Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Thomas H. Troland, April 15, 1992

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:03 - Funding for his research

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Partial Transcript: --just, not a computer for example.

Segment Synopsis: Troland says that the university supports his research and academics and the U.S. National Science Foundation funds his research.

Keywords: Education; Formation of stars and planets; National Science Foundation; Research; Space

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

00:02:31 - Problems he is facing in his research

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Partial Transcript: Well the next question is, what is the most important problem you are working on?

Segment Synopsis: Troland talks about the influences on the formation of stars. He uses different techniques involving cosmic radio waves for his research on interstellar space.

Keywords: Cosmic magnetism; Expanding knowledge; Experimental type projects; Forming stars; Interstellar space; Process; Space

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

00:03:40 - Extinction of dinosaurs

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Partial Transcript: Did you see on the news those astronomers that said...

Segment Synopsis: Troland says that the Earth was struck by a large object and created an environmental catastrophe that wiped out the dinosaurs. This event could happen again. Every 100 million years the Earth is struck by some sort of large object, however that could happen again at any time. He asks, should we spend the money to try to prevent an environmental catastrophe that is supposed to happen every 100 million years?

Keywords: Advisability; Comets; Dinosaurs; Extinction; Large objects; Sciences

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

00:05:58 - The manner of his research

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Partial Transcript: Uh, what is the manner of your research?

Segment Synopsis: Troland examines a collection of data off the computer which he graphs onto paper. His research involves interstellar stars using cosmic radio studies and viewing the solar system.

Keywords: Computers; Data; Data analysis; Drawing data; Radio; Strategy; Telescopes; Travel

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

00:08:08 - Support and funding for research

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Partial Transcript: Is your research, um, adequately supported?

Segment Synopsis: Troland says he has received funding from the U.S. National Science Foundation for 5-6 years and is now on his third year. He is grateful to be funded, which enables him to do more research.

Keywords: Funding; Funds; Grants; National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA); National Science Foundation; Support

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

00:19:58 - New discoveries in space

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Partial Transcript: Uh, but on occasion, for example, one discovers--one remembers the moment at which one discovers a particular thing.

Segment Synopsis: Troland finds changes on the graph, which shows different movements in space relating to comets. He previews telescopes which he can program to look over Mexico from Lexington, Kentucky. He saw a little wiggle on a graph; it wasn't astonishing but it was something new.

Keywords: Excitement; Expansion; Growth; Movement; Speed of light; Study; Telescopes

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

00:21:45 - Lecture classes

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Partial Transcript: What classes are you teaching in this, in this current semester?

Segment Synopsis: This semester, Troland is teaching Astronomy 192 for non-science major students who need a science curricular. He talks about the content of the course.

Keywords: Astronomy 192; Classes; Lectures; Participation; Professors; Sciences; Solar system; Students

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

00:25:32 - Personal style of teaching and learning

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Partial Transcript: What teaching me, methods do you use?

Segment Synopsis: Troland describes his personal teaching style and methods.

Keywords: Appreciation; Classes; Lectures; Light lectures; Memorable; Stories; Teaching methods

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

00:29:26 - Preparation for lecture classes

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Partial Transcript: What is the most important thing your students learned from you?

Segment Synopsis: Troland says that he spends 1-4 hours preparing for each lecture. In this time, he spends an hour looking over notes then ponders how to word different information. He does revisions before lectures, which helps the students understand what he is teaching. He sees very few students during his office hours. He feels like they are intimidated by him because he is older and more experienced in the subject.

Keywords: Lectures; Office hours; Patterson Office Tower; Revisions; Sciences; Students

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

00:34:25 - Changes in the student population

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

Segment Synopsis: Troland says that he hasn’t noticed any changes in the student population over the time he has worked there. He hasn’t seen any changes in racial diversity and says there are a very small number of minority students.

Keywords: Diversity; Minorities; Political activism; Race; Racial issues; White

Subjects: African American college students--Social conditions; African American college students.; College environment; College teachers--Social conditions; College teachers--Workload; College teaching.; Education, Higher--Kentucky; Educators; Minorities in higher education; Universities and colleges--Faculty.; University of Kentucky

00:36:17 - Teacher evaluations

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Partial Transcript: What is your opinion about student teaching evaluations?

Segment Synopsis: Troland says that student evaluations are the best way to evaluate teachers. Having a faculty member come in and evaluate you would be useless because they already know the subject matter, so they can’t really tell how well it is being taught. Sometimes there might be some bias from some students, but overall student evaluations are the best way to evaluate teachers.

Keywords: Effectiveness; Evaluation; Popularity contests; Professors; Student evaluations; Students; University of Kentucky Department of Physics and Astronomy

Subjects: College environment; College teachers--Social conditions; College teaching.; Education, Higher--Kentucky; Educators; Universities and colleges--Evaluation; Universities and colleges--Faculty.; University of Kentucky; University of Kentucky. Department of Physics and Astronomy

00:40:06 - Personal stories

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Partial Transcript: Um, can you tell me a story that relates to your teaching?

Segment Synopsis: Troland tells stories relating to his teaching and a story from his childhood. He tells stories about students taking their last final, students having to reschedule tests, and he talks about University of California, Berkeley’s image.

Keywords: Champagne; Childhood; Conflicts; Drugs; Final examinations; Final exams; Last final; Malicious; Offices; Pregnant; Relationships; University of California, Berkeley

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

00:47:16 - Hopes for the university's future

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Partial Transcript: --start again.

Segment Synopsis: Troland says that he wishes that students would come more prepared. He says that the university is known for their athletics but there should be more focus on academics. He believes the University of Kentucky should be an elite institution and not based on money and population.

Keywords: Academics; Accomplishments; Athletics; Elite; Focus; Higher education; Selective

Subjects: College environment; College sports.; College students--Attitudes.; College students--Conduct of life.; College teachers--Social conditions; College teaching.; Education, Higher--Kentucky; Educators; Universities and colleges--Faculty.; University of Kentucky