Interview with Cynthia Read, August 29, 2014

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries

 

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00:00:00 - UPS involvement with education reform

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Partial Transcript: This is James Savage. I'm talking today to Cynthia Read. It is August 29, 2014. We are at the KCTCS office in Versailles.

Segment Synopsis: Read describes how she became involved with the Kentucky Education Reform Act of 1990. She talks about touring a community college in Iowa, a meeting with the governor concerning the merger of community and technical colleges, and testifying on behalf of House Bill 1.

Keywords: Crit Luallen; KERA; Kentucky Education Reform Act of 1990; Paul E. Patton; Postsecondary Education Improvement Act of 1997; Prichard Committee; UPS; United Parcel Service

Subjects: Education, Higher--Kentucky.; Educational change--Kentucky.; Kentucky--Politics and government; Schools--Centralization.

00:13:14 - KCTCS Board of Regents / presidential search

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Partial Transcript: Let me jump ahead a little bit. Because, as everybody knows, the bill passes after this very contentious row between the governor and the University of Kentucky. The bill passes. Um, and you're approached at that point to--were you approached to join the Transition Team?

Segment Synopsis: Read talks about being nominated to the Board of Regents. She describes being sworn in as a board member and her interaction with Governor Patton. Read discusses the process of the KCTCS presidential search and the split between keeping Dr. James Ramsey as permanent president. Read talks about Dr. Jeff Hockaday's interim presidency. She describes her decision to vote against the first hiring firm.

Keywords: Interim presidents; James R. Ramsey; Jeff Hockaday; Paul E. Patton; Representatives; Richard Bean

Subjects: College presidents; Community Colleges--Kentucky; Education, Higher--Kentucky.; Kentucky Community & Technical College System

00:31:41 - Michael McCall / accreditation issue

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Partial Transcript: But tell me about your first perceptions of Mike McCall.

Segment Synopsis: Read talks about her first impression of Michael McCall. She describes what she was looking for in a candidate during the interviewing process. Read discusses the feeling of relief after McCall was hired. Read talks about how accreditation aided in the merging of the community and technical colleges.

Keywords: Accreditation; Candidates; Interviews; Meeting; Presidential search

Subjects: College presidents; Kentucky Community & Technical College System; Schools--Centralization.

00:42:27 - Early challenges of the Board of Regents

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Partial Transcript: Let's pick up with, you had, we were talking about the accreditation issue. This was one of the big issues that you all faced early on, but was there an issue that came up that surprised you? Was something that you just didn't expect?

Segment Synopsis: Read talks about various issues that arose when trying to create a unified system, such as donations to specific colleges or human resources systems. She describes incentives about joining the KCTCS human resources system. She talks about the challenges of being on the Board of Regents and describes the first meeting. She discusses others who served on the board and Dr. Tony Newberry receiving a standing ovation at his appointment as interim chancellor.

Keywords: Donations; Faculty; Infrastructure; Philanthropy; Staff; Tony Newberry

Subjects: Education, Higher--Kentucky.; Kentucky Community & Technical College System; Schools--Centralization.

00:53:50 - Open meetings of the Board of Regents / KCTCS name

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Partial Transcript: Those, those audiences of employees that are coming to these early meetings, um, is there a mo--is there, sort of, I guess, question and answer session? Is there something where they're standing up and expressing any sort of concerns? Or is their concern demonstrated simply by their presence?

Segment Synopsis: Read describes the involvement of employees and media at the Board of Regents meetings. She talks about laws concerning the college names and the significance of the KCTCS name.

Keywords: Employees; Faculty; Names; Open meetings; Regulations; Unions

Subjects: Community Colleges--Kentucky; Education, Higher--Kentucky.; Kentucky Community & Technical College System

01:00:55 - McCall's relationship with the board / Read becoming chair of the board

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Partial Transcript: Let's talk about, let's talk more a little bit about Dr. McCall, in particular. Tell me about, you know, he's hired, this sense of relief that we mentioned earlier. Tell me about his early interactions with the board. What's he ask of you, what do you ask of him?

Segment Synopsis: Read describes McCall's interaction with the Board of Regents. She talks about the board transitioning to having a permanent president. She discusses dividing the colleges into districts and describes an incident where a student could not transfer her credit hours to a nearby community college. Read talks about becoming chair of the board.

Keywords: Mayo Technical College; Michael B. McCall; Strategic planning; Transfer programs; Unity

Subjects: College presidents; Education, Higher--Kentucky.; Educational change--Kentucky.; Kentucky Community & Technical College System; Schools--Centralization.

01:12:59 - Challenges of the board when Read was chair

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Partial Transcript: Other than that, I mean, which is a small thing, I think, in the grand scheme of things. Um, any other sort of--what were the big issues during your chairmanship? Chairwomanship, I suppose. What would the big issue for you have been?

Segment Synopsis: Read talks about challenges she faced as chair of the board, including the KCTCS retirement system and changes in elected board members.

Keywords: Board members; Employees; Faculty; Name; Policies; Retirement; Rules

Subjects: Education, Higher--Kentucky.; Kentucky Community & Technical College System

01:18:50 - KCTCS office building / tenure issue

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Partial Transcript: You know the one area that I have not asked anybody else about, but I think you would be in a unique position to talk about, is this building that we're sitting in.

Segment Synopsis: Read talks about acquiring the KCTCS office building in Versailles. She talks about serving on the board after she was no longer chair and her opinion on the issue of tenure.

Keywords: Conflict; Controversy; KCTCS Board of Regents; Office building; Tenure; Versailles (Ky.); Vote

Subjects: Education, Higher--Kentucky.; Kentucky Community & Technical College System

01:26:08 - Reflections on Board of Regents and Dr. McCall

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Partial Transcript: You've been off the board now since '08. That's six years. You've had time to sort of reflect on KCTCS, on Michael McCall, on, on everything that you did and saw in the creation of the system. In very general terms, can you reflect a little bit on that for me? In summary, what do you feel as you look back?

Segment Synopsis: Read comments on her gratitude for Dr. McCall and the significance of the KCTCS structure. She talks about the financial situation of KCTCS and advocating for higher education. Read describes McCall on a personal level. The interview is concluded.

Keywords: Accomplishments; Attributes; Budget; Funds; Michael B. McCall; Personality

Subjects: College presidents; Education, Higher--Kentucky.; Kentucky Community & Technical College System