Kennesaw State establishes new Honors College

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New college will promote academic excellence

KENNESAW, Ga.  (Nov. 15, 2013) — In an effort to provide an option for academically advanced, college-bound students, Kennesaw State University will launch an Honors College in January 2014.

The new college will house the University’s Undergraduate Honors and Dual Enrollment Honors Programs, which serve more than 700 undergraduates and 300 dual enrollment students. Ralph Rascati, dean of University College and associate vice president for advising, retention and graduation initiatives, has been named founding dean.

"The addition of an Honors College directly aligns with the University’s strategic mission to improve recruitment, retention, progression and graduation rates through the development of key academic and co-curricular student engagement programs,” said Kennesaw State Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Ken Harmon. “Often, students with advanced academic standing are looking for a college experience with additional academic depth and one that expands their horizons. An Honors College is a way to provide unique experiences and additional levels of engagement for those students.”

Rascati joined Kennesaw State in 1985 as an associate professor of biology, was promoted to professor in 1990 and became chair of the Department of Biological and Physical Sciences in the College of Science and Mathematics in 1997. He assumed the role of associate vice president for academic affairs in 2002 and added dean of University College to his responsibilities in 2006.

“Throughout his tenure at Kennesaw State, Ralph has demonstrated his commitment to excellence and has worked to develop programs that enhance students’ academic pursuits,” Harmon said. “As the dean of the Honors College, his vast experience and knowledge will help to further enhance Kennesaw State’s national reputation.”

In his new role, Rascati will work to increase the honors programs currently offered at Kennesaw State by developing discipline-specific offerings. He will also work with the Office of Development to obtain scholarship funding for honors students. Rascati will continue in his role as associate vice president for advising, retention and graduation initiatives. Associate Dean of University College Keisha Hoerrner will take over as that College’s interim dean while a national search is conducted.

“An independent Honors College not only provides a home for the University’s current honors programs, it also creates the necessary infrastructure to expand these programs to create a solid foundation for academically advanced students,” said Rascati.

Kennesaw State’s Undergraduate and Dual Enrollment Honors Programs provide a “community-within-a-university” through small honors sections of core courses and interdisciplinary honors seminars for academically talented, highly motivated students. Honors students have the opportunity to work with faculty mentors; live in honors housing; earn academic awards; serve in leadership positions; and join honors student associations. The Undergraduate Honors Program admits incoming and currently enrolled KSU undergraduate students, and the Dual Enrollment Honors Program admits high school juniors and seniors.

The Undergraduate Honors Program currently offers three options to students: PEGS, the President’s Emerging Global Scholars program, which grooms academic achievers for continued success; the Great Books Cohort; and a Custom Honors option. Open to first-time, full-time first-year students of any major, these programs target high school students with at least a 3.5 GPA and either a 1200 SAT or 25 ACT score.

Kennesaw State joins Georgia State University, University of West Georgia and Valdosta State University as institutions within the University System of Georgia to have an Honors College. Other universities such as the University of North Georgia, Georgia Southern University, Georgia College, Georgia Tech, and the University of Georgia have honors programs. 

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Kennesaw State University is the third-largest university in Georgia, offering 90 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 more than 24,600 from 130 countries.