This story has been updated since its initial publication.
The Board of Regents voted Dr. Pamela Whitten to be the only finalist in the search for Kennesaw State University’s next president.
“Her academic credentials and expertise speak volumes,” said Board of Regents Chairman James Hull. “She has the training and leadership experience in public and higher education to hit the ground running, and she understands that, in leading a university, the impact on students should always be the highest priority.”
The BOR held a conference call Tuesday to discuss the three recommended candidates for KSU’s vacant president position, with Whitten being the only name disclosed by Regent Neil Pruitt, the chair of the BOR Special Committee.
“She believes KSU is one of the nation’s great public universities,” Pruitt said. “We believe she can help make it even better.”
Whitten is scheduled to visit KSU on Friday, June 8.
“I’m glad that they nominated a woman for this position, but I’m really disappointed that there’s only one finalist. We had really hoped that there would be multiple finalists,” said Dr. Carolyn Carlson, assistant director of the journalism and emerging media program and a member of the faculty senate. “She looks like a good candidate, and I look forward to meeting her.”
The names of the other recommended candidates will not be disclosed, said Vice Chancellor for Communications and Governmental Affairs Charlie Sutlive.
“The Board of Regents will take action on the finalist for the next president of Kennesaw State University at a future board meeting following the required five business days after the naming of a finalist,” a BOR press release states.
Whitten currently serves as the senior vice president for academic affairs and provost at the University of Georgia — a post she has held since 2014. Before working at UGA, she served as the director for telemedicine at the University of Kansas Medical Center before becoming the dean of the College of Communication Arts and Sciences at Michigan State University.
“Kennesaw State already enjoys a proud and storied history, and I am excited by this opportunity to take one of the nation’s great public universities to new heights,” Whitten said. “Together, we can expand successful outcomes and meaningful learning experiences for all students, boost faculty research and provide greater outreach services to improve the quality of life for citizens locally and beyond. I look forward to the opportunity to share my story with the KSU community and share KSU’s story with Georgia and the world.”
During Whitten’s tenure at UGA, 56 new faculty have been hired to reduce undergraduate class sizes, external research support increased 37 percent and summer enrollment increased 25 percent. UGA is currently tied for 16th in the 2018 U.S. News and World Report’s top public universities ranking.
She also holds three degrees: a bachelor’s in business from Tulane University, a master’s in organizational communication from the University of Kentucky and a doctorate in communication studies from the University of Kansas.
Marquis Holmes contributed to this story.