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Noll, Saldivar win Rhodes Prizes for undergraduate teaching
STANFORD -- Roger Noll, professor of economics and director of the program in public policy, and Ramon Saldivar, professor of English, received Lilian and Thomas B. Rhodes Prizes for excellence in undergraduate teaching Sunday, June 12.
The awards were presented at departmental graduation ceremonies after the university-wide commencement exercises. Dean of Humanities and Sciences John Shoven presented the award to Noll, a fellow economist, while Saldivar received his award from Professor Ron Rebholz, chairman of the English Department.
The Rhodes Prizes were awarded this year in two categories. Noll was honored for his contributions to interdisciplinary scholarship at Stanford, while Saldivar was honored for his service to the undergraduate curriculum.
Established in 1991, the Rhodes Prizes celebrate the dedication and commitment to teaching of the Stanford faculty. Selection is made by the dean of the School of Humanities and Sciences, acting upon recommendations from department chairs and associate deans, and in consultation with the deans of the schools of Earth Sciences and Engineering. Each prize carries a stipend of $4,000.
Noll, who joined the Stanford faculty in 1984, was appointed the Morris M. Doyle Centennial Professor in Public Policy in 1990. He is also professor by courtesy in the Graduate School of Business.
Faculty colleagues described Noll as having "single-handedly" shaped the public policy program into its present distinguished form, saying his "untiring dedication, enthusiasm and commitment" have made it "a first-class interdisciplinary program" at Stanford. One suggested that "what the university needs is to clone Roger and present him as a 'gift' to each and every degree-granting program on campus."
Students praised Noll's teaching abilities, commitment to excellence and personal investment in their education. He is known for being extremely generous with his time, acting as adviser, mentor and friend. His classes were called both the most challenging and most rewarding of students' Stanford careers, with "every ounce of work being repaid in full."
Another student wrote, "Every time I see Professor Noll I am greeted with a hearty smile and his trademark laugh, am offered guidance and encouragement, and leave feeling a renewed sense of belief in myself and my ability to reach my dreams."
Saldivar joined the Stanford faculty in 1991, having taught previously at the University of Texas. He recently was appointed associate dean for undergraduate studies in the School of Humanities and Sciences, and is chairing a committee exploring the possibility of establishing a program in Chicano studies.
Students described Saldivar as "remarkable" and "one of the most thoughtful and innovative instructors I have known." As a teacher, he was widely recognized for skillful utilization of electronic media, film, slides and videos, classical and contemporary music, and art. He has expanded, reshaped and formulated new American cultures courses in English, modern thought and literature, comparative literature, and Chicano studies.
To broaden the reach of traditional courses beyond the classroom, Saldivar held a section of a course in Roble Hall, where he is the resident fellow, to generate intellectual discussion in which dorm residents were able to participate.
Saldivar was praised by students and colleagues alike for masterfully integrating an extraordinarily wide range of disciplines (among them history, sociology, political science, law and art) into his discussion and analysis of literary texts while maintaining supreme clarity in his lectures.
"I have often wondered what Stanford would be like without such a dedicated instructor who has such a broad impact on students," a faculty colleague wrote in nominating Saldivar.
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