Director’s Welcome

Welcome to the Grisham-McLean Institute for Public Service and Community Engagement!

It is my pleasure to introduce you to the Grisham-McLean Institute. I am pleased to have served as the University of Mississippi’s first ever Director of Community Engagement, fulfilling that lead role from 2012 to 2019. I continue to direct the Grisham-McLean Institute’s efforts in public service and community engagement. Our team works hard to support and increase community engagement throughout the state and with local communities. We are honored to collaborate with statewide and local community partners to improve the quality of life for all Mississippians.

In 2012, the Grisham-McLean Institute was expanded to serve as the university’s primary community service and engagement office. The Grisham-McLean Institute for Public Service and Community Engagement houses a portfolio of programs to fight poverty through education, innovation, and entrepreneurship. A primary goal of the Grisham-McLean Institute has been to institutionalize community engagement throughout the university. The Institute’s foundational work help lead to the University’s recognition as a Carnegie Community Engagement Institution. To build the community engagement institutionalization, I collaborated across the university to charter the institution’s first ever Council on Community Engagement (COCE). COCE consists of representatives from each college/school, including UMMC and UM Law, and is now a standing committee under the leadership of the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement. 

In 2014, I met with the Provost to share COCE’s recommendation that the newly conceptualized Division of Diversity consider including Community Engagement. The Provost accepted my recommendation on behalf of COCE, and in 2017, the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement hired its first Vice Chancellor. I had the pleasure to serve on the search committee. The Grisham-McLean Institute temporarily reported to the new division, but later realigned with the College of Liberal Arts. Moving back under the College of Liberal Arts allows the Institute to continue its academic pursuits and innovative programming, especially since the College is where the Grisham-McLean Institute had its founding in 1984.  

The Grisham-McLean Institute will continue to support community engagement across the UM campus and to offer educational programs to improve the quality of life for all. 


Albert Nylander, Director
Grisham-McLean Institute for Public Service and Community Engagement
Professor of Sociology