Dr. McKeown took first class Honours in English language and literature at UBC, and received her PhD at McGill after becoming one of that English Department's first Teaching Fellows. She taught in United States of America and Switzerland, and, after her marriage, she taught at various universities across Canada as her husband's military career dictated, enjoying the contrast between teaching Modern British Literature at the Universities of Ottawa and Carleton and flying with Inter-Universities North to teach Shakespeare to Flin Flon.
Because she was interested in the way language evolved, particularly in reaction to social and political processes, Dr. McKeown focussed on two areas of literature: the early modern High Renaissance (1580 -1610), and the modernist period (1890 -1930). As a result, she was able to teach in her areas of specialization as she moved. She also gave special presentations on topics such as discourse analysis, the significant changes in the style of D.H. Lawrence, and Saul Bellow's comedy. She has presented at the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences on Charles Dickens' Bleak House and Pat Barker's Regeneration. In addition, she coordinated three conferences in areas of interest, one at the Royal Military College of Canada on PTSD
In addition to working in her areas of specialization, Dr. McKeown has been almost constantly involved in the teaching of writing, actively participating in the evolution of research over the years. In particular, at the University of Winnipeg, she supervised the creation of one of the first Writing Centres in Canada when she was Chair of the ad hoc Committee on Writing, and, at Carleton University, she served on the committee revaluing the Arts Curriculum that introduced Writing across the Curriculum as part of the First Year Experience.
In the last ten years, Dr McKeown has focused on the establishment and evolution of the RMC Writing Centre. This has, in turn, led to her undertaking the creation and execution of pilot projects and modules on effective writing in support of such varied programmes as Business Administration, the Land Force Technical Staff Programme, and the Army Technical Warrant Officer Programme, and establishing and directing the ALOY and UTPNCM bridging programs. In 2008, as a result of this work, Dr. McKeown was asked by the Department of Human Resources and Social Development to prepare a report on the variety of research and outreach programs being developed across Canada to facilitate instruction on writing.
At present, Dr McKeown is the President of the Canadian Writing Centres Association, an organisation that serves as a clearing-house for information on administration, teaching practices, and research into the effective instruction of academic writing in Canadian universities and colleges.
When not pursuing her academic interests, Dr McKeown gardens, skis, sails, canoes, hikes, and travels, with family and friends, and devours mystery novels because good stories make the world a wonderful place.