Fred L. Pincus, Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, will retire at the end of the semester after spending 44 years at UMBC. He came to Baltimore from UCLA as a 26-year-old instructor in 1968, the third year of UMBC’s existence. In addition to all the committee work needed to build the department and the university, Pincus taught courses in race relations, social psychology and introductory sociology. He also became very involved in the movement against the war in Vietnam and promoted campus policies to increase the number of African American students on campus. He was an early supporter of Black Studies and Women’s Studies.
In 1972, Pincus visited the People’s Republic of China. He was excited to see a non-capitalist country and for the next dozen years he learned all he could about China. He developed a course called “Social Organization in the People’s Republic of China,” wrote several articles about Chinese education and served on the editorial committee of New China, a magazine published by the US-China Friendship Association. He also became the China writer and later the education writer for The Guardian, an independent radical newsweekly published in New York.
In the late 1990s, Pincus joined the steering committee of UMBC’s (then) new Language, Literacy and Culture (LLC) doctoral program. He became interested in diversity in the United States in terms of race, class, gender and sexual orientation. He took over the graduate seminar “Constructing Race, Gender and Class” and developed the undergraduate course “Diversity and Pluralism: An Interdisciplinary Perspective.”
Over the years, Pincus published four books and monographs and several dozen scholarly articles on a wide range of topics including the role of community colleges in higher education, race relations, affirmative action, conservative education policy and diversity. Over the course of his career, he has taught between 6,000 and 7,000 undergraduates and several hundred graduate students in applied sociology, LLC, public policy and intercultural communication.
For the past several years, he has also been working on a memoir and has taken creative writing classes through the Gotham Writers Workshop based in New York City.
UMBC thanks Fred L. Pincus for his tremendous service to our community and to the field of higher education over the past 44 years.