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Gordon Brunhild oral history interview
h [electronic resource] /
interviewed by Nancy Hewitt.
Tampa, Fla. :
University of South Florida,
1 sound file (45 min.) :
digital, MPEG4 file +
e 1 transcript (24 p.)
USF 25th (1985) anniversary oral history project
Description based on CD version record.
Recorded July 11, 1985.
Gordon Brunhild, Professor of Economics at USF since 1960, discusses the university's shift from teaching and general education to research and professional specialization, and describes his community service.
University of South Florida
University of South Florida
Hewitt, Nancy A.,
University of South Florida Libraries.
Florida Studies Center.
Oral History Program.
University of South Florida.
i CD version:
Brunhild, Gordon, 1928-
t [Gordon Brunhild].
USF 25th (1985) anniversary oral history project.
y CLICK HERE TO ACCESS DIGITAL AUDIO AND TRANSCRIPT
1 DR. GORDON BRUNHILD Hewitt: We are speaking this afternoon with Dr. Gordon Brunhild, Professor of Economics at the University of South Florida, as part of the USF Silver Anniversary Oral History Project. Could you tell us, Dr. Brunhild, first of all what was your first contact wit the University of South Florida and what attracted you to this campus? Gordon: Well, I was sitting Carbondale, Illlinois. It was a very cold day in March, and you could smell the coal smoke coming out of the coal burning furnaces that they used and probably still use in that part of the country. A graduate assistant came in and said that he heard of a new school startin g down in Florida and that it sounded interesting, and he was going to send in his application. So when he told me about it, it sounded so god that I sent in mine. I met the first dean, Charles Milliken, wh o later became president over at the school in Orlando. He met me at Louisville. He interviewed me there. Then I got a letter a little while later and I was hired. I couldnt resist the temptation to move down to Florida where it was nice and warm. Hewitt: What did the campus look like when you arrived here? What were your earliest impressions of the University? Gordon: It looked like a sand dune basically, with a few buildings coming out of the sand dunes. It almost looked like they fit in, I think in terms of a modern city in Arabia or something. Hewitt: Now you arrived in 1960? Gordon: Right. With the first opening group.
2 Hewitt: I assume you were p robably involved in helping to formulate the original goals And program ? Gordon: Oh yes. I was quite active. Hewitt: at the University? What was the intention originally? You mentioned that This sounded like an interesting new place and it was unique in some ways. What was it that was going to make USF distinctive? Gordon: Well, when I started out they were going to be like a liberal arts college, part of the state system. T hey called the book all along, the brochure, Accent On Learning, and the idea was that this school was going to emphasize general education. Of course, they started with the general education college. It was going to be a significant part of the school where it hadnt been in most major universities. The people who originally formulated the basic policies and goals of the school I can think of Mayhew who went to Stanfor d and, of course, former Dean Cooper and Dean French. I think these three were the most influential people who formulated that early philosophy. Their basic idea was that there is a body of knowledge that all students should know and that subjects should be integrated. That out in this world, problems That we have had too much of a discipline orientation. What we need is a kind of combined discipline and get the emphasis out of a group of disciplines that would help the whole learning process. So the emphasis was on general education and the emphasis was on developing and educating an intelligent, liberally educated person. Hew itt: Were some of those courses initially team taught, or were they actually taught from an interdisciplinary perspective?
3 Gordon: They tried. Often what they tried to do was hire people that had that interdisciplinary background. I believe some were team taught. The problem with team teaching at this University was always on of finance. They were for the idea, but they could never really work out really how to fund it. At times tried to encourage people to become parts of teams and to do this without getting actual credit. Well, you know how that went. Hewitt: No wonder that was short lived. In that period where the mission and the po licies of the University were being formulated, what was the relationship between faculty and the administration? Many of the people you named who were involved in this were deans, and yet I assume you came in as a faculty member? Gordon: Oh definitely. It was funny. On some levels, it was very close. The relationship was very informal. On other levels, it was the traditional administrator on one side and faculty on the oth er. But I would say, as far as the educational process itself is concerned, it was informal. The people I mentioned were the types who believed in the give and take of ideas. And in that direction they cons idered the faculty their equals. They didnt consider themselves necessarily superior. It was on administration angles, of course, that conflicts did occur. Hewitt: Was there more social interaction among faculty and dean s, or faculty and administrators, in those early days than there is now on campus? Gordon: Im really no sure. That is a question that I cannot intelligently answer. I would say no. In the College of Business, Dean Woods was always somewhat
4 aloof of the faculty. It may depend on where you were. I think the other three I mentioned tended to be a little more closer to the faculty. I think that you had in the case of Dean Milli ken, I think he had more of a traditional value system. But, I think they were willing to accept that because he was in business and that was considered sort of professional. I dont think they considered that so important to their basic operations. Im not sure how Battle in Education worked. You have to ask somebody in Education. Hewitt: I have a bunch of them on the list. I will check with t he. You mentioned Business because it was more profession oriented was somewhat marginal to this interest in interdisciplinary and liberal education. Now it seems like the College of Business is one of the central colleges on the campus. At what point did Business start to become more central to planning of the University? Gordon: Well, it was part of the whole gradual change from the liberal arts orientated university to a professional oriented university. I dont know if it happened at any one time or any one dean or any one moment. I think that it was a gradual evolving process that took place. As this University has moved more in the direction of professional training an d professional stature on the part of its faculty and away from interdisciplinary approach, I guess it is a natural evolution. Today it would be unthinkable, for example, that I would go out and teach in anot her department outside the College of Business and teach something. But back in those days I taught a course called American Idea for awhile, which was part of the general education program. And many times, in the old days I taught people in American Studies. I would teach a course for
5 them. They didnt have anybody as economists, as such, on their staff. But today it is getting highly specialized and the thought of teachin g in another college, I guess, would be considered impossible. Hewitt: What do you see as having been some of the advantages and disadvantages of that early curriculum and that early set of goals and policies? Gordon: W ell, I think one advantage is that it would give us a chance to deal with bright students who were interested in knowledge for knowledges sake. Interested in ideas and interested in learning. I think as we have switched ov er we have gotten bright students, but those that are more interested in professional goals and going out and making more money than anybody else in the world or getting a significant job in the field that the y are interested in. It is a whole switch over to what we might call a high class vocational approach. I guess that is what professional training is. Hewitt: What were some of the forces Growth seems to be one thin g that people mentioned as the reason for some of the shift in terms of the curriculum and how it was set up. Were there any other kinds of forces, either things like Sputnick, national trends, or in things in ternal to the University that you could think of that pushed the University in the direction of professionalization and specialization? Gordon: Oh, I think there were a lot of things. I dont think this was a simple issue. I myself would have to go back and do a lot of studying to be sure of my own Observations because they are strictly ad hoc, but I would say one of the most Significant was the people that were hired. One of th e big problems was that
6 [it] was hard to find these general educationists who were trained in several fields. The tendency was to bring in specialists and then try and convert them to general education. It ne ver worked. What they did was restructure the University along the lines that they were interested in. I think the original Founders were too idealistic that way. They thought they would convert others. Ther e are just not enough people out there being trained along the Interdisciplinary line. I think at times there was a movement in this direction Nationally, but it kind of petered out. Along with it the training of people in Interdisciplinary studies. So I think that was one of the big problems. Another Problem is the bureaucratic administrative problems. It was very difficult to Administer people in other departments in other colleges. What would happen Is if a man, say, taught in another college most of his time, he might not get the Same raises and promotions as somebody who was always teaching under the Deans eyes. They tended to back up the ones who paid them. As a result of This they tended to de emphasize their roles in other colleges. Along with this The Basic College itself tended to have lower ranks and lower pay than those T hat were in the more professional areas. The problem being I guess because they knew so much about so many different things that they never mastered any one thing, so therefore their research work was never quite as much and as a result their payroll tended to lag behind. This led to a lower prestige, status them. That of course was death to the Basic College. And then, of course, the administration that followed the original Allen administration were not dedicated so much to the scholastic care. Certainly the Mackey
7 administration That is where the strongest change over took place was when Mackey was made president. I thi nk his goal was to develop the school into a traditional university. I think that was his goal to be a traditional university. But in so doing, he fired a lot of the general educationists. He got rid of them one way or another. Usually they went back to their first love of education, you see, from being a dean or something. As a result of that the people who were brought in to take their place were more along traditional lines. So I would say that the final chop off occurred at that time when Mackey became president. However, you cant blame him completely for this trend because the trend had been gradually going in this directio n even before Mackey became president due to these other factors as you mentioned. Growth was certainly one of them because as you grow you tend to want to go into these specialties and these other highly spe cialized areas such as engineering and later with the coming of the med school. All these things were a bit of the death for this. Also at this point the faculty tended to moving away from general education. As people were hired they didnt seem to have that same dedication to the original formulation. This led to, by the way, a kind of bitterness on the part of the people that were here for a long time because they felt that they were never given credit for their earlier contribution. Here is one of the important things about general education. Since we were pushing new ground and we were developing a curriculum, it wasnt just the repetition of some old You couldnt just grab Harvards and say we are going to copy this, which of course wouldnt have taken any time at all. I dont think that the people that are here
8 now apprec iate the time and effort that went into trying to be original. Now we may have failed and we may have been wrong, but the attempt was very time consuming and I feel that the old faculty have always been kind of pushed down because it was like you wasted your time and you should have done some research instead of developing all these fancy courses since have gone by the boards or have been taken over by departments and probably ha ve been put into traditional lines. We really did some very unusual things. Not only that, but we had people developing curriculum, writing out courses, who never even had a course in that subject. Like for example, even in the College of Business which was fairly professional, when we started we had no Marketing department. And Jim Herman, a fellow economist and a Professor of Economics, wrote the first Marketi ng curriculum, the courses, and the description of courses. Now you know that had to take some effort. He tried to put marketing in a more economic light. I am sure that the traditional marketing people, when they finally came in, moved it back to where they thought it should be. But my point is that all that effort was in a sense, wasted, because it has not been followed through or utilized. Hewitt: Do you think that USFs motto, Accent on Learning, is still reflective of the real emphasis within the University? Clearly it seems to reflect the original goals. Gordon: Well, my answer to that would be decisively no with some qualification s. Maybe I should mention the qualification first. One thing that I have noticed that we have done that schools like University of Florida and Florida State
9 dont do, and that was one of the original goals th at we have kept to, is that senior professors teach basic courses. Now you go up to Florida and Florida State and youll find the senior professors teach maybe If they do teach one basic course it is a m iracle They teach graduate students almost exclusively. Well at this school, you do have your top people, at least in most departments, I cant say for every department across the board, teaching all the way up the line. So that a student that starts in here, even though they may have better quality faculty in terms of prestige and specialization at Florida and Florida State, the student will probably be exposed to a higher q uality of faculty right here. Now that is one place that we have stuck to the original goal. That was part of the original goal, by the way, to keep graduate students out of the classrooms at these basic cour ses because they felt again, Accent on Learning, the student would learn After all, senior faculty member should know more and should be a better teacher. That is the whole concept. Now, on the other h and, as far as the rest of it is concerned, there has been a Complete change on the Accent on Learning in the sense that professors are ranked and promoted mainly on the basis of research. Now we never went to the extreme at this University or at least not as yet. Some schools where teaching is almost totally thrown out. In other words where you could be the worst teacher in the world and if you wrote the most famous book in th e world, you are the top professor. We havent reached that stage. I would say we are more at the stage where you have to be an acceptable teacher. If you are terrible, they throw you out of the classroom. T hen that doesnt work. You
10 have to be an acceptable teacher. Once you have reached that minimum acceptability, then it looks like research is what counts at this University. Therefore, to try to spend you time becoming from say a good teacher to an excellent teacher would be a mistake if you could spend the same time becoming say from a mediocre researcher to a fairly satisfactory researcher. My advice to any yo ung man starting out now would be to go for the research route. Hewitt: You compared us, in the last comment, with the University of Florida and Florida State University. Do you feel in the original planning for the curricu lum at USF that there was an attempt to distinguish us from those universities? Gordon: Oh definitely. The idea was Accent on Learning and we were suppose to go in an entirely different direction. The theory was that the state system, as it was evolving, was strong enough that it could have one university that had a liberal arts type of goal. I suspect that original people even thought in the long run that maybe we would beco me lie the little branch down in Sarasota. A kind like that. They never went quite that far, but these were the directions. Maybe a compromise. Having some of the ingredients of a small liberal arts college and some of the ingredients of a large college, but still being liberal arts orientated, general education orientated, and toward problem solving rather than toward traditional disciplines. Hewitt: One of the other thin gs that some faculty have mentioned as changing Somewhat the direction of the University were the investigations by the Johns Committee in the early s. Did you have any involvement with those or any
11 recoll ection of those? Gordon: The first time I ever took a tranquilizer in my life was when I was going to go up and speak before the Johns Committee. I was on their list. But somehow they struck me from the list before I ever got there, and so I never had the pleasure to actually meet these people and talk to them. As I understand it they were suppose to be hunting out communists and homosexuals, neither of which did we have in t he College of Business that I know of. In fact as far as I found out they never did find any communist in the whole University. They may have found a homosexual or two, but that is even subject to some question. At least some fellows left because of the problem situation if they had stayed. Im not sure if that was an effective thing. It may have given us some adverse publicity. It certainly frightened the administration at th e time. I would say that John Allen could have been a little stronger in standing up to groups like the Johns Committee. But of course you dont know the political pressures he was under when youre sitting d own in his chair. Hewitt: One of the things that we have tried to get some sense out of Gordon: Well anyway Im sorry, I really never did answer your question. So really my answer is that I dont know. You would have to t alk to some people that actually had personal contact with that committee and how effective anything that occurred from it in terms of their feelings in regards to curriculum development. Hewitt: One of the things that we have tried to get on these tapes is a sense of what the quality of life was like at the University of South Florida in those early days
12 since it is so hard now with 25,000 students, thousands of faculty, a huge campus, and 55 buildings or whatever it is, to have a real sense of what USF would have been like as a small, or relatively small, university. Do [you] have have any sort of memories of those years in terms of how sociable people were on campus, how much interaction there was and the size? Gordon: To begin with, when we were a small university, we knew everybody, I knew all the original faculty and I knew some of them very intimat ely. We [be]came very good friends. For one thing we were all moving to a new community. We were breaking our original ties and creating new ties. Naturally we would tend to move toward each other and becau se of the emphasis on a interdisciplinary approach, we tended to deal with each other and not with just our own people teaching in our own little group. Today, most faculty members dont even know anybody outs ide their own department. As these departments grew, we became further and further apart from each other. I guess that was inevitable. but there was really an effort made by administration and by the faculty to keep a kind of all university approach going in those early years. I think at one time they even had a great book series where everybody was supposed to read the same books and we were supposed to get together and discus s them and comment on them. There were all kinds of interesting ideas that went on at that time that have not been followed through. And pure size alone would partly explain the problem. But I think it is mo re than that. It is that change from the general education approach which has been the biggest ingredient to stick to your own.
13 Hewitt: One of the things that I wonder whenever I talk to people, realizing how small the campus was then and that most of it seems to have been sand, where did people eat when you first came to USF? I mean there are not that many places on the campus now! Gordon: The University Restaurant was t here right from the beginning. That was a smart group that built that. They knew that this was going to be a well developed area. And of course we always had some kind of cafeteria here right from the very be ginning. This is an area that I am really not familiar with because I often bring my lunch and sometimes I dont eat lunch at all. Hewitt: That was probably a good choice early on! Gordon: So that didnt affect me too much. I was more affected by the fact that to begin with we didnt have a College of Business and my office was about everywhere on this campus including the library at one time. There we created a problem. The chief librarian Elliott Hardaway, came in one night and turned the lights off on a group of us because the library closes at 10 oclock. Well, you know, sometimes you dont get your preparations done by 10 oclock. He had no concept of the facultys problems. This is the kind of thing that went on in the early days. We were housed wherever they found some empty spots the Administration building, over in the dorms, and sometimes until the first College of Business was built. Of course now we are in our second College of Business building. Hewitt: Where was the first College of Business building? Is that still on campus? Gordon: Yes. That is the one down here. Im not sure what it is called now.
14 Hewitt: Was the first business auditorium the University Lecture Hall? Gordon: I dont know. Maybe they call it that. Im not familiar. Hewitt: When was this new College of Business building built? Do you remember about when that was? Gordon: Oh, not until a few years ago. I dont know the exact year. Hewitt: So this is one of the newest buildings on campus then, besides all the medical buildings. Did you have any role at all in the debates that went on about whether or not USF should have intercollegiate sports? Gordon: Yes. I think I was on the first committee. They never put me back on it again. I think I was one of the people ag ainst us getting a football team, basketball team, and so on. I went along with President Allen. He was very strong about that at the time. He thought that we should stay out of the intercollegiate sports and go in more for intramural sports. Have a sports program be more of a learning program for the whole student body and a health program. Frankly, my feelings were along those lines. And, of course, everything has changed in recent years as we have gone more the traditional route. We still dont have a football team. Hewitt: Do you know why we dont have a football team since we did start going more Towards the traditional ro ute? Gordon: I have no idea except probably the cost. I can just guess. Also combined with the fact that there was a professional football team in town and they probably thought that they couldnt compete. Hewitt: I kn ow that according to the early mission of USF there was a tremendous
15 emphasis placed on developing good relationships with the community and it seems as though in that period at least the faculty had more direct involvement with community relations and various Gordon: Some did. I think there was always a problem that some didnt, and I think there is always a problem on a certain amount of conflict and jealousy between the University of Tampa and the University of South Florida. You see, Tampa, being the old private school in the area, had most of the power structure backing it and they wanted to keep that power structure from changing its allegiance over to South Florida. But there were attempts made by some of us to break away from the campus and to get involved with the community. I probably did as much as anybody since I was on the planning commission for ten years. I dont know anybody else on this campus who was on a group so long. Hewitt: Now this was a county planning commission? Gordon: City planning commission. Hewitt: And what kind of issues Gordon: I was appointed. Hewitt: That was an appointed position? Gordon: Yes. In my case there were four members who were appointed by the City Council, four by the County Commission, and one each by Temple Terrace and Pl ant City. Hewitt: I see. What kind of issues did the City Planning Commission deal with that
16 were directly related to USF? Gordon: Oh, all kinds of things. Some days I think we might not have had our basketball stadium out here, although no one would ever give me credit for it. Whatever came across our desk A lot of the issues were planning up in this part of the county. The problem was that they overbuilt along Fowler and Fletcher Avenue. The two streets have been allowed to become a cesspool of franchises and that should never have been. Those streets should have been kept pure. I think the problem was that when they set up th e zoning for the University area, the didnt make it wide enough, they should have covered it all the way back to the expressway. That is where it needed to go. They just set a little area right around the U niversity, which of course they have kept us a university community, but it is too small. So anyway, what happened was the streets became very overcrowded. Then the University want to build a basketball sta dium, and they said that we couldnt have this basketball stadium because the streets were already overcrowded. We just cant afford to put more crowds on it. Well, my argument was very simple. What came here first was the University. Now what you are doing is depriving the first people of what they should have been given all along because you have allowed all these others to develop. Somehow that argument held sway, and we won that issue. I really fought very forcefully for that. Alot of others just came up that were University connected. I will say this to the Universitys credit. Never once did Hartman or any of the administr ation come over and try to influence me one way or another on how to vote on these issues. I mean they were there
17 explaining their position as the Universitys administration. But nobody tried to even offer me a cup of coffee or even discuss privately the and I commend the University for that. I just happen to believe in their side. Hewitt: Speaking of zoning, were the breweries already built here when USF was built? Gordon: Yes. He witt: Did that create any kind of problems in terms of community concern that a University and a brewery should be right across the street from each other? Gordon: That is a good question. I guess some people were worried about those th ings. That was sort of considered an industrial park and a separate thing. As you said it was already here. Busch Gardens was already here and of course it was a tourist attraction even then, although at tha t time it was free. Hewitt: Really! Gordon: Well, you know when you start thinking back, it is surprising how many things have changed that we take for granted. Some people know the history and some dont. By the way, sp eaking about my planning commission role, one important point should be mentioned. Planning commission changed its role when I was on it. Originally it had to approve of all the zoning, so really it wasnt just a planning commission but also a zoning commission. But we lost that function while I was on the commission and became just a planning without the zoning. Another thing too. They gave us a little power at the beginning. It took a 2/3s vote to override us and eventually that was changed to a majority. So really the teeth were taken out of the planning commission and was given to the County Commission and the City Council. It has nothing
18 to do with the University, but I thought you might want to know something about it. Hewitt: Thats good background, especially since zoning seems to be rather crucial. Recently the Universi ty has discussed whether we should be part of some other zone or some zone should be part of the University. I think those issues are not particularly well understood by most of the faculty unless you have been here for a long time and understand how these commissions work. And obviously it has a tremendous influence on our ability to expand in future years. Gordon: Frankly I havent kept up with it, so I would not know or even know what was going on right now. Hewitt: After your ten years, you decided that was enough? Gordon: That was enough. Hewitt: Were you involved in any other community organizations or community related work? Gordon: Well, I was in semiso cial kinds of things. I am an active Shriner. I have been involved actively in the Jewish community. Several different kinds of things including one project which was combined with the Sociology department over here when they did a demographic study of the Jewish community of Hillsborough County. I have been involved in alot of things like that. Still involved to some extent from time to time. Hewitt: Do you think there is m uch interest on the part of the University Administration with having faculty involved in community relations these days or has the shift to publications and research not only taken away from the accent on teaching
19 but also from the accent on service? Gordon: I would say very definitely. Though service has never really been given the amount of credit it ought to be given in my point of view. In the College of Business we genera lly count service about 10% of a persons operation at most. It tends to get pushed back down to an insignificant item. And, of course, maybe it is because I have done a lot of service that I have felt like it should be considered a higher priority. Hewitt: I know its hard to even begin to summarize the 25 years of development but thinking back could you give a sense of what you think are the best changes that have occurred at USF since 1960 and what you think perhaps were the worst developments that have occurred in the direction the University has moved that you dont find to be positive? Gordon: Frankly, I am not sure we are better off than we were back in the old days. Obviously we are bigger and there are some advantages to size I suppose. As far as quality is concerned, there is nothing wrong with trying to become a great academic institution. The emphasis on research. It had taken a long time to get there. I suspect the University lost alot in starting to use resources in one direction and then switching over. You pay a price for that and proba bly if we had started from the beginning, to go in the direction we are going in, we would have been further developed along these directions and with alot less heartache. I have always felt very sorry for the faculty that c ame here originally and told that they were never going to have to do any research and then all of a sudden asked where their articles were. I feel like they
20 have really been treated unfairly from the view po int of long run career goals. all of a sudden they are now second class citizens. But on the other hand, I see nothing wrong with becoming an important, impressive research institution. I think that it is a go od goal for somebody. The real issue is whether it should be a good goal for the University of South Florida. That is, frankly, I dont any good answer for that because I am caught in the middle. I could see a good liberal arts university. I came here because I thought there might be one. I thought I would like to be apart of one. On the other hand, I can also see a good research organization. I certainly dont think that the great research organizations in this country deserve to be put down. I think that they are both very positive goals. I think you can be good at either one of them if you try. I will say that one proble m with the present system is the administration has tried to fool itself in that it could accomplish that goals of a first rate research institution with a third rate budget. I cant conceive of how that could be done. I know their theory is that they can do it through grants. But there are alot of organizations that dont like giving grants to public institutions. They want to give them to the private schools. And Im not su re that that can be moved to work. Im not saying it cant, Im saying Im skeptical. And I am also skeptical of pushing people to have a first rate amount of research articles and yet have higher teaching loa ds and lower pay then the equivalent would be at a truly first rate school. I think that its unfair. Also I think that one area that has been neglected is the library. A first rate institution needs a first rate library. What was it somebody told me? That there were more books at the University of
21 Illinois, the major campus in that state, than there is in the whole state of Florida, in all the state universities of Florida. Now that just gives you an idea of our inadequate kind of research facilities for what we want to do. On the other hand, I certainly cant be against the goal of being a top university in this country. I wo uld love to be part of a top university. Thats fine. Another problem might be a conflict among the students we accepted. We have started to get tougher in the College of Business. We are improving our quality of students and I think this is necessary for the kind of school we want to be. If you want research type oriented students, you want the best. To have top notch research people trying to teach this is a cat to submi nded students is ludicrous. You want to upgrade the students, too. And thats fine. I think economics can be taught on all levels, to any kind of student, from first grade and all the way up, to really bright students to the dull students. I think a different kind of teacher is necessary at the different levels. If you want a strongly research oriented person, I think you should give them top notch students. Now in the College of Business we have been lucky. I think we are doing the right thing for the wrong reason. We have now raised our standards. I think the reason is because there has been a great demand to get into the Col lege of Business. The true reason should be that this is what is necessary in order to have a lock step program of raising academic standards. It is kind of necessary at the same time you are raising faculty standards. I dont think you can raise one without the other. Hewitt: You mentioned the library. Was there ever a period in you period at USF that
22 you recall where the library did have a higher priority in terms of fund ing or people suggesting that it needed to be built up or has it always been subject to the state legislative whims Gordon: Frankly, I dont know much about the history of the library. I have been on the library committee at times. That has been on and off. I think you better ask that question to somebody who is more formally involved with the library. I am sure Mrs. Harkness would be happy to answer your question. Hewitt : So your main involvement with the library seems to have been getting the lights shut off in your office? Gordon: Ive had a problem over there of getting the back issues of journals and getting historical materials. Let me put it this way. I think Ive had to get more things on inner library loan than I should have to get. I think part of the problem for that is just the inadequate resources. I dont blame the librarians. Actually, considering the amount of money they got, they got a pretty good collection in my field. I have no complaints about that. But they obviously dont have the kinds of things that they really should have to be a fi rst class library. Now of course they have alot of stuff on microfilm and all that. I get blind reading it. Hewitt: If you were involved, as you were in your first few years here, involved now in the kind of planning, pl anning of curriculum, and organizing institutions the way that the early faculty was at USF, what direction would you take it? Do think that we are sort of inevitably on a path of being a research institution and we should head that way, or are the new discussions they are having now about coming up with a core curricululm in the humanities that seems in some ways
23 to relive the basic studies days? Gordon: You want to reinve nt the wheel? As an economist I am afraid I have a bias. I believe in efficiency. I almost feel that since we have started in these new directions, we might as well go ahead a try and keep To go backward now would be a mistake in the sense the resources now have been used in this direction, if you are going to back up and use them in an entirely different direction and take apart what you have accomplished, it would be li ke starting over again. My feelings are that I look upon the United States as a whole educational unit. I think we need, obviously, to have good liberal art schools in the United States and we need to have go od research schools in the United States. Since we have already started in this direction, I say lets go ahead with the way we are going. If, and there is my one big qualification, if we can figure out the pr oblem of getting around the funding gap. Now I do have one positive suggestion. Do you want to hear my positive suggestion? But no one has really listened to me much on this positive suggestion in the past. I have been run ning this suggestion ever since the new emphasis has taken place. Why dont we go out and emphasize something that other places dont emphasize so we can get a national reputation is something. In other words if we try to imitate Harvard, we are always going to be a second rate Harvard. But maybe there is something that Harvard has neglected. We can find a last little place somewhere, of course, that is even mo re specialization, a nice little place somewhere and we can become the greatest in the world in that one little place. And it seems to me that way we would be known. Now that is the way I think we ought to move,
24 but Im only looking at this as an economist, from an efficiency point of view. From the view of my own academic interest, I probably wished we never switched from the general education here. I think it would be a mistak e to now switch directions back again. Hewitt: Thank you very much for your interview. This was Dr. Gordon Brunhild, Professor of Economics.