After teaching at The University of Texas at Austin for over 40 years, Dr. Robert Prentice continues to enjoy his work. From teaching classes on ethics to leading UT departments, Dr. Prentice has a host of experience and knowledge to share with Canfield Business Honors Students.
Dr. Prentice came to UT to take on a teaching job, but has embarked on much more since then. Currently, he is the Chair of the Business, Government, and Society department, Faculty Director of Ethics Unwrapped (an ethics educational video project), and former Faculty Director of the Canfield Business Honors Program. Throughout all of his endeavors, Dr. Prentice strives to facilitate the long-term happiness of UT and Canfield BHP students.
“The more ethically you’ve acted, the more you can look back on your life and be able to credibly tell yourself, ‘I made a difference. I helped people, I made the world a better place,’” Dr. Prentice said. “That (reflection) is going to be the most important thing in terms of individual happiness, so that’s something I try to stress to my students.”
With the pressures of college, internships, and everything else going on in the lives of students, Dr. Prentice works to keep students on track where both education and moral standards are concerned. He said even the best students struggle with being the people they want to be throughout their lives, so he works to ensure they aren’t blindsided by the real world once they leave life at UT.
“It’s hard to be as good a person as you want to be every day. I think it’s true of my business honors students who I’ve taught over time, they’re great kids. They were raised right, they’ve got good families, they’ve got the right values, (and) they want to be good people,” he said.
“But I think oftentimes they kind of get ambushed. They don’t realize how hard it is day to day out in the real world to be the kind of person you want to be, to live up to your own standards every single day. So those are the types of things I try to focus on and help them with.”
Dr. Prentice says he especially loves working with Canfield BHP students. For LEB 323H classes, he includes more rigorous content, more writing assignments, and a capstone project at the end of the semester.
“If I were to name my favorite 20 classes that I’ve taught in my 40 years here, they’d all be (Canfield) BHP classes,” he said. “I’m a little more aggressive in what I cover, what I assume they can pick up on their own, and in the assignments I give them. I (also) give them a big Supreme court project, which is a fairly major undertaking where I divide the students into teams and they write briefs on a real Supreme court case.”
Throughout the time Dr. Prentice has been at UT, he said Canfield BHP students continue to impress him in both his classes and in the honors program overall. He said what stands out most is the confidence and speaking ability he sees in students.
“You can put a (Canfield BHP student) up in front of a crowd and they will distinguish themselves. They will impress the crowd. That’s true of pretty much every (Canfield) Business Honors student,” he said. “The alumnus and the parents and whoever it happens to be (in the crowd) will come away saying, ‘You are so lucky to be able to teach students like that.’ And I agree. I am very lucky to be able to teach students like that.”