Melanie Crenshaw Joins Judicial College Faculty to Advise Magistrates

The UNC School of Government is pleased to welcome Melanie Crenshaw to its North Carolina Judicial College faculty. Joining the ranks in August 2022, Crenshaw will work primarily with magistrates on issues of civil law as a teaching assistant professor. She joins the School directly after serving as a magistrate in Cumberland County, an experience she believes prepares her well to expand her service to the state’s judicial bodies.

“As a former magistrate, I was interested in taking on a new role where I could use my experience as a magistrate beyond just serving my county,” Crenshaw said. “Magistrates have a very important role in the judicial system, and I look forward to supporting them.”

Crenshaw established her early public service career within the state’s public school system, serving as a teacher. With this dedication to service as the foundation of her career, Crenshaw transitioned from education to family law, before eventually deciding to serve as a magistrate. Through each of her roles, a common thread emerges: a desire to make tangible and meaningful change in communities across North Carolina.    

“From my early days as a teacher to my most recent work as a magistrate, I have always enjoyed working in positions that allow me to serve the community,” Crenshaw said. “I very much value community and making a difference; a career in public service is aligned with that value.”

The School of Government is a unique institution in that it combines theory with practice. Crenshaw herself has seen the positive effects of this synergy at play already, having previously served on the School’s pattern jury instruction project—a free, virtual resource of compiled sample jury instructions for trial judges and juries organized by legal topic.

Joining the Judicial College’s mission to improve the state’s judicial landscape, particularly in connecting academia with advising to ensure proper administration of the law, was a natural next step in a career dedicated to making improvements to public life.

“This position is a chance for me to combine legal analysis with teaching and advising,” she said. “I have been aware of the important work the School does and the value that work adds to the client groups it serves. Having previously experienced training at the School, I was also drawn to the opportunity to work as a colleague with such a distinguished group of faculty members.”

As her tenure at the School begins to take shape, Crenshaw plans to draw on her career—connected thus far by a common drive to educate—to strengthen trust and improve outcomes for the state’s civil community.

“Throughout my career, I have looked for opportunities to teach, so I welcome the challenge of applying those skills to this area of the law.”

Crenshaw received an undergraduate degree from Elon College and her juris doctor from Elon University School of Law.