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October 31, 2011

Thomas P. Mackey Appointed Dean of the Center for Distance Learning, SUNY Empire State College

Empire State College

(Saratoga Springs, NY – Nov. 1, 2011) President Alan R. Davis has announced the appointment of Thomas P. Mackey Ph.D., of Albany, as dean of the Center for Distance Learning for State University of New York Empire State College. With over 500 online courses, SUNY Empire State College is the largest provider of online education in the SUNY system, reaching students throughout New York state, every state in the country and internationally.  Mackey has served as interim dean for the past year and a half.

 “Dean Mackey is ideally suited for this position,” said Davis. “As an early adopter of online learning, he has been teaching with the Web for over 15 years and is well-versed in Web 2.0, social media and emerging literacy frameworks. Through his research and writing about metaliteracy, open learning and transparent design in his books, scholarly publications and presentations, he will continue to ensure that SUNY Empire State College is at the forefront of a rapidly changing landscape in open and distance education for adult learners of the 21st century.”

Empire State College Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Meg Benke said, “Dean Mackey is a well-respected researcher and writer, with several books and publications related to online learning and information literacy that will allow him to contribute to the academic program, while he manages our online and international initiatives. His strengths in building collaborative partnerships will advance our college- wide efforts in open, blended and online learning.”

Thomas P. Mackey headshot Dean Mackey said, “I appreciate this opportunity to lead the Center for Distance Learning and International Programs.  In moving forward, I will continue to collaborate with our regional center colleagues and with national and international partners. This is an exciting time for online and global education at SUNY Empire State College and for building on our reputation as a mentor-learner open institution.”

 Dr. Mackey joined the college in 2008 as associate dean for the Center for Distance Learning. Under his leadership, the center expanded partnerships with regional learning centers and the School for Graduate Studies, while building a stronger alliance with International Programs.

 As part of these collaborations, Dr. Mackey hired several online faculty for the Niagara Frontier Center and for the recently expanded Metropolitan Center in New York City. He worked with the Northeast Center to locate faculty with online expertise at the new Troy Unit. These partnerships will lead to several blended learning opportunities for the college’s students in 2012.

Dr. Mackey forged a closer working relationship with the college’s International Programs (now part of the Center for Distance Learning) and welcomed several international delegations to the college, including a recent visit by Rector Justo Pedro Castellanos and Dr. Andres Mateos, dean of General Studies from APEC University UNAPEC, Dominican Republic.

 Last year, Dr. Mackey began service as interim dean of the Center for Distance Learning after its founding dean, Meg Benke, Ph.D. was promoted to interim vice provost for global and online learning, and then to provost and vice president for academic affairs for the college.

 Dr. Mackey has been a part of the State University of New York for more than 20 years, as a student, teaching assistant, faculty member and administrator. While at the University at Albany, he taught in the first-year experience program Project Renaissance, and was involved in faculty development at the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning as instructional developer and then assistant director for instructional technology.

 As a faculty member in the Department of Information Studies in the College of Computing and Information at the University at Albany he made significant contributions to the undergraduate and graduate programs with several courses that combined collaborative Web development and Web 2.0 with information literacy and service learning. This work led to a highly productive research partnership with Distinguished Librarian Trudi E. Jacobson from the University Libraries at the University at Albany.  Prior to joining Empire State College as associate dean, Dr. Mackey was associate dean at The Sage Colleges, overseeing the Sage After Work program for adult learners.

 Dr. Mackey has expertise in open and distance education and in creating novel approaches to technology-enhanced learning design. He has published four books, co-edited by Trudi E. Jacobson and several peer-reviewed articles in highly regarded journals.  His latest book “Teaching Information Literacy Online” was published in 2011 by Neal-Schuman Publishers and includes a Foreword written by Terry Anderson from Athabasca University. This past year he also published the peer reviewed article “Reframing Information Literacy as a Metaliteracy” in College & Research Libraries, the top journal in the field of Library and Information Science. 

His most recent article, “Transparency as a Catalyst for Interaction and Participation in Open Learning Environments” was published in the Oct. 2011 edition of First Monday, one of the first open peer-reviewed journals on Internet research.

 Dr. Mackey is an active presenter at national and international conferences, with two upcoming presentations at the Sloan Consortium International Conference on Online Learning, Digitally Enhanced Humanities: Using Virtual Media to Create Real Worlds and OERu: Reimagining Our Relationship to Content Through the Design of Collaborative Educational Spaces

 Dr. Mackey earned a Ph.D. in writing, teaching and criticism, his master’s degree in English and his bachelor’s degree in communication, all from the University at Albany; and an associate degree in liberal arts from Hudson Valley Community College.  

About SUNY Empire State College

SUNY Empire State College, celebrating its 40th year throughout 2011, was established in 1971 to offer adult learners the opportunity to earn associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees from SUNY. Students learn through independent studies, online courses, seminars and residencies or a blended learning model. Learners also may earn credit for prior college-level learning from work and life experience.

 The college serves more than 20, 200 students worldwide at more than 30 locations in New York state and online. Its 63,000 alumni are active in their communities as entrepreneurs, politicians, business professionals, artists, not-for-profit agency employees, teachers, veterans and active military, and more.

 For additional information, visit www.esc.edu. More information about the college’s 40th anniversary is available on the college’s 40th anniversary web page.