Sign Up for the Soconnection E-Newsletter
When George Beal hired Don Dillman as a research assistant for the Department of Sociology in 1963, the hiring process was short and to the point. George said, “So you are an agronomist. We’ve taken a chance on others, we’ll put you to work and we’ll see how we like you and how you like us.”
Don was assigned a small desk in The Shop, which was the research unit run by George Beal and Joe Bohlen, sociology professors at Iowa State University.
One of Don’s first classes with George was on part-time farming, and his first task was to review the appropriate literature, develop a conceptual framework, and articulate research needs. Although Don admits he didn’t know what a conceptual framework was at the time, he got busy to work on the task at hand. One of George Beal’s teaching practices according to Don was “to drop students in the middle of the pond and see how they make it to shore.”
Don vividly remembers the first time he saw George Beal and Joe Bohlen on stage in the Great Hall of the Memorial Union. There were no high end projectors or audio equipment in those days, Beal and Bohlen relied on their complimenting personalities and the infamous 32’ flannel board to present their information.