• Academic Year Recap

    By Karin Scarpinato
    May 14, 2024

    As we celebrate the end of another academic year, I want to commend everyone for their hard work and dedication. It has been a year marked by significant advancements and exciting changes within our research community. As Kennesaw State University finalizes its new strategic plan, it is clear that our research initiatives are set to play a pivotal role in elevating our university to national prominence.

    Recognizing the growing importance of interdisciplinary research, we established our Research Communities to harness the collective expertise of our faculty across four dynamic themes: Applied Technologies, Sustainable Communities, Innovative Creativity, and Health & Wellness. These communities, each led by three distinguished research faculty, have successfully formed robust interdisciplinary teams now actively pursuing impactful outcomes, including publications, funding, and performances.

    Looking ahead, we are excited to continue our collaboration with each college's leadership to enhance support for these teams. Our goal is to foster state and regional interdisciplinary collaborations that will amplify our research impact.

    The upcoming academic year promises further growth with the initiation of cluster hires focused on each Research Community, yet firmly rooted within our colleges. This strategic integration will strengthen our academic units and expand our research capabilities.

    In support of these interdisciplinary areas, we are committed to providing enhanced resources for research staff and seed funding, particularly for larger teams striving for significant research outcomes. We are enthusiastic about the future and the opportunities it holds for the KSU research community as we continue to build on our strong foundation of collaborative and innovative research.

    This past academic year, we have also made significant strides in bolstering our operational capabilities. The establishment of a robust research development unit under the leadership of Dr. Heather Abbott-Lyon and with the support of our new colleagues Sierra Hovat and Dasha Chapman is primed to enhance our research support significantly. Additionally, our commitment to expanding corporate engagement has been strengthened by the recruitment of Joshua Davis, who has swiftly begun to forge valuable external partnerships.

    We've also seen transformative changes in the Office of Sponsored Programs, including critical staffing additions, structural reorganization, and a comprehensive upgrade of our Cayuse system to streamline operations. Looking ahead to the new academic year, we are excited about the implementation of two additional Cayuse modules that will enhance transparency in post-award processes and bolster our intellectual property protections.

    A notable innovation will be the launch of our “Research Concierge” program, which promises personalized support for our researchers by assigning a dedicated point of contact to each, thereby ensuring meticulous project management and timely completion of all research and funding-related tasks.

    Moreover, the Office of Research is set to expand its strategic capabilities with the addition of a data analyst and an AI strategist. This expansion will enable us to base our strategic decisions on solid data and metrics. Expect to see greater transparency through the development of new dashboards that will provide real-time insights into our research metrics.

    At the university level, we are collaborating closely with Academic Affairs to ensure our policies and procedures robustly support the ambitious research growth necessary to propel KSU toward national prominence. As we transition into summer, I encourage you to take this time to relax and recharge, gearing up for what promises to be another exciting and productive academic year.

      • As the semester approaches its conclusion, here's a roundup of the latest from KSU Research:

        — Research Metrics Goals: We've concluded discussions with the Deans and ADRs, setting specific research metrics for each college. If you're interested in the specifics, please contact your college leadership.

        — Research Communities: Our research communities are actively forming teams, with the first iteration of their websites now live for review.

        — Communication Enhancements: We are developing new methods to provide more personalized updates to our researchers and faculty. Stay tuned for more details.

        — KSU Inventors Dinner: Last month, we celebrated our researchers who are advancing to the intellectual property protection/commercialization phase at our inaugural Inventors Dinner.

        — Spring Symposium on Undergraduate Research: With over 400 attendees, the symposium was a testament to our commitment to undergraduate research.

        — Seed Funding for Research: We're currently reviewing pitches for the first round of internal seed funding, which supports pilot data creation for external grant applications.

        — Career Opportunities: We're hiring for several positions, including the permanent role of AVP for Innovation & Commercialization. We're also introducing a Research Concierge as the sole point of contact for researchers to provide streamlined project management of pre- and post-award, and a Research Data Analyst to enhance our data-driven strategy. Click here for more details and consider referring potential candidates.

        — Collaboration with UGA: We've submitted a collaborative NSF grant with UGA's Innovation Gateway team, marking the start of formal collaboration.

        — Other External Engagements: Our recent participation in the Symposium on Asia – USA Partnership Opportunities (SAUPO) drew a record attendance. We also hosted the Georgia Department of Economic Development and the Metro Atlanta Chamber for tours of our research facilities.

        For more information on any of these initiatives or to get involved, please reach out to our office.

      • Our last fortnight was abuzz with noteworthy networking activities across our colleges. SPCEET's collaboration with WCHHS in Marietta was a highlight, featuring engaging research presentations and sparking potential partnerships. The industry showcase by CCSE was equally impressive, with Dr. Valero’s “GlucoCheck” pitch earning well-deserved accolades.

        KSU made a remarkable impact at the Atlanta Science Festival with 13 exhibits, standing tall alongside other Georgia universities. Our gratitude extends to all participating colleges and Tyler Reinagel for his leadership.

        Our outreach continued with a visit to GA Southern, where we exchanged insights with the outgoing VPR, Chris Curtis and incoming VPR, David Weindorf, and explored possible collaborative ventures. Preliminary talks with industry partners also promise to enhance our research trajectory.

        These are strides in affirming KSU’s commitment to collaborative research growth and innovation.

        Our internal “Research Communities” are rapidly progressing, forming dedicated teams and advisory boards. Their online presence will be launched soon, providing broader visibility to their initiatives. The Academic Leadership Spring meeting’s research-centric discussions offered a timely platform to share these updates with colleges and departments.

        We are expanding our collaborative horizon by joining forces with external partners like UGA. Together, we're drafting innovation-centric grant proposals and exploring ecology/agriculture collaborations, leveraging our Field Station's capabilities.

      • Successful Networking Sparks Collaboration at Coles College and CCSE

        Last week’s networking event hosted by the Coles College of Business and the College of Computing and Software Engineering (CCSE) was a success, establishing a platform for researchers to explore and share their projects, eager to seek interdisciplinary collaboration opportunities.

        Inaugural Research Analytics Summit: A Leap Towards Data-Driven Excellence

        Our active participation in the groundbreaking Research Analytics Summit has already yielded tangible benefits.

        This pivotal gathering connected nearly 200 professionals dedicated to embedding data analytics into the core of research activities such as strategic planning, capacity enhancement, and improvements to grant management. Our engagement has led to securing mentorship from two institutions, which will be instrumental as we establish our own Research Data Analytics Office. Anticipate a surge in data-informed initiatives emanating from this endeavor. Moreover, the summit provided grounds for networking, potentially leading to further collaborative ventures.

        Customized Research Metrics and College-Specific Goals: An Ongoing Dialogue

        Our team is in the midst of discussions with college deans and Associate Deans of Research (ADRs) to craft customized research metrics and objectives. These metrics will reflect the unique scholarly focus of each college. We encourage faculty to liaise with their college leadership to gain insights into the proposed metrics and align with the overarching goals.

        Streamlining Faculty Onboarding and Research Engagement

        On the administrative front, together with Faculty Affairs, we are updating faculty hiring protocols to streamline the onboarding process. These improvements are designed to trigger timely engagement with the Research Office, ensuring that we support new faculty members from the outset of their journey at our university.

        Welcome Joshua Davis: Our New Director of Industry Engagement

        This week marks the arrival of Joshua Davis, our new Director of Industry Engagement. Joshua is currently familiarizing himself with the university's framework, our roles, and the diverse responsibilities we hold. As he embarks on this exploratory phase, we invite the university community to extend a warm welcome and offer support.

      • Our "Research Communities" are bustling with activity, recruiting members and strategizing next steps, including exploring pertinent funding opportunities and assembling advisory boards. Additionally, they are diligently working on setting up their respective websites, so stay tuned for more updates.

        Posters at the Capitol

        We recently participated in Posters at the Georgia Capitol, enjoying a strong turnout and engaging conversations with various legislators, students, and leadership.

        I also had the privilege of attending the Regional Southeast Clinical & Translational Science conference last week. Strengthening connections with other regional biomedical units promises to bolster our health-related research endeavors. Looking ahead, I am for broader participation from both students and researchers at this event in the coming years.

        Ebony Glover

        Attending the annual reception of the Georgia Academy of Sciences, hosted at the Tellus Museum, was a delightful experience. Our own Dr. Ebony Glover took the stage as the keynote speaker, delivering an enlightening address on the significant role of hormone levels in shaping our responses to life's challenges and surprises. It was an engaging and thought-provoking presentation.

        Since my last update, many meetings and events have taken place. I had the pleasure of joining some of our exceptional undergraduate researchers for breakfast. Their stories about becoming exposed to research and the profound impact it has had on their lives were truly captivating. You can catch a glimpse of the event in this brief video.

        Over the weekend, I had the pleasure of witnessing our Aerial Robotics Competition team conduct their final test flights ahead of their upcoming competition in Lakeland, FL.

        This dedicated student club has crafted a remote-controlled airplane equipped with an autonomously operating payload, showcasing a remarkable fusion of engineering and computer science skills. The capabilities demonstrated by their meticulously constructed plane are truly remarkable.

        Wishing our talented student team the very best of luck as they take on the competition!

        Aerial Robotics Competition Team

        In our commitment to better support our researchers, we are in the process of hiring our first "Research Liaison" - a dedicated project manager assigned to each college to serve as the primary point of contact for all research-related matters. Expect more details on this initiative very soon.

        Exciting news: the Office of Research is welcoming Joshua Davis as our inaugural Director for Industry Engagement, a pivotal role to improve our corporate engagement under our Innovation & Commercialization unit. Please join me in extending a warm welcome to him as he joins our team on March 11.

        — Karin

      • Congratulations to our fantastic undergraduate researchers, some of whom were able to display their research in the State Capitol yesterday and garnered interest by our legislative team.

        As I mentioned in my previous post, we were in the process of hiring a "non-STEM Research Development Faculty Fellow" who will assist our office with identifying ways and initiatives to support research in the non-STEM areas. After interviewing applicants from all colleges with non-STEM related research, we are pleased to announce that Dasha Chapman from the Department of Dance in COTA has accepted our offer. Please welcome her to this new Faculty Fellow position.

        The Research Champions, faculty overseeing the new Research Communities (Applied Technologies, Innovative Creativity, OneHealth, Sustainable Communities) are looking for members into the communities. If you have a research interest that fits either or all of these themes, please contact them. More information can be found here.

        We are in the process of revamping the previous Summer Research Fellows program, also look out for more information to come soon.

        Our Office of Sponsored Programs is undergoing a reorganization that will hopefully assist with supporting our researchers better. When one of our staff should be out of the office, another will be able to fill in. We are also now launching a pilot of a Research Project Coordinator. Each faculty member will have one point of contact in our office for any research-related tasks. This coordinator will delegate and facilitate interactions with any of the appropriate administrative units, so the researcher does not need to worry about whom to contact for what. We will pilot this approach with one or two colleges for now, but hope to grow it university-wide in the next fiscal year.

        On the Innovation & Commercialization site, we are finalizing the search for the Director of Industry Engagement, look out for an announcement coming soon.

        We are continually improving our communication processes. If you would like to hear updates from our office beyond those listed here, please talk to your college's Associate Dean for Research.
        Lastly, don't forget to sign up for one of our "Breakfasts with the VPR"! - Happy researching!

        — Karin

      • The Office of Research continues to be busy improving processes and procedures to better support our researchers in their endeavors. As such, we have begun interviewing internal candidates for a Non-STEM Faculty Fellow within the Research Development & Strategic Initiatives unit. The successful candidate will assist our team, which is primarily set up to support funding opportunities in the STEM areas, to identify initiatives that support non-STEM areas, such as the Humanities, Arts and Business. We will announce the successful candidate as soon as s/he has been identified.

        Last week I attended the "Government-University-Industry-Research Roundtable", a subsidiary of the National Academies. This month's area of discussion was how to support K-12 students to create the foundations for innovation. Panelists from federal sponsors, universities and school districts were presenting on how they support entrepreneurship at that grade level. Please contact me if you have an interest in this topic and would like to hear more.

        We will continue our "Breakfasts with the VPR" thru the end of the semester, please contact Heather Hedgepeth to RSVP.

        I hope everyone has a nice Valentine's Day!

        — Karin

      • All of the new "Research Communities" have had their first networking/member recruitment event. At these events, initial topic areas for collaboration were being discussed around which research teams may be formed to pursue research outcomes, including funding opportunities. Please look out for communication from your Research Champions who are leading these efforts. An application form will be included to apply for membership, if you are interested in participating. We look forward to meeting you at some of the next events and initiatives that are being scheduled for the Research Communities.

        Our office has begun curating funding opportunities that are listed on a new website from our new vendor, InfoReady, which can be accessed here. While this list is by no means exhaustive or comprehensive yet, and currently curated manually, we are looking to leverage newer technology to better match funding opportunities to your experience. 
        The presidential cluster hires, which are aligned with the four Research Communities have begun with the search for the Executive Director for Rural Health & Health Equity. We will alert our campus community once the position is live. Please encourage those who might be a fit for this position to apply.

        We are in the process of finalizing the internal search for the AVP for Innovation & Commercialization, as well as the search for a new Director of Industry Engagement for our office. More information to come shortly.

        I participated in a meeting of the VPRs from all USG institutions last week, which was hosted by GCSU in Milledgeville. Initial opportunities to collaborate were discussed. If anyone is interested in making connections across the USG and would like assistance in doing so, please let us know.

        The office is currently preparing a couple of grant applications to support our operations and provide improved customer service - look out for more information on this, hopefully soon.
        Last week, we held our bi-annual townhall meeting, which is designed to update our research community with good attendance. The presentation and recording will be made available soon.

        I will be continuing my "Breakfast with the VPR", and if you are interested in coming to chat and get to know each other better, please contact Heather Hedgepeth.

        Lastly, the groundbreaking of the new Interdisciplinary Research Building in Marietta (formally the STEM building) is scheduled for February 2. This building will add significant research space and resources to our portfolio, and we look forward to having it open in the Fall/Winter 2025.

        — Karin

      • Just a reminder to sign up for tomorrow's Town Hall, January 24 at 1 p.m. This is an in-person event, to be held in Prillaman Hall, which will report on recent research initiatives and allow the campus community to bring up questions. This is part of the OVPR's communication efforts and part of the once-a-semester Town Hall series. We hope to record the event and post the video to our MediaSpace page for those who cannot attend.

        — Karin

      • Happy new year! I hope everyone had a great start into the spring semester. We have exciting movement on many of our initiatives, at the forefront is the formal establishment of our "Research Communities" that bring together research teams in the broad areas of Applied Technologies, Innovative Creativity, OneHealth and Sustainable Communities.

        Faculty Research Champions as subject experts are spear-heading each of these initiatives and will support the formation of research teams, communication of funding opportunities, facilitate the recruitment of external partners and assist with communication within the communities. As the first start, each research community is hosting a networking event to garner interest and recruit members. If you have any interest in any of these topic areas, please plan to attend. The dates/times are as follows:

        Sustainable Communities: Monday, January 22
        Innovative Creativity: Tuesday, January 23
        Applied Technologies: Thursday, January 25
        OneHealth: Wednesday, January 31

        More information and the RSVP links can be found here.

        In other news, we had a site visit last week from a Georgia Research Alliance delegation who was interested in learning more about our research, innovation and commercialization enterprise and were pleasantly surprised of the breadth of research going on at KSU.

        Our numbers are up significantly! Research Expenditure numbers for FY23 are due to the NSF by the end of this month, and we are seeing a significant uptick in both sponsored research expenditures and total research expenditures. Kudos to the grant accounting staff, who has been working with us on the final numbers.

        Closer to home, we are in the interviewing process for a Director of Industry Engagement. We are also finalizing the internal recruitment of the Faculty Fellow in Research Development for non-STEM areas.

        — Karin

      • I am hoping that everyone is able to wrap up the semester soon and enjoy some quality time with family and friends as we are preparing for the next semester.

        My office recently received presidential funding, outside of college allocations, to support our recently instated interdisciplinary research areas with cluster hires. Given that this funding is available for FY25, we are moving quickly with the search for an Executive Director of Rural Health & Health Disparity, which will sit under the "OneHealth" umbrella. We are also in discussions to hire another Executive Director in the defense & security area, though this position has not been as well developed yet. Stay tuned as these searches progress, and my office and I will be happy to address any questions.

        Last week, we held our first inaugural Celebration of Research at which three researchers per college, identified based on their college's criteria to be among their "top researchers," were recognized. President Schwaig and I presented these researchers with certificates and special magnifying glass pins.

        I hope that everyone will have a wonderful holiday season, and I look forward to seeing everyone in the new year.

        — Karin

      • PK Night 2023
        The Office of Research hosted its third annual PechaKucha Night Thursday, November 16, 2023 at Glover Park Brewery in Marietta. From left: Alice Gooding, Nicole Ferguson, Minsoo Baek, Brian Moore, Karin Scarpinato, Laurence Sherr, Weiwei Chen, Sylvia Bhattacharya, Whitney Preisser, Brian Kliszczewicz.

        As you are reading this, I hope you had a great Thanksgiving break. Right before the break, we hosted a successful "Pechakucha" research event that allowed us to welcome some potentially new external collaborators. Among these are the Atlanta VA, the Georgia CTSA and Lockheed Martin. We are now working on follow-ups to formalize some of these new contacts and begin collaborations.

        Our new Faculty Research Champions, leads of the four interdisciplinary research clusters, will have their first meeting in a week where they will be formally charged. We are in the planning stages for the official launch and member recruitment events that will take place virtually in January. Please look out for information on this to come out shortly. If you at all have an interest in research in any of the four clusters (Applied Technologies, Sustainable Communities, OneHealth, Innovative Creativity), please RSVP and attend.

        Yesterday, I participated in a wonderful end-of-year celebration for our German program, which was hosted by the Halle Foundation. Our students are amazing as they were talking about the value of international travel.

        On the research front, we are looking to expand our collaborations beyond our national borders to forge meaningful collaborations with universities at other countries.

        Today, we will be attending a networking event at Emory that is focused on improving collaborations in the metro Atlanta area.

        Lots of moving parts. I am hoping to be able to visit some of your faculty assemblies in the upcoming semester to talk more about all the initiatives that are happening. Stay tuned.

        — Karin

      • This week, I participated in the annual conference for the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU). Many of the presentations and panel discussions were focused on (generative) AI, which was introduced as being a disruptive technology that will eliminate repetitive tasks through automation and provide transformative, tailored teaching opportunities, as well as raise the need to prepare students. Another topic was the importance of communicating the public impact of higher education and research to our communities.

        Closer to home and related to the latter, we are hosting our annual research event, "PechaKucha Night," this evening.

        We are also finalizing all "Faculty Research Champions" – subject leaders who will oversee the interdisciplinary research clusters. As a reminder, strategy-wise, the Office of the Vice President for Research is engaged and leads university-wide initiatives for which a semi-neutral lead is recommended. This initiative will complement the great work our colleges and departments are already doing. If you have any questions in this regard, please do not hesitate to come and meet me or join one of my breakfasts.

        We are currently searching for the permanent AVP of Innovation & Commercialization, which is an internal search and a faculty position. Feel free to reach out for more information. Similarly, we will shortly open the position of Director of Industry Engagement for Research, which is a staff position.

        — Karin

      • I am continuing to meet with faculty in various settings, in department/college meetings, and in breakfast meetings. If you would like to participate, please check out available dates on our website. We are continuing with the implementation of various software systems to improve Office of Research operations, among them are new modules for Cayuse (and update), InfoReady and TeamSparX. We have also started to work with our center directors to develop strategy, mission and vision.

        Soon, we will be announcing faculty leads, called Faculty Research Champions, for the four research thrust areas that were developed to effectively narrate KSU Research. These champions were identified in collaboration with the deans and research deans of all colleges and represent a wide range of expertise. With the beginning of the spring semester, look out for announcements that will encourage you to become team members and participate in networking events for all of these four research thrusts.

        I am continuing to expand my "Listening Tour" to external partners, including several corporations, trustees and program officers.

        We are preparing several booths for the Atlanta Science Festival for strong representation by KSU, entirely supported by my office this year.

        Lastly, we are gearing up for Pechakucha night this month and a Celebration of Research next month.

        — Karin

      • KSU's four "Research Communities" represent an interdisciplinary infrastructure that has the resources to provide meaningful research experiences and workforce preparedness to our students and invite corporate and community partners to work with us toward this goal. These Research Communities are each being led by a small group of faculty leaders. Starting with the spring semester, these "champions" will be reaching out to you, our campus community, to create membership and research teams within their communities. Look out for both an announcement of the Champions, as well as a call to action soon.

        While you may believe that your research discipline is not represented in the current themes, I invite you to think "outside the box" and consider what a collaboration between you and another discipline could accomplish.

        HatchBridge, our business incubator at the KSU Center, is currently recruiting its second cohort of companies. If you, or your students, have an interest in learning how to start a company, please check out their website. The program provides information on all necessary steps to successfully launch a startup.

        We will shortly be launching an internal search for the new AVP for Innovation & Commercialization. Anyone interested will be invited to apply.

        Internally, we are continuing to polish our policies and procedures, and I hope you had an opportunity to review the recently launched policy on proposal submission timelines.

        I hope to see many of you at tomorrow's pumpkin launch on the Marietta campus.

        — Karin

      • The last couple of weeks have been very busy in our office. Our HatchBridge business incubator hosted its first “Built in the Burbs” networking event, which was a great success with the community.

        We also visited the Innovation Gateway at UGA, which provided a wonderful example of a successful business incubator and program and potential collaborators.

        We participated in the Capital Campaign launch, in which research has its own fundraising goals.

        Discussions with Japanese companies and potential partners may provide opportunities for collaborations and are part of the effort to expand my “Listening Tour” to potential external stakeholders.

        The last week was finished off by attending an amazing ArtsKSU Gala.

        For strategic purposes, we are starting discussions with potential “Faculty Research Champions” who will be charged with leading our four research thrust areas. More on that to come soon!

        — Karin

      • Next week I will be participating in the SEPA conference, which will provide us with an opportunity to explore collaborations with some of the 600+ Japanese companies who have their US headquarters in Atlanta.

        Last week, we started recognizing those individuals who were identified by their college as being the “top 5 researchers” for FY23 with a lunch meeting with the Provost and myself. We will continue celebrating their successes throughout the year. Look out for their spotlights — coming soon.

        This week will be very busy. If you are interested in entrepreneurship, be sure to catch Tuesday’s “Built in the Burbs” event. On Wednesday, our team will visit UGA to discuss possible collaborations in the research and innovation arena. Two board meetings will be followed by the campaign launch on Friday. We are also exploring our participation in the 2024 Atlanta Science Festival.

        We are starting to work with college leadership to identify individuals with research and leadership skills to spearhead interdisciplinary research clusters. More to come on this shortly.

        — Karin

      • It’s been a busy few days. On Friday, I held a Town Hall meeting to update the university community of progress and updates from the Office of Research. This meeting was recorded and can be accessed through our website. We are solidifying the “tracks” within the four research thrusts and will look into networking events to form research teams soon. Also last week, KSU had good representation at the Health Connect South Conference, which included several interesting panel discussions from healthcare specialists. We made some potential connections that may benefit the “One Health” research thrust.

        On the international platform, we started discussions with some of the Japanese companies headquartered in our region. Workforce development is the primary driver, but we are looking into expansion into research.

        This week I started expanding my “Listening Tour” to external stakeholders, including some of our trustees. These initial meetings were informative and indicated the strong support we have from our trustees.

        We are continuing our “Research On-boarding” for faculty new to KSU, which allows them to tell our staff about our research, so we can best provide support.

        Internally, we are continuing to work on improvements to our processes and procedures.

        — Karin

      • Another busy week as we are working toward defining KSU Research and its strengths. As mentioned previously, we have identified four very broad research thrusts.

        We are now inviting you to provide feedback on what research strengths could make up a “track” within each thrust. To provide this input, please scroll down on this page and click on the respective box. There will be areas/initiatives/interests that horizontally integrate all four thrusts — let us know what these might be. There will be research areas that may end up not “fitting” into these areas — please be assured that any research project will be supported at the same level. Focus areas define those areas upon which we might be able to build teams in pursuit of larger funding opportunities, which is in part what drives this effort.

        With Rachel Kinney’s arrival as the new Executive Director for Sponsored Programs, we have begun to make improvements to our processes that I hope will be noticeable shortly.

        Look out for a number of programming and seed funding opportunities that have been or will shortly been announced, as our new Interim Director of Research Development & Strategic Initiatives, Dr. Heather Abbott-Lyon, works on establishing support programs for you, our researchers.

        With Dr. Tyler Reinagel moving under the VP for External Affairs, we have worked on restructuring the new “Innovation & Commercialization” unit. I am very pleased to announce that Dr. Chris Cornelison has accepted the position of Interim AVP for Innovation & Commercialization. A formal internal call for applications for this position will follow, with the plan to have the position permanently filled by January 1.

        We are currently looking toward establishing our programming within the Innovation & Commercialization area, with a mid- to longer-term goal to expand the reach of our business incubator, HatchBridge. More to come on this soon.

        — Karin

      • As we are entering the second phase of my Listening Tour, we have identified four interdisciplinary research clusters: Emerging Technologies, Green Communities, The Human Condition, Innovative Creativity. These are very broad areas, and we will be spending the next few weeks of the Listening Tour determining research tracks under each of these themes that makes sense at KSU. There are also a number of horizontally integrated areas, such as undergraduate research, commercialization and AI, that intersect with all of these areas.

        Please know that, while we are identifying areas that KSU Research has particular strengths in, we will continue supporting any type of research, regardless of its fit with these themes. The themes were identified as part of the Listening Tour and will primarily be used for external communication and team-based funding opportunities.

        As always, you can meet with me personally to provide input, participate in one of the group/faculty meetings or participate in one of the VPR breakfasts that are now scheduled, to provide your input. We will also be adding an online opportunity to provide input on the research tracks. In support of these interdisciplinary research themes, we have been working on guidelines for a number of internal funding mechanisms that will be launched shortly.

        Please look out for resources from Research Development & Strategic Initiatives (RDSI) that our interim Director, Dr. Heather Abbott-Lyon, is launching that will be helpful in setting up a research portfolio, finding funding, writing grants and performing research.

        I look forward to continuing to connect with you in multiple ways and value your input as we are moving forward with shaping KSU Research with Relevance.

        — Karin

      • This week we welcomed our new Executive Director for Sponsored Projects, Rachel Kinney, to our office. She previously worked at Wake Forest Medical Center and is most recently coming from High Point University. Under her guidance, we are in the process of improving processes and procedures to streamline and improve our operations and support of research. Please help welcoming her to KSU. We are also in the process of making internal funding available in a few different ways that will support research projects. Please look out for more information on this shortly. This week, the sign-up for the "Brown Bag Breakfasts with the VPR" started. There will be eight breakfasts this semester. Be sure to sign up for one of them!

        Based on what I have heard so far during my "Listening Tour," we have drafted four very broad, overarching research focus areas. We will be publishing these shortly and asking for everyone's feedback as we are developing tracks and leadership for each one of these, based on KSU research expertise. More to come on this shortly, as well.

        — Karin

      • My "Listening Tour" is in full swing with the start of the semester. Meet with me 1:1, at one of the Brown-Bag Breakfasts or at department/college meetings to discuss the future of KSU Research. Or provide your anonymous feedback on our virtual platform. Based on what we have heard so far, we are starting to develop a sense for focus areas that may define KSU Research. These will clearly be centered on the integration of research into our educational mission and workforce development, as well as problem-solving for our region. Internally, we are continuing to make improvements to our processes.

        Rachel Kinney will be joining us on Monday as the new Executive Director for Sponsored Programs. With two other grant coordinators filling open positions in September, we will have a full team here to support you. Heather Abbott-Lyon, Interim Director for Research Development and Strategic Initiatives, is preparing a number of events and workshops, so be sure to check out our Calendar of Events, which will be updated as more information on the individual events becomes available.

        Today, the Research Deans will be visiting the Field Station to brainstorm on its continued use within a growing research portfolio. Along with this theme, a networking event on "Green Communities" will be held in November. I hope to see you at one of our events, workshops or in a 1:1 meeting soon.

        — Karin

      • Welcome to an exciting new year here at KSU! Whether it's the First-Year Scholars Program, the PI Academy or any of our other research support programs, be sure to explore and select the support that is right for you.

        On my end, I finished another busy week. The highlight of which was an invitation to be a panelist at the UIDP Innovation Ecosystems Workshop in Atlanta where the discussion centered on preparedness for some of the larger funding opportunities that are centered on innovation, such as the NSF Engines and the EDA Tech Hub programs.

        Closer to home, I am continuing my "Listening Tour" with 1:1 faculty meetings (feel free to sign up by emailing Heather Hedgepeth at and working on improving our research support structure. Moving forward, be sure to look for an announcement for the "Brown Bag Breakfast with the VPR," a bi-weekly, informal way to meet with me. We will also begin hosting workshops to plan the strategic direction for KSU Research. More information on how to sign up for these is coming soon.

        — Karin

      • As we are finishing up this "Leadership Week," we are focusing on how every unit in our institution can work together to reach our institutional goals. For research, this means that we will be or are reaching out to many other units across campus to determine how we can collaborate. 
        Closer to home, we have created a Calendar of Events that now highlights networking events, bringing together researchers on interdisciplinary themes. Be sure to sign up for any topic that might interest you.

        We are also looking into purchasing a software program to manage upcoming seed funding programs, as well as limited submissions. Look out for more information to come shortly.

        — Karin

      • This week is Leadership week at which strategy and new regulations are discussed. In the meantime, the Research Listening Tour continues. If you have input on strengths and challenges, thoughts on future research directions or would just like to meet me, please schedule a meeting with Heather Hedgepeth. If you prefer the anonymous, digital platform, it is accessible here. We will be starting "Breakfast with the VPR" sessions at the end of this month. Look out for information on how to sign up coming shortly. 

        — Karin

      • I started my week out with a meeting with CCSE leadership to discuss opportunities and challenges. A tour of the science building on the Kennesaw campus displayed the fabulous research space and resources we have available here. As I am listening to opinions on opportunities to grow KSU research, a few themes are emerging. Once everyone has had an opportunity to voice their thoughts, we will follow up with workshops to discuss these themes further. Some of these workshops are starting to be scheduled, with the first one being a discussion on our Field Station.

        Internally, we are working on a "Calendar of Events" to better inform all of you on programming offered through our office. Look out for more information coming out shortly. Mid-August I will begin "Brown Bag Lunches with the VPR," an opportunity to join me for lunch (bring/purchase your own) and discussions. Look out for more information on this topic, as well.

        — Karin

      • As I am continuing to meet with Deans and faculty, please remember that you can also leave your thoughts on research directions for KSU on our virtual platform.

        While I am currently primarily focused on obtaining information from internal stakeholders, and setting up our support team and infrastructure properly, I am starting to venture into potential external partnerships, which could be with corporations, healthcare providers, community members and/or other universities. Let me know your suggestions for potential partners! Lastly, if you are an active researcher, look out for an invitation for "Coffee with the VPR" to celebrate your research contribution.

        — Karin

      • Internally, I am pleased to announce that Rachel Kinney has accepted our offer to become KSU's new Executive Director for Sponsored Programs. Upon her arrival, we will full-force look into process improvements. We continue to search for a full-time Director for Research Development and Strategic Initiatives. If you should have an interest or know of anyone who does, please contact me.

        I am continuing to make my "rounds" to our colleges. On Monday, I had an opportunity to visit HatchBridge, our new business incubator. If you have not seen it yet, please visit. The space provides great opportunities for early start-up companies and support as they develop their business plans and pitches. Yesterday, I had an opportunity to visit the Field Station, which is a fabulous resource that I am hoping to build out strategically as one of our foundations to grow KSU research.

        — Karin

      • I started my listening tour and have been meeting with some of our deans, with whom I will continue to meet. We are all starting to receive feedback on our "Jamboards," which is our digital platform where suggestions on opportunities and challenges can be left anonymously. I hope to talk with many of you about the research opportunities that we have here at KSU soon.

        — Karin

      • As the new Vice President for Research, I would like to hear from our community what opportunities we should be pursuing and what challenges we should be addressing. While the beginning of the semester is still a few weeks away, we started a “listening tour” last week that will provide you with an opportunity to voice your opinion. You can schedule an in-person meeting, a visit to your department or leave your thoughts on a virtual platform. I look forward to hearing from you and will update progress on this blog.

        — Karin

    Research Focus Areas

    Brown-Bag Breakfast with the VPR

    Listening Tour Timeline

    Listening Tour Timeline