I was very sad to hear of the death on my good friend and colleague Mark Krzanowski in Ghana on 19th January. I knew Mark for almost 25 years and he will be greatly missed. He was on holiday in Ghana, where he liked to spend some time every winter. Although he had spent many years in London, he still could not get used to the cold winters and in the last message I received from him – early January – he said he was hoping never to spend another Xmas in Europe!
Mark was born in 1963 in Poland, and after an MA in Applied Linguistics – specialising in teaching, translating and interpreting in English, Russian and Polish – at the University of Warsaw, he came to London in the late 1980s. Initially he worked in various colleges – including Kensington and Chelsea College, Hammersmith and West London College, Hammersmith and Fulham Institute of Adult Education and Language Studies International – teaching Russian and Polish as well as general English and ESP. During that time he also managed to obtain an UCLES/RSA certificate and diploma in teaching English as a foreign language to adults as well as a postgraduate diploma in management studies. He was well liked as a colleague from those early days in London pointed out “I met him many years ago at Hammersmith and West London College one summer when we were both VLs on a summer school. He was in the next classroom to me and we hit it off immediately “.
In 1993 he moved to a full time position in the UCL language centre, where he became EAP coordinator. As well as teaching on a wide range of English courses, he also coordinated the in-sessional EAP provision and managed the certificate in English for specific purposes. I first met Mark towards the end of his time at UCL in about 1995.
In 1997, he moved to the University of Hertfordshire, where I was working, and we worked together closely for the next few years until 2002, when Mark moved to a position of Academic Co-ordinator for ELT in the department of Professional and Community Education at Goldsmiths, University of London (2002-2005). At Hertfordshire, we worked together on a number of projects, such as designing new foundation and pre-masters courses and the introduction of a university-wide English language test. Mark was also instrumental in setting up a new MA in ELT and Applied Linguistics and the Cambridge Diploma in English Language Teaching course. Colleagues from Hertfordshire have fond memories of working with Mark with his enthusiasm, passion and energy along with his can-do attitude to life and his big smile.
While at Hertfordshire, Mark also acted as a consultant and external examiner for several other institutions and organisations in the UK and abroad.
During the next 10 years, Mark had a range of positions in English for Specific Purposes, particularly, English for Specific Academic Purposes, with academic and management roles at several universities, including the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the University of the Arts London, and the University of Westminster. Then in 2017, he became Director of the Centre for Academic English Studies at the University of Surrey in Dalian, Liaoning, China. A colleague says “I worked briefly with Mark on a new EAP curriculum when he became Director of the Centre for Academic English Studies at the Surrey International Institute (SII) in Dalian, China. He was fun, energetic and full of great ideas. While at SII, he worked really hard to make improvements and was well liked and respected by staff and students.” This continued until 2019, when he became responsible for managing and delivering a new programme for Brunel University’s collaboration with Chongqing University of Posts and Telecommunications in China, where he spent much of his time of his time in the last year.
Mark was also strongly involved with the IATEFL ESP SIG. He was coordinator from 2004 to 2013 and Editor-in-Chief of the SIG journal – Professional and Academic English – from 2013 until last year and made many friends around the world: “It is shocking and devastating to know about Mark´s sudden death. He was very supportive of the Cuban ELT community as professor of the MA at the University of Westminster, where many Cubans have been graduated and as coordinator of the IATEFL ESP SIG and journal editor.”. I worked with Mark closely in those roles. Mark was also on the Steering Board of the TESOL ESPIS as an English in Academic Settings Representative.
During the last 20 years, Mark was well known as a conference presenter and encouraged ESP teachers in countries as far apart as South Africa, Cuba, Tajikistan and China. He was a charismatic presenter and touched the professional lives of many. He will be missed.