Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Stephen Diachun, August 13, 1981

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:03 - Career overview

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Partial Transcript: --the, uh, College of Agriculture, which is the chief arm of the land grant college.

Segment Synopsis: Dr. Stephen Diachun's career accomplishments are listed, and he discusses a recording he made with Professor Valleau.

Keywords: Accomplishments; Career; Dr. W. Valleau; Interviews; Professor Roberts

Subjects: College teachers.; Educators; Universities and colleges--Faculty.

00:04:57 - Job interview at the University of Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: Well, anyway, we will get started then.

Segment Synopsis: Diachun talks about his education at the University of Illinois and tells the story of how his professor tricked him into having a job interview with Professor Valleau at the University of Kentucky. He talks about his lack of impressions of UK when he first arrived.

Keywords: Dissertations; Dr. W. Valleau; Impressions; Job interviews; Job offers; Mycological research; Opportunities; Personality; Plant pathology; Quality; Thesis; Tobacco; University of Illinois

Subjects: College students--Employment.; College teachers.; Educators; Universities and colleges--Faculty.; Universities and colleges--Ratings and rankings.; Universities and colleges--Research

00:15:01 - Frank McVey / Thomas Poe Cooper

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Partial Transcript: Did you even know Dr. McVey?

Segment Synopsis: Diachun talks about his impressions of university president Frank McVey and dean Thomas Poe Cooper. He talks about his salary and discusses how faculty evaluations were once performed.

Keywords: Dean Thomas Cooper; Dr. Frank McVey; Dr. W. Valleau; Faculty evaluations; Impressions; Instructors; Job offers; Lester "Pat" O'Bannon; Personality; Raises; Teaching

Subjects: College administrators--Rating of; College presidents; College teachers--Salaries, etc.; College teachers--Social conditions; Educators; Universities and colleges--Administration.; Universities and colleges--Faculty.

00:19:43 - Research versus teaching

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Partial Transcript: What was the general attitude towards--as between research and teaching?

Segment Synopsis: Diachun talks about the debate between placing more emphasis on teaching or research at a university, and gives his opinions on the issue.

Keywords: Biology department; Dichotomy; Dr. Morris Scherago; Emphasis; Publishing; Research Club

Subjects: College teachers--Workload; College teaching.; Educators; Universities and colleges--Faculty.; Universities and colleges--Research; University of Kentucky. College of Agriculture

00:23:56 - Beginning to teach at the University of Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: Well now how did you get into teaching? And why?

Segment Synopsis: Diachun talks about why he began teaching at UK and why he had previously avoided it. He compares the students at UK to other institutions. He talks briefly about his impressions of university president Herman Donovan.

Keywords: Comparisons; Conflict; Contact; Dr. Herman Donovan; Dr. W. Valleau; Governors; Interest; Personality; Quality; Scholars; Similarities; Tough; Virus diseases

Subjects: College administrators--Rating of; College presidents; College students--Attitudes.; College students--Conduct of life.; College teachers--Rating of.; College teachers--Workload; College teaching.; Educators; Universities and colleges--Administration.; Universities and colleges--Faculty.

00:32:42 - Research versus teaching--Effect on quality of the university

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Partial Transcript: Now, uh, Steve, we come to the part that interests us.

Segment Synopsis: Diachun talks about his work with the Cook Committee and the recommendations they made to university administration. He talks more about the debate over the importance of teaching versus research and talks about how some faculty members balanced the two better than others.

Keywords: Budgets; Committee of Fifteen; Cook Committee; Dean Martin White; Dr. Amry Vandenbosch; Dr. Morris Scherago; Dr. Thomas D. Clark; Great Depression; Leadership; Quality of education; Recommendations; Reports; Rotating chairmanship; Sputnik

Subjects: College administrators--Rating of; College teachers--Workload; College teaching.; Educators; Universities and colleges--Administration.; Universities and colleges--Faculty.; Universities and colleges--Ratings and rankings.; Universities and colleges--Research

00:49:37 - Role on the selection committee that chose John Oswald as the next president of UK

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Partial Transcript: Well you really started on, on getting, getting that done because that brings us up really to, uh, the coming of Jack Oswald.

Segment Synopsis: Diachun talks about his role on the selection committee to choose a new president for the university. He talks about recommending John Oswald, and tells the story of how Oswald was chosen for the position.

Keywords: Candidates; Chairman; Dr. Frank Dickey; Dr. John Oswald; Elections; Funding; Honors Program; Leadership; Ralph Angelucci; Recommendations; Relationships; Scholars; Selection Committee; Support; Trustees Committee; University Senate

Subjects: College administrators--Selection and appointment.; College presidents; College teachers--Social conditions; Educators; Universities and colleges--Administration.; Universities and colleges--Faculty.

01:00:30 - John Oswald's personality

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Partial Transcript: Did you know that his views were going to result in such a, uh, uh, uh--

Segment Synopsis: Diachun discusses his relationship with John Oswald and how he saw Oswald's personality compared to how others saw him. He talks about Oswald's difficulty with Governor Chandler, among other issues.

Keywords: Changes; Controversy; Dr. John Oswald; Governor Happy Chandler; Governor Louie B. Nunn; Money; Personality; Tough

Subjects: College administrators--Rating of; College presidents; Universities and colleges--Administration.

01:09:36 - Changes during the Oswald administration

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Partial Transcript: Well, alright. What I'd like you to do now and--is, is, is first to ask Terry if you have any one or more questions to ask?

Segment Synopsis: Diachun discusses the changes that occurred during Oswald's presidency at UK, including the changing role of the faculty at the university, the rotating chairmanship policy, and increased emphasis on research. The interview is concluded.

Keywords: Chairman; Changes; Controversy; Cook Committee; Deans; Dr. John Oswald; Effects; Head of department; Impact; Importance; Influence; Mistakes; PhD programs; Quality; Role of faculty; Sputnik

Subjects: College administrators--Rating of; College environment; College presidents; College teachers--Social conditions; Educators; Universities and colleges--Administration.; Universities and colleges--Faculty.; Universities and colleges--Ratings and rankings.; Universities and colleges--Research