In Memory of Dr. Philip Balcaen

The Okanagan School of Education mourns the loss of Dr. Philip Balcaen, Associate Professor Emeritus, who passed away on March 1, 2024.

Dr. Balcaen’s commitment to science education as the embodiment of inquiry at the heart of education and, in particular, to the roles of engaging critical and creative thinking across all disciplines, resonated deeply throughout his teachings.

His educational journey commenced in 1978 as a high school educator, leading him to undertake teacher education roles at SFU in 1997 and later UBC (formerly OUC) in 2002. His impact extended globally, collaborating with educators in India and China, notably through a comprehensive 12-year research endeavor in Northern India. Furthermore, he actively engaged with science and mathematics educators across Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Ontario, enriching the educational landscape.

In recognition of his remarkable contributions to education, Dr. Balcaen was honoured with the Association of BC Deans of Education, Education Advocate Award in 2016, celebrating his influential and innovative work in teacher education both locally and internationally.

Dr. Balcaen concluded his distinguished career upon his retirement from UBC Okanagan in 2018. His absence will be deeply felt within our community, yet his teachings and passion for education will continue to inspire generations to come.

Celebration of Life for Dr. Philip Balcaen

Saturday, April 6 at 1 p.m.
Gray Monk Winery
1055 Camp Rd, Lake Country, BC V4V 2H4

All are welcome to attend to honour the memories and cherish the moments that had been shared together.

Hosted by family and friends of Phil

18 responses to “In Memory of Dr. Philip Balcaen”

  1. Cheri Lemiski

    The dearest and most informative of Men. He will be sadly missed.

  2. Cheri Lemiski

    In addition to being well thought of as an educator, Phil was greatly appreciated as a family member. He. Has always been supportive, encouraging a great cook and lots of fun. I will miss my brother deeply. Cheri Lemiski MSW

  3. Carol ascarff

    Friend and colleague since our graduate studies together in the 90’s. I cannot believe this person of such a vibrant spirit could be gone- not in my heart
    Dr Carol Scarff

  4. Barb Huva

    My thoughts are with you Armelle and your families. Phil will be missed by so many.

  5. Suzanne Wernli-Roy

    So sorry to learn of Phil’s passing. I was looking forward to the day when I could again be in his and Armelle’s warm and welcoming presence.
    Condolences to Armelle and all of Phil’s family and friends ????. Mes pensées sont avec vous. ?️❤️

  6. Shelley Evans

    Taught with Phil at THSS as one of my Charter staff colleagues. He was a great educator and Steven Spielberg look-alike- sadly, Phil declined my suggestion that he crash the Oscar parties. Condolences to his friends and family.

  7. Janine Hirtz

    So sad to hear of Phil’s passing. He was my supervisor for my Master’s thesis and such a dedicated educator and a caring and thoughtful supervisor. He encouraged me to take my reflection notes in a notebook – he didn’t think I would learn as much by tapping away on my computer. [He even bought me a notebook]. We went on a very memorable trip to New York in 2007 and presented together at the international conference on e-Learning at Columbia, NY. While the trip was for work, we enjoyed eating catfish, riding the double decker bus and having a beer while we people watched and had great discussions about teaching, learning and research. He will be dearly missed. My condolences to Armelle and Phil’s family

  8. Lindsay Gibson

    Deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Dr. Phil Balcaen, a wonderful teacher, mentor, & friend.

    He was my MA supervisor and I greatly appreciate his commitment to improving my thinking and work.I wouldn’t be where I am today if not for his guidance & support. His commitment to critical & creative thinking will live on in the many students and educators he inspired.

    My deepest condolences to his Armelle, and his family and friends.

  9. Maureen Makepeace-Dore

    I am very saddened to hear of Phil’s passing and my condolences to his family.
    He was on my supervisory committee for my PhD studies in nursing education and he brought so much wisdom and grace as he supported my learning. Always such an advocate for student learning, the world has lost such a sincere and talented person.

  10. Tony Sodaro

    So sad to hear about the passing of Dr. Phil Balcaen. He was a wonderful teacher, mentor, and one of the kindest people in our world!

    He was in charge of our cohort for teacher training and later my Masters supervisor. He encourage everyone of us to think critically & remain creative with our process. He has encouraged us all to inspire the next generation of teachers and to continuously advocate for student learning and forward thinking in education!
    I would not be where I am today without his guidance, support and friendship…THANK YOU PHIL!!!

    My deepest condolences to his Armelle, and his family and friends.

  11. Bryanna Lemiski

    Thank you for the kind words Dr. Scarff. I know my uncle thought the world of you both as a friend and a colleague. He is incredibly missed but so well remembered.

  12. Preeti Sharma

    Will really be missed. Deepest condolences to the family. Prayers for the departed soul.

  13. Art Glauser

    Dr. Phil, as my cohort called him, was my master’s in education project advisor in 2012-2014. The first class I had with him, during the first hour, I knew right there that I wanted him to be my project advisor. I highly valued the space he gave to creativity and exploration. I knew I would be free to follow my passions in my research all while under a wise and careful eye, making sure I didn’t wander too far from the beaten path.
    I also highly valued his personable nature that helped me feel comfortable with even the highest standards of academia.
    Of course you will be dearly missed and especially for those closest to you, my condolences on your loss. Congratulations professor on completing your journey here. May you always feel the love of those closest to you until you meet them again.

  14. Tammy Wirick

    Phil came into my life in 97 where I had the luck to work with him as my FA partner at SFU. He had the most genuine sense of curiosity and quick laugh I’ve known. Working side by side was such a rich experIence but what I will remember most about fill is the grace and with which he did everything. He embodied living life well with purpose, balance and warmth.

  15. Maria Vamvalis

    I so enjoyed getting to know Phil when we facilitated at professional learning conferences with the Critical Thinking Consortium. Phil and I shared a few lovely meals and spirited conversation together during those trips. Phil helped me feel at ease as a new member of the team. His thoughtfulness, kindness and insight were such a gift. I send my sincere condolences to his family.

  16. Lucinda Tooker

    Phil was an innovative educator, and a beloved colleague, in the 1990’s in Maple Ridge. I was thrilled to share his success vicariously as he took his career to greater heights at SFU and UBCO. I did to visit with him occasionally at the home on Cortes Is. he shared with Armelle, and when he graciously participated in a keynote presentation at a BCTLA conference. His intellectual generosity and inquisitive nature will be sadly missed. My deepest sympathies to his family and friends.

  17. Jack Tillar

    I am very sorry to have just heard about Phils passing and also missing the celebration of life. One of my best friends in my high school years but we went our seperate ways after graduation and our year stint of living together in New Westminster working at a saw mill of all places.
    We’ll get together again Phil down the road, please rest in peace
    Jack Tillar

  18. Vicky Boivin

    Dr. Phil Balcaen was by far the most genuine teacher I had at UBCO, a person who really listens to his students. The most important quality in my opinion in an educator. Merci Dr. Phil Balcaen for being there when I needed you. You will be in my memory forever.