Dr. Alan Kirshner was hired on September 31, 1971 as a full time History and Political Science faculty member reaching the rank of professor. As one of the Pioneer Faculty at the temporary Serra Center campus on Washington Boulevard in Fremont, he helped build the college curriculum and set the stage for the move to the permanent Mission Boulevard campus in 1974. He retired in December of 2012, after 40 years of service. Upon his retirement, he was presented with a Distinguished Career Award and granted Emeritus status.
Alan made excellence the hallmark of his distinguished career, demonstrating scholarship and professionalism in his numerous assignments in the History and Political Science Department. He worked across disciplines, developed new courses, and expanded the department’s offerings. He was also a pioneer and luminary in the field of Distance Learning, developing some of the first self-paced and online course offerings. Alan was a prolific writer publishing four books, numerous articles, and presented fourteen papers to professional conferences.
Alan served as History Department Chair when these were elected positions that included teaching. During that time, the college experienced growth in the number of Vietnam War veterans attending with assistance from the GI Bill. Alan led the creation of a variety of creative courses to meet needs of this special student population; examples include “The Soviet Union through Film” and “A History of Masculinity in an Historical Perspective.”
Alan was a master teacher and lecturer. His passion for history and political science illuminated his teaching and motivated students to learn. He challenged students to think critically and to expressing themselves well. Although he set high academic standards, Alan wanted students to succeed and worked diligently to help them do so. He was always available to his students to counsel and guide them in their academic careers.
In his long and successful tenure at Ohlone, Alan served on numerous committees, held posts and assumed a leadership role in the United Faculty of Ohlone and the Faculty Senate and acted as faculty advisor to a myriad of student organizations. Over the years, he was a role model for many faculty members at the college.
Alan served the local community as a volunteer at all levels: as an active member of Parent Teacher Associations and Site Councils, as a guest speaker at community events, as a tutor, mentor, and counselor for various after-school programs.
In 1988, Alan helped form the chess team at Weibel Elementary School in Fremont, which his two sons attended. He continued as the director of the chess team at Weibel after his sons went on to higher grades. Over the years, the Weibel program has won numerous tournaments, championships and awards. Alan continues to provide leadership for this program to this day, a total of 28 years as of this writing.
Alan also distinguished himself in the sport of powerlifting, setting records and winning many awards over the years. He was well known in the powerlifting field as a strong advocate for “clean” competition and denouncing the use of performance enhancing drugs.
Alan Kirshner was an exceptional teacher, trustworthy friend, reliable colleague, and a faithful champion for the entire Ohlone College family.