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John Szarlan, learning consultant, dies

by Sherry Fisher - May 29, 2007

John Szarlan, a learning consultant in the Institute for Teaching and Learning, died unexpectedly on May 11.

He was 58.

Szarlan, who lived in Ludlow, Mass., joined the Department of Counseling Services in 1994 as a learning skills counselor.

About three years ago, he became part of the Institute for Teaching and Learning’s design group, concentrating on helping students understand how to learn more effectively.

“He was a dedicated academic whose research was well published,” says Keith Barker, associate vice provost and director of the Institute.

“He cared for his students and spent much time helping the faculty.”

Barker described Szarlan as “modest, and a real gentleman. He will be sorely missed by the UConn community, but mostly by those closest to him.”

JoAnne Lewis, a former counseling supervisor at UConn, says, “John was a professional in every sense of the word. He was creative, supportive, a team player, and he enjoyed sharing ideas – new and old – with his colleagues.

“His great sense of enjoyment came from launching new and innovative program initiatives for students and staff alike,” Lewis says.

“John was a wonderful human being and hundreds of lives have been made richer and more meaningful because they were touched by him.”

Friend and colleague Kevin Sullivan says Szarlan’s passion was researching what worked best for student performance.

“He wanted students to be the best they could be,” says Sullivan, assistant director of First Year Programs.

“He was very caring and got along with everybody. Students really liked him.”

Szarlan was a noted presenter at professional conferences, and received many awards for his service to the University.

Szarlan graduated from Clark University with a bachelor’s degree, and master’s degrees in psychology and special education.

A member of the National Guard, he was an avid outdoorsman.

He is survived by his mother Jennie (Wojtowicz) Szarlan.  

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