Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Thomas R. Ford, June 11, 1985

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:21 - Rural sociology work / Work with the Center for Developmental Change

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Partial Transcript: Alright, we started, uh, when you took office after you turned from Colombia--

Segment Synopsis: Ford discusses his work in rural sociology before he became the director of the Center for Developmental Change, as well as working with the Center to develop research proposals.

Keywords: Area development districts; Center for Developmental Change; Rural sociology; Sociology research proposals

Subjects: National Science Foundation Advisory Council (U.S.); Sociologists; Sociology; Sociology, Rural.

00:03:44 - Becoming the director of the Center for Developmental Change

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Partial Transcript: Then, Sue Johnson, who had been a research associate, served as the acting director, uh, of CDC for [19]74-[19]75.

Segment Synopsis: Ford recalls being chosen to be the director for the Center of Developmental Change (CDC) in 1975. He talks about the 75-25 split in his contract, splitting his time between the CDC and his professorship in the University of Kentucky sociology department. He discusses the issues over this split.

Keywords: Faculty contracts; Full professors; Sociology professors; University faculty members; University of Kentucky--Professors

Subjects: Administration.; Centers for Disease Control (U.S.); Educational law and legislation--Kentucky; Educators; Sociologists; Sociology; University of Kentucky. College of Social Professions

00:09:42 - Administrative changes, Center for Developmental Change

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Partial Transcript: Yes, you were saying that there was an administrative change at that time, which you welcomed.

Segment Synopsis: Ford talks about the administrative changes that happened before he assumed the position as director of the Center for Developmental Change. He discusses how funding dropped significantly, which concerned Ford about the future of the center. Ford continues to talk about the people he hired while he was director, which consisted mostly of former Peace Corps workers and students looking to conduct research.

Keywords: Center for Developmental Change; Developmental research; Funding; Multidisciplinary education; Review committees

Subjects: Administration; Career changes; College teachers--Job satisfaction; Research; Universities and colleges--Administration.; University of Kentucky

00:15:48 - Interactions with University of Kentucky faculty

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Partial Transcript: You were saying at the beginning, when you first took office, you and Sue Johnson, and sometimes you and Bill Schweri, would go around to the departments and talk to faculty--

Segment Synopsis: Ford discusses talking to departments and individual faculty members about interacting with the Center for Developmental Change (CDC). He talks about how the response mostly never went beyond curiosity, but occasionally faculty would reach out with projects to collaborate on. Ford recalls how the CDC made a catalog of faculty research interests to enhance faculty participation in the organization.

Keywords: Academic research; Developmental change

Subjects: College teachers.; Education, Higher--Kentucky--Lexington; Research; Universities and colleges--Faculty.; University of Kentucky

00:23:20 - Research focus changes during tenure

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Partial Transcript: What were, uh, the ki--the general kinds of research that was on--were ongoing when you first took office, and how, how has that foci changed over time, or has it changed?

Segment Synopsis: Ford discusses how the research focus areas of the Center for Developmental Change (CDC) changed over time, depending on the individuals who made up the organization. He recalls the development of an Appalachian center through a Rockefeller grant and how the project was difficult to complete, as other grants were difficult to procure. He then describes the changes in research focus into the 1970s, which focused more on public opinion data in the use of state government administrative decisions.

Keywords: Academic research; Appalachian studies; Center for Developmental Change; Funding; Kentucky state government; Research focus; Research--State governments; Rockefeller grants

Subjects: Frankfort (Ky.); Grants-in-aid; Kentucky--Politics and government; Research grants; State governments; University of Kentucky; University of Kentucky. Survey Research Center

00:34:49 - Application of developmental change

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Partial Transcript: How much of this, of the research that has been, uh, conducted over the last ten years, or just in the history of CDC, has been used for, or applied towards, developmental change?

Segment Synopsis: Ford talks about the lack of application in the research from the Center for Developmental Change (CDC), as the University of Kentucky lacks action groups to carry out any applied development. He discusses the Gerontology Extension Department, which applies developmental research in the field of gerontology. Ford talks about the evaluation research group set up by the Appalachian Center as well as the CDC. He then discusses how these additions differ from the original intent of the CDC

Keywords: Applied research; Center for Developmental Change; Developmental activity; Developmental changes; Education research

Subjects: Administration; Evaluation research (Social action programs); Gerontology; Occupational training--Programmed instruction.; Research; University of Kentucky

00:48:16 - Generating multidisciplinary interests

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Partial Transcript: Did you have any problem generating interest from the other disciplines?

Segment Synopsis: Ford discusses the various colleges within the University of Kentucky and their level of interest in working with the Center for Developmental Change (CDC). He describes the international developmental research projects the CDC has participated in, including working with the South-East Consortium for International Development. He also discusses awarding grants to faculty members for their developmental research.

Keywords: Academic research; Agriculture; Center for Developmental Research; Faculty research; Faculty research projects; Grants

Subjects: Grants-in-aid; South-East Consortium for International Development; Universities and colleges--Faculty.; University of Kentucky; University of Kentucky. College of Agriculture; University of Kentucky. College of Business and Economics; University of Kentucky. College of Engineering

00:55:06 - Center for Developmental Change--Public relations and faculty involvement

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Partial Transcript: How, uh--if CDC had gotten full credit for all of the activities that have--it's participated in, do you think that would have made a difference in, uh, oh, CDC's, uh, what--how well known CDC is--

Segment Synopsis: Ford discusses why he believes the Center for Developmental Change is not as successful as it would like to be, which he believes is a matter of "public relations." He describes how few departments are interested in multidisciplinary research, and how fewer faculty members are willing to participate in "high-risk" projects, as they do not want to risk their ability to be published researchers. He also discusses why it is difficult for faculty to become involved in multidisciplinary projects, particularly if they have not received tenure and may move on to another university position.

Keywords: Center for Developmental Change; Faculty research; Faculty tenure; Multidisciplinary research; Multidisciplinary studies; Public perceptions

Subjects: Grants-in-aid; Public relations; Research; Teachers--Tenure; Universities and colleges--Faculty; Universities and colleges--Research; University of Kentucky

01:02:26 - Center for Developmental Change goal fulfillment

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Partial Transcript: Okay, uh, I was going to ask you, if you feel that, uh, either your goals or CDC's potential has been realized during your administration?

Segment Synopsis: Ford discusses how he believes individual and organizational goals are rarely completely filled. He talks about how the Center for Developmental Change (CDC) may not ever be able to realize the goals it had while at the University of Kentucky, due to the lack of available financial assistance.

Keywords: Center for Developmental Change; Financial support; Organizational goals; Organizational grants; University of Kentucky--Center for Developmental Change

Subjects: Financial risk; Grants-in-aid; Research grants; Universities and colleges--Research; University of Kentucky; University of Kentucky. Survey Research Center

01:10:53 - Future goals for the Center for Developmental Change

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Partial Transcript: What are your goals for CDC? How do you plan on shaping it in the future? Is there any new direction you want to take, or--

Segment Synopsis: Ford discusses his future goals for the Center for Developmental Change (CDC). He talks about his hope to see greater involvement with international agencies who are doing development work. He discusses his initiative to help developing nations with educational and health services. He talks about his belief that most international aid is politically motivated and how the CDC would provide aid with no ulterior motives.

Keywords: Center for Developmental Change; Educational development; International aid; International development; Organizational goals

Subjects: Developing countries; Development & education; Federal government.; International negotiation and development; Research grants; University of Kentucky

01:19:53 - Retirement plans

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Partial Transcript: When do you anticipate you'll retire?

Segment Synopsis: Ford is looking to retire in 1988, three years after the interview is conducted. He discusses the positives and the drawbacks of retirement, as he feels like he will not be able to fulfill his goals before retirement. He talks about his various career accomplishments, including starting the Appalachian Center and organizing the Survey Research Center.

Keywords: Accomplishments; Appalachian Center; Applied research; Career accomplishments; Faculty research; Survey Research Center

Subjects: Careers; Research; Retirement.; Universities and colleges--Research; University of Kentucky; University of Kentucky. Research Foundation.; University of Kentucky. Survey Research Center