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Kimberly A. Carlson

Associate Professor of Practice/Business Leadership Center Director
Headshot of Kimberly Carlson
2116 Pamplin (0233)
880 West Campus Drive
Blacksburg, VA 24061

Focus Area(s)

Organizational leadership, Team leadership, Organizational policy processes, Strategic planning processes, Management consulting


  • Ph.D., Virginia Tech, 2011
  • M.S.W., Florida State University, 2000
  • B.S., Psychology, 1997
  • B.A., Theatre, 1997


She, Her


Kimberly A. Carlson, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Practice in Management and the Director of the Business Leadership Center in the Pamplin College of Business at Virginia Tech. Previously, Dr. Carlson served as director of the Business Diversity Center in the Pamplin College of Business; as adjunct faculty for the Center for Public Administration and Policy and the Political Science Department; and as the Assistant Director for Presidential Global Scholars (a semester-abroad program) and Fulbright Program Adviser in University Honors at Virginia Tech.

Dr. Carlson’s teaching and research experiences include leadership, organizational and workforce development in national and local organizations, governments, and universities. Particularly, her Ph.D. from Virginia Tech was focused on public administration and policy, with concentrations in organizational and leadership development. Her dissertation research looked at succession planning processes in university-wide research institutes in public, doctoral universities with very high research activity.

Holding a B.S. in Psychology and B.A. in Theatre Arts with a minor in Sociology from Virginia Tech and an M.S.W. in Clinical Social Work and a certificate in Arts and Community Practice from Florida State University, Dr. Carlson has held a variety of positions related to community engagement, strategic planning, and arts education. Before returning to Virginia Tech, she worked as a director for community arts and arts education programs at various arts organizations in both Oklahoma City, OK and Pensacola, FL. Since returning to Virginia Tech, she completed three certificates – Nonprofit and Nongovernmental Management, Future Professoriate, and Higher Education Administration – and has worked on the Arts Initiative for Virginia Tech through the Office of the Senior Fellow for Resource Development and with the Long Range Planning effort through the Office of the Senior Fellow for International Advancement.

Currently, Dr. Carlson serves as a member of the faculty design team for the Calhoun Discovery Program, faculty affiliate to the Center for Cooperative Problem Solving as well as the Aerospace Engineering Department, senior fellow for the Honors Residential Commons, and member of the Lyric Theatre and Council Board of Directors. She advises the student organization Pamplin Leadership Development Team (PLDT), which coordinates Pamplin’s Annual Student Leadership Conference and conducts leadership training workshops for student groups across campus. As a member of the inaugural VT Engage Faculty Fellows program from 2017-2019, Dr. Carlson incorporates service-learning in many of the leadership courses and programs that she teaches. When opportunities arise, she also leads study abroad experiences within Pamplin’s International Programs.

Additionally, Dr. Carlson is the Co-Founder of Tractus Strategic Partners, a boutique consulting practice that advises small- to medium-sized organizations with strategies to align workforce capabilities with strategic needs. TSP helps managers hone their Management Tradecraft skills.

In her free time, Dr. Carlson enjoys outdoor activities like hiking and riding her bike, cooking and (more importantly) eating, and many indoor hobbies including reading and sewing. She lives in Christiansburg with her husband, Eric, who is a Ph.D. candidate in Material Science & Engineering at Virginia Tech.

Licenses and Certifications

KAI Certificated Advanced Practitioner