We, along with the worldwide CALL community, are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Vance Stevens, the first officially appointed TESOL CALL-IS Chair in 1984. As hundreds of friends from different parts of the world swarmed in on Facebook with tributes and condolences have put it, Vance was “an online pioneer who was a giant among his peers”, “a mentor, role model, and our friend,” “[our] guide, and an inspiration,” “the go-to guy in the Electronic Village…at TESOL CALL-IS,” “an outstanding Webhead who marked the professional lives of thousands of teachers from all over the world,” and so much more to so many of us! Vance was the kindest, most active and charismatic leader of different CALL communities. He was the person we have always relied on in challenging times, i.e. putting together “Best of EVO not canceled but moved online” when the TESOL convention 2020 was canceled due to the pandemic.
Vance has worked in CALL for more than 40 years. He has served as Electronic Village Online coordinator since 2003, after starting Webheads in Action in 2002. At many TESOL conventions, he played a major role in the webcasts from the Electronic Village. In fact, Vance was the one that came up with the idea and single-handedly started webcasting EV sessions that he participated in to the Webheads, who were our most enthusiastic and consistent audience for several years. Serving on the Webcasting Team of the CALL-IS, Vance always tinkered with new ways to connect with various and broader audiences, fixing problems with broadcasting on-the-go at TESOL Conventions. Aside from TESOL, Vance was the vice-president of APACALL from 2014-2018 and the editor of the “On the Internet” column in TESL-EJ for 19 years. I know many of us published our work in the column under his encouragement.
At this time of sorrow, I thought a great way to celebrate his life and contributions to the CALL-IS would be to read “How the TESOL CALL Interest Section Began,” an article he wrote as a co-founding member of the CALL-IS, and share your memories of him with us on this Padlet wall. We join together as a community and mourn this loss. He will be greatly missed. Vance Stevens was an inspiration to so many of us, and his legacy will never be forgotten.