Kennesaw State University

Kennesaw State names new executive director of global initiatives


Notre Dame’s Lance Askildson to become the University’s senior international officer

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KENNESAW, Ga. (May 30, 2013) — Kennesaw State University, a nationally recognized leader in comprehensive campus internationalization, has named Lance Askildson, Notre Dame’s first assistant provost of internationalization, to head the University’s Institute for  Global Initiatives. 

 Askildson, a scholar of applied linguistics and second language acquisition and founding director of Notre Dame’s Center for the Study of Languages & Cultures, will join Kennesaw State as the senior international officer July 1. He replaces Barry Morris, vice provost for strategic initiatives, who has served as interim IGI director since 2011.

 “We are extremely fortunate to have someone of Lance Askildson’s stature and experience to provide strategic leadership for IGI,” said W. Ken Harmon, provost and vice president for academic affairs at Kennesaw State. “We have made considerable strides in developing global components across our curriculum and increasing study abroad opportunities for students, as well as research and other collaborative options abroad for faculty. Lance can help us maintain existing global strategic partnerships and develop new ones.”

 At Notre Dame, Askildson works in more than 30 countries around the world developing international studies programs and internationalization initiatives. In his role at Kennesaw State, he will oversee all IGI units, including the Education Abroad Office, Center for Latin American and Iberian Studies, Center for African and African Diaspora Studies, Global Engagement Programs and Global Admissions. He also will work closely with each of the university’s eight colleges and a variety of campus units to achieve goals related to global learning and engagement. 

Askildson, who holds a Ph.D. in second language acquisition from the University of Arizona, also has been appointed an associate professor of English at Kennesaw State and will begin teaching courses on English language and linguistics in the fall. Bilingual in English and French, he earned a master’s in multilingual/multicultural education and TESOL from Florida State University and a B.A. in history/French language and linguistics from the University of Minnesota.

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Kennesaw State University is the third-largest university in Georgia, offering 80 graduate and undergraduate degrees, including doctorates in education, business and nursing, and a new Ph.D. in international conflict management. A member of the University System of Georgia, Kennesaw State is a comprehensive, residential institution with a growing population of 24,600 students from more than 130 countries.

Mothers on meth: New book highlights family struggles in the suburbs

Name of Publication: 
Deseret News
Excerpt of Article: 

Published: Friday, May 24 2013 11:40 p.m. MDT

A few weeks ago, Kandice Spencer went to Southern California with her two boys and their dad, Waymon. The beach was chilly, Disneyland was fun, but the big hit for the boys, ages 8 and 9, was Universal Studios. A routine family vacation.

But things were not always so routine for this family. Just six years ago, Spencer, now 42, was hooked on meth, writing bad checks and losing custody of her children. Waymon was also dealing and using, and the kids were headed for foster care.

Early in her meth use, Spencer actually thought that the drug was helping her be a better mom. “Initially it makes you feel like you're more effective, only because it gives you more energy. You don't go through the same cycle going to work, coming home, cleaning house and feeling tired. You feel like you have a lot more energy to get things done."

The paradox of the supermom on meth is quite familiar to Miriam Boeri, a sociology professor at Kennesaw State University, whose new book deals with suburban women on meth.

Part gripping reality show, part academic tome, "Women on Ice" shows how women in the Atlanta suburbs get into meth, how some get out, and the dangers that dog them along the way.

More than 12 million Americans have tried methamphetamine, and 1.5 million are regular users, according to federal estimates, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reported. While the precise data is elusive, usage is actually more widespread in rural than urban locations, and the suburbs have long been on the front lines.

Boeri found meth all over the multiple Atlanta suburbs she studied, noting that the housing patterns intermingled low-income trailer parks with high-end developments.

In researching her book, she interviewed 65 women — from college-age social users to middle-class or struggling working-class moms just trying to hold things together.



Diner's Journal: What We’re Reading

Name of Publication: 
New York Times (and other coverage)
Excerpt of Article: 

Kennesaw State University: This small university in Kennesaw, Ga. has been named “Innovator of the Year” by the National Restaurant Association, beating out the Walt Disney Parks and the United States Air Force, among others, for the title. The group cited the university’s “robust organic ‘Farm-to-Campus-to-Farm’ program, water reclamation, aerobic digestion, composting/recycling programs, oil-to-biodiesel conversion” and more. — Julia Moskin

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 More coverage ...

The Sacramento Bee

Kennesaw State named National Restaurant Association's Innovator of the Year

Marking the first time ever that a higher education institution has been selected for such recognition, the nation's top food industry professional association has named Kennesaw State University its "Innovator of the Year." The award was bestowed on Saturday in Chicago at "Destination: Celebration," the 2013 National Restaurant Association, Hotel-Motel Show. The "Innovator of the Year" was selected from the winners of five categories of award recipients, representing: Food Safety, Health & Nutrition, Menu Development, Sustainability, and Technology. Kennesaw State's culinary program also took the top honor in the "Sustainability" category, winning the "Operator Innovation Award for Sustainability."

(Also in:Kennesaw State named National Restaurant Association's Innovator of the Year, Reuters; Kennesaw State named National Restaurant Association's Innovator of the Year, PR Newswire; Kennesaw State named National Restaurant Association's Innovator of the Year, Digital Journal; Kennesaw State named National Restaurant Association's Innovator of the Year, EIN Presswire; Kennesaw State named National Restaurant Association's Innovator of the Year, Finanz Nachrichten;  Kennesaw State named National Restaurant Association's Innovator of the Year,; Kennesaw State named National Restaurant Association's Innovator of the Year, CBS Atlanta; Kennesaw State named National Restaurant Association's Innovator of the Year, WFIE-TV Kentucky; Kennesaw State named National Restaurant Association's Innovator of the Year, WOIO-TV Cleveland; Kennesaw State named National Restaurant Association's Innovator of the Year, ABC News 4 Charleston; Kennesaw State named National Restaurant Association's Innovator of the Year, KVVU-TV Las Vegas; Kennesaw State named National Restaurant Association's Innovator of the Year, KCAU-TV Iowa; Kennesaw State named National Restaurant Association's Innovator of the Year, KAZ-TV Phoenix; Kennesaw State named National Restaurant Association's Innovator of the Year, KLTV East Texas; and many more)

 Food Service Equipment and Supplies

NRA Announces Winners of 2nd Annual Operator Innovations Awards

The National Restaurant Association announced the winners of its second annual Operator Innovations Awards, with Kennesaw State University taking home the prestigious Innovator of the Year award … The University's 5,000 guest/day dining operation incorporates a comprehensive, closed-loop waste management program through a variety of efforts including an organic "Farm-to-Campus-to-Farm" program, water reclamation, aerobic digestion, composting/recycling programs, oil-to-biodiesel conversion and more to significantly reduce costs, minimize environmental impact and qualify the facility for a LEED Gold certification.

(Also in: NRA Names Restaurant Innovators, Hospitality Technology; Sustainability program earns top Operator Innovations award, QSR Web; NRA Announces 2nd Annual Operator Innovations Awards, Food Product Design)

Isakson under pressure: GOP eyes senator on immigration vote

Name of Publication: 
Marietta Daily Journal
Excerpt of Article: 
by Jon Gillooly
May 12, 2013 12:21 AM | 1359 views | 6  | 2  |  | 

As Congress takes up a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s immigration system, U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) has come under pressure from a divided Republican Party on how he will vote on the topic.

“He is under pressure from both sides,” said Kerwin Swint, a political science professor at Kennesaw State University. “The stalwarts that don’t want any kind of immigration package or the others who say we’ve got to do something, so he’s just kind of caught in the middle a little bit.”

When asked Friday about how he intends to vote on the bill, Isakson said, “We’re not going to prejudge what the final version is going to be until it’s marked up, debated and amended — so any question that precludes that process taking place is premature.”

A pathway to citizenship for the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants who are already here is going to be highly controversial in certain key circles of the Republican Party, Swint said.

“The tea party and others are going to resist anything like that tooth-and-nail. They’re going to fight it tooth-and-nail, and that’s the kind of pressure that he’s under,” Swint said. “He’s a smart guy. He’s a reasonable guy, and I think he knows that the Republican Party is at a real crossroads, and they’ve got to do something, but doing something comes at a cost, and a lot of people on the right are going to say doing anything like that is unacceptable. You know, it’s ‘selling out’ or ‘giving up’ or whatever you call it.”

But, at the same time, the Republican Party must start winning at least a portion of Hispanic and female votes if it wants to be competitive, Swint said.


Blacks, Latinos, Asians bent on breaking glass ceiling of Gwinnett County politics

Name of Publication: 
The Atlanta Voice
Excerpt of Article: 

Posted: Friday, May 3, 2013 11:50 am | Updated: 7:11 pm, Fri May 3, 2013.

The Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners is all white. The Gwinnett County School Board is all white. So are the judges elected to Gwinnett County’s State and Superior Courts.

 The lack of diversity in county politics has many Gwinnettians asking why, in this day and age, nonwhites have been unable to penetrate the glass ceiling. Gwinnett is Georgia’s most diverse county with a melting pot of more than 842,000 people, according to the U.S. Census. ...

Diversity hasn’t translated into political power for the county’s growing African American and immigrant communities. Minorities in Gwinnett have been hard hit by unemployment, crime, and the fallout of failing schools, which in Gwinnett serve mostly low-income African American, Asian and Hispanic students, statistics show. Two-thirds of those living in poverty in Gwinnett are nonwhite.

But minorities in Gwinnett frustrated with county politics want change now.

A movement is growing to improve the plight of diverse communities that are struggling for economic opportunities and political representation. A network of African-American, Asian and Hispanic community leaders are working to make sure future county boards are more reflective of diverse neighborhoods they represent. They see numbers as their greatest strength and are building allegiances with each other to gain political clout.

One group, Gwinnett Citizens-United, a political action committee launched by a coalition of African-American pastors, has signed up more than 4,000 people pledging to become politically active in upcoming races by either voting, running for office or contributing to campaigns. The nonpartisan group will offer a platform to those candidates that support minority community issues. Members include a network of black church congregations and Hispanic community leaders. The group also is reaching out to Asians.

“Democracy works best when people feel that they are represented,” said Kerwin Swint, professor of Political Science at Kennesaw State University. “Unfortunately, what happens in local politics is the old guard hangs on as long as it can. They have an advantage a lot of time with campaign contributions and business networks that keep electing the same people. It may take time for others to break through.”

Home Depot’s failure in China: Ignoring women

Name of Publication: 
Atlanta Business Chronicle
Excerpt of Article: 

Apr 26, 2013, 12:30pm EDT Updated: Apr 29, 2013, 10:15am EDT

Staff Writer- Atlanta Business Chronicle

The Home Depot Inc. entered China in 2006 by acquiring 12 stores from Home Way, a Chinese company. But by September 2012, all Home Depot stores closed in China.

While cultural differences were cited by Home Depot CFO Carol Tome for the failure, a new study found the Atlanta-based retailer could have succeeded if it catered to Chinese women.

In 74 percent of homes in North America and Asia, the woman is fully engaged in deciding what and where to shop, according to a 2008 Pew Research Center survey.

“I can’t stress the importance of how much of a missed opportunity this was for Home Depot,” said May Hongmei Gao, associate professor of communication at Kennesaw State University, and the researcher for the five-year study entitled “Culture determined business models: analyzing Home Depot’s failure case in China for international retailers from a communication perspective.”

What Is Confederate Memorial Day?

Name of Publication: 
Georgia Public Broadcasting
Excerpt of Article: 


Monday is Confederate Memorial Day across Georgia, closing state offices and giving state employees a day off. Civil War historian Michael Shaffer talks about the holiday and why it is celebrated in Georgia. (Photo Courtesy of <a href=>bengarland data-cke-saved-href=>bengarland via Flickr</a>.)
Monday is Confederate Memorial Day across Georgia, closing state offices and giving state employees a day off. Civil War historian Michael Shaffer talks about the holiday and why it is celebrated in Georgia. (Photo Courtesy of bengarland via Flickr.)

Monday is Confederate Memorial Day across Georgia, closing state offices and giving state employees a day off.

The holiday likely dates back to before 1874, though that’s when it became an official state holiday.

Michael Shaffer, assistant director of Kennesaw State’s Civil War Center, tells us more about the holiday and why we celebrate it.

Reverse job fair for statistics students draws nearly 60 potential employers

Students showed off their statistical analysis skills

KENNESAW, Ga.  (April 12, 2013) — A “reverse job fair” for students studying applied analytics brought representatives from nearly 60 local, national and regional companies to Kennesaw State University.

During the Sixth Annual SAS Day students used posters to demonstrate their knowledge of the statistical analysis software. Kennesaw State students get hands-on experience with SAS, the most widely used statistical software in the world. It allows organizations to analyze huge amounts of data.

The Southern Company, the sponsor of this year’s event, gave monetary awards to three students for their poster presentations.  Undergraduates Olabisi Omole and Stephanie Krutick will split $1,500. Graduate student Bukeka Freeman also received a $1,500 award. The students’ projects involved using data to predict the creditworthiness and probability of default of individuals.

Often called “big data” applied analytics is becoming one of the hottest fields today. People who are well-versed in SAS are in high demand and are difficult to recruit. SAS Day gives companies a chance to meet the students and see their work.

“The presentations were all really good,” said Chris Nickerson, of The Southern Company, in announcing the winners. “You should be very proud of the education you are getting here because the folks who have worked for us at The Southern Company are very sharp.”

Among the companies represented were: SAS, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee, AutoTrader, TransUnion, SunTrust Bank and Wells Fargo.

No clear Senate candidate leader, Georgia poll finds

Name of Publication: 
The Augusta Chronicle
Excerpt of Article: 

Survey also finds little voter interest in legislative efforts

Wednesday, April 3, 2013 5:13 PM
Last updated 9:35 PM

ATLANTA — The race to fill an open seat in the U.S. Senate is evenly divided among Republicans, and voters of all stripes weren’t wowed by the recent legislative session, according to a poll released Wednesday.

The InsiderAdvantage/Morris News survey, done in conjunction with Atlanta television station Fox 5 (WAGA), shows no leader yet among the candidates for the 2014 Republican Senate nomination. U.S. Reps. Paul Broun, R-Athens, and Phil Gingrey, R-Marietta, who are the only announced candidates, are tied at 15 percent each while their colleague Jack Kingston, R-Savannah, is just one percentage point behind, even though he hasn’t formally committed.

“It’s telling you who’s been in the news recently,” said Kennesaw State University professor Kerwin Swint. “... There’s no front-runner.”


Civil War symposium explores the battles of 1863

Leading scholars to discuss the major battles

Kennesaw, Ga. (March 22, 2013) — As part of its commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the war,  Kennesaw State University’s Civil War Center, in partnership with the Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park will host their 10th annual symposium focusing on various military actions from 1863.


The symposium’s topic, “1863 — Struggles East & West,” brings leading Civil War scholars to Kennesaw State University as part of an ongoing series of lectures.


  • Larry Daniel will discuss the battles that took place in the Western Theater, that is all of the Confederate states, including Georgia, and the mistakes made by commanders on both sides. Daniel is Methodist pastor living in Lexington, Tenn.
  • Richard McMurry will speak about the Battle of Gettysburg, one of the pivotal battles of the war. McMurry, a historian, lives in Dalton, Ga.
  • Larry Hewitt, emeritus professor of history at Southeastern Louisiana University, will discuss the battle at Port Hudson, which was part of the Vicksburg campaign. Confederate troops were under siege for 47 days before finally surrendering the “Gibraltar of the Confederacy.”
  • Brian Wills, the director of the Civil War Center and a professor of history at Kennesaw State University, will discuss Confederate Gen. James Longstreet’s sojourn to Suffolk, Va., and the logistical challenges the Army of Northern Virginia faced in obtaining supplies for troops and horses.


 Saturday, March 23, 2013, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.


 KSU Center, 3333 Busbee Dr. NW, Kennesaw, Ga. 30144.

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