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Interview with Barbara Wascher

Elgin Community College Archives
Polly Nash, Interviewer |
Elgin Community College Archives |

0:00 - Introduction of Interview with Barbara Wascher

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Partial Transcript: This is an interview with Barbara Wascher, …

Segment Synopsis: Polly Nash introduces the interview, states why Wascher was selected to give her oral history, including the fact that she was both a student who subsequently became an employee by the college.

Keywords:

Subjects: Higher Education

1:00 - Wascher’s Personal History

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Partial Transcript: Can you give us a little bit about your own personal history…?

Segment Synopsis: Barbara begins her narrative by sharing her early years and the fact that her father farmed in Lanark, IL, to grow food for the troops during WWII, returning to Elgin, IL, at the end of the war. She briefly describes her siblings and where they went to school as well as where she graduated from high school. All of them attended schools within U-46.

Wascher explains that her father was a railway postal clerk, riding between Chicago and Omaha, NE or Chicago and St. Louis, MO. She explicates the process by which the mail was delivered to each of the towns along the way. She recollects that her mother stayed at home until she was hired by Chicago Junior School.

She discusses her curricular and co-curricular experiences at Elgin High School, from which she graduated in 1962. Recounting that she met her husband in high school, she shares about her senior prom and the surprise found in her corsage.

Keywords: Ben Royer; Blaine Royer; Chicago Junior School; Elgin High School; Freeport, IL; Lanark, IL; Larkin High School; Omaha, NE; St. Louis, MO; Wayne Wascher; “Key, badge, gun, pocketbook.”

Subjects: Higher Education

5:04 - Experiences as a Student at Elgin Community College

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Partial Transcript: So, tell me about coming to ECC.

Segment Synopsis: Barbara depicts why she came to ECC, in large part because her fiancé was attending and they planned to be married in July 1963, approximately a year after she graduated from high school and then began her collegiate studies at ECC. She tells about how they worked several jobs in order to afford to go to college and the fact that her husband took a year off from school (after graduating from ECC) for financial reasons. Further, she recalls what the college was like when she attended from 1962-64 and that it was part of U-46.

She describes what the college was like at that time and some of the various buildings in which she took classes. She recollects how students would get from one class to another, often in different buildings throughout the city of Elgin.

She expounds on the limited career opportunities for female college students at that time; they could pursue teaching, nursing, or secretarial work. She explains that both of her parents were engaged in teaching (father a substitute teacher and mother still with Chicago Junior School). She decided to enroll in the secretarial program at ECC. She illuminates that decision by sharing that she transferred the associate degree that she earned at ECC to NIU which culminated in a bachelor’s degree in Business Education.

Keywords: Astronomy Building; Dean Gilbert Renner; District U-46; Elgin High School; Gus Stuart; Masonic Temple; Northern Illinois University; Renner Hall; Wayne Wascher; YMCA Building

Subjects: Higher Education

11:30 - Wascher’s Life Subsequent to ECC Graduation

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Partial Transcript: So, we both have our degrees – my husband and myself – from Northern.

Segment Synopsis: Wascher elaborates about her baccalaureate completion which included student teaching at Larkin High School. She recalls that she was hired by Larkin HS when she graduated, but, because she was pregnant had to stop teaching because there was a prohibition regarding teachers being pregnant. Instead, she shares that she began tutoring pregnant girls who also could not be in high school.

She explains that between 1968 and 1973, she was a stay-at-home mom at which point the high school business dean asked her to return to teaching. Simultaneously, she started teaching business education courses at ECC in the evening.

Keywords: Larkin High School; Northern Illinois University

Subjects: Higher Education

13:00 - Reflections on Her Collegiate Years and Early Years of Teaching at ECC

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Partial Transcript: Taking you back to when you were a student at ECC…

Segment Synopsis: Barbara explains how her life as a student was different from the social lives of other students, as she was married and had dissimilar responsibilities. She also reveals that she chose secretarial science as a major because her goal was to teach.

She recalls that one of her first courses to teach when she started at ECC was Gregg Shorthand, sharing that it is no longer used in an office but was used heavily at that time. She describes why she thinks people no longer use shorthand in an office environment. She illustrates with her own experience working for an insurance agent at that time.

Keywords: Gregg Shorthand; Smith Corona Typewriter

Subjects: Higher Education

16:47 - Wascher’s Early ECC Colleagues

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Partial Transcript: So, that’s what you started teaching. And, at some point, there was an opening…

Segment Synopsis: Wascher explicates her experiences with Grace Selby, with whom she had experiences both in high school and Elgin Community College. She tells of the faculty and administrators who were there when she was hired in 1978, both within the secretarial science department and within the business division.

She also describes the courses that were taught at that time and the technology transitions that the department had to make.

Barbara depicts her feelings and experiences when she first started teaching at the college compared to teaching in high school and middle school.

Keywords: Carolyn Kirk Likou; Childcare Program (Tot Spot); Dorothy Weise; Ed Cobb; Eric Larson; Grace Selby; Kimball Middle School; Larkin High School; Linda Hefferin; Pat Dumoulin; Paul Hegele, Loren Long; Sharon Fisher-Larson; Vern Bashaw

Subjects: Higher Education

22:24 - Changes in Office Administration Curriculum

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Partial Transcript: So, can you talk about how your curriculum changed, the courses …

Segment Synopsis: Barbara portrays how the secretarial science (later changed to the office administration) courses and curriculum changed throughout the years. She elaborates that they moved from typewriters to word processors to computers. She explains how her department worked with local employers through the program advisory committee to modify the curriculum to meet employer needs. She recollects the various courses (Communication Skills, Listening Skills, Telephone Skills, Customer Service Skills, etc.) that she taught for area businesses through the Business and Industry Training Center/Business Conference Center.

Keywords: Apple Computers; IBM Computers; Microsoft; Program Advisory Committee/Board; Word Perfect

Subjects: Higher Education

26:37 - Assisting Other College Staff Learn New Software

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Partial Transcript: What about your colleagues, maybe in other departments, …

Segment Synopsis: She tells how she and other faculty in her department helped faculty in other departments learn the computer skills needed for their college work.

Keywords:

Subjects: Higher Education

27:09 - Her College Leadership Outside of the Department

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Partial Transcript: We understand that you provided leadership to the college…

Segment Synopsis: Barbara remembers how she provided leadership within the college in arenas outside of her department, such as the Faculty Senate of the Elgin Community College Faculty Association. She also recalls her work as the liaison from the Faculty Senate to the College Foundation Board. Finally, she reminisces about her efforts to mentor and evaluate new faculty. .

Keywords: ECC Foundation; ECCFA; Faculty Senate; Roger Ramey

Subjects: Higher Education

29:59 - What Makes Good Teaching

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Partial Transcript: What do you think that new teachers don’t really understand about good teaching?

Segment Synopsis: Barbara talks about some of the qualities that she believes good teachers must possess – those which exceed all the methods classes that an individual can take in college. Teaching from the heart – wanting her students to succeed – was one of her guiding principles. She explains that she wanted to create a learning environment in which her students wanted to learn and achieve their goals in life. She reveals that she believes caring about her students not only as students but as individuals is key to excellent teaching. Love what you’re doing is another key to being successful. Wascher expresses her feelings about being nominated and receiving the Orrin G. Thompson recognition for teaching excellence.

Keywords: Charles Rorie; Orrin G. Thompson Teacher of the Year Award

Subjects: Higher Education

33:48 - Wascher’s Retirement

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Partial Transcript: In 2002, you retired. Can you talk about your decision?

Segment Synopsis: Wascher explains her decision to retire, partly because “it was time,” and partly because her grandchild had just been born and she wanted to help with family matters and desired to travel with her husband. But she clarifies that she also sought to “turn the torch” over to younger individuals at the college.

Barbara describes her involvement in a number of community organizations in her retirement, including the ESO and The Donor Club of Elgin. She believes in giving back to the community. She discusses the efforts and her participation in The Donor Club of Elgin.

Keywords: Elgin Enrichment Board; Elgin Symphony Orchestra Board; Jacob Wascher; Jayne Shover Easter Seals; The Donor Club of Elgin; Wayne Wascher

Subjects: Higher Education

36:39 - Reflections on Her ECC Colleagues

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Partial Transcript: Are there colleagues – when you think about your time at Elgin Community College –

Segment Synopsis: Barbara reminisces about many of her colleagues at the college. She enlightens that she worked with four different presidents who were here during her tenure as a faculty member.

Keywords: Carolyn Kirk-Likou; Eric Larson; Grace Selby; Jack Weiss; Linda Hefferin; Pat Dumoulin; Paul Hegele; Polly Nash; Sharon Fisher-Larson

Subjects: Higher Education

39:23 - Final Reflections

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Partial Transcript: As we close, I’m going to open it up to you for any final reflections…

Segment Synopsis: Barbara reflects how fortunate she feels and the good fortune that she had in being able to combine education, work and family. She comments that not only did she and her husband come to ECC as students, but also her sons and other relatives. She expresses her disappointment that many high school students see ECC as a second choice rather than an excellent choice – a gem – for a high school graduate. Also, she commends the high-quality vocational training programs that are offered.

Keywords: HVAC; Welding

Subjects: Higher Education

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