Carol Hartley considers herself to be the stage manager of the Department of Languages and Culture Studies, and her goal is to ensure smooth operations for all the players.
“If there’s someone behind the scenes to ensure that classes are scheduled, and there’s enough paper in the copier, and the guest speaker’s accommodations are handled, then the faculty members can focus on their roles,” said Hartley.
A stage manager’s checklist of duties can be long, and the same goes for Hartley, as the department’s business services coordinator.
Her run sheet of major responsibilities includes managing the budget, completing hiring paperwork for full- and part-time faculty and overseeing grant administration as needed. Currently, the department employs about 80 faculty and staff members, and they work with more than 4,000 students each semester.
“That’s not just the major and minors, our department serves all students who need to meet the University’s foreign language requirements,” said Hartley, who joined the University as a part-time administrative assistant in 2007. She achieved full-time status in the department in 2008 and was promoted to her current position in 2015.
A New York native, Hartley grew up across the street from SUNY Fredonia, where her father taught music. She completed a bachelor’s degree in drama and film studies at Vassar College.
Earlier this year, Hartley was among the nominees for Employee of the Year. The recognition came as a “complete surprise.” Being singled out was special. “I have one of the best bosses, and we have a really good administrative team. My colleagues are fantastic, and while I was singled out, it was a group effort.”
Working in a diverse department with “fabulous and interesting faculty” is one of the rewards, said Hartley. Also, she’s been able to take classes and had the opportunity to visit Japan as part of a spring break study abroad trip.
“Our faculty believe so strongly in the importance of learning about other languages and cultures, and they share that with their students,” stated Hartley. “The more exposure students have globally, the better. We encourage all of our students to study abroad. It would be great if we had more scholarship money, because so many students can’t afford it. We expose students to other cultures here on campus, but it’s not the same as being immersed in it.”
Increasing scholarship opportunities for students is one reason Hartley is returning as a college champion for the Giving Green Campaign. Each fall, the University holds a centralized fundraising effort to benefit the UNC Charlotte Foundation, the Arts & Sciences Council and the agencies participating in the State Employees Combined Campaign. “Humanities and the arts are underfunded, so there’s a definite need. The way the campaign is set up, it is so easy, and it’s confidential, plus there’s only one time frame for the campaign rather than three separate ones.”
Hartley and her husband Thomas Cole, who is on the staff of the Charlotte Public Library, have two children. The couple’s daughter Sarah is a senior at UNC Charlotte, double majoring in history and Japanese; their son Patrick is a junior theatre major at UNC Greensboro.
Beyond work, Hartley makes jewelry, paints and creates collages. She noted it’s a different experience from her University job. “Most of my week is consumed by numbers, spreadsheets and organization, so in my free time, I get to create whatever I want.