Diversity Advocates

  • Ms.Terri Arnold

    Ms. Terri Arnold began her employment at KSU as a secretary for the Dean of Students in 1971. During her time at KSU, she served in several administrative capacities that included Assistant to the Vice President for Business and Finance and, most recently, Manager of Planning and Strategic Initiatives for the Office of External Affairs. Ms. Arnold has been a trailblazer for African-American staff and women at KSU. Ms. Terri Arnold was the first African-American staff member at what was then Kennesaw Junior College and served on the search committee that selected Dr. Betty Siegel as the first woman President within the University System of Georgia.

    In thinking about her 44-year tenure at KSU, Ms. Arnold reflects on her upbringing. In her words, “That kind of drive and determination to be a part of something that’s moving into a different direction, I get from my dad. He’s my hero. Both my parents, that’s what I got from them, was this drive, this determination, this work ethic, to give my all. That’s just who I am, that’s who I’ve always been, and who I will continue to be.”

  • Dr. Rosa Bobia

    Professor Emerita Dr. Rosa Bobia joined KSU in 1985 as a Professor of French and introduced African-French writers into foreign language curricula through her scholarship on James Baldwin. Dr. Bobia also served as the Director of the Center for African and African Diaspora Studies. In addition to her work as a professor, Dr. Bobia was founder of the National Conference on Blacks in Higher Education (1988-1990) (alongside Professors Rodney Dennis and Harold Wingfield) and worked to create an inclusive environment for African-American faculty. In 2013, Dr. Bobia established the Dr. Rosa Bobia Endowed Scholarship to support undergraduate students studying Modern Language and Culture or African and African Diaspora Studies.

    Dr. Bobia reflects on her early years at KSU and her mentoring role as a Black faculty member. In her words, “Here (KSU), we had to be the mentors to Black students. We mentored ourselves, we mentored Black faculty members coming to the campus for the first time telling them, look, you do not survive here coming and being in your own department and studying your Biology or your Chemistry and think that you’re going to get tenure. You are going to survive because of this Black community that we have established here. That’s how you survive, but it is a tremendous, a tremendous effort.”  Dr. Bobia further notes, “In those days we had little time to sleep and play, we had to really work… Our discussions were on the importance of shaping a diverse community, and that was all worth it. We needed to do that. We needed to be proactive. We need to be active in shaping an environment here.”

  • Mr. Ken Jin

    Mr. Ken Jin, a 1992 KSU MBA graduate, is the founding Director of the Confucius Institute at Kennesaw State University (CIKSU). Under his leadership, CIKSU became one of the fastest growing and most successful Confucius Institutes across the globe, and earned the title of Confucius Institute of the Year in 2012. Raised in Beijing, China, Mr. Jin has been instrumental in fostering an appreciation and understanding of Chinese language, culture, ethics, and philosophy at KSU and in the state of Georgia.

    Mr. Jin’s contributions to cross-cultural understanding are emblematic of his deep appreciation of social relationships. According to him, “I think that there’s a lot of misunderstanding between the people in China and the US, but when the Chinese come to see the United States first-hand, and also have the opportunity to interact with people, I think they change their view of us. Because a lot of times they see the US government from the news, but they don’t have the opportunities to really interact with American people. So there’s a lot of misunderstanding. The same thing for our people who travel to China, and that’s why many of them come back to us saying how much they learned, how much they like the people, the culture there. So we’re more like a bridge to build a mutual understanding between the people in China and the US.”

  • Dr. Teresa Joyce

    Dr. Teresa Joyce began her career at KSU in 1987 as an Assistant Professor of Management. During her time at the university, she served as Chair of the Department of Management and Entrepreneurship, Dean of the Graduate College, and as the University’s first Associate Provost. Dr. Joyce moved to the University System of Georgia in 2014, where she served as the Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. Among many of Dr. Joyce’s accomplishments, she led the effort to implement KSU’s inaugural Safe Space Initiative, which trains students, staff, faculty, and administrators on creating an inclusive environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. In addition, Dr. Joyce endowed the Safe Space Scholarship—awarded annually to a KSU undergraduate student who advocates for LGBT individuals on- or off-campus.

    Dr. Joyce has been a tireless supporter of students and made significant contributions to improving the overall environment for those in the university’s LGBT community. She makes her views of students and the obstacles that many have to overcome, clear. In her words, “I am incredibly proud of our students. They are bold, they are thoughtful, they are much clearer at this state of their lives than I was when I was in my teens and in my twenties. I love the maturity and thoughtfulness of our students, and I love how our faculty supports our students. I think ultimately,[those attitudes] will win and I would just tell people to keep working. I don’t want to say be patient, that’s some of it, but it really requires active work. It requires speaking out; it requires some boldness, forge on. Things have gotten better and they will. I have absolutely no doubt that they will continue to get better.”

     
  • Dr. Nancy King

    Dr. Nancy King joined KSU in 1972 as a part-time Instructor of English. She served as a Professor of English, the Director of the Counseling, Advising, and Placement Center (CAPS), the Associate Dean of Student Affairs, and as the Vice President of Student Success and Enrollment Services until her retirement in 2008. Post retirement, she is a part-time Executive Assistant for Strategic Initiatives. In her administrative role at KSU, and out of a personal philosophy grounded in student success, Dr. King is focused on student retention and laid the foundation for International, Multicultural, and GLTBIQ Retention Services.

    Dr. King worked closely with former KSU President Dr. Betty Siegel. Once the Counseling Center (CAPS) was established, Dr. Siegel asked Dr. King to become Director. Dr. King recalls her reaction, “I said, Dr. Siegel, I don’t want to be in administration, I’m a teacher, and so no, I don’t want to do that. And she said, ‘Well, you come back and see me on Monday, after you think about it over the weekend.’ Well, bottom line is, you just don’t say no to Dr. Siegel. And what she explained to me, which I now believe is absolutely spot-on right, is that administration, if it’s done well, is a type of teaching. And she said, ‘You’ll just have a bigger class.’ And so that’s how I found the rest of my career. Some of the faculty side of my friends said that I went over to the dark side. But I loved, loved the jobs I had in administration.” 

  • Dr. Oral Moses

    Professor Emeritus Dr. Oral Moses joined the faculty at KSU in 1984 as a Professor of Voice and Music Literature. As a member of the Black Faculty Caucus, Dr. Moses became a pillar of support for African-American faculty at KSU. Dr. Moses, an accomplished vocalist, has performed oratorios and operas and recorded six albums. In 2013, Dr. Moses established the Dr. Oral L. Moses Endowed Scholarship to benefit voice students in the College of the Arts. In Dr. Moses’ words, his desire was always “to be a Voice teacher. I knew that the way to get to be a Voice teacher I had to take the path of be of being a singer, opera singer, and classical singer.” A graduate of Fisk University, Dr. Moses was a member of the famed Fisk Jubilee Singers. He was also a member of the singing choir during his time in the U.S. Army, traveling through Europe to improve post WWII relations with the U.S.

    Dr. Moses has witnessed KSU’s immense changes over time. He reflects on the importance of diversity-work for the University. Dr. Moses opines, “I’m as excited about this school as when it was in its development, but I would say the thing that we need to look out for is to continue to make it a place for all kinds of people. It takes me back to my high school days of meeting different people: Jewish, Latinos, Italians. There were African-Americans and Lithuanians. It was just all kinds of people that were there.  Gospel Choir (KSU) just had a concert last week, and I said to the audience that Gospel Choir was composed of 30 people, and I think we had maybe 4 white students in Gospel Choir. I said, wouldn’t it be wonderful if Gospel Choir looked like the university itself? And I think for me, one of my strengths has always been really enjoying all kinds of people. It’s not the colors, you know. And it’s not so much the nationalities as it is the warm blood that runs through our veins and makes us who we are.”

  • Mr. Bobby Olive

    In 1971, Mr. Bobby Olive became the first African-American faculty member at KSU. Mr. Olive worked as a counselor for the Higher Education Achievement Program (HEAP) and was instrumental in recruiting students from diverse racial/ethnic and economic backgrounds. After his time at KSU (formerly then, Kennesaw Junior College), Mr. Olive went on to direct the TRIO program at Atlanta Metropolitan State College where he then became Director of Athletic and Student Support Services and later Vice President for Student Affairs. Mr. Olive is a member of the Atlanta Chapter of 100 Black Men, a group that advocates educational success for black youth.

    Mr. Olive reflects on his role as counselor for the HEAP program and the importance of recruiting students for KSU. He visited all the high schools in the Atlanta Public School System and sought their support. Mr. Olive recounts, “I went to all the counselors in the Atlanta Public School System—High schools—and said look, I’m recruiting students. I don’t care what their grades are; I am recruiting students to get in this program at Kennesaw Junior College. They were taking bets on campus I heard, later on, that this guy ain’t gonna bring in no more than five students because at the time I understand there were only five African American students enrolled at Kennesaw. Now this was not an African- American program… I was recruiting mostly African-Americans but I also recruited White students.” Mr. Olive eventually contracted a bus and drivers to transport students from Atlanta to Kennesaw. On the first day of the program he recalls, “The day that school started, big bus pulls up, was no big yellow bus either like the school bus, it was a greyhound-like bus with 49 African American students on the bus. We had 49 African American Students in the program and 51 White students in the program. And the rest is history—they did well.

  • Dr. Robert C. Paul

    Dr. Robert C. Paul began his career at KSU in 1978 as a Professor of Biology. In the late 1980’s, Dr. Paul formed a faculty and staff group called Environmental Voice (ENVOI), to support maintaining green space on KSU’s quickly changing landscape. Since then, Dr. Paul has continued to advocate for a balance between the University’s expanding building needs and the conservation of nature. In 2008, he became KSU’s first Director of Sustainability. During his time at KSU, Dr. Paul has become a faculty expert on sustainability issues, faculty support for environmental focused student groups, and an advocate for protecting our campus resources and reducing KSU’s environmental impact.

    Dr. Paul incorporated his appreciation of different worldviews, which he gained in his experiences through the Peace Corps in Malaysia, in his approach to teaching students, faculty, and staff about the importance of sustainability. Dr. Paul reflects, “In the Western tradition is the idea that whatever is out there is ours for the taking and that it is not even our right, but our duty to go out and exploit nature. When you get exposed to other cultures, such as indigenous cultures, there’s a much more solid impression that we are in harmony with nature. And we better be, or we’re going to be goners. People on the edge of subsistence recognize that you have to be kind to nature or it’s going to be mean to you. There’s more of a natural sort of sustainability—just that we are part of the whole system. In our society we act as we do with our economy, that everything is linear. That you use stuff, you extract it from the planet and mold it into whatever we need and then throw it out. And you just can’t keep doing that. Understanding that everything is intertwined is something that is fundamental to understanding sustainability.” 

  • Dr. Jorge Pérez

     Dr. Jorge Pérez began his career at KSU in 1998 as Professor of Information Systems. Since then, he has served as the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning Faculty Fellow for Online Learning, the Associate Director of what was then called the Center for Hispanic Studies, and the Faculty Executive Assistant to President Daniel Papp. Dr. Pérez recently earned a American Council on Education (ACE) Fellowship and worked on system-wide strategy for the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education. Born in Cuba and raised in both Spain and the US, Dr. Pérez has advocated for the LGBTQ and Latin@ communities at KSU. In his current position as Vice Provost for Institutional Effectiveness, Dr. Pérez is charged with enhancing the quality of education at KSU and lead improvement initiatives.

    Dr. Pérez demonstrates the will and tenacity to challenge the status quo and enact change. As he says, “I think all of us hit points where we feel like the dark overshadows the light and I would say no, in fact you can sort of make the light shine even brighter, but it’s an act of will and there are those around you who will help. That is maybe the most important message: at KSU there are people who truly, truly care, and if you reach out, you will get support whatever your cause or issue may be. It is a phenomenal institution; it is an incredibly supportive environment.”

  • Ms. Carol Pope

     Ms. Carol Pope joined KSU in 1983. Originally tasked with developing a program to support students with disabilities, she spent 25 years serving as the Assistant Director of Disabled Student Services. In her role, Ms. Pope was a stalwart advocate for students with disabilities and ensured their success inside and outside the classroom. Before she retired in 2013, Ms. Pope spent five years with the additional role of Director of Student Development. In addition to her work at KSU, Ms. Pope co-founded the Georgia Association on Higher Education and Disabilities (GA-HEAD), a statewide organization that supports and trains professionals in higher education to better work with students with disabilities.

    Ms. Pope exemplifies the care and commitment of doing diversity-related work for historically underserved student populations. On her early years with students with disabilities, she stated, “I would do anything for them, other than do their education for them. I wish I had a nickel for every textbook I read into a tape recorder and I wish I remembered most of what I read because I’ve had two or three educations over the years. Before we had the ability to produce audio texts through a computer it had to be read out loud. I would sit at my kitchen table at night and on the weekends and read books into a tape recorder and then pass the tapes on to my students and they loved it because they’d hear my dog barking in the background and they’d hear my kids playing and they’d say, “it’s real – we like that it’s real!” But things that I could do that made the difference in whether or not students could finish school, whether or not they could do the things they needed to do was tremendously rewarding. I loved getting up and coming to work every day and not many people can say that. Not many people can say they love their jobs that much.”

  • Dr. Jerome Ratchford

    Dr. Jerome Ratchford started his career at KSU as the Coordinator of Minority and International Student Retention Services in 1988. Less than a year later, he became the Director of the Department of Student Development. After 15 years as Director, he became the Dean of Students and subsequently, the Vice President for Student Success. Throughout his work at KSU, Dr. Ratchford advocated for students and developed KSU into a place where students from all backgrounds, especially those who identify as international and minority students, can succeed in and out of the classroom.

    Dr. Ratchford emphasizes the importance of solidarity in enhancing students’ collegiate experiences. In his words, “I don’t have to teach myself student centeredness, I don’t have to teach myself an appreciation of students, I don’t have to teach myself how to listen to students, none of those things, they just come automatically over time. I think there is solidarity with students. In fact, I know there is, and a true appreciation and valuing of the role they play on this campus—and I’m not talking about the classical expression that we wouldn’t have a college if we didn’t have students—I’m talking far beyond that. I’m talking about valuing their presence, not an acknowledgement of their presence. I have also been committed to particularly aiding what I consider to be disenfranchised groups. I think we’re better off aiding those disenfranchised—to have them be positioned to take advantage of opportunities and to be successful. That’s part of my mantra, my philosophy, and my commitment.”

     
  • Dr. Harris Travis

    Dr. Harris Travis served as Vice President for Academic Affairs at Southern Polytechnic State University (SPSU) from 1982 until 1998. Prior to joining SPSU, Dr. Travis was a Professor at Purdue University and, from 1960 until 1972, he served in several engineering positions at the United States Naval Avionics Facility, Indianapolis, Indiana.  Dr. Travis holds the Senior Pastorate of Zion Baptist Church, a historically African-American church established in 1866 by former slaves, Marietta, Georgia. An educator at heart, Dr. Travis supported the opening of a nursery and Pre-K school, Zion Baptist Academy, and expanded Zion Baptist Church to include a library and multiple spaces for learning. In 2000, Dr. Travis was inducted into the Martin Luther King J. Board of Preachers. As a spiritual leader and educator, Dr. Travis connects diverse people throughout the larger community to KSU. 

    Dr. Travis explains his outlook and spiritual grounding, “Always look… and think in terms of being a change agent and to fight for that believing. You just don’t give it up…in the end it all pays off. Never give up.  I always think in terms how God has blessed me in a mighty and an awesome way, above and beyond anything that I have expected, and for that reason, I feel that I need to give back everything that I possibly can to help others and I’m committed to that.”

  • Mr. Frank Wills

    Mr. Frank Wills became the first Director of KSU’s Veterans Resource Center in 2010. Mr. Wills is a committed advocate for student veterans on campus, proactively advises and helps them navigate college, acclimate to campus life and acts as a liaison between the Department of Veterans Affairs and the University. Mr. Wills is also active in veterans student groups on campus and takes interest in issues pertinent to the veterans’ community nationally. A Marine Corps veteran, Mr. Wills utilizes his experience, knowledge, and passion to support veterans and add to the diverse community at KSU.

    Mr. Wills shares his insight into how the KSU community can be more inclusive for student veterans, “Get to know veterans…a veteran can be a little bit apprehensive, but once you get to know them, they really just want to transition and get away from the military environment. The only way to do that is to have friends in a community that are not veterans. Transition really helps. If you really want to help in that transition out of the military … you need people …that were not veterans. So my message is to get to know them, make friends, and reach out."

  • Dr. Robert Yancy

     In 1986, Dr. Robert Yancy founded the School of Management at what was then Southern Polytechnic State University (SPSU) where he became the first African-American Dean of a business school at a predominately white institution within the state of Georgia. Dr. Yancy is also the first African-American Ph.D. graduate of Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management as well as the first African-American Chairman of the Regent’s Council of Business School Deans and Chairman of the Regent’s Advisory Committee on Graduate Affairs at the University System of Georgia. Dr. Yancy earned Outstanding Faculty of the Year at SPSU in 2005-2006, with a nomination to the University System of Georgia Hall of Fame in 2006. As Professor Emeritus, Dr. Yancy combines his experience in education, business, and community advocacy to positively affect the metro Atlanta area. Dr. Yancy chairs SCORE Atlanta where he offers free business advice to the community and, as a member of the Atlanta Chapter of 100 Black Men, supports education for young African American males.

    As a proponent for education, Dr. Yancy explains,“If you want to make a lot of money, education will enable you to make a lot of money. If you want to help the poor and the oppressed, education will enable you to help the poor and oppressed. If you want to cure cancer, education will enable you to cure cancer. There’s nothing that you can do…that you want to do…that education won’t facilitate.”

 

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