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Interview with Charles W. West Jr., May 8, 2006 | UNCW Archives and Special Collections Online Database

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Interview with Charles W. West Jr., May 8, 2006
May 8, 2006
Dr. Charles W. West Jr. was born in Cuba to a military family and raised around West Point, New York. After a two-year commitment in the army, he earned his MBA from Cornell University in 1953. He then worked for several corporations, including Honeywell, General Electric, McKinsey and Company, the Package Machinery Company, and the American Air Filter Company of Louisville, Kentucky. Around 1970, he chose to end his industrial career and enter education. West received his PhD in Organizational Behavior from the University of Louisville and began teaching at Morehead State University. He was subsequently hired as School of Business faculty at UNCW. In this interview, Dr. West discusses his classes at the university and his involvement in the University Senate, the 1898 Foundation, and the Democratic Party, among other topics.
Phys. Desc:

Interviewee: West, Charles W. Interviewer: Riggins, Adina Date of Interview: 5/8/2006 Series: Voices of UNCW Length 107 minutes

Riggins: Today is May 8, 2006. My name is Adina Riggins. I'm the university archivist here at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. I'm very pleased to welcome today Dr. Charles W. West, Charlie as you like to be known, who is here to talk about his time as professor in the Cameron School of Business. Please can you please restate your name for the tape?

Charles West: I'm Charles W. West, Jr. I go by Charlie.

Riggins: Charles W. West, Jr., thank you for correcting on that one. Well, Charlie, thank you very much first of all for coming here today. I'm very pleased that you were able to make time for us in your schedule. Can you please start off by giving us some of your biographical information? Where were you born and where did you grow up?

Charles West: Well actually, I was born in Cuba. I'm uh.. half Cubano. Uh.. I uh.. my father was a military army officer. I was born an American citizen. My father in the army was on the way through on assignment to the canal zone, but he arranged a stopover of several months in Cuba so that I could be born and my grandmother had a home in Cuba at the time. So uh.. I was born and spent a few weeks in Cuba. And we went on to his assignment in the canal zone, where I spent my just very short, you know, that tour of duty. But uhm..

Riggins: The Panama Canal?

Charles West: Panama Canal, yeah. Panama Canal zone. Uh.. then came on back and in my youth uh.. I had uh.. spent a lot of time in- in the Washington, D.C. We had two tours of duty in Washington, D.C. and the uh.. uh.. West Point, New York area, the military academy uhm.. all during uhm.. World War II and- and uh.. sort of bouncing back and forth. I- You're not interested in the precise dates. Uh.. but I grew up at West Point.

Riggins: Oh, ok.

Charles West: And had all my high school years there actually. Uh.. parochial schools K through 8 and then public high school, 9 through 12 there, just outside West Point at the neighboring town, Highland Falls. I was valedictorian of my class and uh.. graduated from there in 1948. Then went on from there uhm.. to Cornell. I was interested in engineering and technical things and so on, was good at math and science and that kind of thing. So I went on to Cornell and- and was uh.. at Cornell initially for five years. The electrical engineering was a five year program at the time. But I- I got all the electrical engineering out of the way after four years and in my fifth year double registered in the MBA program which they had there. Uh.. and got my first year of MBA by which I graduated in 1953 with a BEE. And uh.. went from there-- I had been in the ROTC uh.. it was a major financial support a- and uh.. I- I had a two year commitment. Went into the ROTC and spent uh.. almost two years in uh.. the military, the army, signal corp. Uh.. I initially went to Fort Monmouth, which is now one of the bases being closed, but kind of nostalgic for me. But uh.. there I met my wife, by the way, uhm.. my first wife. Uhm.. but uh.. I was- went to Monmouth Signal school and uh.. was ultimately had duty with school troops there and went on a major uh.. uh.. exercise here at uh.. Fort Bragg. Came down here exercise, flash burn at the time, as a- as a- a referee for the uh.. the exercise, huge exercise, a quarter of a million troops involved. And so on. People came from all over.

But anyway, then at that point I got back and I got a little uh.. bored of being just a school troops officer and uh.. put in for uh.. overseas and went to Korea for a year. And uh.. spent a year there in a- a- initially a radio relay operating company. Then ultimately uh.. went onto group headquarters and was group power officer--that is, electric power, not political power. And uh.. got out slightly early, a few months early uhm.. uh.. to come back and get my second year of MBA, which I was very anxious to do.

Uh.. had s- a few little interesting political problems over there, because I was well-connected in the military, my father being a retired general. My immediate- my immediate commanding general uh.. the uh.. uh.. General McGaw, the commanding general of KCOMZ, as it was called, uh.. was a classmate of my father's and the commanding general of the whole theater, Maxwell Taylor, well known to people as the commander in Korea later, uh.. uh.. Vietnam later uhm.. was the theater commander in Tokyo. So my immediate commanding officer was uh.. very jealous of that. And when they showed me any attention or whatever, he got his nose out of joint and really tried to hold up my early release, but fortunately I was able to get out.

Riggins: Because of the history with your father, because he had been jealous?

Charles West: Yeah, yes. Well these- these people work up-- for example, the uh.. this General McGaw uhm.. when I was promoted to first lieutenant, you know, the orders came down, you know, have Lieutenant West report to my headquarters so that I could pin the bars on. Well, pinning the bars on, the traditional honor that the group commander had, you know. Well, he wasn't even in the picture. He, you know, it was that kind of thing. So his nose was out of joint. He didn't show up at my promotion party. He sort of snubbed me on that. And s- incidents of that kind uh.. sort of led me to the conclusion, which I had never really seriously considered military as a career, although I'd grown up at West Point, but convinced me that I don't want to get involved in this, because if you ever mess up in the army, you know, this is the only game in town. If your career is destroyed in the army, you're an army officer, why your career is destroyed. There's no place to go, except get out.

Riggins: Right, and then you built all this time in.

Charles West: Yeah, so anyway uh..

Riggins: Interesting, I guess you run into problems like that in any organization, but the military is--

Charles West: Is this too much detail for you?

Riggins: Oh no. This is good. This is perfect.

Charles West: Okay. Uhm.. so I got out, came back and- and uh.. got- went back to Cornell for the final year of my MBA, where I was courting my first wife uh.. long distance. Uh.. she was going to school at Rutgers and I was ba- every two weeks I was driving to the New York area uh.. and uh.. so we ultimately married when I uh.. graduated. Uh.. that would be the uh.. the spring of '53. Uh.. 1953 I got my MBA at Cornell. And I don't know how much career info you want. I worked for a number of companies. I started in as an application engineer at uh.. at Honeywell, the Brown Instruments division. I- I was quite proud of the fact I- I took the highest salaried job uh.. that was offered to me and we were all getting a lot of good offers at that time, but because I had engineering and MBA, I got the highest offer in the class. And uh.. that's the one I took and I found that's been a pretty good job-paying strategy. Never change jobs for a lower salary uh.. you know, what they're offering you is what you're worth in a- and uh.. the world's assessment of your value. Anyway, I was with Honeywell for a- a number of years uh.. in- there in Philadelphia and- and uh.. they ultimately uhm.. sprung off a uh.. missile equipment division. You- a- applying our industrial controls to launching systems for uh.. guided missiles. And I ultimately transferred to that uh.. uh.. division. It was interesting the way it happened. I sort of had to- to threaten to quit in order to get the transfer. Getting a tr- tr-- you can't necessarily assume that uh.. your boss has your best interests at heart in uh.. but and- or even the company's interests at heart in uh.. uh.. whether or not to let you go. He wanted to keep me, but I wanted-- I thought there was a lot more promise in this new division starting out, so I ultimately had to sort of threaten to quit. Say, "Well, I- I'm not finding opportunity here and I- I think I'm going to lose interest unless you let me pursue this opportunity." They wouldn't hire me without the approval. This was all inside the Honeywell Corporation, of course.

So I joined the missile equipment division, a lot of very interesting uhm.. uh.. stuff there. We worked on the Atlas missile, the Titan missile, Bomark, which is one-- an air-breathing missile, uh.. but launching equipment thereof and so on.

Riggins: What was your role? Were you managing the operation?

Charles West: I was- I was uh.. ultimately project engineer of the- of the- the gas charging and- and propellant loading project for uh.. those missiles. In other words, I was uh.. uh.. had several engineers working for me. I was uh.. not involved so much with the money side. My job was the- the technical side. A lot of the design work had already been done. I didn't design this stuff from the start. And we were working with many other subcontractors and someone. But we uh.. got the opportunity to visit missile launching installation and so on and so forth. So it was- it was interesting work from that viewpoint. Ultimately I moved from there to uhm.. to uh.. General Electric. General Electric had established a- a missile and space division in Philadelphia. So in, I guess it was '59 or so, I moved on to the missile and space division at Philadelphia where I didn't spend too long. I spent uh.. a couple of years, as I recall. And I wish I had brought my resume with me, because it would refresh my memory on the- on specific dates. But uhm.. uh.. moved from there- was there-- I was a- a sales engineer there. And ultimately had an opportunity to get promoted to sales manager, but there- but I had gotten the- the consulting bug. And I had uh.. talked to McKinsey and Company, a big general management consulting firm in New York, and it sounded- that sounded like fascinating work. So I made a fairly quick uh.. job change to McKinsey. And I guess this- this would be about 1960.

Riggins: So I guess then each time you were changing for better opportunities.

Charles West: Oh yeah, yeah.

Riggins: More money.

Charles West: Yeah.

Riggins: It was not because you were desperate to leave or anything like that.

Charles West: Oh no, no. No, it actually just-- and uh.. just a- the- the general management consulting is fascinating work. Uhm.. so anyway, I got bitten by that bug. I was with McKinsey about three years and consulted for a whole bunch of different companies, uh.. some well-known names--Blue Cross Blue Shield. I started Texaco. Uh.. while there uhm.. had a very tragic incident. My first son uhm.. firstborn son and only son, really, uh.. died of a crib death at age 10 weeks. And it happened while I was at corporate offices at uh.. Texaco as a junior member of a team making a presentation and the senior partner had to get a hold of me and tell me and I lived 50 miles out of town. And going all the way home uh.. you know, had to wait until the next train, of course, to get home and so and all of that. But uhm.. we have gone through that and uh.. was at McKinsey for, I say, about three years. What does this bring us up to? Around '63?

Riggins: Yeah.

Charles West: And ultimately moved from there to a small company, a client of McKinsey's called Package Machinery Company in Long Meadow, Massachusetts, which is now uh.. now defunct. But I went there as initially as director of corporate planning and ultimately vice president of marketing. And uh.. uh.. was involved in a very uh.. interesting there. We basically had a- a coup to overthrow the president who hired me, which I was a member of. I be- was very torn ethically about defending this guy. The president had been involved in some ethical and moral lapses uhm.. expensive- mat- matter of expense account, infidelity to his wife. In the small town, a lot of this was well known. He was becoming a public scandal. And the uh.. the chairman whose son was a- was a vice president at the time uhm.. decided he had to go. So uh.. this was- the- the chairman was Roger Putnam who was the- the Putnam uh.. family of Massachusetts, Putnam Fund people and so on and so forth. Those Putnams. Uh.. and uh.. so uh.. Roger, Sr. organized this coup uh.. with uh.. Roger, Jr., the manufacturing manager, myself. It was going to be the- the- the marketing vice president to be, and then another uh.. uh.. associate of ours- junior associate of ours who was going to be the uh.. engineering vice president. And we, in one day, fired the president, fired two vice presidents uh... two sales managers and so on. Basically cleaned out the whole management and startled the hew- new- new management, which was quite an interesting thing.

Riggins: Yeah. It must have been a pretty solid case that you had.

Charles West: Well, the power. The- the Putnam family owned about a third of the company. So it was an ownership position. And there was no way that uh.. the- the- the- with that kind of ownership block, there was no way uh.. the uh.. the uh.. president, who by the way, was commanding general of the- the New York State Air National Guard at the time. So he- he was kind of an imposing figure in his own right. Anyway, uhm.. I was there at uh.. Package Machinery Co- Machinery Company for about seven years. And then got uh..--

Riggins: That's a pretty long time.

Charles West: Yeah, oh yeah.

Riggins: What did that company do?

Charles West: They made new kinds of things. Basically plastic molding machines and packaging machines. Uh.. and uh.. any- almost any plastic molded item that you see a solid plastic molded item, like that- that uh.. case there was made on a plastic molded- molding machine of the type that we manufactured at the time. And uh.. almost anything you see that's wrapped in- in plastic uh.. as you go through the supermarket. Machines var- various kinds of machines that we made. And we sold those to industrial customers and so on. Uh.. my role, of course, was on the marketing side. But uh.. we worked very closely with our engineers, because a lot of this stuff was very- is custom designed to make a particular product. You have to custom design the mold for a- uh.. to make a box like that. And similarly, you have to sort of custom design the- the packaging machine to wrap that particular package.

Riggins: In cellophane?

Charles West: Pardon me?

Riggins: In cellophane? To wrap it in cellophane?

Charles West: Well, in cellophane, you're- you're dating yourself. These days cellophane is on past the board. Well, I guess there's cellophane is still used somewhat, but there's various kinds of plastic films and film technology, as a whole. We worked very closely with the big chemical companies that produced the film and that was an important technical part of- of our job is having our people work with the- the film people to make the-- or the plastic resin people, so that they would go together, so that you would get a good product.

Riggins: The plastic wrap or the film. This is a digression I was guilty of, but the plastic wrap is so hard to remove these days, from CDs.

Charles West: Oh yeah. It's a big- big problem. They- we've tried tear tapes and so on. If they put-- there are ways of trying to make that easier, but all of those things involve cost. Cost on consumer products, and especially something that's not part of the product itself. There's constant pressure to reduce the cost of- of products.

Riggins: Your technical background must have been very valuable.

Charles West: Well, it was very helpful to- to have both a business and a technical background, yeah. It uh.. and that-- all of my career was with industrial product companies. I never got involved directly in selling consumer products themselves. So anyway uh.. I left uh.. I got involved in a uh.. I guess it was a- inevitable in a way. I- I really resented the sense of privilege of this guy that had been my-- you know, the- the junior partner who became the new president. But Roger Putnam, Jr. was an associate of mine. He became the new president. But I- but he had been born with a spoon in his mouth and had a sense of privilege that just rubbed me the wrong the way. And I'd always been a sort of an independent-minded guy. And I ultimately, I just rubbed him the wrong way. It was a little too much after seven years. And uh..

Riggins: Strong personalities for both of you, I'm sure.

Charles West: Yeah. So after seven years, I left the company and uh.. he was pretty good about it. He uh.. I stayed on the payroll for a number of months on full pay and so on. I was very cooperative in making suggestions as a former management consultant in how to reorganize the company and they did reorganize the company uhm.. to be stronger a- after I left. Uhm.. but I went on to uh.. to work for uhm.. uh.. the uh.. American Air Filter Company in Louisville, Kentucky. I'm thinking of them because yesterday was the Kentucky Derby and our headquarters was right across the-- diagonally across the Fourth and Central intersection from Churchill Downs. You could look out of my office and see the Churchill Downs. But uhm.. and- and we used to do a lot of marketing promotion uh.. there. We used to bring our customers in from all over. In my uh.. involvement there was as uh.. marketing manager of the uh.. what they call the tempor air group. It involved uhm.. heating, ventilating, and air conditioning primarily for school systems. And I was with them for uh.. uh.. a couple or three years. Uhm.. and uhm.. th- had- left there on bad terms with the- the general manager of the division. I- I uh.. had uh.. h- he was unable to delegate, couldn't-- he was a micromanager and so on and so forth. The- the-- my boss, the general manager of the tempor air group, uh.. I- I was uh.. let go and shortly after I was, the man- the group manager was let go and- and so they- they-- this guy just couldn't handle people well. But when I was, this was uh.. I was about 40 at this point, and I realized I had gotten to the point where any-- I had been brought in from the outside over a group of established people, all people that knew their jobs and so on and so forth. But I realized that I was to the point where at- at the professional level where any job I got, I was going to be asked to turn around a situation that was a failing situation. This division was not doing well.

Riggins: So you were a consultant, in a way, a streamliner.

Charles West: Yeah. I just took a look at- at my skills and wondered. I said whether I'm-- "I don't know whether I've got it to be a turnaround expert, to turn a loser into a winner." And furthermore, I had planned to go into teaching. But later, in- in- around age 50. But this- here I was only 40. But at the time, I had gotten very friendly with the folks at the University of Louisville there and- and decided, you know- cons-- and the job climate was very poor. Uh.. and this was what, 1960 I guess.

Riggins: No, if you were 40--

Charles West: No, no. It was past that. It was '70. Yeah 1970, around 1970.

Riggins: I actually have this form you filled out a long time ago, with your date of birth.

Charles West: Yeah, okay. But around 1970. So uhm.. so I decided to uhm.. make the big move from uh.. uh.. to- from uh.. the industry into- into education and went back for my doctorate. I- I did look around at- to where to go uh.. and ultimately wound up at the University of Louisville. Right- they had a- a good interdisciplinary program where I could-- they didn't have a PhD in- in uh.. uh.. business. And they did-- but they- they did have a good business school. And they- they uh.. this interdisciplinary degree permitted you to- to- to take uhm.. a combination of courses that give you the equivalent of what amounts to a behavioral degree. And I- I ultimately graduated with an interdisciplinary degree which we had titled Organizational Behavior. I took a lot of very advanced doctoral psychology courses and uh.. of course, a lot of engineering and- and some management courses in the- in the school of business.

Riggins: Louisville's a great school.

Charles West: Oh yeah, yeah. It- I- and I enjoyed it. I- I uh.. had some trouble getting my doctoral dissertation written, because uh.. I had planned to do it at Appliance Park in uhm.. Louisville, a huge factory. And about the time I had it all uh.. uhm.. arranged, I-- they laid off uh.. 5,000 workers. And obviously if you're going to survey employees and their attitudes and so on and so forth, you're going to get very biased results. I had to scrap all the work I had done at Appliance Park. But ultimately found another uhm.. location and collected some data and uh.. did a uh.. my doctoral dissertation on- on the subject of motivation, industrial motivation. And uh.. in- in particular, the whole matter of the role of coercion versus rewards. And the carrot and the stick, if you will.

Riggins: Interesting, great.

Charles West: Uhm.. and uh.. while doing that, I had to make a decision whether to-- I had finished all the coursework, whether to work while doing it and th- ha- I got an opportunity to go up to Morehead State University, while still working on the dissertation, and- and did that. And it was a wise uh.. move, because--

Riggins: Is that in Maryland?

Charles West: No, no. It's uh.. Morehead State, eastern Kentucky. It's east of Lexington. About 50 miles east of Lexington. It's one of the state university system. Phil Simms, a quarterback in the NFL, you know, uh.. was uh.. the- the quarterback at Morehead State at the time. And uh.. uhm.. I was there for-- I got tenured there. I was there quite a while, because I uh.. uhm.. uh.. enjoyed it and- and the kids were doing well. It was a small college town. They were in a model school. I had two daughters at this point. Uh.. it was like a- a high-priced uh.. uh.. prep school, but free, because it was a public- it was a public high school, mostly doctor and professors' kids and so on, probably too exclusive, but it was just a wonderful environment. There were no drugs. There were no nothing. Nothing like the problems.

Riggins: This was in eastern Kentucky?

Charles West: Yes, in eastern Kentucky.

Riggins: You think of this as pretty--

Charles West: --backward and so rural and so on.

Riggins: But I guess in this town, where it's a college town.

Charles West: But this—the town, the town was 7,000 and the university was 7,000, so it was a- just a little small enclave and all. So anyway. Let's see. So anyway, I got- I got uh.. went on the faculty there in the- in the school of business uhm.. and uhm.. taught uh.. management and- and marketing courses, uh.. pretty much what I wound up teaching here at- at uh.. UNC Wilmington uh.. until I was uh.. I got my-- until I got- got my doctoral degree. At that point, I was approaching age 50 and I had a personal decision to make. I was ready to go to get a permanent job, here or elsewhere, you know. And- and uh.. I didn't consider-- I- I thought, frankly, that eastern Kentucky was not- it was uh.. it was not the sophisticated, liberal outlook kind of uh.. s- suffi- urbanized kind of situation where I would have wanted to spend the rest of my life at.

Riggins: It sounds like you lived in a whole variety of places. That must have been one of the more rural.

Charles West: Oh yeah. Oh, the most rural. We- we really got- got very much into Appalachian culture there. And I- I was in a singing group, singing Appalachian old- old-timey Appalachian songs and so on. But anyway, uhm.. so approaching 50 uhm.. I still- my daughters still in- in high school and- and so I uhm.. I waited uh.. stayed on there until they got into college before really seriously looking. So I was looking for a job at just turning 50, I passed 50. Which I- I-- that was a risk, but anyway, I- I uh.. started looking after they got off in college, went one- one the University of Florida, the other went to the University of Kentucky. Both really enjoyed each of those institutions. But anyway, so when I started looking, I- I wanted coastal and I wanted uhm.. southern for weather reasons and coastal, because I love the ocean. I- I considered whether to consider California and ruled that out. So I wound up only looking at positions in the southeastern quadrant, coastal. Everything from Norfolk, O- Old Dominion to uh.. uh.. Padre Island, you know, Corpus Christi and so on. And all the Florida schools and so on. And I- I got started there and- and uh.. wound up talking, of course, to UNC Wilmington, among others, Old Dominion, uh.. uh.. a number of coastal schools. And wound up here.

Got hired by uh.. Norm Kaylor and S- and uh.. Steve Harper were the key guys and John Anderson, I remember, was at lunch at the time I came. And uh.. and we uh.. it was- it really worked out well, because I came kind of on the spur of the moment uh.. not with a long-planned thing, but I was going to be in the area and uhm.. so I called and said, "Well, you know, can I drop by?" That would save the university of cost of bringing me in. So they were, "Oh yeah, come on over. Let's talk." And so we did and we had lunch. They had a faculty softball game that afternoon, actually. But the next uh.. week uh.. we talked by phone and I think buttoned up, as I recall, agreed to uh.. to get together and I signed on.

Riggins: I think I remember talking to you. Did you replace Joe Dunn?

Charles West: No.

Riggins: Oh.

Charles West: Yeah, I may have replaced his slot.

Riggins: His slot is what I mean. But not in the field, right.

Charles West: I- I didn't remember meeting Joe on my visit that I recall. But I didn't meet everybody, and probably didn't meet as many people as a normal visit which would have been a day long thing, because they had the faculty softball game. It was basically just a long lunch and a few interviews in the morning. But uhm..

Riggins: Had they been advertising? Is that how you heard about?

Charles West: Pardon me?

Riggins: Had they advertised that position?

Charles West: I- I had-- I think I was just the uhm.. the journ-- what is it? Journ- their--

Riggins: Oh, Chronicle of Higher Ed.

Charles West: Chronicle of Higher Ed, yes, was basically, I was clipping those and calling those. A- all the coastal ones and so on and so forth. And I had been in touch with Steve. I think I had interviewed Steve Harper at a uh.. uh.. business conference. And so I had met him and so on. And because of that personal contact, I was able, on short notice, to call and make an appointment. So here I was, and I joined the faculty and this was about 1980. And uh..

Riggins: You moved-- you were obviously here in the spring.

Charles West: I was living in Kentucky at the time. I uh.. was uh.. the kids, of course, are off in college so I was pretty flexible. I was involved with my-- who- who is now my current wife now. We had met there. She was on the staff up there also. But uh.. she was not in a position to move and couldn't move and so on. So we parted uh.. ways temporarily and sort of courted by long distance for a number of years. Uhm.. and uh.. so I- I uh.. got started teaching the normal kinds of things. I was a management professor. I- I was not so much in the marketing. I- down here, marketing and management were split. But soon, because of my industrial background and so on, I was pretty much uh.. drifted into the uh.. business policy area and strategy, I think they call it more now, which is uh.. the uh.. uh.. the- using the case method to analyze a company's business operations and make suggestions about what they should do differently. What their strengths and weaknesses are, what their opportunities are, and their threats in the environment and uh.. suggest uhm.. uh.. which direction they ought to go. And- and the way we do that is- is the kids are assigned uhm.. I guess you call them young people these days. Young people are assigned uh.. uh.. to read the case, which might be 20 pages, 20-30 pages. Some are longer, some are shorter. And uh.. they read it and- and uh.. then come up with a recommendation. They- they an- analyze. There's a format to analyze it. And- and uh.. and they make- come up with recommendations and then they different ones pres- or alternately going around to present their solution and then the- the class discusses the solution, evaluates it and so on and so forth. And the- the learning goes on through that discussion of this actual situation.

Of course, and I- I- my role in that sort of varies. I try to bring in to make sure that principles that we've learned are- are uhm.. that we learn the lessons by some of the actual uh.. uh.. suggestions and so on. So it's not totally pragmatic, but basically it's the kids challenging the kids. And if someone's got a better idea and so on and so forth. They debate that. Uhm.. so that basically is the main thing I did. During- during my uh.. years here I also did some consulting work uhm.. but not a whole lot. Uh.. I did some work for uhm.. uh.. the uh.. the state port-- n- not the state port, the military port over there uh.. uh..

Riggins: In Jacksonville?

Charles West: No, down here, where they load all the- the military munitions. Sunny Point, Sunny Point. Sunny Point I remember one comes to mind. Uh.. uh.. that I did for them a strategic planning, helped them with a strategic planning study and there were others. But I think uh.. I think uhm.. uh.. I- I was- I was not heavily into consulting. I uh.. it uh.. I didn't feel I needed the money and uh.. it uh.. it- it wasn't- it was- consumed a lot of time. Uhm.. uh.. where do we go from here, now?

Riggins: This is an excellent overview. It sounds like your teaching then was centered on management where you focused on planning and introducing the students to that. How did you find teaching, after all these years in industry? How did you like it?

Charles West: I- I really enjoyed it. I- I uhm.. it was uhm.. uh.. of course, I h- had to sort of-- y- you've got to hold back on this case method. You've sort of got to let the learning emerge, you know. You're facilitating, you're not directing. And uh.. I think I sort of had to pick that up. But I think I got good evaluations from my students. I think uhm.. in the later years, it could have been my age and the classroom. Maybe I was losing some of my a-- I have a hearing uh.. disability and that was beginning to come on. And we- we're getting a little into why I retired now. But I- I think I was losing a little of my edge in the classroom. But I- I do believe that students are less involved in- in learning than they were. I think it was uhm.. and I think I had just very high standards of attention. I- if I had 30 students in the class, I didn't want one to be distracted or talking to his date for the- tonight on the front row. That was intolerable. I just-- it was distracting. I, you know, I wanted their total attention. And so I think uhm... also I think that there-- more of a tendency, I think, with the uh.. currently for students to just be interested in this-- am I going to be tested on this and what have I got to do to get a good grade, rather than to learn.

I mean, I- my message to them was, "Hey look. This is stuff you're going to use." This- I wasn't teaching history. I wasn't teaching philosophy. I was teaching business management. And the stuff I was trying to teach them was stuff that they could use. Very practical stuff that they could use, not to get a good grade, but to run a business or to run their department or to get along with their employees or whatever. And I don't know that I was good at getting that message across, or maybe they were not good at getting it or whatever. They- they couldn't project themselves forward into that professional situation. Uh.. being on the- on the uh.. firing line, I might say that for that reason, the nontraditional students, the older ones that were there, they were totally different. Cup of tea. They- they were eating it all up. They were, you know, they realized the- the usefulness of what you were trying to uh.. to teach them. Uh.. I had learned that uhm..

Riggins: It sounds like you were not known as an easy teacher.

Charles West: Uh.. no, no. I think I was considered one of the tougher ones, actually. Uh.. uh.. we got into discussions about that with the students. Uh.. and I had some complaints uh.. about grades and I would- I went before faculty committees a number of times defending a grade and uh.. that a student was complaining about, claiming unfairness and so on and so forth. And I always had a- a reason, sound reason. Uhm.. I can't ever recall having had to change a grade. But- but I was not an easy grader. I- I think uhm.. just call them the way I see them. I did try to-- I felt it important, maybe more so than some of my uh..-- this might sound a little con- inconsistent, but I felt that- that we professors could not be-- of teaching the same courses, could not be too far out of line in terms of our grade distribution. I mean, I was always aware of what my uh.. associates in the same course, what their distribution was. And I watched it and I would try to s-- I had- when I-- set the cutting points between what's an A and a B and a C. I- I started giving it- putting everything on a decimal scale and then where to the As end and where do the Bs and so on? And I tried to see what other distributions were. But I was always- had fewer As and- and Bs and more uh.. lower down. And uhm.. but I- but I did try to be reasonably consistent. And uh.. and I think uh.. and I- I didn't get a huge number of complaints. I think basically students felt they were fairly treated.

Riggins: That's what's key. The fact that they might grumble and think you're a hard teacher, they also would probably admit that they learned something, if they put forth the effort.

Charles West: Yeah. Oh yeah.

Riggins: How many courses did you teach a semester? Was it four?

Charles West: Normally- normally four courses uhm.. a semester. Uh.. I thi-- that was, I guess lightened up at the end when there was more of a research expectation. But I was- I was never a huge researcher. I would- I would write a- a paper from time to time, make a- a-- pre- present at conference from time to time, get something published and all. But I came in in the early days when uh.. UNC Wilmington was transitioning to a more professional institution. I was talking to a young professor at church yesterday who is- feels like the-- and I won't name the department, but claiming like- the- the ex- research expectations had been changed and upgraded, since she was hired and to like the- like the bar has been raised, you know. And uh.. she was a little unhappy about that. And- but UNCW is trying to steadily progress to a more uhm.. uh.. more of an academic institution. I hope we don't lose our-- we claim we want to be a teaching institution, an undergraduate teaching institution. No institution ever made a big reputation with excellent undergraduate teaching. Sorry about that. It's a-- and your time cannot be put into excellent teaching or-- a- and uhm.. researching. You can do one or the other or divide your time, but there is a- there is a zero sum situation there.

Riggins: It is amazing what faculty today are asked to do here.

Charles West: I think-- I- I have made comment to a lot of friends and including faculty from- and associates. I think I got out just in time, because I think that of the economy. What's [break in audio] UNC Wilmington is happening throughout the economy, the- the so-called improved productivity is coming from everybody's doing a job and a half. And uh.. maybe that means we weren't as comfortable. We don't have the quality of life we did in the old days, which uh.. uh.. whatever you think of that. Uh.. uh.. in a philosophical point we could talk about a long while.

Riggins: I don't know. It's true that there is, just at this institution, there is a history of doing lots and lots without much. So I don't know. I think that fits in well with the current ethic of produce, produce.

Charles West: One thing that- that uh.. you know, grading of course is a- is a- a big problem. And here-- and it takes time to grade. And uhm.. the whole matter of what's available on the Internet and uh.. uh.. copying. I'm- I'm blanking on the term now.

Riggins: Plagiarism.

Charles West: Plagiarism. The problem of plagiarism.

Riggins: It's much easier to plagiarize now.

Charles West: I don't know how professors deal with it, depending on some courses, creative courses. Uhm.. it's a real problem. But uhm.. I think we need grading. I mean, everyone says you wouldn't want to have uh.. your brain surgeon be somebody that had been on a non-graded medical school, you know.

Riggins: That's a good point.

Charles West: So uhm.. anyway.

Riggins: I'm sure there were lots of debates like that. It sounds like you're not the type to shy away from debate, so you fit in with the faculty.

Charles West: Oh no, no.

Riggins: You came relatively late into it, having done other things.

Charles West: Pardon me?

Riggins: You did other things in your career, but then it sounds like you fit in with the faculty lifestyle. What did you like about academics?

Charles West: Well uh.. the- the thing about academics, I think, is I enjoyed the intellectual life. The- and the intellectual stimulation. Uhm.. and argumentation the- the pro/con and so on. I think I'm pretty good at it. Uh.. and uh.. win my share of debates. But uhm.. uhm.. I just- I think I like the- the variety, the- the autonomy. Of course, a wonderful aspect of the academic lifestyle. Uh.. even now, with the chairman on your back uhm.. and the research expectations and so on, uh.. there's a lot to like about college teaching as a career. Uhm.. but uh.. uh.. it- there are some issues and problems or sort of policy questions that we could get into, if you want to talk about AUP or whatever. But uhm.. uh.. I- I enjoyed my--

Riggins: Yeah, I would like to talk about it. You came in to the university in 1980, so the university had experienced a lot of growth, really its whole history.

Charles West: I think it was about 6,500 students, if I recall when I arrived. And now now, of course, I guess-- what, double that?

Riggins: It's probably double that.

Charles West: Yeah.

Riggins: To get to that point, that reflects a huge amount of growth.

Charles West: Oh yeah, yeah.

Riggins: More so than doubling. I mean, since the time it started, it started with several hundred and then just kept growing exponentially. I would assume that when you came, what was the salary? Was it a comparable salary to college teaching elsewhere?

Charles West: Oh yeah, yeah. Yeah, I think I- I think I was-- but I think there-- I got an increase in salary coming here, modest. But uh..

Riggins: You came in as associate professor?

Charles West: Yeah, I came in as associate professor, which would probably be impossible in this day and age. And they did that based on my industrial background and so on. In other words, I was two cat-- we haven't stated it here, but I was basically a two career person. And I've said to many people, people like Norm McCloren, I was just meeting with this morning. And, you know, you're a professional educator. You knew all along, X number of books and so on. I've never written a book. I wouldn't even think about writing a book. And, you know, I may-- I've never been truly an academician, don't think of myself as an academician. And uh.. and I think uh.. when I retired, you know, my hearing was beginning to go. I think my- my-- partly because of that. I also had some eye problems and I think I was getting less sharp in the classroom. Uhm.. but teaching wasn't as sati-- maybe the kids were getting less attentive. Uhm.. it was not as fulfilling as it was. But some of it was just I'd been there, done that for a while. I was ready to move on and do something else. Whereas, I think a professional academician that had built a lifelong career there and had research interests to pursue and so on.

When I left uhm.. I- I did commit to teach one course uh.. where they didn't have someone. It was in the management of technology. But the guy they hired to replace me, Craig Galbraith, now on the faculty over there, I believe, uh.. is- had that as a key part of his background. So they had that filled, so I had- didn't have to fulfill that teaching. And I have not taught anything here. I- I did-- have maintained connection with the department and the campus because of my interest in AAUP, you know, social contacts and so on and so forth.

Riggins: How did you get involved with the local chapter of the AAUP?

Charles West: I'm trying to remember. Uhm.. I was involved in Phi Kappa Phi, which is an honorary society, which was very active on the Morehead campus. But I don't believe I uh.. I don't believe I-- I don't remember just now. I don't think they had an AAUP chapter. If they did, I did-- I wasn't active in it. Of course, I was working on my doctorate. I had other things while teaching. So I was plenty busy. I didn't have much time for co-curricular stuff uh.. at Morehead. But I think when I got down here, one thing--and I think this is uh.. sort of distinctive about me--I think unlike the other business professors, I'm not exactly sure where I picked it up. Maybe it was being in- in Appalachia or, you know, seeing some of that poverty and so on. But I'm uh.. pretty much a political liberal and a philosophical liberal and surrounded-- we're in the-- which campus is, in general or inclined to be liberal, Democratic party oriented and so on and so forth. But the school of business typically is much more conservative, strongly Republican and so on and so forth.

I, at the time, uhm.. felt I wanted to not just be a part of the School of Business. I wanted to be more involved with the campus at large. I wanted to-- had-- had found that of interest at Louisville and at Morehead to be connected. And- and also, as I- as I said before, I wasn't a true academician, just totally dedicated to my specialized field. And so I did not shrink from-- and in fact, I think I sought out connections to serve elsewhere on the campus where I would make friends, get connected, get to know people, and so on and so forth. I spent a lot of while on the uh.. University Senate.

Riggins: Did you?

Charles West: Yeah.

Riggins: That was after the AAUP started?

Charles West: Uh.. I- I pretty soon got involved in the senate. I guess probably I joined the AAUP right as soon as I got here for the reason I mentioned, because that was people elsewhere on the campus. People like Jim Megivern and Thad Dankel and so on. They were two leaders. Uhm.. and- and so I uhm.. as- as the resident liberal from the business school, uh.. uh.. sort of connected up and- and I think served a function sort of connecting up some of these more liberal hotbeds with the school of business, because I knew what was going on there and- and uh.. there were one or two others, but not many. M- mostly business professors are pretty conservative.

Riggins: That's everywhere.

Charles West: And so uhm.. but I got connected with the- the AAUP and- and uh.. now that you mention that you've talked to Jim McGivern. Have you talked to Jim, by the way?

Riggins: Yes.

Charles West: If you've talked to Jim Megivern and Thad Dankel, they know pretty much everything I have. I- I was-- but I was active, along with them in the AAUP. Uhm.. not just here on the campus, but at the state level. And they were each, I believe, at- at least once president of the state conference, as they call it. I was never. I was on the uh.. state uh.. executive committee for a long time. Uh.. and uh.. but uh.. never- never president of the- of the conference. But I have continued my int- I've continued my membership in- in the uh.. AAUP here. I have tried from time to time to sort of establish a chapter. I still get the uh.. get the membership list from the na- from the national organization and we now have uh.. 2, 3, 4, uh.. 6, now down to just six.

Riggins: Are you able to say those names?

Charles West: Oh yeah. Well I can, yeah. I didn't know if you would-- there's Michael Sideman in History, myself, uh.. Robert Argen- Argenbright in Earth Sciences, uh.. Don Bushman in English, Bob Roer in Biology, Bo- Bob Smith in Social Studies, Robert Tyndall in Education, Richard Veidt in English and uh.. Margaret Parish, now retired from English. And those are some-- I know all those folks and uhm.. but haven't-- and my good friend, Maggie Parish I was just with uh.. just yesterday at a concert. Uhm.. but I have tried to-- it's down from about 20 or so when the chapter sort of went defunct after I retired. And I've tried to sort of perpetuate a chapter. The- the AAUP will let you have a chapter with, I think, seven or more members, which- which we have seven here. But uhm.. no one has wanted to uhm.. to pick up the job of- of sort of organizing it on the campus. And so it- it's gotten to the point now where I'm basically a contact person, between the AAUP national and this campus. And they put out one or two uhm.. publications a year uh.. sort of a newspaper, newsletter kind-- more than a newsletter. More of a newspaper with AAUP. It's not their full range of publications, salary survey and so on. But they're-- but uh.. and I distribute those. I package those up and- and uh.. uh.. I get together a- a big mailing for all the faculty and send a package of those to each department and the secretaries distribute them around in the internal office mail. So that is a- sort of a last lingering link between the AAUP nationally and uh.. and the uh.. UNC Wilmington campus.

I think that one of the reasons there hasn't been uhm.. a chapter is because uhm.. the senate, by and large, does a pretty good job. And we've had- had pretty good chancellors recently. Uhm.. there was a story--and this was I assume probably Jim Megivern or Thad told this story--but at the time, uhm.. uh.. after Dr. Wagoner retired, the board of trustees were fastened on a uhm.. a- a candidate who was, as I recall he was the general manager of a religious publishing house. And uh.. uh.. so uh.. the- the AAUP chapter was active at that time and got together and combined with the senate and raised hell about it and uhm.. aroused the faculty and so on and so forth. So that- that we were able to deter the board of trustees from hiring this character and we went back to the drawing board and hired Dr. Leutze, who everyone agreed has been a fine chancellor and uh.. uh.. was a much better choice and a- a former professor at Chapel Hill and so on, and with some executive experience and so on.

So uh.. but that uh.. by and large the senate has been able to serve that kind of function. If there should be some threatened thing happen, I- you know, unfortunately, there's not a chapter now to form a core of people that are sort of together. It's unfortunate, I think it-- but incidentally, it's not just UNC Wilmington. It-- the AAUP has declined on all campuses in terms of membership. We expensive-- it's a vicious circle kind of thing. Membership dues have gone up. I- I think I had them here. They're almost 200 dollars I think for a full professor's dues. I've got them here somewhere. But they're over 100 dollars. Oh here- here, yeah. The uh.. uh.. full-time dues are 160 dollars. That's a stiff- that's a stiff price. Uhm.. there are ways, y- you know, uh.. more junior people can-- for less than that.

Riggins: Do you think because of the rise in self-governance at individuals in situations have contributed to the decline in membership from AAUP?

Charles West: I think uh.. I think uh.. partly it's that. I think uhm.. for reasons that we've already discussed, professors and employees in general don't have as much time to give to it. AAUP ought- used to have a lot of in- interesting uh.. uh.. luncheon discussions and so on and so forth. And they're just-- I think the pressure is on people. They- they don't have the time to participate in a- in a active organization. That's- that's one thing. The rising cost is another thing. Uh.. I think maybe the- the trend of the times. It's said, I think, s- some- sometimes that younger people are not as uhm.. group oriented. There's more individualistic thinking. My career, you know, the Me generation and so on and so forth. And uh.. less loyalty to an institution especially in- including the university institution. Uhm.. so uhm.. that contributed to it. Uhm.. I find volunteerism uhm.. uh.. I'm- I'm involved in volunteerism all over town and I- it's tough to get people out. They're busy with their own careers, their own stuff.

Riggins: You find it very rewarding.

Charles West: Yeah.

Riggins: I'm going to turn off this tape for a moment and switch tapes and we'll take a break.

Charles West: Okay. I was wondering when you were going to do that. [end of tape 1]

Riggins: Hello. I'm back. This is Adina Riggins, Archivist. I'm here for Tape 2, May 8, 2006. My interviewee is Charles W. West, Jr.-- Dr. Charles W. West, Jr., also known as Charlie. Thank you very much for continuing your interview with us today.

Charles West: Okay.

Riggins: We were talking about AAUP that you were involved with and the really important role it had on the campus for a long time, in conjunction with Faculty Senate. Now Faculty Senate has taken over--

Charles West: Seems to be handling the job quite well, and uh.. I uh.. don't know um.. what the new chancellor-- what her role has been in the senate. But I remember Dr. Leutze attended the senate meetings regularly-- no substitute for that-- and uh.. was a party to the discussions, honored what they came up with and so on and so forth. Not that he-- you know, he had a will of his own, no question about that-- but um.. I hope that uh.. Rosemary will continue to- to honor the- the senate.

Riggins: She has since she's been here.

Charles West: Good.

Riggins: Did you observe a move towards increasing self-governance while you were here, when you started off? Was it more limited as far as the role of faculty, or had it already been changing? Like just in your department, for example, or the school of business.

Charles West: Oh. Uh.. I don't know that I could comment on any trend I observed, over my time even really. Um.. I know that uh.. at AAUP we were increasingly talking about governance as a problem, but I don't think we had that as a problem here on the campus, uh.. other than this one chancellor search thing. Um.. just uh.. I think we uh.. no I- I think the senate uh.. Dr. Leutze was more um.. interested in the senate than- than uh.. Dr. Wagoner was. And- and uh.. I can't really comment. I-- I don't-- I can't detect any trend either way on that.

Riggins: What were some of the other issues you remember from the senate? If you do-- I know it was a long time ago.

Charles West: Oh, gee. We were constantly talking about the uh.. basic studies of course.

Riggins: Oh, that's come up again. I don't know if you've heard that from--

Charles West: Yeah. Oh, yeah-- no-- what are they talking about doing now. I guess-- oh, I--

Riggins: Revising it. Because that's one of the things Dr. DePaolo demanded-- or, not demanded-- you know, required was to set up a change for basic studies. And there's been a lot of discussion that when basic studies was first introduced it was a different university. And basic studies had a certain role then. Now, what is the basic studies role? You know-- for this group of students.

Charles West: Yeah. Yeah. I think-- isn't there more emphasis, I think, on giving freshman a core experience-- or coherent, integrated experience of introduction to the intellectual life, rather than just a- a smattering of a lot specialties. I- I don't know.

Riggins: That sounds-- yeah, that sounds familiar. There's also the mention that now students are very strong, and students at the time-- you know, 20 years ago-- may-- the idea was that they may not have been as strong. They may not have had the highest SATs in the world, but they were admitted here. We were going to help them-- make them into good university students-- so that they can have good degrees. And that was what-- and they did, and people like Jimmy from Chemistry-- I can't remember his last name, Jimmy--

Charles West: Reeves.

Riggins: Yes. Yeah. He's been very active on the senate and has spoken about these changes--

Charles West: Jimmy goes to my church. We're good friends.

Riggins: Yeah. I can see that. He's just been so very vocal and knows the history to, I think. The Chemistry department's so strong. So.

Charles West: I think one thing that's uh.. changed that might have a role in here is the fact that as more and more dorms have been built, uh.. I presume there-- more of the student are accommodated on campus. Are they, or is it-- uh.. is it still a commuter campus? When I came it was basically everyone went off-- basically a commuter campus. My impression is that there-- that is less the case. They've got all that complex back there.

Riggins: For freshmen-- a lot of-- most of the freshmen live on campus. It's still been that most everyone else moves off, but that will be changing with the new-- some new residence halls being built that are accommodating upper classmen. But that's brand new. So.

Charles West: I'm interested in these issues because my uh.. first grandchild is coming up on her senior year in high school and-- bright girl and looking to go to a good school and-- and so on. So I'm uh.. talking about that. I-- incidentally, one of-- I'm involved with a lot of activities, but one of those is interviewing candidates for Cornell down here in Wilmington area. I'm the Cornell contact. And uh.. was talking with the father of the one guy we got into Cornell. Well, we got two in; only one accepted in-- 20 years I guess. Very selective, and of course down here Cornell is not known as well as it is at-- uh.. in the Northeast.

Riggins: Right. And it's so different geographically and climate. Yeah.

Charles West: But um.. so I'm- I'm thinking about the college experience with- with my granddaughter coming up.

Riggins: Uh-huh. Oh, yeah. Wow. Yeah, it is a great school. So two people-- or one who has accepted at Cornell since you've been in alumni interviews?

Charles West: Yeah. He's-- yeah, he's-- he graduated and is doing very well living in-- he the son of one of our prominent lawyers, and uh.. he's living in Hawaii now. So doing very well. I would he expect he would. He was a bright boy-- went in engineering, as I recall, very sharp-- very computer oriented at that point. Um.. where are we now?

Riggins: Yeah. Well, we were talking about AAUP and your time here. Well, we can go back to the time here. But let's talk about what you have been doing during your retirement, which has already been a long time. What are some of your activities and responsibilities?

Charles West: Well, I-- you know, I mentioned that uh.. I was sort for a- for a business professor, very liberal politically and philosophically perhaps, and very interested in the rest of the campus. And even in those days-- in my teaching days-- I um.. got very involved in-- probably more than most professors-- in organizations in the community. And I've been very involved in- in the community. I sort of feel like I've had a-- I have a skill, namely organizational knowledge, to offer and can help them. Uh.. a lot of volunteer organizations, non-profits, are uh..

Riggins: They need help with organization.

Charles West: Yeah, they're- they're not-- they're all right-brained, well meaning, intuitive people who um..

Riggins: I'm one of these people.

Charles West: -- whose hearts are in the right place and so on, but they need structuring kinds of things and so on. So I--

Riggins: Yeah. Oh, I can imagine you have a really valuable role. Yeah.

Charles West: I provide-- we're-- I just came from this meeting this morning was [interruption] where it's the kind of-- very-- sort of the end of this whole commemoration of the 1898 riots, which got started around 19-- 18-- 1997 or 1996 we started planning for that. I'm the treasurer of that and have been- have been the treasurer of that all along now for ten years. And we put on this uh.. big commemoration, which had conferences here on the campus and brought visiting scholars and--

Riggins: And the university was very involved.

Charles West: -- dialogue groups. The university was very much involved. We had brought John Hope Franklin down and dialogue groups all over town and so on and so forth. And we'd successfully uh.. divested those off to other organizations. Um.. Girls Incorporated picked up the dialogue groups and- and uh.. they're-- had something called the Partners for Economic Inclusion, which were picked up by the uh.. chamber of commerce.

Riggins: Oh. So you didn't want to do all of this for the anniversary and then nothing happens. Yeah.

Charles West: Yeah. Well, we-- I saw-- we saw the role of uh.. of the commemoration as being a consciousness-raising exercise. And-- but then we did not see the 1898 Centennial Foundation, as we called it, as a continuing organization. And it- it-- after the commemoration was over, you know, the- the volunteers, resources and so on started to uh.. we- we were-- had-- we were trying to get rid of jobs and basically go out of business. So that was our- our goal, but the one last task, which we are currently working-- right now-- is the one uh.. Oh! One of the things we did was to basically launch this committee of Thomas Wright's. It made a presentation, this big thick research book, about the 1898 thing. And we had a presentation here over at Trask Annex, last weekend I think-- which I attended. And uh.. but so that-- that's been done. A lot of it-- the commemoration and consciousness-raising, education and soon on-- has been done. The one thing we have not done is to build a monument, which is what-- this is meeting of the key fund-raisers this morning. We're coming to the end of our active fund-raising, and so uh.. when that gets done, we've now got that- that monument will be down there right where the Martin Luther King Parkway is coming into downtown and connecting up with 3rd Street. The monument and park and so on will be right there. So uh.. we're uh.. trying to get that all finalized-- raise the final funds for that. And we've got it pretty much under control.

Riggins: Is Bertha Todd still involved?

Charles West: Oh, yes. I was at her-- had-- we met at her home this morning.

Riggins: Oh, okay. Is she the president of-- well, there is no foundation now, so what this group is-- ?

Charles West: Well, we changed the name from-- as we sort of downsized it and downscaled it-- it's now called the 1898 Foundation. And we've made an alliance with the uh.. Community Foundation of the Lower Cape Fear, which is our lower-- it's the local area foundation. I don't know if you're familiar with what a foundation is, but it's a holder or repository of charitable funds, which makes grants and so on. So they're--

Riggins: Yeah. Okay. Well that's a good way to explain it, 'cause-- yeah.

Charles West: They're handling our money. We turned the-- our bank account, basically, other than a-- I- I maintain a small bank account, several thousand dollars in it, but the bulk of our funds we had at the time when we basically uh.. downsized, was turned over to the Com-- the Foundation of the Lower Cape Fear-- community foundation. And- and now, our contributors, which we're-- when they make a contribution, they write the check to the community foundation in our name. So that's it's in-- basically-- our account.

Riggins: So it's Cape Fear-- oh, it's Community Foundation of-- ?

Charles West: Communi-- the foundation's name, down on Front Street, is the Community Foundation of the Lower Cape Fear. And that's--

Riggins: But they earmark it for-- yeah.

Charles West: And they- they hold it for the- for the uh.. 1898 Foundation. And they- they had a-- they had their annual meeting here uh.. last week, and I went down and made a brief presentation. Um.. we're sort of allies, if you will. Um.. but that's one of my interests. A lot of my interests focus on the racial issue-- the need for racial justice and so on. The 1898 thing was involved in that. I'm uh.. very active in the NAACP. I'm on the executive committee. And I'm also on the board of Girl's Incorporated, which is a predominately African American organization. Um.. I had been very active-- uh.. not so much lately-- but uh.. with the Democratic party, following along with that liberal pattern. Uh.. I was uh.. started out as secretary on the country executive committee, and then I- I reached term limits, but I was doing a rather central role-- if I do say so myself-- spending a lot of time. I was the-- producing the newsletter and uh.. maintained the database and sort of central person in communications. So I stayed on in kind of an appointed basis in title they call the Executive Secretary. I had been Secretary, but then we had a corresponding secretary who had to replace me, but--

Riggins: Do the minutes and all that.

Charles West: They re-titled me Executive Secretary, and I stayed on for another ten years I guess, producing um.. the newsletter and maintaining the database and so on-- a major consumer of my time. Very uh.. and I continue to be active with the Democratic party. I- I-- a lot of people don't realize this, but I currently am theor-- um.. I am a candidate for the local school board on the Democratic party. But I--

Riggins: Have you served on the school board before?

Charles West: No, I have not-- and- and do not intend to, as- as my close friends know. But-- and I had done this a couple of times before uh.. for the party. I filed for the school board because I thought we needed more liberal candidates. And uh.. the filing was about to close this- this year with too few liberal candidates. We had just one that filed at the last minute, a good friend of mine. So I said, "Well, I think we could find another one. Um.. someone else." I didn't intend to serve. My- my hearing is not good enough to function effectively as a school board member, no question about that. But I did-- it is possible for someone to take my place between now and the time they print the ballots, which will be like mid-July. So if you know someone that'd be a good strong candidate, liberal--

Riggins: Liberal.

Charles West: -- outlook for the school board, put them in touch with me and- and we will--

Riggins: Yes. I sure will.

Charles West: But anyway, um.. so that's-- the party is less one of my interests currently, but I'm still pretty active. Um..

Riggins: Is that because of the situation where the democrats are not doing as well in this ________________? Or are you just busy with other things?

Charles West: No. I just-- I'm-- that- that's I'm-- that's the side I'm on, and uh.. I just-- oh, you mean my declining interest and so on and so forth? No, I think really um.. the hearing, again, contributed there. There- there's a-- uh.. it's-- as a member of the executive committee, there was lot of getting-- a lot of phone work and stuff like that. And I'm not as effective on that as I used to be. So uh.. I-- and I- I-- there are other things I do. I'm involved with an organization called the Memorial Society of the Lower Cape Fear, which was-- I was president for a while. I'm currently the Membership Secretary, but I- I basically do a lot of the work of the organization's-- sort of a central figure that promotes the idea-- it's an educational organization to promote the idea of making funeral plans in advance. And uh.. therefore, to-- rather than at-- under distressed circumstances or leaving it to your heirs and so on and so forth. Having the-- rather than the funeral, time of funeral, be a time of stress and last minute scrambling to do things-- get the plans made all in advance.

Riggins: So you're encouraging people who- who might not think of that, maybe some of them-- you know, in their lower income, you know, to encourage them to do that. That's really helpful.

Charles West: Exactly. Exactly. Yes, and we- we--

Riggins: That sort of fits in with your planning background.

Charles West: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. Yeah.

Riggins: Do you find that organizations use- use you and you also volunteer yourself for the skills?

Charles West: I enjoy-- I don't do anything in organiz-- I don't-- philosophically, I don't feel there is any such thing as altruism. I think we are motivated to do things that we like to do, that-- or we'd do something different. And uh.. I'm not much of an idealist in that sense. I- and I enjoy everything I do in organizations. I don't feel dumped upon or used or whatever. I- I like knowing what's going on, but not just knowing what's going-- or observing what's going on-- but being a part of what's going on-- being centrally involved. It gives me-- I just feel better when I do it. It's uh.. my wife gave me a--

Riggins: Well, it's your nature, you're-- would you say you're an outgoing person, extrovert? And, you know, a good communicator and you like to manage and be part of teams. So. But you were saying your wife-- ?

Charles West: My wife gave me a picture once, early in our courtship, that she thought captured my attitude about life. And it shows a- a trio of animals going along playing, sort of like uh.. playing instruments-- one playing the piccolo, one's beating a drum, and so on and so forth. And they're trooping along, and it has a- it has a caption, and it is, "Life is not a spectator sport." And that's kind of a- a motto, I think.

Riggins: Uh-huh. You're probably not a big television watcher.

Charles West: I don't watch any tel-- I watch-- I watch if it's-- if it fits in the- the uh.. Jim Lehrer show on public television. I check the television guide for worthwhile programs. I think that the media these days are a disaster. I watch no popular comedies. I don't know any of these personalities; I- I don't know uh.. a lot of pop culture, that 20-somethings and perhaps 30-somethings that just really is the stuff of their lives and all-- but all-- all observing, not being a part of. See that's observing life. And observing secondhand, ersatz life-- I can't imagine anything-- more meaningless use of your time. Uh.. so uh.. I uh.. the Lehrer show and- and an occasional good uh.. Hallmark Hall of Fame-- that kind of thing.

Riggins: Uh-huh. Documentary.

Charles West: A series um.. I will-- I try to exercise regularly, and when I'm using an indoor exercise bike and pedaling machine, I do watch TV. It sort of breaks the boredom. Um.. whatever's one-- CNN or- or uh.. I really love C-SPAN for firsthand uh.. stuff.

Riggins: Well, I mean you're doing something right. Because you're happy, and you're living a healthy life. So-- and I understand you travel some? You've done some international travel recently.

Charles West: It's one of my favorite-- uh.. I'm glad you brought it up, 'cause I really enjoyed it. I uh.. just back from a uh.. recent trip to Israel-- went over there with my brother uh.. and uh.. it was just immensely-- I- I was interested in going mostly to be with my brother and sort of build some bridges with him that needed building. His wife didn't want to go with him, and my wife uh.. was able to get along without me for ten days or so. So we went. And we did build the bridges, but it was just immensely insightful to-- following along with the idea of _______________ being a part of things. To get over there and see that Sharon wall. Going from Jerusalem over into Bethlehem, you go through the Sharon wall. The Sharon wall is that thick, and it's 14 feet high. And I mean it's-- if they build that all along in between-- you can just see and-- the difference between the Israel side and the Palestinian side and uh..

Riggins: The life there. Sort of like the old Berlin wall, you know, the--

Charles West: Oh, yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Exactly. And- and uh.. so that's what's-- that's what's going on over there. We--

Riggins: Did you go with a group, or did you-- ?

Charles West: Well, yeah-- we were with a group, small group, which was great because we got a lot of opportunity to talk to the uh.. the uh.. the leader. Um.. it was um.. let's see-- there was a point I wanted to make about that. Uh.. we got up into the Golan Heights, you know, looking over and see the fortifications, over at Syria and, you know, all kinds of security and armed forces and so on. You can just see what a problem-- oh, the-- and we left um.. the day of the Israeli elections, recently Israeli elections. So the- the night before we got the car to the airport, we were watching the- the returns coming and so on-- and of course uh.. they have a new president who is basically going to perpetuate Sharon's policy of unilateral um.. establishing of a uh.. the border and building a wall on it. And uh.. of course, over on the Palestinian side it's extremely complicated too. You've got-- because they can't get together-- you've got- you've got terrorists trying to get together who have gotten elected. The terrorists have gotten elected-- and uh.. some reasonably responsible Arabs on the uh.. trying to get together. And so- so you've got-- and so-- and you've got the split on the Israeli side too. You've got some people that don't believe in this wall saying, "No wall. We want the whole thing." The point is, you see over there the-- with the religious tensions and the uh.. political tensions, security problems and so on-- they're all together.

Riggins: [laughs] I haven't been there. I would really love to, but it's-- for someone who's interested in negotiation, politics, I'm sure it's interesting. Because don't they-- in Israel-- don't they have a very high level of participation in democracy?

Charles West: Oh, yeah. Yeah.

Riggins: Yeah, there's not that voter apathy that we see here.

Charles West: No. Not at all. Not at all. It's- it's--

Riggins: That might be part of the problem. [laughs] Who knows? Everyone has an opinion. So.

Charles West: That's fine. It was just much more insightful than that.

Riggins: Was it a-- the group that you went with-- was it a religious group, or was it a-- ?

Charles West: No. Fortunately, it was not. It was uh.. the uh.. tour leader was Jewish. Uh.. and but uh.. and- and most of the-- uh.. this group of six-- I guess we were all sort of Christian background, but he- he would introduce um.. the biblical stuff-- you know, this is the site and- and uh.. this is where Jesus fell the third time and so on and so forth. Um.. but uh.. it was not-- we were not all there to pray-- basically to pray-- we there and it was basically, which pleased me, because I'm basically not religious myself. I've sort of-- I think all professors sort of drift away from their traditional religion, especially is it's as conservative as the Catholic church is. And- and uh.. so I-- but my brother is devout Catholic. So I mean that was part of the bridges we were trying to build. Um.. but uh.. we uh.. we saw a lot about the politics, the culture, all aspects. But even, you know, even religion-- it- it was interesting to see the-- within the-- in the- the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, for example, they've got all the Christian-- even within the Christian-- you've got three different religious orders. You've got the Greek Orthodox here, and you've got the Roman Catholics here, and you've the Armenians here. And they've each got different kinds of robes; they're all Christians. They're all very aware of which part of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher is theirs and so on. So it's--

Riggins: So even there's-- you know, they are such a minority over there, they're very, very protective.

Charles West: Very jealous about their prerogatives and so on an so forth.

Riggins: Yes, in the Holy Land. That's interesting. So you have done quite a bit of travel in your retirement. Some other international?

Charles West: Oh, well, and during. I mean I-- I'm probably more traveled that most folks. We've been to all the continents, I guess, except Antarctica-- had a-- we had uh.. some of the major ones uh.. trips are-- we did uh.. a overland, two-month overland tour in South America from Keto to Santiago, involving the Inca trip-- doing-- hiking the Inca trails, which is a four-day hike. Um.. we did a-- about a three-week safari in Southern Africa from Kenya to Johannesburg. And I've done a lot of traveling that Beverly hasn't been along on. Uh.. Morocco-- a number of things-- been to Russia in the Soviet Union days-- very interesting. Uh.. Thailand, Australia, China and so on and so forth.

Riggins: Wow. That's certainly broadening. You know.

Charles West: Yeah. Yeah. And I've enjoyed it. It's- it's one of my favorite things to do.

Riggins: Did you find when you were-- back to when you were teaching-- had a lot of the students not traveled? Did that come up in your class about this-- in terms of broadening and getting perspective from international-- did that come up?

Charles West: Uh.. I think that was coming on uh.. we were beginning to talk about that-- and we had some international cases. I don't think it was a focus, uh.. and I didn't get involved too much in that really.

Riggins: I think now there's a whole international business section and everything.

Charles West: Yeah. Oh, yeah. Yeah. And I- and I applaud that and approve of the-- uh.. I'm- I'm uh.. one of my interests, organizational interests-- uh.. I'm on the board of a local United Nations Association, which is a U.N. booster organization. And we're building bridges currently with the people in Political Science. They're talking about uh.. about launching a model U.N. program, which is a uh.. you know-- and- and ultimately putting on a model U.N. conference for high schoolers here on the- on the campus, which would be wonderful. -- Talking about creating a course in model U.N., which will be uh.. to sort of gear up to do that. So that'll-- that's wonderful, and I- I really applaud uh.. the internationalization of the campus. We had a-- uh.. we had-- the U.N. Association had a uh.. booth here at the recent uh.. intercultural festival. And uh.. we did some surveying there of attitudes about the U.N. and so on. So it's- it's good to see that.

Riggins: Great. Great. Well, if can hold onto you for a few more moments, I'd like to ask about some the characters that you knew while you were here. I'll probably remind you as I say their names. It strikes me that you probably knew Gerald Shinn.

Charles West: Oh, yeah. Not as well as some. Uh.. yeah-- very with the tie and the pocket and all, yeah.

Riggins: He was a-- it was funny, I've been told that-- it may have been the chancellor at the time-- Dr. Wagoner-- or someone else who was high up said, "Every campus needs a Jerry Shinn, but only one Jerry Shinn." [laughs]

Charles West: [laughs] Yeah.

Riggins: He was good about getting things done. He didn't always go through the right channels, you know.

Charles West: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. He was quite a character. I really didn't know him well. I sort of knew him more by reputation. I mean I've exchanged words with him, pleasantries, a few times-- but somewhat through uh.. Jim Megivern of course, who I was very close to. So.

Riggins: You must have gotten to know Dr. Megivern pretty well. For the centennial, he was co-chair with Barbara-- or with--

Charles West: He- he was chair of- of uh.. Philosophy and Religion for many years, and- and also uh.. we were together on the state um.. AAUP Executive Committee for a number of years. And I um.. rode back and forth with him to uh.. to Raleigh, uh.. you know. And so, we had long three-hour conversations. Some of those pre-dated I-40. So I mean it was [laughs]-- it was a three-hour ride instead of a two-hour. But uh.. we uh..

Riggins: He is really interesting, because he-- you know, he's one of-- he came a long time ago, and of course has retired. And he's done a lot of scholarship while he was here. Wrote his books, wrote lots of scholarly articles. So if anybody, and I don't know if this is true, but if any current professors think, "Oh, there was no scholarship going on," well, there were certainly people like him and Jim McGowan and, you know-- who really led this university in so many ways.

Charles West: Sure.

Riggins: Did you know Jim McGowan?

Charles West: Less so. Um.. I'd uh.. see him from time to time, but we were not close friends. Um.. just pleasantries and so on. I- I didn't really- didn't really feel I knew him. I knew Jim really better. I visited Jim since he left. Uh..

Riggins: Yeah. In Brevard? How's he--

Charles West: Visited him up there in Brevard.

Riggins: How's he doing there? Does he--

Charles West: Uh.. we went to lunch. He's getting along fine. He's had some real health problems. His eyes have really-- I don't know-- probably, this has happened since you interviewed him. But um.. he really has a tough time. But it's a- it's a-- they have a nice situation there with the Brevard College. And so he's doing-- keeping his hand in the academic life. His wife, of course, Marjorie-- who, incidentally, was very centrally involved in the U.N. Association-- so we- we-- and he was too, by the way. He was on the U.N.A. board with me and Marjorie um.. while he was here. Um.. but they're-- so they're- they're both uh.. involved with Brevard College in the arts up there. She's very much, of course, in the art-- into the arts. And they get back. You know, she does performances around town. I'm sure you may know. And uh.. he gets back to present an occasional paper and so on. I--

Riggins: Wow. Yeah, they're quite amazing. Melton McLaurin, I understand you're still in touch with him. I'm interviewing him next week.

Charles West: Oh, you are? Well- well Mel will, you know, Mel has a different experience of the campus than I have. I was, as I say, was with him this morning. Actually, I twisted his arm yesterday at church to make sure he made this meeting this morning. But um.. he's uh.. will fill you in on-- uh.. or course, you more interested in the campus-- but the 1898 Foundation. He's central to this closing in for-- the reason he was there is he's very much involved in some of this- this fund-raising we're doing now. Um.. so he'll be a good source.

Riggins: Yeah. Definitely. He was-- he's been here for so long. I already interviewed his wife. She was on the faculty.

Charles West: Oh, you did. Okay. Yeah.

Riggins: Yeah. She was great to interview as well, but um.. and they were good friends um.. Gene Huguelet, the Library Director. Did you know him?

Charles West: Yes, I know Gene. Um.. not as well as some of the others. Um.. but uh.. he's uh.. haven't seen him in a while.

Riggins: He's doing fine. Yeah. Yeah. He's doing ______________.

Charles West: I see his name on lists as something, contributor and helper, volunteer-- whatever.

Riggins: Yeah. You must see a lot of lists in your-- are-- so are you pretty comfortable with using the computer for your organizing activities?

Charles West: Yeah. Yeah. I'm not what I would consider a real wonk. My wife is much more sophisticated um.. on it, but I can function with it and- and use it a lot. Yeah. I have an older uh.. laptop that she's-- cast off laptop of hers. And- and you know, printer setup and so on and so forth. It- it meets my needs, you know. Email especially--

Riggins: Email. Did you use it when you were in the School of Business?

Charles West: No. No.

Riggins: Did you even have a personal computer in your office back then?

Charles West: Oh, yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Actually, uh.. you know, that's something I didn't touch on, but there was-- um.. the computer was just beginning to come into education at the time. And um.. this is the days of really floppy floppy disks. I mean this is the floppy disk that really flopped. [laughs]

Riggins: Oh, yeah. I remember those.

Charles West: And uh.. they were a lot larger-- seven inches or something like that. But um.. we used one of the early computer games in my uh.. course-- Business Policy. Um.. and basically, the way this worked was this, the-- the class was divided up into teams. And the teams competed against each other in a business situation. And so they- they-- the program, of course, constituted the company. And the- the uh.. the teams would come together every class, or every other class-- I forget how it went-- and would make a set of decisions. You'd have a sheet that would have all the decisions they had to make-- how much to spend on advertising, whether to cut back on sales, whether to hire someone, increase this expense or decrease this investment and so on.

Riggins: Interesting.

Charles West: And what one team would do would affect the other team's results. In other words, if- if one team increased their advertising on product X, and the other team was decreasing their advertising on product X-- why, the first team's sales of product X would go way up and this other team way down, and so on and so forth.

Riggins: But their expenses would also go up. So, yeah.

Charles West: Oh, yeah. Yeah. It would all—in the way that it would happen. And that- that this early-- this program massaged it all together, which was not created by me. I mean this was a package of software we bought.

Riggins: And it was used-- it was an educational kind of game?

Charles West: An educational tool. So we would feed the results back to the students, and then they would have to just make a decision for the next class and all. So it was a useful-- put them in though--

Riggins: And they liked-- probably liked it. It got-- fed their competitive sort of urges.

Charles West: Oh, yeah. Brought out their competitive juices. It worked very well.

Riggins: What about business week? Do you remember participating in that, of having-- ?

Charles West: Yeah. Uh.. I uh.. I'm trying to remember uh..

Riggins: That was when they brought in alumni-- often alumni or other speakers.

Charles West: Yeah. I remember uh.. sort of plugging it to my classes. I guess we professors didn't ever uh.. make the presentations at business-- it's always been outsiders coming in. Yeah. And uh.. and sort of plugging it and sort of trying to help manage it and all-- try to get-- I remember the whole issue of whether to sell tickets or not and-- or not sell tickets, but how to uh.. to what extent to just leave it open, let the students wander the halls and all but-- how to take attendance and so on and so forth. [laughs]

Riggins: Yes. Right, 'cause they could choose at the time which class. Lee Sherman talked about that-- because he was the chair of business week for a number of years.

Charles West: Yeah. I was never chair of it. So I-- yeah.

Riggins: Right. Well it sounds like there was also-- there was an interesting group then. And a lot of them have military backgrounds-- some career military. So you probably could relate to that, even though you weren't into the military for as long as some of them.

Charles West: Yeah. I think the- the school of business probably had more second career people. John Anderson was in the navy, I guess and so on. I- I think um.. the school of business probably has more second career people-- second career professors-- than the rest of the campus.

Riggins: Right. I mean, you know-- well now, when I told my boss Sherman, who's the university librarian, that I was interviewing you, he was- he was happy. And he was telling me that Dean Clark has what he calls now-- I forget-- like an executive program where there's-- have you heard about this?-- has four-- there are several executives now who teach at the university, and they're hired as lecturers. They're tenure track. But they're great. They-- you know, they had these long careers, and they teach in their field, accounting or what have you. And it's real dynamic.

Charles West: Sure. I think that's- that's one of the reasons I was able to get hired at both Morehead and here as an associate professor. If I hadn't had that business background, I'm sure they would, you know, hired me as assistant professor or instructor or something like that. So it's really helped me all along. Um.. it's uh..

Riggins: Have you any recommendations for me on how to do my job? Who should I talk to ______________________?

Charles West: Oh. Uh.. you asked about people, and you went down your list as far as, you know. Um..

Riggins: I was trying to think of your contemporaries.

Charles West: it seems to me there was someone-- oh, uh.. I'm trying to think of um..

Riggins: Someone in business or not?

Charles West: Is Doug Smith retired?

Riggins: Yes. From math- mathematics?

Charles West: Yeah.

Riggins: Yes he is. I- I--

Charles West: Have you got him? You oughta have him on your list.

Riggins: No. Okay. Yeah.

Charles West: He's-- he'd be a good one. He's been-- I think was president of the uh.. the uh.. senate for a long while. And of course, Dick Veidt probably-- I'm sure you've got him. He's--

Riggins: Yeah, he's still teaching. Yeah.

Charles West: Teaching, but he's- he's a central guy and- and uh.. with uh.. knowledge of course also at the university-wide level. By the way, the morning newspaper had-- uh.. I just had a chance to- to scan the article, but uh.. this new President Bowles is really forcing the university back into a university-- integrated university control situation--

Riggins: Interesting.

Charles West: -- and- and uh.. is not gonna permit individual campuses such as, for example, Chapel Hill, to exercise quite so much independent [laughs]-- I think um.. that's been one of the great strengths down here, in contrast to my experience in Kentucky where they don't have that. And, a little background there, when I was at-- I was getting my doctorate at the University of Louisville soon after they had been brought into um.. the university system up there. They were just unable to make it financially. They had a huge medical school and so on and forth. And so, the University of Kentucky, where my daughter ultimately went to school, of course, was the flagship university at the time. Well, here was this brash new university, but in the state's population center. Not the capitol, but the state's population center, namely Louisville. And uh.. Louisville was determined to shoulder its way and assume equal status and so on and so forth. Not unlike, I guess, NC State and Chapel Hill and all. And uh.. so uh.. my buddy, and kind of my mentor in my doctoral program was the Vice President for Planning, who was kind of involved in a lot of that. And uh.. so I was very aware of what was going-- he hired me actually too and gave me a very nice teaching assistanceship while I was um.. working on my doctorate that helped financially. But uh.. so I was very close to that situation, and it was just a dogfight for funds, influence, and so on and so forth. You had both schools really interested in basketball and so on and so forth.

Riggins: Yes. Yes.

Charles West: And uh.. a very weak-- they didn't even a have a president of the un-- this-- a system board. They had a coordinator or something of university-wide campuses, and he was a very weak-- just no power and all. And so that-- he had no way of controlling this, vying this-- and we don't have it that way in North Carolina. I think it-- it's one of the great strengths. And it's nice to see that- that Bowles is really getting control up there. And he seems to have the legislature's support-- very central, very key point. And will keep-- um.. because I think higher education needs to speak with one voice, an actually uh..

Riggins: The dollars are too few to--

Charles West: It sounds like he's not just uh.. oriented toward higher education but all education. I mean he's uh.. the thing in this morning's paper, the Star News, was to- to recognize the important role, which is a centrally important role in this uh.. with this income gap we've got um.. of the community college system and also K through 12. And I might just comment, just as a personal comment, I feel as-- and this is probably because I'm not a career educator-- that the specialized departments are much too uh.. haughty about their competence and expectations of who they will accept. I think it oughta be a lot easier to get into um.. universities in general. I don't-- I'm not talking about academic levels. I'm talking about the details of course content and so on. Um.. it oughta be easier to get in from the community colleges into the university system. And um.. that's not made easy by the individual departments. I mean they eyeball these community college classes and, "Well, that's not quite the way we do it. And it's not really-- it's taught at the 200 level and not at the 300 level and.." You know, if the student at age 19 has been exposed to this subject, you know, ten years from now who's going to care if it was at the 200 level or the 300 level and so on? [laughs]

Riggins: It's true. And it's--

Charles West: And I just-- it's not reasonable. But I think that's the pride of specialized discipline that- that is kind of traditional in academe-- and I disapprove of it. I think there oughta be a broader, softer kind of thing. I- I don't know. It's um..

Riggins: Interesting. Yeah. I'm sure--

Charles West: It's a bias of mine.

Riggins: Right. It's--

Charles West: I mean I was always-- I got involved in this. I was always saying, "Well, why can't we accept this 200 level." It's marketing. You're just Marketing at 200 level, Cape Fear Community College, and Marketing at the 300 level UNC Wilmington. They're not exactly equivalent, but I mean which is better?-- To have this student that's had Cape Fear Marketing 200 take, again, take another three hours, credit hours-- or to have him take something more advanced and so on.

Riggins: Something else.

Charles West: Well, I lost many of those.

Riggins: [laughs] Yeah. Yeah. That is interesting. Because theoretically they are able to transfer, but you talk to the students, it takes--

Charles West: Well, well sometimes theoretically-- I mean at the time, you know, if it's 200 level or 300 level-- I don't know what the rules are currently. I think they have been trying to relax them. But uh..

Riggins: Yeah. It didn't-- it often takes more time for the student. They have to make up a lot of classes and, you know. And they can maybe be accepted to the university after their associates, but then to get into the department it's another thing. And um.. yeah, there's probably a lot of that going on. Yeah, as every department wants to maintain their high standards and have control.

Charles West: That's right, but-- but it-- well, I think one of my biases was that I felt that it was not with the student coming in, but that he would-- his basic level of competence would be determined by what he was able to do when he got out. And I didn't really see-- I mean I've seen so many students cut classes and be off at the beach or party all night and so on and so forth and miss things. What we were saying about-- between the 200 and 300-- well, the student that's in the 200 level class didn't get every single thing. Well, I know that the student taking the 300 level class didn't get every single thing, 'cause he was partying some nights; he has at the beach and so on and so forth. So I mean what's the difference?

Riggins: Reality. Yeah. Really. Like they're all-- yeah, it depends on the kids.

Charles West: [laughs] Maybe some of that has changed. Maybe we're the new uh..

Riggins: Harvard. [laughs]

Charles West: Harvard or Oxford or whatever. But uh.. you know.

Riggins: Interesting. No. It's uh.. those debates continue. I-- it's-- these are timeless debates. You know, you haven't left them, or they haven't finished since you retired. That's for sure. Well, I thank you very much for your time. Anything that I may have missed?

Charles West: I can't think of anything. Although, probably something will occur to me as I drive on home. I think uh..

Riggins: I think we covered a lot.

Charles West: --pretty much covered it. We've been-- what has it been, a couple hours and so on? So.

Riggins: Oh, yeah. Almost two hours. Well, I very much want to thank you for coming here Dr. West, and we'll certainly be in touch. And I'll talk to you when I turn off the tape about sending you a copy of the tape.

Charles West: Ok.

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