Two UT Austin professors named to Biden-Harris agency review teams

Two professors at the University of Texas at Austin have been named to agency review teams on the Biden-Harris transition team.

According to the Biden-Harris transition website, the agency review teams are responsible for understanding the operations of each agency, ensuring a smooth transfer of power, and preparing for President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and their cabinet.

Dr. Mary Wakefield and Norma Cantú have been selected to serve as volunteers. Wakefield will be on the Department of Health and Human Services team, which will also review the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and Cantu will serve on the Department of Education team, which will also review the Corporation for National and Community Service.

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The website states that the Presidential Transition Act requires presidential transitions to disclose the “most recent employment” and “sources of funding” for all agency review team members, which fall into three categories:

  • Volunteers: Individuals volunteering in their personal capacity. For these team members, their current or most recent employer is listed (for informational purposes only), and their source of funding is listed as “Volunteer.”
  • Full-Time Transition Employees: Individuals who are full-time paid Transition employees, funded by the Transition entity itself (PT Fund, Inc.). For these team members, their most recent employer prior to joining the Transition is listed for informational purposes only, and their source of funding is listed as “Transition — PT Fund, Inc.”
  • Detailees: Individuals on detail who will be funded through an appropriation administered by the General Services Administration. For these team members, their current employer is listed, and their source of funding is listed as “Transition — Appropriation.”


UT visiting professor Mary Wakefield (UT Austin)


Wakefield currently serves as a visiting professor at the UT Austin School of Nursing where she graduated from in 1985 with a PhD in nursing. She also recently was honored with the Living Legend award by the American Academy of Nursing. 

She also previously served as Administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration and as Acting Deputy Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services and oversaw foundational work to strengthen the health care workforce, increase health equity, and provide services to patients who are geographically isolated or economically or medically vulnerable.

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UT Austin professor Norma Cantu (Wyatt McSpadden)

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Norma Cantú currently teaches at the UT Austin School of Law, specializing in education law and the Americans with Disabilities Act. For eight years, she served as the Assistant Secretary of Education for Civil Rights in the Clinton Administration, where she oversaw a staff of approximately 850 in implementing governmental policy for civil rights in American education.

She also previously worked for fourteen years as regional counsel and education director of the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, litigating cases affecting educational funding, disability rights, student disciplinary policies, access to special services for English-language learners, and racially hostile environments.