“Please do not be disappointed if my answer to your question is ‘I don’t know. That’s going to be decided by the implementation committee and the operational committees as they move forward.’”
Such was the warning KSU President Daniel Papp gave audience members before answering questions posed about Kennesaw State’s consolidation with Southern Polytechnic State University.
News of the 2015 consolidation of KSU and SPSU caught members of both institutions off guard. In a town hall meeting held Friday afternoon in the packed Prillaman Hall auditorium, Papp attempted to answer the questions and concerns of students, faculty and staff about what the consolidation means for KSU as an institution.
While the answers to many questions remain unanswered until committees are formed to work out specifics of the merger, Papp managed to explain in some detail what to expect from the consolidation process.
Rationale Papp said a key reason for the consolidation is the decrease in funding for higher education within the state over the last seven or eight years.
He said there have been a number of consolidations over the last few years within both the Technical College System and The University System of Georgia.
“One of the major reasons for consolidation is to provide economic efficiencies,” Papp said. The money saved by reducing administrative and back office costs as well as “other duplicative functions” will be redirected toward instruction, student support and research.
“Another key reason for consolidation is to provide broader educational opportunities to students,” Papp continued.
He said the consolidation would allow students a broader array of classes without having to transfer to another university, adding that the merger would increase the number of extracurricular and co-curricular activities available to students.
Timeline Papp said the Board of Regents would meet Tuesday and Wednesday and “most likely give formal approval for moving forward with consolidation.”
After that, Papp said, he and SPSU President Lisa Rossbacher plan to create a 20-member implementation committee consisting of an equal number of people from each school. The implementation committee will then form a number of operational committees that will put together a number of “consolidation portfolios” to work out details regarding the merger over the course of the next nine or 10 months. Findings are to be submitted to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools at the end of 2014. The Board of Regents will then finalize consolidation plans in January 2014, and if everything goes according to the tentative plan, Papp said, the actual merger of the two schools will occur at the beginning of Fall Semester 2015.
Student Enrollment KSU has approximately 25,000 students and Southern Polytechnic has about 6,500. Combined, the university will have more than 31,000 students, a number that may increase with the creation of KSU’s football team and the construction of the 176,000-square-foot recreation center.
Papp said he has asked the Board of Regents to raise KSU’s admission standards for a number of years and has regularly been denied, adding that he does not foresee a cap being placed on student enrollment.
Cutbacks and Concerns Papp assured that professors’ tenure would continue to be honored at the newly consolidated KSU. Faculty members of both institutions have expressed concerns that teaching jobs may be lost as a result of the merger.
Nancy Hoalst-Pullen, an associate professor in KSU’s department of Geography and Anthropology, said she has concerns about what the consolidation means for everybody involved.
Hoalst-Pullen, who serves as the director of the KSU’s Geographic Information Science program, said she’s concerned because SPSU offers a very similar program and is worried the consolidation means many of her department’s adjunct professors will lose their jobs.
“A lot of these adjuncts may or may not be coming back because of that duplication,” she said. “Some of our adjuncts are our best teachers, so it’s a little disheartening to know what’s going to happen to them.”
Ronny Richardson, the chair of SPSU’s Business Administration department, said his faculty members are also worried about keeping their jobs.
“We’re relatively small compared to the Coles College of Business,” Richardson said. “They’re about nine times as large as we are. I expect that we will just be absorbed into Coles.”
Richardson has worked at Southern Poly for 15 years.
“I’m as worried as they are because we simply have no idea what’s going to happen,” he said. “At this point, I’m keeping all of my options open.
While the majority of Southern Poly’s community was upset by the announcement that their school would be absorbed by the much-larger Kennesaw State, many KSU students are taking the news in stride.
Andrew Bates, a KSU student studying Psychology and Sociology, said the consolidation is a good deal for KSU but not so good for Southern Poly.
“They got the short end of the stick,” Bates said, adding that SPSU is losing its notoriety as a school, particularly as a technical school. He said students graduating with degrees in technical fields will have the stigma of having attended a liberal arts school when they apply for jobs.
Jacob Meeks, a KSU Sociology major said he thinks the consolidation is good because it offers KSU students a wider variety of subjects to study.
“Pre-law and pre-med will be the only real undergraduate majors that we’ll be missing afterward,” Meeks said.
“I really don’t see this as a quote ‘consolidation,’” Hoalst-Pullen said. “I see it as more like we’re absorbing them and they’re going to become some sort of college of engineering and architecture.”
She said while SPSU will still have its own distinction, the consolidation seems one- sided and Southern Poly “has essentially lost everything.”
“To call it a consolidation, I think, is kind of a slap in the face for them,” she said.
Kennesaw State University and Southern Polytechnic State University will merge into one larger institution in 2015, the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia announced Friday.
News of the merger has left students of both universities perplexed, particularly at SPSU where students seeking degrees from the technical school were informed that they would be graduating with a diploma that says Kennesaw State University.
Chris Koronkowski, a sophomore studying computer science at Southern Poly, said he was blindsided and upset when he found out about the merger.
“I was a little bit unnerved,” Koronkowski said. “I come to SPSU because I’m trying to get a technical degree and I figured a technical degree is worth more from a technical college than a college that doesn’t specialize in technical fields.”
The consolidated school is set to have more than 31,000 students and will continue to be headed by KSU President Daniel Papp.
“The merger will be good for students, it will be good for faculty and staff and it will be good for economic development and education in the state of Georgia,” Papp told The Sentinel Sunday evening.
Papp said the merger is taking place for several reasons.
One reason he gave for the consolidation is the “tightness of the state of Georgia’s economic budget.” He said that merging the institutions would reduce administrative costs that will then be redirected into providing educational opportunities for students of both campuses.
“Consolidations in general have been discussed by the Board of Regents for a number of years,” Papp said. “This is actually the second wave of consolidation.”
The first wave began about three years ago when the University System of Georgia consolidated eight universities into four.
KSU’s Student Government Association President Katherine Street said she was shocked when she found out about the merger on Friday and hopes the consolidation will have minimal impact on students.
Street said it was interesting to see the reaction of SPSU’s student body to the announcement. Many Southern Poly students view the merger as a hostile takeover of their campus and fear the school will lose its identity. Members of the Southern Poly community have spoken out against the merger. Passionate students held a rally to protest the merger Monday evening in SPSU’s courtyard. As of press time Monday, more than 4,000 people have signed petitions in hopes of dissuading the Board of Regents from going through with the consolidation.
Daniel Kithuka, who graduated from SPSU in May with a business degree, said he was surprised by the news and that it caught him off-guard. “I’m not all that supportive of it,” he said. “I’m gonna miss what Southern Poly was and is. There was just something special about Southern Poly. It was a really small school, we had a tight-knit community and we just considered ourselves special.”
“One thing we need to make sure of is that students on both campuses are accommodated and that [everybody’s] interests are understood and considered before decisions are actually made,” Street said. “In order for this to be a success, I think there needs to be true collaboration between the colleges.”
Papp said he and SPSU President Lisa Rossbacher will put together an implementation committee that will guide the consolidation process, adding that the schools’ programs complement each other and that the union will allow KSU to open new colleges that offer a variety of technical degrees.
Papp said that while there has been speculation about the merger of the two schools for years, he only found out about two weeks ago that the consolidation would occur.
The two presidents held an open forum in SPSU’s theater Monday afternoon to answer students’ concerns. The atmosphere was tense and the crowd bordered on hostility.
Southern Poly’s theater filled up so quickly that hundreds of students and faculty were forced to watch a live stream from the lobby of the student center.
Kithuka said some positive aspects of the consolidation would be a more diverse student body and the chance for Southern Poly’s students to participate in Division I athletics.
“KSU does have more funding than us,” Koronkowski said. “I figured if the merge is set up correctly so that KSU gets a better reputation as a technical school it could
be better because we’d have more funding in our technical departments.”
Koronkowski said he spoke with SPSU’s president about the merger during an impromptu Q&A session she held outside the SPSU Student Center Friday afternoon. He asked Rossbacher about the possibility of keeping the school’s name listed on his diploma when he graduates in 2016.
The Marietta Daily Journal reported that Rossbacher said she was shocked by the news and that she had not been consulted by the Board of Regents prior to the decision to merge the two schools.
“She was definitely making it sound like she knew what she was talking about,” Koronkowski said. “I would have to assume that she did know about it ahead of time. You’re not the president of a college and get completely blindsided by the fact that that college is now merging with another college.”
Kithuka said that although the name of his alma mater will change in 2015, he still plans to list SPSU on his resume.
“As far as I know, my degree says Southern Polytechnic State University and so that’s where I will say I graduated from,” Kithuka said. “I loved my time at Southern Poly and I’ll always remember it as Southern Poly.”
Leading scholars of Middle Eastern affairs gathered Wednesday, discussing the causes and consequences of the Arab uprisings that have inspired millions to take to the streets in efforts to oust long-time dictators in pursuit of democracy for their nations.
The three-member panel discussion was coordinated by KSU’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences in conjunction with the Institute for Global Initiatives and the Ph.D. program in International Conflict Management. Panelists included Maia Hallward, a professor of Middle East politics; Marcus Marktanner, a professor of Conflict Management and Economics; and Rami Khouri, a Palestinian scholar and journalist who directs the Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut.
Causes and Commonalities
“The main causes of the Arab uprising, I think, were pretty simple,” Khouri began. “350 million nationals of Arab countries wanted to be citizens.”
The Arab Spring is the name given to the wave of anti- government demonstrations that have swept the Middle East since late 2010.
“They wanted to live a better life with more dignity, more social justice, more accountability, less corruption, more participation, more voice, more social equity and more basic human rights as citizens of those countries,” Khouri said.
He said although the causes of the uprisings are similar, the differences between the nations’ struggles are quite significant. He pointed to NATO’s involvement in Libya’s conflict and compared it to Syria’s civil war, which Khouri called “the biggest proxy battle of all time,” and an “existential war that nobody can afford to lose.”
In a New York Times article published the day of the discussion, Khouri called the conflict in Syria “the world’s greatest proxy war since Vietnam,” adding that Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the U.S. all have a vested interest in seeing how the civil war plays out.
“Everybody is fueling this barbaric war and watching the Syrians fight it out like gladiators ¬– one of them will live and one of them will die,” Khouri said Wednesday.
Islamic Militant Groups
The panelists were then asked to discuss the role of religious groups seeking to gain political power in the region by garnering support from citizens.
Khouri referred to the fringe groups as “militant, cult-like crazies,” who “use violence indiscriminately” and said they are trying to create pockets of Islamic states in the Middle East but have the support of very few Muslims. He said these Islamic militant groups can only thrive in situations of total chaos. He listed Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, post-war Iraq, Syria and the frontier regions of Pakistan as places Islamic militant groups thrive by gaining support in regions with governments that have been weakened by regional conflict.
“I wouldn’t call them religious groups,” Khouri said. “These guys are fringe militant terrorists. I would not dignify them by calling them religious groups.”
He said the Muslim Brotherhood was an example of a religious group, adding that they “use religion as a vehicle to do politics.”
Khouri then drew parallels between the religious leaders of Arab uprisings and the leadership of the clergymen who spearheaded the American Civil Rights Movement.
“These were people who ran churches. They were preachers,” Khouri said. “They also went out and led a political revolt.”
Hallward said if you look at the histories of the different countries involved in the Arab uprising, they have different legacies based on different colonial powers and different dynamics that led to uprisings and revolutions within those nations.
Role of Social Media The panelists also discussed the role social media and digital communications played in spreading the word of the uprisings and getting people to protest in the streets.
Khouri said social media played a vital role in the first days and weeks of the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt before the governments shut off cell phone and internet connections and news was spread by word of mouth.
“Social media in relation to the Arab uprising is like Paul Revere’s horse in relation to the American Revolution,” he added.
The panelists concluded the discussion with a conversation about the importance of communication between world powers. The general consensus was that the United States’ recently renewed dialogue with Iranian leaders is positive for both nations.
“You can’t expect the Iranians to negotiate with you when you’re sanctioning them and threatening them,” Khouri said. “Now we’re seeing a better way to do it.”
President Obama signed a bill Wednesday night to end the 16-day government shutdown and avert a default by raising the federal debt limit. The bill, which passed in the House by a margin of 285-144 and in the Senate by a vote of 81-18, will continue to fund the federal government through Jan. 15.
The legislation, while reopening the government and temporarily raising the debt ceiling, does little to deal with the deeper underlying issues facing America’s economy, namely a national debt approaching $17 trillion, the rising cost of entitlement expenses and a divided Congress that continues to struggle to work together.
“The primary reason for our debt is pretty simple,” Economics professor Andrew Pieper said. “We want programs that we aren’t willing to pay for.”
The federal government spends the majority of its tax revenue on entitlement programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, which account for more than 60 percent of the budget, said Economics professor Don Sabbarese.
“If the federal government does not address the growing entitlement expenses, the federal debt will grow from its current $16.9 trillion level to $20 trillion by 2020,” Sabbarese said in an email.
Economics professor Luc Noiset said he doesn’t think the U.S. will ever default on its loan obligations, but he doesn’t think the nation will have the funds to cover the rising costs of Social Security and Medicare either.
“Politicians need to face the American people and tell them that the government will not be able to fully keep the Social Security and Medicare promises that have been made,” Noiset said, adding that the programs need to be trimmed but not eliminated.
According to the Social Security Administration website, there are nearly 60 million Americans who receive a monthly Social Security check. That number is expected to increase dramatically in coming years as more Americans prepare for retirement. The agency estimates that by 2033, the number of older Americans will increase from 45 to 77 million.
Less than half of America’s workforce is offered a private pension by their employer and only 34 percent of workers have money set aside specifically for retirement, according to the SSA.
“Fortunately the U.S. dollar is the world’s currency,” Sabbarese said, adding that there is no other currency that can currently replace it, offering the U.S. an advantageous position when it comes to financing its debt.
“That said, the dollar under normal conditions (no default on our debt) is viewed as a safe haven for foreign investors and holders of U.S. dollars and assets,” Sabbarese said. “Should we lose the faith of foreign investors, the cost of borrowing would increase substantially and add even more to our deficit and debt level.
He said a federal default, although unlikely, would cause interest rates in the U.S. to skyrocket — not only on Treasury debt, but also on mortgages, car loans and credit cards.
“As a result, these higher borrowing expenses would constrain the ability of the U.S. economy to grow and create jobs,” Sabbarese said.
Although America’s debt crisis appears to be under control for now, members of Congress are becoming increasingly divided by partisan politics.
Congressional Republicans are adamant about not supporting Obamacare or any other bill that would raise taxes on Americans. Democrats are equally adamant about maintaining Obamacare and not cutting any entitlement spending. The partisan divide between members of Congress has made it extremely difficult for them to pass effective legislation.
“The American people are completely fed up with Washington,” Obama said in a speech announcing the agreement to end the shutdown, which he referred to as a “self-inflicted crisis.”
Noiset said he thinks Congress should get rid of the debt ceiling law altogether.
“It serves no purpose except to spark these embarrassing encounters,” he said. “Congress passes laws for all government spending. The debt is only used to pay for spending that has already happened. If they want to stop spending, they should stop passing spending laws, not refuse to pay the bills after the fact.”
“The reality is that Democrats and Republicans represent completely different worlds right now and there is very little overlap,” Pieper said. “When policymakers have to choose between compromising and getting re-elected, they are going to choose re-election.”
Kimberly Kilgore, a 21-year-old Communication student, died Friday after suffering fatal injuries in a road rage shooting off Shiloh Road in the early hours of Oct. 11.
According to Cobb Police, a road rage incident occurred between two vehicles that turned physical inside the Shiloh Green Apartment gates, where Kilgore was shot.
Kilgore was transported to Kennestone Hospital, where she later died after being taken off life support.
Police have arrested 22-year- old Sparkles Lindsey in connection with the shooting. She has been charged with aggravated assault and murder and is currently being held without bond in Cobb County’s Adult Detention Center.
Mark Evans, the pastor of Believers Church in Douglasville, said he has known Kilgore since she was little and was shocked when he heard the news.
“You just have to deal with the tragedy at hand, and you try to make sense of it,” Evans said. “There are some things we can’t understand.”
He said that rather than focusing on the tragedy of the incident, Kilgore’s family is focused on her life and “the seeds that her life planted into the lives of other people.”
“We all joined hands together in Kimmie’s room, and we just prayed that her life would make a difference,” Evans said. “Let’s just believe that this will make a difference for the good in people’s lives.”
Kilgore worked as a server at Collett Country Store in Powder Springs for about three years. The store has been raising money to help cover the cost of the funeral service.
Her boss, Rick Collett, called Kilgore a hard worker and a “fine young lady,” adding that her co-workers are devastated by her death.
He called her death senseless and extremely unnecessary, saying there were no words to describe it.
“You want to get mad and angry and shout and act crazy? That’s one thing, but to go and shoot somebody? That’s ridiculous,” Collett said.
Evans said a viewing will be held Tuesday, Oct. 15, at Clark Funeral Home in Hiram from 4-8 p.m. Kilgore’s funeral service is scheduled for 2 p.m. Wednesday at West Ridge Church in Cartersville.
A statement released by KSU said campus officials are preparing to provide grief counseling to members of the KSU community who were affiliated with Kilgore.
Friends and classmates of Kilgore are offering their condolences on Twitter using the hashtag #PrayforKim.
Student Government Association President Katherine Street and Vice President Khylil Chestnut were in Washington D.C. with SGA adviser Bernard McCrary for the 2013 American Student Government Conference when the scene erupted into chaos.
A woman drove her Nissan Infiniti into a White House barricade just after 2 p.m. on Oct. 3 before leading police on a car chase to the U.S. Capitol, where officers shot and killed the woman who had a 1-year- old daughter in the vehicle.
Street, Chestnut and McCrary had just finished meeting with Georgia Sen. Johnny Isakson at his office and were at the Capitol taking pictures when they realized something wasn’t right.
“As soon as we were about to take the picture, that’s when all the pandemonium started,” said McCrary, who witnessed police officers and members of the Secret Service take off running.
“We were on the street right in front of the Capitol steps,” Street said. “We were standing there about to take our picture when we saw policemen sprinting and putting on vests and running around with big rifles.”
“That’s when I was like, ‘OK. It just got real.’ Something’s happening,” McCrary said.
McCrary said he could see a car traveling really fast with police in pursuit but at the time didn’t know whose car it was.
“At that point, we didn’t know what was going on,” McCrary said. “We see these police officers running toward us with rifles and we hear these shots ring out. There were maybe five or six of them, it happened really, really fast. They were like ‘Get down, get down, everybody get down!’”
At that point, the three of them took cover behind a tree as McCrary protected the SGA leaders by covering their heads.
Street said in a situation like that, it’s natural to wonder what is going on and try to look around, but McCrary kept their heads down.
“He’s our adviser,” she said. “That’s what he’s going to do.”
“I felt like I was just doing my job,” McCrary said. “I didn’t see myself as a hero or anything. My instinct was just to protect them as much as I could.”
Capitol police then instructed the trio to get inside a guard shed on the Capitol lawn, where they crammed into the tiny structure with about 50 others.
From the shed, Street called her father to let him know what had happened and tell him they were alright.
“I wasn’t very emotional until I heard my dad’s voice,” Street said. “And then I started crying because I didn’t know what was going to happen and that was tough.”
“Nothing prepares you for phone calls like that, particularly from your daughter,” said Street’s father, Jay. “I felt like I was kicked in the gut.”
He said he had a difficult time hearing his daughter over all the people in the guard shed and felt helpless because he was so far away.
“I don’t know how many people were in there but it seemed like they were all talking at once,” Jay Street said. “All I knew was my daughter was in danger and there was nothing I could do.”
After police shot the woman and gained control of the situation, they instructed those taking refuge in the shed to come into the Capitol. The group stayed there from 30 to 45 minutes before they were allowed to leave.
“You go through something like that and it changes you,” Street said. “What I really learned was you can’t waste life. You can’t let it go by. You have to make the most of it.”
“It was an eye-opening experience and truly taught me to cherish every second we have on this beautiful planet,” Chestnut said.
In a heartfelt email addressed to McCrary, Jay Street thanked him for being there and protecting his daughter during a potentially dangerous situation. “While Norma and I felt absolutely incapable of doing anything to help our daughter in those moments, I want you to know how much comfort it was to us that you were there with Katherine and Khy ‘watching their backs,’” the message read. “I thank you for protecting my daughter, Mr. McCrary. We are so grateful that Katherine has the privilege of working with such a man of valor and a man of honor.”
KSU held a ceremonial groundbreaking for the $38.7 million construction of the Dr. Betty L. Siegel Student Recreation and Activities Center Thursday, Oct. 10.
The center is named after KSU’s second president, Betty Siegel, who was the first female in the University System of Georgia to head an institution. Siegel’s tenure lasted 25 years until her retirement in 2006.
The renovation is set to triple the size of KSU’s current recreation center, expanding the facility from 45,000 square feet to 176,000 square feet.
Vanessa O’Hara, the project manager for the recreation center, said the decision to expand the center was made in 2005 when the recreation administration staff realized that the current size of the facility was not large enough to accommodate the growing number of students on campus.
“There’s a lot involved when it comes to this project,” O’Hara said, which includes four gymnasiums, an indoor eight- lane competition swimming pool, an outdoor leisure pool, eight outdoor tennis courts, two sand volleyball courts, a 44-foot rock climbing wall, a 15-foot bouldering wall and an indoor running track. O’Hara said the design was created by Hughes Group Architects, the construction documents were created by Cooper Carry Architects and the center itself will be constructed by DPR Hardin.
Department of Sports and Recreation Director Tara Parker said the expansion is the result of years of hard work and that she is very excited for the new center.
“It came about several different ways,” said Parker, adding that the ability to offer more wellness and recreation opportunities should increase student satisfaction and retention.
She said the contents of the recreation center came about as the result of a number of student surveys conducted to discover what KSU students were looking for in a gym.
Parker said construction began about mid-summer and that she anticipates the project’s completion sometime in late fall of 2014.
“It’s going to be a welcome addition to the university,” said Vice President for Student Success Jerome Ratchford. “It’ll afford our students recreational outlets and sports outlets beyond our imagination.”
Siegel said she felt “absolutely blessed” when she found out the university would name its new recreation center after her. “How do you think I felt?! It’s an affirmation I’ve never dreamed of.”
Siegel called KSU a “spirited place,” saying that although she no longer serves as president, she still feels like she is here.
“It’s in my heart,” Siegel said, before commending the job President Papp has done since taking over.
The Republic of Ghana’s President John Dramani Mahama visited KSU Monday, Sept. 30, to present a keynote speech, read from his book and answer student questions asked by KSU President Daniel Papp in the crowded auditorium of the Bailey Performance Center.
Mahama accepted an invitation to come to KSU in July to conclude the university’s Year of Ghana study. His visit marks the first time a sitting head of state has visited KSU’s campus.
The West African leader made it a point to visit KSU’s campus alongside a delegation of senior Ghanaian officials during his U.S. trip to deliver a keynote speech on the role of democratic government and economic development in Ghana and the nation’s role in the modernized world.
Lance Askildson, KSU’s chief international officer and the executive director of the Institute for Global Initiatives, said he was privileged to be a part of Mahama’s momentous visit to KSU.
“This visit is a compelling illustration of the global engagement that Kennesaw State University has cultivated over the past 20 years,” said Askildson. “Although our campus is located in Kennesaw, Ga., our classroom is the world.”
“We are deeply honored by President Mahama’s visit to Kennesaw State University,” said Papp as he introduced the Ghanaian leader.
Mahama was welcomed to the stage by a standing ovation of nearly 600 audience members.
“For far too long, Africa has been discussed in both academic and policy discourse with pity and extreme pessimism,” Mahama said. “There is an obvious need to recalibrate the global direction of Africa. It is time to reverse that narrative.”
He said that while the majority of the world has experienced an economic downturn in recent years, many African nations are expanding economically, adding that the continent is the world’s second largest growing region in the last decade.
He said Africa’s GDP of $1.5 trillion is expected to double by the year 2020, largely in part because of Africa’s young workforce.
“In today’s Africa, information technology, especially in the area of telecommunications, has provided a continent with an unprecedented opportunity to leapfrog,” Mahama said. “I know this because I was the Minister of Communications.”
He said that while telephone connectivity in the region was one-tenth of the global average in the mid ‘90s, “the sector has witnessed phenomenal growth.”
Mahama said the vast majority of the region’s adult population relies on mobile phone technology for financial services such as money transfers and banking.
“Today, Ghana has an excess of 20 million lines for a population of 24 million,” he said.
A major contributing factor to Africa’s economic development, Mahama said, is the continent’s abundance of natural resources. He said that Africa contains about ten percent of the world’s oil reserves, 40 percent of the world’s gold reserves and 60 percent of the world’s remaining uncultivated, arable lands.
“Our greatest challenge is to put in place systems to allow these resources to be used to the benefit of our people,” he said.
After the speech, Mahama read aloud from his memoir, “My First Coup d’Etat.”
Following the lecture, Mahama sat down with Papp, who asked a variety of questions submitted by members of the audience. The topics of the questions included the role of women in Ghanaian society, issues concerning Ghana’s growing economy, the restructuring of the United Nations Security Council and the chances of Ghana’s national soccer team returning to the World Cup in 2014.
“What is the role of women in the future of Ghana?” Papp asked.
“Women are the backbone of Ghanaian society,” Mahama replied before listing a number of prominent government positions held by women.
“Our foreign minister is a woman, our attorney general and minister of justice is a woman, the minister of transport is a woman, the minister of education is a woman, the minister of health is a woman. . .” The president was interrupted by a burst of cheers and applause from the audience.
He said that in Ghana, women are to be found in just about every sector imaginable.
When asked about his decision to study history, Mahama said, “I’m glad I studied history, it makes you know the breadth of this world and how far mankind has come.
“If you’re just a little drop in history, just a little moment in the millions of years that this world has existed, why should you get angry? Why should you fight? Why should you kill each other?”
He said studying history helped make him who he is.
Mahama was born in Damongo, the capital city of the West Gonja district in the northern region of Ghana.
He received a bachelor’s degree in history in 1981 from the University of Ghana and a postgraduate degree in communications studies in 1986. He then attended the Institute of Social Sciences in Moscow to further his studies.
Ghana’s leader was elected to his country’s Parliament for a four-year term in 1996, and in 1998, he became the Ghana’s minister of communications. Mahama was elected to a second and third four-year term as a member of Parliament in 2000 and 2004.
Prior to his arrival in Atlanta, Mahama attended the U.N. General Assembly in New York.
Kennesaw State faculty members are deliberating on whether to change the process by which online courses are reviewed and approved before being delivered to students.
Currently, online courses must first receive the approval of a trained three-member peer review board before they become available to students seeking to take classes online.
Kenneth White, political science professor and president of the Faculty Senate, said the Faculty Senate Executive Council is considering a proposal to implement an additional way KSU’s online courses are approved by “offering an instructor-only training program as an alternative to the current peer review certification process.”
The proposed method would allow faculty members to become certified to create their own courses without peer review. The proposal has been met with some opposition in the Faculty Senate by those who prefer the current process.
In March, The Burruss Institute of Research and Public Service sent an online survey to all KSU faculty to gauge opinion on the matter. The 665 responses to that survey show that faculty opinion is divided over how the university should review and approve online courses.
Current policy dictates that peer reviewers must be “Quality Matters certified” in order to decide whether a proposed online course meets the criteria to become an actual online course. According to the Quality Matters Program website, the “QM Program is a nationally recognized, faculty- centered, peer review process designed to certify the quality of online courses and online components.” Quality Matters is the current standard used to certify online classes at more than 700 colleges and universities.
White said the issue with the current system is that it invites “non-subject-matter experts to tell subject-matter experts how to teach their course,” something he says “infringes on the autonomy of KSU professors.”
Douglas Moodie, professor of management and assistant director of the Center for International Business, serves on the Faculty Senate Executive Council and works as an online course peer reviewer. Moodie sent an email to faculty outlining his support of the current peer review process and encouraging all faculty to get involved in the discussion.
“I personally believe we should have peer review of all courses at KSU, not just online,” Moodie’s email said. “Peer review as well as student feedback is far better than student feedback alone. There are many types of peer review apart from the existing KSU QM process, which are not considered in the proposal.”
“There should be full consultation with stakeholders involved (including online students) and consideration of all alternatives (not just the 2 alternatives mentioned in proposal), before any detailed process is voted on.”
Moodie said the current peer review process should promote student learning and make it easy for online students to successfully navigate and learn in such courses.
“We currently have 369 approved online courses, many of which are offered through multiple sections each semester,” said Elke Leeds, executive director of the Distance Learning Center and assistant vice president for Technology Enhanced Learning. “There are an additional 99 course sections under development.”
Leeds said 8,438 students are currently enrolled in online courses at KSU and that the number of online degree programs offered has grown from seven in 2010 to 30 in 2013.
“When the online quality program was initiated in 2008, we had 37 online courses. Today we have over 450 developed or currently in development,” she said.
Leeds added that it is important to consider that not all courses or programs are suited for online delivery.
“It is really split down the middle,” White said. “I’m hopeful that a consensus can be reached to satisfy the concerns of all parties involved. “Faculty have shared many different thoughts and opinions about online teaching and the online course review process, Leeds said. “I don’t see it as a divide. I see it as genuine interest and a desire to be part of a discussion on online teaching, learning and quality.”
KSU got its first look at football in the newly-named Fifth Third Bank Stadium Friday night when North Cobb High School defeated Kennesaw Mountain 55-13 in the 2013 Civil War Classic. Kennesaw State University announced the creation of its football program earlier this year, but the program doesn’t officially kick off until 2015. Friday night’s rivalry offered KSU the opportunity to see what football looks like in the 8,300- seat stadium. Marty Elliott, the executive director and general manager of Kennesaw State’s Sports and Recreation Park said the meeting between the two high schools at Fifth Third Bank Stadium was the idea of Kennesaw Mayor Mark Mathews.
“Mayor Mathews was excited about the idea of bringing a classic rivalry to the stadium and of course we thought it would be a fantastic idea,” Elliott said Thursday, “sort of a community opportunity as well as an opportunity for us to practice since the stadium has not been used for football before.”
Thousands of excited high school football fans entered the stadium Friday just before kickoff. The Kennesaw Mountain Mustangs (1-2) were listed as the home team so their fans filled one side of the stands while The North Cobb Warriors’ (2-1) fans occupied the other.
North Cobb’s junior quarterback Tyler Queen stole the show. Queen, who is committed to Auburn, finished the night with six touchdowns – three passing and three rushing. He scored the game’s first points just 30 seconds into the first quarter as he ran the ball in from 18 yards out on a quarterback draw. This set the tone for the rest of the game as the Warriors picked apart the Mustangs’ defense, scoring at will.
The Warriors caught the Mustangs off-guard on their second play of the game when wide receiver Cam Albright picked up the ball on a reverse and heaved it 32 yards downfield to a wide open Torrance McGee to set up Queen’s first score. “I don’t think they were expecting it at all, really,” Queen “We practiced it all week and it was just fun to come out here and do something different for the first play.”
Queen, who is the son of North Cobb’s head coach, had an incredible 52-yard touchdown pass on North Cobb’s second drive when he found a wide open McGee to put the Warriors up 14-0 less than four minutes into the game. Kennesaw Mountain rush-heavy offense proved to be no match for the Warriors’ powerful defensive unit. The Mustangs attempted to move the chains by pounding the ball for 3 and 4-yard gains, but struggled to find gaps in North Cobb’s defensive line. They moved the chains well early on but couldn’t seem to find their way into the red zone.
Kennesaw Mountain’s senior running back Jamari Carter split carries with quarterback Nigel Hayes for the majority of the game and the duo had one rushing touchdown apiece for the Mustangs’ only scores. The Mustangs turned the ball over on downs in the third quarter and Queen broke a 53- yard run on the first play of the drive to score his sixth and final touchdown during a possession that lasted exactly 12 seconds.
The Auburn-bound quarterback sat out the entire fourth quarter, a quarter in which the game clock never stopped counting down. The “continuous clock rule” serves to bring high school contests to a timely end if the game is a blowout.
“I felt like I played pretty well but the score has nothing to with me,” Queen said modestly. “It was just an all-around great team effort.” After the game, Elliott said she was very pleased with the way football looked in KSU’s stadium.
“There were so many things that went really right,” she said. “I liked the fan atmosphere, the scoreboard looked amazing. The enthusiasm, the way it looked under the lights, the music – everything, in my opinion, went as smooth as it could for our first time.”
“What a great crowd,” said North Cobb head Coach Shane Queen. “For the first game ever here, I couldn’t have asked for a better crowd and just a great experience all around.”