U.S. News & World Report ranks Kennesaw State among most innovative schools in region

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First-Year Experience programs also earn national accolades KENNESAW, Ga.  (Sept. 28, 2015)…

Georgia (Sep 28, 2015)First-Year Experience programs also earn national accolades

KENNESAW, Ga.  (Sept. 28, 2015) — Kennesaw State University was named among the nation’s “Most Innovative Schools” by U.S. News & World Report in its recent “2016 Best Colleges” issue.

Kennesaw State University, ranked No. 6 among regional universities in the South, was recognized for its innovative improvements in the areas of curriculum, faculty, students, campus life, technology or facilities.

“We are proud to be recognized among the top universities for innovation, especially as a fairly young and newly consolidated institution,” said Kennesaw State University Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Ken Harmon. “This designation symbolizes Kennesaw State’s entrepreneurial spirit and our dexterity in creating innovative changes that benefit the entire campus community.”

“Most Innovative Schools” is a new category for U.S. News this year, added as a way to allow college officials to pick schools that the public should be watching. Presidents, provosts and admissions directors at peer institutions identified universities that are making promising, cutting-edge changes on campus.

Kennesaw State University, which consolidated with Southern Polytechnic State University earlier this year, is now one of the 50 largest public institutions in the nation. The University continues to provide innovative opportunities for the campus community:

  • State-of-the-art facilities such as the $38.7-million Dr. Betty L. Siegel Student Recreation and Activities Center with fitness facilities such as pools, multiple-story rock climbing wall and a multi-sport gym.
  • A $1 million National Institutes of Health grant to create career pathways in biomedical research for diverse students.
  • Academic degree programs in innovative fields, such as a Ph.D. in Data Science, as well as undergraduate programs in mechatronics engineering and computer game design and development.
  • An award-winning dining hall that serves farm-to-campus cuisine with fare from one of the University’s three farms.

In addition, Kennesaw State ranked among 26 universities in the nation recognized for its First-Year Experience programs in the "Academic Programs to Look For" category from U.S. News for the 12th year. 

Kennesaw State’s Division of Student Affairs and University College’s Department of First-Year and Transition Studies help students transition from high school to college life, aiding retention rates and building a sense of community on campus. As part of the First-Year Experience programs, students enroll in a first-year seminar course or learning community, where they are encouraged to study together, establish friendships and sharpen their critical thinking skills as they become globally engaged citizens.

As part of the ranking, only 26 schools were chosen from among 1,500 colleges and universities for their work with first-year students.

“This recognition is exciting and highlights the importance of helping our first-year students transition successfully into college life,” said Keisha Hoerrner, dean of University College. “When you add in the growth of our learning communities, our pilot project for first-generation students, the expansion of academic support initiatives on both campuses, as well as the master’s degree in First-Year Studies, University College plays an important role in our students’ success.”

Overall, U.S. News & World Report ranked Kennesaw State No. 71 among regional universities in the South.




Kennesaw State University is the third-largest university in Georgia, offering nearly 150 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees. A member of the University System of Georgia, Kennesaw State is a comprehensive university with more than 33,000 students from over 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 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