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Nick C. Ellis
Regents' Proceedings

Nick C. Ellis, Ph.D., professor of psychology, professor of linguistics, and research scientist, English Language Institute in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, retired from active faculty status on May 31, 2021.

Professor Ellis received his B.A. (1974) degree from the University of Oxford and his Ph.D. (1978) degree from the University of Wales. Professor Ellis joined the University of Michigan faculty as a professor of psychology and research scientist in the English Language Institute (ELI) in 2004. He received an additional appointment as professor of linguistics in 2009.

Professor Ellis led an extremely productive and distinguished career, making seminal contributions to the scientific understanding of language acquisition and helping to establish psycholinguistics, cognitive psychology, and applied linguistics as vibrant contributors to language pedagogy. Early in his career, he made substantial contributions to theories of reading and dyslexia, before shifting his emphasis to second language acquisition in the mid-1990’s, where he became one of the field’s leading figures. He was well known for his work on the roles of implicit and explicit learning in language acquisition, and was the key proponent of the Associative-Cognitive CREED framework, which holds that second language acquisition is Construction-based, Rational, Exemplar-driven, Emergent, and Dialectic. Professor Ellis’ publications have collectively been cited over 30,000 times, among them his extremely influential 2002 paper exploring the implications of usage frequency for second language acquisition. Many of his most highly cited papers were published during the last 16 years at the University of Michigan. In 2019, he was awarded the Distinguished Scholarship and Service Award by the American Association for Applied Linguistics–an award that not only recognized his distinguished research career but also his sustained service to the field, including serving as the general editor (2006-20) of Language Learning, one of the flagship journals in applied linguistics. In addition to teaching popular
undergraduate and graduate courses, Professor Ellis has been a generous mentor to graduate students in both departments, and to postdoctoral fellows in the ELI.

The Regents now salute this distinguished faculty member by naming Nick C. Ellis, professor emeritus of psychology, professor emeritus of linguistics, and research scientist emeritus, English Language Institute.