Presidential Parking

Dan Papp defers to Brianna Foley, who won a chance to park in the president's parking space.

Dan Papp surrenders parking space, ending first campus climate study President Daniel S. Papp…

Georgia (Apr 21, 2014)

Dan Papp surrenders parking space, ending first campus climate study

President Daniel S. Papp fulfilled his promise to give up his parking space at Kennesaw Hall to a lucky student who took the first-ever survey assessing Kennesaw State’s openness to diversity and won a drawing during the two-month “Ignite: Your Voice, Our Future” campaign to encourage student, faculty and staff participation in the assessment.

In a twist that proved lucky for Papp and winning student Brianna Foley, she preferred to park closer to the Social Sciences building where, as a communication major, most of her classes are held. With a stroke of Papp’s pen and a little juggling by Erik Malewski, head of Kennesaw State’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Foley got her wish. She is now parking in a reserved space on Bartow Avenue, right in front Social Sciences and retains the space through the end of the spring semester.

“When I pull into my new space, people are sort of looking and wondering who I am to park there,” Foley said.  “I’m so glad I took the survey.”

Foley was among the 16 percent of Kennesaw State students who completed the climate survey, which was designed to determine how different groups view and experience the University and also how they believe other individuals and groups are treated. In addition, 34 percent of faculty and 54 percent of staff completed the survey.

“This is an amazing response rate, and it will help us do tremendous work over the next 12-18 months and beyond,” Malewski said.   

The goal of the campus climate survey, formally called the “Assessment for Learning, Living and Working,” is to better understand how faculty, staff, and students make sense of the University community.

Independent consultants Rankin and Associates conducted the assessment, with guidance from a 40-member task force of Kennesaw State faculty, staff and students. Valerie Whittlesey, associate vice president for curriculum, and Christine Ziegler, professor of psychology, co-chaired the task force, with support from Malewski and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

“We wanted to know the perceptions of each group, what they actually experience at Kennesaw State University and what they have witnessed other people experience here,” Malewski said. “Once we have this information, we can begin to understand more fully where we are at in terms of embracing diversity and inclusion. We will be able to examine, for example, if certain groups perceive and experience Kennesaw State as more welcoming than others.”

This fall, Rankin and Associates will present the survey findings to the campus. From insights gained from the assessment, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion will develop two or three action items that support best practices and address challenges in the campus community. After that, the office will work with each college and administrative unit to develop action items that reflect findings specific to them. A subsequent survey will be conducted to determine if interventions mandated by the study have been effective.

“We want to make sure we highlight what we are doing well and also where we have work to do,” Malewski said. “We want Kennesaw State to be a place where each individual – faculty, staff, and students – feels like their lived experiences and cultural backgrounds add to the fabric of the University and make us stronger.”

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-- Sabbaye McGriff

   Photo by David Caselli


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