UPDATED: October 26, 2006
(page 3 of 4)
Hired as assistant professor in the Psychology Department at Kansas University, Lawrence, Kansas to teach philosophy of science in Psych department, advanced statistics, and a few other courses, one of which was an introductory course for nonmajors at the junior level.
Another question I often ask our graduate students is how they became interested in a behavioral approach, more specifically the behavior analytic approach (B. F. Skinner) in psychology. In my case, this was due to another chance event, happening to have Skinner's Science and Human Behavior (which I had never read) in my personal library while I was searching for something to lecture about in an introductory course for nonmajors that I had been assigned to teach during my first semester at K.U. Skinner's approach to behavior was apparently just right for me. I began to teach and apply the concepts and principles described in that book, and have continued to do so for the last 46 years
At the end of my first year at K.U. the chairman of the department told me that they didn't need a Skinnerian in the K.U psychology department, and I should find another job somewhere else. They liked me as a person and they didn't exactly fire me. What they said was that I should start looking for another university job, and as soon as I found a good one, I should take it. "Do not take a lousy job, but you can't stay here." They also began looking for jobs for me and one of the K.U. faculty found me a very good job at the University of Houston, teaching statistics and learning theory. More money and an environment that was not bothered by my behavioral narrowness. So in 1957 I moved to the University of
At U. of H., I met Lee Meyerson who cultivated and shaped my interest in applied psychology. Lee wrote and administered the federal grant that permitted me to do research on mental retardation and on physical disability and illness. I taught at U. of Houston for 3 years, and was accepted as a token behaviorist. There I was much influenced by a number of the graduate students I worked with: John Mabry, Montrose and Sandra Wolf, Teodoro Ayllon, Lloyd Brooks, Sam Tombs, Patricia Cork, and others. During the period 1957-1960 the area of behavior modification was just getting started, and I contributed to its development by teaching, giving talks around the country, and publishing a few journal articles. In 1960 I was offered a position as associate professor at Arizona State University (ASU) where a completely behavioral program was being developed (by Arthur Staats). I left U. of H. in 1960. Lee Meyerson joined me at ASU two years later.
I taught at ASU for almost 7 years. Lee wrote and administered several more training grants which provided financial support for many graduate students in our behavioral rehabilitation program. There I met and was much influenced by Israel Goldiamond, an outstanding behavioral scholar and researcher, and also Fred Keller who was responsible for my interest in a behavioral approach to college teaching and to education in general. I also continued to benefit from a close association with Arthur and Carolyn Staats (we had been graduate students together at UCLA). As at Houston, I was also much influenced by a number of very effective graduate and undergraduate students: W. Scott Wood, Albert Neal, Brian Jacobson, Carl Jensen, J. Grayson Osborne, Carl Cheney, Richard Powers, Larry Sayre, Edward Hanley, Jon Bailey, Timothy Elsmore, and others. The area of behavior modification was developing rapidly, and I continued to contribute to that area by teaching, giving talks, and publishing articles in professional journals.
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