Academic leader, researcher named dean of Kennesaw State’s College of Science and Mathematics

KENNESAW, Ga. | Feb 16, 2024

Heather Koopman
Kennesaw State University has named accomplished researcher and physiologist Heather Koopman as dean of the College of Science and Mathematics, effective July 1.

Koopman, who comes to KSU with two and a half decades’ experience in academia, was named dean following a national search. Koopman currently serves as the chair of the Department of Biology and Marine Biology at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

“Dr. Koopman is a highly respected and nationally renowned educator and scholar who shares KSU’s commitment to excelling as a student-focused, research-driven university,” said Kennesaw State President Kathy Schwaig. “Her leadership in the College of Science and Mathematics will enhance the educational experience and research opportunities for students and faculty.

Along with her extensive classroom expertise and field research experience, Koopman has served on the board for the Society for Marine Mammalogy and is the senior biologist and board member for the Grand Manan Whale and Seabird Research Station. She has taught biology and marine biology courses at UNC Wilmington since 2004 and was promoted to department chair in 2017.

Koopman’s research focuses on the role and importance of marine lipids and how those molecules fit into the function and evolution of various marine organisms. Her laboratory uses a combination of methods to examine the health, metabolism, adaptations and lineage of marine animals.

“Dr. Koopman will help advance the national profile of the College of Science and Mathematics with a focus on excellence in teaching and research,” said Ivan Pulinkala, KSU’s provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “Her innovative approaches to scientific inquiry and dedication to interdisciplinary collaboration are rooted in her body of scholarship.” 

Koopman has published more than 50 articles in academic journals and given lectures and presentations at various seminars and conferences. Throughout her career, Koopman has secured more than $2 million in scientific funding for projects related to wildlife and the environment.

“I am very excited to be joining Kennesaw State and becoming part of its strong leadership team,” Koopman said. “The College of Science and Mathematics has a strong foundation of dedication to teaching and mentoring, high-quality research, and engagement with the community, and I am looking forward to seeing how we can build on these strengths to reach and exceed the college’s potential.”

Koopman received both her bachelor’s degree in marine biology and master’s degree in zoology from the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada. She earned an interdisciplinary Environment Ph.D. from Duke University, and in 2022-23 completed an American Council on Education (ACE) Fellowship.

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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 45,000 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