Kennesaw State University provost search narrowed to three finalists

Click here for a downloadable photo of David P. Cordle Click here for a downloadable photo of…

Georgia (Nov 23, 2011)Click here for a downloadable photo of David P. Cordle

Click here for a downloadable photo of Michael A. Gealt

Click here for a downloadable photo of W. Ken Harmon

Candidates to visit campus Nov. 29 – Dec.1

KENNESAW, Ga. (Nov. 23, 2011) — Kennesaw State University President Daniel S. Papp and Provost Search Committee Chair Thomas H. Keene today announced the names of the three final candidates for the position of provost and vice president for academic affairs.

The three finalistsare David P. Cordle, dean, College of Arts and Sciences at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington; Michael A. Gealt, dean, College of Science and Mathematics at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock; and W. Ken Harmon, interim provost and vice president for academic affairs and former dean of the Coles College of Business at Kennesaw State.

A pool of 81 applicants submitted the required materials to be considered for the university’s chief academic officer position, with nine selected for round-one interviews, held on Nov.17 and 18.

In the next phase of the process, the three finalists are slated to participate in a series of daylong meetings and interviews to be held next Tuesday, Nov. 29, through Thursday, Dec. 1, on the KSU campus.  The candidates will take part in interview sessions and interact with students, faculty, staff, administrators and alumni. 

 “We are pleased to move forward these three outstanding candidates for provost,” Papp stated. “The search committee and the external search firm conducted a thorough national search and vetted a robust pool of applicants.  We now have three high-caliber finalists, one of whom we will soon select to fill the provost’s position here at Kennesaw State.”

Keene, a KSU professor of history, chaired a 15-person search committee focused on identifying a leader that can help shape Kennesaw State’s stature and positioning.

"The goal of the search committee has been to identify candidates for provost who can help lead this dynamic, rapidly growing university in meeting the demands of a 21stcentury institution of higher learning,” Keene said.  “We believe we have found three finalists with the potential to help the university achieve its goals of a delivering a world-class education and achieving national prominence for the outstanding work we’re doing at Kennesaw State.”

Cordle’s visit to the university will take place on Nov. 29, and Gealt’s is planned for Nov. 30.  Harmon’s campus meetings are scheduled for Dec. 1. 

Cordle has served as dean of arts and sciences and professor of music at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington since 2005.  He also was dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Longwood University in Farmville, Va., from 1998-2005 and spent 10 years as chair of the music department at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. Cordle earned a Ph.D. in music from the Florida State University.

Gealt, a professor of biology, has served as University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s math and sciences dean since 2006.  He also has served in key academic posts, including interim vice chancellor for academic affairs and dean of the School of Engineering, Mathematics and Science at Purdue University Calumet in Hammond, Ind. Before joining Purdue’s faculty in 2000, Gealt was a professor and academic administrator at Drexel University in Philadelphia. He holds a Ph.D. in microbiology from Rutgers University in New Jersey.

Harmon has served for the past year and a half as interim provost and vice president for academic affairs at Kennesaw State.  He has served in increasingly responsible management roles since joining the university in 2006 as director of the School of Accountancy.  He was named dean of the Coles College of Business in 2009 and Dinos Eminent Scholar of Entrepreneurial Management in 2010. He holds aDoctor of Business Administration in accounting, with a minor in computer science, from the University of Tennessee.

Kennesaw State’s provost search committee was aided by Parker Executive Search.

President Papp expects to name the new provost in December. The selected candidate is expected to begin as early as possible in 2012.

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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 Ph.D. in international conflict management. A member of the 35-unit University System of Georgia, Kennesaw State is a comprehensive, residential institution with a growing population of more than 24,100 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