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About Indiana University's 19th President

A visionary scholar

Whitten comes to Indiana University with a diverse background of experience as an award-winning faculty researcher, internationally recognized telemedicine expert, and innovative university leader.

Alternate description for people using assistive web technologies.

Key accomplishments

Transformational leader

  • Transitioned Kennesaw State University to a formal research university, acquiring formal status as an R2 institution and recruiting new leadership to guide the university’s ambitious growth plans in research.
  • Created or expanded high-demand majors such as cybersecurity, engineering, digital arts, computer science, data analytics, and nursing at Kennesaw State University.
  • Forged ahead with ambitious plans to create exceptional undergraduate instructional experiences at the University of Georgia while improving time to degree.  Increased summer enrollment to shorten time to degree and generate revenue for the university. Summer enrollment rose from 13,515 in summer 2014 to 16,447 in summer 2017, a 22% increase.
  • Increased total online course offerings at the University of Georgia by 200% from 2013 to 2017. 
  • Added 30 endowed chairs and professorships, bringing total to 280, at the University of Georgia.
  • Elevated the University of Georgia’s U.S. News and World Report ranking from 21st among public universities in 2016 to 16th in 2018. Ranking among all universities improved from 62nd to 54th.
  • Built fundraising infrastructure and secured pivotal gifts and financial support, including receiving three largest gifts in Kennesaw State University’s history.

Student-centric

  • Developed and implemented a strategic roadmap to enhance undergraduate and graduate education, research and community outreach at Kennesaw State University. Resulted in two straight record years of enrollment and an increase of summer enrollment by more than 20 percent in two years.
  • Created the GAP Scholarship to help students facing financial barriers in their final semester at Kennesaw State University to finish and earn their degree. Since its launch in 2018, over 700 GAP Scholarship recipients have graduated.
  • Created and fully deployed university-wide experiential learning initiative at the University of Georgia. Effective Fall 2016, all 28,000 undergraduates embed a tailored experiential learning experience into their required curriculum.
  • Revamped academic advising services at the University of Georgia to include hiring 40+ additional advisors, creating Exploratory Center for incoming freshmen with undecided majors, revising orientation advising, enhancing advising services for transfer students, and implementing online advising tools.
  • Developed new university-wide linked degree programs to provide almost 150 opportunities for University of Georgia students to graduate in five years or less with both undergraduate and graduate degrees.

20%
increase in summer enrollment over two years at Kennesaw State University

Three largest
gifts in Kennesaw State University history

48.7%
of 2020 Kennesaw State University students were non-white, up from 43.1% in 2017

Advances diversity and inclusion

  • Established Kennesaw State University’s first chief diversity officer position, elevating the role to cabinet-level position and reorganizing to expand the scope and responsibility for KSU’s Office of Diversity & Inclusion.
  • Addressed diversity opportunities across the Kennesaw State University campus through specific programming (e.g., new women’s leadership program, student diversity ambassador program, diversity liaisons appointed in each college). Increased student diversity, with the percentage of the student body with race/ethnicity other than white increasing from 43.1% in 2017 to 48.7% in fall 2020.

Sports fanatic

  • Laid the groundwork for Kennesaw State University’s first varsity esports program, using input from students to expand beyond club-level intramurals and compete on the national scale.
  • Appointed to serve on the NCAA Division I Committee on Academics, working to support the association’s academic mission through the management of Division I policy, eligibility standards and the NCAA Division I Academic Performance Program.

22%
increase in summer enrollment at the University of Georgia

200%
increase in University of Georgia online course offerings

30
additional endowed chairs and professorships at the University of Georgia

Career timeline

  • 2018-Present: President, Kennesaw State University 
  • 2014-2018: Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, University of Georgia
  • 2009-2014: Dean of the College of Communication Arts & Sciences, Michigan State University 
  • 2007-2009: Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education, College of Communication Arts & Sciences, Michigan State University 
  • 2006-2007: Assistant Dean, College of Communication Arts & Sciences, Michigan State University
  • 2005-2006: Professor, Department of Communication and Regenstrief Center for Healthcare Engineering, Purdue University
  • 2005-2014: Professor, Department of Telecommunication, Information Studies & Media, Michigan State University
  • 2004-2005: Professor and Director, Health & Risk Communication Center, College of Communication, Michigan State University
  • 2001-2005: Associate Professor, Department of Telecommunication, Michigan State University
  • 1998-2001: Assistant Professor, Department of Telecommunication, Michigan State University
  • 1998-2005: Research Fellow, College of Human Medicine, Institute of Healthcare Studies, Michigan State University
  • 1995-1998: Inaugural Director of Information Technology Services and Research and Assistant Professor in the Department of Family Medicine, University of Kansas Medical Center 
  • 1993-95: Teaching Assistant, University of Kansas
  • 1988: Instructor, University of Maryland, Frankfurt, West Germany Campus

Select Honors and Awards

  • Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Who’s Who in Education – Top 100 Educators (2019, 2020 and upcoming May 2021)
  • Atlanta Magazine’s Atlanta 500: Education & Healthcare (2020 and 2021)
  • Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Most Admired CEOs (2020)
  • American Telemedicine Association Fellowship (2011)
  • Michigan State University Distinguished Faculty Award (2010)
  • Michigan State University Outreach Scholarship Award (2008)
  • Linkugel Distinguished Alumni Lecture Series Award, University of Kansas (2006)
  • National Library of Medicine and American Medical Women’s Association: Local Legends in Medicine (2004)
  • Michigan State University Teacher-Scholar Award (2002)