On the departure of SPSU President Rossbacher: Cobb’s loss Humboldt’s gain
April 02, 2014 12:15 AM | 3935 views | 6 6 comments | 40 40 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Cobb’s loss will be California’s gain with the pending departure of Southern Polytechnic State University President Dr. Lisa Rossbacher.

Rossbacher, the Princeton University Ph.D. geologist who has headed SPSU since 1998, will become president of Humboldt State University in Northern California as of July 1.

Since her arrival in Cobb Rossbacher has cut quite a swath, invigorating and transforming what some had previously considered a somewhat sleepy technical school seemingly best known for its annual motorized bathtub race. Her tenure has seen a change of names from “The Southern Institute of Technology” and the promotion to college and university status as well.

She added numerous new majors and academic programs in fields such as civil, electrical and mechanical engineering, as well as new media arts and game design. That tenure also included the PC revolution and the dot.com boom and bust, and SPSU has successfully ridden the wave to ensure its academic offerings are such that its graduates are highly desirable in the tech marketplace.

Enrollment also grew during the Rossbacher years by a whopping 78 percent to 6,500 students. And the campus, which at her arrival consisted mostly of aging and in some cases outmoded buildings that dated almost back to the school’s founding, has been transformed with modern — and in some cases modernistic — class buildings and other structures, as befits a school whose majors include architecture and engineering. The past decade or so also saw the construction of student dorms on campus in a big way, allowing it to seem less like a “commuter college.”

SPSU and Rossbacher seem to have “built a better mousetrap,” so to speak. So it was all the more astonishing when the state Board of Regents blindsided her, her students and the wider community with the decision last fall that nearby Kennesaw State University and SPSU would merge into a “new” college bearing the Kennesaw name.

The Regents chose KSU President Dr. Dan Papp to head the new entity, leaving Rossbacher the odd man out, so to speak. She now has landed on her feet — just as one would expect of someone who was among the first females ever selected for NASA astronaut training.

Humboldt State — whether it knows it or not — is about to take off for the next level, thanks to its incoming president.

We wish her the best.

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ForRealSPSU
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April 04, 2014
It was never the Southern Institute of Technology.

At one point before her it was Southern Technical Institute and during her tenure it was the Southern College of Technology.
KCinAGA
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April 04, 2014
Dr. Rossbacher was an asset to SPSU and to the county and state - and was a classy, highly intelligent leader. She will be missed.
moliere
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April 03, 2014
"Also, what you fail to point out is that by going with Papp at the helm of the combined KSU, you also have a world-class leader who is going to take that university to national prominence. SPSU has it's great points, but with Georgia Tech right down the road ..."

Talk about delusional. While SPSU competed with Georgia Tech (not really, as Tech is more concerned with research these days where SPSU's undergrad and master's programs are professional programs designed to meet the immediate needs of local industry), the more liberal arts oriented KSU competes with Georgia State and Emory (right down the road) and UGA (right up the road) plus a bunch of other area liberal arts colleges.

"The road to national prominence" for the #2 engineering school in a large state that has a booming tech sector is much shorter than it is for a liberal arts school. Seriously, KSU has miles to go before it even catches Georgia Southern, let alone Georgia State (don't laugh, Georgia State has the highest classification according to Carnegie ... one of the top 100 research universities in the country).

It would have been better to let SPSU continue and grow as a niche player to provide Georgia with top level workers for the tech industry (and I especially liked their new B.S. in education program with an emphasis on training badly needed STEM teachers for high school, one that is sadly going to end and get absorbed by KSU's generic education lobby factory) instead of creating an institution to compete with the likes of Troy State, MTSU, UNF and Coastal Carolina, because that is precisely the type of institution that KSU will have. And yes, all those schools have football teams too.
Mom comment
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April 02, 2014
Rosserback will bw missed. Women professionals are treated like third rate citizens in Georgia. It I often hard to keep your mouth shipwreck when you have to work under an ignorant Bubba. How dare did dr. Rosserback produce higher qualified engineered thuan Georgia Tech, or the end run by the good idle boys to add engineering figures at UGA.

Every change in the Hope is to try to give the Good olde boy students a leg ugly at keeping their hope scholarships.
moliere
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April 03, 2014
You miss "Rosserback" so much that you cannot even get her name right. And if you think that SPSU's products were "higher qualified thuan" Georgia Tech ... well let us just say that I am glad that you are not an HR manager for an tech firm and leave it at that. SPSU was different from Georgia Tech, but not necessarily better.

The interesting thing is that KSU only wanted to absorb SPSU after Rossbacher finally succeeded in letting SPSU offer legitimate engineering degrees instead of merely engineering technology. If SPSU still only offered ET degrees, KSU would have no interest in them, and SPSU would still be an independent institution.
Just Sayin'....
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April 02, 2014
While no one will argue that she has been a great leader for SPSU, the fact is that Rossbacher has been looking for a new gig for quite awhile, and while the public may not have always followed the story, I am fairly certain the Regents knew her name was being floated elsewhere and that she was interested. When your new job search is not exactly hidden, it is hard to believe you would be "blindsided" by the news that your employer had decided to displace you. Also, what you fail to point out is that by going with Papp at the helm of the combined KSU, you also have a world-class leader who is going to take that university to national prominence. SPSU has it's great points, but with Georgia Tech right down the road......
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