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Provost to speak on "Happiness in the Workplace"

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“Happiness in the Workplace,” a lecture by Ken Harmon, will be at 5 p.m. on Jan. 29 in the Mortin Gallery of the Zuckerman Museum of Art, 492 Prillaman Way.

KENNESAW, GA. (Jan. 27) - Kennesaw State Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Ken Harmon knows the secret to happiness. And, if you join him Thursday, Jan. 29, at the Zuckerman Museum of Art, he’s happy to share what it is.

“We as human beings really don’t understand our own happiness,” Harmon said. “Great leaders, consciously or subconsciously, understand and somehow provide individuals the opportunity to pursue what makes them happy.”

Harmon’s lecture is being presented in conjunction with the museum’s “Laboratory” exhibition, which features six contemporary artists who visualize complex ideas and systems. His lecture ties in closely with Hannah Israel’s “Happy Happy Sad Sad,” a flour and wood exhibit based on the artist’s tracking of her feelings on a daily basis over a period of weeks.

“We find that most people on a day-to-day basis work against their own happiness,” Harmon said. “I think part of my job is to hold that mirror up and help them understand what they’re doing, and I think that can really help to change their perspective.”

Research has found that happy employees are more motivated, provide better service, have lower absenteeism and are more productive. Organizations that have a higher percentage of happy employees have better communication, fewer conflicts, greater profitability and higher growth. The culture in the workplace can foster employee happiness, but too few leaders and managers truly understand the determinants of happiness.

Harmon will explore current research on happiness and how it can be applied in the workplace to foster a positive culture that itself can engender happiness.

“If you look at it as purely economics: ‘I pay you, so I own you for the time you are here’ – that’s found to be dysfunctional in organizations,” he said. “Money is important, but we too often think if we pay more, employees will be happier or perform at higher levels, but the research shows that’s not true. That doesn’t mean money’s not important, but providing a culture where people feel like they’re respected and their personal lives matter makes a big difference.”

A year and a half ago, Harmon instituted a policy of flexible work schedules in his office, which he said has made a “huge difference” in employee happiness.

“We find we get more productivity when we provide more flexibility,” he said. “Leadership makes a difference. The tone at the top needs to say, ‘This is the type of place we’re going to be.’”

-- Jennifer Hafer

Kennesaw State AD Vaughn Williams Represents Atlantic Sun Conference on Governing Body

Vaughn Williams

NCAA Division I Council Meets in D.C.

KENNESAW, Ga. (Jan. 15, 2015) – Kennesaw State Director of Athletics Vaughn Williams is representing the Atlantic Sun Conference on the inaugural NCAA Division I Council, which began meeting today during the NCAA Convention in Washington, D.C. The new Council, which conducts the day-to-day business of Division I, consists of 40 individuals comprised of athletics directors (AD), conference office delegates, faculty athletic representatives (FAR), senior woman administrators (SWA) and two student-athletes. 

Each of the 32 Division I conferences have a permanent seat on the Council which may be filled by an AD, SWA, FAR, conference office or other athletic department administrator. A minimum of 60 percent of the 32 conference seats will be filled by AD's. The additional eight seats are guaranteed slots for four commissioners (one each from the FBS Autonomy five, the FBS non-Autonomy five, FCS and DI), two student-athletes and two Faculty Athletic Representatives. 

"I am extremely excited to serve and represent the Atlantic Sun Conference on the Council," Williams said. "As Division I college athletics continue to evolve, it is an honor to be nominated and appointed to serve on the Council with so many distinguished and accomplished administrators throughout the country as we work together to help shape the future. 

"The Council is a made up of a diverse group of individuals with varied backgrounds, and I am extremely excited that student-athletes will be at the table with us and have a voice," Williams added. "I am looking forward to the challenges that we will face as a group in approving legislation that will enhance the student-athlete experience while at the same time serving the best interests of the institutions and conferences."

The Council was appointed at the recommendation of a Division I Board of Directors' subcommittee that was seeking an appropriate level of diversity. The Council replaces the current Legislative and Leadership councils and the group's first order of business will be to design the subgroups that will assist in developing legislation, running championships and performing other necessary functions.

"The recently approved redesign of the NCAA governance structure presents a critical crossroads for all of Division I," Atlantic Sun Conference Commissioner Ted Gumbart said. "I believe it gives the entire DI membership an amazing opportunity to be proactive in shaping the future.

"We are very pleased that Vaughn Williams will serve as the A-Sun delegate for our inaugural term on the new Council," Gumbart added. "In his own words, I know he is 'fired up' to meet the challenge, and the A-Sun shares that excitement."

In August, the Division I Board of Directors voted to restructure how schools and conferences will govern themselves and paved the way for student-athletes to have a voice – and a vote – at every level of decision-making.

The new model also grants flexibility to schools in the Atlantic Coast, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12 and Southeastern conferences to change rules for themselves from a list of specific areas within Division I.

KSU to host inaugural two-day Shaky Boots Festival

Shaky Boots Festival poster

Blake Shelton, Brad Paisley, Dierks Bentley, Rascal Flatts, The Band Perry, Dwight Yoakam, Jason Isbell and more to perform 

Jan. 8, 2015 (Kennesaw, GA)-– Shaky Boots Festival will take over the backyard of Kennesaw State University on May 16-17. The 88-acre KSU Sports and Entertainment Park, located just one mile from the main campus, will be the host location of the first ever, top-tier artist, multi-day, multi-stage country music event ever held in Georgia. A full list of confirmed artists can be found below.

“Country music has such a rich history in the South,” says Shaky Boots co-founder Tim Sweetwood, "and I was surprised that Georgia doesn’t have a first-class festival dedicated to the genre. Music is my absolute passion, and with the overwhelmingly positive response to Shaky Knees in three short years, it just felt like the right time to launch Shaky Boots.”

Two-day weekend passes go on sale Thursday, Jan. 8, at 10 a.m. EST. Passes start at $169, plus fees. VIP passes starting at $499, plus fees, are also available. VIP passes include access to exclusive lounges and viewing areas; catered lunches and dinners; complimentary beer; and access to private restrooms and cash liquor bars. Fans can purchase passes at the Fifth Third Bank Stadium Box office or online at

“The producers of the festival are proud to announce this hard-hitting country music line-up and we are thrilled to welcome country music fans from around the country to beautiful Kennesaw State,” said Marty Elliott, executive director of the KSU Sports and Entertainment Park.  

The KSU Sports and Entertainment Park is also the site of the annual Owl-O-Ween Hot Air Balloon Festival, which will return Oct.  23-24, as well as home to Kennesaw State Owl’s Football, Women’s Lacrosse and Women’s Soccer Teams. For more information about events happening at the park, please visit or call the box office at 470-578-4849.

Shaky Boots 2015 lineup includes, Blake Shelton, Brad Paisley, Dierks Bentley, Rascal Flatts, The Band Perry, Dwight Yoakam, Jason Isbell, Old Crow Medicine Show ,Sara Evans, Justin Moore, Joe Nichols, Eli Young Band, Kip Moore, Jana Kramer, Josh Thompson, Kristian Bush, The Devil Makes Three, Brothers Osborne, Cracker, The Cadillac Three, The Whiskey Gentry, Drake White, Amanda Shires, Claire Dunn, The Railers, Brooke Eden, Jim White vs. The Packway Handle Band and more.

For more information on Shaky Boots and to purchase tickets visit,

For media inquiries, contact Crissa Requate ( or Molly Kummerle ( at Mason Jar Media.

Kennesaw State to offer a bachelor’s degree in public relations

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Board of Regents approval recognizes expanding opportunities for PR professionals

KENNESAW, Ga.  (Jan. 7, 2015) — Kennesaw State University will begin offering a Bachelor of Science in Public Relations following approval Tuesday by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia. The new major will be available fall 2015.

The new stand-alone degree represents an expansion of the University’s program in public relations, which previously was offered as a concentration within the Bachelor of Science in Communication. 

“The new B.S. in public relations demonstrates Kennesaw State’s commitment to providing professionally focused, market-driven and academically rigorous degree programs that best prepare our students to meet critical needs in our local communities, the region and state,” said W. Ken Harmon, the University’s provost and vice president for academic affairs.

The creation of degree programs in public relations — Georgia Southern and University of Georgia also offer the degree — reflects both an increase in student interest and employment opportunities.

At Kennesaw State, 139 of the 336 students who graduated in FY 2014 with a B.S. in communication concentrated in public relations. Currently, 450 students are concentrating in public relations. University officials expect that a minimum of 550 students will major in the field by 2019.

Based on Bureau of Labor Statistics projections, some 80,100 job openings are anticipated in public relations- related occupations from 2012-2022. An increase of 28.4 percent in employment for public relations managers is also expected over the 10-year period. The growth in employment for PR specialists is expected to jump 36.8 percent.   

“Clearly, this great job outlook is making public relations a highly desirable career choice for today’s students,” said Barbara Gainey, chair of Kennesaw State’s Department of Communication. “It is critical that students gain a thorough knowledge of PR theory and practice, as well as the skills demanded as this discipline becomes more dynamic, complex and integrated into organizations of all types.”

Students interested in the “gated” public relations major must meet a GPA requirement and pass a writing test. To earn the new bachelor’s degree, students must complete 123 hours of study, including courses focusing on PR theory, research and practice, as well as an opportunity to complete an internship in the field. Course content will be taught in traditional face-to-face and online formats, and in a hybrid format that mixes face-to-face and online delivery. Existing faculty, as well as lecturers and adjunct professors among the many PR professionals practicing in the Atlanta Metro and Northwest Georgia regions, will teach courses.

Gainey noted that the new bachelor’s degree in public relations represents a significant milestone for Kennesaw State’s communication department.

“We are excited about adding a second major, especially as we celebrate the Department of Communication’s 25th anniversary and a new academic year for the newly consolidated KSU,” she said. “Our new gated program and new major will help ensure that our graduates are ready for a competitive marketplace and exceptionally well-prepared to make an immediate impact in their new careers."

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Kennesaw State University is the third-largest university in Georgia, offering more than 100 graduate and undergraduate degrees, including doctorates in education, business and nursing and a Ph.D. in international conflict management. A member of the University System of Georgia, Kennesaw State is a comprehensive, residential institution with a growing student population of nearly 26,000 from 130 countries.


Kennesaw State receives Carnegie Foundation’s Community Engagement Classification

Carnegie Foundation Community Engagement seal

New designation recognizes connection to the community through volunteerism, outreach and service

KENNESAW, Ga.  (Jan. 7, 2015) — Kennesaw State University has earned the 2015 Community Engagement Classification from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, a highly sought-after designation among higher education institutions. 

The new classification places Kennesaw State among the top 10 percent of universities nationally that have earned recognition for ongoing collaborative efforts with their larger communities in a mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources. The newly earned designation is valid through 2025. 

“This important and prestigious Carnegie classification recognizes the many ways that Kennesaw State connects with the community,” said Kennesaw State University President Daniel S. Papp. “It validates the University’s core mission of serving the public good. There is a deep respect and passion for community engagement at KSU. Earning this classification deepens our commitment to this institutional priority that is well aligned with our focus on community-based teaching, learning and scholarship.”

In explaining their determination, Carnegie Foundation officials noted that Kennesaw State’s voluntary description of programs and processes demonstrated “excellent alignment among campus mission, culture, leadership, resources, and practicesthat support dynamic and noteworthy community engagement.”

Kennesaw State was recognized for numerous initiatives and activities that create, expand and perpetuate community engagement. Among them:

  • Institutional efforts such as creating an Office of Community Engagement within the Division of Academic Affairs to support current community-campus partnerships and cultivate new ones; 
  • Providing access to knowledge and events to enrich the community, with more than 3,000 events open to the public and over 120,000 community members touring KSUmuseums or visiting the Rare Book Room during 2012-13;
  • Nearly a dozen institutional and academic college-level honors and awards programs to recognize students, faculty, staff and community partners who volunteer and excel in their efforts to serve communities from local to international;
  • A Volunteer KSU (VKSU) office, which actively recruits, trains and provides transportation for students who volunteer to work at some 300 local service organizations and agencies;
  • Active engagement with a community partnership affinity group called Corporate Partners, which advises the institution on community perceptions and identifies opportunities to expand connections with Kennesaw and the larger community.

In 2010, Papp envisioned Kennesaw State University as “Georgia’s engaged university.” He established the University’s “Engage KSU” initiative in response to the challenges of becoming a nationally recognized leader in community engagement. This initiative was the first step in creating a unified and cohesive approach to community engagement and establishing goals and standards in three critical areas: scholarship and creative activity; teaching; and community service.

Kennesaw State is one of 361 institutions – and one of only 10 in Georgia – that holds the Community Engagement Classification. In 2025, the University must complete a reclassification application and demonstrate how the University has expanded, deepened and integrated community engagement work.

The Office of Community Engagement at Kennesaw State was integral in providing evidence-based documentation of the institutional practices as part of the voluntary application process.

“Kennesaw State University responded to the classification framework with both descriptions and examples of exemplary institutionalized practices of community engagement,” said Anthony S. Bryk, Carnegie Foundation president. “The application also documented evidence ofcommunity engagement in a coherent and compellingresponse to the framework’s inquiry.”

The Carnegie Commission on Higher Education began classifying colleges and universities in 1970 to support its program of research and policy analysis. It is widely considered the leading framework for recognizing and describing the diverse types of higher education in the U.S. over the past four decades. The Community Engagement classification began in 2006.


About the Carnegie Foundation

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching is committed to developing networks of ideas, individuals and institutions to advance teaching and learning. It joins together scholars, practitioners and designers in new ways to solve problems of educational practice. Toward this end, the foundation works to integrate the discipline of improvement science into education with the goal of building the field’s capacity to improve.

Kennesaw State University is the third-largest university in Georgia, offering 100 graduate and undergraduate degrees, including doctorates in education, business and nursing and a Ph.D. in international conflict management. A member of the University System of Georgia, Kennesaw State is a comprehensive, residential institution with a growing student population of nearly 26,000 from 130 countries.

Kennesaw State’s December graduates face 2015 with hope

Left to right: Kelly Hyder Stockdale and Chris Watson

Commencement ceremony caps off uphill climb for many

KENNESAW, Ga. (Dec. 10, 2014) — More than 1,800 Kennesaw State University graduates will receive their diplomas on Dec. 16 and 17 at the KSU Convocation Center. All the graduates have unique stories to tell, and here are a few of them.

Kelly Hyder-Stockdale, a psychology major and a member of KSU’s Adult Learner community, is a deaf woman who came to KSU after a 20-year career in government. She is actively looking for a job and plans to attend graduate school. “This is the first educational institution where I experienced actual communication equity; access that was so positive and empowering that it has provided the basis for educational achievement and laid the foundation for my belief in self advocacy.”

Chris Watson, a veteran, is a criminal justice major with a concentration in forensic behavioral science. He has worked for Shaw Industries for eight years and has his sights set on advancing his career internally within the Shaw Industries Corporation. “During my first two years at KSU, I would start work at 7 a.m. and return home from school at 10 o’clock at night. Throughout college, I have worked a full-time job averaging at least 50 hours a week, in addition I served as a Navy Reservist with two different, very busy, high-profile positions until September 2013.”

Brad Nivens began college in 2001 but left, eventually starting his first IT consulting company. Today the information security and assurance major is the senior systems administrator at Doehler USA. He recently joined the German-based flavorings research and development company after running his own security-consulting firm. "Information security is a vastly growing field that blends business and personal concerns with technology needs, it’s the direction I knew I would take." 

Sonya Vazquez works at Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), the parent company of the New York Stock Exchange in risk, compliance and governance for the Information Security division. This single mother from Marietta is an information security graduate who landed her job last summer when a professor suggested that she created a LinkedIn page. Interestingly, ICE found her.  

Media please contact: Robert S. Godlewski,, 470-578-3448



SACS approves Kennesaw State and Southern Polytechnic State consolidation

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Southern Association of Colleges and Schools’ nod clears way for Regents to vote on new consolidated university

KENNESAW, Ga.  (Dec. 9, 2014) — Kennesaw State University and Southern Polytechnic State University are one step closer to consolidation following approval today by the regional higher education accrediting body, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), at its annual meeting in Nashville.

This is the last step in the consolidation process before the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia is slated to address the consolidation at its Jan. 6, 2015, meeting.

“The approval by SACSCOC is a milestone for Kennesaw State University, Southern Polytechnic State University and the new world-class institution that these two universities will become,” said Kennesaw State President Daniel S. Papp. “Consolidation is an immense task involving many talented individuals who have worked diligently over the past year to ensure the best use of both institutions’ strengths and resources; and while we still have some work to do, we are energized and encouraged by today’s vote of confidence.”

Once combined, the new Kennesaw State University will be one of the 50 largest public universities in the country, with an economic impact of more than $1.2 billion, according to Papp, who will serve as president of the newly consolidated institution. Kennesaw State is currently the third-largest university in the USG with a fall 2014 enrollment of nearly 26,000 students. Consolidation is expected to boost the combined university’s student enrollment to more than 32,000, once the full operational consolidation takes place in the fall of 2015.

The consolidated University will maintain campuses in Kennesaw and Marietta, the current sites of Kennesaw State and Southern Polytechnic, and will house 13 colleges, including architecture and construction management; arts; business; computing and software engineering; continuing and professional education; education; engineering and engineering technology; graduate studies; health and human services; honors college; humanities and social sciences; science and mathematics; and a university college.

SACSCOC’s final approval was based upon its review of a comprehensive consolidation prospectus and a 2015-2016 Consolidated Strategic Plan submitted Oct. 1 and developed by a joint seven-member KSU-SPSU Accreditation Team and reviewed and approved by a joint KSU-SPSU Consolidation Implementation Committee (CIC). The committee, which consisted of 47 Kennesaw State and Southern Polytechnic administrators and faculty members, was co-chaired by Papp and Ron Koger, Southern Polytechnic’s interim president.

The prospectus, which is required for accredited universities planning significant operational changes or expansions, describes the consolidated university’s major features, including learning and physical resources, financial support, organizational structure, faculty qualifications and academic programs.

The consolidation process for the two universities began in November 2013, when the USG’s Board of Regents voted to consolidate Kennesaw State and Southern Polytechnic, continuing a commitment it made two years ago to increase efficiencies and effectiveness to better serve students and the state.  

The consolidation between Kennesaw State and Southern Polytechnic State represents the USG’s fifth and largest consolidation. In January 2012, the Board of Regents approved four consolidations among eight other USG institutions:

  • Gainesville State College and North Georgia College & State University;
  • Middle Georgia College and Macon State College;
  • Waycross College and South Georgia College; and
  • Augusta State University and Georgia Health Sciences University.

University System of Georgia Chancellor Hank Huckaby reiterated the Board of Regents’ objectives for the consolidation process, and expressed his appreciation for today’s action by the SACSCOC.

“Our consolidation of institutions has been about serving our students better by expanding access, broadening programs and reinvesting resources for the benefit of our students,” he stated.  “As with past consolidations, our goal with the new Kennesaw State University is to continue to broaden opportunities for more students and to do so more efficiently.  I thank the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges for its thoughtful assessment and approval of our new university.”

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Kennesaw State University is the third-largest university in Georgia, offering 100 graduate and undergraduate degrees, including doctorates in education, business and nursing and a Ph.D. in international conflict management. A member of the University System of Georgia, Kennesaw State is a comprehensive, residential institution with a growing student population of nearly 26,000, soon to be over 32,000 once consolidation with Southern Polytechnic State University is finalized, from 130 countries.

Kennesaw State study: Payday loan rollovers do not harm borrowers’ financial welfare

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Research finds no adverse relationship between repeated refinancing and credit scores

KENNESAW, Ga. (Dec. 9, 2014) – A new study conducted by a Kennesaw State University professor casts doubt on the claims of payday loan critics that extended refinancing of these loans is harmful to consumers’ financial welfare.

The study, which was commissioned by the Consumer Credit Research Foundation and based on the transactions of 37,000 borrowers over a four-year period, also found that borrowers who live in states with fewer refinancing restrictions fare better than those in more heavily regulated states.

“We have, for the first time, actual scientific data on the outcomes from different rollover patterns to inform an important policy issue,” said Jennifer L. Priestley, professor of applied statistics and data science in Kennesaw State University’s College of Science and Mathematics, and author of the study. “Our research fills a gap in the science of how consumers respond to protracted use of payday loans. All prior regulatory interventions had been based on the presumption of harm, not actual evidence; and we now have real evidence that contradicts those views.”

Key findings from the report include:

Borrowers who engaged in protracted refinancing (“rollover”) activity had better financial outcomes (measured by changes in credit scores) than consumers whose borrowing was limited to shorter periods.

Borrowers experienced a net positive financial welfare impact when they faced fewer regulatory restrictions on rollovers. State-law limitations on rollovers appeared to contribute to adverse changes in credit scores for borrowers.

“This study contributes to a growing body of literature which shows that payday loans may not only fail to harm borrowers, but may actually contribute to an improvement in borrower welfare,” said Priestley. “The absence of adverse outcomes from protracted borrowing must be considered by regulators and policymakers as they mull restrictions on use of short-term credit. Further study of actual consumer outcomes is needed before the imposition of new regulatory rollover restrictions.”

Priestley is also the director of Kennesaw State’s Center for Statistics and Analytical Services, which was established in 2011. The Center provides analytical support to the university, business and government communities of Atlanta and North Georgia. Earlier this year, Kennesaw State was recognized for innovation and real-world use of expanding technology by the editors of ComputerWorld in its annual Data+ Editors’ Choice Awards.

Priestley holds a B.S. in Economics from Georgia Institute of Technology, an MBA from Pennsylvania State University, and a Ph.D. from Georgia State University. She has also held positions at MasterCard, VISA and Accenture.

To review the complete paper, visit:

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Kennesaw State University is the third-largest university in Georgia, offering 100 graduate and undergraduate degrees, including doctorates in education, business and nursing and a Ph.D. in international conflict management. A member of the University System of Georgia, Kennesaw State is a comprehensive, residential institution with a growing student population of nearly 26,000 from 130 countries. 


Kennesaw State named among “Best Online Colleges” for 2015


Affordable Colleges Foundation ranked KSU’s Online Learning in top 20 among U.S. universities

KENNESAW, Ga.  (Dec. 5, 2014) — Kennesaw State University’s online learning has earned yet another accolade for its academic rigor, student support and affordability.

The Affordable Colleges Foundation ranked Kennesaw State as No. 17 in the nation for “Best Online Colleges.” The 2015 ranking was published on, a website for prospective college students and their parents.

“It is wonderful to see Kennesaw State rise in these rankings on a national level,” said Elke Leeds, assistant vice president for Technology Enhanced Learning and director of the Distance Learning Center at Kennesaw State. “We have had great success in expanding our high-quality programs to the online learning environment, and this ranking showcases how well we serve our students in a digital world.”

The number of schools offering fully online degree programs has nearly doubled over the last decade, and online enrollments continue to make up an increasing proportion — nearly 50 percent — of all enrollments in higher education, according to the Affordable Colleges Foundation.

Kennesaw State currently offers 42 online degree, endorsement, certificate and academic minor programs as part of its Distance Learning Center, in disciplines such as business, education and nursing.

More than 7,000 KSU students take online courses each semester, with many students earning their bachelor’s and master’s degrees without setting foot on campus. In 2014, the University launched its first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) in education technology, serving more than 10,000 students. A second MOOC in information security will launch in 2015.

To be eligible for the Affordable College Foundation ranking, colleges and universities must offer at least one bachelor’s degree completely online. The methodology explored colleges and universities that offer students affordable, high-quality programs combined with the flexibility of distance learning.

For more information about Kennesaw State’s online learning, visit

To see details on the rankings, visit


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Kennesaw State University is the third-largest university in Georgia, offering 100 graduate and undergraduate degrees, including doctorates in education, business and nursing and a Ph.D. in international conflict management. A member of the University System of Georgia, Kennesaw State is a comprehensive, residential institution with a growing student population of nearly 26,000 from 130 countries.

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