University hires directors for Africana Studies and Center for Race and Social Policy

Onwubiko Agozino (left) and Wornie Reed

Onwubiko Agozino (left) and Wornie Reed

BLACKSBURG, Va., March 23, 2009 – Taking a step in implementing suggestions from its Taskforce on Race and the Institution, Virginia Tech has named two new directors. Professors Onwubiko Agozino and Wornie Reed will lead the Africana Studies program and the Center for Race and Social Policy, respectively.

They will begin their tenure in the fall of 2009 as full professors in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences’ Department of Sociology. The positions have been supported with funds from the university’s Office of the Provost.

“The College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences is proud to be the home of the Africana Studies program and we are looking forward to many years of programmatic expansion and sustained growth,” said Sue Ott Rowlands, dean of the college. “Our commitment to diversity and inclusion is reinforced once again by these hires through which we affirm our dedication to the study of issues of race, gender, and social policy.”

“The Department of Sociology and the Africana Studies program stand to gain tremendously from these hires,” said John Ryan, chair of the department. “Thanks to this major commitment from the administration, I believe we have a team in place that can move us forward in ways that could not have been anticipated even a few short months ago. In particular I am excited about the very applied and interdisciplinary focus these hires bring to such issues as health-care disparities and criminal justice. Our plan is to begin to immediately work on a stand-alone Ph.D. in Africana Studies that will be truly unique and make ours one of the premier programs in the country.”

Agozino comes to Virginia Tech with academic credentials from three continents. Currently the criminology unit coordinator and deputy dean for graduate studies and research at The University of the West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago, Agozino received his bachelor of science degree in sociology from the University of Calabar, Nigeria. He earned his master’s and Ph.D. in the United Kingdom at the University of Cambridge and the University of Edinburgh, respectively.

Agozino says his research interests include reparative justice, victimization of African women in the criminal justice system, Pan-African issues in criminology, and counter-colonial criminology. Agozino has also served on the faculty at Cheyney University, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and at the Liverpool John Moores University.

Published in various journals, Agozino is well versed in multicultural criminological theory. He can address post-colonial issues as well as democratization, and give voice to health disparities in prison, drug abuse and trafficking, or the “Pistolization of the Caribbean.”

Reed has served in academia for 33 years and is currently director of the Africana Studies Program at the University of Tennessee. Previously, he was a professor of sociology and urban studies at Cleveland State University where he also directed the Urban Child Research Center.

Before that, he chaired the Department of Black Studies and developed and directed the William Monroe Trotter Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts at Boston. He has also held positions at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Morgan State University, and in the Department of Sociology and the School of Medicine at Washington University.

Trained as a medical sociologist, Reed has taught courses, conducted research, and published numerous articles on medical care, health and illness, urban communities, and criminal justice, bringing in more than $6.3 million in research funding.

Reed’s honors and awards include two Regional Emmys — received in 2000 and 2003 — for his work with Public Health Television Inc., on the Urban Cancer Project, a research and video-based project aimed at reducing cancer disparities among African Americans. Reed received his bachelor of science degree in secondary education at Alabama State University and his master’s and Ph.D. degrees in sociology from Boston University.