By Scott Rappaport
Associate professor of linguistics Pranav Anand was presented with the John Dizikes Teaching Award in Humanities at the Humanities Division’s 2016 Spring Awards celebration held at the Cowell Provost House.
Established in 2002 to honor outstanding teaching by humanities faculty, the annual award is named in honor of emeritus professor John Dizikes, one of UC Santa Cruz’s founding faculty members. It is designed to celebrate the Humanities faculty’s commitment to excellence in teaching and its impact on undergraduate students.
The award comes with an unusual provision. In addition to being honored with a check for $3,000, the faculty winner is also entitled to select an undergraduate student to receive a $3,000 scholarship. Anand chose Dhyana Buckley, a senior linguistics major with a passion for theater arts, who hopes to pursue a career of research in computational linguistics.
Annand noted that after years of teaching, he has learned to take students as they are, and to view them each as individuals.
“In teaching, I have had to reckon with the indirectness of my causal efficacy,” said Anand. “In the ideal case, when all things are humming and I have read minds aright, I afford learning by clearing the room of hazards. Indeed, perhaps my teaching philosophy is simply this: to work stridently to render myself invisible, to disappear in plain sight, leaving only blazes to mark the trail ahead.”
Student scholarship recipient Buckley added that she appreciated how her linguistics classes promote individual critical thinking and problem solving without explicitly instructing students on how to complete the task at hand.
“The sense of accomplishment that I have felt after solving a problem successfully is the highest return,” she noted. “This ability to think independently is one of the many skills I am grateful to have learned at UC Santa Cruz.”