People and partners
The Big History Institute provides a hub for scholars, educators, students and members of the public.
The Institute has Members and Partners from the educational, research, non-profit, corporate, and government sectors.
Together, we seek to advance the innovative field of Big History globally and to make an innovative and positive impact on our world.
Director, Big History Institute
David Christian is a Distinguished Professor of History at Macquarie University, and Director of Macquarie University's Big History Institute. He co-founded Big History Project with Bill Gates, his Coursera MOOCs are popular around the world, and he is co-creator of Macquarie University Big History School. He has delivered keynotes at conferences around the world including at the Davos World Economic Forum, and his TED Talk has been viewed over 7 million times. He is the author of many books and articles.
More on David Christian
David Christian (D.Phil. Oxford, 1974) is by training a historian of Russia and the Soviet Union, but since the 1980s he has become interested in world history and in history at very large scales and across many disciplines. He began teaching Russian and European history at Macquarie University in 1975; from 1989 he also began teaching courses in Big History. In 2001 he took up a position at San Diego State University, where he taught courses on World History, Big History, World Environmental History, Russian History, and the History of Inner Eurasia. In January 2009 he returned to Macquarie University, where he has mainly taught Big History.
He is a member of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, the Koninklijke Hollandsche Maatschappij der Wetenschappen [Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities], and the Royal Society of N.S.W. He is on the editorial boards of the Journal of Global History and the Cambridge World History. He has held temporary appointments at the University of Vermont and at Ewha Womans University in Seoul, and was the founding President of the International Big History Association (http://www.ibhanet.org/).
He has written on the social and material history of the 19th century Russian peasantry, in particular on aspects of diet and the role of alcohol. He has also written a text book history of modern Russia, and the first volume of a synoptic history of Inner Eurasia (Russia, Central Asia and Mongolia). In 2004, he published the first monograph on 'Big History', Maps of Time. In May 2017 he was awarded an honorary doctorate of humane letters by North Carolina State University.
Executive Director, Big History Institute
Andrew McKenna is Executive Director of the Big History Institute at Macquarie University and leads the growth and development of the Institute globally. Andrew coordinates Big History as a strategically integrated priority activity across the University. He has directed the creation of innovative cross-disciplinary
digital resources on a range of web and media platforms, including Coursera and Big History School. Andrew engages with businesses, governments, NGOs, and educational institutions around the world.
Education Leader, Big History Institute
Tracy Sullivan is Education Leader of the Big History Institute at Macquarie University. Tracy oversees educational initiatives to promote the growth and development of Big History globally engaging with teachers, education authorities and leaders around the world. Tracy is curriculum and pedagogy lead on the Macquarie University global K-12 Big History School courses to be launched mid 2018. She was part of design and development team for the Big History: Connecting Knowledge MOOC and the Solving Complex Problems Specialisation on Coursera, and worked on curriculum design for the Big History Project.
Trained as a secondary teacher, Tracy taught in Australian classrooms before moving to the tertiary sector lecturing in History Education at the University of New South Wales and the University of Sydney. A former Churchill Fellow and Westfield Premiers Teachers Scholar, Tracy has a Master of Arts in Modern History and is currently completing a PhD focusing on secondary interdisciplinary education.
Deputy Director, Big History Institute
Shawn Ross (Ph.D. University of Washington, 2001) is an Associate Professor of History and Archaeology and Deputy Director of the Big History Institute at Macquarie University. A/Prof Rossʼs research interests include the history and archaeology of pre-Classical Greece and the Balkans, and the application of information technology to fieldwork-based humanities and sciences. He supervises a large-scale landscape archaeology and palaeo-environmental study in central and southeast Bulgaria. Since 2012, he has directed a major information infrastructure project developing data capture, management, and archiving systems. Previously, A/Prof Ross worked at the University of New South Wales (Syndey, Austrlalia) and William Paterson University (Wayne, New Jersey).
Elle Hrobat is Project Coordinator at the Big History Institute. Elle manages school liaison, supports the implementation of Big History into schools, and coordinates Institute professional development events and resources for teachers and educators. Elle also acted as visual researcher sourcing copyright and creative commons material featured in the Institute’s latest suite of online courses Big History: Connecting Knowledge & Solving Complex Problems on the Coursera platform. Elle manages the Institute’s diverse membership database, and plays a key role in the organisation of the Institute’s outreach events and activities. Working in conjunction with Macquarie’s community engagement programs, she has represented the Big History Institute, presenting at Bridges to Higher Education roadshows in regional NSW.
Elle graduated from Macquarie University with a Bachelor of Media & Cultural Studies. She also has an Honours Degree in Cultural Studies. Before joining the Institute, Elle has worked with Macquarie University in youth education and academic coaching of diverse students as part of the Campus Wellbeing and Support Service.
Kathryn Ford is Project Coordinator at the Big History Institute. Kathryn manages communications and community engagement for the Institute including the website, social media and production of the regular e-newsletter, Threshold 9. She plays a key role in the execution of Big History community events, such as the Big History Anthropocene Conference. Kathryn is also responsible for producing print and digital collateral for the Big History Institute including web banners, brochures and posters.
Kathryn has a Bachelor of Media from Macquarie University. She completed the university’s Global Leadership Program and was awarded first prize in Writing in her final year. She has over five years’ experience working in communications, marketing and community engagement in the public service and at Macquarie University.
David Baker studied under David Christian at Macquarie University, and completed the first Big History PhD in the world. He has taught Big History at Macquarie and the University of Amsterdam, and designed his own advanced Big History course. His research specialties are complexity, Universal Darwinism, cultural evolution, and mathematical patterns in human history. He is writer of the Youtube series Crashcourse Big History, hosted by John and Hank Green. He is a curriculum writer for the Big History Project. David has published several scholarly articles on Big History, has co-edited two scholarly collections, and is currently working on publishing his research as a book.