Kennesaw State officials to take part in Americas Competitiveness Forum

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STEM education is focus of special session at prestigious economic forum in Cali, Colombia KENNESAW…

Georgia (Oct 22, 2012)STEM education is focus of special session at prestigious economic forum in Cali, Colombia

KENNESAW, Ga. (Oct. 23, 2012) — Kennesaw State University’s top global education administrator and the director of the University's groundbreaking center for promoting the advancement of science and mathematics education will participate in the Americas Competitiveness Forum (ACF) in Cali, Columbia Oct. 24-26. 

Barry Morris, vice provost for strategic initiatives at Kennesaw State, and Adrian Epps, associate dean of the University’s College of Science and Mathematics and director of its center for Advancing the Teaching of Mathematics and Science  (A.T.O.M.S.)  will lead discussions during a special ACF education session on Oct. 26.  

The all-day session, titled “Promoting Innovation through Mathematics and Science Education in the Americas,” is the first Americas Education Forum presented since the ACF first convened in 2007.  Morris is slated to moderate a “call to action” at the close of the education session.  Epps is one of three panelists discussing public-private strategies to develop a high-quality teacher workforce. Kennesaw State recently earned the distinction as Georgia's top producer of K-12 science an math teachers.  

“It is an honor to partner with CIFAL Atlanta and the United Nations Institute for Training  and Research (UNITAR) to bring together distinguished leaders from throughout the Americas to focus attention on the important role that innovation in education contributes to the region’s economic viability,” said Morris.  “This forum is a great opportunity to illustrate how Kennesaw State’s strategic focus on global education, engagement and enhancing our state’s math and science teacher workforce all come together to reflect real-world needs and objectives.”

The ACF, hosted this year by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos Calderon, brings together leaders of some 34 countries across South and North America, including ministers of economy, finance, industry and commerce, as well as competitiveness authorities from around the world.  The forum is considered one of the Western Hemisphere’s preeminent events for government and business leaders to discuss innovative methods to achieve economic competitiveness.   

Kennesaw State’s delegation to the ACF also includes Kathy Schwaig, dean of the Coles College of Business; Sheb True, associate dean of graduate business programs and director of the Coles College International Center; and Nikita Patterson, assistant professor of mathematics education.
The ACF’s first education forum is expected to attract ministers of education from across the Americas, private sector and civil society leaders, academic institution officials and educational experts.  The STEM-focused forum is presented through a partnership of CIFAL Atlanta, UNESCO and the Inter-American Development Bank. CIFAL Atlanta is a public-private partnership between UNITAR and the City of Atlanta.

“We are honored to be able to share what we have learned at Kennesaw State over the years as we have successfully increased the quantity and quality of new science and math teachers graduating from our teacher preparation programs,” Epps said.  “We also have developed a critical center for K-12 teacher development and support.  Both efforts are helping Georgia begin to meet its critical needs.”

During his presentation, Epps will focus on the importance of leveraging the right stakeholders when developing a systemic approach to improving science and mathematics education from preschool through graduate programs.

“I hope Kennesaw State’s A.T.O.M.S Center can be an example and eventually partner with government and academic leaders attending the forum as they seek to achieve similar goals,” Epps said.

-- Sabbaye McGriff                                                                                         


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