Schedler Honors College 40th Anniversary Oral History Project

The Schedler Honors College Oral History Project (SHCOHP) was the product of a class “Living History: The Schedler Honors College Oral History Project.” The project goal was to collect alumni interviews in advance of the 40th anniversary of the Schedler Honors College (1982-2022).

The Art of Oral History

When we say the word “history,” the first image that comes to mind is probably a history book, likely about people long gone and researched by a historian who spent years hunched over barely-legible documents. While “history” as a field includes the long-gone people and the fragile artifacts they leave behind, it also includes the living, their memories, and the narratives they tell about themselves. The field of history in which people narrate their lives and understandings of the past is called “oral history,” and the people who conduct, preserve, and analyze those narratives are called are called “oral historians.” Oral history is many things – a discipline, a method, a skill, and an experience – wherein two people, a narrator and an interviewer, collaborate and co-create a dialogue, often for a particular purpose or with a particular focus. 

While the word “interview” is used in oral history, it differs from how most people conceive of “interviewing.” Whereas an interview can explore a certain subject, or a person’s life, oral history as a field works to collect different perspectives and to use the overlap between and among those perspectives to understand the shape of what ties them together – here, the Honors College. It can also show what not everyone sees, and the differences in people’s experiences become valuable information that deepens and textures of the object at the center of the inquiry.

Take the question, “What is the Honors College?” If I was interviewing an alumni narrator and asked that, the question cuts through a lot of the feelings and memories attached to the Honors College and requests that the narrator just tell me the facts. While they might feel all sorts of ways about the Honors College, the standard answer to that question might be very institutional, static. But to interview as an oral historian means that I have to approach this question differently and from multiple directions. To find out what the Honors College is, we need to talk to quite a few people, and each person needs to put the Honors College in context of their lives. And while I can still ask a direct question like “What is the Honors College?” I can also find multiple ways to get at that question that asks the narrator to think differently about what the “Honors College” is – what it was before they were accepted, what it was while they were there, what it is in the rearview mirror, what all of those things mean, and how they have deal with those meanings in their lives, what it did and did not change for them, what they did and did not love about it, what hope or grief or other emotions that they experienced in their time there, among dozens of other questions.

While a lot of time can be spent exploring “context,” the questions the students developed naturally gravitated towards the meaning of education in their lives and how family, friends, institutions, and teachers affected that meaning. Asking alumni what education meant to their families and what it meant to them, and how education could be transformational, is one of the main dividends of the project, and helps to place the questions about the Honors College’s importance in their lives: How did alumni come to the Honors College? What did it mean to them to step through the doors? What did “education” mean to alumni, before and after stepping through that door? What were the experiences that defined the Honors College in their lives? Who were the people that made the Honors College what it was? How did it affect your life after you left? 

Because of this approach, the image of the Honors College that emerges is multi-faceted, deep, rich, and rooted in lived experience and memory, in ways that a purely institutional history could not access nor convey. The perspectives contained within this project are many-layered, wonderful, funny, sad, hopeful, studied, and powerful. I hope they are read and used, discussed, and built upon. May the conversation continue.

-Dr. Whit Barringer, SHCOHP Director

Contents of the SHCOHP Archive

  • “Introduction to the Project” and information on class structure (document)
  • “The Schedler Honors College Oral history Project – Introduction and Overview” 

  • Interviews from 39 alumni, spanning the Honors College’s history from 1982 to 2020 and including various artifacts submitted by alumni to the project for archiving, including photos, scans, and theses*
  • Project Documents, including interview questions, artifacts, the class syllabus, the blank deed of gift and informed consent forms, and transcription guidance (available upon request)

*A note on the transcripts: The transcripts are not perfect, due to both technological issues and skill levels, but they represent the best product we could produce within the time limits of the class. Students were instructed to format the interviews in particular ways, though there’s still quite a bit of variation amongst them. There are notes in transcripts about known issues. If you see a transcript that has issues that are not noted, please notify us at and we will add a note. 

Narrator Interviewer Date of Interview Years at UCA
Adams, Kay Galloway, Mary 3/8/2022 1984-1988
Altstatt, Judi Rudolph, Avery Michelle 3/10/2022 1982-1986
Barringer, Whit Horton, Caroline 3/14/2022 2005-2009
Battaglia, Alexander Dodson, Reed 3/24/2022 2013-2017
Boston, Mylon Trujillo, Dianne 3/8/2022 2016-2020
Coleman, Rebecca Ramos, Anacaren 3/17/2022 1990-1994
Dedman, Jennifer Barringer, Whit  2002-2006
Eberle, Julie Triplett, Cam 3/18/2022 2010-2014
Godwin, Ashley Dodson, Reed 3/24/2022 2013-2017
Henager, Mollie Triplett, Cam 3/16/2022 2012-2016
Hicks, Ashley Clark, Lillian 3/9/2022 2009-2013
Horton, Leah Galloway, Mary 3/7/2022 1993-1997
Keil, Brittany Clark, Lillian 3/15/2022 2008-2012
Landry, Alicia Ray, Brooklyn 3/15/2022 2001-2005
Lea, Cindy Ramos, Anacaren 3/16/2022 1991-1995
McElduff, Hanna Triplett, Cam 3/29/2022 2014-2018
Meador, Scott Rudolph, Avery Michelle 3/11/2022 1991-1996
Moore, Bradley Ziegler, Griffin 3/30/2022 1991-1997
Mullins, Morrie Ramos, Anacaren 3/18/2022 1991-1994
Oakley, Sean Dodson, Reed 3/24/2022 2005-2009
Olds, Carl Ziegler, Griffin 4/2/2022 1990-1995
Phillips, Kelly El-Houri, Noor 3/21/2022 1996-2000
Plafcan, Gerald Rudolph, Avery Michelle 3/10/2022 1983-1986
Purkiss, Timothy El-Houri, Noor 3/22/2022 2004-2008
Sanders, Monica Trujillo, Dianne 3/16/2022 2015-2019
Schwader, Cathrine Ziegler, Griffin 7/13/2022 2008-2012
Seaton, Dustin Triplett, Cam 3/13/2022 2003-2006
Sewell, Madison Ray, Brooklyn 4/7/2022 2012-2016
Simers, Sarah Ray, Brooklyn 3/9/2022 1997-2001
Simmons, Samantha Dodson, Reed 4/13/2022 2005-2009
Smith, Patricia Ray, Brooklyn 3/15/2022 1997-2001
Spickard, Kristen El-Houri, Noor 3/15/2022 2005-2009
Stine, Lisa Galloway, Mary 3/21/2022 2005-2009
Thomas, Andrew Trujillo, Dianne 3/11/2022 2004-2008
Turbeville, Dean Horton, Caroline 3/7/2022 2006-2010
Walter, Ron El-Houri, Noor 3/20/2022 2008-2012
Williams, Alex Trujillo, Dianne 3/11/2022 2016-2020
Womack, Corey Horton, Caroline 3/9/2022 2006-2010
Zagurski, John Clark, Lillian 3/8/2022 2007-2012