on faculty since 2012
Ph.D., University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, 2012
M.A., University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, 2007
B.A., Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2005
Professor Bethany Keeley-Jonker’s passion for her discipline and her faith has grown through her years of experience as a student at various Christian schools and as a teacher in a public university.
“My background in Christian education has led me to pay special attention as a scholar to how issues of faith come into play in the enduring questions of my discipline,” said Keeley-Jonker. “Communication studies is fundamentally about the power of language and symbols to shape and influence our reality and communities. It is easy to see how the biblical text can inform and illuminate as well as complicate those questions.”
For Keeley-Jonker, the details and truth in the biblical text colors the way she approaches communication in the contemporary world. She recognizes that her Christian faith provides an ethically grounded standpoint from which to approach important questions about communication and relationships in the world.
“Being able to approach the discipline and practice of communication from the perspective of faith in the classroom boldly is a joy and a blessing,” she said. “My biggest frustration teaching in a state university was contemplating these issues from a perspective of faith, but struggling with how to get my students to evaluate issues from an ethically grounded standpoint when they may not share the same foundation that I have.”
Keeley-Jonker’s perspective on diversity has also grown from her experience of reconciling her faith with the contemporary world. In her seven years of teaching at the University of Georgia and her active writing life, Keeley-Jonker has encountered numerous situations and people offering a diverse approach to communication and life.
“It has taught me how to teach in ways that are inclusive of a variety of student experiences and that allows everyone to learn from each other without pressuring individual students to speak for an entire group,” she said. “I also attempt to include in my course plans texts representing diverse speakers or writers, so that regardless of the makeup of the class, students are exposed to a range of voices and experience.”
Keeley, Bethany. "I May Not Get There With You: 'I've Been to the Mountaintop' as Epic Discourse." Southern Communication Journal 73, no. 4 (2008): 280-294
“Rhetorics of Affirmation in the Creation Museum,” National Communication Association Conference, November 2010, San Francisco, CA “Prophets of the Shopocalypse: the Church of Stop Shopping as Disruption in the Consumer Field,” Southern Communication Association Conference, April 2010, Memphis TN