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Published: Friday, 6/1/2007

Ex-governor Taft to join institute at University of Dayton

BLADE COLUMBUS BUREAU
Taft Taft
PAUL VERNON / AP Enlarge

COLUMBUS - Former Gov. Bob Taft said he wanted to find a job in higher education, and he's found one for at least the next two years with the University of Dayton, a private Catholic school.

"This is a position within our research institute," university spokesman Teri Rizvi said. "He will be attracting research funding for education policy issues."

The governor will serve as a distinguished research associate in educational excellence and will open the university's Center for Educational Excellence. The center will focus on encouraging the study of science, technology, engineering, and math. The university announced the hiring yesterday.

Among his last acts as governor early this year, Mr. Taft signed a law increasing high school graduation requirements for math and lab-based sciences and made attendance at most four-year public universities contingent on successful completion of those requirements.

Ms. Rizvi declined to reveal the former governor's new salary, noting the private school does not disclose financial information about employees. Mr. Taft is expected to begin his two-year minimum appointment Aug. 15.

"The opportunity to help more students succeed is one of the reasons I ran for governor," Mr. Taft said in a university news release. "It's my passion and was a priority throughout my administration. We established higher standards across the board and a more rigorous high school curriculum.

"Improving the quality of math and science education is critical to the future of our country," he said.

Since 1998, the University of Dayton has received $37.3 million in direct and indirect research grants under Mr. Taft's Third Frontier program, the third highest amount awarded to any public or private university in the state, according to the Ohio Department of Development. It was exceeded only by the Ohio State University and Case Western Reserve University.

By comparison, the University of Toledo has received about $23 million, ranking fifth.

Ms. Rizvi noted that none of the University of Dayton grants was related to education policy.

"As governor, I learned firsthand about the exceptional science, engineering, and teacher preparation programs at the University of Dayton, and I am looking forward to helping the Miami Valley region become a national leader in math and science education," Mr. Taft said.

The university said Mr. Taft and his wife, Hope, previously of Cincinnati, plan to move to the Dayton area this summer.

Mr. Taft taught English, math, geography, and art to children in Tanzania while a Peace Corps volunteer.

Immediately after leaving office in January, he revisited the country with his wife.



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