The Oregon State University Sesquicentennial Oral History Project

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Darlene Russ-Eft Oral History Interview

Life history interview conducted by Chris Petersen.

June 23, 2016


“Evolution and Growth in the College of Education”  June 23, 2016  Location: Valley Library, Oregon State University.  Watch Video | Download Transcript (PDF)

In the interview, Russ-Eft traces her upbringing in Ohio, noting her family background, her early interests, and the path that she took to enrollment at the College of Wooster. From there, Russ-Eft discusses her undergraduate studies in Psychology, her decision to pursue an advanced degree, and her experiences while a master's and Ph.D. student at the University of Michigan.

Russ-Eft then details the many years that she spent working prior to her arrival at OSU in 2001. In this, she details her tenure as a senior research associate at the American Institutes for Research, as well as the seventeen years that she spent at Zenger-Miller and its successor, Achieve Global. A primary theme of this discussion is her key involvement in the growing field of program assessment.

From there, Russ-Eft describes her decision to move into academia and to join the faculty of OSU's College of Education. In recounting her OSU years, Russ-Eft shares her thoughts on the evolution of the college, commenting on organizational changes within the college as well as physical changes in what is now Furman Hall. She likewise recalls the major themes of her research on evaluation capacity and the transfer of training; discusses the paths taken by many faculty members within the academic field of education; and shares her memories of the work that was required once Education at OSU was elevated to the status of a college.

As it nears its conclusion, the session shifts focus to a detailed overview of Russ-Eft's involvement in the Community College Leadership Program at OSU. The interview winds up with Russ-Eft's thoughts on the value of online education; her sense of her own evolution as a teacher; and her optimism for the future of the college and the university.