Kennesaw State University

Kennesaw State president named one of Atlanta’s “Most Admired” CEOs for second year

Dr. Papp receies trophy from Crystal Edmonson of Atlanta Business Chronicle

Atlanta Business Chronicle recognizes Daniel S. Papp as one of top five in education

Click here for a photo of the trophy presentation

KENNESAW, Ga.  (Aug. 28, 2014) — For the second year in a row, the Atlanta Business Chronicle has named Kennesaw State University President Daniel S. Papp one of Atlanta’s 50 “Most Admired CEOs.” The awards were announced Thursday during a breakfast at the Grand Hyatt Atlanta.

Papp was among five winners in the education category, which also included the presidents of Georgia State, Georgia Tech and Morehouse College, and the superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools.

The publication recognized executives who are established leaders with a strong record of innovation in their fields, outstanding financial performance, a commitment to quality, a strong vision and a commitment to diversity.

Since taking the helm at Kennesaw State in 2006, Papp has implemented and overseen many significant milestones as the institution continues its rise in national prominence. The University has just completed a consolidation with Southern Polytechnic State University, which has resulted in an enrollment of more than 33,000 students from 130 countries and a ranking among the nation’s 50-largest public institutions.

In 2013, the University System of Georgia Board of Regents designated Kennesaw State a “comprehensive university,” emphasizing the University’s increase in research, graduate programs and global engagement. The University offers more than 100 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees. Under Papp’s leadership, the University graduated its first doctoral student in 2010 and now offers 12 doctoral degrees, including Ph.D.s in international conflict management and data analytics.

Papp also has guided Kennesaw State through a multi-year process that will result next week in the launch of the University’s inaugural NCAA Division I football season, with the first game being played against East Tennessee State University on September 3, and the first home game on September 12 against Edward Waters College.

In addition, several new state-of-the-art facilities have been constructed on the campus during Papp’s tenure, including most recently, a $41 million student recreation facility; a $20 million addition to the Bagwell College of Education; the $50 million Prillaman Hall health sciences facility; and a $21 million facility dedicated entirely to scientific teaching and research.

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Kennesaw State University is the third-largest university in Georgia, offering more than 100 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees. A member of the University System of Georgia, Kennesaw State is a comprehensive university with more than 32,000 students from 130 countries. In January 2015, Kennesaw State and Southern Polytechnic State University consolidated to create one of the 50-largest public universities in the country. 

School of Communication & Media designated at Kennesaw State

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25-year-old program prepares for next phase of development

KENNESAW, Ga. (August 27, 2015) — The former Department of Communication at Kennesaw State University has been renamed the School of Communication & Media to better position the 25-year-old program to serve more than 1,000 students each semester and pursue national accreditation. 

President Daniel S. Papp announced the School’s new status at the official Opening of the University last week, noting the unique opportunity for growth in one of the University’s most popular academic programs, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

“The new name will enhance opportunities for external fund-raising and respond more effectively and efficiently to student needs,” Papp said. “The School already graduates more students than any other communications program in the state except the University of Georgia’s. We see the potential for even more explosive growth.”

More than 1,500 students are enrolled in the School’s two undergraduate majors in communication and public relations, the master’s program in integrated global communication and an online graduate certificate in digital and social media.  Communication ranks among the University’s top three academic programs in enrollment.

To meet the demands of growth, the School of Communication & Media will seek external funding and other resources. It also will pursue national accreditation through the Accrediting Council for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (ACEJMC), a credential held by only two other state institutions — University of Georgia and Savannah State University.   

“It is exciting to look ahead to what a School of Communication & Media can accomplish,” said Robin Dorff, dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, which houses the new School. “We look forward to creating a program of national significance as we foster an environment that supports innovative teaching, research and faculty development.”

In the transition to the new school structure, administrators and faculty members anticipate changes and enhancements to the program.

“We are looking ahead to new trends, new technologies and new opportunities in the broad fields of communication and media,” said Barbara Gainey, director of the School of Communication & Media.  “We plan to work with our faculty, staff, students and business partners to equip students to be leaders in the evolving communication workplace.”

Gainey also noted the School’s desire to develop its leadership in engaging with the professional community, including student internships; in global learning for graduate and undergraduate students; and in technology in the classrooms, digital media labs and studio facilities.

“Our goal is to prepare students with the communication knowledge, skills and experiences they need to make an instant impact in the workplace and their communities,” she said. 

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Kennesaw State University is the third-largest university in Georgia, offering more than 100 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees. A member of the University System of Georgia, Kennesaw State is a comprehensive university with more than 32,000 students from 130 countries. In January 2015, Kennesaw State and Southern Polytechnic State University consolidated to create one of the 50 largest public universities in the country. 

MOVIN’ ON IN: Thousands flock to KSU campus to start new chapter

Name of Publication: 
Marietta Daily Journal
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KENNESAW — More than 5,000 students moved into housing on Kennesaw State University campuses this week in advance of the first day of classes Monday.

Hillgrove High School graduate Tyler Tollefson, 18, of Marietta, was one of the 450 students moving in Saturday to the University Village Suites complex on the northern end of the Kennesaw campus.

“(I’m most excited for) the atmosphere and having my own space,” he said with a wide smile on his face. “I like the Quad.”

His first class will be geometry Monday, he said, followed by composition, wellness, and psychology.

Of the 33,000 students enrolled at KSU, Natalie Reckard, associate director of residence life on the Kennesaw campus, said about 3,500 students will make the main Kennesaw campus their home this year.

Another 1,700 students will live on the Marietta campus, which was formerly Southern Polytechnic State University before the two schools consolidated Jan. 6.


The University Village Suites, built in 2008, were busy with freshmen and their families carrying armfuls of bags and pushing cartloads of items onto elevators to fill new dorm rooms.

Tollefson’s parents, Josh Bressler and Jennifer Bressler, were in his dorm room Saturday afternoon helping to unpack and organize his things. His dad said it took two carloads to get everything to campus.

“I don’t like to pack lightly,” the freshman joked.

Tollefson said he came to KSU because it was close to home and he wanted to study economics. The teen’s mom, who was helping to unpack clothes, chimed in and said with a smile her son was studying economics so he could “become a billionaire.”

Tollefson played baseball at Hillgrove for three years, he said, and enjoys surfing. He’s the family’s youngest child to leave home for school, his parents said.

“We’ve got clothes, we’ve got bedding, a coffee maker, a toaster oven, a blender, water,” Tollefson’s dad said. “I’m excited for him. So far so good — the campus is so clean and new.”

Along with the necessities, the freshman said he will have his surfboard with him on campus, just in case he finds friends to take a road trip with. He’s looking to take trips to places like Florida or North Carolina, and hopes to find other students with similar interests.


Kadijah Arnold, a 20-year-old KSU junior from Athens studying early childhood education, was wearing a golden yellow shirt and directing new students to their rooms as they got off the elevators in University Village Suites on Saturday. She is a resident assistant for the second time this year and said she loves being able to help her peers.

If this semester is anything like last year when she was a resident assistant, Arnold said she doesn’t think students on her floor will have any problems with being homesick.

“Last year, I actually didn’t have any residents that came to me about being homesick,” she said. “It was more so people asking what they can do. They’re wanting to get out and have fun.”

Arnold said the first two weeks are exciting on campus, with fun events for students all around campus as part of the “Week of Welcome.”

With events including a foam party, casino night, fall festival, bike fiesta, bubble soccer and much more planned in the coming weeks, new students will have plenty to do, she said.

Coming Together: KSU President Dan Papp looks ahead as consolidated university opens Monday

Name of Publication: 
Marietta Daily Journal
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Kennesaw State University President Dr. Dan Papp welcomed about 1,100 of the college’s 6,500 employees back to campus Thursday for the start of the first full academic year since KSU and Southern Polytechnic State University consolidated on Jan. 6.

Combining the two universities brought KSU’s enrollment to about 33,000 students, with SPSU adding about 7,000 to that number.

Papp said the work to combine the two universities may be complete, but there is still much to do going forward. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges ― a regional higher education accrediting body ― will be visiting KSU this year to see how the consolidation has gone, he said.

“The Board of Regents expects us to be committed to being a world-class academic institution, and that’s exactly what we’re going to do,” Papp said.

The consolidation of the two universities was approved by the Board of Regents in January, and was contingent on a consolidation plan being approved by the accreditation agency. 

From Sept. 1 to 3, seven members of an accrediting team will visit the Marietta and Kennesaw campuses to see how well the school complies with its principles for accreditation and assess how effective the school merger has been, Papp said.

“Members of the visiting team will talk to people, ask questions and review our operations,” he said. “We do not know what they will ask, who they will talk with or what they will want to see.”

Papp has asked faculty and staff to provide the team with any information requested during its visit to the campuses. Papp said the results of the review will most likely be available in December.

Returning to campuses in Kennesaw and Marietta this semester will be about 2,000 administrators and staff, 1,800 teaching faculty members, 500 temporary staff members, and 2,200 student assistants and graduate students, said KSU spokeswoman Tiffany Capuano.

More than 5,500 students are set to move in to campus housing Friday and Saturday, and classes begin on both campuses Monday, Capuano said.

Papp said he expects this fall to be the best semester yet at KSU and said this week will be full of meetings and events to help start the year off well.

“It’s a week of hard work,” Papp said. “What we have throughout this week is orientation for new faculty and staff, (and) we have meetings of the senior administrators to make sure everyone is fully aware of what directions we’re going. We also have some social events, particularly for new faculty and staff, so it a whole bunch of things that take place.”

In addition to adding a new campus, Papp said the university is also starting the year off with four new members of the president’s cabinet.

“We have had considerable success attracting new leaders,” Papp said.

New members of the cabinet include Dr. Kathleen “K.C.” White, vice president for student affairs, Charles Ross, vice president for economic development and community engagement, Dr. Jon Preston, faculty executive assistant to the president, and Dr. Charles Amlaner, vice president for research and dean of the graduate college.

What has Atlanta Public Schools learned from the cheating scandal?

Name of Publication: 
Atlanta Magazine
Excerpt of Article: 

August 11, 2015

by Rebecca Burns

Superintendent Maria Carstarphen and APS staff face two challenges: implementing real improvements in an underperforming system and finding ways to help students harmed by systematic cheating of years past.

A bright banner hanging above the schoolhouse door reads: “Congratulations: Most Improved Test Scores.” And for Hope-Hill Elementary School on Boulevard, compliments are in order. The school’s rating on the state College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI) rose 20 points—a 44 percent jump between 2013 and 2014, the biggest surge for any school in the Atlanta Public Schools system. This is all the more impressive considering that Hope-Hill, where 95 percent of students qualify for free or reduced lunch, was slated for closure a few years ago due to low performance and dropping attendance.

A decade ago, stellar turnarounds such as this earned APS national praise. But now—in the wake of a cheating scandal that resulted in a trial, convictions, and TV footage of former educators handcuffed and headed for jail—gains at APS seem to come with an asterisk: Are they too good to be true?

“It makes me sad that we even have to ask that question,” says Maureen Wheeler, who became Hope-Hill’s principal two years ago. “We have done a heavy lift in two years, but that thought is still looming out there.”

Wheeler implemented a school-wide improvement program focused on teacher training. She upended conventional classroom methods and now has teachers specialize by subject, which usually doesn’t happen until middle school. “It’s been a lot of hard work,” she says.

And though no misdeeds were reported at Hope-Hill during the cheating investigation, Wheeler proactively implemented strict protocols during testing periods. She removes herself from the testing environment so she won’t seem to be interfering. Test materials are monitored at all times. Everyone clears the building at 3 p.m. (Testimony by staff at schools where fraud happened revealed after-hours “cheating parties,” during which teachers gathered to erase and correct wrong answers on tests.)

At the macro level, APS still faces the shadow of the cheating debacle. Superintendent Meria Carstarphen took over last year, filling the position that had been vacated by Beverly Hall, who was indicted along with 34 subordinates but died of cancer before the trial’s end.  ...

Carstarphen and the APS staff face a twofold challenge: implementing real improvements in a scandal-rocked system that underperforms most of the state, and finding ways to help students who were harmed by the systematic cheating of years past. ...

“When recovering from a crisis, three things are essential: communicate, be transparent, and be visible,” says Barbara S. Gainey, a crisis communication expert and chair of the communication department at Kennesaw State University. ...

The alarming consequences of scuttling the Iran nuclear deal

Name of Publication: 
The Conversation
Excerpt of Article: 

August 11, 2015 6.43am EDT

Associate Professor of Political Science at Kennesaw State University
The fate of the nuclear deal with Iran appears to be in some jeopardy.

Key democrats in Congress – most notably New York Senator Chuck Schumer – have recently announced that they would vote to reject the agreement.

Passage of the agreement is far from a done deal, with more than two dozen Senate Democrats remaining in the uncertain column.

Opponents regard the deal with disdain, characterizing the accord to curtail Iran’s nuclear program as counterproductive, naïve and reminiscent of England’s appeasement of Nazi Germany.

Critics of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) are right to be skeptical of Iran’s commitment to multilateral accords.

The International Atomic Energy Agency reported on several occasions – including in 2005, 2008 and 2011 – that Iran had violated important articles of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. But even given Iran’s lackluster record, I’d argue that a move by Congress to block the accord would result in a less favorable security outcome for the US and its allies.

The importance of the deal

The benefits of the deal for Iran are substantial.

They include extensive sanctions relief that would allow Iran to resume oil export sales and gain access to frozen assets, estimated at US$55 billion. That would give the regime an enormous incentive to abide by the terms of the accord. In return for sanctions relief, Tehran has agreed to relinquish 98% of its supply of enriched uranium, limit its centrifuge operations and restrict enrichment to 3.67%. These actions would significantly lengthen Iran’s “breakout period,” or the time needed to create a nuclear weapon.

Additionally, the JCPOA also includes a carefully crafted verification protocol that permits intrusive and technically savvy inspections of known and suspected nuclear facilities.

Critics wanted to coerce Iran into complete capitulation so that it would cease all nuclear activities in perpetuity and allow “anywhere, anytime inspections.” Barring that, they advocated starving the regime so that it would be unable to afford nuclear, militant or terrorist activities.

But this sort of result was unfeasible. Short of Iran actually testing a nuclear device, the P5+1 – the US, Germany, China, UK, Russia and France – were never willing to support a marked increase in economic pressure. ...






















Joseph G. Bock

Joseph Bock

New INCM Ph.D. director in sync with consolidation, conflict management changes

KENNESAW, Ga. (Aug. 10, 2015)—The arrival of Joseph G. Bock as the new director of the Ph.D. program in International Conflict Management (INCM) coincides with a series of changes — monumental and incremental — at Kennesaw State University and within the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Republican Debate Roundtable

Name of Publication: 
News Radio 106.7
Excerpt of Article: 

Kennesaw State Unversity politcal science professor Kerwin Swint is one of three analysts discussing the Republican debate on the News Radio 106.7's Republican Debate Roundtable with Steve McCoy and Cheryl White. The debate aired Thursday night on Fox News.  Click on the link to hear Swint's analysis of the debate, with highlights of his perspecives at 3:34, 18:20, 28:55, 41:55 and 43:54.    

Kennesaw State professor Jeff Stepakoff to lead new Georgia Film Academy

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Veteran screen writer is first executive director of joint high-demand career initiative 

ATLANTA, Ga. (Aug. 4, 2015) — University System of Georgia (USG) Chancellor Hank Huckaby and Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) Commissioner Gretchen Corbin today announced the appointment of Jeffrey Stepakoff as the executive director of the Georgia Film Academy.

The concept and rationale for the Georgia Film Academy was identified through Governor Nathan Deal’s High Demand Career Initiative (HDCI) which was launched in January 2014 by Deal and led by Commissioner Chris Carr and the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) to address Georgia’s important workforce needs. The HDCI focuses on the future needs of strategic industries in Georgia, including film, television and interactive entertainment.

Stepakoff most recently served as co-executive producer of Chasing Life for the ABC Family television network. He is also a tenured professor of film and television writing at Kennesaw State University.

“Jeff brings unique and proven experience in the film and television industry and higher education to lead the Georgia Film Academy on behalf of the USG and TCSG,” said Huckaby. “Jeff’s substantial background and insights will help us continue to anticipate the needs and trends of the film, television and digital entertainment industry and better prepare more Georgians to support this critical workforce.”

“With the entertainment industry generating new jobs, new businesses and a $6 billion impact in Georgia, it’s more important than ever that we continue to anticipate its workforce needs,” said Corbin. “Jeff understands the entertainment environment as well as the workforce development necessary to keep Georgia at the forefront of this very strategic industry.”

As the founding director of the Georgia Film Academy, Stepakoff will lead efforts to coordinate programs, curriculum and special learning experiences for students enrolled in the state’s university and technical college systems. The academy will be a virtual institution with the ability to operate where needs and opportunities exist across the state.

“I am very excited to help Georgians get the education and professional training they need to go to work in the flourishing film, television and digital entertainment industry here in our state,” said Stepakoff. “And I look forward to helping us build a sustainable and permanent industry – one that includes the full range of the business, from development to production to post-production, and everything related.”

Stepakoff has an extensive background in the film and television industry. He has 28 years of experience in writing, producing and content creation. Some of his television work includes: The Wonder Years, Sisters, Flipper, Major Dad, Beauty & the Beast and Dawson’s Creek, which he co-executive produced. He has also developed pilots for major studios and networks, such as 20th Century Fox, Paramount, FOX and ABC, working with producers and production companies such as Alloy Entertainment (Gossip Girl, The Vampire Diaries), Michael Pillar (Star Trek: Voyager, Deep Space Nine) and David Milch (Deadwood, NYPD Blue). His major motion picture work includes Disney’s Brother Bear, Tarzan and EM Entertainment’s Lapitch. He has also worked in research and digital art for entertainment companies, has written popular video games and is a bestselling novelist.

Stepakoff earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Journalism and Mass Communication and a Master of Fine Arts in playwriting from Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania).

He lives in East Cobb County with his wife, model and actor Elizabeth Miller, and their three children.

The Georgia Film Academy is a collaborative effort of the USG and TCSG supporting workforce needs of Georgia’s burgeoning film and digital entertainment industries. The academy will certify workforce ready employees in needed areas, connect students and prospective employees with employers, and offer a unique capstone experience for top students that will provide them a path to employment in Georgia and to remain in the state.



KSU Professor Addresses Online Violence And Gender Bias

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The Internet can be an enjoyable place, but it can also be home to lots of angry outbursts aimed at a lot of different people. When a user becomes the target of an online attack, their whole online experience can change in the blink of an eye.

Women’s advocates have been paying close attention to a rise in online attacks against female social media users in recent years – especially high-profile women – and the kind of verbal assaults the users are exposed to in online forums.

Actress Ashley Judd is a notable example of just how ugly so-called internet trolls can be and the frightening things they can say.

Judd is a big University of Kentucky basketball fan. She shared her thoughts on social media on an opposing team earlier this year and was then the target of intense verbal assaults and even threats of sexual violence.

Another incident last year involving game developer Zoe Quinn and gaming critic Anita Sarkeesian, dubbed "gamergate," involved violent online incidents that left both women fearing an attack in the real world.

Critics of this kind of social media onslaught argue women are targeted more often than men in a kind of online gender bias. But is this accurate?

Kennesaw State University professor Letizia Guglielmo, who teaches courses on gender studies and English, said during an interview on “A Closer Look” that there’s a cultural complacency when it comes to threats of violence and actual violence against women.

“We still engage in victim blaming that suggests it’s women and their behavior that’s the problem.”

Guglielmo talked about her views on online violence toward women with Rose Scott and Denis O’Hayer on “A Closer Look.”

To hear the entire interview, click on link to article.

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