President delivers 2008 State of the University address

A string of national awards‚ re−affirmation of Kennesaw State University’s accreditation and reaching the 20‚000−student milestone were key highlights among several impressive accomplishments of the past 12 months cited by KSU President Daniel S. Papp in his second annual State of the University address‚ delivered Feb. 27−28 to the university’s campus community.(For the complete story‚ please click on the headline above.)

Georgia (Feb 27, 2008) — A string of national awards‚ re−affirmation of Kennesaw State University’s accreditation and reaching the 20‚000−student milestone were key highlights among several impressive accomplishments of the past 12 months cited by KSU President Daniel S. Papp in his second annual State of the University address‚ delivered this afternoon to the university’s campus community.

It was an impressive year because the university has outstanding students‚ faculty and staff‚ said Papp‚ who was named president of the University System of Georgia’s third−largest university two years ago. He told an audience of more than 300 KSU faculty‚ staff and students that KSU was one of only three universities in the United States to receive the Council for Higher Education Accreditation’s award for “institutional success” in preparing students for workforce life.

Papp also highlighted the critical 10−year‚ re−affirmation of accreditation awarded to the university in December by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). The re−affirmation of the institution’s standing with SACS culminated a multi−year process that included a detailed self−study and campus visits last March by a team of accreditation experts‚ he said.

Papp said the university continues to meet the need for high−demand academic programs‚ as evidenced by an array of new degree programs being offered by the university‚ including KSU’s first doctoral program‚ the Ed.D. in Educational Leadership.

Other programs that came on board last year were undergraduate degrees in anthropology‚ geography‚ information security and assurance‚ and a completely on−line bachelor’s in business administration. KSU also added a master’s in applied statistics and a master’s in applied exercise and health.

“More degrees are to come‚” he said. “Indeed‚ if things go as planned‚ the Board of Regents in March will approve a new KSU bachelor’s of arts with a major in dance‚ as well as our second doctoral degree – the doctorate in business administration.”

Papp offered a mix of similarly impressive highlights achieved over the last 12 months‚ but he tempered his address with funding realities faced by the institution as the university’s enrollment continues to soar. He said last fall’s enrollment was 20‚607 students – a milestone record – and that KSU’s continuing education program served nearly another 23‚000 students.

Two major new KSU facilities – the environmentally friendly Social Sciences Building and the Dr. Bobbie Bailey and Family Performing Arts Center – both of which came on line in 2007‚ also were cited as major highlights for the university. Another highly anticipated project is the new 913−bed residence hall now under construction for occupancy‚ “which means next fall we will have 3‚200 students living on campus‚” he said.

Additionally‚ opening this summer is a new‚ 2‚600−vehicle parking deck and the addition of the Wilson Building‚ just begun this week‚ which will house a “black−box theater” and performance rooms.

Papp also praised KSU’s student athletes. “Both the women’s softball team and the women’s soccer team won Atlantic Sun championships‚ and I would be remiss if I did not mention the KSU Competitive Cheer team‚ which finished third in the nation‚ beating every Division I university except Louisville and Maryland‚” he stated.

Such are the range of accomplishments as the university experiences a tremendous growth spurt‚ but Papp said he is very mindful that the university is “stretched painfully thin.”

He cited the candid conversations he has held recently with Board of Regents’ officials to secure additional funding to meet the university’s increasing capacity challenges. “We used the system office’s own numbers‚ which clearly demonstrate how under−funded we are‚” said Papp. “I know what we said was heard. I am guardedly optimistic that KSU’s budget next year will be increased to help us respond to the need that the system’s own numbers demonstrate exists. We shall see.”

Papp also announced a series of administrative appointments and one key resignation:
• After more than 30 years of service to KSU‚ Vice President for Student Success and Enrollment Services Nancy King retires at the end of the semester‚ but she will stay part−time involved with the university on major projects. Jerome Ratchford will serve in the interim.
• A special assistant to the president for diversity will be appointed‚ Papp said. The cabinet−level position also has faculty responsibilities that include “fostering a campus climate that respects and values diversity among students‚ faculty and staff – and developing systemic structures” to enhance the university’s diversity efforts.
• Hiring a “chief diversity officer” will also allow Flora Devine‚ the assistant to the president for legal affairs and diversity‚ to become “university attorney‚” given the increasing need for her to respond to legal matters.
• Papp also announced the search for a “director of sustainability” to head up efforts that will make KSU a “green institution” from facilities to environmentally friendly policies and practices.
Papp praised the KSU Foundation‚ with whom the university’s efforts to keep pace with its phenomenal growth would not have been as successful.

“Over the last 10 years‚ the KSU Foundation has provided the university with almost $300 million in land and buildings‚ including houses‚ residence halls‚ parking decks and offices … And the astounding part: during the same 10 years‚ the state provided KSU about $150 million‚ including the soon−to−be−constructed Health Sciences Building.

“Suffice it to say that without the foundation‚ we would not be the university we are today.”

The audience responded to those comments with applause.

“What‚ then‚ is the state of Kennesaw State University? Put simply‚ from my perspective‚ even though we are incredibly stretched‚ and stretched painfully in many areas‚ we are blessed with students‚ faculty and staff who are doing a phenomenal job as we strive to make KSU the best learning−centered‚ comprehensive university in the country.”

Doing so is part of the university’s five−year strategic plan‚ which culminates in 2012. Part of that strategy is the university’s first comprehensive capital campaign to raise $75 million. About $30 million has been raised to date‚ he said‚ again to applause.

“We are fortunate to be here at this time and at this place at Kennesaw State University‚” he concluded.

ONLINE PRESS KIT

Text of Papp's address is available for download at:
https://files.kennesaw.edu/staff/jcraig19/08SOTU/KSU08SOTUtext.pdf.

Audio of Papp's address in MP3 format (22.7 MB) is available at:
https://files.kennesaw.edu/staff/jcraig19/08SOTU/KSU08SOTUaudio.MP3.

(These links will open in new windows.)

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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers more than 150 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its approximately 41,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the third-largest university in the state. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 92 countries across the globe. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status, and one of the 50 largest public institutions in the country. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu

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