Dean of Johnson C. Smith University’s (JCSU) Metropolitan College of Professional Studies

LAURA COLSON MCLEAN has served as dean of Johnson C. Smith University’s (JCSU) Metropolitan College of Professional Studies since July 2015. An integral member of JCSU’s faculty and staff since 2005, McLean is known for strengthening the adult degree program’s culture of connection and engagement. Under her leadership, Metropolitan College of Professional Studies has initiated e-learning bachelor’s degree programs, expanded offerings and certification programs for non-native speakers of English, and established the Veterans Hub, an academic and support services network for military students and their families.

As the chief academic and executive officer of the Metropolitan College of Professional Studies, Dean McLean’s central focus is to provide guidance and oversight so that students and faculty have the best possible experience. The dean oversees the services and policies that contribute to the adult learning experience inside and outside of the classroom. Most recently, Dr. McLean assisted with the realignment of the adult degree program along with some of the University’s traditional professional studies programs to better serve the needs of the non-traditional and traditional students within the college.  Housing the Department of Business Administration and the Department of Health and Human Performance (sport management and public health) under its umbrella will strengthen JCSU’s online business administration and sport management majors while providing greater access to a combination of on-campus and online classes for students in the adult degree program as well as the traditional students.

Dr. McLean earned a Bachelor of Arts in Education from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Master of Education degree in Curriculum and Supervision from The University of North Carolina at Charlotte. In the spring of 2013, she successfully defended and published her dissertation entitled: “First-Generation Freshman College Students: Factors Impacting Retention for the Subsequent Year” to complete a Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from Gardner-Webb University in Boiling Springs, North Carolina.

She joined Johnson C. Smith University in the fall of 2005, where she served as the assistant director/tutorial coordinator for the Student Support Services Program.  Seeking an opportunity to advance in the education profession, she was afforded the opportunity to join Metropolitan College as director of the Adult Degree Program and was subsequently promoted to assistant dean, and interim co-dean, and in July 2015 to dean of the college with a faculty position as Assistant Professor of Education.

Dean McLean is responsible for the chartering of the Mu Chi Alpha Chapter of Alpha Sigma Lambda Honor Society for adult learners at JCSU, and under her leadership, Metropolitan College activated a national chapter of ANTSHE—the National Association for Non-Traditional Students in Higher Education.   Due to her work with the non-traditional aged student, her work has been highlighted with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, in an interview entitled Working for Today’s College Students (November 2017).   Her work for adults goes beyond the campus of JCSU as she established Caminos Hacia El Éxito (Pathways to Success), an initiative to provide instruction to assist persons in the community with limited English in developing and improving oral communication skills and understanding.  in 2015, she assisted with the chartering of Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, Inc., the first chapter of a Latina sorority to be established on the campus of a Historically Black College or University and served as the first advisor. 

Dr. McLean is a servant leader within the Charlotte-Mecklenburg community where she is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, and an entrepreneur, leading one company and co-founding two others. As a result of her work personally and professionally, Sisters of Distinction named an award in her honor, recognizing a woman annually who demonstrates leadership, works to empower others as a servant leader.  She has been recognized in Who’s Who in Black Charlotte (2017), and by Pride Magazine as one of the “2016 Women to Watch in Education”. She was the recipient of the Excellence in Education Award (June 2016) from the Charlotte chapter of the National Women of Achievement, Inc. She resides in Huntersville, North Carolina with her three beautiful children.