Pamela Whitten has announced that she will be stepping down as president of Kennesaw State University and has accepted the position of president of Indiana University, effective July 1.
The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia named Whitten KSU’s fifth president in June of 2018. Prior to her work at KSU, she served as senior vice president for academics and provost at the University of Georgia.
With the announcement of Whitten’s departure, the chancellor and Board of Regents will discuss next steps, the university said in a news release.
“The opportunity to serve as president of Kennesaw State University over the past three years has been one of the highlights of my career.” Whitten said. “I am honored to have served alongside a dedicated group of faculty and staff who each day deliver on the promise of putting our students first.”
With more than 41,000 students, KSU is the second-largest university in the state.
“President Pam Whitten’s outstanding leadership helped KSU over the past few years achieve record-breaking enrollment, historic funding for student scholarships and an R2 research designation that places it among a select group of colleges and universities in the nation,” University System of Georgia Chancellor Steve Wrigley said.
Accomplishments during Whitten’s presidency, KSU said in a news release, include addressing barriers to enrollment and graduation that led to two straight years of record growth with the number of undergraduate and graduate students increasing from 35,500 in fall 2018 to over 41,000 in fall 2020. This growth also included an increase in racial diversity, with self-identified minority students making up 48.7% of the student body in 2020, up from 43.1% in 2017. She led the creation and expansion of high demand majors such as cybersecurity, engineering, computer science and nursing and oversaw a significant faculty hiring initiative to address student demand for these and other courses, according to the news release.
During Whitten’s tenure, KSU acquired formal status as an R2 institution and she has led the transition to develop broad research themes, set research goals and expand the university focus on undergraduate research participation, according to the release. In fiscal 2020, KSU saw a 15% increase in externally funded grants and a 37% increase in external proposals.
During her tenure, Whitten also took concrete steps to identify and augment diversity opportunities across campus. These included the elevation of the chief diversity officer to the President’s Cabinet, the development of specific programs such as student diversity ambassadors, diversity liaisons in each college and a new Women’s Leadership Academy to help develop the university leaders of the future. Whitten also created a Presidential Task Force on Race to develop recommendations that will bring elevated priority and urgency to the university’s goal of an inclusive and diverse campus, the university said.