News Story

Former Gov. Granholm Left Teaching Job at Berkeley; Husband Dan Mulhern to Teach One Class in Fall

Granholm on unpaid leave for 22 months

It was a big news story at the prestigious Berkeley campus of the University of California in 2011 when former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm landed a teaching position at a college known for leaning left politically.

The Jan. 24, 2011, Berkeley News headline read: “Former Michigan Gov. Granholm to teach at UC Berkeley.”

The article noted that Granholm and her husband Dan Mulhern were both accepting teaching positions at the university's highly ranked schools of law, business and public policy.

But Granholm’s stay would be short-lived. The university says she took an unpaid leave of absence. It started in September 2015 and will go through June 2017. Meanwhile, Mulhern will stay on and is scheduled to teach one course at the Goldman School of Public Policy in fall 2016.

The latest salary information is for 2014, and it shows Mulhern’s gross salary at $163,068. Granholm’s gross salary in 2014 was $208,218. The University of California Office of the President will release salary information for 2015 later this month.

Berkeley did release how much Mulhern earned in 2015 and 2016 for teaching classes but it didn't provide his total compensation until its annual release of salary information later this month.

In fall 2015, Mulhern earned $15,000 to teach one public policy course and $27,650 for teaching another business school course. This past spring, Mulhern taught one business school course for $42,000.

Richard Vedder, a distinguished professor of economics emeritus at Ohio University, questioned whether Mulhern had the credentials on his own to teach at such an acclaimed university.

More than 70 people affiliated with UC-Berkeley — whether it be graduates or employees — have won the Nobel Prize. U.S. News & World Report lists Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy as the best in the country in 2016. The magazine has the undergraduate business school as second-best and the law school as eighth-best in the country.

Mulhern’s website lists his accomplishments. He has published two books on leadership and created a leadership firm, Dan Mulhern Inc. He is currently president of Granholm Mulhern Associates. Mulhern was an honors graduate of Yale University and Harvard Law School.

“Business schools do every crazy thing under the sun,” said Vedder, who is on the Mackinac Center for Public Policy's Board of Scholars. “I wouldn’t be surprised if (Donald) Trump would get a professorship somewhere. Mulhern hasn’t run a large business to my knowledge.”

Vedder said bringing in Granholm was a “celebrity” hire, done by a school to brandish its reputation.

“It is not uncommon for universities to hire celebrities and pay them monster salaries for a semester or two,” Vedder said. “Granholm is not a household name, particularly in California. What’s in it for Berkeley? I don’t know.”

Vedder also said Mulhern’s legal accomplishments may not meet the standard to teach at Berkeley.

“Does he have a record of legal scholarship? I couldn’t find one,” Vedder said. “I looked. When did he go to law school? Twenty-five years ago? What has he done since?”

UC-Berkeley spokeswoman Janet Gilmore said Mulhern was qualified. She pointed to the Golden Apple award students presented to Mulhern in 2013 as the most outstanding teacher on the Berkeley campus.

“Dan Mulhern, who graduated from Yale undergrad and Harvard law with honors and has extensive professional knowledge through his experience, writing and consulting work, has taught at UC Berkeley for several years now,” Gilmore said in an email. “He is, of course, qualified to serve as a lecturer here. As you may know, while research and teaching are key factors in selecting ladder-rank faculty, the emphasis with lecturers is on the quality of teaching and professional knowledge. Indeed, many of our professional schools use lecturers with professional experience and knowledge to provide their students with a practitioner perspective that helps round out the scholarly and research-based perspectives of our ladder (research) faculty.”

Mulhern and Carole Love, the media contact for Granholm Mulhern Associates, didn’t respond to an email seeking comment.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.