Sweeney: Today I
am pleased to be speaking with Professor Virginia Speer Bagley of the
Department of Biology at Old Dominion University. Professor Bagley, could
you give me some information on your background, academic preparation
and any professional experience you might have had before joining the
Norfolk Division staff?
I joined the staff the year World War II ended, before that I taught
two years previous to Pearl Harbor at Averette College in Danville,
Virginia. During the war I was a civilian instructor in the United States
Army. I taught overseas diagnosis of tropical disease. My specialty
was Parasitology and Microbiology. As far as my background, I took my
first two years of college at Meredith College in Raleigh, North Carolina.
I took my next years of college to a master's degree at Emory University.
I took summer work at Columbia. I took summer work at John's Hopkins.
I took summer work at Cole Springs Biological Genetic Institute on Long
Island and I had various and sundry short courses that I took here and
there at different schools. Now, when I came back to Norfolk in 1949,
I left here. ... I taught one year which was the year the war ended,
I think that was '45. Then I went for one year to the teachers college
in Fallsburg, Maryland and I taught there for a year and quit because
I couldn't stand the cold weather and the snow. I taught one year at
Western Maryland simply because I liked that particular area. Then I
went to work for Jefferson Medical School in Philadelphia. Now I think
I have that out of sequel. It seems to me that I worked for the Army,
came here a year and taught, went to Jefferson Medical School, left
there because I was becoming too Yankee and beginning to push and shove
like they did and I didn't care for it. So I went to teachers College
in Maryland, taught there one year and didn't like the weather. Then
I went to Western Maryland, and from Western Maryland I came here because
I liked Norfolk better than any other place I had been.
Sweeney: Were there
any other reasons why you chose to accept a position at the Norfolk Division?
that I liked the place and I knew the people. They had changed department
heads. Had I known the department head I was coming back to, I might
not have come, because Mr. Clack was a most disagreeable man to work
for. He was a military man. He was most obnoxious. And the men, or the
man rather, Tip Stuart, that he hired to work with him was extremely
obnoxious. So if I had known
was coming back to those two people, I might not have. But I thought
in general, I would come back to the same people and I would like that.
E. Ruffin Jones I worked for the first year for, the first year that
I was here and he was a very fine, very splendid man. I worked with
Regina O'Brien when I first came back the second time, and she always
did good work. But Clack and Tom Stuart were absolutely obnoxious. I
think had I known I might not have come back to them. But, as it was,
I did and since I was here I didn't think a good idea to move again.
Sweeney: Could you
describe the physical facilities for teaching biology, which were available
at the college when you began teaching?
was a teacher's desk in the front. There was displaced space around
the edges and it was quite adequate. And then we had a room next to
it used for comparative anatomy. It simply was a room with a desk. Mostly
in Comparative Anatomy all you need is an animal and a knife. We could
have always used more storage space. We had a single office when I was
first here for three people. E. Ruffin Jones was head of the department.
I taught with him, and Marion Griffin was the other person that taught
and the three of us had an office. Then when I came back, Tom Stuart,
and Clack, and Regina and I had the same Office and it was too small.
I don't remember if they ever gave us another one, because not too long
after that they built the Science Department in the New Science Building,
and people had more space. But I don't believe the Science Department
had two offices in the Old Science Building. If we had I've forgotten.
Sweeney: What effect
did the opening of the new Science Building in 1955 have on the teaching
of biology at the college.
had two effects that were quite good. One was that it gave us more space,
not a great deal more, but it gave us more. Secondly, it gave us better
equipment. The Bacteriology Lab, I myself designed and it was used for
Bacteriology, Parasitology, Embryology, Comparative Anatomy at one time.
It was modeled after, I suppose, a military lab but with desks around
the walls, with physical equipment at the end of the room, with a teachers
desk at the top, at the front of the room, and a big desk down the center.
We had adequate preparation. They built in a walk-in incubator. This
is a factor I picked up in a medical lab; it was a great deal of value.
You could hold a great deal more material in a walk-in room that is
thermostatically regulated than you can with a wall incubator or a small
one. I had my own office which was a great deal of help. The fact that
it was clean, new, and the dirt and dust didn't come in was a decided
factor. A side benefit was the fact that it was removed from Hampton
Blvd. We didn't have as much of a noise problem. Now when I was in the
old building we used to teach survey courses. We taught a Hygiene course
and a Freshman Biology course in one of the two big lecture rooms on
the second floor that extended from the building out toward Hampton
Blvd. These rooms were terrible in the spring because of the noise from
the trucks that ground across the red light there at Hampton and Bolling.
So when we moved to the new science building we were removed from the
noise. Now the new science building that we are still in now, has noise
from Hampton Blvd., but not to the extent those two lecture rooms did
that penetrated out into
Blvd. The noise in those rooms, we quite often had to close
down the windows even in the heat of summer because the noise was so
bad you couldn't even be heard.
you teach any courses other than basic Biology in your first years at
my first year that I was here, if I remember rightly, I taught Hygiene,
Bacteriology, and I taught Freshman Biology. Then when I came back again
it varied tremendously. At first, I taught Freshman Biology, Bacteriology,
and Anatomy and Physiology. Now the first year I was here I taught Anatomy
and Physiology, then also when I came back the second time. At one time
or another I also taught Embryology. I taught a field course in Zoology
and Botany. The field courses were designed specifically for teachers.
I taught Hygiene until it was removed to the Physical Education Department.
I taught Parasitology, Comparative Anatomy, and Embryology. I taught
introductory Bacteriology to the nurses -- it was the basic Bacteriology
course that is the equivalent of the present 308 and 309 course. I taught
about all of the courses that were offered with the exception of Basic
Biology until Dr. Wagner resigned and Dr. Zaneveld came in. When he
came in there was redistribution and we acquired more personnel. Then
I didn't have to teach so many courses. But I have taught just about
every course offered in the department with the exception of Invertebrate
Zoology and of course now we have so many Marine courses. I didn't teach
those, except I taught a course in Marine Zoology for teachers in the
area who knew nothing about the area at all.
kind of research did you pursue in the 1950's? How have your research
interests changed over the years?
I have never been interested in research and I have not pursued research
at all. I was hired to teach and I have always taught. I happen to be
one of those people that just doesn't like research.
Sweeney: A newspaper
article dated July 22, 1955 mentioned your taking classes, composed mainly
of teachers, on field trips to study life in the Tidewater area. Could
you tell me more about these trips?
courses were set up to meet a need that was felt by the school board
and the city of Norfolk. Because they have so many teachers that came
in for the Navy and didn't know the area. They alternated some years,
I believe some years they were offered at the same time. They were strictly
designed to teach teachers that came into the area the plants and animals
of the area. We would take the material in class or we would go out
and collect and then we would bring it back to class and dissect it,
learn what it was. It covered the areas of Ocean View, Virginia Beach,
all the way down through Camp Pendelton. We went as far down the outer
banks as Duck and Dive. We went down to Hatteras, Ocracoke, the area
around Maddemesquite, the Dismal Swamp a few times, and area around
the college. We went up to the entire area around Yorktown, Jamestown,
and saw the geological factors of the James River and York River. We
learned to identify, with basic keys, the trees of the areas. I wrote
a fern book for the teachers to use, and a book about crabs. Gene Peale
wrote a book on insects, not a book exactly, but a pamphlet sort-of-thing.
It was run by the press over in the old technological
and they were small paperbound books and the teachers used them. These
courses were strictly set up to teach them... For example, you would
have a new teacher come into the area and she had not dealt with Navy
personnel. The Navy students would bring in shells that they had found
all over the world and she would have no idea what they were. After
they took these field courses a student could walk up to them with it,
put it out, say, 'What's this?' And she would have a basic idea of the
area it came from, the group to which it belonged, at least its genus
name, if not its species, and could tell them where to look it up....
Also if it was poisonous or otherwise and things of this sort. As the
personnel began to be trained more by the education department, these
field courses were dropped because we didn't feel as though they were
needed as much. They were started to meet a particular demand. When
that demand petered-out, we no longer offered the particular courses.
were your impressions of the Norfolk Division students in the 1950's?
the 1940's, 50's, 60's, and 70's the students of the Norfolk division
have been just about the same, or at least mine have been. It is a school
which is primarily a college, city-oriented school. These students worked
their way through school. They do their work, they come to school. They
are clannish. At one time it used to be referred to as "Larchmont
High" and a great many of them carry their loyalties over from
Granby, or from some other High School that they have been to in the
area. They are not too friendly to out-of-state students and in many
cases they are not too friendly to Oriental students who come in or
foreign students. They have a tendency to stick to the clicks that they
had in high school. If they are Navy Students they have more of the
tendency to mix and mingle because they have been in a lot of different
areas. In most cases they are very hard working---at least my students
are--because they know that what they take they are going to have to
know for the field in which they go. So they work very hard. They study
hard, they put in many extra hours. I have found this to be true ever
since I have been here. They are well disciplined, they behave, they
are polite, and they are not given to excess. They do not rant and rave
and follow causes, strikes, and things of this sort in my class. They
may in others, but they don't in mine. They primarily come to learn.
They learn as much as they possibly can. Quite often they repeat courses
and pay for them. I will put them up against almost anyone for industry.
I don't know how many people work this hard to get their way through
school, but a lot of my students put in tremendous long hours of work
to pay for their own education. As a group I have not found them to
be pampered. I have not found them to be students that came from wealthy
families and expected everything to be handed to them on a platter.
I have had no problems in my classes between white and black students.
Long before the college was integrated I had black students in my field
courses and no one ever noticed them. A long time before integration
came to the college I had black students and in my field studies I had
black teachers. Quite often no one was even aware of the fact that they
were in the class or that the college was taking black students at that
particular time. I think they have been just about the same from here
to now. I don't see much difference in them.
you explain how blacks got into the field courses without being admitted
to the college?
they were admitted to the college. The college just didn't say they
were admitted. They didn't say they had blacks. And they came in because
they were teachers that needed the information. And they were adults
who came to the class. Sometimes they would bring their children on
the trips. A lot of the teachers brought their children and almost turned
them into family picnics because we went so many places. Sometimes these
teachers would bring their children and no one ever paid attention to
what color people were, because they were concerned with learning.
you have any doubts about continuing to teach after your marriage...?
I'm not answering that.
Okay. Could you tell me about the dental assistants program that you helped
I didn't help to organize it. It was organized when I came back from
Charleston. It's a program that is set up to train Dental Hygienists
and Dental Assistants... Oh! You mean the Dental Assistants Program.
That went way back. That was a program set up by dentists in this area
before we had our present program. Several of the outstanding dentists
in this area felt that their Dental Assistants needed extra training
and they wanted them to take the state boards. I was in charge of the
program. Dentists of very high caliber, dentists such as Costenvader,
Canter, Meyers, any number of dentists that were extremely good helped
with that program. I believe Dr. Nichols, that later taught with the
Dental Hygienists group, taught with that group too. In fact, I'm sure
he did. And some of the dental assistants themselves, that had passed
the state board, helped with it. Most of them were Presidents of the
Association or Vice-Presidents of the Association. The course was set
up as a practical course with the dentists lecturing and I coordinated
it. The primary courses that I taught were those related to anatomy,
physiology, tooth growth, tooth hygiene, material that fell within the
biological scope. The actual dental part was taught by dentists themselves.
These were always men of very high caliber. For example, Dr. Jack Canter
taught partial dentures and at the time, as he is now, he is one of
the city specialists in cleft pallets, and he taught cleft pallet work.
He is most probably at the present time, and was then the best man in
the field the city had. The course ran, if I remember rightly, for about
three years, but I'm not sure. Each year a class would take two semesters
and then take the state board. After that, we had educated apparently
enough of the dental assistants that the dentists didn't feel a need
for it and the course petered out. The dentists paid for the expenses
of the course, they paid for the girls to take the exam. The exam was,
of course, administered through the state. I had nothing to do with
the exam. The dental assistant's exam is a state-organized exam and
a state given exam that, I believe, is given in Richmond. But it was
equivalent of the dental assistants course that, at that time, was given
in such places as Chapel Hill, Duke, schools of that sort and we followed
an outline that I have around here somewhere. I believe it came from
Chapel Hill. With that particular course the only requirement for it
was the state board
I believe you also had to have a high school certificate or graduation
diploma. Those were the only prerequisites for it, except for work in
the dental office. The people were referred by their dentists. One or
two people took it from the outside with special permission. They were
usually working in health oriented fields, but most of them were dental
1952 you were appointed acting head of the Biology Department. Could you
discuss the major challenges you faced in this position?
major challenges that were present in that particular position which
was a very short lived position, was the fact that the Chemistry Department
tried to dominate the Biology Department and we tried to hold the department
together until we found someone that was qualified. We started from
a very bad position in which we had two men in the department that were
not fit to be teachers in any institution, college or otherwise. One
was returned to the Navy and we were glad to get rid of him, and the
other was Tom Stuart, who left here, went to the University of Miami
for a short period of time, built himself a house on Key West, no, Key
Largo, picked up a sailor one night, was killed by the sailor and that
was the end of Tom Stuart. He had been a Navy Commander and he came
here to teach under Mr. Clack. Mr. Clack went back to Navy work... I
have no idea what happened to Mr. Clack. But after this very poor beginning
we had to try to hold the department together, we had to try to hire
some people--we got some good people in. This was our primary objective,
to hold it together until we got a really good department head. We had
usual problems of finances and space, and we had more students than
teachers. But primarily I was only holding the department together until
we got a qualified head.
you served any other terms as chairman of the Biology Department?
served a very short, temporary term between the time Dr. Wagner left
and Dr. Zaneveld came in. Dr. Jacques Zaneveld was hired and I think
there was a period of about two months, maybe only a month, I have forgotten,
between the time Dr. Wagner was here and Dr. Zaneveld came that I was
acting head... It might have been a whole summer and two months into
the fall term, but I'm not sure. At that time I was simply holding space
until Dr. Zaneveld came in to take over as head of the department.
you tell me about the lectures on natural history you gave to area garden
clubs and the radio program you had on this subject on WTAR?
lectures I have always given to Garden Clubs are lectures on wild flowers.
They are slide lectures, most of them. You set the level of your lecture
to the level of the garden club. Anything from very simple very common
names of flowers to scientific and simple names. I lectured to the horticultural
groups. For example, I would give the scientific name and common name
of the flowers. Sometimes I would include culture of flower. When I
lectured to some garden groups I would do both. Sometimes I would include
the ecology of the flowers. Depending on the type of group, I might
mention information such as, Tidewater Virginia is a meeting place between
North and South, the mountains and the sea, and you find here mountainous
plants such as Mountain Laurel and you can find almost
in some cases that grow through here, the Calpogans and things such
as this. The garden club, horticulture club public lectures that I gave
were at Portsmouth Library, and other places all over town. They were
completely geared to the educational level, as much as I could toward
the group that I talked to. Now the radio programs, I believe were actually
television programs and these were set up when television first came
in and we were given free time on television for educational purposes.
It was one of the requirements for the program. The programs started
as one-hour programs and they were given on a variety of biological
subjects, along with many on history and English. We gave a series on
countries. I remember Dr. Wagner and Jean Pew and myself gave one on
Russia one time. I gave a very large number on birds of this area. Then
it switched over and I started giving a series of programs, which were
not the work of the whole department, but were my own programs. These
programs dealt in three fields-the animals you could find on the beaches
here. This was a program that apparently had an appeal for both adults
and children. I would go out and little kids would hop up and down and
would say, 'Oh! What did you see on the beaches today?' and adults would
talk about it. It was a general beach program. Such things as, if you
found a starfish---the type, the types of shells, the types of crabs.
General conditions of this sort. Then also in this program I gave current
wild flowers, going out into the country before the show, picking the
wild flowers and bringing them back. This was a time when STAR was within
twenty minutes of wild flowers. Now you would have to go almost to Pungo
to find any reasonable supply of wildflowers. At that time you could
go down to what is now the Carol Ann Farms Development, through there
were no houses at all and you could find wild flowers of any type. It
included such things as the Lotus that grow down around Sandbridge.
It included, well...any type of wild flower, and type of bird, and type
of animal, I would bring in skeletons for the comparative class, and
to some extent, the role of various animals and birds in mythology.
Generally, lectures of this sort. On special occasions, such as Christmas
and Easter, we used to do Christmas shows, giving Christmas arrangements.
I remember one we did with Neil Thomas and he froze on it. He was supposed
to have half of a fifteen-minute program and he talked for two minutes.
So I turned around and gave exactly the same program I had just given,
but I gave it backward. This way we were able to finish, the fifteen
minutes. But they were popular programs. Afterwards, I used to sit on
the curb in back of WTAR. At that time there was a row of very disreputable
houses and colored families lived in them. Their children would wait
for me at the curb. When I finished with the show inside, I brought
the animals or the flowers or the birds or whatever it was out from
the show. Then I would sit on the curb and give a program to the small
colored children in that particular area. Sometimes I would have as
many as 30 for the sidewalk show. I don't know how many I had for the
television, but apparently I had a few more. They were popular shows.
They took in even such things as Parasitology and common parasites found
in this area. Round worms were the most prevalent at the time, common
tape worms, hook worms, which were not found in this area, and other
diseases that might be present. Sometimes I would have my class help.
I know my Bacteriology class gave several with me. They covered almost
any form of Biology that was interesting to the public. I think we gave
these programs about two or three years, if I remember rightly. But
I have no record of how long I gave them.
you tell me about the role you played developing the nursing program at
when it came to developing the Nursing Program at the college I had
two roles. I have always taught in it, with the exception of the two
years I was in Charleston and between '45 and '48 when I came back.
I have taught anatomy, physiology, and microbiology to the nurses. When
we were developing the program, and we had someone come in for the program,
I would always help interview them and we would pass on whether the
person was going to be acceptable or not. In some cases they would hire
someone I was completely against, as in the case with Ms. Fry. Ms. Mary
Fry, I was completely against the hiring of that woman. I did not think
they should hire her, but they hired her none-the-less. At one time
Mr. Webb thought fit to try to have me set up such a program and I went
to the Nurses League in New York and was given a complete cold shoulder
because I was not a nurse, and they would have nothing to do with anyone
who was not a nurse. Therefore I was turned down by the national league
because I was not a nurse. So, I was not allowed to set up the program.
Every time we interviewed people, I always helped to interview.
I would take them around to the hospitals. I have set up a type of liaison
between the college and the hospitals. I usually go there four or five
times a year, and have since I've been here.... talking to the heads
of the school and asking them what they needed... if the classes were
satisfactory, if they meet the needs and requirements of the particular
course, and how the girls have done on the boards. If we have problems
related to the college and the hospitals, I was the non-official person
sent to find out what was the matter and try to do something about it.
I had nothing to do with the setting up of the program for the nursing
department. After I came back from Charleston, it was set up. I believe
at the end of Miss Fry's time, or close to it, was when I went to Charleston.
Then when I came back, I believe, they had hired a German woman to run
the course and from then on I had nothing to do with ODU nursing. Except
that I taught Anatomy, Physiology, and Microbiology in it. I still did
liaison work between the hospitals and the college when things of this
sort were concerned. With the present Nursing Department, I have very
little to do with it except I teach in the Biology Department the courses
they need. And when they need something added, I try to add it. I perhaps,
have more to do with the diploma programs and with working with the
hospitals than I have to do with ODU itself. For example, with the Anesthesia
Nursing Program, which is now set up to teach nurse anesthesiologists,
I helped to organize the course, and I try to teach the anatomy as the
nurses that are going to give anesthesia need it taught, with special
emphasis on the larynx and things of this sort.
Maryview, which is
run by the Grace Sisters of Charity, closed their nursing school. We
had Riverside in Newport News for awhile and there I taught the students
from the Newport News-Hampton area and also the students that came down
from the Mennonite schools that went to Riverside. When Newport News
was set up in Riverside, as a matter of politics, they went over to
Newport News because the board told them they were to use the college
in their particular area. We lost Suffolk on the same basis. Suffolk
apparently did not mind commuting to ODU. It was a long ride, and in
bad weather it was a bad ride, but apparently they didn't mind. Mrs.
Martin said they didn't mind and Mrs. Flowers
said they didn't
mind. However, when a community college was set up in Franklin they
were informed that they were to change their students to Franklin and
they have sent them since to whatever Junior College is set up in Franklin.
I have heard that they are not pleased with the arrangements, but I
don't think they have any choice. It was a political matter. Since then
I have not had any official communication to this effect.
Sweeney: I know
you have already commented in this regard, I was wondering if you wanted
to say anything more about your working relationship with the area hospitals.
There are some hospitals you did not mention.
Bagley: The college
has always had a very good working relationship as far as the Biology
Department has been concerned with the hospitals. Ms. Mary Hall has
been in charge of DePaul, if I am not mistaken, all of the time since
I have been here. The College has always gotten along well with DePaul.
We try as much as we can, always, with the hospitals to give their students
what they need in terms of various programs. When it comes to Norfolk
General, in the time that I have been here, there have been four heads
of the department. There was a Ms. Green; there was a young woman--I
can't recall her name; there was Ms. Mildred Dosier; and now Ms. Florence
Bogish. Ms. Green was retired. The young woman left Norfolk General.
Ms. Dosier had some difficulties. We have no jurisdiction over the heads
of the department for the nursing schools of the different hospitals,
and Ms. Dosier had some difficulties with the hospital and ceased to
teach as head of the department. I don't believe she had the qualifications
for the job. That was the reason they gave for not making her permanent
head of the school. Ms. Florence Bogish has had it since. She has done
and extremely good job and she is extremely well-qualified for her particular
position. At Portsmouth General we have always had Mrs. Lois Daniels.
She has done a good job with what she has had to work with, and we have
always had good relations with them. Our first relations with Maryview
was that we taught the students there. This was the first year I was
here. This would have been the year the war ended, World War II. I went
over to Maryview and taught Microbiology. We did this only one year.
Then when I came back we transferred the girls from there to the college
itself, because we had more adequate facilities than Maryview had. Our
first relationships with Obici was when we sent people over there to
teach. I had some students qualified in Micro and we offered a course
in Microbiology to the students at Obici. Then they decided that for
anatomy, physiology, and micro, their own particular facilities were
not adequate; therefore they sent their students here instead of us
sending our teachers to Obici. Riverview, as long as we had it, sent
their students over here. The difficulty there was the amount of time
spent commuting. I used to go over and give coaching sessions and things
of that sort rather than have them come over here for coaching sessions.
It was much more expensive for the hospital. The same was true of Obici,
Norfolk General, Portsmouth General, Maryview. We always had good relations
with the sisters at Maryview and any of the hospitals we have worked
with. We only had one problem once with Maryview. Before Mrs. Whitehead
went to Riverside to be head of that school, there was a woman that
was in charge there for one year. I believe she had been in charge of
Norfolk General, but I'm not sure. She was a complete eccentric. That
one year the college had some trouble with her
program. It wasn't
that she objected, but she wanted to put in some things that were drastic
and we didn't believe in them. She may have been head of Norfolk General
Hospital for one year, but she was fired from Riverview. We had no trouble
after Mrs. Whitehead went there......
articles appeared in the newspaper during the 60's about possibly a close
relationship between the college and the new medical school being planned
for Norfolk. I was wondering if you looked forward to such a relationship
the past I have worked with colleges that had a medical school within
the college, and it usually is an arrangement that, I have found, does
not work. It sets up an antagonism between the medical school and the
Biology Department, or whichever department worked with them, because
the medical schools always demand so much more in the way of money for
their professors and they seem to get more for their equipment. In most
of the places where I have worked where there was a relationship between
a college and a medical school, with the exception of Emory University
..., a tremendous amount usually goes to the medical school, and it
stirs up animosity, and I did not look forward to it at all.
you believe that ODU and the Eastern Virginia Medical School still might
develop a fruitful working relationship?
Biology Department has developed into an extremely good one. It has
been able to correlate a great deal of its research with that of the
Medical School. Some of its teachers teach in the medical school. It
has not gone both ways because the members of the medical school that
want to teach in the Biology Department demand a great deal of money
for this service. Much more than they pay for the teachers that go from
the Biology Department to the Medical School. However, according to
our Department Head, it helps us to get more money, to get grants easier
or individual teachers to get grants easier and equipment more easily.
They have worked out any number of inter-uses of machines that were
extremely expensive, such as electron microscopes. Actually, they have
developed as separate entities. A fruitful working relationship....
whether they would have this if directly connected to the college, I
would have my doubts on a financial basis. But as it is, it worked out
the college's separation from William and Mary have any special significance
for the Biology Department in 1962?
had definite significance. In the first place we were recognized as
an independent school. The first reaction of the students was that they
did not want to graduate from Old Dominion College. They wanted to graduate
from William and Mary. There was a great deal of resentment the first
year this went into effect. After this, however, it enabled us to offer
courses we had never offered before, and our first degree that went
out was a combination of business and biology. This degree was given
two years, while Dr. Kenneth Wagner was head of the department. It was
a strange degree, but the people who got it turned out to have a great
deal of significance. Most of them went to work for pharmaceutical houses
and because they knew some business and some biology were especially
trained for that particular type of work. They were allowed to give
out old degrees on the basis of the courses that were offered, and for
the first time we could give a full spectrum of courses. This made a
great deal of difference in the Biology Department. It gave it more
importance...it allowed it to give
the courses it wanted
and it did not always have to answer to William and Mary for everything,
which improved the caliber of the teaching in the department as a whole.
the decade of the 60's came to end, did you develop new courses and concerns
what I have taught in the 60's and 70's has been Anatomy and Physiology
and Microbiology. I have added new material to the courses. A new advanced
Bacteriology course which we are offering to nurse anesthesiologists
would be an example of a new course that is offered. Most of my concerns
in teaching have been that as the 70's come in, we are beginning to
get students who are affected by busing and students with a less adequate
education. They cannot read, write, or spell or they have an extremely
difficult time with it. Most of my concern is trying to teach at a level
where I have to grade spelling, English, and I have to put across the
subject matter that I am teaching. Most of my primary concerns have
been in the level of education of the students. If you used big words....
they don't seem to know as much in some respects as they did. They have
the same desire to learn. They are perfectly willing to work hard. It
makes me extremely unhappy that the level of teaching that they get
in the lower schools... in the high schools for example... is very inferior,
apparently, than it used to be. In this respect they have more difficulty.
I expect as much from them but they have to work harder for it. In the
past we have gotten students from Hatteras, Ocracoke, and those that
we first got were very poorly trained. However, now...well we haven't
gotten for an across-the-board representative amount...but we have gotten
some from Hatteras lately that are well-trained. Apparently the schools
in Hatteras are improving. In the City of Norfolk a large percentage
of our students have shown the effects of busing. They don't seem to
have as good of an education as they used to have. They cannot read
as well, nor speak as well, nor spell as well. Their spoken English
is quite incorrect in a large number of cases. I would presume that
this is about the greatest concern that I have, is to require the same
high levels. I do have the advantage that, although the high schools
do what is called social passing of students if they have attended a
high school long enough. The Administration at ODU has never demanded
that I put in social passing in my own classes. Most people don't want
a stupid nurse, a stupid Phys Ed major, or a stupid dental hygienist
working on them, and this might be the basis. But in my own case I am
concerned with the social passing in high schools. This gives me a student
who is inferiorly trained, however they went to school long enough,
so they got a degree. It has never affected my own teaching since the
college has never said that I had to pass a certain percentage of my
students. They are only concerned with a high level of teaching. Therefore,
I have to ask more of my poorly trained students. This is hard on them.
I feel sorry for them. But there is very little a college can do. They
do not train their students, and when we get them, they cannot read,
they cannot write, they don't know how to express themselves, and they
don't know correct English.
you found it difficult to acquire needed equipment over the years because
of budgetary limitations?
has always been extremely difficult over the years to acquire needed
equipment because of budgetary limitations. We have always needed equipment.
We have always needed space. Always, no matter when they have moved
us or where they have moved us, we have grown out of it before we moved
into it. Before
moved into the science building, we were in this building, Chemistry
this building... Engineering, Geology, and Physics were in this building.
As they have built other buildings we were able to acquire a few more
rooms, but whenever we did, we always had students to fill them up and
more than fill them up before we got the rooms. When the Cafeteria was
finally moved out of the Annex, Dr. Dyzell gave away a good portion
of it to other courses when we needed it for the Biology Department.
We had a very difficult time until Dr. Marshall was able to acquire
these rooms for the Biology Department. At the present time, one of
the greatest difficulties that we have is the fact that we are extremely
limited in room space, equipment, and office space. When you have two
or three teachers or one teacher and four graduate students in one office
there is a tremendous need of space. As far as equipment is concerned,
in my own case, because I have not made outstanding demands I have usually
gotten the equipment I needed, lately. Since Dr. Marshall has become
head of the department the ability to acquire equipment has become greater
each year and I have gotten more of the equipment I needed. Before then
we found it difficult to acquire needed material, needed space, needed
you feel that Dr. Lewis Webb was sympathetic to the needs of your department?
think he was sympathetic within the limits of his authority. The difficulty
was he didn't have the authority. Then when the school became independent,
he was always strapped for money because the alumni were not large enough
to support him. In the city of Norfolk, while they had very high regard
for him, the legislative people did not support him as they should.
Within the limits of what he could get a hold of in the way of money,
I think he was sympathetic. Being sympathetic to a need and getting
money for a need are two different things. He did not get the money
for the need but he was sympathetic to the need.
was your involvement in the opening of the Willoughby Spit Biological
Station in 1961?
Jacques Zaneveld was the one opening this station, and he managed to
get the Old Ferring house. He had courses in Marine Algae down there.
There was some of the invertebrate materials were taught down there.
For several years I taught my field Zoology classes down there. My only
involvement in it was that I used the station as long as they had it
for one course or another. It was a station primarily for Dr. Zaneveld's
work and I had some courses that met there but that was about all.
you care to comment on the manner in which the Biology Department used
"the money from the sale of the Zoology laboratory guide...to finance"
and sell a Botany Guide in order to raise money needed for research equipment
have no idea what we are even talking about. We have always had a Biology
Laboratory Guide in Anatomy and Physiology. Now the money for this has
always been turned back into the department, and the department used
it to buy various types of equipment. The Botany Guide that they refer
to here, I presume, is a guide that I used for my field courses, and
the money was turned back... I have never heard anything called a Botany
Guide. We had some field course laboratory guides and the money was
always turned back into the department and they used that money for
whichever equipment they could buy with it. It was not research
It was almost equipment that was life sustaining in the department.
We never made enough off of it to be able to buy anything with it. At
the present time we still sell anatomy and physiology guides because
we can produce them more cheaply than we could buy them. Books have
become prohibitively expensive, and the money is turned over to petty
cash and used within the department for this purpose. The two guides
are Anatomy and Physiology... we still have a Microbiology Guide that
we sell for the nurses. The Botany Field Guide sheets that we had and
sold, all of this money was turned to petty cash. I know nothing about
any particular research equipment it was used for.
Sweeney: The new
Life Sciences Building has been proposed for several years and construction
has been postponed because of budgetary limitations. I wondered how this
continued postponement has affected the development and perhaps also the
morale of the Biology Department?
has affected it in a tremendous amount of ways. In the first place we
have already outgrown the plans of the Life Sciences Building. With
Godwin sitting up there and cutting down on it and inflation cutting
into it, the building is going to be inadequate before it goes up. In
the field of anatomy we already need another animal house another lab
and another lecture house. There is no earthly way we could get it.
The Biology Department could get the whole building for itself. It would
make some sense as it is. Although we would have more room than we have
here and more office space we would be short room and office space before
we moved in. The department cannot hire the types of personnel it would
like to have because they do not have the office space for them. We
do not have adequate office space. We do not have adequate research
space for our graduate program. If we had better office space, research
space, lab space we could have a much better graduate program than we
have. We find it difficult to hire people when they are told they have
to move into a small cramped office space or an office that is cramped
due to a large number of people being in it. The research facilities
are extremely poor. The continued postponement has undermined the morale
of the department as would any other. The feeling runs very strong in
the department that it should now be a Biology building, more than Biology
and Psychology. But we don't think psychologically we can get a life
science building through legislation, or any other life science building
through legislature, so they have changed the name of it. The whole
thing is ridiculous on the face of the fact that they are still giving
William and Mary, University of Virginia, Medical College of Virginia and Virginia Commonwealth large amounts of money. They don't give it
to Old Dominion and this lack of money undermines morale, it undermines
our ability to have adequate personal. It undermines our research programs,
new course programs.... the whole thing is a big mess.
you play any role in the development of the Bachelor of Science degree
in Medical Technology?
have only played a role in the Bachelor of Science degree in Medical
Technology in that in the years past I have worked with the hospitals.
I have worked with Dr. Faulkner and Dr. Stevens in the material that
was offered in the courses that I taught-- Anatomy, Physiology and at
some time Microbiology which were directly related to medical technology.
Since Dr. J. Ward came he has been completely in charge of that program.
He has done an exceptionally outstanding job of developing this program.
The only thing I have done is if any improvement was suggested in the
courses that I teach that would go with the med-tech program then I
made whatever change was possible to improve the course. This course
as it is offered is the brainchild of Dr. J. Anderson Ward. He has done
a super job of developing it. It is one of the best courses that there
is in the state and most probably one of the best in the country. It
is one course that I think would be more of a child of Mr. Ward than
Sweeney: What are
the objectives of the Bachelor of Science Program in Environmental Health?
again, I think you have the problem that you are trying to correlate
a side individuals work with a definite program. Dr. John Richardson
was the one that developed the Bachelor of Science in Environmental
health. He has done a very good job with it. He has extreme expertise
in the subject. He has a very good relationship with the city of Norfolk,
developing relationships with Portsmouth and other hospitals and other
public health programs over the program. The only thing I ever did was,
in the beginning, before we ever had an Environmental Health program
or Med Tech program of any extent, I used to have Bacteriology and then
I taught the Anatomy and Physiology that they used when they went to
work for Public Health in Norfolk. This was the time when Mr. Farmer
was in charge of Public Health. I used to train their technicians in
Micro, Parasitology, and Anatomy and Physiology. When Dr. Sonnenshine
came, he took over Parasitology and I was still teaching the Anatomy,
Physiology and Microbiology. Then when Microbiology was turned into
course 308, my course was primarily related to the medical sciences,
to the nurses and dental hygienists--people of this sort. And so I ceased
to have much to do with Environmental Health. This particular program
deals directly with the Sanitation Departments, the Public Health Department
of the country, particularly of the Norfolk, Portsmouth Area. Developed
by Dr. Richardson, I have only taught programs in the Bachelor of Science
Degree as such.
Sweeney: Do you
believe the Women's Caucus has made a positive contribution to the female
Bagley: My personal
opinion is that it has not and I do not belong to it. I have found that
the few things you say to any of the members.... I feel that it operates
too much on a female gossipy basis. Any information that goes into,
it is likely to come out distorted, and I don't think that it has made
any contribution. I have never been a Women's Libber -- I have never
had to be because I got what I wanted without it. I don't believe that
it makes any particular contribution. Needless to say I'm prejudiced
against this sort of thing simply because I have not found that the
people that are in it are anything but extremists, and I do not think
it has made a positive contribution. This is a purely personal opinion
and I'm sure that are a large number of people who would disagree with
Sweeney: What are
your own goals at this point in your teaching career?
goals that I have are the same that I have always had. To simply teach
my students to the best of my ability. To give them new knowledge as
it comes along. To see that what they learn from me is going to be something
that they can use directly--so that they can pass their board exams
when they come up. I try to teach them in such a way that they are going
to be safe on hospital floors to work with patients; they are going
to be safe working in dental offices. I try to teach them common sense
along with their theoretical knowledge. Most of the students that pass
under my hands are going to be students who have taught with a directional,
technical training, operative, practical, common sense knowledge that
everyone of them is going to use in their particular profession. If
people elect to take my courses they usually do it because they want
to know something about their bodies or disease. And in any of these
cases what I try to teach them is something that is practical, that
they will be able to use even if they do not work in their particular
chosen field of endeavor. If they are a mother they can use it, or a
father. If they work with people they can use it. I have always taught
on a career oriented, practical, common sense level, and I will most
probably continue to teach on the same level.
Sweeney: What have
been your chief sources of satisfaction during your teaching career? Your
chief sources of satisfaction during my teaching career have been my
students, because I have had outstanding students. A large number of
them have gone out all over the United States. A good many of them have
become outstanding in their particular field. I would say that as a
group they have done extremely well, and I am extremely proud of them.
My principal disappointments have been simply the fact that I did not
go ahead and get my PHD. This was rather ridiculous of me, by you don't
always see as far forward as you do backward when you start looking
down a new road. I would say my disappointments have been in myself.
My chief sources of satisfaction have always been in my students and
in the fact that apparently, they do extremely well in their fields
or at least most of them do.
Sweeney: Thank you
very much Professor Bagley for a very informative interview.