Michael Starbird

Michael Starbird

Department of Mathematics
Senior Fellow

What motivated you to become a PTF?

I love the UT motto: "What starts here changes the world." One of the central contributions The University of Texas at Austin can make is to become an ever-improving world leader in educational innovation. The Provost Teaching Fellows can help to inspire imaginative thinkers at UT to turn their minds toward educational challenges with potentially global impact. 

What inspired your passion for teaching?

People's destinies are not predetermined. I see students as untapped reservoirs of potential. Some will lead future lives that include insight, creativity, and wonderful contributions to their families, friends, and society. Some students will not develop their potential. People can be taught habits of mind and constructive attitudes that really do transform lives for the benefit of society. What could be more inspiring than the possibility of awakening individual lives and thereby creating a better future world?

What advice do you have for other teachers?

It's what the students do that counts. Quit thinking about what you as the teacher are doing and instead focus on what your students are doing. Lifelong goals of education include producing citizens of the world who are curious, insightful, and creative independent thinkers. Are you causing your students to have experiences that directly help them to develop those habits of mind? 

For more on Dr. Starbird's work, please visit his homepage or email him at starbird@mail.utexas.edu.

Dr. Starbird is a Senior Fellow and serves as mentor for incoming Fellows in the Provost Teaching Fellows program. Find out more about this Faculty Initiative here.