Dr. Denise Keele

Dr. Denise Keele

Executive Director


Having been a farmer, a forester, a grassroots organizer, a political scientist, and a professor, Denise Keele comes to her role as Executive Director of Michigan Climate Action Network with a holistic understanding of the need to reverse global warming rapidly. Denise received her doctorate in Environmental Politics from Syracuse University and was an Associate Professor of Political Science at Western Michigan University (WMU) in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Her research and teaching focused on environmental policy and law—particularly, the use of the courts and interest groups to influence public policy.

At WMU, Denise chaired the interdisciplinary Climate Change Working Group from 2014-2022, bringing over one hundred faculty, students, and staff together to create and implement several academic and outreach programs, including a minor in climate change studies. She served on the Kalamazoo Township Climate Committee and the City of Kalamazoo Sustainability Committee, and as a Board of Trustee with the Kalamazoo Nature Center, led the development of a climate action plan with a carbon neutrality goal of 2035. From 2019-2022, she founded and led the grassroots Kalamazoo Climate Crisis Coalition, coordinating more than 2000 members and 40 affiliate organizations to take collective action and address climate change.

For Denise, a leading priority is inspiring, educating, and connecting people—and, in particular, taking stock of how policy matches up with lived experience. Before her time with MiCAN as director, Keele was honored with its inaugural Climate Champion award in 2021.


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