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0:00 - Interview introduction

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Partial Transcript: This is William Link and the day is November 30th, 1989

Segment Synopsis: Interviewer introduces the interviewee and and begins the interview

0:08 - Beginnings in Greensboro

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Partial Transcript: I'd like to being just with asking you what or how

Segment Synopsis: McKinney talks about why she came to UNCG

1:59 - Graduate programs

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Partial Transcript: Tell me a bit about the graduate programs

Segment Synopsis: McKinney briefly discusses the graduate programs at the college

4:00 - Development of the physical education program

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Partial Transcript: So tell me a little bit more about Miss Martus

Segment Synopsis: McKinney describes how the physical education department grew and developed over the years

11:26 - Department curriculum

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Partial Transcript: What about the curriculum that the department offerred

Segment Synopsis: McKinney remembers the departments curriculum and how it has changed

19:02 - Enrollment decline

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Partial Transcript: That was part of the general impression in teacher related fields

Segment Synopsis: McKinney recalls the program enrollment decline and why other programs were doing well

20:00 - Figures in the physical education department

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Partial Transcript: Tell me a little bit more about the other important figures in the department

Segment Synopsis: McKinney names other influential figures in the physical education department

24:07 - University changes

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Partial Transcript: How would you characterize the changes, if there were any, affecting the university in the 1970's

Segment Synopsis: McKinney reflects on the different aspects of the university that have changed

31:15 - Minority faculty

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Partial Transcript: You mentioned a minute ago that there was a certain

Segment Synopsis: McKinney recalls the ways that minority faculty had to adjust to the campus as desegregation began to happen

35:05 - Minority students

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Partial Transcript: One or two percent. Let me ask you also about--

Segment Synopsis: McKinney discusses her own observations of minority student's adjustments to the campus during and after integration.

38:26 - Race relations

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Partial Transcript: Of course, the late 1980s is a period in the phenomenon

Segment Synopsis: McKinney discusses campus racism and race relations in the 1970s and 1980s

42:27 - University future

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Partial Transcript: Let's talk just a little bit about what you think future prospects are for the institution

Segment Synopsis: McKinney talks about her own vision for the university in comparison to what the university currently is

46:00 - Interview conclusion

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Partial Transcript: It should and it has. I may be making a bold statement saying

Segment Synopsis: The interview ends rather abruptly


WL: This is William Link and the date is November 30, 1989. I'm with Doris McKinney, and I'd like to begin just with asking you what or how you came to be associated with UNCG [The University of North Carolina at Greensboro]. What brought you here, what were your earliest contacts and associations with the university?

EM: Well in order to answer that, we have to go all the way back to 1960. At that time I was employed at one of the local colleges in fact, Bennett College [Greensboro, North Carolina]. And I was working with both psychology and physical education there. That was just about the time when these new sub disciplines in physical education began to appear.

WL: Such as?

EM: Such as motor development, motor learning, motor control and sports psychology. With the background that I had, I wanted to pull social psychology 1:00and physical education together to retool myself to be able to do work in those sub disciplines. So in 1960 I joined the graduate school here and worked with Kendon Smith [psychology department head] in psychology in order to do that. At that time -- if I remember correctly, the institution was much smaller than it is now. I think, in fact, at the undergraduate level it was an all-women's college and they were just then beginning to take in males at the graduate level in master's programs.

WL: Tell me a little bit about the graduate programs. There weren't many graduate students were there.

EM: No, there were very few. I think you'll have to go back to the catalogs to 2:00look. I don't recall programs that went beyond the master's level. You know that in physical education it was one of the first doctoral programs that appeared on the campus. And that must have been somewhere around '67 or '68 when that happened. So by virtue of that initial contact, I have always been closely associated with the college and then it became known as the university. There 3:00came a time when I was at Bennett about 1964 when Bennett was interested in building a new building or a gymnasium because Mrs. [Ethel Martus] Lawther [head of physical education], who was then Miss Martus, had just finished planning and getting built the Coleman Building. I made contact with her -- not having had much contact with her before -- but I made contact with her to discuss our plans that would be appropriate for a gymnasium in smaller college. So we became very well acquainted. On to the other and during that interim, of course, I became very familiar with other people on the faculty.


WL: So tell me a little bit more about Miss Martus. She was head of the department at that time?

EM: Yes, there was a department, and she was head of it. She was quite a person. She certainly knew curriculum. She knew what it was that she wanted to get. She served as teacher and role model in a number of ways even though she was not then active, let's say, on the gymnasium floor. But she was the key person when it came to building the program and feeding the graduate level work so that it 5:00could be degreed at a level higher than one might expect from an institution of this nature in the South. I've always heard that, "My heavens, an institution in the South and you are doing all of this!" You have to recognize that today the school -- I should say more particularly the department of physical education -- is within the top twenty throughout the country. At that time, it was really very close to the top, if not at the top.

WL: So this was a crucial period in terms of building the department and the national stature that it then enjoyed and has since enjoyed?

EM: Yes, and that has continued. Miss Martus surrounded herself with a faculty 6:00that were very loyal to her and to the department, and all work that had to be done would find faculty standing shoulder-to-shoulder and pulling together. I am not so sure that that is true at the present time, but things change. But, therein, was one of her strengths -- that she was able to pull as dozen or so people together and have them work almost as one. And her associations with the vice chancellor and with the chancellor were excellent. Very frequently, as spokesman for our department, she was able to affect things that might not have been otherwise. In other words, you might say that she had quite a bit of influence here on the campus. When the department had grown -- it housed at that 7:00time health, physical education, recreation and dance. It was just a department that had all these sub disciplines -- I'll call it that although I know dance would not like that and health would not like that, but -- it had all of these within the department. As the department grew, the decision was made to turn it into a school and that was done, I believe, about 1972 -- around that time -- and Miss Martus was then the first dean of the school. And she served in that capacity until she retired and she retired in 1974. She is still very 8:00influential as far as physical education throughout the state and throughout the country, really. She is a national figure, well known. Upon her retirement in order to honor her, the School felt that it would like to set up annual lectures to be called the Lawther Lectures. So every November some expert in one of the sub disciplines of physical education is brought in for this formal lecture. And the Lawthers participate in that. You have heard me change her name from Martus to Lawther. It was 1973 -- '72 or '73 -- when she married John D. Lawther, who 9:00had retired from Penn State [University, State College, Pennsylvania].

WL: Also in PE [physical education]?

EM: Yes. Well he actually was a psychologist, but he was one of the early people in this motor learning of which I have spoken. And when he came here -- in fact, he taught for -- was it a year or two years -- he must have taught two years. After his retirement from Penn State, he came here to help to get the learning and sports psychology program off the ground. I had the opportunity to work very closely with him. He is a nationally-known figure and quite influential across the country.

WL: You were a student in the 1960s or took some courses here at UNCG and then 10:00came back officially as a faculty person, if I remember it correctly. How did you find the department or School from that perspective? I think one always sees things differently when one is on the faculty [unclear].

EM: You have to understand that I had completed all of my advanced work and that when I was doing the graduate courses here, I was doing that to pull things together.

WL: So you weren't a normal sort of student.

EM: Right. The impressions that I had formed about the faculty during my contact 11:00with them during the '60s remained pretty much the same. And I think I described that to you. They were a very loyal group that would pull together, and that they would all be going in the same direction.

WL: Sounds like a very collegial sort of group. It must have been very pleasant.

EM: Oh, it was a very pleasant department to be in.

WL: What about the curriculum that the department offered? Have those changed substantially as the students? And is the student body or population of both undergraduate and graduate -- to what extent is that population changing in terms of what they want and what they need since even before 1972?

EM: I think probably there was more or less the same direction back in the '60s. Everything was geared for the teacher education program and not particularly physical education. Health education was a part of the department; it had not 12:00pulled away and become a department of its own. The same was true with recreation and with dance. And I think the dance was geared toward the fine arts aspect, the performing arts, and health was geared toward what we call school health education for the purpose of teaching health education in the public schools. And recreation, at that time, didn't really have what you might call a specific direction, but the persons who graduated from that became recreational leaders [unclear] work in the Y [unclear] but it had not been designated as 13:00being a particular specialty in recreation such as it is today. There were a large number of undergraduate students at that time. There was a goodly number of graduate students, particularly at the master's level. As you recall it's just a doctoral program. Starting in the '70s, and I'll say the late '60s, the whole push in the field of physical education was to update fragments into what I am calling sub disciplines, and it was recognized that a generalist who used 14:00to be able to work across the board and fulfill every need could no longer handle the job. Students became interested in -- I'm talking about the graduate students -- following one of these sub discipline specialties, and so when they came in they might know, for example, that "I am going to specialize in exercise physiology. I am going to specialize in sports psychology; I am going to specialize in sports sociology. I am going to specialize in motor development and motor behavior." So it was recognized that as students -- I am still talking about the graduate level -- requested that kind of concentration, that faculty 15:00would either have to retool on the job or some specialists were going to have to brought in. And I think that is where it is today, that these sub disciplines in physical education are well in decline and national figures, specialists; people are being brought in to handle that type of area. And, interestingly enough, some of these people brought in for these sub disciplines have not been in physical education. Some may have come out of business, or some may have come out of sociology, or psychology, or something like that.

WL: Their degrees were in those fields rather than physical education?

EM: Right. There is some stipulation on that, however, that somewhere along the line they must have had some kind of contact with physical education. But you can look at the ads in the professional journals and what not, and you can recognize that this is not the central focus any more. That someone can be able 16:00to handle these special areas, that is desirable. Now at the undergraduate level, as I said, the primary focus up until about 1974-75, was on teacher education and all of the other types of experiences that were definitely part of the curriculum, but there would be a course so that they would have some acquaintance with it. Now around about 1975 the move toward alternate -- what we called alternate -- careers was made. So it became possible for undergraduate students to, let's say, concentrate in sports science, which meant that this 17:00could be either exercise physiology or sociology or psychology. So sports managers or sports media no longer had to go the route of a teacher education curriculum. This was now a wide open curriculum, and they would elect -- in conjunction with their advisors -- what would be most appropriate for the focus they wanted. Those programs got off the ground very slowly, for whatever reason. But there again, the students who were desirous of taking those were not necessarily those who had been involved to any extent in physical education.

WL: So what happens to the story?

EM: I was just going to say that that curriculum has still been maintained; 18:00however, I don't know exactly how many students are enrolled in that. But I do know that as far as physical education is concerned that we suffered some dull years. At the time when all teachers were being looked at for a contribution that was not making to the education of our students as well as the opportunity of opening up the business in other areas that people would find much more lucrative as far as salary was concerned. And so the student population dropped off, particularly at the undergraduate level.

WL: That was part of the general impression in teacher related fields? There was 19:00a sharp decline in enrollment, is that accurate to say?

EM: Yes. WL: And what you are suggesting is that there was kind of a reallocation of resources toward graduate students -- I mean there were more graduate students proportionately coming into the program than there were undergraduate students?

EM: Yes, at that time.

WL: Because I gather the other programs were flourishing, the degree versions of the material.

EM: Yes, I think that it is safe to say, more at the master's level, as you might guess, than at the doctoral level, but I think both levels at the present time are doing pretty well.

WL: Tell me a little bit more about the other important figures in the 20:00department. The physical education department or school has had, I think, some rather prominent people.

EM: Well, in '70 when I came here as well as backing up into the '60s, one of the leading national figures was a member of the faculty. Her name was Dr. Celeste Ulrich [Class of 1946]. She was quite a power and, as I say, nationally known. She ultimately became the president of the American Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Diet. In addition to Celeste, Dr. 21:00Gail Hennis was present, a real sharp lady. And she was the coordinator of the graduate program, again a very much known person across the United States. Let's see, who else was serving on the faculty that would be of the same ilk? One of the leading teacher educators in the country, Dr. June Galloway [1959 Master of Education] was one the faculty at that time. And, as I say, all of these were 22:00very influential people, not only within the school but external to the school and fine representatives and spokesmen for the program. I am trying to think through recreation, health education. Of course, Virginia Moomaw was the coordinator of the dance area, and she, too, was nationally known. In fact, here at UNCG was really the first full-fledged dance curriculum that could be found in the country. And so Ms. Moomaw was responsible for that and did a great deal 23:00along the way. Celeste left the university in 1975 or '76 and went to the University of Oregon [Eugene, Oregon], where she became dean. I understand that she will be retiring at the end of this year from that deanship. Dr. Hennis retired in 1985, and I am not quite certain what she is doing at the present time. Oh, I know one other person I wanted to mention and that is Dr. Pearl Berlin who came here from the University of Massachusetts [Amherst, Massachusetts], and she came in as what we might call a research professor. [unclear]


WL: How would you characterize the changes, if there were any, affecting the university in the 1970's, just generally speaking, beyond your department? Did you notice any big changes? If so, what do you think they were?

EM: Do you really want me to answer that? One big change that I mentioned much earlier is that the institution got growing, and it just grew and grew and grew so that today there are twice the number that was here originally. Certainly additional graduate programs have been put in place, degree-granting programs and doctoral programs -- world economics, psychology, and so forth, and within 25:00the School of Education. So from that point of view, it has mushroomed from what it was. Big change. Certainly, the physical facilities of the university have changed. There were no new buildings here at that time, except Coleman [Gymnasium]. And certainly the mushrooming of the new buildings and the renovation of the old buildings and so on.

WL: Did the buildings seem -- what was the state of the physical plan when you came? Did it seem old, kind of rusty, or cob webbed?

EM: Very genteel. No, indeed, in fact the campus was beautiful. Very genteel, 26:00well-manicured all the time, beautiful trees, lovely flowers. No one made a pathway across the grass. You walked the circular pavement.

WL: Everybody observed that.

EM: Yes, I would have to say that it was an extremely well-kept campus. The buildings were old, but they were elegant and the behavior of students was within the kind of environment that they found themselves. Rarely did you ever 27:00find any raucous behavior going on. So that certainly has changed somewhat. But I guess you might have to say you would expect that because at that time it was an all-women's college. Now I am not blaming it only the males, you understand. [laughs] They used to have big fights about that, you know. So I would say, definitely, that that had changed. I think that, certainly, the faculty has grown. How much, I don't really know, but it would be quite a number. I would have to go back and count on it. Certainly, with the affirmative action program 28:00you began to find a change in the faces of some of your faculty. When I came here in 1970 there was one other faculty member, and that was Dr. [Joseph] Himes in sociology. He had been here a year, he had been brought in a distinguished professorship from North Carolina Central [University, Durham, North Carolina]. And I came in the very next year. That, certainly, was a change. And I don't know who has to do the most adjusting to that situation. During that same time, attempts were being made to bring in more minority students.


WL: Such as? Just more active recruiting?

EM: Active recruiting. Going out with these government programs that they had, bringing in so-called hybrid students, and so on. This was going on. But the attrition rate on some of the minority students was so high that it almost seemed as if they were trying to fulfill a regulation in order to continue to get this kind of funding. Now I am saying that should go off the record. So I think that that certainly has changed the 1960 face of the university.

WL: Well, this is 1970s, but what you are describing is really a beginning of desegregation both among the students and faculty. Fairly late, really.

EM: Dr. [James] Ferguson was the chancellor at that time, and before he would 30:00talk business with me at all, he would talk with the then president of Bennett College and indicated to the then president of Bennett College what he wanted to do by way of making contact with me unbeknownst to me. So, I guess, the way was clear because the chancellor and president got in touch with me and offered me a position in the physical education. And I am sure that my contact with Mrs. Lawther, who was in this department, probably played a big role in that appointment because they were ready -- they thought they were ready, for at least one minority faculty and because she had worked with me in different kinds 31:00of [unclear]. She thought that that might be a good match. So that has changed.

WL: You mentioned a minute ago that there was a certain amount of adjustment that minority faculty had to make. If you could elaborate on that for me. What specific adjustments had to be made?

EM: Well, of course, when you consider that you had two versus maybe four hundred, immediately you were different. I never ran into a real difficulty at all, but one had to be very careful that one remained professional under all circumstances because if one were overly sensitive then there could have been a 32:00number of altercations that could have arisen from that. That's what I mean.

WL: And the feeling of being different and, in a sense, put on the spot would naturally be there.

EM: Right. That lasted for a while. But just for a while.

WL: Was there a concerted effort on the part of the administration to increase minority faculty?

EM: Oh yes, I think so. Even under Dr. Ferguson, the attempts were being made. At that time the affirmative action policies of the institution had not been written down. But the push was to get this written down -- in other words, by law. I had the dubious good fortune to serve on the first affirmative action 33:00committee they had here starting in the later part of 1970 -- no starting in '71 -- and I, as a part of that committee, helped to write the original affirmative action plan to guide the university in their job. They were accepting, and Dr. Ferguson, of course, tried to act upon those. Unfortunately, during that period of time, persons who would qualify for positions, minority persons, were very few and far between. There was no pool out there. It was very difficult to 34:00attract anyone. The pay scale wasn't that good. They were not getting offered any security from the point of view of tenure or anything of that sort. So not much progress was made. And I think that probably the university is finding itself in a similar kind of position now as far as attracting minority faculty.

WL: Yes, while there is likely good intentions, perhaps, from everyone involved, still the lack of positions [unclear].

EM: What is it now -- about five percent or something like that? I used to 35:00represent a whole two percent?

WL: One or two percent. Let me ask you also about -- I don't know how much you can speak to this question -- minority students and how much adjustment they have to go through. Presumably there was also a similar adjustment for the early minority that were here -- even the one I knew. Were there very few minority students in the early '70s?

EM: Very few, if any at the undergraduate level. And there were probably just a handful at the graduate level, most of whom were over at the School of Education. Very, very few. Today, of course, there has been an increase. We are running about eight percent now. It's still not at the figure that they were 36:00aiming for unless you figure across all of the [unclear].

WL: I guess the university had minority students in very small numbers through to '60s and '70s. Is that accurate?

EM: I think you would have found them -- they may have -- I wouldn't know, but I think you would have found them more on the graduate level than among the undergraduates. I think like all young people, they have to seek out their identity. One of the ways that they attempt to do this is by banding together. 37:00And there was the formation of the Neo-Black Society. And that society was operating when I came here. There came a time with that society when they were [unclear] that apparently they were trying to be exclusive and not include any of their white counterparts, so they were brought before a special body to investigate this kind of thing. And, indeed, the record would show that, whether they were doing this consciously or unconsciously that it was happening. And 38:00there were mixed recommendations about that. I served on this committee to hear the cases, and it became quite clear that there was this pulling apart and seeking of identity and closeness using their own minority group. I think we still see a lot of that, unfortunately.

WL: Of course, the late 1980s is a period of the phenomenon of campus racism and racial problems that are now all coming to the fore. Do you think that is new to the 1980s? How would you chart the case of UNCG as to what was the nature of early race relations?

EM: I think probably -- it has probably always been there, but that they are a 39:00little different. Any racism that might have been practiced, let's say in the early '70s when I first came here, was not blatant. You just didn't hear some of the horror stories that you hear these days. I think that the students themselves were being fair and thoughtful and were committed also to affirmative action, and they wanted to see things go right. But I am sure that, probably in the dark of the night, I feel certainly that some of this probably went on, but it did not surface. The one time that it did surface was the showing of The 40:00Birth of a Nation, [1915 silent film that portrayed African American men as violent and aggressive and the Ku Klux Klan (organization that advocated white supremacy expressed through terrorism) as heroic] when the minority students got very much upset that this was being shown.

WL: What happened? Tell me more about that incident. It was about 1980, wasn't it?

EM: Somewhere around there. Well, they marched and demonstrated [unclear] and I think it would have stopped [unclear] but the black students under the leadership of a couple of the black graduate students just could not see that this should be being done. The situation, of course, was defused -- that is, 41:00they had discussions about it and that sort of thing, so that really there were no [unclear] that came about as a result of it. At that time, Mrs. [Betty] Crutcher was serving as assistant to Chancellor Moran, and she invited me to go see the film [unclear] view the film. And, of course, I could see why it might inflame some passions and what not, and I guess because of the use of the group 42:00that it had been [unclear] rather than having it be placed in the context that this had occurred. But I did not find it that horrendous.

WL: But the objection was that it exalted the Klan, glorified the Klan, and presumably glorified white supremacy. Let's talk just a little bit about what you think future prospects are for the institution. In other words, do you see certain tendencies you noticed and observed in the '70s about your department or about the university unfolding? What do you see in the future? It's big question.


EM: Yes, it is. First of all, I don't see, and I guess this has been a part of the picture. I don't see this being the comprehensive university that [unclear] would like to make it. I don't think you could serve two masters in this day and time. So that if the university wishes what might be called a research university, then it should do that. And if it wishes to become a comprehensive university, then it should do that. I don't think it can serve both those masters. However, I think that we'll probably see UNCG as probably second only 44:00to [University of North Carolina at] Chapel Hill in the place and the strength it has in the state. As far as the department is concerned, I think that they have already established the direction that they want to go. They want to be a research department, and teachers become secondary. And it has been rumored [unclear] that the undergraduate program exists, continues to exist and gets support because it offers the opportunity for graduate students to get the 45:00degree. So I am saying that to say that the emphasis is moving toward graduate studies and emphasis on research and what that implies. I guess with the move to the PhD program, which was okayed a year and a half ago, that that does point in that direction.

WL: And that implies a change in the future in the department -- school, as well?

EM: Oh yes, a change in terms of faculty, courses they offer and the expectations of both students and faculty.

WL: And it is probably now accepted to say that that change has been reflected 46:00in other departments.

EM: It should and it has. I may be making a bold statement saying I don't think a university trying to serve two masters might [unclear] conflict, but I think in terms of the nature of the students they want to attract and the caliber of the faculty you are not going to get this all rolled up into one.