Interviewee: Marcelle Lovett
Interviewer: James Crooks
Date: October 26, 2006
C: Today is October 26. This is the UNF Oral History interview program. This is Jim
Crooks speaking. We are interviewing Marcelle Lovett. Marcelle, tell me about
your background and what brought you to UNF.
L: Well, I have been in education since 1971. I started out as an English teacher at
Sandalwood Junior/Senior High School—the year it opened. I was there a
number of years in various capacities as a teacher of English and also an
administrator. I was the first community school coordinator for that school. After
that, I went to the district office in community education, and I was a supervisor.
Subsequent to that, I was the community school coordinator. I was the first one
at Mayport Middle School. I also went to Englewood High School as the
assistant principal and Fletcher [High School] as the vice principal.
C: So you grew up in Jacksonville?
L: No, I grew up in Kansas City, Missouri, but I have been here since 1971.
C: Where are your degrees from?
L: University of Missouri-Kansas City. I got my masters from UNF in 1975 and then
a doctorate at Florida in 84.
C: What brought you to UNF?
L: Well, I was in the masters program, as you know, in the early 70s, and I met
Tom Healey. Tom and I became very good friends. In fact, he became my
mentor. He and his wife and I were very good friends. He was actually the one
who recruited me into the doctoral program. At that time, there was a joint UF-
UNF program, and he talked me into being in that program, so I started that
program in 1980. Tom subsequently hired me as the director of Off-Campus
Credit Programs and Continuing Ed[ucation]. He was Dean of Continuing Ed at
C: Which would have been roughly when?
L: I came to UNF in 1983, and I’ve been here ever since.
C: So you started off as off-campus?
L: Credit Programs. We had a very large Off-Campus Credit Program back in the
late 70s, early 80s, several thousand students.
L: Oh, and I forgot about the Downtown Center. Yes, I also managed the
Downtown Center. I established that, the first UNF Downtown Center in
Hemming Park. We had the first one on one of the floors in the Galleria building,
C: Where the museum is now?
L: I guess so. Yes.
L: Then after that we had a services center right across the street from Independent
Life on Bay Street, just kind of a store front. I managed that with the two staff
people who were there.
C: What is the difference between Off-Campus Credit Programs and the Downtown
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Center? Were they a part of one another?
L: They were kind of part. The Downtown Center was a way for UNF to hold
courses for a population that UNF felt was being under served. It was
considered a long trek out to UNF from anywhere back then, so the Downtown
Center was established. It never really had the enrollment that the University
thought it would, so after a few years, they closed it down and actually moved to
the Downtown Services Center, which was like records and registration. No
classes were held, but it was a service arm of records and registration and
C: Where else off campus did you have credit courses?
L: Well, the College of Ed[ucation] primarily has been the prime mover behind off-
campus credit and still is. Baker County, Putnam County, even Alachua County,
St. John’s County, Clay County, the College of Ed has had off-campus credit
courses for thirty years and still does. I’m not sure if any other unit really does
much of that.
C: I taught down in Palatka once, a couple courses. NAS [Jacksonville Naval Air
Station] also had some credit courses.
L: Correct . I was involved with that. We made a deal with the Armed Forces
Reserve Center, which is right there on Roosevelt Boulevard, to have courses.
When John Bardo was VP, he was big on that, so I established a relationship
with the military. They were pretty cooperative. We had students from all over
the west side basically, and Riverside, attending classes there.
C: What about Mayport?
L: Before my time, there was what was called the Pace Program, which was some
credit courses on board ship, but that was before my time. Actually, when I was
Director of Off-Campus Credit [Programs]—you are bringing back a lot of
memories, Jim—we actually had a coordinator stationed at Mayport. I’m trying to
think of his name. He just passed away—an older gentleman who was Director
of Veteran’s Affairs here for a while. Hank? Something or another. I can’t
remember his name. He was real nice, a veteran, and he coordinated that
program. He also helped me out at NAS. We did all the military stuff. We had a
big military involvement back then, and I had forgotten about that.
C: When did you come back on campus?
L: When you say on campus, what do you mean?
C: I guess you were on campus the whole time. Were you teaching at the same
L: Actually, I had been teaching at UNF since the very early days. It is kind of an
interesting story. Bill Merwin was the VP for academic affairs, and he and Tom
were good friends. They knew I was an English teacher from K-12, and when
UNF admitted freshmen—remember that, back in 1984, I think it was, I was hired
here in 83—none of the faculty here wanted to teach freshman English,
Freshman Comp[osition]. Nobody wanted to teach freshmen, and so Bill asked
me if I would teach some Freshman Comp courses; they were desperate for
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teachers. I started teaching Freshman Comp courses. Dick Bizot was the
department chairman, and he was my boss, kind off. I was still Director of Off-
Campus Programs, but I taught one or two a year for English Comp for
freshmen. Boy was that a long time ago, but, yes, I did that, I started that. Then
when I became Dean of Continuing Education, in 85 I think it was, I was on a
faculty line. My department was Educational Leadership because that is what my
degree is in. I actually started teaching for Ed[ucational] Leadership back in
85, and I have been doing that all these years. Usually, one course a year,
maybe two. Some years, I skipped, but my dream was always to be a full-time
faculty member in that department. So it came true.
C: How substantial was the Community Ed[ucation] Program when you took over in
L: Well, we call it Continuing Ed.
C: I’m sorry.
L: That is okay. In K-12 we call it Community Ed, and I was involved in Community
Ed in K-12. But Continuing Ed, when I started, I actually started there in 83,
when I was hired as Director of Off-Campus Programs. It was very small. We
had like four or five staff people. We had revenue of $200,000 or $300,000 a
year, which back then was considerable, I guess. It was very small.
C: Ten or twelve classes a year?
L: Oh, no. Many more than that. We served several thousands students a year,
non-credit students in seminars, workshops, et cetera.
C: Was there a particular area that Continuing Ed focused on in terms of subject or
were you spread across the board?
L: Well, we soon realized that we were in business to sell courses ,and we could
only sell courses that people really wanted to take. So our primary focus was
business, business-type courses: supervisory management, writing skills for
business, communication skills for business, that type of thing.
C: Not something that would compete with the MBA programs in the College of
L: No, although there was always some tension with the College of Business,
although our courses were short courses and they were non-credit and not really
competitive in terms of length or format with the College of Business.
C: You became Dean of Continuing Ed in 85. How long did you continue as
L: Until 2003, when I decided . . . I had been in Continuing Education for twenty
years at that point. I reached my thirty years in 2001, and so I started really
thinking. It came up on me in a hurry, even though I knew it was coming. I
started thinking, I would really like to do something different, change my lifestyle
a little bit. The University Center was up and running and doing very, very well.
Continuing Ed was doing exceptionally well. That was a good time to leave.
C: What are some of the high points in Continuing Ed from your perspective during
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L: That is an easy question. Obviously, [Continuing Ed was] the capstone of my
career, and I think really what Continuing Ed is really best known for is two
things. First of all, the University Center. We started planning that back in the
early 90s with Adam Herbert and were involved with that through everything.
Basically, we were the management arm of that program. That was a dream
come true, really, for the campus and for Continuing Ed.
C: Whose idea was it?
L: For many years, we had no space, and we had to get up at six o’clock in the
morning and put up road signs on UNF drive, like follow the yellow brick road, to
these courses. I’d say it was that Adam Herbert provided the impetus for it, but
the Continuing Ed program had been urging every president to provide space for
us, dedicated space, whether it be in an existing building or a new building. In
the early 90s, Adam Herbert saw, not just the potential for Continuing Ed, but
the potential for the entire campus, and I really think he had the vision for what it
could be. Many other universities have a similar type of unit or building that is
kind of a beacon for off-campus types of activities and other types of events that
bring a lot of people on campus who would not otherwise come here, and I think
that vision has been realized. The University Center is far beyond what anybody
really thought it would be originally. That certainly was a high point.
And a second high point—that probably no one else would mention but
me, because they don’t know about it—is when we became self-supported.
When we no longer needed the University to support us, either through salary
dollars or expense dollars, that was a real milestone as far as I was concerned.
It gave us some autonomy, but it also posed some challenges because then we
became a revenue source for the university. That was always an issue. How
much revenue was the university going to take and would that leave us with
enough to really operate our program?
C: When did you become self-sufficient?
L: Let me think. Late 90s. Before then we had some E & G [Education and
General] dollars for support. Less and less as years went on and then finally just
went cold turkey.
C: Was this a gradual evolution in the growth of Continuing Ed?
C: There was no big catalyst along the way?
L: Well, I would say yes, there was a catalyst. The railroad program, which we
forged a partnership with CSX in 97, I think it was, became a very big
revenue stream for us. That really pushed us over the edge so to speak in terms
being dependent versus being autonomous.
C: What did you do with CSX?
L: We formed a relationship with them. I had established a dean’s council for
Continuing Ed several years before that. CSX representatives were on that
council, sort of like the other colleges have councils. That relationship led to
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conversations about joint programs, et cetera. CSX basically approached us with
the idea, because they wanted to out source their railroad conductor training.
They didn’t really want to do it with FCCJ [Florida Community College at
Jacksonville] because of some other relationships, some not so positive
relationships, they had with them, or I don’t know what. Probably a personality
issue, I don’t know, but anyway, [CSX] asked us if we would be willing to take
that program on. Of course, we could see right away that that was going to be a
very, very good program financially for us and in terms of doing some good
training for the community too.
C: When you take on a program like that, how do you go about developing the
courses, hiring the instructors? You are not an expert in railroad conducting.
L: Right. One of the neat things about Continuing Ed is that you learn a little about
a lot of things. You really learn how to use the resources you have to get the
information you need and the expertise you need. Because we are not content
experts in very many areas at all. Our job is to find the content experts, find the
curriculum, or develop the curriculum with someone else that is really going to
meet the test of the industry, whatever industry it is. We worked very closely with
CSX. They pretty much had a program; they just wanted to out source it and
wanted a facility. Of course, we knew the University Center was coming.
Basically, they drove that curriculum; that was obviously their curriculum, even
though they didn’t want it to be known as a CSX program, for some reason. So
that is how that worked. We jointly hired the instructors and evaluated the
C: Were there other major corporate partners over the years?
L: Many. All the big names in town basically we’ve done quite a bit of business
with. Prudential, Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Merrill Lynch, hundreds of
companies, literally hundreds of companies, both big and small. The list is pretty
extensive. The good thing about Jacksonville is [that] this is a business town. It
is basically a small business town; there are a lot of small businesses. But there
are also some major businesses too that have their own training units and
functions, but would turn to UNF Continuing Ed for a variety of reasons.
C: Such as?
L: Such as we offered programs that they didn’t offer, didn’t want to develop. We
had access to a bunch of expertise on the faculty. Plus, we had developed a
very long list of consultants over the years, training consultants who didn’t work
for the university but worked for us. They were in business for themselves or
worked for somebody else. After a while, that reputation builds. Not that we
were the only game in town, but we were a major player in the terms of corporate
C: Do any of the other higher ed institutions have Continuing Ed? FCCJ?
L: Absolutely. FCCJ. JU [Jacksonville University]. That’s another interesting story.
JU pretty much dissolved its Continuing Ed Unit about four or five years ago and
outsourced it to the colleges, which is not an atypical model in higher ed. A lot of
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major universities have done that, but JU really is not a competitor with us, never
really has been. FCCJ has been and continues to be, and part of their mission is
workforce development—that is what they call it at community college. They put
a lot of resources into that, and they do a lot of business.
C: What about the schools like Nova and University of Phoenix online?
L: Not in terms of non-credit. Certainly in terms of credit programs. I think they
have had a big impact on UNF, especially in graduate education. That was
always a concern of mine too, that we really needed to be a little more
competitive in the marketplace. Ten years ago Webster, Nova, and Phoenix
weren’t here. In the last ten years, they have taken quite a bit of UNF’s market
share in terms of credit enrollments.
C: In business and education.
L: Yes. Absolutely. In graduate programs, more so than undergraduate. I think
Saint Leo is mostly undergraduate and Southern Illinois University [is too]. We
got out of the off-campus credit business, probably in the mid-90s, and really
haven’t done anything with that since, although I have always been interested
and concerned about it in the broader sense of UNF.
C: Would you say then that Continuing Education here is essentially work force
development orientation or what else is there besides?
L: Well, you know, workforce development means different things to different
people. To me workforce development primarily means, in terms of what the
community colleges do, some basic skills for entry level workforce individuals.
We really don’t do much of that. We really do more business, higher level skills,
the supervisor and up type of orientation. We also developed a paralegal
program, which, by the way, so did FCCJ—of course theirs is a credit program;
ours is a non-credit program. We do project management, a certificate program
in that. We are work force development in the broader since, but not in the way
the community colleges define it.
C: Do you do anything in the area of education with the school systems?
L: No, we don’t. The reason for that is purely economics. At one point the College
of Ed had a contract with the Duval County school system and other local school
systems to provide training for teachers, but that kind of dried up. Cheryl
Fountain, actually, was involved in that years and years ago. I hope she is one
that you are going to interview.
C: Yes, she is.
L: Primarily teachers don’t pay to go to training; they get paid to go to training. We
could only have training that is paid for by someone. We’ve done some things
with schools, contract courses. We do quite a bit of what I call contract training,
where an entity will contract with us to bring a course in to their employees. It is
not like a public program. We do a lot of that. A lot that the university never
sees. Not that it is a secret, it is just not publicized. It is not a public offering.
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We do quite a bit of that, and that is a pretty big source of revenue for us. But
not too much with the school system, because they have their own professional
development trainers, and teachers don’t want to pay to go to training; they
usually get paid to go to training. Your wife was a student of mine even,
remember? Years ago, in the Ed[ucational] Leadership Program.
C: Fundamentally, Continuing Ed is working with the business community.
C: Any other high points besides the two you mentioned, the University Center and
L: There was one other one. Well, there were several other ones, but another big
one was—you may or may not remember this but— in 1995, I think it was, I was
the principal investigator on a distance learning grant. Do you remember that?
We were on a part of a distance learning consortium with, at the time it was, it
wasn’t Comcast, it was Continental Cable—that later became AT&T and then
MediaOne and now Comcast. Anyway, the state of Florida was very interested
in funding some distance learning proposals for the state universities, and so I,
on behalf of this consortium, wrote a grant that got funded for about $600,000
back in 1995. At the time that was a huge grant for UNF; it was maybe the
biggest one it got that year other than the small business development center or
something. For like two-and-a-half years, I was the principal investigator on that
grant, and I was able to hire three or four or five people to implement that project.
That was a big boost to Continuing Ed because it kind of put us in a different
light. Even though our grant was with K-12, it really wasn’t a higher ed kind of
activity; it was a K-12 activity. It was a big boost to our division in terms of just
visibility and credibility. Then we were very interested in distance learning
ourselves and started implementing some distance learning technologies in our
program, some distance learning courses. We partnered with some vendors and
did some things, so I’d say that was another big high point.
C: Any major frustrations along the way, besides lack of space?
L: Absolutely, but I don’t know that I can discuss those on tape.
C: Okay. Any that you could diplomatically discuss?
L: Well, I will mention that I had some personnel issues; a very small staff. A very
few number of people who performed key functions and had to make a change in
the mid-90s, you may recall that.
C: I wasn’t that familiar with that.
L: Well, a lot of the people weren’t. Anyway, I would say that was a major turning
point for us; I actually uninvited two people out of a total of five.
C: Was your staff that small?
L: Yes it was. It was very small.
C: When you left in 2003, you mentioned what the Continuing Education budget
was in the beginning. How large had it become?
L: About $2.5 million.
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C: $2.5 million?
L: Yes, and a staff of twenty-five to thirty people, which was huge from where we
C: What proportion of that did the University try to get its hands on?
L: Oh, a lot. I don’t know what I can say and what I cannot say in terms of
personalities and things.
C: You are free to say whatever you want to and you are free not to say whatever
you want to. It is a judgement call.
L: I do not want to be quoted.
C: I will not quote negative statements.
L: There was one president in the last ten, twelve, fifteen years that, in my opinion,
did not really understand the total picture in terms Continuing Ed, et cetera and
saw that we had quite a bit of money and attempted to take that money really
without consultation or discussion or whatever. I launched into a discussion with
my bosses in Academic Affairs, who really didn’t know that this was going on.
Anyway, long story short, we got to keep our money, a big chunk of money, but
then all auxiliaries were taxed, not just Continuing Ed. At one point it was just
Continuing Ed that was going to be taxed, and I said, hey, wait a minute, that is
not fair. Eventually, all auxiliaries are taxed, so to speak, but it is really not a tax.
It is our contribution to the university based on what we do. It helps the
University fund programs that it would not otherwise be able to fund and that is
C: It is soft money for the University.
L: Correct. It is discretionary money. What I objected to was just no consultation,
no input, and no discussion. Just because you have a big pot of money doesn’t
mean it is not encumbered; it doesn’t mean that it is not for a specific purpose.
Just poor leadership. Lack of leadership and lack of appropriate communication.
C: Any other major frustrations? Any things that you wanted to do that you couldn’t
do along the way?
L: Well, there were a couple things that I did do. I did it twice, actually. Both times
it was approved, and then it was kind of retracted. That was the idea of having
non-credit students in credit courses taking up empty seats, remember that?
L: Well, I started that program years and years ago. It was approved by two
different presidents as a way to bring some people on campus, et cetera, et
cetera, and I worked out all the bugs and did all the record keeping. The
presidents and the vice presidents, when they saw that a lot of people were
interested in these courses, believed they should be getting FTE for these
students—even though these students were not interested in that and many
times did not qualify for it, et cetera. It became a complete hassle for us, and we
just discontinued it. But we started and stopped it twice, and it was successful
both times in terms of bringing people on campus and getting them in courses,
for example, if they wanted to take one of you history courses just out of interest.
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C: It could lead them to becoming credit students.
L: It could, but the university didn’t let it go that far. I think it actually did lead to
some actually going for degrees, et cetera, et cetera. But they saw this body in a
seat and thought, well, we can be earning FTE on this. In reality, maybe they
could, maybe they couldn’t. That was a frustration for me.
C: As dean of Continuing Ed, you always reported to the provost?
C: What were your relations with the various provosts? You started with Merwin.
L: I started with Bill Merwin, and that was a wonderful relationship. I think he, to the
exclusion of the other provosts, understood more about what Continuing Ed was
than anybody since. I didn’t know anybody before. I guess Roy Lassiter was
before him, and I didn’t know him.
C: John Minahan was before him.
L: Yes, and I didn’t know either of them. I think Bill really understood the potential
of Continuing Education and appreciated it. Subsequent to him, I think there has
C: John Bardo, Ken Martin, Alan Ling, very briefly.
L: Gary Fane was in there as the interim.
C: David Kline.
L: And David Kline. And now, Mark Workman. I think Alan Ling was like Bill
Merwin in that he understood the big picture. He didn’t look at Continuing Ed as
just an auxiliary and only an auxiliary. I used to refer to us as a vending
machine. Some people looked at us as a vending machine or a cash machine,
and I really think the bigger picture is much greater than that and much deeper
than that. It was always my job to try to convince and educate my bosses about
what Continuing Ed could do for the university and what it does do, did do, and
still does for the university.
C: Okay, now, convince me, what is the bigger picture?
L: The bigger picture is that Continuing Ed brings a lot of visibility to the campus
that it would not otherwise get. One example of that is Continuing Ed probably
prints more advertisements in the newspaper and through brochures, flyers and
web presence than all the other entities combined on this campus. That is pretty
powerful in terms of name recognition, brand recognition, positive relationships
with the university, and a lot of vice presidents can’t see past the credit program.
They always see a university as being a credit program, but to me, if you are a
president or a vice president, you are president or vice president of the entire
university. There are more units than just the colleges, if you understand where I
am going with this. Not that I don’t appreciate and recognize that that’s the
primary mission of this institution, and now I am obviously very much a part of
that, always have been. But Continuing Ed and other ancillary services—but
Continuing Ed more than the others, I think, because they’re primary; the Small
Business Development Center is another one; and IPTM is another one—are
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really out there in the community drumming up business for UNF and giving UNF
a good reputation and a good name in many ways. The spin off of that is almost
immeasurable. You can’t really measure. I know of one major gift to this
institution that is a direct result of this person attending a Continuing Ed course,
being exposed to a particular instructor, and just falling in love with the whole
idea of having a relationship with the university. I mean, how do you measure
C: Can you tell that name?
L: No, I’m not going to.
L: But anyway, there is one particular faculty member who inspired this, it happens
to be a UNF faculty person, inspired this person to form a relationship and
provide a major multi-million dollar gift to this institution. To me that is the big
picture. The big picture is that Continuing Ed helps the university fulfill its total
mission in this community, and it should be recognized as such, as a major
player in that regard. That was always my job, just to talk to vice presidents
about that, to the presidents about that. Bill Merwin and Alan Ling really got that,
and I think Charles Galloway really got that. Not so many of the others did. I’m
not being critical.
C: I’m thinking that Merwin and Galloway, coming out of the College of Education,
which have more of an outward focus, and doing workshops and doing contract
stuff might give them a better understanding.
L: Yes, maybe so. Maybe that is it. Maybe the ones that… although Alan Ling was
obviously an arts and sciences person. It is a very interesting world being a
faculty member in a college. It is very insulated. It is very isolated. It is very
lonely. Continuing Ed is more outreach than I would say arts and sciences.
C: Did you have a relationship with the Chamber of Commerce?
L: Oh, absolutely. I was involved with the Chamber of Commerce. I was on some
of their committees, and I went to some of their meetings. We had relationships
with them in terms of some training relationships with them. Oh yes, very
involved with the Chamber, very involved with some governmental agencies.
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C: Like the authorities, JTA, JEA, etc.
L: Absolutely, the governmental authorities.
C: Did you reach out into the surrounding counties? St. John’s?
L: Absolutely, we did. They were not being served too much. The populations
were kind of sparse there, but we did contract training in Clay County, St, John’s
County, Baker County, Nassau County. Oh yes.
C: The big picture becomes one of publicizing the institution, serving the business
community, and being an income resource.
L: We were an income resource for the University, but being a resource for
business, industry, and the non-profit [sector]. One thing that David Kline said at
my retirement party was, he never really thought much about Continuing Ed. I
mean, I knew that was true. He never really thought much about it, not that he
didn’t think highly of us, but he didn’t think much about it because he never had
to worry about us. That says a lot to me. That tells me that we were not a
negative at all on the reputation of the institution, and I think, by contrast, we
were quite a positive. I don’t think you can go around and ask anybody in the
community if they had ever heard anything bad about the UNF Continuing Ed
Program. I would say, the university people would say, oh, we hear it is great.
We really appreciate it. We’ve had good experience with it. I think that adds
value to the institution the same way the Small Business Development Center
does and other entities.
C: FIE [Florida Institute of Education].
L: FIE, exactly.
C: Did you have a chance to compare your operation with Continuing Ed at other
state institutions? Not Florida and Florida State because they are sort of in their
own league, but I am thinking about the other regional universities.
L: Yes, in fact I just did some consulting work for Bill Merwin down at Florida Gulf
Coast University. I’ve been down there a couple of times to help him and his
staff with their Continuing Ed program, which is kind of fledgling. That institution
will be ten years old this next year. They’re probably a little further along than we
were at ten years, partly because of Bill and partly because of some other things.
South Florida is just booming. As a result of that and some other work that I
have done, I have compared UNF Continuing Ed with all the other state
universities as a matter of fact. I have done several surveys. Did you want to
know. . . ?
C: What conclusions did you draw? Are we better than, as good as, still have to
catch up with, those kinds of things.
L: I would say that number one is that every Continuing Ed unit in every school that
I have ever looked at, even outside the state of Florida, is very different, and
Continuing Ed can be anything that the institution wants it to be, basically. In
some cases they do a lot of credit, off-campus credit, a lot of distance learning
stuff, a lot of non-credit. In other cases it is a totally different model. There are
twenty models out there basically. I would say that we are one of the very few in
the state—I know we’re one of the few in the state and maybe in the southeast
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region—that is totally non-credit. Most of the other ones have some relationship
with the credit program in terms of promoting it, being in charge of their executive
MBA or summer program or whatever it is. UNF just evolved that way into a
totally self supporting [program]. Most of the other Continuing Education units
are not totally self supporting. But they have some credit function in there and
they get revenue from that. I would say we have been one of the most
successful ones in terms of money and staying afloat and growing and having a
really good presence in the community.
C: Besides credit and distance learning, what do some of the other continuing ed
programs do that, say, UNF doesn’t do?
L: What the others do that we don’t do? There are only two things that they can do.
They can do credit, they can do non-credit, they can be in charge of distance
learning. That is maybe three things. And the credit program is huge for some
Continuing Education units. In some institutions they operate entire summer
programs for the institution. In some universities they operate or manage lots of
graduate programs off campus, on campus, weekend colleges, et cetera, et
cetera. We don’t do that here, never have. There is a lot of potential for
Continuing Education just as a management administrative arm of the university
to do some things that UNF has never really ventured into. I approached the
subject several times with some administrators and either they are not interested
or they don’t have time or they don’t see this has value and so that is okay.
C: And we sort of relied upon the colleges to do that kind of thing.
L: And have they done it?
C: I imagine business and education have done it to an extent.
L: Primarily education. Business really not, I don’t think. Very little off-campus
stuff. Very little outreach stuff. No executive MBA, no weekend MBA, no
alternative MBA. Nothing like that. But the College of Ed has really gone out
and done many cohort groups. I mean I’ve taught in them. A tri-county one in
Clay and St. Augustine and Putnam County. Another one in Clay, another one in
Nassau, the service region that UNF has supposedly been serving all these
years. We have done cohorts in all of those campuses.
C: What about the College of Health?
L: The College of Health, I think probably has a lot that I don’t know they’re doing. I
don’t know that they do a lot of off campus. I really don’t know. I’d say they have
a lot of potential to do that, but I don’t think they have and I don’t know why. But I
haven’t heard of them doing a lot of credit programs.
C: I asked you about your assessment of the various vice presidents. What about
presidents that you worked with? You worked with McCray, you worked with
Adam Herbert, and Ann Hopkins.
L: E.K. Fretwell and Roy McTarnaghan.
C: Anything you want to say about any of them?
L: I would say, of all of those, I would say Roy McTarnaghan was probably the best
C: Oh really?
Lovett -- Page 13
C: Because you had mentioned Adam Herbert before with the University Center.
L: Yes, I think there are many aspects to leadership, as you know. I think Adam
definitely made an impact here at UNF and moved this institution to the next
level, but in terms of overall leadership, I’d say Roy McTarnaghan.
C: And he was only here briefly.
L: Six months I think.
C: What did he do in six months that was extraordinary?
L: Tone and climate. I’d say his major impact was, in the short time that he was
here, I’d say establishing a positive climate. He may be the only UNF president,
Jim, that sent every UNF staff person from the grounds keepers on up a
Christmas card one year, or even wished them happy holidays, and that made an
impression on me.
L: Plus just the many times I observed him relating to people and relating to groups.
I just think he was an awesome leader. Just because of many personal qualities
that he had. And I really think he had his heart in the right place.
C: That doesn’t mean that the other presidents didn’t have their heart in the right
L: Well, no, but I think he more than the rest. I think he valued people.
L: More than projects and more than things. Not that the others didn’t value people
but just to the extent that he valued people and understood that without people,
without motivating people and recognizing people, you really don’t get the same
results. I think he really understood that and acted on that. It is not just the
Christmas card, it was so many other things but that to me was just, I couldn’t
C: Would you think, reflecting upon the time from 85 to the mid 90s, when
you were still struggling to get to the size and numbers that you wanted, that the
administration held you back?
L: No, not really. I wouldn’t say they held me back. But by the same token I
wouldn’t say that they were encouraging.
L: It was almost as if, just like David Kline said, we didn’t think about it much. It was
just there and as long as it didn’t embarrass us, it was okay. But in terms of
really helping us, I would say, not that they hurt or harmed us in anyway, but they
just didn’t understand, they just didn’t understand the potential.
C: In effect, you were pretty much on your own until the mid-90s when all of a
sudden they saw you turn a profit and then would like to get some of that profit.
L: I think you got the picture.
C: Okay. To what extent did you work with the deans in the various colleges?
L: Well, I felt it was part of my job to have a good relationship with the deans and to
work cooperatively with them to try to offer Continuing Education programs. In
large part I think that was successful. Some deans were more receptive than
Lovett -- Page 14
others. One dean, who is no longer here, wanted to take all the programs that
had anything to do with his college and just offer them himself. You know, just
kind of take them. And I said absolutely not, if you want to start new programs,
different programs, you are welcome to do that. That kind of strong arm kind of
thing. Most of them were interested and saw the potential because they had
done Continuing Education themselves but just didn’t have the time or the
resources and the faculty were always so stretched to do whatever it was they
were supposed to be doing or wanted to do. So there was not that great of
involvement. There was, on the part of some faculty, but not many.
C: Any deans stand out favorably in your estimation, in terms of your working with
them and. . . .
L: Well, probably Pam Challey would be high on the list.
C: From the College of Health?
L: In the College of Health. Mark Workman was the College of Arts and Sciences
and he was very helpful we just didn’t offer any kind of arts and sciences type of
courses. We didn’t have that type of program. The natural tension was with the
College of Business because we were offering a lot of business programs and
they were not offering any programs. We offered some cooperatively and they
decided that they wanted more money and they didn’t want to pay us any money
and they took those over and I kind of went through that iteration. I liked working
with Earl [Traynham] very much, but Earl had some faculty who were kind of off
the wall and didn’t really want to cooperate and wanted to do things themselves
so Earl just had to kind of go along with them.
C: Looking at the university as a whole, what are the most important changes that
you’ve seen take place during your twenty-three years here?
L: I’d say the most important change has been the recognition in the community
that UNF is not FCCJ and they don’t get us as confused with FCCJ as they used
to. Although this is not a college town as you know. So I’d say increased,
enhanced reputation of UNF and the very positive feelings that people have
about UNF, the economic impact that UNF certainly is related to, and if there is a
relationship between economic growth and higher education, that is kind of the
big picture. On the more micro level, changes certainly in the physical plant and
the whole nature of the student body.
C: Tell me about that. What changes have you seen in the student body?
L: Well for one thing, there are a lot more bodies. And they are a lot younger and a
lot of them are on skateboards which just blows my mind. When I was at the
University Center I wasn’t really on campus that much. We are kind of in our
own little world over there.
C: Well you were teaching some too.
L: Yes but usually what I taught was at night, late afternoon, evening. I didn’t really
see the bulk of the student body during the day because I had no business really
too much on campus unless I was going to a meeting. But I’ll tell you what, if you
walk past the bookstore now, that walkway there, and the whole scenario has
Lovett -- Page 15
changed. These are eighteen year olds, nineteen year olds. They are on
skateboards, they are on cell phones, they’ve got mid-drifts exposed. They are
typical. They look like the high school kids that I remember and love so well. So
that certainly has changed over the years as I am sure you’ve noticed too.
Although when we admitted freshmen in 84, that was a shock to a lot of the
faculty. Those kids were young. The nature and character of the student body,
the number, and the physical plant has just gotten better and better and better. It
is magnificent. Absolutely magnificent.
C: Okay, what achievements of the university are you most proud?
L: I’d say what I said before was, just on a macro level, the great reputation that
UNF has. I think that is fabulous. I am very proud of the University Center. I
think that has done a lot for UNF in terms of outreach, in terms of visibility. Very
few business people do not know about the university center. They have been
there for something.
C: That is true at City Hall too.
L: Absolutely. There is no doubt about it. The Chamber [of Commerce] and City
Hall and it is a great resource for UNF. Obviously we’ve got lots of academic
achievements and honors and awards and that type of thing, but overall I think it
is our reputation which, to me, is just untarnished.
C: Are there any other characteristics that stand out?
L: About UNF?
C: Yes. Do we care about students like John Delaney says we do?
L: I talk to my students about that all the time the ―No one like you, No place like
this,‖ that is our brand. We want that to be our image.
C: What is our brand? Say that again.
L: ―No one like you. No place like this.‖ That is the new brand.
C: I haven’t heard that before.
L: It is on everything. Anyway, I challenge my students because we talk about
image and vision and brand. Is there truly no one like you and no place like this?
And I think we’ve got a ways to go. I think it is easy to say that but in terms of
student services, I think we need more one-on-one, more caring. Although I
think there are incidences of that all over the place. In general, it is still hard to
get individual attention. Not from the faculty, but from some of the services like
records and registration, financial aid, et cetera, et cetera. I hear the students a
lot not liking that. I don’t think we have really reached our potential when it
comes to being a caring, individualized attention kind of place.
C: Are most of your students graduate students or undergraduate students?
L: They are all graduate students.
C: Have you seen changes among them over the years?
L: They are getting younger, or I’m getting older, one. I have a wide range of ages
in my classes. Anywhere from twenty-two to sixty, with the bulk of them being
probably in their thirties, which is pretty young, I think. Late twenties, early
C: Are you mainly in the doctorate program?
Lovett -- Page 16
L: No, masters program. I am only in the masters program. I teach in the masters
C: Okay, you are not involved in the doctoral program.
L: Well, I am to the extent that I serve on some committees but I actually don’t
teach doctoral classes.
C: Were you at all involved in the development of doctoral program?
C: Coming back to your students, are they as, well, compared to early years, better
prepared, less prepared? More interested, less interested?
L: They are primarily female. The males have gone somewhere else, or they are
not going to graduate school, at least in the College of Ed. And that has been a
trend nation-wide, not just from the College of Ed here at UNF. I think they are
fairly well prepared. Very few of them have washed out, from my perspective. I
think they are fairly well prepared and very bright, very able, very motivated,
really a pleasure and a joy to teach. I really enjoy it. Do you teach
undergraduate or graduate? You’re retired.
C: I am totally retired for six years.
L: I know. How wonderful.
C: Has the institution made any significant mistakes in your estimation over the
L: Oh yes. I don’t know if I want to discuss those though.
C: Well, let’s talk about it, not in terms of personality but in terms of decisions to,
let’s say, to use an example, to have football or not have football. Or to have
drama or not have drama. Put it that way, which is less personalized.
L: I don’t know that they made any major mistakes in terms of focus. I will say this,
I think that–maybe I don’t know all the background of this–I think it has been a
mistake not to do more outreach. For example, do a weekend MBA or an
executive MBA, but I don’t know all of the answers. I think that has been short-
sighted because I think JU’s program has really done very well. I think it meets a
need and corporations are paying for it and they are very self supporting. It is a
big revenue strength for them, it is one of the biggest revenue stream, as a
matter of fact, and I think UNF years ago should have done that. The weekend
college kind of thing for people who work during the week, for undergraduate,
has been very successful for other state institutions. We’ve never been
interested in that. So in terms of those kinds of programs which are non-
traditional out-of-the-box kinds of programs, outside the lines, UNF has never
really embraced. For the kind of institution we are, we are very traditional.
C: I know George Corrick has told me he has taught on Saturdays, for example.
L: Well, yes, the College of Ed does Saturday courses, but we have never had a
weekend college here at this institution and the Saturday courses have been
primarily graduate courses.
C: On weekend programs, would that mean Sunday morning courses that would
challenge the local churches.
L: I mean like Friday night, Saturday, maybe every other Sunday afternoon, or
Lovett -- Page 17
something like that. The models are out there. We wouldn’t make anything up.
Florida Atlantic University, as an example, has run–I don’t know if they’re still
doing it–very successful weekend college programs for undergraduate people,
adults who never got a four-year degree and who work during the week and have
family responsibilities and a weekend MBA. Very successful. Big revenue
streams. Lots of interest.
C: What changes have you seen in the faculty over the years? Have you seen
changes in the faculty?
L: Oh, absolutely.
C: What kind of changes?
L: Well, I remember in the early days when they were all very young. Just a few
years older than me. When I was a student in the early days and, you know, Bill
Merwin and Tom Healy are like three or four years older than me. So they were
very young for the most part and there were very few of them and I think you
could have more of a relationship with them because of the size of the institution.
I think our faculty has gotten much deeper, much more diverse, much broader in
terms of their specialties and their expertise and we’ve got faculty that I just think
are incredible. I read about them and I don’t know them, but they are
accomplishing great things and doing wonderful things.
C: And you are teaching full time now?
C: In your college and in administration and supervision, has that faculty done the
same sort of things that you describe for the faculty as a whole? Do you feel like
the quality of education that you are providing graduate students now is perhaps
better than it was twenty years ago?
L: I wouldn’t say it is better. No, I wouldn’t say it is better.
C: It is probably different.
L: I would say the course material is different. Some of the material is different.
Let’s hope so. Some things never change, that’s true and maybe should
change. You know, what is leadership? Maybe that definition has changed over
the years. I’d say the faculty do a very good job and have always done a very
good job. Actually our requirements are stiffer than they were when I was in
graduate school here. We only had to take ten courses and now we have to take
thirteen. We were on some sort of quarter schedule so I think there were fewer
contact hours so it is probably a little stiffer now than it was back when I was
going to school. Seems like I got through it really quickly.
C: What about looking at the administration over time, from the early 80s to a
couple of years ago. Has the quality of that changed? It can be improvements, it
can be decline, or there could be waves of good and less good, let’s put it that
L: Depending on who the president was, I think we’ve had some high points and
low points. The president sometimes hires people that he or she knows or, I
don’t know, I don’t know where some of these people came from. I think we’ve
had our ups and downs in terms of administrators. By and large I think the
Lovett -- Page 18
administrators have been very good over the years, but there have been some
ones that stand out in my mind that have been really bad. I mean really bad. I
don’t know where they came from and they didn’t last long. That was kind of
probably the good thing. They were really bad. They didn’t have a clue. They
absolutely did not have a clue about how to lead, how to manage, how to get
cooperation from people. But I worked with everybody, no matter what; that was
my job to work with everybody. So yeah, we’ve had our ups and downs.
C: Coming to the question of colorful characters. But before you do that, you
mentioned Roy McTarnaghan as one who stood out in your estimation, are there
other university people over the years that stand out in your mind as being
L: Yes, Alan Ling, even though he was not here with us for very long, I think had the
potential to be great, a great academic leader. And I think we really did the right
thing by hiring him. It is just so unfortunate that he died, you know. Because I
think that he–I even told Adam Herbert this, because Adam called me one time at
home while he was doing the search and I was on the search committee for that–
and I said to him, where else, I said, at our stage in development, are we going to
get this nationally known scholar, somebody who really is a scholar, as our
academic leader? I said, this is very unusual, I think, and I think we ought to
grab it. I think he is head and shoulders above the other candidates. Not that
they weren’t good, but just because he was so exceptional. And maybe he has
just been built up in my mind over the years, but I really think he was truly a great
scholar and probably going to be a very effective leader. He had very good
relationships with people because of his personality, his charisma, his style,
unlike some of the others.
C: Adam Herbert agrees with you on that. When I interviewed him, he called Alan
Ling a tremendous asset.
L: Yes, absolutely. I just feel like the future would have been brighter with him and
when he died it was really a low point for us I think.
C: Any other outstanding people?
L: Oh, there have been a number of them. I think Earl Traynham did a great job as
the dean of the College of Business. And I think Pam Challey has done an
exceptional job as the dean of the College of [Health] and I think Mark Workman
did a great job. And who have I left out?
C: What about Pam’s predecessor who built up the College of Health?
L: She was a thorn in a lot of people’s sides. And it was not that she wasn’t a
capable person and a very knowledgeable person, but she was just, her
personality was very abrasive. We got off on the wrong foot one day. I went to
talk to her about doing Continuing Education and helping me with her college
doing Continuing Education and basically she insulted me and said some things
about Continuing Education from other institutions and she was very nasty and I
just couldn’t deal with that.
C: Any outstanding deans in the College of Ed?
Lovett -- Page 19
L: Oh definitely. Andy Robinson has probably been. . . .
C: Andy and Betty Soldwedel, Donna Evans, Kathy Kasten, Larry Daniel.
L: I think Larry and Kathy have done a great job. I really do. I have worked with
them and under them and with them. But I think Andrew Robinson was really...
C: Tell me why.
L: He had vision.
L: He understood the big picture in terms of the university’s place in a city like this.
He was very external in terms of his focus. He was involved with city leaders,
with governmental agencies, with people in Tallahassee. He was just at a
different level. He was playing on a different field and I felt like that was really
good for the College of Ed and then he became interim president and, of course,
you know the rest of that. Maybe it was the stage the university was in at the
time, maybe there were fewer demands on his time from day to day because we
were smaller and that type of thing, but I don’t think so. He just had a broader
vision of what a university administrator should be and he understood his role.
Not that the others didn’t but some of them didn’t. He, more than the rest, I think,
understood. And I think he would have been a very effective president here at
UNF. I failed to mention him earlier, but he stands out in my mind as somebody
that had the vision and the charisma and the communication skills that some of
the others have lacked. I really think knowing what your role really is in the
certain stage in the development of an institution, knowing what the president’s
role is, knowing what the academic VP’s role is, knowing what the dean’s role is,
that has got to be basic. I don’t know that a lot of administrators really
understand that, what their role is.
C: There is not a lot of training for administrators.
L: There isn’t, but you know what? So much of it, understand, is just reflective
practice, reflective reading and thinking and talking and reflecting on the way it is.
Maybe philosophizing it. There is just not a lot of that going on, or hasn’t been. I
think Andrew understood and I think Roy McTarnaghan understood and I think
Bill Merwin and several others along the way have understood what their role is
and they walk the talk. They didn’t just talk, they actually lived it. So I’ve
mentioned a few names to you.
C: Coming down to unforgettable characters, have there been unforgettable
L: Yes. Some I want to forget, Jim. It is hard to forget some people. I really don’t
want to mention a name, but there is one who sticks out in my mind but I don’t
want to mention his name.
C: I am thinking in terms of positive unforgettable characters.
L: Okay. Well, one that I have never forgotten who died too soon is Mike Andreu.
Do you remember Mike Andreu? He was one of the nicest people I have ever
met. He died a very untimely death; he was much too young. Another one that
is more recent, and maybe because she is more recent because I grieved so
much over her passing was Helon Evans. Helon Evans was the consummate
Lovett -- Page 20
good employee, in my opinion. You could always count on her to get back to
you, to help you, to give you information. Fabulous individual. I’m sure there are
many, many more. I think Andrew Farkas was pretty unforgettable. Just
because he was such an unusual personality. And I appreciated his
forthrightness and candor and sometimes abrasiveness. You always knew
where you stood with Andrew. He didn’t mince words and I like that about him.
And I think Bill Merwin. I admire Bill Merwin a lot. I still have a relationship with
him and I think he is terrific. He has just gotten even better over the years and
they love him at Florida Gulf Coast. They just absolutely love him and he has
done some wonderful things for that institution. Those come to mind.
C: Anything that I haven’t asked you about that you wanted to share about the
university, about your experiences here, about the people you’ve worked with,
L: Well, I’ll tell you that I think that being here for the last twenty-three years has just
been the greatest career in the whole world. Comparing it to K-12 there is no
comparison. There absolutely is no comparison. This has been a much fuller
occupation, fuller life, fuller career. Being here this long and seeing all the
changes and all the growth, mostly positive stuff, has just been fabulous. It has
just been really, really a great experience and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I
think people coming here now that didn’t grow up with this institution have a
different perspective, probably, on it. But actually being a part of something that
was very young even though I wasn’t a part of it like you were or some of the
others that were here ten years before me, it has been a great experience and I
have learned a lot about organizations and about leadership just by being a part
of it and observing different people and different things happening.
C: Okay. Great. Thank you very much for spending your time.