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Carmichael Hall

James E. McLean

Ph.D., University of Florida, 1974. Research Foundations of Education with a Minor in Statistics.

M.Stat., 1971, University of Florida, 1971. Statistics with a Minor in Mathematics.

B.S.E, University of Florida, 1968. Secondary Mathematics Education with a Minor in Mathematics.

Dr. James E. (Jim) McLean received his Ph.D. from the University of Florida where he also received his M.Stat. and B.S. degrees. Jim served in the United States Marine Corps Reserve after receiving his A.A. degree from Orlando Junior College. He married Sharon Elizabeth Robb in 1968, and they have two children. In 1974, Jim became an assistant professor at The University of Alabama where he advanced through the ranks to become a Board of Trustees University Research Professor in 1987. He held the same rank from 1995 to 2000 at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and held the James H. Quillen Chair of Excellence in Teaching and Learning endowed chair at East Tennessee State University from 2000 to 2004. After a nine-year absence, he returned to The University of Alabama as the dean of the College of Education in 2004 and retired in 2013. Following his retirement, he continued to serve part-time as the associate vice president for community affairs and the executive director of the Center for Community-Based Partnerships. 

During his professional career, he taught statistics and measurement to thousands of students and directed about 50 doctoral dissertations. Jim wrote over 100 scholarly research papers and three books and gave over 200 professional presentations. He directed or co-directed over 100 externally funded research and evaluation studies. His teaching was recognized at UA in 1988 with the Burlington Northern Foundation Faculty Achievement Award in Teaching, and in 1991 McLean was selected for the National Alumni Association’s Outstanding Commitment to Teaching Award. His research received the Outstanding Research Award by the Mid-South Educational Research Association four times at which point the award was renamed in his honor. He also received an annual research award from Mensa International.

During his time in the College of Education, he created the Evaluation and Assessment Laboratory that partnered with the Alabama State Department of Education and many school systems inside and outside Alabama to improve the education of students. During his eight and a half years as dean, the College of Education had many accomplishments. The student enrollment of the College more than doubled in size, advancing from the sixth largest to the third largest college at the University. 

McLean worked closely with the College of Education Board of Advisors to create the College of Education Hall of Fame to recognize highly accomplished alumni and friends for their lifetime contributions to education. The College’s endowments saw a seven-fold increase and annual giving saw a four-fold increase during his tenure as dean. The disability sports program evolved during his tenure as dean into an international model with the women’s wheelchair basketball team winning multiple national championships. His leadership as dean facilitated the hiring of highly productive faculty, multi-million-dollar renovations to Autherine Lucy Hall (formerly Graves Hall) and Wade Hall (formerly Moore Hall), and added several programs to the College. With the increase in student quality, the College of Education improved its national ranking to 79th among over 3,000 colleges in the country that prepare teachers.

McLean is a member of the Tuscaloosa Rotary Club and volunteers with Toys for Tots annually. In addition, he served on the board of directors of the Alabama Marines Foundation as its treasurer and later as vice chair. However, the greatest joy of his life is in spending time with his wife, kids, and grandkids as well as his hobbies of motorcycle touring, exploring in his RV, and traveling.