McLelland: New Job Is Real-World Test of Her Preparation

By Kirsten J. Barnes
CCBP Graduate Assistant

Lane McLelland, director, Crossroads Community Center

Looking back on her first year in her new job as director of Crossroads Community Center, Lane Busby McLelland, the former assistant director of New College, remains both challenged and excited by her new responsibilities, which she sees as a real-world test of her academic preparation.

That preparation includes a master of arts in ethics and social theory, a master of divinity and a bachelor's in international studies and conflict management.

"I loved what I did in New College, but coming to Crossroads gives me the opportunity to develop my fundamental areas of interest even more," she said.

Crossroads Community Center provides leadership at UA in cultural programming and intercultural education by developing and hosting a variety of cultural events and dialogue programs that build community. Crossroads pursues its mission by coordinating the energies of faculty, staff and students in the creation, implementation and evaluation of cultural programs on campus.

McLelland sees her new job from several points of view. "I love working with people of different perspectives and backgrounds and to see them work together, whether that work is international, cultural or intra-cultural. Because I'm coming from a program (New College) that values interdisciplinary work, I bring varied experience from multiple perspectives. My life has been interdisciplinary."

Before beginning a teaching career at Shelton State Community College in 1999 and taking a position teaching full-time at UA in 2006, McLelland worked in the private sector in religion and ethics. During the mid-1990s she worked in Atlanta for several agencies in which she gained cross-cultural experience, including working with the 1996 Summer Olympics.

All of these experiences prepared her for Crossroads. "My work in Atlanta and with New College has always emphasized embedding students in community based-projects," McLelland said, opportunities for students and community members to talk and work together.

McLelland said she missed teaching during her first semester at Crossroads, but hopes to develop a new course that can be taught in New College that will also be beneficial to Crossroads.

"I hope to offer some special courses that meet the goals of the academic department and the goals of Crossroads: Deliberative decision-making and deliberative-dialogue," McLelland said.

In addition to her academic and service credentials, McLelland is also an ordained minister. She has served as a minister at Chinese Community United Methodist Church in Oakland, Calif., and Trinity United Methodist Church in Tuscaloosa. She taught at Tunghai University in Taiwan and later worked with China-related organizations in Washington, D.C.

In appointing McLelland, Dr. Samory T. Pruitt, vice president for Community Affairs, said, "Crossroads Community Center provides important intercultural leadership and dialogue programs for the campus and communities both near and far. We are most fortunate to have someone of Ms. McLelland's background, credentials and motivation in this position."

McLelland succeeds Dr. Beverly Hawk, who has joined the Center for Community-Based Partnerships as director of program services. McLelland received her bachelor's degree from UA and both graduate degrees from the University of California, Berkeley.

For more information on Crossroads, call McLelland at 205-348-6930 or email her at