Former Michigan Gov. Granholm to teach at Cal

Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm and her husband, Daniel Mulhern, will teach interdisciplinary courses on energy, leadership, state budgets and the economy at the University of California, Berkeley’s schools of law, business and public policy, the university announced this morning.

The academic appointments will be part time this semester and full time in the fall.

Jennifer GranholmThe Democrat served as Michigan’s first woman governor from 2003 through the start of this month. The automotive and manufacturing sectors plummeted during this time, forcing Granholm to work to diversify the state’s economy – including an emphasis on clean energy – while shoring up the vastly changed automotive industry.

“We are simply delighted that a governor of this caliber and expertise with such a strong legacy has agreed to teach here,” Berkeley Law Dean Christopher Edley said in a news release. “We teach our students how to apply their studies to solve the most intractable real world problems. Governor Granholm is a role model in this arena. She’s a distinguished policy expert who’s charted a new course for Michigan through hard work and innovation.”

Granholm, 51, will teach several courses while working closely with several UC Berkeley’s think tanks. At the Goldman School of Public Policy this spring, she will teach about state budgets, clean energy jobs, diversifying the economy, and leadership; in the fall, she will add a course on state budgeting and governing in times of fiscal crisis.

She also is scheduled to speak in Cal’s Chevron Auditorium at 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 2 on “Cracking the Code: Creating Jobs in America (in the wake of globalization).”

“In these times of tough budget choices and increasing demands on government to solve problems, no one is better equipped to teach about leadership and policy-making than Governor Granholm,” Goldman School Dean Henry Brady said in the releasel. “We are thrilled to have her at the Goldman School of Public Policy to continue our tradition of teaching students how to face tough problems directly, analytically and imaginatively.”

Granholm graduated from Cal in 1984 with B.A. in both political science and French, and from Harvard Law School in 1987. She said returning to her alma mater is “a terrific opportunity to offer students an insider’s look at the challenges of running state government during fiscal crisis. It also gives Dan and me a forum to debate public policy with the university’s stellar thinkers and scholars.”

Granholm, who also is scheduled to be a regular contributor to NBC’s “Meet the Press with David Gregory,” became a federal prosecutor in Detroit in 1990 and was elected Michigan’s first female attorney general in 1998. She was then elected governor in 2002 and re-elected in 2006.

While in office, she signed into law a college prep curriculum for every high school student in the state and some of the toughest turnaround requirements in the nation for low-performing schools. In 2007, she launched a “No Worker Left Behind” program for displaced adults, in which the state pays the community college or technical school tuition of any unemployed and underemployed citizen seeking training for a high-demand job. Michigan under her leadership won recognition by the Pew Center on the States as being one of the best managed states in the country and one of the top states for adding new business expansions.

Mulhern is a leadership coach; the host of “Everyday Leadership,” a radio show on the Michigan Talk Network; and the author of two books: “Everyday Leadership: Getting Results in Business, Politics and Life” (2007); and “Be Real: Inspiring Stories for Leading at Home and Work” (2010). He’ll teach two courses in this year’s fall semester: one on gender, work and leadership to be offered jointly by the Goldman School and Berkeley Law, and another at the Haas School of Business on leadership.

Mulhern also will join faculty affiliated with Berkeley Law’s Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute and its project on health, economic and family security. He graduated from Yale University in 1980 with a degree in religious studies and from Harvard Law School in 1986.

UPDATE @ 3:50 P.M.: University spokeswoman Susan Gluss, whom I’d contacted earlier to find out how much Granholm and Mulhern will be paid, just e-mailed me to say I should contact the campus public records office, presumably with a formal California Public Records Act information request. I’ve just left a voice mail for the public records coordinator, and e-mailed him a formal written request.

UPDATE @ 5:32 P.M.: My esteemed colleague, Matt Krupnick, just heard back from Gluss that Granholm and Mulhern each will receive a salary of $150,000, which she said is “somewhat below the average Berkeley salary for starting assistant professors in law or business.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • John W

    Speaking as a Michigander, I’m pleased she will be joining the Cal faculty. She’ll be an excellent addition. While she’s at it, maybe she can tell policymakers here in CA how Michigan, a union state, managed to convert its retirement plans away from defined benefit to more sensible and sustainable defined contribution.

  • RR, Uninvited Columnist

    She’s an exile.

  • John W

    “She’s an exile.”


  • RR, Uninvited Columnist

    John W.: Meaning her career prospects in Michigan ain’t too good.

  • John W


    Got it. Well, in political terms, Michigan has been a very tough place to be governor in recent years, given the meltdown of the auto industry and downstate economy. She did get to serve a full 8 years, and I doubt anybody could have done better. But she definitely would have had a tough go of it running for a 3rd term, had that even been an option. We’ll see how her GOP successor, Rick Snyder, does. He seems like a moderate business pragmatist type. He worked for former moderate GOP governor Bill Milliken (best and longest-serving governor in state history), which speaks well of him. I’m sure the University of Michigan or Michigan State would love to have Granholm. But returning to northern CA and to Cal is far more appealing.

  • ezra abrams

    does Gov Granholm get a pension from the taxpayers of MI
    and does she get paid by the taxpayers of CA now
    aside from the fact that she is a
    who gave up on the people of her state for a super cushy job at UCB,
    if she is getting a pension and a salary she is just another turncoat sleazy 1% double dipping pol; we certainly have enough of those here in MA where I live

  • John W

    Re: #7 “aside from the fact that she is a QUITTER who gave up on the people of her state for a super cushy job at UCB.” “…getting a pension…just another turncoat sleazy 1% double dipping pol.”

    You say you’re in MA. So, as a current CA resident and former Michigan resident, let me bring you up to speed.

    For the record, Michigan switched from defined-benefit pension to a defined-contribution (401k) retirement savings plan for state employees hired after March 1997, nearly two years before Granholm became a state employee as the newly elected Attorney General. As governor, she was paid $172k, but returned 6% of it during budget cuts.

    Granholm’s family moved to CA when she was 4. She attended K-12 here and graduated from Cal. She also spent her early working years in CA before going to Harvard Law.

    After law school, she clerked for a federal appeals court judge in the midwest, worked as an Assistant U.S. Attorney and county attorney in Michigan before being elected Attorney General and later serving two complete terms (maximum allowed) as governnor. That’s hardly being a “quitter.” You must be thinking of Alaska half-guv, Sarah Palin.

    With her education and political resume, she could earn gazillions in the private sector or as a D.C. lobbyist after being termed out as governor. Instead, she decided to return to her home state and take a teaching job at her alma mater. How awful!