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Dr. Michael Anderson

Dr. Michael Anderson is a professor at UT, teaching classes for the new International Relations and Global Studies major. Dr. Anderson has a natural, easygoing manner in the classroom, but as an undergraduate he wasn’t at all sure that he wanted a career in teaching. After graduating from UVA with a bachelor’s in American History, Dr. Anderson took a teaching fellowship at a private boarding school in southwest England. He had no teaching certificate or experience leading a classroom, but after his first year of teaching was completed, the boarding school asked him to teach a second year.

“I learned the joys of teaching by falling on my face several times, and getting back up, but it was an enjoyable experience,” Dr. Anderson said. “It also made me realize that I wanted to go back and pursue studies at the graduate level. What I recommend to anyone thinking about graduate school is taking at least a year away. Not having any papers to write; having a year or two away from being a student was important for me- to know that I had an actual desire to go back and study, and not just to fall into it based on my undergraduate experience.”

Dr. Anderson came to Austin intending to simply get a doctorate in American History, but two weeks after he arrived at UT to start his PhD, radical jihadists leveled the World Trade Center. “It made me think about doing a degree that would involve not simply U.S. history, but America’s place in the world. It made me think about questions of diplomatic history, international history; questions about imperialism, colonialism- larger questions that involved European history too. It opened up new avenues for me, and forced me to broaden my expertise and vision in a way that I wouldn’t have otherwise.”

Dr. Anderson has a lot on his plate. Aside from helping start the International Relations & Global Studies major, which has been one of the most successful and fastest-growing new programs ever at UT, he also teaches American History part-time at ACC, and has started work on converting his doctoral thesis into a manuscript for popular publication. Despite all this, Dr. Anderson still finds time for family. He met the woman who would become his wife as an undergraduate at UVA in the late nineties. While he taught at the boarding school in England after college, she worked at a culinary school in France, and they managed to see each other while they were both in Western Europe. After Dr. Anderson got accepted into the PhD program at UT, he persuaded her to move to Austin. “I convinced her that Austin, TX, had a far greater culinary tradition than Burgundy, France.” Dr. Anderson laughed. “Fortunately my ruse was never discovered. She found a great job at Whole Foods, and has been there ever since.” They were married in 2004.

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