Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Laurie L. Bottoms, April 8, 1992

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:04 - Work at the University of Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: This is the third interview with Dr. Laurie Bottoms.

Segment Synopsis: Bottoms discusses her role at the University of Kentucky, including a variety of topics ranging from benefits to office space.

Keywords: Accessibility; Income; Money; Salary; Wages; Work environment

Subjects: College environment; College teachers--Job satisfaction; College teachers--Salaries, etc.; College teachers--Social conditions; College teachers--Workload; College teaching.; Education, Higher--Kentucky; Educators; Sex discrimination in higher education.; Sexism in higher education; Universities and colleges--Faculty.; University of Kentucky; Women in higher education.; Women--Education (Higher)

00:05:29 - Effect of gender, age, and race on careers

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Partial Transcript: Has your gender had an influence on your career?

Segment Synopsis: Bottoms discusses how gender has influenced her career. She mentions how females are supposed to be silent when they are young and that they aren’t taken seriously. Being a woman, Bottoms discusses how she felt like a minority and how being a minority has affected her life and influenced her career. She mentions how she made career decisions based on what her husband had wanted at the time and she wasn’t able to fulfill the duties of a traditional wife because of her career. Bottoms discusses how when you are younger you are not taken very seriously, but when you become older and have more experience you gain more respect from others. As you age, the amount of problems you face in your career decrease. Bottoms discusses how she grew up in a middle-class family, which allowed her to have more opportunities than others. She has access to an education that others did not have due to race.

Keywords: Age; Ageism; Careers; Education; Exceptions; Experience; Gender issues; Independence; Influences; Jobs; Middle class; Minority; Money; Privilege; Problems; Race; Racism; Respect; Respected; Silence; White privilege

Subjects: College environment; College teachers--Job satisfaction; College teachers--Salaries, etc.; College teachers--Social conditions; College teachers--Workload; College teaching.; Discrimination in higher education; Education, Higher--Kentucky; Educators; Minorities in higher education; Sex discrimination in higher education.; Sexism in higher education; Universities and colleges--Faculty.; University of Kentucky; Women in higher education.; Women--Education (Higher)

00:11:48 - Benefits and drawbacks at the University of Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: Do you meet your colleagues socially?

Segment Synopsis: Bottoms does not typically meet her colleagues and students for social gatherings often. The thing that she loves about her job is that she gets to keep learning and is surrounded by people who also want to do the same. Writing is the frustrating part of her job. She explains how she’s had a good experience at the University of Kentucky but is wanting to try something else now. There are a lot of welcoming people there and a great environment.

Keywords: Benefits; Colleagues; Employment; Social systems; Socializing; Students

Subjects: College environment; College teachers--Job satisfaction; College teachers--Social conditions; College teaching.; Education, Higher--Kentucky; Educators; Universities and colleges--Faculty.; University of Kentucky

00:13:53 - Possible bias in this study

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Partial Transcript: That concludes--

Segment Synopsis: Bottoms says that she suspects that other people who did the interview may not answer truthfully for the sake of their job and possible promotion opportunities, such as tenure.

Keywords: Critiques; Expect; Hospitality; Reality; System; Tenure

Subjects: College environment; College teachers--Job satisfaction; College teachers--Social conditions; College teaching.; Education, Higher--Kentucky; Educators; Universities and colleges--Faculty.; University of Kentucky

00:15:51 - Communication at the University of Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: Well, section eight is on communication.

Segment Synopsis: Bottoms says that there is great communication at UK, and plenty of resources and organizations to take part in. It's important to talk to people if you need help. She feels informed enough about matters at the university to be able to join what she is interested in. Since she is leaving University of Kentucky, there is a lot that she would like to be involved in but will not be able to.

Keywords: Communication; Departments; Organization

Subjects: College environment; College teachers--Job satisfaction; College teachers--Social conditions; College teaching.; Education, Higher--Kentucky; Educators; Universities and colleges--Faculty.; University of Kentucky

00:19:02 - Solving conflicts as an administrator in the College of Education

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Partial Transcript: Can you describe the organizational structure of your unit?

Segment Synopsis: Bottoms discusses department structure and how she receives feedback from her students through evaluations. She believes that when it comes to resolving conflict, it should be done one-on-one to solve problems directly.

Keywords: Conflicts; Department chairs; Social gatherings; Supervise; Supervision

Subjects: College administrators; College department heads; College environment; College teachers--Job satisfaction; College teachers--Social conditions; College teaching.; Education, Higher--Kentucky; Educators; Universities and colleges--Administration.; Universities and colleges--Faculty.; University of Kentucky; University of Kentucky. College of Education

00:26:23 - Effects of gender, race, and age on communication

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Partial Transcript: Do gender, race, age, or nationality influence communication...

Segment Synopsis: Bottoms says that women and men want to handle conversations differently. The same concept can be applied when considering race and age. When women have a conversation, they are more focused on trying to fix things while men are more concerned about hierarchy. Men also feel the need to win, while women feel the need to connect.

Keywords: Connections; Conversations; Gender; Power; Winning; Women vs. men

Subjects: College environment; College teachers--Social conditions; College teaching.; Discrimination in higher education; Education, Higher--Kentucky; Educators; Minorities in higher education; Sex discrimination in higher education.; Sexism in higher education; Universities and colleges--Faculty.; University of Kentucky; Women in higher education.; Women--Education (Higher)

00:28:50 - Work and family

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Partial Transcript: Another question is, how does your work affect your family?

Segment Synopsis: Bottoms says that her family supports her career and her willingness to earn money. She believes more in her family than her work; they are more important to her. Her work provides enough time for her to spend with her family. She continues by discussing the importance of balance between work and family, and how they relate to one another.

Keywords: Balance; Family; Personal life; Support; Supportive; Work-life balance

Subjects: College environment; College teachers--Job satisfaction; College teachers--Social conditions; College teachers--Workload; College teaching.; Education, Higher--Kentucky; Educators; Families.; Universities and colleges--Faculty.; University of Kentucky; Women in higher education.; Women--Education (Higher)

00:31:28 - Activities and hobbies outside of work

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Partial Transcript: Okay, how do you spend your spare time?

Segment Synopsis: Bottoms participates in activities such as walking, reading, writing, and attending movies. She discusses the importance of separation of work and personal life by only doing work-related things during work hours.

Keywords: Personal life; Professional education; Professional vs. personal; Separation; Work-life balance

Subjects: College environment; College teachers--Job satisfaction; College teachers--Social conditions; College teachers--Workload; College teaching.; Education, Higher--Kentucky; Educators; Universities and colleges--Faculty.; University of Kentucky; Women in higher education.; Women--Education (Higher)

00:34:28 - Learning is the reward for her work

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Partial Transcript: What makes you work?

Segment Synopsis: Bottoms says that her motivation or reward is learning. There is no importance to her to make the most money, only to be financially stable. She’s still not completely done with her work and she feels that there are more things she’d like to achieve. She also feels that her work is rewarding but she wouldn't do it for free. She enjoys helping and influencing those her around her and enjoys seeing their success. She hates when her decisions negatively affect those around her.

Keywords: Achievements; Helping; Influencing; Learning; Money; Rewards

Subjects: College environment; College teachers--Job satisfaction; College teachers--Salaries, etc.; College teachers--Social conditions; College teachers--Workload; College teaching.; Education, Higher--Kentucky; Educators; Universities and colleges--Faculty.; University of Kentucky; Women in higher education.; Women--Education (Higher)

00:40:09 - Expectations of the past and future

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Partial Transcript: Is the work you do pretty much what you expected when entering the field?

Segment Synopsis: Bottoms talks about her expectations for her career versus the reality. She discusses her regrets regarding her career and her hopes for the future.

Keywords: Accomplishments; Balance; Careers; Challenges; Education; English departments; Expanding knowledge; Future; Goals; Growth; Improvement; Publishing; Regrets; Relationships; Research; Teaching; Women's studies

Subjects: College environment; College teachers--Job satisfaction; College teachers--Social conditions; College teaching.; Education, Higher--Kentucky; Educators; Universities and colleges--Faculty.; University of Kentucky; University of Kentucky. Department of English; Women in higher education.; Women--Education (Higher)

00:44:42 - Distribution of effort / Research

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Partial Transcript: Section twelve: distribution of effort.

Segment Synopsis: When thinking of effort, Bottoms says she tries to figure out how to finish multiple things well, rather than just get it done. She does not do a lot of research; most of her work includes teaching and administration. Administration has put a small hold on teaching and researching. She is spending her summer getting ready for her move to the Carnegie Center. Bottoms does not do research but if she did, she says she would be interested in women’s issues or ethical teaching and writing. The only research she did was on a writing center and how it works. She would look at what people are actually reading and the amount of female heroism in them and whether the books were about women who were actually still living or about to die.

Keywords: Administration; Balance; Education Research; Effort; Gender; Impact; Research; Research Vs. Teaching; Teaching; Woman; Woman's Issues; Writing; Writing Center

Subjects: College environment; College teachers--Job satisfaction; College teachers--Social conditions; College teachers--Workload; College teaching.; Education, Higher--Kentucky; Educators; Universities and colleges--Faculty.; Universities and colleges--Research; University of Kentucky; Women in higher education.; Women--Education (Higher)

00:52:57 - Teaching style

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Partial Transcript: Fourteen is teaching.

Segment Synopsis: Bottoms says she helps students find solutions to issues that they come across in the seminars. She has an energetic classroom environment, and focuses on collaboration and positivity. She wants her students to identify themselves as readers and writers. She has more preparation at the beginning of the semester as compared to later on. The only difference between student dynamics between her old job in California and Kentucky is the amount of cultural diversity, which was greater in California than Kentucky.

Keywords: Classes; Classrooms; Race; Reading; Seminars; Strategy; Structure; Teaching methods; Writing

Subjects: College environment; College teachers--Job satisfaction; College teachers--Social conditions; College teachers--Workload; College teaching.; Education, Higher--Kentucky; Educators; Minorities in higher education; Universities and colleges--Faculty.; University of Kentucky; Women in higher education.; Women--Education (Higher)

01:00:57 - Track-learning discrimination

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Partial Transcript: Can you give me any story that relates to your teaching?

Segment Synopsis: Bottoms talks about learning of the negative aspects of track-learning (separating students into groups based on ability or perceived ability). She talks about how this method causes discrimination and limits learning.

Keywords: Behavior patterns; Conflicts; Confrontation; Education; Racial discrimination; Racial issues; Track learning

Subjects: College environment; College teachers--Job satisfaction; College teachers--Social conditions; College teaching.; Discrimination in higher education; Education, Higher--Kentucky; Educators; Minorities in higher education; Sex discrimination in higher education.; Sexism in higher education; Universities and colleges--Faculty.; University of Kentucky; Women in higher education.; Women--Education (Higher)

01:04:00 - Future of Kentucky education

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Partial Transcript: Um, fifteen is on policy.

Segment Synopsis: Bottoms would like to see a change in the writing program in Kentucky. Universities should be more helpful to their students rather than trying to prove a point.

Keywords: Changes; Controversy; Education; Future; Higher education; Improvement; Management; Programs; Skills; Willingness to change; Writing; Writing programs

Subjects: College environment; College teachers--Job satisfaction; College teachers--Social conditions; College teachers--Workload; College teaching.; Education, Higher--Kentucky; Educators; Universities and colleges--Faculty.; University of Kentucky