Kennesaw State University

A Studied Effort to Ease College Transitions

Name of Publication: 
National Journal/Op Ed
Excerpt of Article: 
November 27, 2013 

Stephanie M. Foote intimately understands the challenges to adjusting to college. After a dismal freshman year, she had to transfer from Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C., to Coastal Carolina University—a jarring experience for a high school student who had found getting good grades rather easy.

Stephanie Foote is an associate professor in education at Kennesaw State University and director of its forthcoming master of science program in First Year and Transition Studies. (Courtesy photo)Since that humbling experience, she has dedicated her life to addressing the issues of adjustment and retention of first-year collegians. Now an education professor at Kennesaw State University, 25 miles north of Atlanta, she works in its Department of First-Year and Transition Studies and is directing the launch of a master's of science degree in first-year studies that will start in autumn 2015. For 11 consecutive years, U.S. News & World Report has ranked Kennesaw State in the top 10 for first-year programs.

Nationally the trends are for an increasingly diverse student body, including a rise in first-generation collegians and community college transfers. For instance, 69 percent of Hispanic high school graduates last May are in a two- or four-year program this fall, up 30 percent since 2000. Accompanying that demographic infusion is the need to offer programs and services to ensure the social and academic success of students from varied cultures and socioeconomic backgrounds.

The title of Foote's 2009 University of South Carolina dissertation was "A Multi-Campus Study of the Perceived Effects of First-Year Seminars on the Experience of Students in Their First Semester of College." Previously she directed the Academic Success Center and First-Year Experience at the University of South Carolina (Aiken) and now edits the Journal of College Orientation and Transition.  ...

This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.

The idea of the new graduate program is rooted in our culture. My department is unique because we have tenured and tenure-track faculty dedicated to teaching first-year seminars, one of the fewtwo that we are aware of in the country. [The four seminar choices required of students with fewer than 30 credit hours emphasize "life skills, strategies for academic success, campus and community connections, and foundations for global learning."]

Our former president, Betty Siegel, [who stepped down in 2006] was the catalyst for the development of my department in 2007, and in many ways, the graduate program acknowledges her vision for student success and especially for first-year students.

Although the transition to the first college year has long been a concern in higher education, the growing body of empirical evidence demonstrates that the first year really matters. And one key to making a difference at this critical point is to train faculty and staff in more meaningful ways.  ......

Earliest use of chilli sauce put back hundreds of years

Name of Publication: 
Chemistry World
Excerpt of Article: 


Chemical analysis of 2000 year old pottery artefacts unearthed in southern Mexico suggests that the people living there were spicing up their diet with chilli sauce and drinking chilli flavoured beverages, possibly as part of rituals, almost a thousand years earlier than previously thought.

Relatively few ancient specimens of Capsicum have been uncovered and the earliest known evidence of domesticated chillis – from macrofossils – dates back to around 6000 years ago in Ecuador and Mexico. However, to date, no chemical analysis has been performed on artefacts either – whether pottery vessels or stone tools – to determine if chilli peppers were used by ancient cultures living in these regions.

Now, Terry Powis at Kennesaw State University, US, and colleagues have chemically analysed the residue in 13 pottery vessels, including spouted jars, pots and vases. The potteries are 1700–2400 years old and were discovered at an archaeological site in the state of Chiapas, which was at that time inhabited by the Mixe–Zoquean people.

'The best and most direct evidence for chilli pepper use in Mesoamerica prior to our study is from Ceren,' says Powis. 'So our work pushes back this date from circa AD540 to circa 400BC. To be honest, our study is the only one of its kind to show direct evidence of chilli pepper use. In all of the other examples listed in the paper there is only indirect evidence – of chillis and pots found together. We actually linked the two together for the first time, and that is an important development. Therefore, we actually have the earliest known consumption of the peppers.'  ...          ...

Candidate takes care of his property taxes

Name of Publication: 
Excerpt of Article: 

Posted: Friday, October 18, 2013 9:57 pm

Lester Harmon, who is running against Todd Rothwell to succeed Rick Ford, said he wasn’t even aware of the past-due property taxes.

“My wife handles all of that,” he said last week. “I think she just sent a check the other day. ... They will all be cleared by the middle of next week.”

Sure enough, by Oct. 17 Harmon had paid the $10,228.23 he owed in late property taxes for 2011 and 2012, and even paid his 2013 notes, which aren’t due until Dec. 1.

“I’m not making excuses,” he said. “I am just like most of the people trying to get through this rough economic deal. But as you see, we do pay all of our bills. Sometimes we are late, and as you’ll see I paid all my delinquent fees too.”

The late taxes were for 10 properties Harmon and his wife use for rentals. All are located in Carroll County. ...

Dr. David Shock, associate professor of political science at Kennesaw State University, is an expert on local tax elections.

Shock said that when somebody is running for office, they “need to have all their taxes paid.”

“When you have elected officials who are spending tax money not paying their own taxes, I think it creates a big problem in the minds of most voters when it comes to fiscal responsibility,” Shock said.

Shock acknowledged elected officials sometimes go through tough financial situations, citing in particular a case in which the mayor of Kennesaw filed for bankruptcy a few years ago. But he said the top priority for somebody wanting to be in elected office is to pay property taxes at least. 


Three weeks later, no ethics investigation yet

Name of Publication: 
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Excerpt of Article: 

Updated: 6:07 p.m. Monday, Oct. 21, 2013  |  Posted: 5:06 p.m. Monday, Oct. 21, 2013 

By Aaron Gould Sheinin  

Three weeks after the state ethics commission voted to ask for a special investigation of problems at the agency, no investigator has been appointed because none has officially been requested.

The commission voted Sept. 30 to request what’s known as a special assistant attorney general — typically a private lawyer temporarily given state investigative powers — to conduct an independent probe of the agency. But before Attorney General Sam Olens can do so, the commission must make a formal request. That hasn’t happened, Olens’ office confirmed Monday. 

Why not? Good question, say ethics observers who are concerned that the commission’s deliberate pace raises doubts about its commitment to finding the truth. 

The commission is vetting candidates to investigate the agency and is also “reviewing and determining the scope and nature of the investigation,” commission vice chairwoman Hillary S. Stringfellow said in a statement.

“Numerous candidates have been and continue to be reviewed and considered to serve in this role,” the statement said. “At such time as the commission has reached a final decision, such decision will be announced.”

Days after the Sept. 30 meeting, commission Chairman Kevin Abernethy told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the board was “still working through the precise parameters” of the investigation. ...

....                     ...Kerwin Swint, the interim chairman of the department of political science and international affairs at Kennesaw State University, said the commission’s window is closing.

“We’re almost into an election year,” said Swint, a member of the Common Cause Georgia board and a former GOP activist. “I can understand three weeks, but if you give it a month and there’s been no major efforts, I would say time’s up or it’s time for some action.” 



60 Best Colleges for Food in America for 2013

Name of Publication: 
The Daily Meal
Excerpt of Article: 

Another school year is finally upon us, and with it comes the reality that for many, many schools across America, the dining options are nothing short of grim at best. For many students who are reliant on a meal plan, the less said about the meals eaten in campus dining halls the better. But some colleges and universities go above and beyond in their efforts to serve fresh, wholesome meals to the students who are living and studying there. From a college in Vermont that only sources its food from local vendors to one in Massachusetts that hosts a farmers' market that’s entirely student-run, we tracked down the 60 best colleges for food in America.

60 Best Colleges for Food in America for 2013 (Slideshow)

Last summer, The Daily Meal conducted an eye-opening study, building on our previous ranking, that examined the most outstanding campus dining at nearly all of the approximately 2,000 four-year colleges across America. We discovered some schools that gave their students top-notch dining experiences, while others failed to pass even the most simple health inspections. However, in the end we found 52 clear winners that refused to accept the stigma that comes with collegiate dining, taking the ordinary campus meal and turning it into an extraordinary dining experience.

Isakson joins Gingrey in opposing proposed military strike on Syria

Name of Publication: 
Marietta Daily Journal
Excerpt of Article: 
by Jon Gillooly
September 10, 2013 12:16 AM

MARIETTA — U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson joined Rep. Phil Gingrey on Monday in announcing his opposition to a military strike on Syria, while two other Cobb congressmen have not disclosed their position.

“Over the past week, I have traveled my state and have talked personally to hundreds of Georgians,” said Isakson, a Republican and resident of east Cobb. “Thousands more constituents have contacted my office by phone and email. It is clear to me that Georgians overwhelmingly oppose our country getting involved militarily in Syria.”

Isakson went on to say in his statement that, “The administration’s lack of a clear strategy is troubling, and the potential fallout following a military strike is also troubling.”

In addition to Isakson, Cobb County is represented by four others in both houses of Congress.

U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss favors a military strike, U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Marietta) is opposed to one, and U.S. Reps. David Scott (D-South Cobb) and Tom Price (R-Roswell) were undecided as of Monday.

An Associated Press poll showed that 61 percent of those surveyed nationwide want Congress to vote against authorization of U.S. military strikes in Syria and 26 percent want lawmakers to support such an action, with the remainder undecided.

Kerwin Swint, a political science professor at Kennesaw State University, said public sentiment is so strongly against a strike, particularly in Georgia, that he finds it very hard to see Congress authorizing one.

“A U.N. finding in the next week could change the dynamics somewhat,” Swint said. “And though it seems like a long shot, there are reports that Russia is trying to convince Syria to turn over their stockpiles (of chemical weapons), which could possibly lead the U.S. to reconsider a military strike. In any case, the U.S. should not act without cover from the U.N. and our international partners. It’s not in our direct security interests, and it’s too risky to act unilaterally.”

Kennesaw State hosts President of the Republic of Ghana John Dramani Mahama

President of Ghana Day 1 dc160.jpg

Click here to read the full transcript of President Mahama's address

Click here to view a photo gallery from President Mahama's visit

Download photo of President John Dramani Mahama delivering public lecture at Kennesaw State University

View a video clip of President Mahama's visit to Kennesaw State University at

Two-day visit prompted by partnerships created from University’s yearlong study program of Ghana

KENNESAW, Ga. (Sept. 30, 2013) — President of the Republic of Ghana His Excellency John Dramani Mahama visited Kennesaw State today to mark the culmination of the “Year of Ghana,” the University’s yearlong study of the country.

Mahama discussed Ghana’s evolution as a democracy and its growing economic influence during a public lecture at Kennesaw State’s Bailey Performance Center today at 11:00 a.m.

Planned highlights of Mahama’s visit include:

  • A tour and showcase of Kennesaw State’s academic programs and student initiatives
  • Meetings with local and state officials
  • A meeting with metro-Atlanta business leaders
  • A visit to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • A celebration with the Ghanaian Diaspora community, in conjunction with the Ghana Council of Georgia

“President Mahama’s visit to our campus is a great honor for Kennesaw State,” said President Daniel S. Papp. “This visit establishes another great milestone for the university: the first visit to our campus by a sitting head of state.  What a wonderful way to commemorate the bond we have established with the people of Ghana and our academic partners in that country over the past 15 years.”

Mahama accepted Kennesaw State’s invitation for the visit following an intensive year of programs and collaborations that included the presentation of more than 30 lectures, cultural performances, exhibits and films during the 2012-2013 academic year. The “Year of Ghana” also featured a conference on democratic governance in Ghana, the addition to the curriculum of credit courses related to Ghana, and education-abroad opportunities for students and faculty. Dan Paracka, education abroad director, and Sam Abaidoo, chair of the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice and professor of sociology, coordinated the year-long country study.

A delegation of senior Kennesaw State administrators and faculty, including Barry Morris, vice provost for strategic initiatives; Charles Amlaner, vice president for research; and Ike Ukeje, professor of elementary and early childhood education, also met with President Mahama during the delegation’s visit to Ghana in July, during which the president expressed his commitment to visit the University during his upcoming visit to the U.S.

Mahama was elected Ghana’s president in December 2012, after serving in the role for six months following the death in office of his predecessor, President John Atta Mills. The former vice president of Ghana from 2009 through the time he took office in 2012, Mahama also served as Ghana’s ambassador to Japan and as a member of Parliament for 30 years. He also worked on behalf of children through PLAN International.  

“Our commitment in planning the president’s visit is to be inclusive — to create opportunities for as many metro-Atlanta audiences as possible to witness this historic visit — and to facilitate networking and interactions that will be beneficial to President Mahama and the ministers who will accompany him,” said Lance Askildson, Kennesaw State’s chief international officer and executive directorof its Institute for Global Initiatives.

“Even as we prepare to launch ‘The Year of Japan’ as the 2013-2014 country of focus for our annual study program, we are quite privileged to welcome and honor the leader of the nation to which we have just devoted the past year of study. We hope inviting outstanding leaders to end our year-long country studies initiative will become an essential part of this annual program.”

Learn more about Kennesaw State’s “Year of Ghana” at

Find more information about His Excellency John Dramani Mahama at

# # #

Kennesaw State University is the third-largest university in Georgia, offering more than 90graduate 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. 

Bob Shaw, a carpet king, burnishes his Northwest Georgia legacy

Name of Publication: 
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Excerpt of Article: 

By Dan Chapman - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

DALTON — You’re nearing 80. You built the world’s largest carpet-making company. Warren Buffett bought that company. You’re beyond-comfortable rich. And you developed an upscale golf community that allows unfettered access to your recreational passion.

What now?

If you’re Bob Shaw – the founder and long-time CEO of Shaw Industries who retired in 2005 – you get back in the flooring game with little doubt that, once again, you’ll walk among the Carpet Kings of Dalton.

Engineered Floors, a company Shaw started in 2009, unveiled plans earlier this month to invest $450 million into building two new factories that will eventually hire 2,400 more people across Northwest Georgia. It was Georgia’s largest jobs announcement since 2006 when Kia and AirTran promised thousands of jobs.

Engineered, in four short years, has become the nation’s fifth largest carpet maker.

“We expect to be a player in the carpet business over a long period of time,” Shaw, now 81, said in an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Obviously, if you’re going into business, and business is a game, you play the game to win.”

Carpet put Dalton, 90 miles north of Atlanta, on the map, and Shaw did more than anybody else to transform the region into a manufacturing powerhouse. From its hillside perch, Shaw Industries’ corporate headquarters keeps watch over two dozen of its factories and distribution centers in the town below. ...

The Shaws began making carpet in 1967 with the acquisition of the Philadelphia Carpet Company in Cartersville. A pattern was set: grow by acquisition, invest in technology and branch out into virtually every facet of the industry’s production-to-delivery system.

Shaw Industries also moved into hardwood and vinyl flooring. By the late ’70s the company had broached the ranks of Top Five carpet makers. By 1986, Shaw was No. 1.

Its climb wasn’t without setback. Shaw took “vertical integration” a step too far, attempting in 1995 to sell direct to the public. The company lost big bucks, its stock suffered, and the CEO soon learned the folly of competing against major retailers, like Home Depot.

“One of the phrases that cropped up over and over again in the 1980s and ’90s, when they were really on the move, was that they wanted to ‘control their own destiny,’” said Randy Patton, a Kennesaw State professor who wrote the book “Shaw Industries: A History” in 2003. “And Shaw was the guy more than anybody else who consolidated the carpet industry. He created a company that eventually revolutionized the industry with their tactics, techniques and technology.” 



Election changes may affect Georgia fundraising ban

Name of Publication: 
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Excerpt of Article: 

Posted: 12:00 a.m. Monday, Sept. 2, 2013

By Aaron Gould Sheinin and Kristina Torres - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A fundraising ban during the legislative session may be broadened or even lifted in the wake of Georgia’s shift to a May 20 federal primary next year, with changes also possible to required campaign disclosures.

Why? The ban exempts challengers who, starting March 3, could benefit from an earlier-than-ever qualifying period to grab cash weeks ahead of incumbents who have name recognition but want more dollars in the bank. ...

The move would carry risk for legislators. Any changes could anger voters who helped push through this year’s historic ethics rules limiting the influence of special interests in the state Legislature.

The shift to May 20 came with the acquiescence of state officials, who had been ordered by a federal judge to give overseas voters more time to return their ballots. The regular state elections calendar for local races was left unaltered and is now about two months behind. Not for long.

House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, said he expects nearly unanimous support from lawmakers for moving the state primaries up to May 20, too. And he told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution he supported “having a vigorous discussion” about the ban because, with the changes to the elections calendar, “the whole landscape changes.”

State law says no elected state official — including legislators, the governor and others who face statewide election — may raise money while the General Assembly is in session starting in January. That includes legislators running for Congress.

In normal years, that has led to a rush of fundraising by incumbents immediately before and immediately after the session, which lasts up to 40 non-consecutive days. Moving state primaries from July to May 20 would severely limit incumbents’ time to solicit contributions.

That’s because legislators sometimes finish the session in mid-to-late March, but have worked as long as late April. In 2010, Ralston’s first session as speaker, lawmakers didn’t finish work until April 29.

Ralston would not rule out also extending the ban on fundraising to challengers. ...  .....

Kerwin Swint, a Kennesaw State University political scientist and former GOP consultant, acknowledged the change in calendar will be a “culture shock” for state politics.

But, he said, lawmakers should be careful because if they move to lift the ban, they risk angering voters.

“I’m sure most Georgia voters would rather the prohibition on fundraising during session remain in place,” said Swint, who is also on the board of the government watchdog group Common Cause Georgia. 



Lefties and libertarians unite against common foe: Georgia Power

Name of Publication: 
Atlanta Journal Constitution
Excerpt of Article: 

By Greg Bluestein and Kristi E. Swartz - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Politics makes strange, if fleeting, bedfellows. But now a fling between tea party loyalists and green groups suddenly has the makings of a permanent union.

Emboldened by wins over business leaders and the state’s most powerful utility, the odd allies formed the Green Tea Coalition this month with plans to unite behind other common causes. Organizers envision the group shaping policy in next year’s legislative session and the political season that follows.

The partnership was born two years ago in the fight against the T-SPLOST plan and energized last month by a win that forced Georgia Power to significantly expand its solar energy plans. But, with Tea Party usually taking a conservative stance and green groups typically supporting a leftist agenda, the most vexing challenge may be withstanding internal divisions that have undone other such partnerships. ...

There’s no guarantee that Green Tea will claim another victory or even survive the year. But with Georgia’s GOP hierarchy wary of upsetting tea party supporters, some analysts advise not to count the upstart out. ...

“It’s a potentially creative way to get things done,” said Kerwin Swint, a Kennesaw State University political scientist. “Maybe it’s one way to break through these partisan lockdowns that frustrate us so much.” 


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