KSU awarded two of five Board of Regents’ 2010 honors for excellence


  First-year program and arts professor recognized for contributions to student success…

Georgia (Feb 19, 2010) —  

First-year program and arts professor recognized for contributions to student success


Kennesaw, Ga. (Feb. 19, 2010) –  Kennesaw State University’s nationally recognized First-Year Experience Program will receive the University System of Georgia’s highest annual honor for teaching excellence among departments and programs at the system’s 35 member institutions.


The USG’s Jan. 28 announcement of the Board of Regents’ 2010 Excellence Awards also recognized Karen Robinson, associate professor of theater and performance studies at KSU, as recipient of the individual faculty Teaching Excellence Award for an outstanding educator among the system’s two regional and 13 state institutions. 


The $5,000 award for the First-Year Experience program was presented in August. The individual award to Karen Robinson will be presented at the Sixth Annual Excellence Awards Celebration March 20.


KSU’s First-Year Experience Program was honored for “strategically providing coursework and co-curricular activities that have been shown to enhance freshman success and boost student retention.” The USG also noted the program’s long history as part of the institution’s fabric and its seven years of recognition in U.S. News & World Report as one of the best first-year programs in the nation. 


The program combines first-year seminar courses — one with a global focus; themed-based learning communities; a bridge academy for incoming students; math and other academic support; advising teams that include peer mentors; a first-semester early alert/early intervention program; a one-hour course for first-year students on academic probation; and a learning community for high-achieving high school students who participate in a brief but intensive study abroad.


“We are extremely proud of this accomplishment,” said Ralph Rascati, dean of the University College, which houses the First-Year Experience Program. “Our program helps students make the difficult transition from high school to college while introducing them to global education and providing avenues for civic engagement. An extremely committed faculty and staff in the Department of First-Year Programs deliver a multifaceted program designed to serve the needs of all students by meeting them where they are and starting them on the trajectory to where they want to be.”


In awarding Robinson a faculty teaching excellence honor, the USG cited

the scholar-artist model she employs in her classes, as well as in her role as director for departmental productions and for the Georgia Shakespeare repertory theater. She teaches classes in directing, performance studies, dramatic literature, auditioning and theatre appreciation.


 A 2008 recipient of KSU’s Distinguished Teaching Award, Robinson was also recognized for her promotion of global learning and diversity opportunities for students and colleagues. In 2007, she facilitated the residency of  a 26-member Kenyan youth choir and directed a production of “Monkey King,” an adaption of Chinese folktales, both at KSU and in Shanghai, China. 


“This recognition affirms the work I have done thus far, and it fuels and inspires me to continue expanding the depth and breadth of the topics I teach and the way I teach them,” Robinson said. “I hope to continue to invest in adventurous theatrical and global learning projects and to deepen the mentoring and supervision I offer all of the students I encounter.”






 Kennesaw State University is the third-largest university in Georgia, offering more than 70 graduate and undergraduate degrees, including new doctorates in education, business and nursing. A member of the 35-unit University System of Georgia, Kennesaw State is a comprehensive, residential institution with a growing population of more than 22,300 students from 142 countries.



A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. 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. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu