History of Department

Created by Kennesaw State University diversity trail-blazers Drs. Nancy King, Paul Benson, and Jerome Ratchford, the Department of Student Engagement, formerly known as Student Development, was officially established at KSU in 1988 and was led by its founding Director, Dr. Jerome Ratchford. The formation of the department occurred in partnership with the first EEO/Diversity officer, Dr. Pete Silver, Ms. Carol Pope (former Director of Student Development and founder of Student Disability Services), and Dr. Toby Hopper (former Dean of Students and founder of Adult Learner Programs and Volunteer KSU).

The department was established approximately 20 years after the institution’s founding. Both Drs. King and Benson were concerned about the notable lack of diversity on campus; both were compelled by the need to provide community and safe spaces in the Student Center for underrepresented student populations (i.e., minority students, adult learners, international students, and students with disabilities). Making provisions to support these populations was crucial to the development of a diverse, engaged, and academically successful student population at KSU.  “Though much legislation required services offered by Student Development, we didn't establish the center as a knee-jerk reaction to meeting the laws. We did this out of the spirit of wanting to create a sense of belonging of these populations.” stated Dr. Nancy King, former KSU Vice President of Student Affairs & Enrollment Services.

Throughout the years, the department has evolved as the university’s student body has grown and diversified.  Today the Department of Student Engagement supports the needs and concerns of a broad range of students and student organizations across the units of Multicultural Student Affairs, Adult and Commuter Student Affairs, and Volunteerism and Service Learning.



Department of Student Engagement Leadership History


  • Dr. Jerome Ratchford

    Inaugural Director of Student Development

    • 1989 - 2006
  • Ms. Carol J. Pope

    Director of Student Development

    • 2006 - 2013
  • Ms. Nicole Phillips

    Interim Director of Student Development

    • 2013 - 2015
  • Dr. Matthew K. Robison

    Director of Student Engagement

    • 2016 - Present