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Linguist Sells wins Hoagland Prize for teaching excellence

STANFORD -- Peter Sells, associate professor of linguistics, has been named the ninth recipient of the Laurance and Naomi Carpenter Hoagland Prize for Undergraduate Teaching.

The prize was announced during the Junior Convocation ceremony Friday, Sept. 29, by John Etchemendy, associate dean of the School of Humanities and Sciences.

Sells earned a bachelor's degree in linguistics and communication studies from the University of Liverpool in 1980, and a doctorate in linguistics from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1984. His dissertation topic was "Syntax and Semantics of Resumptive Pronouns."

He came to Stanford in 1984 as a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for the Study of Language and Information, a position he held until 1987. He also began lecturing at Stanford in 1984, and later was appointed to the faculty of the Department of Linguistics.

In announcing the award, Etchemendy said Sells "teaches the subject of linguistics well, while presenting the material in such a manner that keeps students' interest, consequently building enthusiasm for the subject. He has the ability to make the material he presents understandable to the beginner while engaging the linguistics savvy student with his high level of competence in the field."

The Hoagland Prize for Undergraduate Teaching was established to honor and reward superb teachers and their commitment to undergraduate education. The prize, named in honor of donor Laurance Hoagland Jr.'s parents, was established in appreciation for the undergraduate education they, their children and grandchildren, and other family members received at Stanford.

Past winners are Patricia Jones, biological sciences (1987); John Rick, anthropology (1988); Jody Maxmin, classics and art (1989); Mark Lepper, psychology (1990); Paul Wender, chemistry (1991); John Taylor, economics (1992); Seth Lerer, English (1993); and Anne Fernald, psychology (1994).



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