Interview with Jon Hesseldenz, December 8, 2014

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

 

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00:00:01 - Early information technology

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Partial Transcript: This is, uh, James Savage. Today is December 8, 2014. Uh, we are at the KCTCS office in Versailles talking to Dr. Jon Hesseldenz...

Segment Synopsis: Dr. Jon Hesseldenz is introduced. He gives a brief overview of his educational background and early career. He describes some early information technology, including punch cards and paper tape.

Keywords: Data; Financial records; Glassboro State College; Illinois; New Jersey; Paper tape; Programming; Punch cards; RCA; Rowan University; Student records; University of Kentucky

Subjects: College histories; Education, Higher; Information technology.

00:04:49 - Working at the University of Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: So--but you come to UK to pursue a degree in what?

Segment Synopsis: Hesseldenz talks about coming to the University of Kentucky to pursue a degree in higher education, and talks about how he came to work for the university. He talks about his role managing various types of university records. He talks about the state of the community college system at the time.

Keywords: Community colleges; Financial records; Funding; Higher education degree; Human resources records; Infrastructure; KCTCS; PeopleSoft, Inc.; Personnel records; Student records; Underfunded

Subjects: Education, Higher--Kentucky; Information technology.; Kentucky Community & Technical College System; Universities and colleges--Administration.; Universities and colleges--Finance; University of Kentucky. Community College System

00:10:29 - Reactions to the separation of UK and KCTCS

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Partial Transcript: Now when you're at UK and the, the '97 reform measure's been introduced into the legislature, uh, what's sort of the atmosphere at UK--

Segment Synopsis: Hesseldenz discusses how the people working at the community colleges in Kentucky felt about being separated from the University of Kentucky due to state legislation in 1997. He talks about how KCTCS interim president Jim Ramsey handled the atmosphere of suspicion. He talks about becoming the Director of Technology at KCTCS and how he built his own staff to create the technology system for the community colleges.

Keywords: Associate professors; Association; Attitudes; Data; Director of Technology; Distrust; Doctorate; Fears; Funding; Governor Paul Patton; Infrastructure; Interim presidents; Jim Ramsey; KCTCS; Legislation; Paranoia; Quality; Recruiting; Reform measures; Relationships; Separation; Suspicion

Subjects: College administrators--Rating of; College environment; College presidents; Education, Higher--Kentucky; Educational change--Kentucky; Kentucky Community & Technical College System; Universities and colleges--Administration.; Universities and colleges--Employees; Universities and colleges--Finance; Universities and colleges--Professional staff; University of Kentucky. Community College System

00:20:57 - English PhD

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Partial Transcript: But, you know, I want to take one step back because before you leave UK you, you decide to pursue a PhD in English.

Segment Synopsis: Hesseldenz talks about why he decided to pursue a PhD in English at UK.

Keywords: Coursework; Doctoral exam; Doctorate; English PhD program; Renaissance era; William Shakespeare

Subjects: College majors; University of Kentucky. Department of English

00:23:22 - Designing a unified technology system for KCTCS

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Partial Transcript: Um, you know, you're doing all these things that, you know, you're--part of your--the, the appeal or part of the reason that you're, you know, you're brought into KCTCS...

Segment Synopsis: Hesseldenz discusses the process of creating a technology system for KCTCS that would link all of the colleges together. He talks about his preparation for the position, the software used, the types of information they dealt with, their staff, office locations, and their budget.

Keywords: Budget; Connectivity; Cost; Data; Difficulty; Financial records; Hiring; Implementation; KCTCS; Locations; Offices; PeopleSoft, Inc.; Personnel records; Preparation; Software; Student records; Technology systems; Training; Unification

Subjects: Education, Higher--Kentucky; Information technology.; Kentucky Community & Technical College System; Universities and colleges--Administration.; Universities and colleges--Employees; Universities and colleges--Finance; Universities and colleges--Professional staff; University of Kentucky. Community College System

00:32:46 - KCTCS presidents

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Partial Transcript: Some folks have indicated that the human resources system at that point, and even probably still today was relatively complicated in that structure.

Segment Synopsis: Hesseldenz talks about KCTCS interim president Jim Ramsey and the process of selecting a permanent president. He describes president Mike McCall, his support of Hesseldenz's work, and how he handled staff attitudes towards the downsizing of the community college system.

Keywords: Admiration; Attitudes; Board meetings; Complicated; Dissension; Downsizing; Human resources system; Impressions; Interim presidents; Jim Ramsey; Personality; President Michael McCall; Respect; Selection process; Support

Subjects: College administrators--Rating of; College administrators--Selection and appointment.; College environment; College presidents; Education, Higher--Kentucky; Educational change--Kentucky; Kentucky Community & Technical College System; Universities and colleges--Administration.; Universities and colleges--Employees; Universities and colleges--Professional staff; University of Kentucky. Community College System

00:39:00 - Becoming Vice President for Information Technology at KCTCS

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Partial Transcript: M, my part in the whole thing was to make sure that the systems were working perfectly at all those schools.

Segment Synopsis: Hesseldenz talks about how he became the Vice President for Information Technology at KCTCS and how that position differed from his previous job. He talks about the experience of attending cabinet meetings. He talks about why he decided to step down to the status of part-time employee.

Keywords: Board; Cabinet meetings; Central office; Combining; Communication; Consolidation; Director of Technology; KCTCS; Meetings; Part-time employees; President Michael McCall; Technology systems; Vice President for Information Technology

Subjects: College presidents; Education, Higher--Kentucky; Educational change--Kentucky; Kentucky Community & Technical College System; Universities and colleges--Administration.; Universities and colleges--Employees; Universities and colleges--Professional staff; University of Kentucky. Community College System

00:44:38 - Technical problems with the KCTCS system

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Partial Transcript: What, what would, uh--well let me, let me take a step back because as, uh, uh--there was one thing I came across that really got a lot of attention, um, after the implementation of the PeopleSoft stuff.

Segment Synopsis: Hesseldenz talks about some of the issues he faced with the KCTCS system, including problems with software and personnel. He talks about how he explained technical problems to the KCTCS board members.

Keywords: "Hay wagon" analogy; "Rogue transactions"; Broadband technology; Growth; Internet; Long lines; Organization; PeopleSoft, Inc.; Programs; Registration; Resistance to change; Software; Technical problems

Subjects: Education, Higher--Kentucky; Information technology.; Kentucky Community & Technical College System; Universities and colleges--Administration.; Universities and colleges--Employees; Universities and colleges--Professional staff; University of Kentucky. Community College System

00:51:10 - Relationships with external companies / institutional research

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Partial Transcript: Well, there's some external sort of, uh, initiatives like Cisco--

Segment Synopsis: Hesseldenz talks about working with outside companies like Cisco when creating the KCTCS system. He talks about his role at KCTCS after stepping down as Vice President for Information Technology, which he says mostly involved using the data collected by the system to conduct research studies.

Keywords: Cisco Systems, Inc.; Data; Demographics; External initiatives; Friends; Implementation; Institutional research; Management information systems; President Michael McCall; Projects; Relationships; Research studies; Roles

Subjects: Education, Higher--Kentucky; Information technology.; Kentucky Community & Technical College System; Universities and colleges--Administration.; University of Kentucky. Community College System

00:57:07 - Retirement

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Partial Transcript: Well tell me then, what's retirement look like for you?

Segment Synopsis: Hesseldenz talks about the traveling he has done since his retirement from KCTCS.

Keywords: Bahamas; Children; Europe; Grandchildren; Outer Banks (N.C.); President Michael McCall; Travel; Wife

Subjects: Families.; Retirement.; Universities and colleges--Employees; Universities and colleges--Professional staff

01:00:28 - President McCall

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Partial Transcript: Tell me a little bit about, you know, from, from your point of view and having a few years on the, on the beach and in, in, uh, Italy and France to think about that, I mean, what, what do you think--how people will consider Mike McCall's legacy?

Segment Synopsis: Hesseldenz talks more about KCTCS President Mike McCall and what his legacy will be after his retirement. He tells a story about McCall finding his employees drinking at a bar at lunchtime.

Keywords: Drinking; Legacy; President Michael McCall

Subjects: College administrators--Rating of; College discipline; College environment; College presidents; Education, Higher--Kentucky; Kentucky Community & Technical College System; Universities and colleges--Administration.; Universities and colleges--Employees; Universities and colleges--Professional staff; University of Kentucky. Community College System

01:04:01 - How working at KCTCS changed his life

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Partial Transcript: Um, you said, um, upon your retirement that KCTCS had changed your life. Now what do you mean by that?

Segment Synopsis: Hesseldenz talks about how his life would be different if he had remained at UK instead of taking the job at KCTCS. He tells a story about creating a program for the state workers' payroll. The interview is concluded.

Keywords: Dr. Otis A. Singletary; English PhD; KCTCS; Life-changing; Payroll system; Personality; Programming; Regrets; State employees

Subjects: Education, Higher--Kentucky; Information technology.; Kentucky Community & Technical College System; Universities and colleges--Administration.; Universities and colleges--Employees; Universities and colleges--Professional staff; University of Kentucky. Community College System