One of my personal heroes in NSPI/ISPI and HPT is and has been Frank Wydra. Since 1979 when I attended my first ISPI (then NSPI) Chapter meeting: the MSIT – Michigan Society for Instructional Technology (now the Michigan Chapter of ISPI) – he has been an important anchor for me in the Science of HPT. He was “all about the science of HPT.” No kidding!!!
The research basis – what today is labeled “Evidence-based Management.” It is an important today as ever.
Frank is ill. Pancreatic Cancer. I recently received an email from his daughter asking for stories of Frank. Here is what she wrote to me.
I captured your email from my Dad’s (Frank Wydra) address book. My Dad would like us (his kids) to compile stories of him so his Grandchildren can see who he is. If you have five minutes to share a story or two, I’ll put this together for Emma, Tommy, Nick, and Jack. Please respond to this email. Thank you, One of Frank Wydra’s daughters.
Here is what I wrote back…
I heard recently about your father’s illness. Please send him my regards and best wishes.
Your father means so much to me. These last few years we’d meet at the ISPI conference and have a few drinks and talk. We met in 1979 at the local (Michigan) chapter meeting of what is now ISPI – at the MSIT – Michigan Society for Instructional Technology – which he supported mightily. That was my first initiation to this society, where I have been a board member and president after serving on committees for many, many years.
When I went to my first meeting they were telling a story of how recently one member had heard enough of a presenter at a local chapter meeting, rose in the middle of the presentation, declared “this is bullshit” – then cut the cord of the overhead projector with a pair of scissors – and then declared, “let’s reconvene in the bar.”
Years later I confirmed that story with Brian Desautels, who worked for Kathleen Whiteside, who worked for your dad at Harper-Grace. He had been in that meeting and confirmed that it wasn’t just lore. It was Frank Wydra!
I read The Cure again recently, and told him about it last year (or was it the year before?) at the ISPI Conference.
May I have your permission to reach out to other ISPI’ers to seek out other such stories? Be aware that some/many may not always be suitable for grandchildren until they are much older.
Your father touched so many people in NSPI/ISPI.
They would be a great source for far more stories than I could tell.
Peace be with you and your family.
Sincerely, Guy W. Wallace
Here is the cover of his book: The Cure. BTW- I’ve now read it twice. I’ll be back into it again in a few days.
At the 2006 Conference I brought the book for “our night out for drinks” – a recent tradition. He signed it (below). Another prized possession of mine…
When Mark Rosenberg speaks of the place where Tom Gilbert suggested to go for drinks and food – I am sure he’s referring to the traditional hanging out place – that the Michigan Chapter (MSIT) Hospitality Suite – provided/put on – every year – for more years than I can remember. Marc?
Here is Frank hanging out with me in 2006 at the Post Closing Banquet President’s Reception – before we went to the hotel bar for drinks (my mobile phone took pictures back then) – I think I may have gotten him into Sambuca (Romana – or why bother?) – at least for that one night per year – BTW- Jim Hill and I now have this tradition too.
Here he is in 2007 (below) at the ISPI Conference (I am sick in my room in San Fransisco all week and didn’t make it to this event – or any other after the first morning of the conference). I am sure he had a good time (during our tradition evening outing for drinks) without me. That was Frank. I didn’t worry about him – I knew he could take care of himself.
This is one of many Posting I’ll be doing on Frank in the future.
There are just some people who need to have their praises sung. Over and over again. Frank wrote about Learner Controlled Instruction – not anywhere close to Informal Learning. Which those of you investigating beyond the wisdom of the crowds on the web – would find serious researchers have totally disputed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Here is what Roger Kaufman wrote to me today: Damn. He is truly one of the good guys.
We’re talking about – writing about – Frank Wydra.
Thank you – Frank!!!!
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