Dr. Robert Barrett, left, is welcomed as Lander University's new dean of the College of Business and Public Affairs by the outgoing interim dean Dr. Douglas Grider. Barrett was appointed dean effective July 2.
Dr. Robert Barrett was familiar with and impressed by Lander University's business administration program while he was serving in other academic positions in South Carolina and, when the dean's position became vacant, he wasted no time applying for the job.
Barrett was appointed Lander's new dean of the College of Business and Public Affairs (COBPA) and moved into his new office on July 2.
When asked what prompted him to apply for the dean's position, Barrett said, "I was attracted by the quality of the program, and the quality of the faculty and students." He added that he was also attracted because the Lander business program is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), one of 11 schools in South Carolina and 648 around the world to achieve that designation. He said Lander's COBPA is a good fit for him and his experience.
Barrett comes to Lander after serving five years as dean of the College of Business and Applied Professional Sciences at South Carolina State University. His 34-year academic career also includes teaching and administrative positions at Francis Marion University in Florence, where he was named Palmetto Professor of Management in 2006; Clemson University; Virginia Tech; and East Carolina University.
Barrett received a bachelor's degree from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; a master of business administration from East Carolina University; and his doctorate in management science from Virginia Tech.
His plan was to go into business after receiving his undergraduate degree then, while working on his master's, he taught a couple of graduate courses. "I hated it for two weeks," he said, "I was scared to death to be in front of a class." It wasn't long before he came to enjoy teaching and set his sights on a career in academics. In addition to his administrative duties as dean, Barrett will teach a statistics class at Lander.
Barrett was born in North Carolina, the son of a Methodist minister. He and his wife, Marcia, who retired after a 20-year career as a kindergarten teacher, have two children and two grandchildren. He is active in the Methodist Church and describes himself as a big sports fan. He is also a runner, logging an average of 20 to 30 miles a week.
University president Daniel Ball described Barrett as an accomplished dean and professor and said Lander is fortunate to have his leadership in the College of Business and Public Affairs. "He has the support of the faculty and the administration as he embarks on the Lander journey of preparing our students for successful careers and lives."
Barrett succeeds Dr. Douglas Grider, who served as Lander's interim COBPA dean for two years and led the national search to find his replacement. Grider was the full-time dean from 1999 to 2004, when he left to become coordinator of the AACSB accreditation project at the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith. He retired in 2007, and he and his wife, Robbie, moved back to South Carolina. In July 2010, he answered the call to become interim dean at Lander.
He said that, over the years, Lander's business courses have continued to change so they would be relevant to the business marketplace, which is constantly changing. "Lander is a great place with some truly professional people who are dedicated to education and the quality of the academic program," he added.
Lander's business program is up for its five-year AACSB reaccreditation in 2013 and Grider will assist in that arduous review process. But he also plans to set aside time for travel, fishing, gardening and catching up on his reading.