Professor receives national leadership award

 Purcell ADP award

American Democracy Project honors KSU leadership studies professor

KENNESAW, Ga. (Jul 12, 2016) — Jennifer Purcell’s commitment to building stronger communities earned her a national award.

The American Democracy Project recently honored Purcell, an assistant professor of leadership studies at Kennesaw State University, with its 2016 John Saltmarsh Award for Emerging Leaders in Civic Engagement. She received the award at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Meeting in Indianapolis.

“National recognition for my community-engaged teaching, scholarship and service is both validating and empowering,” Purcell said. “I am fortunate to be a part of a university that supports and encourages my passion for civic leadership and university-community engagement. I am encouraged to continue taking risks, to work beyond my comfort zone and to span boundaries in order to create lasting impact for our students and communities.”

The AASCU cited Purcell’s achievements, including serving as associate editor for the Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement and helping lead a national workshop sponsored by the Engagement Scholarship Consortium. Also, she conducted a three-year research study that led to developing a model for community colleges to engage in civic and community engagement despite often having limited resources to do so.

“Dr. Purcell has furthered the University’s commitment to community engagement in meaningful ways, and she serves as a mentor for faculty who want to engage in the scholarship of engagement,” said Keisha Hoerrner, dean of Kennesaw State’s University College.

Purcell joined Kennesaw State part-time in 2012 as a first-year seminar instructor, and the following year became the University’s assistant director of community engagement. She has been a leadership studies assistant professor for the past two years while continuing to support the Office of Community Engagement as its faculty consultant.

Purcell said she is “most proud of the influence I have had on policy at KSU and beyond through my scholarship and professional service.” For example, Purcell recently contributed to Kennesaw State’s application for the Carnegie Foundation's Classification for Community Engagement, and she now is consulting on the development of the University's next Quality Enhancement Plan proposal.

“Both projects have and will continue to influence institutional policy and the allocation of resources while advancing the community-engagement agenda at KSU,” Purcell said. “These projects ultimately enable me to influence a broader student population, in addition to those students enrolled in my courses, who will become our next generation of leaders.”

Joining Purcell in Indianapolis for the AASCU conference was a Kennesaw State contingent of Michael Sanseviro, associate vice president for student affairs and dean of students; Tom Yannuzzi, executive director of the KSU Center for Student Leadership; and Ryan Keesee, coordinator of the University’s Thrive program.


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