Interpersonal Communication, Nonverbal Communication, Gender and Communication, Family Communication. Relational Communication
B. A. & M. A. University of Arizona ; Ph. D. University of Iowa
Office Location: Centennial Hall 310
Office Phone: 512-245-3133
About Dr. Keeley
Dr. Maureen Keeley earned her BA (1983) and MA (1987) from the University of Arizona; and earned her Ph.D. (1994) from the University of Iowa. Dr. Maureen Keeley came to Texas State in 1995, she earned tenure and promotion to Associate Professor in 1998; and was promoted to Professor in 2008.
As a scholar and teacher, Dr. Keeley works in various ways to describe, explain, and understand the communication that occurs within close relationships, especially during difficult situations. This overall focus plays out in three specific goals, all of which ultimately align with her desire to improve peoples’ lives through communication and interaction.
Her first goal involves adding to communication research in challenging contexts. Her research focuses on relational communication surrounding health challenges to reveal the verbal and nonverbal messages that help people to connect more fully with one another in the midst of strong emotions and life changes. The nature of Dr. Keeley’s research calls primarily for the use of qualitative methodologies. More specifically, her program of research for the past decade focuses on communication that occurs at the end of life.
Dr. Maureen Keeley has published numerous articles in International and National academic journals, as well as book chapters in top edited volumes, in the areas of relational, health, and nonverbal communication. A sampling of the journals that she has published in include: American Journal of Hospice & Palliative Medicine, Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, Health Communication, Human Communication Research, Qualitative Research Reports, and Journal of Loss and Trauma. Dr. Keeley has published book chapters in many books of national recognition including: Health communication handbook, Evaluating women’s health messages, Narratives, health, and healing: Communication theory, research, and practice, Speaking of spirituality: Perspectives on health from the religious to the numinous. In addition, Dr. Keeley and Julie Yingling’s popular press book Final Conversations: Helping the Living and the Dying Talk to Each Other (VanderWyk & Burnham, Publisher, 2007) has been named “Book of the Year” 2007, Consumer Health Category, by the American Journal of Nursing, "Silver Winner Self-Help Book of the Year" by Foreword Magazine, and ""Bronze Winner in Aging/Death & Dying" (Ippy) award from Independent Publishing.
Dr. Keeley is currently writing up articles from her last major data collection focusing on Final Conversations II: The Children's Voice. This second phase of her final conversation research explores children's experiences. She is also currently developing Final Conversations III: Scale Development. During the third phase of her program of research, she is creating and quantitatively testing a new scale that is created from the themes that she found in her qualitative research.
A second goal for Dr. Keeley is to create connections through her teaching. In the classroom, she encourages and challenges students to look at their own communication and to use pragmatic, theoretical, and scholarly knowledge to improve their lives and their relationships.
Her third goal is to provide useful service for individuals in her community, professional field, university, college, and department. She focuses on service that meets needs, that creates connections between the community and the university.
Dr. Keeley is married to Mark Vassberg and they have two children Ian and Meagan Vassberg
Sample of Courses Taught
COMM 2315 Interpersonal Communication
An introduction to material exploring face-to-face communication and relational development. Emphasis on conceptual foundations, personal growth and skill enhancement.
COMM 3318L Relational Communication
In this course we will look at what it means to study communication that is “relational.” This process involves reading and discussing some of the challenges involved in studying relationships as the primary unit of examination; surveying the literature on relational communication (the topics are selective but meant to tap into the most commonly studied areas and their related processes and functions); and exploring students' own research interests from a relational stance. Students should become more aware of the challenges and potential of studying relationships; have a better understanding of what a communication perspective provides to the larger study of relationships; and should also help the student to gain greater insight about their own relationships (past, current, and/or future).
COMM 3326 Family Communication
A study of the theory and research exploring the family process and communication in a variety of family types. The class also utilizes a wide variety of activities and exercises to analyze and improve one's own communication skills within the family. Prerequisite: COMM 2315. (WI)
COMM 3328 Communication & Gender
Investigates the interactive nature of communication and gender, the creation of gender identities, and the role of gender and communication in a variety of settings. See Anthropology 3350. Prerequisite: COMM 2315. (WI)
COMM 3330 Nonverbal Communication
Introduces the conceptual foundations of nonverbal communication. Theoretical perspectives, research methods and applications of nonverbal communication are also explored in a variety of contexts. Prerequisite: COMM 2315 or 2330. (WI)
COMM 5318 Seminar in Interpersonal Communication.
A review of current research in the area. Includes an examination of contemporary theories and research methods.
COMM 5330 Seminar in Nonverbal Communication.
A review of current theory and research of nonverbal communicative behavior.
COMM 5356 Gender and Communication.
An examination of research and theories about gender communication, relationships, and qualitative research methods.