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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 Civic Engagement Center develops the civic capacity of students and community partners in ways that foster a thriving democratic society at the Capstone and beyond.

 

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 serves as immediate past 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.

Dr. Jackson Harris

Director of Community and Civic Engagement

Dr. Harris is the Director of Community and Civic Engagement in the Crossroads Civic Engagement Center. Harris supports the development of civic values, knowledge, skills, and action through the research and programming of UA Crossroads. His research focuses on depolarizing the American public sphere. He is currently completing a Ph.D. in Communication and Information Sciences and holds an M.A. in Communication Studies and an Interdisciplinary Studies B.A. with an emphasis on Community Development.

He may be reached by phone at (205) 348-6930 or via email at asajharris@ua.edu.

Dr. Jim McLean

Associate Vice President for Community Affairs and Executive Director of the Center for Community-Based Partnerships

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) 348-4189 or via email at jmclean@ua.edu.

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Dr. Lane McLelland

Executive Director of Crossroads Civic Engagement Center

Dr. McLelland has served as the director of the Crossroads Civic Engagement Center since 2013. In addition to a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies and a Ph.D. in Social and Cultural Studies from The University of Alabama, she holds an M.A. in Ethics and a Master of Divinity degree from Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California. She oversees the civic learning and democratic engagement work of Crossroads and conducts research focused on civic discourse strategies and freedom theory.

She may be reached by phone at (205) 348-6930 or via email at lane.mclelland@ua.edu.

Dr. Ed Mullins

Director of Research and Communication

Dr. Mullins has been with CCBP since 2008. He has a B.A. in Journalism from The University of Alabama, an M.A. from Ohio State University, and a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is the former dean of the UA College of Communication, co-author of two books on journalistic principles, recipient of the Council on Community-Based Partnerships’ Distinguished Achievement Award, and member of the UA Communication Hall of Fame.

He may be reached by phone at (205) 348-7358 or via email at emullins@ua.edu.

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Dr. Fran Oneal

Director of Global and Community Engagement

Dr. Oneal leads the Global Café and Language Partners programs in the Division’s Center for Community-Based Partnerships. She has spent the bulk of her career at The University of Alabama, and has traveled extensively and taught overseas, most recently as a Fulbright specialist at American University in Cairo. She recently served as director of the International Honors Program and associate director of the University Honors Program, and as an associate professor in the Honors College. Her most recent role has been as an instructor at UA’s Capstone International Center. She earned her B.A. degree in political science and economics from Duke University and her Ph.D. in political science from Vanderbilt University.

She may be reached by phone at (205) 348-7392 or via email at foneal@ua.edu.

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Dr. Drew Pearl

Director of Community Engagement Research and Publications

Dr. Pearl joined the CCBP in 2019, where his work focuses on supporting students through the Student Community Engagement Center and SCOPE, facilitating professional development opportunities focused on community-engaged scholarship, and managing the publication of the Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Georgia’s Institute of Higher Education, an M.P.A from UGA, an M.M from the University of New Mexico, and a B.M. from Vanderbilt University.

He may be reached by phone at (205) 348-2148 or via email at apearl@ua.edu.

Dr. Nicole Prewitt

Director of Programs and Partnerships for Community Engagement

Dr. Prewitt has been a CCBP director since 2017. She has a B.S. from Alabama A&M University, M.A.Ed. from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and Ed.D. from Ball State University. She has served as a faculty member, an academic dean, and a student services dean. She leads community engagement programs including HomeFirst, Neighborhood Partnership Committee, and shares responsibility for Project CLIMATE. Her research focuses on Historically Black Colleges and Universities and adult, higher and community education.

She may be reached by phone at (205) 348-9819 or via email at nbprewitt@ua.edu.

Andrea Ziegler

Director for Community Education

Mrs. Ziegler has been a CCBP director since 2019. She has a B.A. from Samford University, M.Ed. from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and is pursuing her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership at The University of Alabama. She served as an elementary teacher in Tennessee and Alabama from 2007 to 2019. Mrs. Ziegler is coauthor of several refereed articles and a book chapter discussing family engagement and educator collaboration.

She may be reached by phone at (205) 348-9854 or via email at amziegler@ua.edu.

Community Affairs Staff

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 ddcook@ua.edu.

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Tara Jimerson

Administrative Assistant

Tara Jimerson provides high-level and confidential administrative support; manages our office in Rose 250; and serves as our office liaison to other UA administrative offices, faculty, staff, students, parents, alumni, donors, community partners and key stakeholders. She possesses extensive experience providing support for administrative offices and a host of skills that aid the Division in moving its important work forward. She earned the Bachelor of Arts degree in history with a minor in art history from The University of Alabama.

She may be reached by phone at (205) 348-8376 or via email at twjimerson@ua.edu.

Diane Kennedy-Jackson

Publications Coordinator

Diane Kennedy-Jackson is responsible for producing communication plans and activities that support the goals of the Division. She 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. She 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, marketing and social media knowledge.

She may be reached by phone at (205) 348-4480 or via email atdkkennedy1@ua.edu.

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Liz Lary

Conferences and Events Manager

Liz Lary provides leadership for the conferences, events and workshops developed to accomplish the Division’s mission of engaging communities and changing lives. Prior to joining Community Affairs, she served as the administrative coordinator of clinical services at the University Medical Center and as an event coordinator for the School of Social Work, which recognized her with the Staff Excellence Award in 2017. She has also directed and served on the boards of nonprofits and worked in the business community. She holds a BA degree in sociology with a minor in data analysis from Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio, and is a member of the Leadership Tuscaloosa Class of 2006.

She may be reached by phone at (205) 348-5743 or via email at ealary@ua.edu.

Jake Peterson

Assistant Director for Community Education

Jake Peterson earned both a bachelor of science and master of arts degree from The University of Alabama and is currently pursuing his PhD, also from UA, in the Kinesiology Department. He assists with various Community Education programs, including the Parent Teacher Leadership Academy, the STEM Showcase and the STEM Entrepreneurship Academy. Additionally, he serves as the Student Voices Editor for the Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship, where he seeks to promote students’ experiences and involvement with community engagement. Peterson’s research focus includes student engagement in physical activity-based programs.

He may be reached by phone at (205) 348-4352 or via email at jtpeterson2@ua.edu.

Michael Nichols

Program Coordinator

Michael Nichols assists all CCBP directors in carrying out their projects, maintaining their equipment, producing printing materials and assisting with scheduling. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Consumer Science from The University of Alabama.

He may be reached by phone at (205) 348-7364 or via email at michael.nichols@ua.edu.

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Paige Rentfro

Program Coordinator for Community Education

Paige Rentfro earned a bachelor of science degree in biology from The University of Alabama through the STEM Path to the MBA, and in May 2023 completed her MBA with a custom focus area of study in healthcare. She supports the Division’s Vision Days Program, as well as its K–12 summer programs and other existing and emerging Community Education programs.

She may be reached by phone at (205) 348-7390 or via email at perentfro@ua.edu

Dr. Elisabetta Zengaro

Communications Specialist

Dr. Elisabetta Zengaro provides editorial support for the Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship, as well as for the Division’s communications efforts. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism and a Master of Science degree in Sport and Human Performance from Delta State University, as well as her Ph.D. in Communication and Information Sciences from The University of Alabama. She has worked as a newspaper staff writer, served as editor-in-chief of her college student newspaper, has presented her research at national conferences and has had several papers published in leading research journals.

She may be reached by phone at (205) 348-3113 or via email at eczengaro@ua.edu.