Year of Publication

2015

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

Education

Department

Educational Policy Studies and Eval

First Advisor

Dr. John R. Thelin

Abstract

This dissertation explores the University of Kentucky’s efforts to develop and implement an “action program” in eastern Kentucky in the 1960s. By the late 1950s, Kentucky’s political, business, and academic leaders had identified eastern Kentucky as the state’s problem area, and they sought strategies to bring the region into the economic and cultural mainstream. This generation of post-war leaders had an uncompromising faith in the power of knowledge, technology, and planning, and University leaders saw their action program as a university-wide effort to address what most would argue was Kentucky’s ugliest problem. This study begins with an examination of the rushed and disorganized Kellogg Foundation-funded Eastern Kentucky Resource Development Project (EKRDP) in 1960. With the national “rediscovery” of Appalachia in the early 1960s and the passage of the Equal Opportunity Act (EOA) and the Appalachian Regional Development Act (ARDA) in 1964 and 1965, University leaders reframed their thinking about how to engage eastern Kentucky in the midst of a War on Poverty. Institutional support for the EKRDP dwindled, and administrators tried to shift the responsibility of the eastern Kentucky program to the newly developed Center for Developmental Change (CDC). However, the leadership of the CDC lacked stability, the faculty who had been the driving force behind the Center did not want to be tied down to Appalachian projects, and the changing expectations for faculty ushered in by the “Oswald Revolution” did not reward interdisciplinary work.

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