Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Raymond F. Betts, April 14, 1992

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:10 - Race issues in the university

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Partial Transcript: When we stopped last time we were talking about university conditions.

Segment Synopsis: Betts says that making the university a mixture of people from different backgrounds and conditions not only benefits students but also faculty. He discusses racial issues on campus. He says that, on the whole, the atmosphere is healthy and open for social interactions.

Keywords: Extremely sensitive; Faculty numbers; Few; Nationality; Open and healthy; Racial tensions; Representation

Subjects: African American college students--Social conditions; College administrators; College environment; College presidents; College teachers, Black; Discrimination in higher education; Minorities in higher education; School management and organization; Universities and colleges--Administration; University of Kentucky

00:03:48 - Funding for university from the state

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Partial Transcript: What your thoughts about funding for the university from gover--state, government, private sources?

Segment Synopsis: Betts says universities have changed radically in terms of fundraising in the past 20 or 30 years. Like other public institutions, universities started to engage in a competitive struggle to get money because less than half of the university's funding came from the state.

Keywords: Change radically; Competitive; Funding for the university; Less than half; Operation of the institution; State assisted; State funded; State, government, private sources; Struggle to get money; WWII; World War II

Subjects: College administrators; College environment; College presidents; School management and organization; Universities and colleges--Administration; Universities and colleges--Finance; University of Kentucky

00:04:54 - Working conditions at the University of Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: Is this your first position in the academic field?

Segment Synopsis: On the whole, Betts was satisfied with his working conditions and environment at the University of Kentucky. He enjoyed his salary, benefits, and sabbatical.

Keywords: A combination of intensity and informality; Accessible to students; Benefits; Domestic environment; Easy; Finance and space shortage; Free; Friendly; Friendly environment; Full professor; Healthy; Informal; New library; Pleasant; Quite different; Re-evaluate; Sabbaticals; Salary; Secure; Tremendous constraints; Work culture

Subjects: College administrators; College environment; College teachers--Job satisfaction; College teachers--Salaries, etc; College teachers.; University of Kentucky

00:09:29 - Interpersonal relationships at the university

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Partial Transcript: Do you meet your colleagues socially?

Segment Synopsis: Betts says he does not often meet his colleagues from the history department. He meets socially with his students frequently, but not as regularly as in the past.

Keywords: Colleagues; Department of History; Lunches; Meet socially; Small colleges; Stay frequently; Students

Subjects: College administrators; College environment; College teachers; College teaching; School management and organization; University of Kentucky

00:10:44 - Rewards and frustrations of his job

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Partial Transcript: What are the rewards coming with your work?

Segment Synopsis: Betts says he found it’s comfortable for him to do what he wanted to do in University of Kentucky. He has a sense of satisfaction because of his academic profession and his influence on young people. He found an obvious frustration was undertaking too much work to meet the administration's requirements.

Keywords: A sense of acceleration or satisfaction; Academic professions; Comfortable; Do what you what; Enjoyable; Frustrations; Influence young people; Make a living; Rewards; Satisfy requests from administration; Socially beneficial; Undertake too much

Subjects: College administrators; College environment; College teachers; College teachers--Workload; College teaching; School management and organization; University of Kentucky

00:12:53 - Communication at the university

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Partial Transcript: How important is communication at your place of work?

Segment Synopsis: Communication skills were important and essential for Betts. He was well informed of both university matters and matters in his professional organization.

Keywords: A sense of belonging; Analytical; Audience; Board of trustees; Communication; Convincing; Enterprises; Essential; Imaginative; Metaphorical; Students; Well-informed

Subjects: College administrators; College environment; College teachers; College teaching; School management and organization; University of Kentucky

00:14:48 - Organizational structures at the university

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

Segment Synopsis: Betts says that the organizational structure in the history department was informal and loose, which helped it develop in a healthy and constructive way. He says that he oversaw his subordinates instead of directing them and the looseness built pleasant relationships among them. When conflicts happened, the simplest and most effective way to resolve them, sitting down and having a talk, would be adopted.

Keywords: Conflicts; Decision making process; Edge of the campus; Health and constructive; Informally structured; Looseness; Merit evaluation; Most effective; Not traditional manner; Organizational structures; Oversee; Pleasant relationships; Relatively small operation; Simplest; Stomach wrenching way; Supervise

Subjects: College administrators; College environment; College teachers; College teaching; School management and organization; University of Kentucky

00:18:50 - Work and life balance

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Partial Transcript: How does your work affect your family?

Segment Synopsis: Betts says his family supported his work devotedly. Although sometimes time-consuming, the research projects in summertime and sabbaticals left enough time for him to stay with his family. He did something indirectly related to his work in his spare time, such as reading and writing and also he camped and hiked with his family in his free time.

Keywords: Compelling research; Family; Great inspiration; Ignore; Interested; Sabbaticals; Spare time; Wife’s professional supports; Work-life balance

Subjects: College administrators; College environment; College teachers; College teachers, Part-time; College teachers--Workload; School management and organization; University of Kentucky

00:22:37 - Reflections on his work

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Partial Transcript: What makes you work?

Segment Synopsis: Betts says his sense of responsibility made him commit to his academic career. He hoped that he could help people understand what happened in history. He wants to continuing teaching and researching with intelligence and energy.

Keywords: A deep respect; Commitment; Inability; Lifetime summary; Limitation; More refinement; Next 10 years; Personal satisfaction and achievement; Reciprocal re-arrangement; Responsibility; Stressful; Understand more in the past

Subjects: College administrators; College environment; College teachers; College teachers, Part-time; College teaching; School management and organization; University of Kentucky

00:35:16 - More details of his research

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Partial Transcript: How would you describe your distribution of effort?

Segment Synopsis: Betts talks about his schedule and interaction with his students. His research was geographical and he focused on historical landscape. His research was adequately supported, mostly by himself, and had not been funded at the time of this interview.

Keywords: Adequately supported; Classrooms; Fixed office hours; Geographical; Historical landscape; Most important project; Nature of research; Not funded; Work alone

Subjects: College environment; College teachers; College teachers, Part-time; College teachers--Workload; College teaching; School management and organization; Universities and colleges--Research; University of Kentucky

00:43:54 - Betts' classes

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Partial Transcript: What classes are you currently teaching this semester?

Segment Synopsis: Betts describes his course and his teaching style. The most important thing his students learn from him is respect for the human being. He says students are good judges of teaching quality.

Keywords: 10-15 hours a week; 3 hours a day; Course content; Disorder; Enrollment; Evaluate; Hours for preparation; Hours spent on students; Imaginative; Participate form; Respect for the human being.; Seminar classes; Student population; Student teaching evaluation

Subjects: College environment; College teachers; College teachers, Part-time; College teachers--Workload; College teaching; School management and organization; University of Kentucky

00:50:48 - Thoughts about education

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Partial Transcript: Have you noticed any changes in the student population over the years?

Segment Synopsis: Betts talks about how the student body has changed over time. He talks about the value of students' evaluations of teachers. He says he hopes that more money and better infrastructure for education will be provided in the near future.

Keywords: Changes; Finances; Funding; Future; Future of higher education; Policies; Professor evaluations; Scholarships; Student body; Teacher evaluations; Tuition

Subjects: College environment; College teachers; College teachers, Part-time; College teaching; School management and organization; University of Kentucky