March 1-3, 2006

 

ITEM 130-1016-R0306                Authorization to Confer the Title of Professor Emeritus of Journalism upon William L. Knowles; The University of Montana-Missoula

 

THAT:                                      The faculty of the Radio-Television Department of The University of Montana School of Journalism recommends that retired professor and former RTV chair William Knowles be conferred emeritus status.

 

EXPLANATION:                        Prof. Knowles is retiring after more than 20 years at The University of Montana. He began teaching at UM in January 1986 as a visiting assistant professor.  He was hired as an assistant professor in July 1986. He was promoted to associate professor in 1989 and to full professor in 1993.  He was tenured in 1998. Knowles received a merit award in 1994.  He also received a one-semester sabbatical in 1999. Prof. Knowles will retire following Spring semester 2006.

 

Bill Knowles was born in Los Angeles in 1935.  He received his B.A. in Journalism from San Jose State University in 1959.  He enlisted in the U.S. Army to acquire training at the U.S. Army Information School, Fort Slocum, N.Y.  His work was so well recognized in the first four weeks of training that he was asked to accept an assignment as a faculty member for the remainder of his enlistment.  He accepted, and later won the Army Commendation Medal for his teaching and for creating a military print-media style guide, segments of which are still in use today.

 

Upon his discharge in 1962, Knowles attended graduate school in the Department of Telecommunications at the University of Southern California.  After one year he left and was immediately employed as a news reporter, photographer and producer at KSL-TV in Salt Lake City.  In 1965, Knowles accepted a news producer position at WLS-TV in Chicago, where he worked until 1970, when he joined the staff of ABC News in Washington, D.C.  After serving as a writer for noted anchor Howard K. Smith, Knowles became an associate producer and later operations producer. In 1977, he was made Southern Bureau Chief based in Atlanta.  In 1981, he accepted a transfer back to Washington as Bureau Chief, and then in 1982 asked for a transfer to the Los Angeles bureau to be near his ailing parents.  He remained there until 1985, when he left ABC.

 

At UM, Prof. Knowles has taught just about every broadcast journalism class in the Radio-Television department during his 20 years.  He teaches the largest class in the School of Journalism, JOUR 100S, which is a general J-School requirement and general education class for the entire university.  Bill does many hours of preparations to provide Powerpoint graphics and more than 150 audio and video clips for the class that routinely numbers more than 200 students per section.

 

Together, Knowles and the late R-TV Chair Joe Durso, Jr., founded the Student Documentary Unit in 1986.  The unit  produces an hour-long television documentary on issues of importance to Montanans.  The programs have been seen all over the state on commercial and public television and have won state, regional and national recognition for UM.  Knowles also was the force behind a new class, RTV 403 Sports and Media, which has attracted large student numbers as well.

 

Prof. Knowles served as chair of the Radio-Television department from 2000-03. He was then named special assistant to the Dean of Journalism for assessment and accreditation in April 2004.

 

He has also been an active member of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC), a non-profit, educational association of journalism and mass communication faculty, administrators, students and media professionals.   Founded in Chicago, Illinois, in 1912, AEJMC has some 3,500 members around the world. Knowles served as head of the Radio/Television Journalism Division of AEJMC in 1995-96 and programmed the annual AEJMC convention as division vice head in 1994-95.  He’s produced or appeared more than a dozen panels at AEJMC national conventions.

 

Prof. Knowles has been busy over the past 20 years with his own broadcasting efforts as well. He was the producer and director of The Blaine Taylor Show, the Grizzly basketball coach’s weekly highlight program for cable television for the 1996-97 basketball season. He did halftime, pregame and sideline reports for the Grizzly football and basketball radio network from 1991-97.  He also helped involve Radio-Television students with GrizVision, the giant video screen at Grizzly football and basketball games.

 

Working hard to serve the campus community as well, Prof. Knowles has been the School of Journalism’s elected representative to the Faculty Senate since 2001 and served as its vice chair for AY 2002-03 and chair for AY 2003-04 and president from May 2003 to May 2004.  He now serves on the Commencement Committee and as a marshal during Commencement exercises.  He also served on the recent Athletics Director Search Committee.

 

Prof. Knowles continues to write and publish. He has written many articles that have appeared in Media Ethics magazine.  He has received a grant to cover publication of his long anticipated book, I Was Just Talkin’: Adventures in Montana Broadcasting, which will have 29 chapters and more than 100 pictures documenting pioneer broadcasting in the state.

 

Prof. Knowles, as always, has agreed to stay involved with the Radio-Television department and keep us connected to our alumni network.  He’s already received a number of well-wishes from alumni whose broadcasting careers he helped launch.