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Reflections in Time: Interview with Elaine Hess, 2000

UNO Libraries - Oral History Projects
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00:00:00 - Introduction to the program and Elaine Hess. 00:02:30 - Elaine Hess was an instructor at UNO from 1965-1967. 00:03:17 - During her career she served as the Associate Vice-Chancellor of Academic Affairs, Chair of the Sociology department, and acting interim dean of the College of Fine Arts. 00:03:55 - Described her education and work as a high school teacher. 00:04:55 - Began graduate studies and then returned to Nebraska in 1961. 00:05:00 - Mentors recommended Northwestern University or University of Nebraska Omaha. She chose UNO because they waived tuition. 00:05:45 - Taught high school sociology and psychology. 00:06:30 - Employed at Nebraska Medical Center in 1964 while working on her M.S. at UNL. 00:07:45 - Left in 1968, just as the University of Omaha merged with the University of Nebraska. She returned three years later to an expanded university, a growing campus, and increased student enrollment. 00:10:00 - Research project at Nebraska Medical Center was finished. She accepted position at UNO while completing her degree at UNL. 00:11:00 - OU President Milo Bail retired in 1965; discussed OU President Leland Traywick and UNO Chancellor Kirk Naylor. 00:12:45 - Memories of the first time she taught Bootstrap students. Discussed the program begun by President Milo Bail and General Curtis LeMay (1906-1990), and some memorable students. 00:15:06 - Changes in the number of faculty in Sociology department. 00:17:50 - Sociology department curriculum. 00:18:30 - In 1965, there were only two women in the department. 00:19:43 - Listed the classes she taught at UNO. 00:20:50 - Taught one year at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, ND. UNO worked with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Dean of Arts & Sciences Peter McGraw to create a job so she could return to Omaha. 00:22:30 - UNO offered her a position after she received her doctorate. Dean of Arts & Sciences Robert Harper always asked if she had finished her degree. 00:24:00 - Joined committees to get noticed so she could secure an administrative position. UNO Chancellor Ronald Roskens sent her to an administrative training program in Ann Arbor, MI. 00:25:15 - Accepted the position of Assistant Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs. 00:26:55 - Defined her duties and working with Vice Chancellor Herbert Garfinkel. 00:28:40 - Faculty reaction to the change in the tenure requirement to include research. 00:30:00 - Faculty generally embraced this change because of the credibility of Vice Chancellor Garfinkel. 00:31:15 - Served as an assistant to Chancellor Del Weber and Vice Chancellor Otto Bauer. Discussed the differences in their leadership styles. 00:33:15 - Emphasized equality when she sat on hiring committees. 00:34:55 - Discussed her involvement in the legislative action against UNO over tenure and data storage. 00:36:15 - UNO professors attempted to unionize and she was on the UNO bargaining team. 00:36:35 - Her position required long hours; arrived early. 00:38:08 - Retired as Assistant Vice Chancellor and became a Professor of Sociology; one year later accepted the position as department chair. 00:39:20 - As chairperson, she took over all student advising. 00:39:45 - Serviced as Acting Dean of the College of Fine Arts for one year. 00:41:40 - Retired in 1994, moved to Arizona, and was visited by retired UNO Professor of Communication Paul Borge. She missed Nebraska and returned in 1997. Volunteered at the Omaha Community Foundation and worked with retired UNO Chancellor Del Weber. 00:43:30 - Memorable characters at UNO: Dean Robert Harper and the university food service personnel for hiring practices. Advised that it was wise always to get to know the janitors. She interacted with personnel in business, finance, and personnel. 00:47:20 - Dean of International Studies & Programs Tom Gouttierre was hired in 1974 and she met Afghan Ambassador and visiting dignitaries through the international program. 00:48:15 - She traveled to Europe and lived in Arizona but never visited the Grand Canyon. 00:49:25 - UNO Chancellors she knew; Kirk Naylor, John Blackwell (Interim), and Ronald Roskens; other memorable administrative positions. 00:51:00 - Worked with employees in physical plant on space allocation committees and served on a search committee for an athletic director. 00:53:45 - Memorable personnel issues and dealing with the media; the case of the forged faculty documents. 00:55:30 - Professor Hess told the story of her ticket for parking in a handicapped space.