State of the University

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President Papp looks at what is ahead for the "New U" KENNESAW, Ga.(May 7, 2015) …

Georgia (May 7, 2015)

President Papp looks at what is ahead for the "New U"

KENNESAW, Ga.(May 7, 2015) — In his annual "State of the University” (SOTU) address this week, Kennesaw State President Daniel S. Papp praised the faculty, staff, students, alumni, and other friends and supporters of the university for the great work that led to the successful consolidation of Kennesaw State University and Southern Polytechnic State University, and provided a vision of what Kennesaw State could be in 2025.  “KSU’s future,” he said, “is incredibly bright.”

Papp also informed the campus community that much hard work lies ahead to achieve this bright future.  “Those of us who were hoping for a period of peace and quiet will be disappointed,” Papp said. 

The president delivered his annual SOTU address four times this week, to audiences on both the Marietta and Kennesaw campuses of the University, culminating with this morning's address to the campus-wide "All Board's Day" event. Today’s event – which is also held yearly -- was attended by nearly 200 persons who volunteer their time and talent to the University on a wide variety of advisory boards and steering committees.

The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia announced in November 2013 that Kennesaw State and Southern Polytechnic State University would be consolidated. According to Papp, while the past 18 months have brought a lot of change, they also have paved the way for the future.

“Indeed, we are at a new beginning for our ‘New U,’” Papp said. “We have the ability to create a future that is incredibly bright, for all of our students, faculty, staff, alumni, friends and the many communities of which this university is a part.”

Papp outlined the goals and objectives of the consolidation, which include redirecting additional funds toward instruction, educational, and student support; improving student retention, progression and graduation rates; and expanding research.

“While we will remain focused primarily on undergraduate education, our emphasis on master’s degrees and doctoral programs – including Ph.D. programs – will be expanded,” said Papp. “We also will increase our emphasis on research, including efforts to attract external funding.”

But as the University’s new mission is embraced and new milestones are achieved, there is still significant work to be done.  According to Papp, during the next two-and-a-half years, University officials must complete the following imperatives:

  • Submit a “Substantive Change Report” to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC);
  • Host a SACSCOC Substantive Change Visiting Team in early September for an on-site visit to assess the status of the consolidation’s implementation efforts;
  • Submit the 2017-2022 Strategic Plan to the Regents;
  • Develop and submit a once-every-10-years “Reaffirmation of Accreditation Study to SACSCOC; and
  • Identify and initiate a new SACS-required Quality Enhancement Plan.

To illuminate the rapid transformations that both Kennesaw State and the former Southern Polytechnic State are undergoing, Papp noted several key contrasts between the KSU and SPSU of 10 years ago and today – and prompted attendees to consider how the University might evolve in the next 10 years. He noted that creating the Kennesaw State of 2025 will require a combination of five crucial elements:  visioning, planning, funding, branding and working together.

“The Regents have already provided us guidance toward the vision of what we can become by designating us a comprehensive university,” said Papp, who explained that with that designation comes the commitment to making Kennesaw State a “world-class institution.”

As for strategic planning, Papp introduced several new members of the leadership team who will play an integral role in helping shape the “New U,” including Charles Ross, who on July 1 will become the University’s first vice president for economic development and community engagement.  “Charles will help assure that KSU focuses on two key parts of the University System of Georgia’s strategic imperatives, driving economic development and building community partnerships,” Papp said.

Funding was another area the president emphasized, noting that one of the expectations of the consolidation was the redirection of funds away from administration and back-office functions, and directing them toward instruction, education, student support and research. While the figures are not final, Papp estimated that between $4 million and $5 million, possibly more, would be redirected toward those purposes.

The president also was clear that the redirected funds were only part of the funding equation. “It is a statement of the obvious that the third parameter mentioned, funding, is critical for our future, and it must come from a variety of sources, from the state, external research funds, gifts and donations,” he said. “Which is why we will be working on a feasibility study to assess our strengths toward launching a campaign targeted on student scholarships and support, faculty and staff development and support, infrastructure and other critical needs.”

Papp also noted the critical role that branding has on the University’s future.  “If we do a good job branding KSU, all of our other tasks will be much easier to accomplish. Put simply, we need to craft a message about Kennesaw State that those in the outside world understand, accept, and appreciate.”

He closed his speech by talking about the possibilities that can be achieved by working as a team.  “As we continue to work together today to create a single university, and look forward to what we can make this university be in 10 years, I am reminded of one of my favorite quotes from a 16th century Italian you may have heard of, Michelangelo,” Papp said. “The greatest danger for most is not that our aim is too high and miss it, but that our aim is too low and we achieve it.’ Let us set our aim high for the next 10 years for Kennesaw State University, and let us work hard and together to achieve it.”

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Kennesaw State University is the third-largest university in Georgia, offering more than 100 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees. A member of the University System of Georgia, Kennesaw State is a comprehensive university with more than 32,000 students from 130 countries. In January 2015, Kennesaw State and Southern Polytechnic State University consolidated to create one of the 50-largest public universities in the country. 

 


 

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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