Kennesaw State welcomes new academic year as comprehensive university

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President Daniel S. Papp applauds achievements during annual Opening of the University address

KENNESAW, Ga.  (Aug. 14, 2013) — More than 800 faculty, staff and administrators ushered in a new academic year Wednesday, Aug. 14, at the annual Opening of the University ceremony, presided over by President Daniel S. Papp.

“This promises to be a memorable year,” Papp said.  “Just hours ago, the Board of Regents formally designated Kennesaw State as a comprehensive university.”

Kennesaw State, along with its three sister institutions in the same classification –– University of West Georgia, Georgia Southern University and Valdosta State University –– will have responsibility for a full range of teaching, research and service, he said. 

The new designation will emphasize the University’s increase in research, graduate and doctoral programs and global engagement. According to the University System of Georgia’s new policy, comprehensive universities must commit to become world-class academic institutions.

The University’s achievements in various programs and initiatives have already gained national recognition: The University College’s First-Year Program has been honored for 10 consecutive years; The Commons, the on-campus dining facility, received the top award from the National Restaurant Association, the first time an academic institution has been named; and Kennesaw State was named among the “2013 Great Colleges to Work For” by the Chronicle of Higher Education.

With the University’s strategic plan in place, Papp said the University is moving in the right direction. Several of the action items have already been met. In the past two years, Kennesaw State has proposed seven new degree programs and received approval by the Board of Regents.

The University has also made “impressive improvement in graduation rates” with a 14 percent increase in graduation rates in the past seven years. In keeping with the Complete College Georgia initiative to improve graduation rates in the state, Papp said there could be some reorganization in the Academic Affairs areas, including Student Success.

“Changing university needs are paramount as we move through a new era where part of our state funding, as yet to be determined, will be based on performance,” Papp said.

In June, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) indicated that KSU had “absolutely zero recommendations to address,” after reviewing the University’s recently submitted five-year interim report for reaccreditation.

“Receiving a perfect report from SACS is a great way to start our 50th anniversary celebration,” said Papp.

The University will embark on its 50th anniversary celebration during Founders Week, Oct. 7-12, and continue with a multi-year celebration. The celebration will kick off on Monday, Oct. 7 with the unveiling of the exhibition and website titled, “The Kennesaw State Spirit: KSU at 50”; the debut of University Historian Thomas A. Scott’s book, “Kennesaw State University, The First 50 Years: 1963-2013”; and a lecture by Scott on the history of the institution. The celebration will continue throughout the week with numerous activities such as a symposium on the future of higher education and a variety of groundbreakings and receptions.

Other events during the 50th anniversary celebration will include some of the University’s key milestones:

  •             April 1964 – Cobb County issues bond referendum to build Kennesaw campus
  •             September 1966 – First Kennesaw Junior College students begin classes
  •             January 1967 – First classes held on the Kennesaw campus
  •             June 1969 – First graduates – all five of them– earn degrees.           

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