View largeDownload slide View largeDownload slide Richard Lee (Dick) Simpson died on December 30, 2017, after a period of declining health. He received his BA and PhD in Sociology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and served on the UNC-Chapel Hill faculty from 1956 to his retirement as a Kenan Distinguished Professor of Sociology in 2004. He was an exceptional scholar and teacher who served as a steadying department chair during the locally and nationally tumultuous period from 1972 to 1975. He was also elected president of the Southern Sociological Society in 1972 and was inducted into its prestigious Roll of Honor in 2006. Over the course of his long and distinguished career, he gained an international reputation for his innovative research into the sociology of work and organizations. Dick’s most sustained and impressive professional activity was as editor of Social Forces for nearly a quarter century. This was the longest tenure of an editor after Howard W. Odum, the legendary founder of Social Forces (and one of Dick’s teachers), who edited the journal from 1922 to 1954. (Katharine Jocher co-edited Social Forces with Odum from 1927 to 1954 and served as editor from 1954 to 1961.) Dick contributed mightily to keeping Social Forces as one of the top general journals in Sociology. In his role as editor, he reviewed and was responsible for selecting for dissemination many important contributions to the field. He was the person most responsible for transitioning Social Forces to a modern journal associated with high standards of empirical scholarship and theoretical innovation. More than anything else, this made him a central figure in Sociology of the late twentieth century. Dick’s erudition and broad knowledge enabled him to identify high-quality papers, and the great care and wise counsel with which he nurtured and developed these papers benefited both the authors and the discipline more broadly. He was quiet, calm, and soft-spoken, and had the ability to cut to the heart of an argument as well as a steely determination to see papers through to completion. His critical yet constructive advice was tempered by his witty and delightfully droll sense of humor that delighted all who knew him. What I find remarkable about his work as editor was his ability to keep up with a steadily growing flow of submitted papers without the benefit of computers and modern technology; Dick didn’t use computers—for example, he would write out messages and his secretary would send them out via email. Submissions by mail via hard copies was of course how the review process worked during the period of his editorship, and his office was often stacked with papers on which decisions had to be made (and on which he labored long after his colleagues had gone home for the day). By contrast, we now rely exclusively on ScholarOne for receiving submissions, obtaining reviews, and making decisions. Indeed, we once received a submission of hard copies of a paper by mail, and we were stumped for a while as to how to deal with it! All those associated with Social Forces are grateful to Dick for his heroic efforts on its behalf. All who knew him will miss his erudition and wit. © The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Social Forces – Oxford University Press
Published: Mar 1, 2018
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