Board of Regents Chairman Harold Reynolds and University System of Georgia (USG) Acting Chancellor Teresa MacCartney have announced Dr. Kathy “Kat” Schwaig as the sole finalist for president of Kennesaw State University.
Schwaig currently serves as KSU’s interim president.
“I can think of no candidate more qualified to become KSU’s next president than the person who leads it now and knows its students, faculty, staff and community so well,” MacCartney said. “Dr. Schwaig has spent the past 20 years teaching at KSU while building relationships and gaining administrative experience that ultimately led her to become provost and then interim president. She has a clear vision to serve students and promote the university’s academic excellence while strengthening its research and service missions.”
Over the past eight months as interim president, Schwaig has focused on student-centered policies and practices aimed at improving retention, progression and graduation rates. This includes creating the Student Success Steering Committee, which works to coordinate and improve student success initiatives at a university that currently offers over 165 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees and serves just under 43,000 students.
Among other accomplishments, she also created a new campus communication structure, successfully engaged with donors to raise money for scholarships, coordinated strategic and tactical planning for campus and athletic facilities and expanded the university’s overall strategic framework, the R2 Roadmap, by adding a new focus to build engagement both on-campus and with community and business partners.
This work furthers many of Schwaig’s efforts as KSU provost, when she was responsible for all aspects of the university’s academic mission including the planning, budgeting and reviewing of programs in instruction, research and continuing education. She also supervised the deans of KSU’s 11 colleges and led the faculty in their efforts to strengthen academic programs and foster a culture of academic excellence.
“Dr. Schwaig has been an outstanding leader for KSU not only as interim president, but as its provost and longtime faculty leader and professor,” said Regent Neil L. Pruitt Jr., chair of the Regents Special Committee which also helped with the search. “She has a demonstrated track record of putting students, faculty and staff first, and would be a great fit for a university and campus community she already knows so well.”
Schwaig previously served as the Dinos Eminent Scholar Chair of Entrepreneurial Management and professor of information systems, as well as the dean of KSU’s Michael J. Coles College of Business, a position she held from 2012 to 2019. Schwaig joined the faculty at KSU in 2002, giving her almost 20 years of teaching and professional experience as an Owl.
During her tenure as business school dean, the college’s reputation rose including its part-time MBA being ranked among the top 25 in the nation and first in Georgia among public institutions by Bloomberg Businessweek (2018). CEO magazine (2018) ranked the Executive MBA program first in Georgia and seventh nationally. The Online MBA program was ranked in the Top 20 nationally and first in Georgia by U.S. News and World Report (2019).
In addition, Schwaig led the college through two successful reaccreditation reviews by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International) and was instrumental in bringing in $13 million in philanthropic gifts.
“Promoting academic excellence has been central in each of my leadership roles at KSU and I am honored to be given a chance to continue that work,” Schwaig said. “KSU is a special place, and I believe my experience along with my profound affection and appreciation for the institution and its people can make a difference as we move forward. I would be honored to lead the university into its next chapter.”
Schwaig has held several faculty and leadership roles at KSU, including interim and associate dean, interim department chair for the Department of Accounting and interim department chair for the Department of Computer Science and Information Systems in the University’s College of Science and Mathematics. Prior to joining KSU, Schwaig held faculty positions at Georgia State University, the University of South Carolina and Baylor University.
A native of central Texas, Schwaig earned a BBA in Accounting and an MBA in Information Systems from Baylor University, a Master’s of Liberal Arts from Johns Hopkins University, and a Ph.D. in Information Systems from the University of South Carolina.
The Board of Regents will take action on the position at a future board meeting, no sooner than five days from naming a finalist.
University System of Georgia