William L. Blizek
Founding Editor Journal of Religion & Film
Ph.D. University of Missouri-Columbia, Philosophy, 1970
Dr. William L. Blizek is Professor of Philosophy and Religion and Founding Editor of The Journal of Religion and Film. Born in Chicago and raised in the suburb of Elmhurst, Illinois, Bill received his B.A. and M.A. degrees, both in philosophy, from Southern Illinois University. Bill then attended the University of Missouri-Columbia, where he received his Ph.D. in 1970, also in philosophy. He began teaching at UNO in 1970 and has been on the faculty ever since.
Bill has a wide range of interests in philosophy and religion. He regularly teaches courses on ethics (including Introduction to Ethics, Contemporary Ethical Philosophy, Ethics and Education and Ethics and Film), Religion and Film, and others. He also has taught courses on the Philosophy of Art, Philosophy of Justice, Understanding Self-Deception, Feminine Ethics, Existentialism, Social Philosophy, the Philosophy of Religion, and Human Values in Medicine. In 2002, Bill received the award for Outstanding Teaching and Instructional Creativity from the University of Nebraska system.
In 1997, Bill founded The Journal of Religion and Film, along with his religious studies colleague, Ron Burke. As an on-line journal, JR&F is available worldwide. Bill also is editor of The Continuum Companion to Religion and Film (June 2009) published in paperback as The Bloomsbury Companion to Religion and Film (February 2013), and The Humanities and Public Life, and co-editor with Jerry Cederblom of Justice and Punishment. He has published articles in such journals as The British Journal of Aesthetics, Philosophic Exchange, The Southern Journal of Philosophy, Metaphilosophy, The Nebraska Medical Journal, The Urban Review, Criminal Justice and Ethics, The Journal of Medical Education, and The Journal of the Community Development Society.
He has served as Chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religion on two separate occasions and as chair of the Religious Studies Program, after it was separated from Philosophy, on two separate occasions. He also served as Coordinator of UNOs Women's Studies program for two years. In 1991, Bill was recognized by the Chancellor's Commission on the Status of Women for his "Outstanding Contributions to the Status of Women at UNO." In 1996, Bill was awarded the Chancellor's Medal for distinguished service to The University of Nebraska at Omaha.
Bill has been instrumental in establishing and/or raising money for the Department of Philosophy and Religion’s Anderberg Fund, the Palmer Fund, the Pearl Blizek Scholarship Fund (Native American Studies), the Journal of Religion and Film Fund for Excellence, the Goldstein Lecture on Human Rights Fund, the Rabbi Sidney H. Brooks Lecture Fund, the UNO Women's Studies Fund, the Ron Burke Scholarship Fund, the Ron Burke Memorial Scholarship Fund, the Mike Gillespie Scholarship Fund, the Al Bates Travel Fund (Communication), the Pearl Blizek Women's Studies Lecture Fund, the Chancellor’s Commission on the Status of Women Fund, the Weber Lecture Fund, the Dale Stover Scholarship Fund, the Virginia Frank Scholarship (Native American Studies), the Blizek Professorship in Religion, and the Pearl Blizek Lecture in Religion and Art, the Monica Blizek Scholarship Fund in the School of Social Work and the Jerry Cederblom Scholarship.
Bill is married and has one adult daughter. His wife, Monica, is a mental health therapist. She is Associate Clinical Director for Heartland Family Services of Omaha. Bill's daughter, Nicole is married and lives in Atlanta with her husband, Colby Chiles, where she does stand-up and improvisational comedy and runs her own consulting/entertainment company, Nicole Chiles LLC.
Left: Dr. Blizek presenting his paper, "Gay Marriage: Reframing the Debate," to the Conference on Religions in Conversation at the Claremont Graduate University, February 22, 2013.
Right: Dr. Blizek presenting his paper, "Ethics As Social Science?", to the Seventh International Conference on Interdisciplinary Social Science, Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, June 28, 2012.