Community Affairs Leadership


Dr. Samory T. Pruitt

Vice President for Community Affairs

Dr. Samory T. Pruitt has served as Vice President for Community Affairs since the Division’s creation in 2004. In this post, he is responsible for developing and managing the University’s public outreach programs and providing campus leadership to enhance the quality of life both within and beyond the campus community. This is achieved through the formation of partnerships for engagement scholarship across the areas of teaching, research, and service, which seek to generate and preserve knowledge for the mutual benefit of the University and its community partners. Additionally, Dr. Pruitt provides civic engagement leadership, developing civic learning opportunities to sustain more effective community problem-solving strategies and democratic engagement on campus and in the community. Since 1986 he has worked for the University in increasingly responsible positions in management and administration, including roles in the divisions of Financial Affairs and University Advancement, as well as in the President’s Office, prior to being named to his current position. Under his leadership, the Division has grown to include the Center for Community-Based Partnerships, which houses a variety of community education and health-related programs geared toward building partnerships and capacity that lift traditionally underserved populations in life-changing ways. Additionally, the Division’s Crossroads Community Engagement Center provides resources on diversity and inclusion through intercultural engagement opportunities for students, faculty and staff.

Dr. Pruitt is actively involved in the West Alabama area, where he serves on the Board of Directors for The First Tee of Tuscaloosa, the West Alabama Chamber of Commerce, and on the Stillman College Board of Trustees. He is a member of the Tuscaloosa International Rotary Club, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., and is a 1995 graduate of Leadership Tuscaloosa. He chairs the Martin Luther King Jr. Realizing the Dream Initiative committee and serves on the leadership team of the annual UA United Way Campaign. In 2008, he was appointed by the governor of Alabama to serve as Education Chair for the West Alabama Regional Action Commission, which covers six Alabama counties. In 2002 the University presented him with the Award for Outstanding Commitment to Public Service. He received the E. Roger Sayers Distinguished Service Award — given to a faculty or staff member who has gone above and beyond their normal duties and performed in an exceptional manner in order to further the mission of UA — in 2016. Dr. Pruitt currently serves as President of the Board of Directors of the Engagement Scholarship Consortium (ESC), consisting of institutions located in the United States, Canada, and Nigeria, and in fall 2019 was named to the Commission on Economic and Community Engagement Executive Committee of the Association of Public Land-Grant Universities (APLU). Additionally, he is the publisher of the international Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship (JCES).

Dr. Pruitt earned his BA in mathematics, his MA in public administration and his PhD in higher education administration, all from The University of Alabama.

Community Affairs Staff


Dr. Jim McLean

Associate Vice President for Community Affairs

Dr. McLean has held all academic ranks including a Board of Trustees appointed University Research Professor at The University of Alabama. Administratively, he has been a department head, director, assistant dean and dean. Currently, he is Associate Vice President for Community Affairs and Executive Director of the Center for Community-Based Partnerships, an initiative of the Division of Community Affairs. He has directed well over 100 evaluation, assessment and research projects funded for more than $6 million. He has worked with schools, state departments of education, and the United States Department of Education. Dr. McLean holds degrees in mathematics, statistics, and research methodology from the University of Florida. He also served his country in the United States Marine Corps and the Marine Corps Reserve.

He may be reached by phone at (205) 348-7392
or via email at


Elizabeth Hartley

Administrative Assistant

Elizabeth Hartley, a native of Tuscaloosa, received a bachelor’s degree from the University in Advertising in 2006. She began working at the University in 2010, at the College of Community Health Sciences (CCHS), transferring to Community Affairs in 2012, where she serves as Dr. Pruitt’s Administrative Assistant. She is a member of the Rotary Club, the Junior League and volunteers with several animal rescue organizations in West Alabama.

She may be reached by phone at (205) 348-8376
or via e-mail at


Whitney Sewell

Program Manager

Whitney Sewell provides leadership for the existing and emerging number of conferences, events, programs, and workshops that are essential to fulfilling the mission of the Division of Community Affairs. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from The University of Alabama.

She may be reached by phone at (205) 348-5743  or via email at


Diane Kennedy-Jackson

Publications Coordinator

Diane Kennedy-Jackson is responsible for producing communication plans and activities that support the goals of the Division of Community Affairs.

Diane holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Ball State University. Before working with the Division, Diane served as an editor and a media relations and communications manager. Diane brings a wide range of skills that include outstanding writing and editing abilities, extensive publications planning and production experience, and a wealth of public relations and marketing knowledge.

She may be reached by phone at (205) 348-4480 or via email at


Carol Agomo

Director of Community and Administrative Affairs

Carol Agomo leads the strategic planning efforts for the Division of Community Affairs. In this role, she is responsible for implementing a framework for program evaluation, assessment, and analysis. She is also responsible for administrative functions of the Division, including financial affairs and human resources.

Carol oversees the Division’s community collaboration initiatives; including Realizing the Dream, the annual UA United Way campaign, and the Community Affairs Board of Advisors. She serves as liaison to the Council on Community-Based Partnerships and supports the administration of Council initiatives, including Seed Funds, Travel Funds, GA Fellowships, and the annual Awards.

Carol is a Chicago native. She received a bachelor of arts in economics from the University of Illinois at Chicago and also holds two master’s degrees in public health and business administration from Benedictine University in Lisle, Illinois.

She may be reached by phone at (205) 348-7405
or via email at

Karyn Bowen headshot

Karyn Bowen

Marketing Manager

Karyn Bowen provides leadership in branding the work of the Division of Community Affairs locally and nationally. She maintains the Community Affairs websites and assists with aligning the photography, video and social media efforts with our overall marketing and communications strategies. Mrs. Bowen earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with a concentration in graphic design from Jacksonville State University in 2012.

She may be reached by phone at (205) 348-9859
or via email at


Dee Cook

Fiscal Affairs Coordinator

Dee Cook assists with managing all aspects of the Community Affairs budget including payroll, personnel, scholarships, external funding, and fiscal affairs related to the CCBP Council. She earned her Bachelor of Science in General Management in 1983 and her Bachelor of Science in Accounting in 2000 from The University of Alabama. 

She may be reached by phone at (205) 348-9857
or via email at