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Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels

From Governor To President (Of Purdue, That Is): Mitch Daniels

Background

Kyle Stokes / StateImpact Indiana

Former Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, now president of Purdue University.

As the 49th governor of Indiana, Mitch Daniels has backed a statewide voucher system, merit pay for teachers and the expansion of charter schools since taking office in 2005. His Commission on Local Government Reform issued the Kernan-Shepard report, which advocated the streamlining of local government, including school consolidation.

The Republican governor has worked closely with former state schools chief Tony Bennett to implement the educational priorities of the executive office.

Now he’s headed to Purdue University, where he took the helm after being term-limited out of office in January 2013. Speculation that Daniels might be the frontrunner to succeed France Córdova as president of the university began in spring 2012, though the governor remained tight-lipped.

It’s an interesting career move for Daniels, who has said Indiana students need more career and technical training. He’s advocated for alternatives to four-year universities and appeared in commercials for the online Western Governors University. (Daniels attended Princeton and Georgetown universities.) He’s also asked the legislature to cut the number of hours it takes to earn some degrees.

Daniels will receive a base salary of $420,000 for his work as Purdue president, though he can make as much as $546,000 with performance-based incentives. It’s unclear exactly what benchmarks Daniels will be asked to achieve in order to make his bonus, but a statement from the school says they’ll be “based on critical goals such as increased graduation rates and affordability.”

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