Published on May 14, 2024 by Sofia Paglioni  
Barbara Cartledge at Graduation

When Barbara Cartledge started at Samford University in 2004, Brock School of Business had two majors, two graduate programs and two concentrations. Today, Brock School of Business has grown to seven majors, seven minors, seven concentrations, along with the growth of the two graduate programs. With Cartledge’s steadfast guidance and leadership, undergraduate enrollment in Brock School of Business has surged by more than 150% within two decades and academic opportunities only continue to blossom.

Cartledge has served as the senior assistant dean of academic programs for Samford's Brock School of Business as well as an assistant professor for 20 years. This year, she oversaw the academic advising of over 800 undergraduate business majors and 170 graduate students in the Master of Business Administration and Master of Accountancy programs. Over the past 20 years,

Cartledge has overseen the matriculation and commencement for over 3,800 students.

Under her leadership, and in conjunction with school administration, a new Office of Professional Success was created in the Academic Programs unit which oversees all internships, professional development and employment opportunities for business students. Cartledge invested in students’ personal and professional growth, ensuring that they were equipped with the skills and knowledge needed to excel in the competitive business landscape. Moreover, her unwavering commitment to her team's well-being fostered a culture of care and excellence within Brock School of Business.

In addition to her administrative duties, she has been deeply committed to fostering a supportive environment for both students and staff alike. Heather Averett, director of graduate and undergraduate student services, will succeed Cartledge’s leadership of the Office of Academic Programs. Averett remarked, “With a focus on both the development of her students and the well-being of her advising team, Cartledge has cultivated a culture of care, compassion and excellence. Her leadership has made Brock School of Business and Samford University a better place. It has been a privilege and blessing to know and work with her.”

When reflecting on two decades of service in business school leadership, Cartledge said, “It has been a privilege to work alongside the dean’s office under the leadership of Beck Taylor, Jim Reburn, Howard Finch and Chad Carson. Each dean had their unique vision and goals for Brock School of Business. Working alongside the outstanding business faculty through curriculum changes and student successes and challenges was an honor.”

For Cartledge, and many others, working at Samford University is an extraordinary journey filled with both professional growth and spiritual formation. She said, “It is a blessing to work for a Christian employer in which one can openly profess their faith and trust in Jesus Christ inside and outside the classroom. The collegiality among the administration, staff and faculty is unique to Brock School of Business and Samford. I count it a gift from the Lord to have had the opportunity to work and serve at Brock School of Business and Samford University.”

Cartledge will return to a full-time faculty role in fall 2024. She previously taught the first business course, World of Business, which each business student takes during the spring of their freshmen year. While an assistant professor, Cartledge developed the Business and Local Poverty course which allows students to engage and discover initiatives in Birmingham that seek to alleviate the oppression of poverty. She has also taught International Marketing in London and Sydney, Australia, as well as Principles of Management and Foundations. Cartledge said she is excited to return to the classroom full time and is looking forward to forging deeper connections with her students.

There are many memories one makes in 20 years, and Cartledge has a plethora of defining moments throughout her time at Samford. Cartledge reminisced, “The transition from working in Dwight Beeson Hall and then moving to Cooney Hall was transformative for our staff and faculty as well as our students. Celebrating our students at each commencement in the fall and spring terms brings highlights of smiles, joy and opened doors to the next chapter of their lives. And finally, the gift of treasured friendships with staff and faculty created and enjoyed over the many years.”

Dean Chad Carson said, “Barbara is a dear friend and colleague. Her invaluable dedication to Brock School of Business will leave a lasting impact on everyone in the Samford and Birmingham communities.”

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.