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Remembering Dr. Cedric Herring

May 8, 2018 1:45 PM
Dr. Cedric Herring, Professor and Director of the Language, Literacy, and Culture (LLC) doctoral program, passed away on April 22, 2018. All of us who knew him—his colleagues in LLC and across the university and his students—are deeply saddened by this loss for the UMBC community and for the multiple communities of scholars Dr. Herring inhabited.

Our deepest condolences are with Dr. Herring’s family, especially his wife and our colleague Dr. Loren Henderson, and his children. Dr. Herring was with us far too briefly, but his scholarship and his voice will continue to guide and motivate our unfinished work for many years to come.

Dr. Herring joined UMBC in 2014 as an established leader in the field of sociology. After earning his Ph.D. at the University of Michigan, he began his academic career at Texas A&M University. In 1990 he joined the department of sociology at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and the Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois. He was founding director of UIC’s Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy and of the University of Illinois’s Race and Public Policy program. Over three decades, he published eight books, more than 70 articles and book chapters, and more than 15 monographs and policy reports, as well as numerous book reviews and editorial essays. He also was a principal investigator or scholar on grants totaling more than $2.2 million. He received many prestigious awards and fellowships from the Joyce Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the MacArthur Foundation, among others.

Dr. Herring served as president of the Association of Black Sociologists in 1994-1995. At UMBC, he became director of the Language, Literacy, and Culture program in 2015, served on the faculty senate, and chaired the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences Black Faculty Committee. He and Dr. Henderson, assistant professor, Sociology, Anthropology, and Health Administration and Policy, also won a Hrabowski Innovation Fund award for “The Baltimore Metropolitan Area Study on Race, Inequality, and the City.” Students and colleagues in the LLC program knew him as a generous mentor who cared deeply about building community within the program and across the university, as he did in every setting.

Dr. Herring’s research has been essential to UMBC’s striving for inclusive excellence, especially in hiring a more diverse faculty and challenging institutional culture. His most recent book, Diversity in Organizations: A Critical Examination (2014, co-authored with Dr. Henderson) provides quantitative and qualitative evidence that a diverse workplace brings tangible benefits to organizations, including universities. In a series of related articles in scholarly journals, Dr. Herring and Dr. Henderson demonstrate that the same conclusions apply to university departments in diverse disciplines. Equally important, the research and related articles argue that “critical diversity” requires more than inclusive hiring practices and outcomes and that true change occurs only when organizations look within themselves to challenge the internal practices and norms that perpetuate inequality, oppression, and stratification.

Dr. Herring’s scholarship has been at the core of UMBC’s STRIDE program (Strategies and Tactics for Recruiting to Improve Diversity and Excellence). Dr. Herring was especially interested in the study of racial wealth disparities and in the application of interventions to alleviate the most pernicious effects of social stratification. He ardently championed thinking broadly, boldly, and systematically about removing the racial and cultural blinders that undermine human progress.

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