Kennesaw State names accomplished leader to head KSU Journey Honors College

KENNESAW, Ga. | Feb 10, 2022

Kennesaw State University has named accomplished scholar and author Karen Kornweibel as dean of KSU Journey Honors College, effective July 1.

Kornweibel joins Kennesaw State from East Tennessee State University, where she is associate dean for academics in the Honors College and professor of English in the Department of Literature and Language.

Karen Kornweibel

“Dr. Kornweibel brings a wealth of knowledge to the KSU Journey Honors College that will help ensure the University continues to build upon the success, growth and development that has defined the last several years,” said KSU Interim President Kathy Schwaig. “We are excited to welcome her to Kennesaw State and look forward to the great work she will do with all our colleges.”

In her two years as associate dean, Kornweibel led a restructuring of ETSU’s honors academics programs that included: expanding faculty recruitment; overseeing the creation of two new cohort programs with corresponding honors minors; implementing a more holistic honors application and admissions process; updating the honors scholarship funding model; launching an honors peer-mentoring program; and adding several new honors courses.

Kornweibel previously served as director of two of ETSU’s cohort honors programs and the Honors-in-Discipline programs. She is an inaugural and continuing member of the advisory board for ETSU’s Center for Teaching Excellence, an initiative that grew out of the university’s Academic Programs and Opportunities Task Force which she served on in 2012-13. Her scholarly work focuses on 19th Century African American and Afro-Cuban literature and spans a variety of genres, examining the concepts of race and national identity through literature to create more inclusive and just societies.

“Dr. Kornweibel brings a highly successful record of experience leading and developing Honors Programs,” said Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Ivan Pulinkala. “She is a welcome addition to the academic leadership at KSU and we look forward to the continued growth of KSU Journey Honors College under her deanship.”

Kornweibel’s work and research, which often examines the intersection of race, history and culture, has been published in multiple national journals, as well as the encyclopedia The Oxford Companion to African American Literature. She has also been a featured speaker both on race relations and Honors College development at conferences across the country.

“I am honored to have been named the next dean of KSU Journey Honors College at a time in Kennesaw State University's history when there is so much strength, momentum and potential,” Kornweibel said. “I look forward to working across the University to create exceptional educational experiences for undergraduates and thus to help fulfill the mission of public higher education to transform the lives of students, create and further knowledge in a vast array of fields, and serve immediate communities, our nation and the world.”

Kornweibel holds a bachelor’s degree in general literature from the University of California, San Diego. She earned two degrees, a master’s and doctorate, in comparative literature from the University of Texas at Austin. 

She succeeds Rita Bailey who retired from KSU on Feb. 1 after serving as dean of the College since 2016. Ugena Whitlock, who was named interim dean, will continue to serve in the role until June 30.

– Thomas Hartwell

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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 43,000 students. Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia with 11 academic colleges. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 7 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit