Former education secretary Estelle Morris is to take a job at a university, having stood down as an MP.
Estelle Morris will work on links with schools
Ms Morris, who resigned from the Cabinet in 2002 following the A-level marking fiasco, becomes pro vice- chancellor of Sunderland University.
She will work to develop partnerships with schools and colleges
Ms Morris, a former teacher, said Sunderland was "the Oxbridge of the new universities" and that it was important to continue raising standards.
She said: "UK universities have a worldwide reputation for excellence. But there are new challenges ahead.
"Combining this excellence with recruiting and maintaining more students from different backgrounds is going to decide what kind of country we become."
Ms Morris starts the part-time job in June. She will work with the chancellor, Lord Puttnam, a friend and former adviser to the Department for Education and Skills.
Sunderland's vice-chancellor, Professor Peter Fidler, said: "We are delighted that Estelle is going to work with us at Sunderland.
"Her achievements in education and as a politician, especially as secretary of state for education, have earned her tremendous respect."
Ms Morris began her career as a teacher at an inner-city school in Coventry and was head of its sixth form studies until she left to become MP for Birmingham Yardley 1992.
She was made school standards minister following Labour's election win in 1997, and in 2001 was promoted to education secretary.
However, Ms Morris resigned in October 2002, telling the BBC she had "been honest with herself" and found she was better suited to the more junior role. In 2003 she became arts minister.