AMHERST, Mass. – Former U.S. Rep. Peter G. Torkildsen has been named a professor of practice in the University of Massachusetts Amherst department of political science. The only UMass Amherst graduate to serve in Congress, Torkildsen will begin teaching a course on political leadership at the university in the spring semester.
“Congressman Torkildsen will not only explore theories of leadership with our students, but he will be able to provide practical examples of how leadership is cultivated and refined and how it varies from individual to individual,” says Brian Schaffner, political science department chair. “We are thrilled to have an experienced political leader spearheading this course.”
Torkildsen is one of a handful of people in the state who have been elected to office at the local, state and federal level. He served as an elected town meeting member in Danvers from 1983-85, as state representative from 1985-91 and as congressman from 1993-97.
Since leaving public office, Torkildsen has served as commissioner on the Massachusetts Labor Relations Commission, as director of federal, state and local workforce relations for the Massachusetts Department of Workforce Development, as executive director of the Massachusetts Workforce Investment Board and as chairman of the Massachusetts State Republican Party. He has also worked as a consultant in the private sector, providing another perspective from which he will discuss leadership with his students.
“I want to teach at UMass Amherst, my alma mater, to give back,” Torkildsen says. “I want to utilize the experiences and share the insights into political leadership that I have gained as a member of Congress, a state representative and as an appointed senior official to several Massachusetts governors.”