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ISSDL Remembers Dr. Huey Long

It is with sad hearts that the ISSDL shares the passing of its friend and founder Dr. Huey Long on Friday August 12, 2022.

Dr. Long initiated the first Self-Directed Learning Symposium in 1986, was an inaugural presenter at the 1986 Symposium, received the first Malcolm Knowles Self- Directed Learning Award, and is co-editor emeritus of the International Journal of Self-Directed Learning. In discussing the symposium Dr. Long stated “The symposium has been successful in achieving goals I set for it in 1986. But I would be remiss to not mention all of those colleagues and students whose efforts are so closely connected with the above. I am indebted to all of them.”

Dr. Long’s major contributions include encouraging and supporting others in their inquiries, conceptualizing self-directed learning as a complex behavior including cognition, personality, choice processes, and environment and personal and collaborative research and writing. His attention was concerned with issues associated with understanding the bigger issues of learning, and then if and how self-direction in learning is a subset of that important human trait.

Our many thoughts are with his wife, Marie, and family.

Huey Long, through his vision, established the International Self-Directed Learning Symposium, holding the first one at the University of Georgia in 1986. He was a treasured mentor, friend, and colleague who has inspired several generations of scholars in self-directed learning. What a legacy!

Just one example of his mentorship: He served on my doctoral committee at the University of Georgia, and after hearing about my deep interest in self-directed learning and my enthusiastic plan to develop a series of activities that could be used to enhance learners’ readiness for self-directed learning for my dissertation, he asked one question that completely altered my plan. The question: “How will you know if it worked?” Of course I realized immediately that there was no reliable way, and what was needed first was a way to assess a learner’s current level of readiness for self-directed learning—so Huey’s question led to my two-part dissertation: first, a Delphi survey to determine the consensus of opinion of the most respected scholars in SDL on the characteristics of a highly self-directed learner; and then to develop an assessment to reliably measure those characteristics — the Self-Directed Learning Readiness Scale. His wise question dramatically expanded the scope and impact of my research. Years later, when a highly critical and flawed article about the SDLRS was published in a major journal, he wrote one of the three responses that were published—another example of his unending dedication to his students! And we returned his devotion with enthusiasm. The many individuals that he mentored have ensured the continuous offering of the SDL Symposia for 37 years (online in 2021 due to Covid).

The SDL Symposia that Huey founded were the springboard for the establishment of the International Journal of Self-Directed Learning in 2004 and the International Society for Self Directed Learning in 2006. In his honor, the Society established the Huey B. Long Student Scholarship Awards to enable graduate students to attend the Symposia and present their work. Despite many serious illnesses over the past 10 years, Huey continued to provide a shining example of lifelong self-directed learning. For many years he continued to speak at the symposium and conduct SDL research. When that no longer felt comfortable, he turned to painting and photography. Even in the worst of times he donated books and his delightful artworks to the Annual Silent Auction that was funding the student scholarships. Despite his renown, Huey could always be found at the symposium welcoming new researchers and avidly discussing their ideas. He was a warm, people person and a born mentor. He touched the lives and inspired the self-directed learning research of many. He will be sorely missed. His work was lovingly supported by his wife of nearly 70 years, Marie. Our deepest condolences go to her and to their family. Correspondence can be sent to Marie Long and family at 25630 Devonia Street, Melrose, FL 32666. Celebration of Life Services will be held in October.

-- In tribute, Lucy Madsen Guglielmino

Dr. Long, was an inspirational colleague and friend. His scholarship, thinking, and academic contributions have nurtured a global community of learners, researchers, learning facilitators, and practitioners. Despite Dr. Long’s esteemed standing, he was warm, kind, welcoming and always found time to cultivate meaningful relationships. He will be missed! -- Dr Naomi Boyer

Bonjour les ami.e.s,

One of the effects of time zones is you have access to good and bad news from overseas as the very first thing in the morning. I was sorry to learn about Huey’s departure from this side of life and have been recollecting about my first visit to him at OU back in ’89 and his warm and encouraging reaction to my emerging research efforts into SDL, which led to a long and fruitful collaboration with The SDL Network here and there since.

My thoughts are with him, Marie and you.

As ever, bien amicalement

--Philippe Carré

Huey B. Long – A friend, colleague, and co-adventurer. I first met Huey in 1968 when as a graduate student I made my first professional presentation at an AEA of the USA annual conference in Des Moines, Iowa. After my presentation Huey came up and introduced himself and said he looked forward to my joining the ranks of adult education professors. I remembered his friendship and it led to discussions at future conferences and decisions to carry out some scholarly activities together. The first was as co-editors of an AEA Handbook in adult education, Changing Approaches to Studying Adult Education (Jossey-Bass, 1980). The second was a book with Jerry Apps, Philosophical and Other Views on Lifelong Learning (University of Georgia, 1985). We also did some international traveling together spending a month in Tanzania in 1984 as part of a team evaluating an Agency for International Development several-year project aimed at improving the adult learning skills of people at the local rural village level on up to national administrative efforts. Subsequently, we began connecting through Kellogg Foundation-sponsored adult education projects, one that began at the University of Georgia and another at Syracuse University. Of course, we associated together in many ways through the Self-Directed Learning symposium. The kindness of he and Marie to me and my wife, Janet, will long be remembered. He will be missed. -- Roger Hiemstra


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