Kennesaw State University

Rita Bailey named dean of Kennesaw State Honors College

Rita Bailey

Illinois State assistant provost will bring experience in honors, international studies programs

KENNESAW, Ga. (May 4, 2016) — Kennesaw State University President Daniel S. Papp has named Rita Bailey as dean of the Honors College, effective July 1.

Bailey currently is assistant provost for the Office of International Studies and Programs, the English Language Institute and the Honors Program at Illinois State University. Along with managing those programs, she serves as provost liaison to the University Curriculum Committee and assists with faculty/staff and student diversity initiatives.

“Rita Bailey’s leadership experience and distinguished scholarship will help advance the Honors College into national and international spotlights,” said Ken Harmon, provost and vice president for academic affairs at Kennesaw State. “Dr. Bailey is an accomplished researcher, devoted teacher and impressive leader who is deeply dedicated to students and faculty and committed to the continued progress and growth of the College.”

Bailey was selected as dean after a nationwide search chaired by Jon Preston, KSU’s faculty executive assistant to the president. During the search, Becky Rutherfoord served as interim dean, and she will return to the College of Computing and Software Engineering faculty.

Prior to her academic roles, Bailey worked as a hospital- and school-based speech-language pathologist, a pediatric dysphagia specialist, hospital administrator and special-education administrator and consultant in multiple educational settings. She joined the faculty at Illinois State in 2002 and rose to administrative posts of increasing responsibility over the past 14 years.

Bailey serves on Illinois State’s Inclusive Community Response Team, the University Accreditation Team and Reaccreditation Task Force, and the Student Behavior Intervention Team. She also coordinates the activities of the Administrator-in-Residence program and oversees the International Strategic Plan Implementation Team.

“I am thrilled to be joining Kennesaw State University,” Bailey said. “After visiting campus and meeting with faculty, staff, administration and students, I realized that this is indeed a very special place. KSU is an institution that is clearly on the rise, and I am looking forward to making a positive contribution to the University and its students as dean of the Honors College.”

Bailey is an accomplished grant writer, as 25 of the grant proposals she has written or contributed to have been awarded a total of $941,000 in funding for higher education initiatives. She also has authored or co-authored nearly 40 peer-reviewed articles, book chapters and other published materials.

Bailey earned an Ed.D. in special education, her third degree from Illinois State University following her master’s degree in speech pathology and bachelor’s degree in speech pathology/audiology.

Kennesaw State’s Honors College provides a community within the University to academically talented, highly motivated students who enjoy lively discussion, creative expression and intellectual challenge. The program offers small honors sections of core courses and interdisciplinary honors seminars, where students focus on deep understanding within an innovative curriculum.


Kennesaw State University is the third-largest university in Georgia, offering nearly 150 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees. A member of the University System of Georgia, Kennesaw State is a comprehensive university with more than 33,000 students from over 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.


— Paul Floeckher

Gavel brings winning bid in KSU Top 100

Garrett Jacobs, center, smiles after winning the KSU Top 100 competition. He is pictured with Kathy Schwaig, dean of the Michael J. Coles College of Business, and Chris Hanks, executive director of the KSU Entrepreneurship Center in the Coles College of Business.

Student wins entrepreneurial competition with proposal for software to run auctions more efficiently

KENNESAW, Ga. (April 28, 2016) — Presenting his business idea to a packed room of entrepreneurs, faculty members and classmates, Kennesaw State University senior Garrett Jacobs brought along auctioneer Colton Moore to give an entertaining demonstration of how frenetic an auction can be.

“It’s such a chaotic process,” Jacobs said. “It’s so fast. At an auto auction, they sell a car every 30 seconds – and they don’t stop. So the potential for error is large.”

Jacobs and Moore, his business partner, believe they have the answer to making auctions less susceptible to errors in documentation and accounting. They are developing Gavel, a cloud-based platform for auction businesses of any size to manage the multitude of data that an auctioneer must process throughout a chaotic sale.

A panel of judges liked what they saw and named Gavel the winner of the inaugural KSU Top 100, sponsored by the Kennesaw State University Entrepreneurship Center in the Michael J. Coles College of Business. Jacobs, who is pursuing degrees in finance and in management and entrepreneurship along with being in the Joel A. Katz Music and Entertainment Business program, received a $5,000 cash award toward his start-up in the business-pitching competition modeled after the popular TV shows “Shark Tank” and “The Voice.”

“Going through this process and learning the mindset of an entrepreneur has had an impact on how I have handled this business, had relationships with people and interacted with professors,” Jacobs said. “It covered so much, and how it’s going to transform my life is hard to put in words.”

The competition began with a wide variety of business ideas submitted by 100 Kennesaw State students, and was narrowed to the three finalists who presented on Wednesday. Also making the top three were Paul Ngalle for his brainchild TreeCabin, a service allowing students to stream textbooks for a low monthly price, and Daniela Carvajalino for her Cookies and Cookies Laboratory, a laboratory-themed cookie shop.

“We got such a diversity of entries, and that was part of the fun,” said Chris Hanks, executive director of the KSU Entrepreneurship Center at the Coles College of Business. “You name it, the students had it. The entrepreneurial spirit that exists all across this campus is amazing.”

Throughout the process, the KSU Top 100 competitors were mentored by local entrepreneurs. Jacobs credited his mentor, Lee Heisman, the CEO of Savant CTS of Woodstock, with giving him invaluable guidance along the way.

Along with his $5,000 cash prize, Jacobs will receive up to $95,000 in investment and business services through Kennesaw State’s network of entrepreneurs. Those could include legal, accounting, technology and social media services for his start-up, as well as office space at Ignite HQ, the University’s business incubator and accelerator that helps researchers and entrepreneurs develop their inventions and ideas.

Jacobs’ next step will be to present to the KSU Entrepreneurship Center’s investor group, where he will negotiate receiving funding for his venture in exchange for partial ownership of it. Once that is done, a working model of Gavel can be rolled out in four to five months, he said.

“There is a special opportunity that exists here at Kennesaw State right now that doesn’t exist anywhere in the state, and that’s this entrepreneurship center,” Jacobs said. “If I didn’t take advantage of it, I would be doing myself a disservice.”


Kennesaw State University is the third-largest university in Georgia, offering nearly 150 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees. A member of the University System of Georgia, Kennesaw State is a comprehensive university with more than 33,000 students from over 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.

Kennesaw State president praises progress, looks ahead to more

KSU State of the University 2016

Papp touts work toward becoming ‘world-class institution’ in annual State of the University address

Click here for a transcript of Dr. Papp's speech.

KENNESAW, Ga. (April 26, 2016) — A great deal has been accomplished in the 15 months since the consolidation of Kennesaw State University and Southern Polytechnic State University — but much more work and progress is ahead, President Daniel S. Papp told faculty and staff in his annual State of the University address.

In his speech, given on April 25 and April 26 at the Kennesaw and Marietta campuses, Papp outlined the strategic steps Kennesaw State will take in the coming year. He also shared several successes from the past year, including a record enrollment of 33,400 students, more than 5,600 students earning degrees since the consolidation, and Kennesaw State’s classification as a Carnegie doctoral research institution.

“This University is on its way to becoming exactly what the Board of Regents, the people of Georgia and we ourselves expect KSU to be — a world-class academic institution,” Papp said. “Our University, our students, our faculty and our staff are increasingly being recognized and appreciated for the high quality of everything being done at KSU.”

That includes meeting two key objectives the Regents set for the consolidation of Kennesaw State and Southern Polytechnic State. The first is that in the current and upcoming budgets, the University is redirecting funds from administrative functions and putting them toward research, scholarship, infrastructure improvements and instruction and education — including adding more faculty members and advisors. The budget also includes no tuition increase in 2017, Papp said.

The second objective being met is Kennesaw State’s increase in the percentage of students it retains and graduates. Combining extra-curricular and co-curricular activities in the consolidation has afforded students more opportunities, according to Papp.

“New U students have a broader selection of activities from which to choose and with which to engage,” he said. “As a result, KSU’s retention, progression and graduation rates over the next few years should climb.”

As research takes on a larger role at Kennesaw State, the University could top $11 million in external research funding this year, Papp said. Fundraising also is on the rise, as two of the three largest personal gifts in KSU history have been given in the past year.

However, Papp noted, “much remains to be done so we can realize our full potential.” He outlined six major tasks the “new Kennesaw State” must complete:

• Strategic plan — A 42-person committee is in the midst of developing goals, objectives, mission statements and action steps for a five-year strategic plan to begin in 2017. The committee will gather feedback from the campus community in the fall and submit the finalized plan to the Board of Regents in December 2016.

• New master plan — “This project will envision and lay the foundation for the physical future of both KSU campuses going out as far as 2045,” Papp said. Town hall-style meetings have been held on campus, and additional ones will be scheduled prior to the plan’s completion at the end of this year.

• Branding and marketing project — Kennesaw State is teaming with a consulting firm to develop branding and marketing initiatives that will be rolled out next year. “This project will determine what the University must do to heighten local, regional and national public awareness of, and appreciation for, the new KSU,” Papp said.

• Capital campaign — A combination of those first three initiatives will help Kennesaw State plan and launch its next fundraising campaign, according to Papp. A “first-rate fundraising team” will identify the University’s greatest needs and begin the comprehensive capital campaign within the year, he said.

• Reaccreditation — Kennesaw State must submit a report in 2018 for reaccreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools — as required every 10 years — in preparation for the 2019 visit by the SACS reaccreditation team. “This might seem like it’s a long time away, but given how much work must be done, it’s not,” Papp said. Kennesaw State’s Office of Institutional Effectiveness already is compiling the report, which Papp assured “will be massive.” He added, “The report must provide detailed documentation of the extent to which KSU complies with each of the 88 items in SACS’ principles of accreditation. Many of those 88 items have multiple parts.”

• Quality Enhancement Plan — As part of the reaccreditation process, Kennesaw State must develop and submit a Quality Enhancement Plan “to create a campus-wide program that will enhance student learning,” Papp explained. The selection committee received several proposals and selected “engaging in transformative learning” as KSU’s new core QEP, he said.

“From my perspective, the good news is this — more and more students want to come to KSU,” Papp said. “In research, scholarship and creative activity, our reputation and productivity are growing.”


Kennesaw State University is the third-largest university in Georgia, offering nearly 150 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees. A member of the University System of Georgia, Kennesaw State is a comprehensive university with more than 33,000 students from over 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.


— Paul Floeckher

Photo by David Caselli

Shameka Wilson named Cobb County Woman of the Year

Director of Women’s Resource and Interpersonal Violence Prevention Center honored by AAUW

KENNESAW, Ga. (April 22, 2016) — Shameka Wilson’s work in Student Success Services is being recognized beyond Kennesaw State University’s campuses.

Wilson, the director of the Women’s Resource and Interpersonal Violence Prevention Center, has been named the 2016 Woman of the Year by the Cobb County chapter of the American Association of University Women (AAUW).

“I am so grateful to be honored by the Cobb County branch of the AAUW as their Woman of the Year,” Wilson said. “Community partnerships are so important to the work carried out by the Women’s Resource and Interpersonal Violence Prevention Center, and it feels good to know they appreciate and respect the work being done.”

Wilson has been at Kennesaw State University since August 2013. In her current role, she works to provide a safe space to discuss women and gender issues, supports victims and survivors of interpersonal violence and collaborates with campus and community partners to provide co-curricular programing for the Kennesaw State community.

The award is given annually to an outstanding woman in Cobb County from the business, nonprofit or education sectors. The honoree is chosen based on her dedication to her profession and the service her leadership provides to the community, according to Cobb County AAUW president Arden Stone.

“Shameka fulfills these criteria in every way,” Stone said. “The critical issues Shameka must face on a daily basis at the center, the planning involved in campus programming that brings awareness and seeks solution, and the counseling and extended resources made available through the center are invaluable to women students at KSU.”

The AAUW will honor Wilson, along with Kennesaw State students Catherine Ellis, Sydney Saylors and Bonnie Jane Parker, at a banquet on May 10 at Indian Hills Country Club in Marietta. The Cobb County branch is awarding $2,000 scholarships to Ellis and Saylors, and sponsoring Parker to attend the AAUW National Conference for College Women Student Leaders in June in College Park, Maryland.


Kennesaw State University is the third-largest university in Georgia, offering nearly 150 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees. A member of the University System of Georgia, Kennesaw State is a comprehensive university with more than 33,000 students from over 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.

Archaeologists unearth Troup’s history

Name of Publication: 
LaGrange Daily News
Excerpt of Article: 

Researchers look for evidence of Oglethorpe

First Posted: 11:00 am - April 19th, 2016


By Tyler H. Jones -

LaGRANGE — Imagine, if you can, 7,000 years ago in Troup County.

Towering hardwoods and long-leaf pines blot out the sun as wild game roam freely in the shadows below. The underbrush is sparse — not like today. The thick canopy above keeps the birch and thorns at bay.

A herd of deer meander to the banks of a rushing stream as they dodge beams of golden sunlight. The river’s flat shoal provides ample crossing. The deer, one by one, ford the shallow shelf with their young in tow.

It is a time before the written word, before the wheel has rolled its first turn in the Americas, and long before the first European settlers ever laid eyes on Georgia. It is the middle Archaic period, between 8,000 and 5,000 years ago, and the first Americans are on the verge of discovering agriculture, trade and sophisticated tools. It is Eden.

Yards from the river crossing, a small group of hunters crouch silently, readying their spears. In a moment of zeal, a young hunter rears back and thrusts his projectile toward the prey, certain he has the shot.

He misses, the herd flees and the arrow lands on the other bank, lost and buried in the soil for 7,000 years.

‘The first textile mill in the county’

Standing in a square pit Saturday, Terry Powis, an archaeologist from Kennesaw State University, wiped the sweat from his brow as he dug a square-point shovel into the thick Georgia soil.

Exhausted, Powis and his student, KSU senior Greg Smart, shoveled dirt into 10-gallon buckets and hoisted them ground level to Quinn Black, another KSU senior who carefully poured the dirt into a sift searching for evidence of ancient life. ...


Cobb Superior Court candidates raise thousands to reach voters

Name of Publication: 
Marietta Daily Journal
Excerpt of Article: 
  • MDJ Staff   

Three local attorneys have raised thousands of dollars in an effort to be elected to a seat on Cobb’s Superior Court bench.

Chuck Bachman, Kim Childs, and Grady Moore are all vying to replace Judge Adele Grubbs, who is not seeking re-election.

Childs is leading the pack in total fundraising with $124,737, of which $17,426 was raised between Jan. 31 and March 31, according to her financial disclosure reports.

While Childs has raised the most money in the race for the Superior Court seat, her campaign’s Jan. 31 report lists more than $53,000 in loans from her firm, The Childs Law Firm, or from David Childs, according to the disclosure report. After spending a total of $26,403, Childs has $98,334 cash on hand.

Bachman has raised a total of $100,265 for his campaign for Grubbs’ seat. He raised $49,800 this reporting period, including $28,000 he loaned his own campaign, reports show. He spent $14,848 this reporting cycle — $15,096.57 total — and has $85,168 cash on hand....

Dr. Andrew Pieper, associate professor of political science at Kennesaw State University, said the politicization of judicial races is a rising concern in his field, especially because they tend not to attract the same level of public scrutiny as other contests.

“The benefits are that you can have turnover in office if that’s related to popular knowledge … (but) the majority of people have no idea what’s going on” in judicial races, Pieper said. “They are very low participatory elections.”


KSU team tops the sales chart


Coles College of Business team wins prestigious sales competition

KENNESAW, Ga. (April 8, 2016) — Each year, Kennesaw State University hosts the premier sales competition in the world. This year, KSU also took home the overall team champion trophy.

Kennesaw State won the team championship at the 2016 National Collegiate Sales Competition (NCSC), hosted April 1-4 by the Center for Professional Selling in the Michael J. Coles College of Business. More than 500 students from 67 undergraduate universities and eight graduate universities, including schools from Europe and Canada, participated in the role-play sales-call competition and exclusive career fair at the KSU Convocation Center.

Along with Kennesaw State winning the team championship, two Coles College of Business students finished in the top five in the individual competition. Matt McCleskey took fourth place and Sarah Burch tied for fifth among 134 competitors.

“We are very proud of Matt McCleskey and Sarah Burch as well as the other eight members of the KSU sales competition team for winning the national team title,” said Dr. Terry Loe, founder of the NCSC and director of the KSU Center for Professional Selling. “They all worked tirelessly and selflessly over the past several months, with several of them having worked for more than a year in preparing to compete. They epitomize the kind of attitude and work ethic that Kennesaw State University and the Coles College of Business strive to instill in all of our students.”

“I could not be more humbled and honored to have been chosen to represent my team and our program,” Burch said. “The sales education and competition opportunities that we’ve had thus far have proven to be crucial to the success we will find in our coming careers.”

The NCSC gives students hands-on training selling an actual product to a client. Fortune 500 company representatives act as judges and buyers while networking with students from the best sales programs in the world.

Students compete through several elimination rounds of 20-minute mock sales calls, with the championship round being broadcast to an audience of students, faculty and corporate sponsors. A panel of faculty and corporate executives judge each round in real-time, providing students detailed scores and written feedback to improve their skills.

“The National Collegiate Sales Competition provides substantial value to companies seeking to hire quality salespeople, and the NCSC has filled this need over the past 18 years for hundreds of sales organizations,” Loe said. “There are very few events that provide this type of venue for companies to preview the highest-level sales candidates during one weekend.”

For more information on the NCSC, or how to become involved, visit

Photo: Matt McCleskey and Sarah Burch show Kennesaw State's trophy for winning the NCSC team championship.

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KSU to host national conference on undergraduate research

Kennesaw Hall Crowded.JPG

April 2019 conference to attract more than 4,000 students and faculty members from across the country

KENNESAW, Ga. (April 5, 2016)— Kennesaw State University has been selected to host a national undergraduate research conference in 2019, the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) announced today.

Set for April of 2019, the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) will bring together more than 4,000 students and their faculty mentors for a three-day conference at Kennesaw State. NCUR provides students with the opportunity to present their scholarly research in a professional setting and network with their peers, and faculty mentors, in addition to meeting with graduate school and corporate recruiters.

“We are honored to be selected to host the 2019 National Conference on Undergraduate Research,” Kennesaw State University President Daniel S. Papp said. “Kennesaw State’s commitment to undergraduate research is part of the University’s strategic plan, and this is further amplified by KSU’s recent elevation to an R3 Carnegie classified institution. We look forward to welcoming our nation's scholars to our campus.”

In discussing KSU’s selection, CUR Executive Officer Elizabeth Ambos said, “Kennesaw State offers the undergraduate research community an unbeatable combination of assets as an NCUR host site: a welcoming, beautiful and accessible campus setting near Atlanta; thriving campus undergraduate research programs and culture; and a highly engaged faculty and administration supportive of the NCUR model.”

This gathering of scholars welcomes presenters from all institutions of higher learning and from all corners of the academic curriculum, generating a unique learning opportunity. The conference has grown since its inception in 1987, highlighting the expanding prevalence of undergraduate research, scholarship, and creative inquiry.

This year’s NCUR will be held April 7-9 at the University of North Carolina at Asheville. The 2017 and 2018 conferences will be hosted on the campuses of the University of Memphis and the University of Central Oklahoma, respectively.

For more information, visit

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Kennesaw State University is the third-largest university in Georgia, offering nearly 150 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees. A member of the University System of Georgia, Kennesaw State is a comprehensive university with more than 33,000 students from over 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. 

Migrants, Refugees & Economic Opportunity

Name of Publication: 
Business Partners
Excerpt of Article: 

I worked as a humanitarian worker for twelve years. What do I think of the situation in Greece, with thousands of migrants and refugees flowing in daily? I think it will get worse. But I also feel it gives Athens an opportunity it wouldn’t have otherwise. That opportunity is to generate substantial jobs.

For nearly three weeks in December, and for three in February-March, I had the privilege of working with the Municipality of Athens with the support of the Fulbright Foundation in Greece. I have tried to help the City cope with this onslaught of human beings. I’ve been touched deeply by the generosity of Athenians. Yet I’ve also witnessed worry about how long this will continue, and how many people will come.

How does this situation translate into jobs? The migrant/refugee crisis is international news every day. Athens is at the epicenter of the crisis. People all over the world want to help the migrants and refugees, but they also feel for the Greek people. They want to help ease the pain of this situation.

This desire to help should be channeled into securing substantial, private financial resources. Of course, people want to and are making donations to non-governmental organizations. But they know that charity can only go so far.

In addition to charity, they should be given another option. They should be asked to invest.I spoke with a lot of Athenians during my stay. I did not reveal that I was working with the Municipality before asking them how they felt about Mayor Giorgos Kaminis. People trust him. He can lead the way in Athens’ economic resurgence. The business community and foundations must be heavily involved as well. It is time to build an economic engine. ...

Read more about Bock's work in Greece at

Interview with new KSU women's basketball coach Agnus Berenato

Name of Publication: 
1240 ESPN Radio (WGGA Gainesville, Ga.)
Excerpt of Article: 

Former Georgia Tech and Pittsburgh head coach Agnus Berenato said the "overall vision and philosophy and excitemement that Kennesaw State is creating right now" is what attracted her to lead the Lady Owls program.

Berenato, who was named KSU's new women's basketball head coach on March 29, spoke about the opportunity during an interview on "Game On with Katie B. Davis."

Click here to listen to the full interview:

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