Alan Cyril Blizzard, November 14, 1941 to December 28, 2017
In 1985, a small group of southern Ontario instructional developers formed a Steering Committee and decided to launch STLHE. They had no financial assets, no idea of the potential interest, and only a vaguely formulated set of goals and activities. What they did have was a tradition of annual conferences in Ontario devoted to teaching and learning in higher education. The conferences were excellent social and professional occasions but were attended primarily by instructional developers. The Committee felt a real need to involve “rank-and-file” faculty who regard teaching as their major commitment, who are anxious to explore ways to enhance teaching and learning and wish to share their own ideas with colleagues.
Alan Blizzard was an important member of this pioneering group. In 1987, he became the second STLHE President, taking over the role from Dr. Christopher Knapper. STLHE saw many changes during his eight-year presidency. These included an increase in membership, establishment of the STLHE listserv, the “new initiatives” program for funding small instructional development projects, the institution of “travelling workshops” in different parts of the country, the encouragement of annual conferences outside Ontario, a Networking Guide, a Directory of Canadian ID Offices and Activities, and the gradual democratization of the Society’s procedures. He hosted the 1988 Annual Conference at McMaster University and published the STLHE Newsletter-all done with quiet modesty, a kind nature and good humour.
On the occasion of his retirement in 1995 and to honour the contributions he made to higher education in Canada, STLHE created the Alan Blizzard Award to encourage, identify, and publicly recognize those whose exemplary collaboration in university teaching enhances student learning. In its inaugural year, 21 applications were received from 19 Canadian universities and the prize was awarded to The Inter-Professional Health Development & Evaluation Activities Group at the University of Alberta. Alan was a member of the of the adjudication committee for several years.
Alan passed away on December 28, 2017, in Vancouver, British Columbia at the age of 76. He leaves behind his devoted wife, Linda, his children Chris and Kim, and four grandchildren. A caring and beloved family man, a cherished colleague, a scholar and friend-he will be missed by many, but never will he be forgotten by those who were fortunate enough to have known him!