Kennesaw State president praises progress, looks ahead to more

KSU State of the University 2016

Papp touts work toward becoming ‘world-class institution’ in annual State of the…

Georgia (Apr 26, 2016)Papp touts work toward becoming ‘world-class institution’ in annual State of the University address

KENNESAW, Ga. (April 26, 2016) — A great deal has been accomplished in the 15 months since the consolidation of Kennesaw State University and Southern Polytechnic State University — but much more work and progress is ahead, President Daniel S. Papp told faculty and staff in his annual State of the University address.

In his speech, given on April 25 and April 26 at the Kennesaw and Marietta campuses, Papp outlined the strategic steps Kennesaw State will take in the coming year. He also shared several successes from the past year, including a record enrollment of 33,400 students, more than 5,600 students earning degrees since the consolidation, and Kennesaw State’s classification as a Carnegie doctoral research institution.

“This University is on its way to becoming exactly what the Board of Regents, the people of Georgia and we ourselves expect KSU to be — a world-class academic institution,” Papp said. “Our University, our students, our faculty and our staff are increasingly being recognized and appreciated for the high quality of everything being done at KSU.”

That includes meeting two key objectives the Regents set for the consolidation of Kennesaw State and Southern Polytechnic State. The first is that in the current and upcoming budgets, the University is redirecting funds from administrative functions and putting them toward research, scholarship, infrastructure improvements and instruction and education — including adding more faculty members and advisors. The budget also includes no tuition increase in 2017, Papp said.

The second objective being met is Kennesaw State’s increase in the percentage of students it retains and graduates. Combining extra-curricular and co-curricular activities in the consolidation has afforded students more opportunities, according to Papp.

“New U students have a broader selection of activities from which to choose and with which to engage,” he said. “As a result, KSU’s retention, progression and graduation rates over the next few years should climb.”

As research takes on a larger role at Kennesaw State, the University could top $11 million in external research funding this year, Papp said. Fundraising also is on the rise, as two of the three largest personal gifts in KSU history have been given in the past year.

However, Papp noted, “much remains to be done so we can realize our full potential.” He outlined six major tasks the “new Kennesaw State” must complete:

• Strategic plan — A 42-person committee is in the midst of developing goals, objectives, mission statements and action steps for a five-year strategic plan to begin in 2017. The committee will gather feedback from the campus community in the fall and submit the finalized plan to the Board of Regents in December 2016.

• New master plan — “This project will envision and lay the foundation for the physical future of both KSU campuses going out as far as 2045,” Papp said. Town hall-style meetings have been held on campus, and additional ones will be scheduled prior to the plan’s completion at the end of this year.

• Branding and marketing project — Kennesaw State is teaming with a consulting firm to develop branding and marketing initiatives that will be rolled out next year. “This project will determine what the University must do to heighten local, regional and national public awareness of, and appreciation for, the new KSU,” Papp said.

• Capital campaign — A combination of those first three initiatives will help Kennesaw State plan and launch its next fundraising campaign, according to Papp. A “first-rate fundraising team” will identify the University’s greatest needs and begin the comprehensive capital campaign within the year, he said.

• Reaccreditation — Kennesaw State must submit a report in 2018 for reaccreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools — as required every 10 years — in preparation for the 2019 visit by the SACS reaccreditation team. “This might seem like it’s a long time away, but given how much work must be done, it’s not,” Papp said. Kennesaw State’s Office of Institutional Effectiveness already is compiling the report, which Papp assured “will be massive.” He added, “The report must provide detailed documentation of the extent to which KSU complies with each of the 88 items in SACS’ principles of accreditation. Many of those 88 items have multiple parts.”

• Quality Enhancement Plan — As part of the reaccreditation process, Kennesaw State must develop and submit a Quality Enhancement Plan “to create a campus-wide program that will enhance student learning,” Papp explained. The selection committee received several proposals and selected “engaging in transformative learning” as KSU’s new core QEP, he said.

“From my perspective, the good news is this — more and more students want to come to KSU,” Papp said. “In research, scholarship and creative activity, our reputation and productivity are growing.”


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.


— Paul Floeckher

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