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Gordon, Robert

Public Service Scholar

333 Hutchins Hall
734.647.3729
E-mail rgord@umich.edu

​Over three decades, Robert Gordon has worked in major roles at all levels of government.  Between 2019 and 2021, he served as director of the Department of Health & Human Services for the State of Michigan, playing a central role in the state’s pandemic response, narrowing racial disparities in health outcomes, streamlining public benefits delivery, and improving results for children in foster care. Between 2009 and 2015, Robert served as acting assistant secretary for policy at the United States Department of Education, and as acting deputy director, executive associate director, and program associate director at the Office of Management & Budget.  In these roles, he led the executive branch’s evidence-based policy initiatives; strengthened early childhood, K-12 education, and college access programs; and negotiated major appropriations agreements.  Earlier in his career, Robert served as a senior education official at the New York City Department of Education, overhauling the city’s approach to school budgeting; a senior aide on Capitol Hill, handling judicial nominations and crafting part of the Sarbanes-Oxley legislation; a law clerk for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg during Bush v. Gore; and, in 1993, a White House aide helping create the Americorps program.  

Outside government, Robert has worked as senior vice president for strategy and finance at the College Board, an aide on presidential campaigns, and a consultant to foundations and nonprofit organizations.  As a Skadden Fellow, Robert represented children in abuse and neglect proceedings for the Legal Aid Society in the Bronx, New York.  He has also been a fellow at the Urban Institute, the Brookings Institution, and the Center for American Progress, and a board member for Results for America and the Achievement Network. His writings on policy and law have been published in Politico, The Atlantic, Slate, The New Republic, and Democracy: A Journal of Ideas. Robert is a graduate of Harvard College, summa cum laude, and Yale Law School.

Robert is also a senior advisor to Poverty Solutions at the University of Michigan.



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