News Item

Barrett retires from Lander – Wheeling to take over as dean of the College of Business

June 28, 2017

By Clark Leach

After more than 38 years of teaching, guiding students, and advising new professors, Lander University professor Bob Barrett will officially retire after the 2016-17 school year, which ends June 30.

Barrett, dean of the College of Business and Public Affairs (now College of Business) from 2012-2017, made the decision two years ago in order to spend more time with his family and to pursue “other opportunities.”

“I have enjoyed working with faculty in a dean role here at Lander,” said Barrett. “This was the most enjoyable part of my academic career.”

Barrett leaves to his credit more than 80 total publications, in both textbooks and in academic journals such as the Palmetto Business and Economic Review, the Coastal Business Journal, and Southern Business Review.

In addition to teaching Introduction to Analytical Methods and Economic Marketing of Olympic Games, Barrett also served on Lander’s Academic Technology Committee and regularly contributed proceedings (a collection of academic papers) on topics including “Economic Development of South Carolina's I-95 Counties” (2008); “The Nursing Shortage in the USA and Abroad (2009)”; and “Student Attitudes about Corporate America” (2011).

Through it all, Barrett mentored many new university professors by looking at their new role and its challenges from their standpoint.

“I deeply appreciate that he was always willing to help me in issues I had when I was just starting,” said Joshua Brooks, assistant professor of finance and Lander’s winner of the 2017 Young Faculty Teaching award. “I benefited not only from his expertise in teaching business, but from the fact that he always drew from experiences he had across his wide-ranging career.”

In his first experience as a teacher, Barrett initially questioned whether university level teaching would be the right career for him.  While working on his Masters at East Carolina University in 1978, he taught a couple of undergraduate classes and “hated it for two weeks.

“I was scared to death to be in front of a class,” he said, adding that he soon got over it because, “I really liked interacting with students and learning as I developed classes. I liked seeing the light come on when students understood the concepts.”

Following these experiences at ECU, Barrett earned a Ph.D. from Virginia Tech.  His 30+ years in academia in South Carolina have included faculty and administrative work at Clemson University, Francis Marion University, and South Carolina State University before coming to Lander.

"I was attracted by the quality of Lander’s business program,” he said, “and by the quality of the faculty and students."

Taking over for Barrett on July 1 will be Barbara Wheeling, who comes to Lander after four years as dean of business and professor of accounting at Montana State University Billings.

When asked what advice he would give to new professors coming to Lander in the 2017-18 school year, Barrett said it is the same advice he has been following since his own school days: “Show up, work hard and respect co-workers.”

Robert Barrett Retiring Photo

Dr. Robert Barrett stands with Lander volleyball team member Sydney Tracy at the team’s annual Faculty Appreciation Night. Barrett will step down as dean of Lander’s College of Business after the 2016-17 academic year, which ends June 30.

Photo by Chase Cooley