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Meet Sociology Professor, Dr. George Dickinson

Posted by: tillilied | January 18, 2016 | No Comment |

How long have you been teaching at CofC?

I have been at the College for 30 years.

What were you doing before coming to CofC?

I taught at a liberal arts college in Pennsylvania for two years, then went back to graduate school to earn my Ph.D. degree. After graduate school, I taught at another liberal arts college in Minnesota for nine years, then at a university in Kentucky for seven years.George Dickinson2

Where did you study and what inspired you to study Sociology and become a professor?

Received the B.A. degree in Biology and M.A. from Baylor University. My Ph. D. degree from Louisiana State University was in Sociology with a minor in Anthropology. I was a pre-med student in undergraduate school but soon discovered that I have issues with blood! Not good, if one wishes to be a medical doctor! I had minored in Sociology, as I thought it sounded like an interesting topic back in high school in Texas, though I knew little about it. At the end of my college career, the Chair of Sociology encountered me one day on campus and literally offered me an assistantship if I would come over to Sociology and obtain an M.A. degree in Sociology. With no real options as to what I thought I would do, as a run at medical school was no longer an option (with the “blood problem”), I went for it. Never looked back!!!! I love what I do, though when I was younger I never thought about being a teacher.

Are you involved in any research at the moment? If so, what is it about?

My current research involves veterinarians and their clients, having to do with end-of-life issues, especially euthanasia. Just completed my 9th survey, at five-year intervals going back to 1975, of the 130 US medical schools to ascertain their offerings on end-of-life issues. I am working on the 15th edition of my anthology on dying, death and bereavement, published by McGraw-Hill.

What is your favorite class to teach?

I really enjoy all the classes I teach, though I routinely teach Death and Dying, Medical Sociology, and Development of Social Thought. I especially enjoy teaching Death and Dying in the Honors College.

What was your favorite class when you were in school?

Probably because of the professor, but I particularly enjoyed theory classes from my professor in graduate school. He was blinded in WWII when he stepped on a landmine. He was a real inspiration to me and was absolutely brilliant.

Do you have any advice for current or prospective Sociology students?

Do your best with any task you undertake. Go with your intuition and major in the field you like best, then take courses related to that major. College is a real life-changing experience, so take advantage of it. Don’t let your social life overtake the academic experience, yet life is short, so enjoy!

What do you like most about CofC?

CofC is the only college/university where I have taught that I did not after a few years seek another position somewhere. Social psychologist W.I. Thomas discussed four wishes in life, one of which was a “new experience.” I guess a “new experience” is what I sought in life, thus changed jobs perhaps more than most. I was happy with each of my teaching experiences, yet, after a while, wanted something “different.” CofC is in an ideal setting, being in Charleston–a beautiful campus/city and students who seem happy to be here. Thus, no “new experience” sought, after coming here. I really like my colleagues and find it a real honor to have the opportunity to work with them.

What do you like to do outside of teaching?

I like to travel, especially to Europe, having been there over 20 times. It is such a fun experience to be in another culture to see how individuals live, somewhat different from us, yet with a lot of similarities. My last three sabbaticals have been to England. I also taught in CofC’s program in Trujillo, Spain.

What is your favorite food?


If you could have dinner with one person, living or dead, who would it be?

It would not be one person but three: The Dali Lama, Father Divine, and George Herbert Mead.

under: Faculty Spotlight, Uncategorized

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