Interview with Stephen Diachun, August 13, 1981
Project: University of Kentucky Oral History Project
Interview SummaryDr. Stephen Diachun came to the University of Kentucky from the University of Illinois with a group of graduate students to do mycological research work associated with plant pathology in Eastern Kentucky. His instructor at U of I wanted him to work with Dr. W. Valleau, and arranged a meeting. Diachun recalls he was an undergraduate assistant at Rhode Island University with Dr. Frank Howard, a prominent mycologist. He talks about his decision to stay at U.K. to work on his dissertation, after applying at the University of Arkansas and Purdue University. He mentions that the College of Agriculture had dual appointments during that time. Diachun recalls he had taught undergraduates at U of I and did not think he really enjoyed teaching, but began teaching at U.K. when Dr. W. Valleau suggested he take over one of his classes. Diachun places equal value on teaching and research, and emphasizes that a university is responsible for providing both.
He talks about his role in the move towards a "more quality university" as a member of the Cook Committee, and the Committee of 15. The Cook Committee's main suggestion was the decision to implement the controversial policy of rotating chairmanships as opposed to permanent department heads, which gave the faculty more of a voice.
All three gentlemen discuss the problems and challenges that face faculty and administration during tough economic times, and the role of the faculty at a university. They agreed the situation improved for most universities three or four years after "Sputnik" was launched in the late 1950's, especially in the areas of science and mathematics. Diachun remembers trying to convince President Frank G. Dickey to stay at UK, and that he was appointed to a selection committee that was assembled to choose Dickey's replacement. Diachun and other members suggested several candidates, including Dr. John T. Oswald, and he talks about the decision-making process involved with this appointment. They discuss the impact that Oswald made at U.K. during his tenure. Diachun emphasizes his view that it is the faculty's responsibility to help support research.
Interview KeywordCollege administrators--Rating of College administrators--Selection and appointment. College environment College presidents College teachers--Rating of. College teaching. Universities and colleges--Administration. Universities and colleges--Faculty. Universities and colleges--Research University of Kentucky. College of Agriculture
Interview RightsAll rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.
Interview UsageInterviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.
Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.
All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.
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Diachun, Stephen Interview by Terry L. Birdwhistell. 13 Aug. 1981. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
Diachun, S. (1981, August 13). Interview by T. L. Birdwhistell. University of Kentucky Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.
Diachun, Stephen, interview by Terry L. Birdwhistell. August 13, 1981, University of Kentucky Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
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