Today, the Board of Regents named Pamela Whitten Ph.D. president of Kennesaw State University (KSU). Whitten will begin her new position on July 16. Whitten currently serves as senior vice president for Academic Affairs and the provost at the University of Georgia (UGA), a position she has held since 2014.

The hire follows the formal hiring of the university’s then-acting police chief, Edward Stephens, on June 7. Stephens was named acting chief in August after Roger Stearns resigned after an internal review surrounding unspecified leadership concerns, KSU officials said at the time.

“It is an honor and privilege to join the KSU community,” Whitten said. “I am thrilled to be able to partner with the entire Owl Nation to champion our students, faculty, and staff across Georgia and beyond.”

As UGA’s chief academic officer, Whitten oversees instruction, research, public service and outreach, student affairs and information technology — a portfolio that includes 17 schools and colleges with 37,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students.

Among other initiatives, UGA during her tenure hired 56 new faculty members to reduce class sizes for undergraduates, increased external research support 37 percent, added 30 endowed chairs and professorships and increased summer enrollment by 25 percent.

The campus launched a new learning requirement to give undergraduates out-of-classroom experience through internships, research and other forms of experiential learning. According to the 2018 U.S. News and World Report rankings, UGA over the past three years has jumped from #21 to #16 among the top public universities in the nation.

Prior to joining UGA, Whitten’s career included working as the director for telemedicine at the University of Kansas Medical Center before she joined the faculty at Michigan State University, where she worked her way up through the faculty ranks before eventually serving as dean of the College of Communication Arts and Sciences.

She is an internationally recognized expert in the field of telemedicine — the remote delivery of healthcare services and information — and has conducted research with nearly $30 million in funding from agencies such as the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Commerce. She has co-authored two books and published more than 100 peer-reviewed research articles and book chapters.

Whitten holds a Ph.D. in communication studies from the University of Kansas, a master’s degree in organizational communication from the University of Kentucky and a bachelor of science in management degree from Tulane University. Among other organizations, she sits on the boards of the UGA Athletics Association, UGA Foundation, Georgia Museum of Art and Georgia Humanities.

“Dr. Whitten brings a deep commitment toward building an outstanding academic experience for students, as well as an uncompromising dedication toward quality research and leadership that will serve KSU and its community well,” said University System of Georgia Chancellor Steve Wrigley. “We are excited about the feedback from students, faculty, and staff who participated in Whitten’s campus visits last week. I look forward to seeing KSU thrive as she takes this important role.”

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