- Dean, School of Communication
Barbara O’Keefe is Dean of the School of Communication at Northwestern University and is a Professor at the School of Communication Studies. She earned her A.B., A. M., and Ph.D. in Speech Communication at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She held faculty positions at Wayne State University, Pennsylvania State University, the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and the University of Michigan before joining the faculty at Northwestern. Dr. O’Keefe’s work is highly interdisciplinary.
Prior to coming to Northwestern, she served as Director of the University of Michigan Media Union, a center for interdisciplinary study and application of emerging digital media. She has served as a reviewer for leading journals, has edited two books and authored over 60 technical publications, including contributed chapters in books, articles, or reviews in archive journals, and chapters in refereed conference proceedings. Much of this work is focused on developing and applying systems for content analysis of communication in studies of life-span communication development. She has also had a long-term interest in the application of interactive computing to support cooperative work and learning.
She was a co-PI on Project CITY, a project funded by the NSF for 3 years to study human-centered design of collaboration technology to support sustainable management of civil infrastructure in a public works department. She has been involved in several additional studies of the use of interactive computing to support scientific and engineering teams. She has also studied and developed computer-based tools to support instruction and learning in communication and engineering education. She is currently part of a multi-institutional team, funded by the National Science Foundation, that is working to organize the available knowledge about interactive media for children and collaborating with industry partners to improve children’s access to high-quality media.