Three new extraordinary professors join NWU’s Self-Directed Learning research unit

The North-West University’s (NWU’s) Faculty of Education recently announced the appointment of three extraordinary professors who will be collaborating and doing research within the Self-Directed Learning research unit.

They are Prof Ann Haley MacKenzie (Miami University, USA), Prof Trudi E Jacobson (University at Albany, State University of New York, USA), and Prof Thomas P Mackey (State University of New York, Empire State College, USA).

Prof Jacobson and Prof Mackey will specifically be collaborating with the UNESCO Chair on Multimodal Learning and Open Educational Resources.

Prof Jako Olivier, a professor in multimodal learning and holder of the UNESCO Chair, says the need for self-directedness is essential in a world where learning is dynamic and increasingly shifting online. 

“The universality of self-directed learning is evident from the international interest in this topic. To support the exceptional work being done within the research unit, we have appointed these three esteemed researchers.” 

About Prof Ann Haley MacKenzie

Prof MacKenzie is an award-winning science educator at Miami University, and has earned more than three million dollars in grants focusing on infusing inquiry practices for science teachers.

She is the former editor of the international journal The American Biology Teacher, and is the current editor of The Science Teacher for secondary school science teachers.

Prof MacKenzie is the former Ohio Teacher of the Year and was awarded the Presidential Award for Excellence in Secondary Science Teaching. She is also a Fulbright specialist, and her areas of research currently focus on how teachers engage students who are living with chronic trauma, as well as the methods exemplary science teachers use.

She teaches science methods, STEM education, action research, and an introduction to education course with a strong focus on social justice. She has conducted workshops all over the United States for teachers, written curriculum materials for major science education organisations, and is currently involved in reforming the College of Engineering and Computer Science’s first-year curriculum. 

Prof MacKenzie says she is thrilled to work with the faculty, and is looking forward to collaborating on innovative research projects. 

About Prof Trudi E Jacobson

Prof Jacobson is a distinguished librarian and head of the Information Literacy department at the University at Albany.

She has been deeply involved with teaching and information literacy throughout her career, and co-chaired the Association of College and Research Libraries task force that created the Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education.

Prof Jacobson is interested in exploring the relationship between open pedagogy, metaliteracy and self-directed learning. She regularly teaches an information literacy course for upper-level undergraduates that uses Wikipedia editing as a way to understand the core concepts of metaliteracy and information literacy.

She is the co-author and/or co-editor of 14 books, including three about metaliteracy, with another forthcoming in early 2022. The latter is titled Metaliteracy in a Connected World: Developing Learners as Producers, which she co-authored with Prof Mackey.

Prof Jacobson has written numerous journal articles and book chapters, and is the editor of the information literacy module of SAGE Publications’ SAGE Skills Student Success online learning resource, which will be available in 2022.

She received the ACRL Miriam Dudley Instruction Librarian Award in 2009.

About Prof Thomas P Mackey

Prof Mackey is professor of arts and media in the School of Arts and Humanities at the State University of New York Empire State College.

He is the 2021 recipient of the Dr Susan H Turben Chair in Mentoring Foundation award. His research focuses on metaliteracy – a pedagogical framework he developed with Prof Jacobson – which develops individuals as self-directed learners in participatory information environments.

Prof Mackey is interested in the intersections among metaliteracy, self-directed learning and multimodality, to prepare lifelong learners as collaborative producers of information.

He has published several books on metaliteracy, including the first book on this topic titled Metaliteracy: Reinventing Information Literacy as a Metaliteracy (2014), as well as the forthcoming book co-authored with Prof Jacobson.

He has published extensively in various peer-reviewed journals, including Communications in Information Literacy, Open Praxis, College & Research Libraries, First Monday, Computers & Education, and The Journal of General Education.

Prof Mackey teaches courses in history and theory of new media, information design, digital storytelling, and ethics of digital art and design. He has also developed several international Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) about metaliteracy.

“SUNY Empire State College has long celebrated Prof Mackey’s work both in and out of the classroom,” said SUNY Empire State College officer in charge, Dr Nathan Gonyea. “His selection to the NWU’s Self-Directed Learning research unit and his related work with the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization is a well-deserved honor - one that ultimately will benefit lifelong learners across the globe.”

Click here for more on the NWU’s Self-Directed Learning research unit.


Prof Ann Haley MacKenzie  


Prof Thomas P Mackey       


Prof Trudie E Jacobson

Submitted on Tue, 10/26/2021 - 12:48