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It’s official: Pamela Whitten is Kennesaw State University president


As the sole finalist, there was no doubt Pamela Whitten would be approved as president of Kennesaw State University Today, the Board of Regents made it official. Whitten will start her new job on July 16.

Here is background from the Regents:

Whitten now serves as Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost at the University of Georgia , a position she has held since 2014. 

“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 Dr. Whitten’s campus visits last week. I look forward to seeing KSU thrive as she takes this important role.” 

“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 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 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 health care 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.


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About the Author

Maureen Downey has written editorials and opinion pieces about local, state and federal education policy since the 1990s.