McMicken College of Arts & SciencesUniversity of Cincinnati

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Professor’s Leadership Earns Presidential Plurality

Africana Studies professor will lead two sociological organizations in the upcoming academic year and recently lent his perspective on out-of-wedlock births to Jet magazine.

Date: 5/24/2012
By: Tom Robinette
Phone: (513) 556-8577
Earl Wright II has something President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney covet: an assured presidency come this fall. In fact, Wright will be serving in that role twice over.

The associate professor in the Department of Africana Studies is president-elect of the Association of Black Sociologists and the Mid-South Sociological Association. When the 2012-13 academic year begins, Wright will assume the presidency of both organizations. Wright joined the University of Cincinnati two years ago and has been developing a research program that connects the university community with the larger Cincinnati population. His program employs the scholar-activist model of Africana Studies to influence the lives of local residents.
Earl Wright II will serve as president of two sociological organizations during the upcoming academic year.



Wright received additional national exposure when he was interviewed in the April issue of Jet magazine in an article about out-of-wedlock births.

What is the significance of serving as president for both of these sociological organizations?
These positions are important for a couple of reasons. First, to be elected by your peers as the leader of an organization is an honor which suggests that you have garnered their respect and have a record of accomplishment that merits such distinction. Second, by serving in leadership positions in national and regional organizations, it indicates to faculty, administrators and students here at UC that we in the UC family are at the forefront on issues of leadership, not simply followers.

What was it like being interviewed for Jet?
I have been interviewed for numerous magazines and newspapers, but the Jet interview has special meaning because, unlike the others, that is a periodical that my family and friends actually read. So, to be in Jet was more special to me than being in any “top tier” outlet that others may deem more prestigious. The Jet interview centered on out-of-wedlock births, which is not my area of specialty. I do, however, focus on this topic in my classes dealing with urban social issues. My principal area of research is on W.E.B. Du Bois and his significance and contributions to the discipline of sociology.

What do you hope being mentioned in Jet does for your work?
I have no overt desire that the Jet article enhance my previously published works or result in increased attention to myself. It is my hope, however, that this publicity continues the trend of placing UC in a positive light both regionally and nationally so that others may take notice of the wonderful things we are accomplishing here. If my presence in the magazine encourages someone to visit the university website or apply for admission, then I am as satisfied as if I received direct recognition myself.  

What does the national recognition of your leadership and intellectual contributions say about our faculty and the quality of teaching and research available in the McMicken College of Arts & Sciences?
It means that the College of Arts & Sciences, under the leadership of Dean Valerie Hardcastle, has fulfilled its promise to bring in skilled and accomplished faculty who enhance what UC already does well and build up areas where strengthening is needed. On a national scale, our continued presence in high-visibility positions will force those not already familiar with the greatness that is UC prior to the high visibility of A&S faculty to stand and take notice of what’s going on here in Clifton.


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