Class will document past TCU leaders

A new class offered by the John V. Roach Honors College  will create a book of TCU’s history of leadership.

Leo Munson, associate provost for academic support, and Dan Williams, director of TCU Press and professor of English, designed the Vision and Leadership class to capture the oral history of the university, Munson said.

The book will feature the history of TCU leadership from 1973 until present day. Although names could not be released, the individuals featured in the book will range from leaders in administration and faculty to trustees and staff, Williams said.

The idea for this class came about in a casual conversation between Munson and Williams in the TCU bookstore.

“I’ve had the idea of trying to capture this for two or three years,” Munson said.

Munson and Williams compiled a list of 40 people who had a great influence on the growth of TCU. The university has grown significantly in the last 30 years, Williams said. He attributed this progress to the vision, drive and leadership of a broad range of committed people who helped reshape the direction of TCU.

“Not only do we have new buildings and a larger student enrollment, but we also have a host of new innovative programs and curricula, new resources and opportunities, and a dynamic community spirit of collaboration and initiative. This is a great story,” Williams said.

The class was reserved for upperclassmen of the Honors College, Munson said.

The students enrolled in the class had to learn many new skills they may not have been familiar with in the past, Munson said.

They would learn how to conduct interviews and edit and transcribe their interviews into print for records, Munson said. The students had to systematically interview these individuals to make a history of the past 30 years of TCU as seen through many different perspectives.

To make sure the students knew what they are doing, Munson said he invited certain experts to teach the students the techniques necessary to succeed. Their guests have included Rebecca Sharpless, an associate professor who lectured the students on oral history, and Jess Price, media producer from the Center for Instructional Services, who taught the class about camera techniques.

“Not only are we learning how to do these things, but we will have the opportunity to practice these skills, and I think that experience is going to be invaluable,” junior biology and writing major Kristi Dena said.

The 13 students enrolled in the class would be divided into four teams, Munson said. Each team was assigned three people to interview throughout the semester.

Kristin Trumble, a senior strategic communication major, said she was excited for the opportunity to take a class that is set up more like a business.

“We’re all working together, sharing ideas and striving towards the same goal,” she said.

The students had to complete 12 interviews for the fall semester.

“We hope to complete the interviewing in the spring and/or summer,” Williams said. “But this is an oral history project, and such projects sometimes take on a life of their own, and the TCU Oral History Project could continue long after our commemorative book has been printed.”

Kourtney Kinsel, a junior English and political science major, said she valued making connections with others and learning about them.

“It is so important to hear about the past through the experiences of others, and I cannot wait to connect to those who have helped make TCU the institution that it is today,” Kinsel said.

Williams said there was not a set date on when interviews would begin.

“I think this collective story filled with memories of so many talented and dedicated [Horned Frogs] will make a great book,” Williams said. “But it will also create an invaluable archive that will serve the institution for decades to come.”