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Tammy Bray Oral History Interview

March 28, 2014 – 3:00p.m.

Video: “Building the College of Public Health and Human Sciences in Changing Times” . March 28, 2014

Location: Womens Building, Oregon State University.
Interviewer:  Chris Petersen

1:54:01 - Abstract | Biography | Download Transcript (PDF)


Chris Petersen: All right, Dr. Bray, so if you would, could we start our interview by having you introduce yourself, give us your name and today's date, and our location.

Tammy Bray: Sure. My name is Tammy Bray. I'm the Dean of the College of Public Health and Human Sciences. Today is March 28th, 2014. I am in my very messy office in the Women's Building. I think the room number is 123.

CP: Terrific. Well, we'll start at the beginning. You were born in China?

TB: Yes.

CP: Where in China were you born?

TB: Do we really have to go that far? [Laughs] Yes, yeah. I actually was born, transition from China to Taiwan. The only part I remember really is Taiwan. I grew up in Taiwan—Taipei, Taiwan. So, that's how far I can remember.

CP: So your family moved at an early age?

TB: That's very true. As a matter of fact, at a very early age, yes.

CP: What were the circumstances that led to that move?

TB: Well, escape from Communism—my parents, my dad especially, to do that. And the only things I remember is when I was told that they either have to throw me in the ocean, or bring me to Taiwan. So, that's why I don't really like to remember that part of the time, because I assume I just grew up in Taiwan.

CP: What were your parents' occupations?

TB: My dad worked for the government. My mom was stay-at-home mom.

CP: So what was it like growing up in Taiwan? What did you do for fun? What was your educational pursuit?

TB: Well, I would say both of my parents were very strict on their children—very loving, but at the same time had very high expectations. So I just remember when we were in Taiwan, or at least at that time, because my dad worked for the government and followed Chiang Kai-shek. So it was always that we're going to return to mainland China one day. It was a transition for the last I don't know how many years. So I never really, at the beginning, felt that that was the place I was supposed to be permanently stay there. Now I'm thinking back. that's the only place I know. When I go back to Taiwan, I can see that's the place I grew up.

But I really don't know that much about China. When I go to China, it looks very strange to me even though it's the same race. And so, I don't know that part played, that the idea of going back to China, from my parents' standpoint, that influenced us. But yeah, it's a good place. I remember a lot of things, mostly it's study, study, and study! So most of the things we needed to do to survive, often, is just simply, it's war time or after war time, and it's a strange place to both my parents and to the kids. I have a sister and a brother. We were in the countryside and fields, and always worried about Communist attack, so those are the days.

CP: Wow. You attended Fu-Jen University?

TB: Yes.

CP: What was the environment like there for you?

TB: Well, again, it's a Catholic university, not because the religion that I went over there—just the time, that's a private university. My dad actually wanted me to be either a nurse or a kindergarten teacher, because he felt that if a woman has to work, probably should work in those fields. But it was my mother told me, "Why can't she go to university?" And of course, it being a Catholic university, all those sisters, and brothers, and fathers pretty strict, and my parents thought, at least at time, it was a good place for me to go. It's safe. And they emphasize behavior and studies, so.

CP: Did you enjoy that? Did you enjoy your experience there?

TB: Yes. I think the part I enjoyed most is the idea that it was early years [0:05:01]; I had the freedom, and they encouraged leadership. And I didn't know at that time; I just did a lot of things. And now when I think back, those are leadership and training; basically it's a lot of services that they ask, I say, "Yes." And I make mistake, that's how my learning process begins.

CP: You decided to study nutrition there, is that correct?

TB: Actually, at that time was home economics, because again, thinking about the background of my parents, they just thought for a woman to go to school, home economics is a good place to start. As a matter of fact, I wanted to be a doctor, and I thought, if my father let me to study nurse or nursing, I can be a doctor. For whatever the reason, it just didn't quite fit the time. So I studied nutrition. As a matter of fact, in home economics there's a nutrition major, which is food and nutrition, so I was lousy sewing; I was lousy doing all of the rest of things, but I was good at chemistry, biochemistry, and I was interested in that. And that's how I started.

CP: So you were attracted to science from a pretty early age?

TB: Absolutely. Absolutely. And it came very easy. In other words, those grades, as long as it related to science, I had A. If it related to something else, I always—I have to struggle. [Laughs] So, I know I like science.

CP: Was there time for any other extracurricular activities?

TB: Oh yes. I did. I volunteered a lot of things, including drama. I played—I was in the play, more than was in plays. I was actually directing, and I actually wrote quite a few stupid things. But it was fun. And I also did manage to do the yearbook for the department, as well as for the college, so I did a lot of other things, like I said. You know, everything is new, so if you're willing to volunteer, they just let you. So I took on a lot of that, so.

CP: When you finished up at Fu-Jen, you made the decision to go to the United States?

TB: Yes.

CP: What was the thought process there?

TB: Well, the interesting part of that part was influenced by some of the professors. They came back from the United States, some of them. At that time I thought they were pretty old, but you know, when you are 17 or 18, everybody is old, right? So, it was interesting. I have quite a few faculty who came back from the United States, and the way they talk about the United States, I just feel like that's got to be a place I need to go. At the same time, I actually was thinking about to go to Germany. Part of the reason is that the sister who was in charge, Sister Banya [?], who was in charge of the department at that time, our group at that time, came from Germany. So I thought, she was my role model, except my father told me, "You're never going to be a nun." I said, "Okay." [Laughs] But other than that I wanted to go abroad just to try out things. Yeah.

CP: So you applied to various places, I assume, or did you—you went to Washington State?

TB: Right. I did. I applied—I remember, I got accepted at that time to Arizona. I can't remember if it was Arizona State or University of Arizona, but I don't remember them. I know Washington State; I remember Massachusetts, Amherst, and when I looked at a map, it looked like Washington State was the closest to home. So I choose to Washington State. That's about how much process I had—thought process I had at that time.

CP: How old were you when you came to the U.S.?

TB: Oh, my gosh, it was so long ago! I was young. [Laughs] Okay. I think 20, or something. Yeah, I was a little bit early to go to school because of the war at the time. I was telling you, early stage of my life, my parents sent me to school quite early, and I was the youngest, always the youngest in my class. [0:09:59] So I remember, but you know, I have to think back. But I was young, and it was a strange place. I thought, man, the land was big, and everywhere was wheat.

CP: [Laughs]

TB: And it was interesting. Pullman, I thought, that was the best place on earth, [laughs] at that time. I spent 11 years there, so it was a long time.

CP: You made this trip by yourself? You were on your own?

TB: Yeah. I was quite adventurous, I think. Because I got on the plane to, supposed to—my flight was supposed to go from Taiwan to Tokyo, and from Tokyo to Seattle. So, I had a basic one-way ticket. I had total $500. I had a scholarship from Washington State. So the flight, I got on the flight. Annie—I still remember Annie Chen also at that time was coming to WSU. And so I made a friend with her from Taiwan to Tokyo. And she said she has family in Tokyo, so she's going to visit her family in Tokyo for a few days. So I asked her, can I come with her? She said, "If you want." I said, "Sure." I took off with her. I don't know what I was thinking, and I didn't even know that was dangerous. All I knew was I got off the plane, went with her for six days in Tokyo, and then when she left for Seattle, I got on in Tokyo the same flight. Of course, I had a ticket. I feel like that's a bust or something. I got on, and they let me on, so that's how I got actually to Seattle. Well, the things that I remember the most at that time was—you know, Taiwan is tropical, and every Chinese New Year, my parents would buy apples or pears. Those are very expensive, so we would usually share of those fruit during New Year, Chinese New Year time. So, when I was in Tokyo, I saw they were so cheap. They've got all of the pears around. So, I remember I had a bag full, or five or six of them, I brought all of the way from Tokyo to Seattle, flew all of the way. Of course you know what happened in the customs area. [Laughs]

CP: [Laughs]

TB: They said, "What's in that bag?" I said, "Oh, pears." They said, "No." I realized there was a garbage can right next to the customs, and, oh, the guy was pointing at the other customers. They've got other fruit, got meat, kind of a jerky, got mushrooms, all in a big garbage can. I said, "You mean, I'm supposed to throw this in there?" He looked at me and he said, "Yes." I said, "Can I eat it?" I don't want to lose them! So the guy rolled his eyes, so I stepped aside. I said, "Well, here's the United States. I can do anything I want." I sat there and ate all of the pears.

CP: [Laughs]

TB: And [makes brushing hands clean noise] wiped my mouth, and get on the line and walk in. That's my beginning of the United States. [Laughs] So, welcome to the United States, I guess.

CP: What was the adjustment like for you to American culture and being in the U.S.?

TB: Well, I remember, at that time, I was taking note, always writing my daily diary. And from time to time I read it. It looks so childish, but it seems to be a lot of changes in my life. But I think overall, I just found the United States, most people very friendly. And I enjoyed that. And I was, probably am still, a pretty adventurous person. I like to try new things. So I tried, I will always remember, apple pie. So I tried apple pie. It was too sweet for me at the beginning. And I also remember, got to be steak and potatoes. That's what people always say, meat and potatoes. So I tried it. I said, "Oh, my God, they don't cook the meat. The meat's got blood in there!" So I remember that. And then I was in the dorm. And when I was at Washington State, I remember, "Why don't they cook the food?" [0:15:00] They gave me raw food, which is salad. You know, Chinese needed sauté and all of that stuff. I remember those days. But it didn't take me long to try a lot of different things. It was interesting.

CP: And your English was well enough at this point?

TB: Oh, I don't know. I usually try to find new words and then I repeat them. And yeah, I think I was okay. I was okay. At least I thought I was okay, let's put it this way. [Laughs] It just takes a long time. It's always hard to be the second language, so. That's just how life goes.

CP: Well, tell me about your development as a graduate student, your research, and the mentors you had along the way.

TB: Well, yeah, I love research. I think that's one thing I find myself really early on, I love to do. One thing I didn't know when I came to the United States, that you don't have to work Saturdays. I mean, at home you have to work six days, and we have Sunday off. And so Saturday I went to work, and I realized the building, the door was locked. I said, why? Did I miss a day somewhere? So later on I realized I have to get special permission to work in the lab Saturdays.

So I remember, I loved research; I loved to ask questions. I had a mentor, and at that time, she came—she was educated from the University of Berkeley. She was working on cholesterol metabolism, or statins, in menopausal women. So I didn't know—I loved the chemistry part of it and the lab part of it. I loved to take the blood and run through to see the level, and go through the process. It made me feel like, "I'm a scientist in the lab. I'm all by myself." I love it; I don't even know why. I liked that part the most. And later on I realized I need to make it more applied, to have to talk to all of the women who I took blood from. Why did I measure that? What should I tell them about the result? So I began to learn part of that.

So yeah, I had a really good master's degree mentor. So, when I finished that—and in the meantime, I realized the life, I feel like in a different part of the world, I've got so much to learn. I liked football, and at the beginning I didn't know why they're all fighting for it. And that time, that's when I first met my husband. And then he studied—he was a PhD in physics, and then I was a master's degree. So he was dating me, but I wasn't—I didn't know that he was dating me, because in my mind I'm supposed to marry a Chinese, and my parents were trying to match me with a Chinese guy. So they all came from MIT, you know. "Go meet somebody from MIT somewhere." That's supposed—or they're supposed to come see me. For a while, I thought MIT was Made In Taiwan; that's what I thought MIT means. Didn't realize it means Massachusetts Institution of Technology. [Laughs] That's because that's all of the guys that my parents wanted me to meet.

In the meantime, I'd been just kind of friends with my husband at that time. It took a little while that we knew each other, and it was his intention, but it wasn't mine at the beginning, because every Friday we'd have steak and potatoes. I told you already that steak has always got blood, so I only eat the peripheral, the one that's cooked. The one with the blood I put on the side, and I eat other stuff. And Lee, I remembered, he always sits right next to me and said, "You don't want that?" I said, "No." He said, "Can I have it?" I said, "Sure." So it seems like every Friday, he is always next to me for dinner, because he wanted my steak. That's what I thought. But at the same time, then we began to talk, and that's how I knew my husband, so.

CP: How did your PhD program progress?

TB: Well, when I finished my master's, I realized that I can go different places. One place is Cornell that I had in mind. [0:20:02] So I really wanted to go to Cornell. Well, at the same time, I began—well, I fell in love with the one who ate my steak. [Laughs] So decided, "Well, I had better stay until that he finishes. So I might as well begin to study, begin my PhD." At that time, Nutrition didn't have a PhD program, had to go to Agriculture. So actually it was Animal Science, the College of Agriculture and Animal Science. Animal Science has animal nutrition, while Chemistry at that time, and Nutrition and Home Economics at that time, three colleges had an interdisciplinary program called the Nutrition Program. So basically, you have Biochemistry, you have Animal Science, and then Human Nutrition, they combined. And my mentor at that time was teaching a course called Energy Metabolism, and I didn't know why I needed energy metabolism. Of course, now I know it's all about how much you eat, how much you gain, how much—what you use all of the fuels of the food that's for.

But his angle's actually from the animal's angle. So I took his course. I loved it, I aced it. Every time in the class, he'll say, "We'll have a quiz," oh, I remember it. And I never get mine back until the end. And he'll say, "Well, do you want to know the right answers? Here's the paper." And I realized, that was mine. So I think, "I really like this professor, because he always shows my exam as the best papers, A. Because a lot of math in there, because you have to study the energy, the gross energy, the metabolizable energy, and so on. There's a lot of math, and that's another area I'm good at. So, I did well. So one day, I just found that he has a wealth of knowledge. So after class, I just went to him. I said, "Do you need a dishwasher, or somebody working in your lab?" He said, "Why?" I said, "I like your research." He talked a little bit about his research. I said, "I like your research. I'd like to work with you, but I know you don't know who I am. So, I can start working on anything, I just want to work in your lab." So he looked at me, he said, "Well, let me think about it."

You have to remember, that's the Department of Animal Science. There's no women, let alone a Chinese woman. So, he looked at me, just says, "Okay." And, so that's how I'd begun to work in his lab, doing the dishes, everybody's dirty dishes. I put them, you know, washed them, dried them, put them in the right, appropriate places, and then I began to help another person to do his work. He has a PhD, to do his work. And it took a little while. Finally, he said, "How much do I pay you, Tammy?" I said, "A dollar eighty five an hour." He said, "It's about time to change that, isn't it?" So he changed it to two dollars an hour. I was so happy. [Laughs]

So, and I was fractionating all of the tryptophan metabolites. So that's how I begun my work. So, I actually, when I worked for him as a student, I was working on the projects using ruminants, large animals. I was working on cattle. And at those days I weighed about 110 pounds, 5-3, and the only woman in the lab. I don't see myself as being different, but I worked hard to get it. And I finally by then realized the project. I was so excited because the project itself really studied lung disease of cattle, actually called shipping fever. It's a lung disease. So those cattle that come from one place to—move from one place to another, they get lung disease, which is respiratory disease first. So, and they had something to do with their diet. They changed their diet. Imagine all of those cattle locked up in a train, you know, and for days shipped, transported from one place to another. No water, no food, and then when they arrived at a place, they go in the feed lot immediately. [0:25:04] They already lost weight; they've got shrunk weight. So lost weight, so you've got to give them good food to make them weigh more, and so that transformation—or the change in the diet actually caused the disease. So that caught my, really, my attention. I thought, "That is cool. You mean I can play as, like a detective in some way? Find out what happened to such huge animals? I can give them something. They have lung disease and die within a week, just like that. So how do I trace them back?"

So that's how I begun my work, and really interested in the research component of it. So after that, actually, I continued to work for him, because I thought, "Washington State is a beautiful place, very friendly, small enough—large enough for me to find all different kinds of partners and working projects, but small enough I never get lost. So it was nice place, and I thought I could stay for a long time, which I did stay for a little while. And I volunteered teaching; I volunteered—as a matter of fact, I taught the veterinary science at the time, veterinary school. The reason is I have—they're teaching the vet, kind of like teaching nutrition to medical students. They're teaching the animal nutrition to vet students. So I volunteered, so they said sure.

So I did quite a bit of animal nutrition, especially with the ruminant nutrition. And more than I worked with large animals, I tried to find—to study humans, people are using rats. I don't have to kill every large animal. How do I find rats for cattle? So I found goats. So I was known as the goat lady for a while, because that's what I used trying to—they're also a ruminant—study the change of a ruminant fermentation process. How does at least a dietary affect and change the process of the stress, and then how does that affect the susceptibility of diseases? So that's how I begun my PhD, and with that kind of project.

CP: You mentioned teaching. That's something you've enjoyed throughout your career?

TB: Yeah. I always thought, you know, being a Chinese, Confucius, teacher is a noble job, except they don't pay much. I remember when I was younger, I mentioned to you my dad said, "You can be a kindergarten teacher," because I like little kids. I probably behave like little kids, but I like little kids. But I always thought that there's only two stages of a human's life, from my own experience, that education means a lot. One is kindergarten; go to it as early as possible. They're fun, you can educate them, and you can play with them at the same time educate them. So I thought about early, you know, early child development as an area to go to.

Since I'm already in nutrition, and love research, especially the research related to biochemistry, molecular biology or microbiology, all of that, so have decided maybe teach students in higher education, college kids. Because you can influence them differently. And I never really thought about teaching high school, I think probably because I was such a nasty high school kid. [Laughs] I felt like I knew everything; I didn't want to learn from anybody. So, you know, that's the kind of transition one went through. So I always thought that I really like the two ends, higher education or kindergarten. So I end up with teaching, enjoying the teaching part of college kids. Yes, very much so, because you have to learn, yourself. I like to tell stories; you probably would eventually notice. I like to get the science together and kind of get in my head, and then begin to tell stories. [0:30:03] So often I begin to say, "I'm going to make this short story long, rather than a long story short." [Laughs] Because you kind of elaborate on that. Anyway, I do enjoy teaching.

CP: Well you went from Washington State to eastern Canada. That was your next academic position, at—

TB: Yeah.

CP: —the University of Guelph?

TB: Guelph, yes, mm-hm.

CP: Is that Guelph?

TB: Toronto area. Yes. When you have education so interdisciplinary, you have home economic, and you study nutrition, nutrition moved much more—at that time, you know, you measure cholesterol level, you're really biochemistry. Then from biochemistry, you can move into large animals. And then from large animals, you study disease, etiology or pathogenesis of disease in a large animal, and you begin to think about at a cellular level, at tissue level. So it's really hard to decide where you want to go.

So I thought about working for industry, because I felt like, yeah, I can work for industry. But it didn't take me long to decide that's not what I want to go, because making money as a goal just never quite—I mean, I know it's good, but just not quite get me excited, I guess. I like the research component. So at that time, you know, things just kind of worked out; there's a job. As a matter of fact, my first job was at Washington State University. That was the first job that I officially applied as from nutrition. I thought I was a hot-shot, you know. I can teach, I can publish. My first paper was JBC, what most people in biochemistry, it's Journal of Biochemistry, so biological chemistry; that was a top journal. So as you can see, the first one, you already hit the top one, and so I felt like—and then I published regularly. I thought, "Hm. I know how to research. I know how to teach. And I know many areas from cellular to people, and large animals. I'm very qualified." That probably killed me, anyway.

So, I've gone through all of the interviews, and I didn't get the job. When I didn't get a job, I asked my mentor. I said, "Can you tell me? Can you give me some feedback? I feel really confident that I'm very qualified for the position. How come I didn't get it?" So my mentor at that time, told me that, "You know, sometimes we don't hire our own, because we want our own students to go out and give some diversity." How they're thinking about—how diverse do you want? I felt like I was the most diverse person you're going to get! But at that time, at the same time I realized, "Well, it's time to go." So I went home and told my husband. My husband then was teaching physics, at the Physics Department. So I said, "John, pack up. We're ready to go." He said, "Where are we going?" I said, "Don't know yet, but we're leaving." [Laughs]

So that's actually how I began to search, actually search, for a position. With two PhDs in one family, one in physics, one in who knows what—it can be animal science and agriculture. Could teach vets, which there's not too many vet schools, anyway. And I can do biochemistry a little bit; I can do home economics or nutrition. I wasn't very interested in home economics because I was pretty bad at that time for home economics, because a lot of faculty in home economics told me that there's a lot of etiquettes. See I didn't know, but I didn't care.

CP: [Laughs]

TB: Probably didn't do me very well, I guess. [Laughs] But anyway, so I began to look for positions. At that time, I told my husband, like I said, "We have to be somewhere. And let's be somewhere we know the jobs we are interested in. I don't want just to work to make money. I want to work that becomes part of my passion." So I told my husband, I said, "You should do the same. Then whoever finds the first job, the other person follows, basically." Well guess what? We both find a job, just about two days apart. So actually, we were apart for one year. My parents thought we were getting divorced. I said, "No, we just have a job we need to do. You now, we're fine." So I went to University of Guelph, which has a veterinary school. [0:35:02] It has animal science, and has nutrition, actually, in the College of Biological Science. Fit me perfectly. In other words, my background in biochemistry fit me well. I could do that. My background in animal nutrition fit me well, because that nutrition had the animal nutrition in there. And they had at that time very similar to here, called AES, Agriculture Experiment Station. They also have that, I have a responsibility to do that, and I basically use all of the large animal work to work on animal nutrition, as an agriculture project.

And I taught the students fundamental nutrition that related to humans. So it was a perfect position for me in the College of Biological Sciences, in the Nutrition Science Department. So the interesting part with all of this, all along, is I'm always the first woman or the only woman in the department. When you go to a college of biological sciences, we have three women now, in the whole college; it had about a hundred-some faculty. So I'm kind of in the era that not, or in the [unclear] didn't have much colleagues, many colleagues to work with me. But it was always interesting to be in the Department of Nutritional Sciences: 14 faculty, 1 woman. All the rest are men, you know. But our students, I look at them, dietetics are women, and even biological sciences coming in are women, lots of women. These eventually get to in 50 percent, and gradually get more. So that was kind of interesting. But anyway, that's how I went to Ontario, University of Guelph, which probably one of the very few so-called Land Grants very similar to ours, Land Grant university. So that's how I went over there for a little while.

CP: And a new experience, too, living in, not only Canada, but a large metropolitan area as well.

TB: Yeah, it is. It's very different. I enjoyed it. I loved the differences, and eventually—I loved the way they see the world. I always feel like they're very fair, friendly, and they see the world as, we are part of the world. And when I was in the United States, I always feel like, we are the world. [Laughs]

CP: [Laughs]

TB: It's very different, that attitude. It's subtle, but it's different. It only takes someone from outside, you get to see it. So, my kids actually grew up there. They're all bilingual, just not Chinese. They're English and French. So when there's an opportunity for them to go to a school that is immersion, I just send them in to immersion. So by the time they graduate from high school, they're bilingual. So it's very—to me it's very rich opportunity. I can't teach them two languages, and fluently, but only the opportunity when they had gone through that kind of system. So, that was also very interesting, to see the differences, yeah.

CP: During this time period at Guelph, I believe, you returned to Fu-Jen University for six months? Am I right about that?

TB: Yes. That was my first sabbatical leave. You remember, I told you before, when I was at Fu-jen University, I saw faculty that came back. You know, at that time, I thought they were very old, but they share many of the experiences they had in the United States. I just have a sense, I can do something. So the first sabbatical leave, I talked to my chair, also talked to my dean. So they said, "What would you like to do?" I said, "You know, the world has changed so much in the field. I know the biochemistry, but biochemistry has changed into a lot of molecular biology, cellular biology." Even the classes I took within different places, and really didn't deal with that. I need to learn and move on on that.

In addition, those fields—one field I was pretty much interested in was infectious disease, because learning microorganism and lung disease, you can't help but study immunology. [0:40:01] So I have decided I need to go to another Land Grant university that actually has people to do immunology and molecular biology. I need to learn that for a little while, as a student, period, because I need to learn the language of the science. Then I thought, I'm going to split another half of it.

By then I have three kids already, and they're all—my husband is Caucasian, and so my kids, they all think they're American or Canadian. And they don't feel like they have—even Saturday, I always, when they were young, took them to Saturday, they called a heritage school, to learn the language. They learned—of course they speak English and French. On the weekends, I take them to the Chinese school to learn Chinese. Part of the reason, I want them to know. They've got 50 percent of me in them, but somehow they don't you know, they don't feel it. My daughter wanted to—I remember she was asking me something; I say no. She keeps asking me, I keep saying no. So one day, she was really upset, she said, "Mom, I hate you. Why do you say no? This is not China anymore!" You know, I say, "Well." So I have decided I've got to take them somewhere to let them know the other side of the world. They all look like me, and there's half of me in there.

So I decided—I went to UC Davis, actually, for my first part. I took courses. I went to the lab and found a lab that I can work, basically learn the fundamentals of the beginning of molecular biology, and also take classes, basically undergrad and then one graduate course, in immunology, just get myself immersed in that. Then, when I finished that quarter of all of those courses, I went back home and packed up, took all of my three kids, and I told my husband, I said, "You stay. Take care of the house. I'm going to immerse my kids into a different place." Of course, that's Fu-Jen University. I said, "I won't be back for six months," and took all three of them.

So I went back. I taught the nutrition, because I feel that's how I got inspired to come to the United States. It's my turn to pay forward. So I began to teach nutrition, helped them to do research. In the meantime, the department I was in is Home Economics, in top [?] department, began to multiply. You know, years later they have a Department of Food and Nutrition, they have a Department of Textiles, Fashion—I forgot, Clothing. You know, like all of the home economics have just separated. Unfortunately, or fortunately, it's under the College of Science and Engineering, because it didn't have a college. So they put this—it used to be one department, Home Economics, with an emphasis, suddenly becomes multiple departments. So the dean, actually, of Science and Engineering came to me and said, "You came from the United States. How do you—I don't know anything about Sister Wanya [?], what she wants me to do in terms of science and engineering. I can't relate to her needs. Can you be my consultant to figure out how to make a college, how to reorganize us?"

Well, he has science. Like all of the college of sciences here, they've got the math, statistics, chemistry; he actually was a chemist. So he said, "How do you do that?" So actually, I wrote a paper, a proposal: how do you reorganize and make it the College of Human Ecology? So, a really ecological approach to people. You have kids, family, which is family. And you have nutrition, food and nutrition. You have design, and it's about clothing. Things really about people applied, the life. So I just made it as Human Ecology, which the United States calls it. So I made a proposal, so give to them during the time I was teaching, became a consultant to the dean, and as a friend to the dean. [0:45:03] So of course, in the meantime, my younger one was in their preschool or kindergarten. My middle one went to fourth grade. My older one went to study Chinese with all of the nuns [laughs], and brothers, and fathers. So he learned how to speak, had six months to learn all of the language. So, and total different culture, of course. So that was a good six months good for them, for my family, make them understand the world is not just Canada and the United States; it's very broad. So they got that. And in the meantime I taught, and I can't even remember how many courses I taught. But I just remember, oh, why did I do this? [Laughs]

CP: [Laughs]

TB: So busy, you know. But I did that to me. And that's how I spent my six months, the second part of my six months, my year-long sabbatical leave. So, I feel very good about it, because when I think back, it's more than I—my research has branched out into nutrition immunology, and nutrition free radicals, and that's really how I first exposed to a different field, that allowed me to get an NIH grant even when I was even in Canada, which is very rare. The United States don't give money away to another—to a citizen in another country. And because my husband and I were married, and so I am always American, and I was actually in Washington State. But when we went to Canada we were land as immigrants. We never was citizen, because at that time you can't be dual citizens, until I think 1990-something. And you actually can be dual citizens; that's when we became dual citizens. But for a while, we were just there. But anyway, that's—I learned quite a bit doing that process for my sabbatical. Get my science going, and also feel like I have given part of me forward, and kind of pay back in a different way, that educates the next generation. So, that's just a story, that time.

CP: Yeah.

TB: So.

CP: Well, you returned to the United States when you went to Ohio State in 1995?

TB: Yeah.

CP: And this was an administrative position?

TB: Right.

CP: So, what was it like for you to make that transition, first to Ohio State, but also to being an administrator? There was probably some compromise to the amount of time you could devote to research?

TB: That's true. Actually, I started all of my administrative positions accidentally, in some ways, not by choice. So, when I was at the University of Guelph, at the Nutritional Sciences Department, we'd have a department chair. It was always a guy. You know, Dr. Draper, Dr. Bailey, always very—I was the only woman in the department at that time. So I had already become full professor at that time, and then I was graduate coordinator, graduate chair, take care of all of the graduate students. That's fine.

And as graduate student coordinator, I don't view that as administrative post; it's just volunteer, like other volunteer posts. So I was in that position until Dr. Bailey is ready for him to take sabbatical leave, as chair. At that time, he wanted to learn molecular biology. He wanted to go to Michigan. So, he asked—we had a faculty meeting—asked for volunteers to be, you know, acting chair for a year when he was gone. So we went to the faculty meeting. As usual, I took some of the things with me, and thinking about, "Okay, I know the agenda. It's going to find the acting chair or interim chair." So I knew there was only two full professors at that time. There was another one, but he was probably not the most popular person I knew, but most likely is not. So in my mind, there's two. Either one or the other, so I was thinking, "Well, I've never thought about myself as an administrator, so I would just as soon somebody ask for nominations, kind of discuss what needs to be done, and so on. So I'll just sit and listen." [0:50:07]

I just said, "Well, I nominate Bruce. You want a chair to be a full professor? He's the only full professor. So I nominate him." And I just thought, you know, this faculty meeting's going to be short. Nominate, second, done; Bruce is going to be in, and I'm going to walk out over there. Well, I didn't realize, somebody else says, "Well, Bruce has a company that actually measures—a company on the side, just a start-up company, that measures a lot of blood lipids at that time, and influence of diet." So another faculty didn't like that idea that he actually has a company and now is a full professor, and so on. So they look at me. They say, "Tammy, the other full professor is you. What about you?" So, I was so shocked! And looked—it had never even crossed my mind. So I said, the only think coming out of my mouth was, "Oh no, I'm a woman." [Laughs]

CP: [Laughs]

TB: I don't know how did that—why I did that. I said, "Oh no, I'm a woman. I have three kids. I can't do this!" And one of the younger male faculty looked at me, and said, "Tammy, I have two kids and I have—my wife is a nurse in the night. I have to take care of it. You're not the only one with a kid. Of course you can be." So I felt that at that time, and more than that, he used the words, he said, "Don't be so selfish." I feel like, "Oh, my God. Someone says I'm selfish!" I always feel like I'm a least selfish person! But I said, "Well, maybe if that's selfish, I'd better not do that." Eventually, I said, "Can I think about it?" So that's how I said, "All right, I'll do it." What's to do? It's just a chair. My chair's only 14 of us, and I still didn't think it was that busy, but didn't realize—that just shows you how little I know at that time. But I went in for a year, thinking—knowing I've only got a year; I can do anything for a year. So as long as I don't break anything, as long as I hold everything together. Of course, that was a year of a budget crash. I have to make a lot of proposals, so I tend to think always positively. You know, I'm not going to sit around and die, just let you to cut me. Now I'm the chair; I need to do something. How do I use various ways to build the department?

So more than I hold the department in a good place, even during that year of budget cuts, severe budget cuts, we managed to hold ourselves in a good place. So I couldn't wait until my chair to come home. At that time it was Canada Day; it was July 1st. So I thought, "Oh, I can't wait until I get home." I cleaned out the office and all of that stuff, and get to my own office, and thought it was the end of it. So I did one year as department chair, as acting, or whatever. So after a week, I remember in July, and kind of like the fourth floor of Central Administration had a call to call you. So at the same time, over there, it's the third floor. At the central administration, they call me; want to see me a certain day. It was the vice president wanted to see me, provost. And all I can think about that week and weekend, I'm in trouble. What did I do last year as a chair? What did I goof? So I'd been thinking about—you know, I had everything kind of prepared to myself to kind of defend my actions, basically. Why did I change some curriculum? Why did I, you know? Because it was very interdisciplinary. You've got fish nutrition, ruminant nutrition, as well as human nutrition, all—and biochemistry, and food processing, food science, all in one department. So, I have to think of which part of the things I didn't do well. Now, the vice president's going to come and see me, or wanted me to see him.

So that's how I awaited until, I can't remember—it's like Wednesday I went in, morning. I had my little briefcase; got all of the material just in case. [0:55:01] I have all of the documents ready to defend myself. So I walk in politely. I still remember the situation. I sit down and I thought, "Okay. Hit me. [Laughs] Let me have it!" And the first thing to come out of the provost's mouth was that, "Tammy, we have a little emergency here. The president decided to leave unexpectedly, and we're going to search for a president, university president." I thought, "Oh sure. Okay. And what?" You know, I wasn't thinking. So the provost said, "I'm going to be the interim president," and there's kind of Becky Warner's position, and he said, "And Lynn's going to move into the provost position. We're looking for someone who can be the associate vice president for academic affairs." So I look at him and I says, "Okay." And he said, "We're thinking about you."

I said, "Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait a minute!" [Laughs] I said, "I have no administrative experience. I only did for one year interim, or acting. I mean, I was acting for a year. I barely hold everything up." I said, "I've got all of the things I thought you guys were going to yell at me, so I've got all of the documents here." He said, "We're not going to yell at you. Actually your reputation preceded yourself, that you did a great job. We wanted to see if you were willing to do this." And I said, "I don't think so." I said, "My research is already behind." So I said, "I don't think so. I'm really flattered. I, you know, I would just say no." But my provost looked at me, he said, "Tammy, I didn't ask you to say no."

CP: [Laughs]

TB: "Why don't you go home, and come back in two days?" And the look, he said, "Dorothy." I still remember her name. His assistant came. "Dorothy, am I available, morning, eight o'clock," or something like that? "And come back then, and tell me what you need." So, I didn't know how to behave myself. I went home that evening and put, you know, finally put all of the kids to bed, and I looked at my husband, I said, "How was your day?" [Laughs]

CP: [Laughs]

TB: He says, "Fine. How was your day?" I said, "Oh, God, I can't wait 'til you asked that question!" So I told my husband. It was my husband who actually said, "You know, I heard your academic"—my husband then was already working for NCR. He was a physicist, but he's doing all of the imaging programs for checks, and so it's the industry. And he looked at me, he said, "You always complain all of the administrators on the other side didn't know what they're doing. Why don't you try? It's not that long. They said how many months?" I said, "I didn't hear them say how many months. Until the new president shows up, then we'll be fine." So finally, whatever the day when I went in there, I said, "Okay. I think I need some help."

So anyway, they kind of gave me a little bit of help, both in the lab, and also gave me a raise, so I can hire someone, so don't have to take care of the kids and all of that stuff, too, all by myself. Anyway, that's how I got into the position. So after that, that's when both my husband and I were already full professors, and both my husband said, "You know, it's time we go home. My parents"—he came from Texas, Dallas area. So he says, "You know, parents wasn't all the healthiest." And John's mom came to visit us, had a heart attack in Canada. That's when my in-laws always said Canadian healthcare is the best. It's very cheap. Because she had a heart attack in Ontario, went to have everything done, stayed in 10 days, and eventually drove home, and insurance will pay everything, because they're very well-insured.

So they keep waiting, keep asking us, "Can you go get all of the bills? We haven't kind of gotten bills." So finally I went to the hospital and said, "My in-laws asked for all of the bills." They said, "We already did." And they said, "It's only about 50 percent or less." That's why they think not all the bills came in yet. So, but that's a sidetrack. But anyway, that's when we decided, said, "It's time to come back to the United States." [0:59:58] So, in the meantime, I was on sabbatical leave. I went to Oklahoma. In Oklahoma City is one of the research, medical research foundations. Somebody nominated me, and I wanted—by then, I wanted to work on free radicals, antioxidant free radicals. That's where I began kind of from immunology to free radicals, on the infectious diseases and influence of nutrition. That's how I kind of got in.

So I stayed a year in Oklahoma City, in the medical foundation, research foundation for a year. And in the meantime, felt like, that's close to John's—you know, Oklahoma City's three hours to get to Dallas, to John's parents. That was very helpful to know that it's time to come back home, for my husband and for me. But you know, you're a full professor; not everybody's looking for a full professor. They look for someone with administrative experience. That's when I said, "Okay. I can look." I said, "I don't want to be anything else. Department chair? I can do it. I can do research, I can teach, I can manage a department. I think that's a good position." So, I was looking for, and as a matter of fact, Oklahoma, University of Oklahoma was looking for. I thought, well, I just might as well stay.

But the situation didn't quite work out, and by the time I got back from my sabbatical leave, and it didn't take long and Ohio State was looking for people, University of Illinois, I think. I just remember that I had two places I interviewed to come back, either University of Illinois or Ohio State, and went to Ohio State as Chair of the Department of Nutrition. So, and I kind of began to build that into a interdisciplinary nutrition program. Actually, we called it OSUN, OSU, the other OSU, Nutrition Program. O-S-U-N, that's O-SUN Program. So that's what I did at Ohio State for quite a while.

So I was chair, first. I knew Ed Ray because he was the provost, and a very good provost. And I always admired him, how articulate he was, and how transparent he was, because he always talked about money. You know, we have this budget model change. He just made it really clear, what's it look like. And I think he was chair for a little while, so he always cared about the chair. He always said, "You're the one really where the rubber meets the road. So I want to learn, I want to know, are you guys okay?" So, you know, at Ohio State there was a faculty club, and there were rooms and there were places he always invited us. First we'd have a meeting, and then he'd choose a few chairs can have lunch with him, and just talk to him on various issues directly. So I knew him then, and I told you that I wanted to be a chair, the rest of my life, and thinking I can continue to do research.

And I was doing research; I had one grant, NIH grant. I had another grant because I feel very insecure that I don't want to not have money, because I've got a full lab. I want to make sure I have enough money. And then of course medical school—at that time called Medical Biochemistry, there's a department in medical school. They asked me to be adjunct professor with them, because they wanted to teach first year medical students nutrition. So I told, "I'll do it." So I took on—my teaching assignment really is to teach one month on one module, which is two and a half hours, Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, Friday. Wednesday is, I think, study time or something. So four days a week, for a month, of that module, of all the nutrition a doctor needed to know at the first year student. So that's my teaching. Then I taught some graduate courses.

In the meantime, wrote a grant to USDA trying to form this OSU nutrition PhD program, [1:04:58] which involved animal science, which I was familiar with because I was trained at Washington State. So, involved people in life sciences, who were biochemistry—again, I was trained, I was familiar with. And involving veterinary science. Again, I taught them before in Washington State, so I invited them to be at the table. And then, of course, medicine. And Bernadine Healy was the dean at that time, a woman dean, and I just so admired her. She called me in and said, "I want to call nutrition bionutrition, because it really links with biology. I want all of my students to learn nutrition. So, you're my faculty now basically." I got a special note from her, and feel very honored that, for the dean. And I was chair, small department. We had nutrition, dietetics and food management, so it was one of those diverse programs. Well, almost at the end of the first term, my dean left; someone else came in as dean.

The first year the dean came in—and he's very good; he has a strategic plan. He came in, he sit with me monthly, as dean and interaction with the chair. So I think the second month, he asked me, he says, "Tammy, I'm looking for a associate dean of research. Our college needs to write more grants to do research, can't do all of this teaching. Too much teaching, although teaching is important. But we've got to do more research. Can you be my associate dean for research?" And I said, "No."

CP: [Laughs]

TB: "I want to be a chair. I can teach; I can do research. I've got two grants, NIH grants." He said, "No, I know you've got two grants. That's why I want you to tell other people how to write grants." I said, "I don't know what they're doing. I'm okay. No." So I wasn't interested in being associate dean. But when every month you meet with him, before I leave, at the end of the hour, he asked me the same question. So I didn't know how to answer. So I finally felt like if I don't answer him, I'm kind of getting too, I don't know, impolite or snobbish, and I don't want, I don't feel it's an honor to work for him. So I said, "Well, Dave, it's okay that I come up with some negotiation?" He said, "Sure. How much do you want?" I said, "No, it's not the salary. I assume I will have some administrative stipend. I just assume that. But what I like to have is my own budget. I don't need to be large, I need a budget. Number one. Number two, I don't want to be your gopher. In other words, 'Tammy, I don't want to go to this meeting, you go. I don't have time to go to that meeting, you go.'" I said, "I like to get something done. If you want a gopher, can you find another [laughs] [unclear] to represent you, unless I think I can make a contribution."

I said, "You can promise that, and then the last thing is, I like to choose my chair." Because by then, my department is going really well. And it was beginning a grant; we got a grant. We had just research going, and just [unclear] doing well, and collegial. I just thought, I made—I built an institute called the Bionutrition Research Institute, BRI, I called them. [Laughs] So it was pretty—I just said, "Well, I can continue to do that. I just don't want to be a gopher, doing very busy, not doing anything." I said, "And also, another thing you have to know is that if you become associate dean, sooner or later, somebody is going to ask you to become a dean." I said, "I need to let you know that I need, I have a choice. I'm not looking for one, but I should be able to have a choice." He said, "Okay. All of that. Go ahead." [Laughs] So that's how I become associate dean for a little while for him. Of course, it didn't take long that I came over here. So that's the story at Ohio State University. [1:10:00]

CP: And then Oregon State came along.

TB: Yes. Again, it's not one of the places I was looking for. And as a matter of fact, it didn't take long for someone from UC Davis actually asked me to be the dean, asked me to apply to be the Dean of Agriculture in Environmental Sciences at UC Davis. I applied, actually. I thought, "Well, California, got to be better than Ohio." [Laughs]

CP: [Laughs]

TB: I don't know why, but I said it. It was UC Davis, because part of the reason was because I spent a sabbatical leave there, and I felt that that's the right place. So, I applied. I was top three candidates, campus candidates. I didn't get it, but I learned quite a bit, because nutrition was in there, and my background, and again, was what I learned before used to be people always said, "What am I going to use animal science for?" Every position, the animal science always played an important role into what I was thinking about doing. So, I didn't get it, and I went back and really didn't think of it. And my dean said, "Well, are you disappointed?" I said, "No, just, I know I'm not going to get UC Davis Ag, the biggest Ag school in the country, to be a dean, and a woman dean." I didn't think it. But I thought, why not try to experience it?

After that, really, there were people asked many times, you know—I usually asked my husband, because every time I moved, my husband is a virtual office, because he can do computers, always at home. So he just followed, and didn't need to change jobs. So that was a good thing. And so, I just worked for him for a while, and really tried to get everybody to write more papers. I told them, "You have to write papers. You have graduate students, your graduate students, you can't just go to a meeting and it ends. If you want to go to a meeting, your obligation is, come home, write up the abstract. Otherwise people will take the abstract, go to a meeting, thinking, 'I made a presentation, that's it.'" I said, "No. You're not done. The research has to have a full circle. Full circle means, whatever you [unclear] you went to the meeting. The abstract, people ask questions, critique you, bring it in, write your manuscript, and publish it."

For graduate program, I did the same thing. The graduate students, usually it's in the last year. They don't write a paper, because they need money. So they go to McDonald's, waitress, waiter, whatever, and then they try to write their thesis. So I told my dean, I said, "Can you go get some fellowships? They already did their experiments; they just need to write up. And let's change that. You can write it up into manuscript form. They can help your faculty to basically draft the first draft before they can submit them. But they can have fellowship, not allowed to work. You know, work means, mainly work for other stuff. And focus that year, called whatever, manuscript writing or just writing year, to finish everything in a year, written before they leave."

So I built quite a few things, just kind of incentive to get more graduate students, graduate students more research, and more manuscripts. Only when you have a lot of manuscripts, you have an idea, you can apply for grants. Because when you apply for a grant, make a proposal, people want to see your proposal is significant. You know, and is innovative, and you have approached well. And most people can come up with many of those, and then one of them always is this person, the PI, principal investigator—can he or she do the work? If you don't publish, you don't have evidence that you actually can do the work. So that's why I told the associate dean, I told him, "You have to publish first. You get published." Then I built research environment you can write it in. I said, "Ohio State, whatever you want, they have twice. I just have to find where that is, to find even the equipment you need, the faculty you need, or to have the kind of center or institute you need. You can always say, this is The Ohio State University; I work with the faculty. You know, give you that environment. But you've got to build all of the rest of the things in there." So you know, I kind of worked with that, you know, doing well.

So I felt very good about what I, at that time, the contribution to the college. [1:15:03] I myself continued to have grants, and to publish, and just didn't want to be, kind of fall off, become administrator and not do what my first love. That's what I wanted to do; I always know that. So, and one time I went to Argentina. I was invited to be a speaker to attend a conference. And the day I left the airport, that was 9/11.

CP: Oh.

TB: I was stuck at the airport in Argentina, Buenos Aires, and watching the flight, the airplane, hit the Twin Towers. So that's where.

CP: You actually saw that?

TB: I saw that. I didn't understand the language, but CNN, you know. I can see at the airport, on the TV, I mean, on the monitor.

CP: Oh, okay. Yeah.

TB: I said, "What's happening?" And I was sitting, waiting for the flight, the CNN, I saw that and I said, "Oh, my God! What's going on?" But couldn't—it's not like you have something you know, just couldn't process it, just find it very strange. But at the end, a lot of rumors around. I didn't know the language. Couldn't read the newspaper; keep trying to click to CNN, trying to listen to what's going on, and that day, you know, that CNN is, could be anything. But anyway, that incident led to—I think there's quite a few of us, four or five, of the U.S. faculty, researchers presenting. One of them was Balz Frei, LPI. So, you know, Balz was—we kind of helped each other, go back to the hotel. He will call, when is the flight? Both flew United, and we tried to find when their airplane actually can take off. But in the meantime, what else do you do?

So we talked about Oregon State, and he goes, "Oh, there's two positions. I'm on the search committee. One is the dean of whatever that is, there's two colleges merged. They're going to find a new dean." I was just listening to him. I was just, "Fine." And then eventually he said, "I think you should apply, one of them." So eventually I said, "Okay." I applied to one. I didn't realize how late, or whatever, so he talked me into it in some way. [Laughs] So I applied at the position, and then quickly they asked to come for interview. I wasn't thinking of finding jobs, so I was actually doing exchange program from Ohio State University with Taiwan Fu-Jen University. So I said, "I'm going back." It was the fall, and I was doing the exchange program.

I said, "Well, I have to go to Taiwan. Can I just from Ohio, fly to San Francisco and take a quick trip to Oregon State, and then I can go to Taiwan then, and go back?" That's really how I did my interview. I rented a car from Eugene and came interview, went back, actually I didn't go back to Ohio. I went to Taiwan to meet all of the students for the exchange program. And then went home, realized Tim White called me, left many, those days, still messages, you know. And that's how I knew I got a job. I said, "Look what I'm going to do now!" [Laughs]

CP: [Laughs]

TB: It is real! But anyway, that's how I came to Oregon State University to be the dean.

CP: What was your impression of OSU at that point?

TB: Well, gorgeous campus. But program, I just felt that—by then I kind of realized I like to build. By nature, I like to build. By nature, I like to—I'm for the underdog. I watch games, always, like Ohio State plays everybody, took it so seriously. I'm always for Rice University. [Laughs]

CP: [Laughs]

TB: The one we have 75 or something, beat their 0 or something. I always feel sorry for the other side. So I'm always for the underdog. When I have graduate students, I love to get graduate students, like a B+ student into As. Eager to learn, and I think that's probably because it's me. I'm always the underdog in some way. And I remember, when I was at Pullman, the first award I received for research was experimental biology medicine. This is from animal science, College of Agriculture, okay? [1:19:59] I have a program I did using NMR and ESR, finding all this chemical interaction in the lungs, and I won experimental biology in medicine award, research award. I won; at that time, they gave me a hundred bucks. I thought it was big. Remember, I only earned $1.85 an hour. So a hundred bucks was big dollars, had something I came home. I still remember, just like, people find me, I'm aunt [?]. So the point I'm trying to make, I always like the one, you know, the underdog, or the one that likes to do. And the time when I saw the college, who they are, that's how I felt. I said, "Got a great potential. Got a lot of great elements. But man, it takes someone to build them." And I felt that that's my nature. I like the underdog. I can make it to be somebody, or to be some college. And as long as there's elements in there, and I see good people, and so that's how my impression at the time. And it kind of got that part of me feeling, I can do it!

And it's very different than my interview with UC Davis at that time. I feel like, "They've got everything. What can I do about this part?" I can't come up with a better idea to beat something at that time. You know, probably now I can do better, but at that time, you know. Here, it was very transparent to me, I can do it! And I can make something different. So that's my impression at that time.

CP: You mentioned that you were entering into a college that had recently merged.

TB: Mm-hm.

CP: What was the situation there?

TB: It was merged from Home Economics—Home Economics and Health and Human Performance, two colleges merged. Of course, if you hear from Tim White, he says, "Oh, two good colleges we merged together." When you hear from the college faculty, you know, "We're in the dump. This is the 21st century. We've still got a College of Home Economics." Or, people still talk about, and you can tell when I was dean's council, people almost feel sorry for me, I'm the Home Ec. I need the alum. The alum loves me; the Home Ec. alum loves me. They still hang on that Home Ec. And then others, you know, I remember other deans, when they talk about—I don't know, it's my sensitivity, I always feel like they feel sorry for me that I got something. [Laughs]

CP: [Laughs]

TB: What are you going to do with it? You know, that feeling? So, yeah, that was the beginning.

CP: So what were the goals that you had for this new position that you were in, in the newly merged college that you were overseeing? What sort of vision did you have that you were trying to shoot towards?

TB: Well, interesting enough, before I came I attended graduation commencement at the Ohio State University that year in June. And that year, it was Bush; George Bush was the speaker. Remember, that's 2000—2002, yeah. So, because the President came to campus, so the security was very tight. So it was a long line has to go through the security measure. And I was faculty; I had students graduating that year, so I was standing in line. And the person right next to me was a business faculty. I didn't know before, so we began—you know, long line. We chatted, and we talked about a lot of things, and I realized he was a business professor. So he said, "What are you doing?" I said, "Well, this is going to be my last graduation, because in September I'm moving to Oregon to become the Dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences at Oregon State University."

He said, "Oh. I would recommend you to read a book called Good to Great." So, you know, of course there's—I just made it kind of a longer story, waiting for an hour or so. I said, "Okay." So I remember I put, Tim Collins, Good to Great. [01:25:00] So, and after there's, you know—of course it took all day long for that particular commencement, so it was long. I don't even remember anything else, I just know that I'd been thinking about, I wonder what it—? He told me a little bit about the book. So I couldn't wait, and got the book and read it. In the meantime, because Tim offered me the job in January, or actually before Christmas. And I said, "I don't really have time to come." I wasn't thinking I would have another job, so I said I didn't want to come until September, because I really wanted, in the first place, to know a little bit about it, and I was on study session, got all of the other things I need to do.

So, but I came. I said, "You can invite me to come, or pay my expense to come to Oregon State University, allow me to kind of know everybody, what's going on, so I can know what I want to build." So basically, at that time, I was looking at the five departments at that time left after the merger: Public Health, Exercise Sports Sciences from Health and Human Performance, Nutrition and Food Management, or Food Management and Nutrition, and then Human Development Family Studies, or Family Sciences, and there's a department called AMHMS. I never understood what AMES is about. And then later on I realized it was Apparel, Material, Housing and management, or Merchandise, AMHMS. I said, "Why don't you just use the whole thing?" That's too long. But anyway, so I kind of invited myself.

And then, remember 2002, Tim White was provost at the university. Becky Johnson at that time led 2007, Five Year Strategic Plan. I just came, and I was looking at university-level, and also looking at my college. And for monthly, basically, I assessed before I came, and I said, "I need to do something, transform the college into health focus, or health science focus, but in a different way, much more holistic way." Not just health science, bench sciences like molecular biology, because I know what LPI is doing. I said, "I don't want to compete with LPI. I want to compliment with LPI to do things about my college." That was the beginning of my vision. When I came, I worked with all of the chairs. I basically came up with the idea that I asked to break chopsticks, one at a time, two at a time, three at a time, finally five at a time, and nobody can break them. So I told them, I said, "We are merged, everybody a college. Everybody probably tried to struggle individually. Each department tried to tell me, "We are a good department. All we need is this and that, more faculty lines, or something. We can be much better."

So I read Good to Great. Good to Great basically said you have to be focused. I told everyone the F word: focus, focus, focus. Focus on things that we can integrate teaching, research and extension. I said, "Be proud of Extension, because it's a land grant. To do things, and we're going to focus on things to do. We can always do better, but it's the one mediocre, let go. How to not to do, that's important." I said, "And also, we always have to think about money. Money is not a goal, but it's the economic engine to propel teaching and research, and programmatically." So, I used the metaphor, "Just each one of you different shape, different length, but that we're all a college, kind of work together. And then, a hand can do a lot more than individual fingers." So that was the beginning, I called my Dirty Dozen, as my administrative team, the leadership team. So that's how I began to do that.

And then we have the thematic area. I don't know in those days people would still remember. There were five of them. One of the five thematic areas is health. I just took the health into my theme, and trying to get each one of them to become focused in that way. So it took me a year to figure that out. The second year I already knew where I want to go. I just want to become holistic, so I basically merged Nutrition and Exercise Sciences. [1:30:01] The reason I thought, I said, "Everybody knows behavior changes for health. Individual health is lifestyle changes. You go on the street and you say, 'How do you become healthy?' Everybody can tell you. Eat right, exercise. Right? Why is it when we have a department, one in agriculture and one somewhere else? Now we're in a college, I'm going to merge them. I call them Eat and Run. Let's do it together." So it's about individual. Then we have family, then we have—then I asked all the design, the AMHM department, I said, "You sound like a good grant. Have four objectives, no title. Find me a title. I don't care. Whatever, match all of them."

So they eventually found Design and Human Environment, it was about people. I said, "Give it a health-oriented." So that was the Public Health and Community Health. So now you can see it's from individual, family, built environment, and then community. So that's when I find that thrust and theme, and push to health for actually our Strategic Plan 1.0, when we begin at OSU. That's what I was building. And I hired a grantsmanship workshop from externally, get our faculty to write grants, teach them how to. As a matter of fact, it cost me, each one of them cost me $2,000. I said, "Write me a check for 500. You've got to get some skin in there." And I told the department chair, "Give me 500, the college pays 1000."

So $2,000, they have to work from March to September, finish a grant until I sign it. If I sign the grant, they submitted the proposal to a federal, any federal agency, then I give them the $500 back, or tear the check, and we pay for them. If they just didn't do anything, thinking that they participated, and didn't do anything, I keep the 500. I don't have—I didn't keep any check, because my faculty began to understand how and why they need to write a grant. That's how we could begin. We start out with three million for research, now we have like something like 17 million. I know we can go more, we've got a lot of new faculty. Right now we have it.

So, that's how I begun the Strategic Plan 1.0. I took the university's idea, built my own. I didn't waste any time on anything else, but just built my college, very focused way. I try to be transparent, so I write email every week, Friday, weekend; I write them what happened. Reasonable personal, and then a little bit about the college. People read each others'. So I've been doing that for 10 or 12 years now. Just from time to time I change the title, you know. But either, It's This Thing Again, or to Connecting With Tammy. Now I call it my Weekly Take. But it doesn't matter; I just use weekend to write. And I used to—it can sometimes be four or five pages, so my faculty said, "Too long. Don't want to read that much." So, okay. I'll write it short. So I'm trying to get just one page, and so they can read. So that's how I did a Strategic Plan 1.0.

By then I feel pretty confident that we're doing well, and also it was my first term before the university kind of moved on to the 2.0, or phase 2. So, you know, President Ray basically turned Tim White's 2007 plan into the strategic plan 1.0. And then when we finished that, continued 2.0. 2.0, I was active. I was active; I felt that I already have health as a foundation. What was the next level? By then I already see I need a framework that's nationally known, everybody knows the language, and is forward-looking. I need a framework to call my college; I don't have to explain to people, what is Health Human Science. "Oh, the old Home Ec?" I don't want to hear that ever again! So I was looking for a framework that I can see future for the phase 2.

And of course I participate very strongly with all of the rest of the people, meaning all the other deans, to find the three healthy areas. [1:35:04] Or three—beginning we thought three healthy bubbles, because we keep doing bubbles and circles: healthy people, healthy planet, healthy economy, based on healthy foundation, arts and sciences. So we were kind of doing all of that. So the moment I realized we have one healthy people as a circle, I can anchor my college with. So I just said, "Got it." So I'm kind of trying to push. Now I need to push the college into changing—remember, changing to two different names with Health and Human Sciences? Now I've got to change it to Public Health and Human Sciences.

It was a long transformation journey. It wasn't easy, because to me the national accreditation required new faculty, required new money. I'm very frugal. I always know that I don't want to spend too much money on—you know, now a grant is coming and we're not in red. However, carefully, I don't give people leave, I don't replace. I just say, "What's new?" We move forward, so because replacement means you're forever in the past. So I want to see the future. So with a few good policies, with my team changes, to me the important part for me is I know by myself, I'm not the smartest kid on the block. I have a lot of faculty in my team. They think very differently from me.

And I remember still when Jeff McCubbin was my associate dean, and then I have proposals; I really wanted to push something, so I said—my dad taught me before, said, "It's not how much you get, but how fair people around you. Otherwise, you can manage the group, because the moment someone is so much higher than the other, or people thinking they're fair, they are most of their time complaining rather than working, less productive." So I actually remember that. I always thought, well, let's kind of—I can't change very much of everything, but I can change policy about our workload. What does a 1.0 9-month FTE appointment mean to a faculty in this college?

So I have that idea. I learned actually from my previous dean at Ohio State, because he thought that's important. And I try to improve a little more from the Good to Great, the book, and then kind of went out to do that. So, I remember I wrote my first draft, and of course everybody's got so many ideas floating around. So finally Jeff said, "Well, I'll take it. I'll work with everybody and put it in." So I still remember when, at the end of the document, end of my document, I looked at it and I said, "Jeff, besides you kept my title, is anything in the content you kept?" [Laughs] He says, "No." So, but the document was so much better! So it taught me a lesson. I've got a lot of really good people. They've got a great idea. I just have to draw up the first idea to focus it, and they can give me the best. I just have to learn how to listen to them, and make them to make contributions.

So, the strategic plan 2.0 probably is the hardest one for me, because you change faculty's identity of their discipline. We hold on to our identity for so long, except I'm one of the driftwoods, you know. I can be in Nutrition one day, Animal Science. So this interdisciplinary way of thinking was always my way of thinking, so I didn't have that strong, "I've got to hold on. I am in nutrition. I can't change." In nutrition, I can be that; I can be pharmacy, or publishing, so it was very fluent for me. So I feel like people can reach it. And also, because I was on study session for so long, I know interdisciplinary ways get you innovation, get you more ideas, and you can move forward. So that's the beginning that I'm pushing for, integration, interdisciplinary, with really true, meaningful ways.

Then, in the meantime, at the same time, to take care of peoples' identity. [1:40:00] That was harder bounds to walk through, but you know, I always say I have a good faculty. All you have to do is ask. They tell you. They know that's the direction I want to go, but they tell me which part of the move that they feel uncomfortable. There are times I just said, "Okay, hold it." I'm already about like three steps ahead, and I said, "Okay, let's just use the summer, do something from the beginning, put everybody on with the shared vision, same page." So, that's 2.0. That's how we did it. But 2.0 is a little harder for Public Health. It's also, when you want to get a national grant, you need money. You also have a lot of competition, because public health often belongs to, or associated with, medical schools. They split off medical schools. For Land Grant, and Ag, people thinking, a Land Grant university? What do you mean, you want public health? You mean, you're going to be ahead of us? Especially, we already have a program which is OSU, OHSU and PSU, three-university joint program, but not the school.

So when we decided we wanted to be a standalone school, or collaborative school, it didn't take me long to realize collaborative one is not going to work, because it means all deans will have to report to one dean. It's very hard to ask OHSU dean to report to me, or PSU dean to report to me, because they all have to report to their own provosts. So that idea at early on, we thought, or at least Sabah said that it won't go. We just have to go be standalone. So both Sabah, and Ed, and me, worked really hard, slowly. You know where you want to go, but there's no clear path to get there. The only thing I have, I always felt that I've got my faculty; I've got CEPH accreditation criteria I have to meet. Somehow, I'll get there. So that's how we did it.

So now, June 12th and 14, the CEPH Council will meet. I'm sure by 15th I will know we'll become the first and only CEPH-accredited school of public health in the state of Oregon. So, that, I feel like I accomplished Strategic Plan 2.0. That's where our college becomes kind of situated. Our faculty came a long way. It is really—sometimes I feel like, kind of like my own children enough. When my children have children, I feel like, oh, I'm a grandmother now. Now I have the same way of looking at my faculty. Their new faculty come along, they're so young. I thought, "Oh, my God, I'm a grandmother now!" [Laughs] It's the next generation, you know. But I like to finish what I started, for the goals I would like to complete, make strong foundations for the health and wellbeing, integrated. We're working right now on integrational curriculum, building the Center for Global Health, because we keep saying we're going to have health and wellbeing in the state of Oregon, and beyond.

The beyond part is the global side of it. And that's the part my diversity comes in, because I see the world differently. I came from Taiwan. I come through war, with a family that really didn't have much money. So money never was my—you know, people always say, "You build this, what do you need?" People always give me money, I can build. I always feel like sometimes that's not it. I know that's not it. And otherwise, I wouldn't be here today. I made $1.85 an hour washing dishes for a long time, for doing that. When I had a raise for $2.00, I thought I was so rich. [Laughs] I couldn't believe it! And I made just fine.

So each of the steps I felt to do, Oregon State actually allowed me to show [1:45:00]—at least to take the leadership. It's not by myself; it's the environment that worked out. The Chinese saying is, "Right timing, right people, and right surroundings." And I just feel like, I never thought about that I would like to be a leader or administrator. But thank God, President Ray is here, and I knew him. I know he is a good leader. He cares. He is very focused and driven. And I know when he decides we're going to have a capital campaign, I know he has experience to know how to do it. Now, I know at that time no one can even imagine what's it look like, let alone to become exceeded the goal to a first capital campaign without a medical school with 1 billion. Probably no one could ever imagine it. But you just have to have the faith and knowing him as leadership.

Sabah let me do—and I always check in with him—do a lot of things. I'm most appreciative is my leadership team. They really—we didn't agree on everything, but we made each other better. And then the faculty come along and do. So to become the first accredited school of public health in the state of Oregon, actually in my mind is just the beginning, because I've got to do the foundation. And accreditation, in my mind, is just a tool. I really want to become the preeminent college. I have some taste of that already. You just kind of feel that. You're the underdog; you're making it. You know, like, right now, off course, the March, the Sweet Sixteen, or whatever the basketball, kind of watch Dayton beating Ohio State and Syracuse, and then Stanford. You just feel like, oh, that's how I felt about my college. It's getting better each day, and there's room for improvement. So, that's how I spent my last 12 years. [Laughs] So did that give you enough information?

CP: Yes, that was great.

TB: Anything? Yeah.

CP: The last thing I want to ask you about is your feeling about yourself as a role model for international students. Have you had a chance to mentor international students, or thought much about the situation they face at OSU?

TB: Yes or no. I'm a pretty focused person. When I was faculty, often my husband said my lab looked like the United Nations, all different, all international students, but I never seem—it doesn't bother me, or that's just how I behave myself, for that group. I more care about how they can become better. It doesn't matter who they are. And of course, when you become an administrator you feel that there's a responsibility for all kids. You want to close the gap of whatever that is. What my background gave me, more than ever, is that diversity. It's more than the international students.

When I build that Global Health, for example, the Center for Global Health, I want to get rid of the notion that we are the world. When the United States goes to another country, we come here to help you. You've got a disaster. So what we can do is: we have the money, we have the manpower; we are helping you. At the end of the day, does it work? I don't know. Maybe we thought we did the right thing. We build things sometimes that have unintended consequences that other people locally still have to do. Seen them before, known them before, can build a good hospital, four floors; you leave, there's no electricity. How do you get a patient to the fourth floor? You know, what are you thinking about that?

And you can see, you can give free mosquito nets to places that have—you know, it's only five bucks! Give them free. They can all have it, just prevention of malaria. Well, I'm sorry, the locals have the industry. You wipe out the entire industry of that, how do they do things and survive? To me, it give me a different perspective, a different look, like I can't get rid of it even if I want to. [1:50:05] In Canada, my kids had been all over the place, 14 countries before they finished high school. Why? That's just the way; they are part of the world. And the idea you watch Olympics, if you are in Canada watching Canadian Olympics, you see all athletes, you see the event. In the United States, you watch the Olympics, you see only the United States, our athletes. Nothing wrong; I know it's just a different angle you have to sell the program and all of that. I totally understand. It's just the mentality's different.

I bring the richness, in some ways, of diversity. See things. I don't care what that way—I can see it. It's like, someone told me there's a cartoon, one old fish kind of swims over, saw two fishes. Younger fish, and says, "How is the water today?" The young fish looks at—"water?" So I feel like that old fish. I can sense the temperature; I can see the scenery. I see the essentiality of it. When I talk to people and said, "How is the water today?" They say, "What water?" We're all the same. What do you mean?" So I skipped that sensitivity, but I'm not aggressive; I'm not militant. It's only advocate, because I know the difficulty of change. So what I learn from it is even though with my background, being a woman in many of the different—I mean, this is the first time I'm in a college that's got more women than men. You know? But to me, I can work with both genders. Diversity is very rich. You pick the best. Really, to me, diversity-driven gives you the strength. So that's how I see things.

And if asked for international, yeah! You want me to build a program? I can always build, but I will have to think about it. I don't like to shuffle paper or manage things, because I know I don't have—you can tell, my desk. I'm not the most detailed person, or, I like to see big picture. When I see the little things, often it's the sensitivity things, either from children, parents. I mean, I see—sometimes I see, you say that, do you know how much influence you're going to have on that child maybe 30 years from now? Well, I see that. I see the diversity in men and women genders. I see the color; I see that part. So just pick international is beyond that for me. So that's really how I feel. If I have any contribution, I'd like to make a contribution is give the underdog more power and more tools, so they can be a winner, and can get the idea that gives them a boost in their confidence. If they're great, let them be. [Laughs] Don't touch them. It was a process I learned through my life, yes.

CP: Well, I want to thank you for all of this. This has been very informative for me. It's been a lot of fun.

TB: Well, thank you for the interview.

CP: Sure.

TB: Like I said, probably a lot of things are very personal. I usually don't associate that with an interview. [1:53:54]


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