Former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack has landed a part-time job in the Drake University Law School. Vilsack will be a "visiting" professor, "team teaching" a course on rural development. "What I’m interested in doing and I think what any institution needs is a pair of fresh eyes that comes in and says, ‘You know, this is the way you look at a class, but how about if you look at it in a slightly different view?’" Vilsack says. "Giving students not only an opportunity to learn what the law is but encouraging them to think about how should it be different."
Vilsack , a Democratic presidential candidate, will also be in charge of a seminar this spring that’s focused on "security issues." Drake officials say candidate Vilsack will be the keynote speaker for two other campus lectures. Vilsack says he’ll bring in "controversial speakers" for that springtime seminar, too — people in the legal profession who have "challenged traditional notions," according to Vilsack.
Vilsack practiced law with his father-in-law in Mount Pleasant before he became governor. "I’ve always been proud of being a lawyer and I also realize that politics — at whatever level you practice it — is a temporary step in the journey of life. It’s not something, as far as I’m concerned, that you permanently do. It’s not something that you can say is your profession. It’s something you do, but the law is my profession," Vilsack says. "To the extent that I can help young people be better lawyers, be better policymakers, challenge the status quo — I’m really looking forward to that." Years ago, Vilsack briefly taught a business law class at Iowa Wesleyan College in Mount Pleasant.
Vilsack says entering the classroom again will be a challenge."Education has been an important part of my life and my family’s life and the opportunity to be associated with a great law school…is truly an honor," Vilsack said. Vilsack earned his law degree from Albany Law School and during his eight years as governor he took continuing education classes over the Internet to keep his law license current. Both of Vilsack’s children have followed their father into the legal profession. Vilsack’s oldest son earned his law degree from the University of Iowa. Vilsack’s younger son is attending law school in Colorado.