Peggy Kuhr, dean of The University of Montana School of Journalism, has been named UM’s interim vice president for integrated communications. She started her new duties Aug. 21 and will report directly to President Royce Engstrom.
Kuhr chairs the search for the new vice president for integrated communications position and will return to her dean role once the new vice president has been hired and begins work. Denise Dowling, chair of UM’s radio-television department, will serve as interim dean for the School of Journalism.
“I am pleased to employ Peggy’s expertise as a member of my cabinet as we begin a new academic year,” Engstrom said. “She is known for her strong journalism background and her insistence on transparency. I believe she is uniquely positioned to expand and enhance our communications with the campus community and the greater Missoula and Montana communities.”
“I am honored to serve in this important officer-level position for my alma mater,” said Kuhr, who earned her undergraduate degree at UM. “As a member of the campus family and as a journalist, I understand the need for the University to communicate quickly and clearly with the public during this time of transition to a new vice president.”
Kuhr is president of the national Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communication. She has served as the dean of the UM School of Journalism since August 2007. She had a 26-year career in newspapers before joining the University of Kansas in 2002 as professor and Knight Chair on the Press, Leadership and Community.
Kuhr also spent 16 years at The Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Wash., serving as projects editor, city editor, assistant managing editor and, ultimately, managing editor for content. The newspaper was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 1993 in spot news reporting for coverage of the Randy Weaver standoff on Ruby Ridge in northern Idaho. She was city editor at the time and directed reporting coverage of the 13-day siege.
Dowling joined UM in 2000 after 20 years working in television and radio newsrooms. In 2004 she was named the country’s most promising journalism professor and in 2010 won the Broadcast Education Association’s Best of Festival award for her radio news work.