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2007-03-19 Interview with Jenny M. Bottoms, March 19, 2007 CC001:2007OH136CC22 00:59:36 History of Kentucky's Community Colleges Oral History Project Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries Big Sandy Community and Technical College Jenny M. Bottoms; interviewee John Klee; interviewer 2007OH136_CC22_Bottoms 1:|15(1)|24(12)|34(7)|50(6)|61(4)|80(1)|105(2)|113(10)|147(2)|174(2)|188(8)|227(11)|250(7)|277(8)|294(11)|309(6)|326(11)|364(3)|379(9)|395(10)|405(8)|425(5)|439(7)|449(1)|460(4)|475(11)|496(5)|524(9)|552(5)|578(3)|596(6)|630(3)|650(6)|665(2)|683(12)|701(8)|727(7)|754(9)|767(5)|793(5)|808(12)|830(6)|848(13)|864(2)|889(10)|900(1)|921(3)|932(6)|941(12)|956(3)|977(3)|1010(4)|1039(1)|1052(3)|1074(3)|1095(6)|1114(7)|1135(3)|1159(5) audiotrans CommuColl interview KLEE: The following is an unrehearsed tape for the University of Kentucky Community College System History Project for the University of Kentucky Libraries. The interview is between Jenny Bottoms -- and I'm John Klee. I'm interviewing Ms. Bottoms in her office at Big Sandy Community and Technical College on March 19th, 2007. This thing tells me if I -- if it's recording, so I'll be taking it in and out. Miss Bottoms, let's start and just talk a little bit about your personal history, where you're from, your family background. BOTTOMS: Okay. I was actually born in Paintsville. My parents lived in Prestonsburg, where there was no hospital here at the time, so for the first ten years of my life, I lived in Prestonsburg. Then my father was employed by Kentucky West Virginia Gas Company, was transferred to Pikeville, so I actually graduated from Pikeville High School. My mother is also a registered nurse, so I -- at the time I graduated from high school, the choices were to teach or be a nurse. And I didn't want to teach, so I went to a diploma program in Louisville, which was the same school where she went, graduated from Louisville General Hospital School of Nursing in 1961. By that time, my parents had been transferred back to Prestonsburg, so I -- actually, to go back a little bit, there were very few baccalaureate programs at that time in the state of Kentucky that offered a baccalaureate degree in nursing. There were 19 diploma programs. So I chose the diploma route, came back home in 1961 and worked at Pikeville Methodist. Saved a few pennies and then went back to the University of Kentucky. They had just opened their baccalaureate program and actually graduated their first class in 1964. So I went back as an RN to BSN student and graduated from UK in 1965. I stayed in Lexington and worked at the Medical Center, met my husband, got married. And that being Vietnam War-era time, he joined the Navy, and we moved then from Lexington to Memphis to Virginia Beach. In the meantime, I had a child. When he was sent to sea for nine months and I knew no one in Virginia Beach, I came back home and started with the Health Department in 1970. I worked actually for the State Health Department, but at the Floyd County Health Department, with a special granted project, maternity and infant care project. I worked there for seven years until that particular clinic moved out of Floyd County. I had been approached a couple of times by the college, because they were getting ready to initiate a nursing program, and I was one of the few nurses in the whole area with a baccalaureate degree. They offered me a whopping $9,500 in salary to come to the college. We negotiated up to -- I think I started, maybe, $10,500. KLEE: Gee. (Klee laughs) BOTTOMS: So I took about a $5,000 cut in pay. KLEE: Right. BOTTOMS: I came here in 1977. The program had started -- or was initiated in 1974. And it's kind of interesting, because all of those students actually rotated through the health department clinic where I was employed. So I have in essence had contact with every student that graduated from here, up to this point. I started in 1977. The program was not allowed to admit a class that fall, because they didn't have enough qualified faculty, which was the master's-to-baccalaureate ratio. So my first year I spent as the lab instructor, and started taking classes at Morehead, because at that time the Board of Nursing would allow you a master's degree in a related field. So I completed that master's degree in adult and continuing education, I've forgotten when -- anyway, in the late '70s (Bottoms laughs) sometime. So that's my story up until the time I came to work at the college. KLEE: Right. One of the comments you made is that, you know, when you got out of high school, nursing and teaching were the options for you. Is that because of how women were viewed in this area, or that was just effectively the options? What -- explain that a little bit. BOTTOMS: Well, that was as much as I knew at the time. Pikeville High School at that time was very small. I think there was probably 45 to 50 students in my graduating class. No counselors. Really, not any discussion of what was available. I was very fortunate in that I had parents who really believed in education. KLEE: Yes ma'am. BOTTOMS: My father is from Pulaski County, and if you go to Pulaski County, there are Meeses all over every education building there (Klee laughs), from the middle school to maybe even the college. But -- so there was never any question that my brother and I were going to go to college, which was very rare in 1958 and 1960. But that was really all we talked about, was either you taught or you went to nursing school, or you got a job at the dime store. KLEE: Right, right. You were -- BOTTOMS: Looking back, I might have made some different options, had I been as smart then as I am now, but I wouldn't go back. KLEE: (Klee laughs) Right. BOTTOMS: (Bottoms laughs) I wouldn't go back and redo it. KLEE: Tell me about the communities. Your -- you had a familiarity with Pikeville, Paintsville, and Prestonsburg in your youth and early adulthood. What were those communities like? What was driving the economy? What opportunities were there? BOTTOMS: Of course, they were very small communities, and we laughed at my last high school reunion. One of the guys said, "Some of us were from the wrong side of the tracks, but we didn't realize it." Most of the activities were centered around the school. KLEE: I see. BOTTOMS: If you went anywhere, it was usually to Huntington. When I went to nursing school in Louisville, to drive by car from Pikeville was between an eight- and nine-hour trip. So most of my traveling was on the Greyhound bus, and it was rare. A lot of emphasis on Scouting, the school. Coal mining probably was the biggest employer, but I'm kind of removed from that because nobody in my family worked in the coal mines, which I guess is a little bit unusual. My dad did work for Kentucky West Virginia Gas Company, so he was involved in drilling for gas and that sort of thing. And then my mother, as I said, is a registered nurse. She worked my whole lifetime. So when people talk about all of a sudden women are in the workplace, I never knew anything any different. KLEE: Right. BOTTOMS: But I never felt like that I suffered because of it, because she was always around for everything we needed her for. But -- KLEE: So one of the ideas is that these communities were pretty isolated. The roads just weren't there? BOTTOMS: Very isolated. The other institution that played a large part were the churches. KLEE: I see. BOTTOMS: When I was in high school, everybody went to a youth group on Sunday night, and then to the movie, after we played basketball and football, you know, on the weekends. So a lot of parental involvement, but you have to realize I lived in town. KLEE: Right. BOTTOMS: And I think there is a big difference between children raised in town versus those that were raised in the county. And -- (Cell Phone ringing) KLEE: I have to turn that off. [Pause] KLEE: You came here in 1977. Physically, what was the college like? What was the college physically? BOTTOMS: There were two buildings, the Johnson Administration Building and then the Pike Building, which is this building right behind us. KLEE: I see. BOTTOMS: The Pike Building was relatively new. KLEE: Okay. So the Johnson Building was the original building. BOTTOMS: The Johnson Building was the original building, and this was all built while I was gone. KLEE: Mm-mm. The college was -- the college facility and so forth. BOTTOMS: The college itself was built while I was away, because I was gone -- well actually, when I graduated from high school, I went to nursing school and I didn't come back until 1970 to live. KLEE: Right. BOTTOMS: So the college was built in the meantime. The Johnson Building was the administration building. It had the library, the labs, the science labs, and some classrooms. And the bookstore. KLEE: Okay. BOTTOMS: Although right now I can't remember where the bookstore was in that building, (Klee laughs) but it was there. Then the Pike Building is a two-story building with an auditorium and classrooms. The nursing department was on the second floor with the nursing lab. And then these windows here, it was a great big room we called the home-ec room. That's where they were going to teach sewing and whatever you teach in that kind of a room. So for years we used that room as a faculty lounge, because it had stoves and (Klee laughs) refrigerators and all that in it. The next building to be built was the Magoffin Learning Resource Center, which is the library. That was built while Martha Lane Collins was governor, and I remember that because she was here at the groundbreaking. Then after that was the Campbell Science Building, and we moved into this building around the 19- -- the early 1990s. KLEE: Right. This is the building we're in, right? BOTTOMS: This is the building we are in. KLEE: And I saw it was dedicated in '91, uh-huh. BOTTOMS: Named after Dr. Henry Campbell, and it was the first building on campus that wasn't named for a county. KLEE: I noticed that, okay. BOTTOMS: Oh, at that time -- I'm sorry -- there were three buildings, the Martin Student Center, which is no longer here, was also on campus. KLEE: The building's been torn down. BOTTOMS: It's been torn down. That's where the bookstore was and the grill and -- that was basically it. There were -- KLEE: Was it an existing building or was it one that they built here originally and then -- BOTTOMS: They built here originally. KLEE: -- decided they didn't want to -- BOTTOMS: But they built it in the flood plain, so when it would flood, then that building would get water. Actually the Pike Building has also had water in it. KLEE: And this is the Big Sandy here beside us? The -- or is this -- what's this -- BOTTOMS: Correct, that's the Big Sandy. KLEE: Okay. All right. BOTTOMS: So when they went to try to figure out how to renovate that building, they discovered that they could not add on to it without filling in the land, which would have made part of the building a lot higher than the other because it had to be built out of the flood plain. So it was easier just to tear it down and start all over. So that building was built after this building. KLEE: I'll go back to those buildings in a little bit. I noticed that the -- that they were named after counties. I guess that was just a -- BOTTOMS: Right. That was the idea. It was the Martin Student Center and the Magoffin Resource Center, the Pike Building, and the Johnson Building. So when -- KLEE: Trying to illustrate you serve the entire area, I guess. BOTTOMS: Well, the five-county area. So the only county that was-- didn't have a building named after it was Floyd, and they justified that by saying we're in Floyd County. KLEE: We're in Floyd. I see, okay. BOTTOMS: So when they were trying to figure out a name for this building, there was really a big uproar that this building was going to, number one, be named after a person and that person was still alive. KLEE: Right. BOTTOMS: But the feeling of the community and the whole college was that it was a fantastic way to honor Dr. Campbell, was to name a building in his honor. So -- KLEE: Let's talk about him, since you brought him up. He was president when you came here. BOTTOMS: Correct. KLEE: Was the founding president of the college? BOTTOMS: Mm-mm. KLEE: What kind of individual was he? Tell me about him. BOTTOMS: Dr. Campbell was a unique person. (Coughs) He had the knack of surrounding himself with very competent people. He didn't dress and act like a president, if that makes any sense. You would not find him in a suit and a white shirt and a tie. KLEE: I see. BOTTOMS: He was more often in a flannel shirt and suspenders. And he made himself highly visible, not only to faculty, but to students. He was up and down the hallways; he was in and out of the buildings. And because, I guess, of the way he looked, lots of times students didn't know who he was. Very personable. He believed that you hired competent people and you let them alone. KLEE: I see. BOTTOMS: But if you were not competent, he was the very first person that would say, "You know, you got to get out of here, because we don't tolerate this kind of behavior." He was very well liked in the community, had a fantastic relationship with the community. KLEE: Okay. BOTTOMS: He was from Floyd County originally. When he came back here, he had just lost his wife and child in childbirth. But very much in tune to, because he was, I guess, from the area, what the students' attitudes and needs and desires were, was a fantastic student advocate, as well as for faculty. If someone, for example, in his administration would make a decision, even though he might disagree with it, he would support that decision publicly. And as dorky as it sounds, the business of keeping schools open during bad weather comes to mind, because he had charged, well, actually, Robert Allen with making those decisions. And then when people would call and complain, even though he might have disagreed with that decision, he would say, "That's an administrative decision, and I stand behind it." KLEE: I see. BOTTOMS: And that was true with academic decisions, program decisions. He would say, you know, "You're responsible for that. Whatever you decide, I will support." The office was always open. You didn't have to have an appointment. I could just walk by and see him. And -- KLEE: What about the social activities, if there were any? I mean, did -- I know you said he was very visible, he was up and down the halls. And I guess you all had contact that way. Did you all have regular functions that you got together as a faculty or staff? Or -- BOTTOMS: We had faculty meetings once a month, but the academic dean conducted those meetings, even though he was always here. But we had -- and we've talked about this lately, that it doesn't really exist anymore, when you worked here, you knew everybody that worked here. KLEE: Right. BOTTOMS: You knew a lot about those people, because we were always together. If a family member of somebody died, it was just -- everybody went to the funeral home, everybody went to the funeral. We don't do that anymore. We had a potluck at Christmas, and he loved it. It was just -- you know, you brought your kids, you brought your dish, had Santa Claus, sang a Christmas carol and went home. KLEE: Right. BOTTOMS: Now it's like it's a big production. We had breakfast at the end of year at the lodge. And everybody joked that that's when he would announce who was either getting married or who was pregnant (Klee laughs). Just -- I don't know, it's just different. KLEE: A family atmosphere. BOTTOMS: More -- KLEE: Is that a consequence of size, you think, more people now? BOTTOMS: Some of it is size. KLEE: And just changing lifestyles. BOTTOMS: Some of it, I think, has to do with, you've got people in so many different buildings. KLEE: Right. BOTTOMS: When most of the faculty offices were in the Pike Building, you saw everybody. KLEE: I see. Right. And it didn't make any difference what division you were in -- BOTTOMS: No. KLEE: -- or anything like that. BOTTOMS: No. But a lot of that is just not here anymore. KLEE: So he was a delegator. He wasn't a micro-manager, you're talking about. BOTTOMS: No, he did not micro-manage, but he knew everything that was going on. A couple or three times, he and I went to the Board of Nursing over -- you know, with various issues. And he was always extremely supportive. And then he would -- when we would leave, he would say, "Did I do okay?" (both laugh). "Yeah, you did fine." He didn't see very well, and he smoked constantly. Even when he was wearing oxygen, he would smoke. And I remember we were going down I-64 toward Louisville. It was pouring the rain, and he was driving, smoking with one hand, talking with the other, and just going on and on and on. And I think, "Good heavens! You know, let us get there and let me get out of this car." (both laugh) I was going to say something else and it left me just that quick. KLEE: What about some of the other early faculty members, administrators, staff members that were here from kind of the beginning? Can you relate some of those names and who they were? Just those that come to mind. BOTTOMS: Robert Allen was the academic dean, and he was here until the early '90s. John Herald's worn two or three different hats. He was actually the student service person when I came, and he's now the business officer. Ron Carter is still here. He is in the business office, I think. Ron's had lots of different duties. KLEE: Right. BOTTOMS: Laura and Leo Weddle were a married couple that taught here, and they are retired. Laura taught English, and Leo taught psychology. Sandra and Charles Robertson, Sandra was the librarian, and Charles taught physics. And they just retired a couple of years ago. John D. Sammons is still here; he was here when I came. He teaches math. He and I are talking about retirement (Klee laughs). Ken Fuller is still here; he was here when I came. He teaches chemistry. Hailu Bogalie was from Ethiopia; he taught in the math department. I'm not quite sure what he taught. He is deceased. Clara Garrett, who is a nursing faculty, came the same year I did. She is still here. Goodness! KLEE: You were employed as a -- by the University of Kentucky. BOTTOMS: Correct. KLEE: Tell me about what -- did that mean anything to you as a prospective employee? BOTTOMS: It meant a lot, because just the name University of Kentucky, and to say that you are a faculty member, because we were employed as faculty members with the University of Kentucky, meant a lot. Meant a lot in the community. And that used to be one of the things Dr. Campbell would tell prospective faculty. You can walk in and buy a car, simply by saying you're employed at PCC, because you are a UK employee. And I think we had a lot of respect in the community, not that it got us football or basketball tickets. (Klee laughs) But hey. (Bottoms laughs) KLEE: Did that UK connection mean anything to students? BOTTOMS: I think it did, and I think students were upset when they didn't have that connection anymore. I don't think the students here were as upset, maybe, as from some other places, just what I read in the newspaper. For a lot of them, it probably didn't matter. For a lot of them, it did. They wanted that diploma that said -- that they could hang on the wall that had UK on it. KLEE: As a faculty member here, what did being part of the Community College System that was part of the University of Kentucky -- how did that filter down to you, in what ways? For example, you -- before I turned on the tape recorder you talked about System work. Explain some of the things that you did and what that entailed. BOTTOMS: I was elected to the Rules Committee, and I served two terms on Rules. And that's what we dealt with, was rules. And I think that gave me a better appreciation of who they were. We used to laugh and said, when Dr. Campbell would get aggravated, he would blame it on the System. Klee laughs) Then I was appointed to the Council, and then I served either two or four years on the Council. To tell you the truth, I can't remember. That was during Dr. Roselle's term as president of UK and -- just to get an understanding of the connection between the University and the Community College System. I know some people kind of felt like that the System was a step-child of the University, but I never really got that feeling. Our students were well received, I think, by transferring institutions. Then I was on a system-wide committee with Marie Piekarski for several years, and I really respect Marie. We did the validation exam for nursing, so we met twice a year in Lexington. And I think just being with nursing faculty from other community colleges kind of validated what we did, that maybe we weren't so far behind after all. And then to be able to talk with those people and brainstorm new ideas, you know, How do you cover this content when you don't have an in-patient pediatric facility? You know, How do you get clinical experience when you don't have an in-patient psychiatric facility? But just to be able to -- and I made some really good friends throughout the System by serving on that particular committee. Then there were a couple of times I served on a validation study committee where we were testing ADN students and testing LPN students to compare the competencies of both groups. And we were from Paducah, to Southeast, to -- you know, just all over the state. And again, it was the same group of testers, so we got to be pretty good friends. And I got to see virtually every community college in the state by being on that committee. I think people like Marie Piekarski kind of held everything together, because if you had a question, that was a contact you could call. The downside of Rules and Program Development was if you wanted to change something, it took forever to get it done, because they didn't meet very often. And by the time you went through the process, it might be two years. KLEE: Sure. BOTTOMS: The other thing I discovered, being on those committees, was that sometimes it was the person that could talk the longest that would get what they wanted, because they'd wear everybody else out. And it was like, "Oh, no!" KLEE: Yeah. Well of course, you know, for people throughout the System, they were three or four hours away, in some cases, from Lexington, and you were in a meeting and you knew you had that drive home, and -- BOTTOMS: Right. KLEE: -- the time just played a factor. Tell me about what -- what -- Rules Committee involved what kinds of rules? BOTTOMS: Rules, for example, are policies for programs. Like, if you wanted to require a certain reading competency in your program, then that had to go through your local committee, get your local college support, and then go to the Rules Committee in order to make those kinds of changes. For example, at one time we were in trouble here, back in the '70s, with the board over board scores. And one of the things the program identified was that the students couldn't read the textbooks. So we decided we needed a reading competency before students were admitted. Well, before we could require that for our program, it required a rules change. So -- KLEE: That was a rule change for the entire system. BOTTOMS: For the entire system. KLEE: So it had to go through Rules? BOTTOMS: Well, not necessarily. KLEE: Oh, okay. BOTTOMS: You could make it specific to your program if you wanted to, or you could propose a rule change for the whole system. KLEE: But it had to go through the Rules Committee at the -- BOTTOMS: Correct. If you were teaching automobile mechanics, and some of the colleges offered that, and you wanted to require a specific course as part of that curriculum, then that had to go through Rules. KLEE: I see. BOTTOMS: And that would be system-wide. So you could do it either way: you could make it specific to your program, or you could make an overall rules change. If nursing wanted to change their curriculum and require these courses instead of these courses, or change their curriculum, period, then that had to go through Rules. And then from Rules, it had to go to the Council. So you had to convince two difference groups of people, because a lot of times, when I was on Council, they would completely reject what Rules or Program Development had done. KLEE: And you said one of the downsides of this was the timing that it took. BOTTOMS: Correct. KLEE: The upside? Did you see upsides to this kind of process? BOTTOMS: The upside is that you had input from all across the state. KLEE: Right. BOTTOMS: And you know, you might be looking at one specific area and not think about how that might affect -- for example, if Jefferson wanted to propose a rule change that they wouldn't have any problem implementing, it might mean Maysville would have a problem because of the size of the school. KLEE: Right, right. BOTTOMS: You know, say we want to -- and I may be confusing Program Development and Rules, to tell you the truth (Bottoms laughs). Jefferson might want to require a certain course to be taught in their curriculum. Maysville might not have the resources to hire the faculty to teach that program, so -- KLEE: That was Program Development, but you -- that had to be dealt with at Council, which you also were on. BOTTOMS: Right, yeah. That's what I am saying, I think I am confusing the issues, but -- KLEE: But the upside was that overall input from around the System, and then -- that you could see the consequences, it was uniform and -- BOTTOMS: Right. KLEE: -- universal too. BOTTOMS: And that way the students could transfer. Say you had a student that went two years to the -- or two semesters here, to the nursing program, and they moved to Lexington. Then they could transfer right into the third semester of that program, versus transferring to another two-year program where the curriculum is totally different. We taught the same content in the first year as every other nursing program in the state. We didn't have to use the same textbooks or the same method of instruction, but the same course competencies had to be completed within those given semesters. KLEE: Tell me about Marie Piekarski a little bit, her personality and her style of getting things done, because she was a big name in the System. BOTTOMS: Mary was extremely -- what's the word I want to use? She knew the rules in the System inside out. She didn't have to open anything to tell you how it was supposed to be. She loved to travel. She was very devoted to her mother. She would not eat in a restaurant where you had to get your food yourself, (Klee laughs) so you know, McDonalds was out. KLEE: Right. BOTTOMS: And I guess we learned this and we laughed about it, and she laughed about it, when we were on these traveling committees. You know, if Pizza Hut wouldn't come to your table and take your order, then -- KLEE: She wouldn't (Klee laughs) -- we don't want to stop there. BOTTOMS: -- we don't eat there. But an extremely gracious lady. I still hear from her at Christmastime. KLEE: Her knowledge and competence, any judgments about those? BOTTOMS: She was very competent in the position that she had. She worked with all the health programs. KLEE: Right. BOTTOMS: And I understand she still goes to those meetings, the ADN coordinators and -- or not the ADN coordinators, but the Kentucky Council of Associate Degree Nursing. KLEE: I see. BOTTOMS: She and Dr. Wall, was that his name -- KLEE: Uh-huh. BOTTOMS: -- used to travel to those meetings together. I don't know if he still does that or not. Is he still living? KLEE: I don't know. I haven't -- I think he's still living, yes, but I'm not sure about his status. Yeah, I was on Program Development and Rules too, and you know, Marie made sure everything got done right (Klee laughs). BOTTOMS: Everything got done correctly. KLEE: Right. BOTTOMS: And if you wanted to know an interpretation, all you had to do was call her. She was very accessible. KLEE: Mm-mm. Backtrack a little bit and take you back to coming here in 1977. And you said the first year, the program had to go on -- couldn't admit some students because of degrees and so forth. BOTTOMS: Right. KLEE: And you went back and got your degree. What were the challenges facing the nursing program here in its beginnings? BOTTOMS: That was probably the biggest challenge. We had lots of students, because there had never been an opportunity in this area for students to stay home. KLEE: I see. BOTTOMS: And still a lot of our students are first-generation, you know, to go to college from their family. But there were very few nurses that were adequately educated to meet Board of Nursing requirements. I believe at that time they required a 50 percent master's-to- bachelor's ratio. When Clara and I started here in 1977, there was the coordinator and one other faculty member. The coordinator had the master's degree; the other faculty member did not. So they could not admit a class because they didn't have enough faculty to teach that class. Now, the college, through a grant from Pikeville -- which is now Pikeville Medical Center, Pikeville Methodist Hospital at the time, was able to help with tuition to send faculty back to school. KLEE: I see. BOTTOMS: Clara got her master's degree that way, and then there have been a couple, three other faculty that are no longer here, that the grant actually paid them to go back to school. But it took a while to get that in place. So the 1977 -- we did not admit a freshman class. Then they were able to recruit some faculty. And since then, we've not really had a problem. There have been years when you hold your breath, you know, starting in August, because you never know what people are going to do. But I think with the opening of the Mountain Parkway and UK bringing their program to Hazard, higher education is a lot more available to faculty that want to go. And of course, with the tuition reimbursement now, it's not a problem at all. I got my master's from Morehead, and then I went to the Rural Health Center in Hazard and got my master's in nursing. And actually, I think all but one or two classes was paid for, you know, through the tuition reimbursement benefit. KLEE: Of one group or the other. BOTTOMS: Yeah. And there are one, two -- there are at least three of our faculty now that did the same thing. KLEE: I see. Were there enough clinical opportunities for your nursing students here in the area? What were the problems and what were the -- BOTTOMS: The problems are a little bit of what I mentioned before. The hospitals are small. Of course, Pikeville Medical Center is not so small anymore. KLEE: (Klee laughs) Right, yeah. Now, you had a hospital here in Prestonsburg at the time? BOTTOMS: We had a hospital in Prestonsburg that opened in 1973 or '74, about the same time the program started. KLEE: I see. BOTTOMS: Pikeville Methodist had been there forever. I worked there when I first got out of school. They have built and moved a couple or three times since then. We have a small hospital in Paintsville that has somewhere in the neighborhood of maybe 40 to 50 beds. There's a small hospital in Martin with about 30 beds. Of course, we have nursing homes and health departments and all that. But the biggest problems were with pediatrics and with in-patient psychiatric facilities. But we've managed to, I think, give students a very adequate experience by using out-patient services, day cares for peds, but it's been a challenge. And I think at times that's limited the number of students we could admit. When your OB unit only has 30 deliveries a month (Klee laughs), it's hard to take ten students to that unit and get any kind of an experience. KLEE: Real experience, uh-huh. BOTTOMS: But we've managed to, I think, do it, and do it real well. KLEE: Mm-mm. Tell me about the students that were here in '77. And of course, I'm leading up to the idea of -- if -- how they've changed over the years. Were you getting a lot of tradition students in '77 right out of high school? BOTTOMS: It's always been a mix. KLEE: Has it? Okay. BOTTOMS: We probably had more students straight out of high school ago than we do now. KLEE: Right. BOTTOMS: The average age, the last time I really looked at it, was about 26, and of course, non-traditional. And I think the non-traditional is a traditional now. KLEE: Right (Klee laughs). It's kind of misnamed. BOTTOMS: A lot of our students have the same problems they had, you know, 30 years ago. They're coming with small children, not a lot of support. There's always the financial need. And of course, everything costs more now. KLEE: Right. Yeah, I guess books are just -- in allied health -- BOTTOMS: Books. KLEE: -- are just outrageous. BOTTOMS: Transportation. KLEE: What about academic preparation of students? BOTTOMS: I don't think it's as good as it was 30 years ago. KLEE: Mm-mm. I see. BOTTOMS: I can see a big difference in academic preparation, and maybe a little bit in attitude. The students don't place as much importance, I guess, on what I think is important. And I told the class last week, I said, "If you're going to insist on being called a professional, you've got to dress professionally, you have got to communicate professionally." And they will turn in written work that my eighth grade English teacher would have paddled me for. (both laugh) And it's -- I don't know, there's just been a -- and we've talked about this a lot, and I can't put my finger on exactly what the problem is, but it's -- and we will say, "Well, I would never have argued with my teacher that way." It's almost like they want to run the show. And it's not that I want to be in charge all the time, but I'm here because I think I'm probably a couple of brain cells, you know, smarter than they are (Bottoms laughs) at this point. But -- KLEE: But -- and that was -- when you first started, there wasn't as much of that kind of a problem. BOTTOMS: No, and it's not that I am against student rights or -- and I don't want students to be abused. I think I was abused as a student. When you went to diploma program, you were at their will, period. But I also think there is a certain degree of respect, maybe, that's not here that was here 30 years ago. KLEE: Yeah. BOTTOMS: You come through the door and you're just as apt to get knocked down as not. Thirty years ago they would have held the door open. KLEE: Hold the door for you, right, yeah. BOTTOMS: And maybe that's just subtle things, but it bothers me a whole lot. KLEE: And it adds up too, (Klee laughs) when multiplied by a number of students and over time. BOTTOMS: But some of -- John D. and I have talked about it a lot. There's just -- the whole attitude is just different. KLEE: Right. Tell me about the -- in the nursing program, you've had to have advisory boards and councils and contact people in the community. And there's two levels to this question. One is, does the college have some angels or patrons that they go to pretty consistently for, you know, either financial help or guidance? And then specifically, what about the allied health programs? BOTTOMS: All of the inpatient facilities have bent over backwards to help us. Probably -- KLEE: That's all those hospitals you were talking about? BOTTOMS: Right. We have never had any of those facilities refuse anything we wanted to do that was reasonable. If it's where we place students, when we place students -- and as I said, Pikeville Methodist at that time actually gave the college a monetary grant. We were able to use that money however the program wanted to use it. This was until Pikeville College started their own program. And then of course, being in the same town, their -- the grant stopped, not that it stopped because of that. But we used that for professional development to buy lab supplies, to pay tuition to school. But they're still -- all the facilities try to recruit our students. They tell us they would prefer our students over other program's students. Now, they may tell everybody that, I don't know. KLEE: (Klee laughs) Right. BOTTOMS: But they do lunches, they try to recruit year-round, they will send the students gifts at Valentine's Day, you know, Christmas parties. They all have an elaborate lunch for them at the end of the year. So I think our program has been well received by the people we serve, actually. KLEE: Has that hospitality to your students, has been pretty consistent over the years? BOTTOMS: Right. KLEE: Or that's just been lately when there has been a big shortage? BOTTOMS: No, that's been pretty consistent. KLEE: Has it? Uh-huh. BOTTOMS: Now, some of the facilities quit doing their recruitment deals in the spring until recently, but some never stopped. You know, I can call and go into any nursing director's office. A lot of them are our graduates, as (Bottoms laughs) a matter of fact. And as I said, anything that's reasonable. When the Board of Nursing required that students do a preceptorship, we had to find a nurse for each one of these students. And when you're talking about 100 students, that's a lot. We've never had any, you know, "I don't want you here," or, "Your students are a bother," or -- and they will tell students, you know, "If you have a problem, come talk to us about it, because we don't want staff mistreating students or faculty or anybody else." So -- KLEE: Is -- has the college -- the college's program, is it enough to meet demand in this area for nurses? BOTTOMS: Probably -- well, I don't know how to answer that question. When we do a needs survey, they always project more students than we project we're going to graduate. I have not heard of facilities closing floors because they didn't have enough staff. So I really don't know the answer to that question. Our students have always -- well, not always, there was a time back when there wasn't a shortage, in the mid-'80s, I guess, when students had trouble finding jobs. To my knowledge, every student that's ever wanted a job has been able to find one, not always what they want, because they all want to work days, Monday through Friday, you know, 8:00 -- 4:30. So I don't think we're over-saturating the market. Whether we're meeting the needs or not, you know, I don't know. KLEE: It depends on who you talk to, I guess. BOTTOMS: Right. KLEE: Or what survey you look at or -- BOTTOMS: I know Pikeville Medical Center is hoping to expand, and they say they will hire, you know, as many graduates as want to work there. Other facilities, sometimes they're smaller. And most of these facilities, like Paintsville and Martin, they don't have a whole lot of turnover. They really treat their people well, so they don't tend to leave. So if, you know, this is how many nurses it takes, and nobody quits or retires, then you don't have openings. KLEE: Not opening ----------(??). You mentioned these institutions. Are there any individuals, either at those institutions are in the community, that stand out in your mind as, I don't know, maybe someone that served on your advisory board that was particularly influential? BOTTOMS: Cheryl Hickman is the -- I don't know exactly what her title is -- the nursing director at Pikeville. She graduated in our first class -- KLEE: Is that right? Uh-huh. BOTTOMS: And was our outstanding alumni, actually, last year. The lady that is at Highlands now, her name is Jean Yates and I don't know her very well. She's not from here, and she hasn't been there very long, so I don't have much dealings with her. Venice Branham is at Paintsville. She is also one of our graduates and has been extremely helpful. The lady at Martin is Billie Turner. She did not graduate from our program, but has been there for a long, long time. The Floyd County Health Department, their administrator is Thursa Sloan. She's a graduate of our program, extremely helpful. The nursing director at Riverview is [sounds like Terry -- Bartley], I believe, is her last name, also a graduate of our program. And I think because they've all come through here, they know what a struggle it is for students. So you know, they've sat in the same kinds of chairs and extremely helpful. They've all -- all of those people have been on our advisory boards at different times. Other allied health programs, we have the dental hygiene. So far as I know, those students have not had trouble finding employment. Some of them worked -- [End Side 1, Tape 1] [Begin Side 2, Tape 2] BOTTOMS: Nursing and dental hygiene are the only two allied health programs we had when we were part of the System. KLEE: I see. KLEE: This is side two of a tape with Jenny Bottoms by John Klee on March 19th, 2007, at the campus of Big Sandy Community and Technical College. We were talking about the people that helped with the programs and so forth. How has the community shaped the nature of the college, or has it? And what impact does -- you know, the students that came here and the teachers that -- some were from here, some weren't. Do you think it gives the college any kind of personality or attributes? BOTTOMS: I think it did at one time. I'm not so sure it does so much now. The college was -- had an active presence, I think, in what went on in the community. For example, at the state park, there is a group that started many, many years ago with Jenny Wiley Theatre, the Jenny Wiley Drama Association. And for years and years, Dr. Campbell was chairman of that group. So he made the college and himself very visible with that part of -- being part of the community. That didn't make a lot of sense, but -- the -- they brought college students in. And they still do; it's still a very successful enterprise. So I think that helped with the relationship between the college and the community. And just the fact that you had faculty that lived here, some from here, and a lot from -- not from here. The Weddles were not originally from here, the Robertsons were not originally from here, but they all became, you know, members of a church, their children went to the local school. For several years we did the Science Olympiad. We had tours where we brought high school kids in on Friday and let them tour the science labs. So I think there wasn't much that the college did that the community wasn't aware of, and vice versa. We also had at one time, in the spring, Mountain Dew Festival. KLEE: Right. BOTTOMS: And that was really big when I first started here. I actually was kind of involved with the college -- well, I was with the students that came through the clinic. But my mom and dad's next-door neighbors happen to be Tevis and Glen Cowan. And Mr. Cowan was business officer here from the time the college started until he retired in the early '90s. And his wife was my babysitter. So my daughter actually was coming to Christmas parties before I ever was an employee here (Klee laughs). But they were -- the whole community rallied around Mountain Dew, because they brought students in from all across the System. And they had a -- about a week-long, probably went from Wednesday to Sunday, of different kinds of competition. And it was different kinds of competition. They pitched horseshoes, they had rope pulls, whatever you call that. KLEE: Tug-of-wars. BOTTOMS: Tug-of-war. They had a beauty pageant. They had a dance. They -- and students from other campuses would come and pitch tents, and they would actually live on the grounds for that week. KLEE: Is that right? BOTTOMS: So it was really a big deal. And of course, the community benefited from that, because these people were, you know, buying hamburgers and that sort of thing. That kind of faded away, and I'm not sure why. KLEE: Do you remember any of the individuals here that were kind of coordinating that or prime movers behind it? BOTTOMS: Well, Dr. Campbell was, for sure. KLEE: Was he? Okay. BOTTOMS: And I'm sure John Herald and some of those people. KLEE: I'll talk to them about that. Yeah. BOTTOMS: I might have -- I'll look and see in a minute -- a picture or two of that. I know I judged horseshoes or something. (Klee laughs) But it was a lot of fun, and it -- and there was never really -- you know, when you think about that many college students in one place spending the night, I don't remember there ever being a whole lot of trouble, you know, as far as complaints from the community or -- KLEE: Yeah. Oh, I remember students from Maysville coming down here. I think one of our ladies won the queen contest -- BOTTOMS: Yeah. KLEE: -- or princess, I don't which one they called it -- BOTTOMS: Whatever it was. KLEE: -- at the time, right. BOTTOMS: There are actually some -- some guys in the community are trying to get together a Mountain Dew reunion this spring. KLEE: Oh, that's interesting. (Klee laughs) BOTTOMS: I don't know who's initiated it, but there have been ads in the paper, if you participated in Mountain Dew at PCC to call a certain number. So in that way, I think the community felt a real connection to the college. The beauty pageant was held at the grade school, and some of the races and stuff were through town. KLEE: And they had basketball. I guess they had to have a gym someplace. BOTTOMS: Had basketball, so they had to have a gym. And we did have a basketball team, I think, at one time. KLEE: Right. BOTTOMS: They didn't after I came to work here, but -- KLEE: The expansion of the college physically into the other communities, I guess there's buildings and -- a Big Sandy in Pikeville and -- BOTTOMS: And there's -- the Mayo campus actually was Mayo Technical School. KLEE: Okay, that's in Pikeville. Right. BOTTOMS: That's in Paintsville. KLEE: Oh, Paintsville? I'm sorry. BOTTOMS: So those buildings were part of the vocational school. Pikeville, we had a center there for a long time in some very dilapidated fire traps, probably. And then when Paul Patton was governor, they built a building that combined the Mayo and the PCC into one building. And then of course, when the merger happened, then -- KLEE: Yeah. Tell me how -- did that expansion affect students and/or faculty here? Or how did it affect -- BOTTOMS: When we first went to Pikeville, enrollment really jumped. Tuition at Pikeville College is really high, so if students could come to PCC and get English and psychology and some of the same courses that would transfer, then they did that. So I used to go to Pikeville and help during registration, and those students would be lined up around the block. So they picked up 700, 800, 900 students, I think, at Pikeville. So that -- and then we had full-time faculty that were actually at Pikeville, which we'd never had before. So then you get into the logistics of the division chair structure, and who's watching those people, and do they need their own person in charge. And you know, how they interacted with their own disciplines, I think, was a challenge. KLEE: I see. BOTTOMS: And then just the physical buildings were a challenge. And it wasn't long before they outgrew where they were, and so then they rented another little house across the street. And so that was -- I went up one time to do a biology class, and the floor actually slanted back (Bottoms laughs) (Klee laughs). So it was like, is this going to fall in, you know, just anytime soon? KLEE: Walking uphill (Klee laughs). BOTTOMS: Well, I'm sure they met the fire codes and all that kind of stuff or they wouldn't have been there. But the new building is -- was sorely needed up there, and it's a really nice building. KLEE: And having faculty and staff and facilities spread out, changed, I guess, the nature of -- BOTTOMS: Changed everything. KLEE: -- the interchange. Yeah, right. BOTTOMS: Yeah, I run into peo- -- Tom Whitaker is another person that I should have mentioned earlier. He teaches art. He was here when I came. He is his own character. KLEE: Oh, is he? (Klee laughs) BOTTOMS: Tom's fantastic. But I ran into him the other day, and I said, "You know, I never see you anymore." And as I said, when we were all pretty much in one building, then you saw everybody all the time. And so that atmosphere, I don't think, really exists anymore. KLEE: Mm-mm. Just to kind of wrap up, although you've talked about a lot of these things, you know, and of course we're no longer part of UK. What may be the most significant change you've seen or, you know, the most significant downside and most significant benefit, maybe, of where we're at today, as opposed to when you started? BOTTOMS: I think one of the biggest differences, when I came to work here, and for years and years, we had the president, and we had two or three academic -- or deans, and they might have had a secretary. The academic dean did human resources. Now, we have offices and offices and offices with all these people, and I don't know what they do. We've got -- and at one time we had as many faculty and as many students as we've had recently, but we've got all of this -- these layers of people. KLEE: Extra layers. BOTTOMS: And a lot of that I don't know what they do is my fault, because I don't care what they do. And again -- KLEE: (Klee laughs) Too many of them to keep up with. BOTTOMS: -- that's probably the wrong attitude, but you know, we've got this one person that only does this. And I think, "How do they do that full-time?" We've got this person that only does this. And when you walk into an office suite, you find ten people in that suite. I don't know what they do. KLEE: And you don't know them very well or -- yeah, right. BOTTOMS: And again, that's probably my fault, because the older I've gotten, you know, the more (Bottoms laughs) cynical I've gotten. And I want to take care of my students and I want to go home. KLEE: Right, right. BOTTOMS: We've got committees that -- well, (both laugh) when you have a committee to figure out how to get students to read their e-mails, I think -- KLEE: Right. A little bit of overkill or something. (Klee laughs) BOTTOMS: But I think that's one of the big differences. I don't think we have the connection anymore with the other schools in the system that we had at one time. At one time, I could just about name every nursing faculty in every program. I could just about name every academic dean and every president, and there is no way I can do that. I have no idea what's going on. And again, some of that is my fault. Not my fault, but I -- it's not important to me right now. KLEE: Not concerned. Right, yeah. BOTTOMS: You know, we're teaching nursing on three campuses. We've got three nursing labs. I can't keep up with all of that, much less what's going on, you know, with everybody else. So -- KLEE: Sure. And of course, that just -- that changed the whole nature of your work. BOTTOMS: Right. KLEE: I mean, it's not just a matter of walking over to the lab. You might have to drive here. BOTTOMS: You know, we're doing ITV, and we're doing this, that, and the other, which -- and I'm not so sure all this technology is as wonderful as we make it out to be. I still believe that a face-to-face, one-on- one is better than face-to-a-computer. KLEE: Yeah, right. BOTTOMS: And I feel sometimes about -- and I've not probably used technology to my advantage as much as I should, but I feel about that, like I do monitors in a hospital. Nurses will go in and they will nurse the monitor and never speak to the patient. And I feel like we do that with students sometimes. We speak to the computer, and we don't speak to the student. KLEE: Right. BOTTOMS: And I have a big problem with that. KLEE: That's a good place to end. That's kind of a nice symmetry there. Thank you very much. BOTTOMS: ----------(??) Oops! KLEE: Yeah, you're hooked up. Oral history with Jenny Bottoms, nursing faculty at Big Sandy Community and Technical College. Bottoms describes her childhood and education in Prestonsburg, Kentucky; the construction of the college buildings and how they were named; and various community activities promoted and supported by the college. She concludes with the college’s impact on the community through student activities and organizational programs.