Kennesaw State presidential finalist introduced to campus
Veteran academician Pamela Whitten met with students, faculty and staff
KENNESAW, Ga. (Jun 8, 2018) — Kennesaw State University presidential finalist Pamela Whitten was formally introduced to students, faculty and staff Friday in a pair of public forums in which she shared her vision for Kennesaw State becoming a student-centered institution.
Whitten, who was named the finalist by the Board of Regents Tuesday, addressed campus community members in town hall style events on the university’s Marietta and Kennesaw campuses. During each address, Whitten discussed her background, administrative experience and propensity for seeking out opportunities in which she can provide transformational leadership.
“I think Kennesaw State should be viewed as the gem of this region,” said Witten, who currently serves as senior vice president of academic affairs and provost at the University of Georgia. “Think about the potential when you have content experts in a diverse array of fields, and then you add on top of that 35,000 bright young people who are hungry to try new things and have ambition to apply those things in an area rife with opportunity.”
Despite its past successes, Whitten said the University should continue to be ambitious in a number of areas moving forward, particularly with putting students first. As president, she would prioritize experiential learning through internships, study-abroad opportunities and research alongside faculty members. She also believes an emphasis should be placed on efforts that could boost graduation and retention rates, and strengthen bonds with industry and educational partners across the area.
Whitten expects to draw on her extensive experience in academe. As UGA’s chief academic officer, she oversees instruction, research, public service and outreach, student affairs and information technology across 17 schools and colleges. Under her guidance, the university surged to No. 16 in U.S. News and World Report rankings of top public universities. She holds a doctorate in communication studies from the University of Kansas, a master’s degree in organizational communication from the University of Kentucky and a bachelor’s degree in management from Tulane University.
Prior to joining UGA, Whitten’s career included working as director for telemedicine at the University of Kansas Medical Center before joining the faculty at Michigan State University, where she ascended through the faculty ranks before serving as dean of the College of Communication Arts and Sciences.
Whitten also has experience fostering change with regard to diversity and inclusion. Upon arriving at UGA, she noticed a dearth of women in leadership positions and led an ad hoc group of faculty and staff in preparing women to take on administrative opportunities university-wide. She anticipates leading similar efforts at Kennesaw State.
“I see so much ambition at Kennesaw State, and I’m so excited for what this university is and can be,” Whitten said.
The Board of Regents will take action on the finalist for the next president of Kennesaw State at a future board meeting following the required five business days after the naming of a finalist.
– Travis Highfield
Photos by David Caselli
A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 41,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the second-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 126 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. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.