W. Brett McKenzie has taught at Roger Williams University and the Mario J. Gabelli School of Business since the 2000 academic year. Prior to his appointment in Computer Information Systems, Dr. McKenzie worked at Clark University, Brown University, Bryant University and the Naval War College. His focus at these institution was in the integration of technology in teaching, especially during the early developments of hypertext and campus wide networking. Before working a academia, Dr. McKenzie served in the U.S. Navy, first as an enlisted nuclear technician then as a commissioned officer.
Dr. McKenzie's primary interests in teaching lie in the transition points in education, such as the first year of college, when selecting a major, or beginning to understand an academic discipline. Additionally, he has a personal commitment to ethics, especially ethical development and issues of corporate social responsibility. These interests resulted from his studies with Howard Gardner and Carol Gilligan in his master's program at Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Dr. McKenzie’s appointment is in CIS/Web Development. He teaches primarily the foundational courses, including an introduction to programming using a development method that focuses on animations and game programming. Dr. McKenzie has presented at numerous conferences and published extensively on the issues of novice programmers and their approaches to a deep understanding of computing. His most recent paper, Pragmatism and Production: Introductory Computing in an Undergraduate Business Curriculum, was published by the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM), the world’s most prestigious professional computing association. In addition, Dr. McKenzie has been one of a few professional school faculty to teaching in the RWU Core program, a distinguishing feature of the RWU undergraduate experience.
In addition to his teaching focus, Dr. McKenzie has been deeply involved with issues of representation in the computing industry, especially the challenges of gender bias facing women. He represents Roger Williams University as the Academic Alliance member of the National Center for Women in Information Technology (NCWIT) where he has presented at their annual summits. In his role with NCWIT, Dr. McKenzie has led the Rhode Island Aspiration Awards program, a event that honors high school women who have a demonstrated interest in STEM fields, in particular computing. Additionally, he has received an outreach grant from the National Girls Collaborative Project (NGCP).
With the rise in the creative economy , Dr. McKenzie has most recently worked across schools at the university to implement an Arts Management minor. This program allows business students to refine their specific skills associated with the arts and arts student to acquire the business skills to find employment for their passion. Dr. McKenzie has had a long involvement in the arts, which includes board membership of the Bristol Art Museum, participation in photography contests, and consulting with individual artists and local arts organizations.
Dr. McKenzie earned his doctorate from Clark University following his graduate studies at Harvard Graduate School of Education. Originally from New Zealand, he is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and retired from the Naval Reserves as a Commander.