A A Email Print Share

Founding Members and Early Trailblazers of the Department

Richard, T. Knowles, PhD

Dr. Knowles was born in New York City in 1934 of native-born Irish parents. He received his B.A. from Fordham University with a major in sociology and minors in philosophy and English. He then worked as a social worker for the New York Foundling Hospital, while simultaneously taking psychoanalytically-oriented courses in personality theory at Fordham University. In 1961 he received an M.S. degree from Fordham University in education for liberal arts graduates. Knowles was among the original group of teachers to set up the first public school in a prison in the United States, for adolescent inmates at Riker's Island Prison in New York City. He also taught in the New York City Puerto Rican Orientation Program intended to orient newly-arrived Puerto-Rican students in the public school system. In 1965 Knowles received a Ph.D. in Guidance and Counseling from Purdue University. From 1963 to 1965 he worked as a counseling psychologist in the Counseling Center at Ball State University and as an assistant professor teaching courses in psychology and counseling. In 1965 he joined the faculty in counseling education at the University of Michigan, where he taught courses in counseling theory, counseling process, case study and research methods. At this time, he published articles on the role of the counselor and school psychologist in various journals, and co-authored two books: Teacher's Guide to Group Vocational Guidance, and An Experimentalist Approach to Counseling.

Knowles spent a semester as a Visiting Scholar at Duquesne, became convinced of the value of the department's approach for the future of psychology, and joined the Duquesne faculty in 1973. Knowles' projects at Duquesne included the reformulation of Erik Erikson's developmental theory within a Heideggerian framework, which he published in a book entitled Human development and Human Possibility: Erikson in the Light of Heidegger (1986). He also engaged in a national interdisciplinary project of philosophers, psychologists, and educators working on the topics of moral development and moral education. Finally, Knowles worked with colleagues at Duquesne to create a research methodology which is descriptive and in the spirit of phenomenology for the study of the therapeutic process.

Dr. Knowles served as Chair of the department for 12 years from 1985 to 1997. He retired from the department in 2000, and died on February 14, 2003.

Back to Early Trailblazers