Introducing Our Experts: 3 Questions with Business Instructor Elle O’Keeffe MBA, Ph.D.
Elle O’Keeffe joined Rasmussen College’s faculty in 2010. O’Keeffe leverages her MBA and Ph.D. in Texts and Technology to bring innovative practices into her online classroom and the training and development of Rasmussen College faculty. She teaches Strategic Management, Intro to HR, Managing a Diverse Workforce and other business courses in the College’s online School of Business programs.
What is your area of expertise?
I’m most interested in how we use new media to educate and learn. My Ph.D. in Texts and Technology is all about where technology intersects with composition and rhetoric. Text is no longer limited to books—it can mean documentaries, webpages, digital literature or video games. It’s that intersection between reading, writing, rhetoric and new media—and how we use all of that to teach and learn today. Now I incorporate that expertise into everything I do at Rasmussen College.
How did you get to where you are today?
I started off teaching high school English. I wanted to teach and examine the human condition through literature. It didn’t turn out to be what I expected, so I went back to school and earned my master’s and started teaching English at the collegiate level. I realized I absolutely loved teaching—I just wanted to teach adult learners.
I came to Rasmussen College in 2010. While teaching here, I decided to get my Ph.D. Shortly after starting the program, I had triplets. I thought there was absolutely no way I could finish my program, it was just too much. I called and told my supervisor, Venus Fisher, academic dean. At first she understood my situation and agreed with my proposed plan to leave my Ph.D. program. But she called me again that night and said, “It’s not my business, but I have to tell you something. You cannot quit your Ph.D. program. You can do this. We can figure something out.”
She knew my bigger goals and capabilities and wasn’t going to let me fall short. We found another way to make it work, and I finished that Ph.D. program in 2018. Now I teach advanced business courses, help shape our competency-based education courses and create trainings for our faculty development program.
What part of your work excites you the most?
I love developing other faculty members. We have all of these impressive faculty who are experts in their fields who benefit from continued training. I get to use my expertise in new media and communications to instruct our faculty on more effective ways to teach. I get so much positive feedback from our faculty. It’s really energizing.