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Dr. Keely Cline

Associate Professor

faculty Keely Cline

"I believe that valuing and building relationships with students is foundational as well as passion for the subject being taught."

Degrees Held:

  • Ph.D. in Psychology – University of Nebraska – Lincoln, 2010
  • M.A. in Psychology – University of Nebraska – Lincoln, 2006
  • B.S. in Psychology – Northwest Missouri State University, 2004

Career Highlights:

I am a developmental psychologist by training. My research and professional interests include early childhood development, parent-child interactions, parent-child book-reading, interventions focused on at-risk populations, parenting and culture, and home environments. I am passionate about opportunities to support literacy in communities and have served on my local public library board of trustees.

  • In which online program(s) do you teach?

  • Which classes do you teach online?

  • In what ways do you connect with online students?

    I believe that it is important to regularly post announcements with overviews, updates and reminders, and to share additional resources with students. I also understand the value in providing quick responses to emails; therefore, my goal is to respond to student emails within 24 hours (with the exception of weekends and university holidays). Students are encouraged to contact me with any questions and to let me know if they would like to make an appointment for a virtual meeting.

  • What do you want your students to take away from class?

    Big ideas:

    • The former nature vs. nurture debate has largely been replaced with an attempt to understand the ways that nature and nurture both contribute and interact to impact development across the life span (connected to the concept of gene-environment correlations).
    • Individuals develop within context. Individuals are influenced by, and also have an influence on, the contexts in which they are developing. It is important to understand the dynamic nature of developmental processes, with there being changes and transitions in individuals and the contexts in which they are embedded across time (connected to Bronfenbrenner’s Bioecological Systems Theory).
    • A goal of developmental psychology is to support person-environment fit. Individuals will thrive when they are in contexts that emphasize their strengths and minimize their weaknesses. We can consider ways that our needs stay the same and ways that they change across the life span (considering this for individuals and more globally for people moving through life stages). This has applications for individuals in their own lives, as well as for practitioners and policymakers developing programming and interventions.
    • It is important to take culture into account when studying development. Cultural attitudes, customs and ideologies are permeated throughout the other more immediate contexts (connected to Bronfenbrenner’s Bioecological Systems Theory). Also, it is important to recognize that developmental psychologists and those studying human development see development through their own cultural lenses.
    • Related to cultural considerations, societal views about human development may be reflected in books, films and other creative works. Exploring and analyzing such creative works with developmental concepts in mind may meaningfully add to one’s exploration of developmental studies.
  • Why did you start teaching?

    My goal of going into academia, including teaching, was originally inspired by my love for the subject of developmental psychology and the passion for teaching and research that I observed among my professors when I was an undergraduate student at Northwest Missouri State University. I value how teaching, including the interaction with my students, allows me to continually grow as a scholar.

  • What advice would you give to your online students?

    First, students often find that developmental psychology is of intrinsic interest, as we are all developing individuals. I encourage you to look for connections between the material and your own life and observations. Second, we will engage in class discussions each week. I look forward to you contributing to the discussions, integrating your analysis of resources and your perspective based on your own background and experiences. Please help contribute to building and maintaining a respectful learning community where individuals can respectfully discuss a range of interpretations and views on topics. Last, we are condensing the study of life span development – from conception through death and dying – into a 7-week class. Time management will be important for success in this class. Make sure that you understand the rhythm of the schedule and that you allot enough time to complete assignments.

  • What qualities make someone particularly successful in the field in which you teach?

    I believe that valuing and building relationships with students is foundational as well as passion for the subject being taught.

  • What is the one book you think everyone should read?

    For entertainment, I loved "The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto" by Mitch Albom. For growth, I am currently reading, "Stamped from the Beginning" by Ibram X. Kendi and I think everyone should be familiar with the history.

  • What do you do when you need a laugh?

    I enjoy spending time with my children, ages 13, 9 and 6. I enjoy reading, being outside and going to the movies.

  • Tell us something your students may not know about you:

    I love to travel. My travel experiences include going on study tours of infant/toddler and early childhood centers in Pistoia and Reggio Emilia, Italy. I have also co-led Study Abroad trips to London and Northern Ireland/Ireland. These experiences have allowed me to gain new understanding related to cultural awareness and competence.

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