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Carmichael Hall

Adolph B. Crew

Ed.D., The University of Alabama, 1953. Secondary Education. 

M.A., The University of Alabama, 1950. 

B.A., Birmingham Southern College, 1947.

The late Dr. Adolph Brandon Crew was a professor of secondary social science education in the College of Education from 1958 until his retirement in 1987. An Army veteran, Crew returned to Alabama after World War II to complete his studies. Crew received the one of the first Doctor of Education degrees issued by the College in 1953. 

Crew’s first teaching experience was in Boone, NC. The lack of resources in the small rural community caused him to turn to the local community, natural environment, and folk arts as a basis for learning. He quickly discovered the power of authentic teaching and learning. 

As an early adopter of experiential education, he encouraged his students to extend learning beyond the classroom. He taught by example and would take students to numerous locations— visiting the Bankhead National Forest, tromping through the marshes of Dauphin Island Sea Lab, visiting north Georgia to learn about the Foxfire arts project, camping in Tannehill Ironworks Historical Park, etc.—to experience innovative ways to educate students. 

At Tannehill, he worked with students to conduct historical research there by digging in the artifact-rich area to find examples of past life. Learning at Tannehill became a rite of passage for his students to do historical research and to even dress in period costumes and serve as guides at Tannehill events. His former students will all tell you that he had a significant impact on their careers and how they approached teaching. 

The impact of Crew’s experiential education emphasis led to the innovations such as a teacher building his own log cabin classroom with his students that was used for 25 years in conjunction with teaching Alabama history; the American Studies Center in the Tuscaloosa City Schools, which was created as part of a learning project with Crew’s mentorship that lasted over twenty years and served as a model for alternative education with more than 1,000 high school students and numerous elementary classes taking field trips to explore the history of downtown Tuscaloosa; and the development of several publications, in the example of the Fox Fire series, in some of the local school systems. 

Crew served as the Director of the Experiential Learning Center at Tannehill, the Director of Clinical Experiences, Chairperson of the Alabama Committee for the Secondary Commission of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and Program Chairperson of Secondary Education. He also served on the University’s American Studies Advisory Committee. Crew served as consultant for the Alabama State Course of Study Commission for Social Studies, the coordinator of the Living History/Folk Festival Week at Tannehill, and as a member of the Children’s Hands-on Museum. He served as consultant to the American Studies Program in the Tuscaloosa City Schools. 

Among many honors, he received the 1978 award for Outstanding Commitment to Teaching, given by the National Alumni Association of The University of Alabama. 

Dr. Crew had simple tastes, and he exhibited kindness and fairness to every person. He was committed to his family and service to his community. He was seldom without a book (or books) he was reading, and he enjoyed sports of all kinds.