Faculty Leadership On and Off Campus
With the selection of a new dean, the creation of a new position dedicated to diversity and inclusion, and by promoting several faculty into key roles overseeing cybersecurity, financial technology, and hospitality, the Michael J. Coles College of Business has taken bold steps to ensure its educators remain at the forefront of their fields and continue to offer unique, innovative opportunities to students..
Governor’s Office Selects Keith Perissi for Entertainment Industry Advisory Board As Georgia continues to expand its role as a destination for entertainment industry productions, Governor Brian Kemp named Keith Perissi, director of the Music and Entertainment Business Program, to the new Georgia Film, Music and Digital Entertainment Office Advisory Board. The sole member of the advisory board working in education, Perissi’s goal on the board is to help ensure that Georgia’s entertainment industry continues to offer exciting, rewarding careers to new college graduates. “As an educator, I want to be an advocate for our students in terms of creating opportunities,” Perissi said. Georgia Film, Music, and Digital Entertainment Advisory Board
Sonia Toson Helps Make College a Diversity Leader Associate Professor of Business Law Sonia Toson became the Coles College’s first-ever director of diversity relations. This new role allows Toson to work closely with stakeholders to promote diversity and inclusion in the College. In 2015, the White House met with leaders from more than 150 AACSB-accredited schools to create a series of best practices meant to attract women and minority students. One of Sonia’s first goals was for the Coles College to become a signatory school in this program, which demonstrates the College’s commitment to these best practices. Toson has taught business law at Kennesaw State since 2013 and sits on the boards of several nonprofits, including Common Good Atlanta, which provides formerly incarcerated individuals with access to higher education
Robin Cheramie Named Dean of the Coles College After serving in an interim position for a year, Robin Cheramie was named dean of the Michael J. Coles College of Business in February 2020. She previously served as the director for the Michael A. Leven School of Management, Entrepreneurship and Hospitality, and chair of the Department of Management and Entrepreneurship, where she led the development of the first BBA in Entrepreneurship in the University System of Georgia and initiated the development of the BBA in Hospitality Management. She joined Kennesaw State in 2004 as assistant professor of management and was named professor of management in 2015. “Dr. Cheramie has a proven record as a leader who is deeply committed to the student-centered and research mission of the University, and she is the ideal person to take the Coles College of Business to the next level,” said Kennesaw State President Pamela Whitten. Cheramie holds a Ph.D. in Business Administration from Louisiana State University in the area of organizational behavior and human resource management. She also holds an MBA from the University of New Orleans, and a Bachelor of Arts in Management from Southeastern Louisiana University.
Michael Whitman Becomes Cybersecurity Institute’s First Executive Director In Fall 2019, Michael Whitman, professor of information security and assurance, became the first executive director of the Institute for Cybersecurity Workforce Development (ICWD), home to the University’s top-ranked online Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity program. Whitman will manage that program and develop additional cybersecurity degrees, certificates and professional education opportunities. The ICWD is part of a statewide initiative to encourage businesses and governments to create cybersecurity jobs in Georgia. Whitman brings 20 years of information systems teaching and research to the role. Melih Madanoglu Named First Michael A. Leven Endowed Chair The College selected Melih Madanoglu as its first Michael A. Leven Endowed Chair and Professor in Hospitality. Made possible by a generous gift from Michael A. Leven, chairman and CEO of the Georgia Aquarium, the new endowed chair will serve a critical role in developing Kennesaw State University’s new undergraduate degree program in hospitality management, which will launch in Fall 2020. Madanoglu was previously Professor of Hospitality and Tourism Management and the Dean’s Distinguished Research Fellow at Florida Atlantic University.
Solon Nagesh Named FinTech Director
Information Systems Professor Solon Nagesh was named Kennesaw State’s new FinTech Director. Nagesh is one of many Coles College faculty who is helping build student interest in the University’s growing library of financial technology courses. Kennesaw State is one of 26 USG institutions that make up the Georgia FinTech Academy, whose goal is to standardize fintech education across the state and ensure Georgia’s students are prepared for careers in the industry Under Nagesh’s leadership, the Coles College and the College of Computing and Software Engineering are strengthening existing fintech courses and creating new ones.
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