Minor Chamblin is one faculty member who understands the value of academic freedom and appreciates that it has always been part of UNF's tradition.
When Chamblin arrived at UNF in 1972, one of the first courses he designed was on the subject of human sexuality. Since he was concerned that one explicit film in the course could be considered objectionable by some, Chamblin went to talk with UNF's first president, Tom Carpenter. "He cut me off in the middle of my presentation and said, 'You don't have to defend this course to me as long as viewing the film is voluntary for your students.' "
A few years later, a Jacksonville PTA group protested the film and this time Interim President Andrew Robinson defended Chamblin's right to show the film since it was optional for students. "I've always have been impressed with the spirit of academic freedom on this campus."
While some things like academic freedom have remained the same at UNF, many other things have changed since Chamblin arrived on the newly constructed campus. When he recalls his first years, Chamblin remembers the "collective sense of camaraderie and fun we had." He attributes this to a number of factors; the relatively small difference in the ages between students and faculty at the time, the cultural climate of the '70s and the size of the University. "The traditional kind of student-faculty boundaries didn't exist then. There was much greater interaction between faculty and students than there is today."
Despite the changes, Chamblin still is ready to brag about the education provided at UNF. "The quality of the undergraduate education we provide our students is on a par with virtually any institution you want to choose in this country," he says.
The opportunity to be part of an institution specializing in undergraduate education is part of the reason Chamblin came to UNF. Chamblin completed his undergraduate work at MacMurray College in Jacksonville, Ill., followed by three years of teaching high school mathematics. He then returned to school for his master's degree from Xavier University in Cincinnati and did his doctoral work at the University of Kentucky in Lexington.
Chamblin had never been to Florida before he interviewed for the job in Jacksonville. "I was looking not just for a job but also for a place where I and my family could live." He decided Jacksonville had the quality of life, low cost of living and pleasant climate he was looking for. Of course, he admits, that the fact that it was 11 degrees in Lexington the week he interviewed in Jacksonville also played a role in his decision.