Michael Williams, director of innovation for the KU School of Journalism and Mass Communications, has worked more than 30 years as a professional journalist and educator, emphasizing interactive media and media innovation. He teaches courses in visual communication, data visualization and media entrepreneurship.
Professor Williams is the founding director of the KU Media Innovation Lab (MILab); a project-level research lab focused on the definition, development and distribution of solutions to current and future communication challenges. MILab finds greatest success through the blending of knowledge shared by students, faculty and professionals and the application of this knowledge to significant communication projects.
Prior to his move to KU in 2008, he was lead professor of multimedia design at the College of Journalism at the University of Maryland-College Park. He has also served as director of graduate studies for the School of Visual Communication at Ohio University. Williams previously taught photojournalism and multimedia design in the visual communications sequence in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He began his academic career at the University of Kansas where he was a member of the faculty of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications. He has also been a visiting professor in the School of Journalism at Marquette University in Milwaukee, and at two universities in Russia, Ural State University in Yekaterinburg and St. Petersburg State University. Williams returned to the professional world in 2000 as Director of Internet Development for Kalmbach Publishing Company, a magazine publisher in Milwaukee, Wisc. There he was founding editor of Trains.com, the most frequently visited site for railroad enthusiasts and rail industry professionals. He was also publisher for Astronomy.com and oversaw the development of web sites for other Kalmbach publications. Williams began his professional career as staff photographer for the Salem (Ore.) Statesman-Journal where he was later promoted to Photo Director. He served as Graphics Director at the Albuquerque Tribune and Assistant Managing Editor at the Clarion-Ledger and Jackson Daily News in Mississippi. In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Williams has done extensive visual communication consulting throughout the U.S., Europe and Russia. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Journalism and Master of Science in Journalism degrees from the University of Kansas.