule of Law (CDDRL), and is the Peter and Helen Bing Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution.

Sherwood-Randall works with the National Security Team on the Department of Defense. At Stanford she is involved with the Freeman Spogli Institutes Center for International Security and Cooperation.

Peter Blair Henry

(UWIRE) -- Stanford also has a presence within Obamas economic transition team with Prof. Peter Blair Henry, who has been appointed the leader of an Obama team that will review international lending agencies. Henry is the Konosuke Matsushita Professor in the Graduate School of Business and a senior fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR).

With this array of advisers at Obamas disposal, supporters look ahead to January 20 with great expectation and excitement.

In the words of Darling-Hammond, This is an administration that is going to hit the ground running.

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