Reed is currently Professor of Sociology and Africana Studies and Director of the Race and Social Policy Research Center at Virginia Tech University. Previously he was Professor of Africana Studies and Sociology and Director of the Africana Studies Program at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Before that he developed and directed the Urban Child Research Center in the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University (1991-2001), where he was also Professor of Sociology and Urban Studies (1991-2004). He was Adjunct Professor at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine (2003-4).
Before going to Cleveland State University in August 1991, he was Chairperson of the Department of Black Studies and the developer and first Director of the William Monroe Trotter Institute for the Study of Black Culture at the University of Massachusetts at Boston (1985-91). Prior to those positions he was Director of the Institute for Urban Research at Morgan State University (1983-85); and he was Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Associate in the Division of Health Care Research in the School of Medicine at Washington University (1975-83). Professor Reed served a three-year term (1990-92) as President of the National Congress of Black Faculty, and he is past president of the national Association of Black Sociologists (2000-01).
He received his B.S. degree in Secondary Education (in Science and Mathematics) at Alabama State University and the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Sociology from Boston University. Trained as a medical sociologist under a health services research training fellowship, Professor Reed has taught courses, conducted research, and published articles and books on medical care, health and illness, urban communities, and criminal and juvenile justice. His background includes positions in the federal government and private industry as well as higher education. Before his academic career, Professor Reed worked in the computer field—with the U.S. Bureau of the Census as a computer programmer and with IBM as a systems engineer and as a marketing representative.