Dr. Kenneth D. Kitts will join UNC Pembroke on April 1 as provost and vice chancellor of the Office of Academic Affairs. He will be the University’s chief academic officer.
The Board of Trustees gave its unanimous endorsement in a special meeting on February 9. In Dr. Kitts, UNCP will have an administrator and faculty member with far-reaching experience in higher education in a regional setting.
A Waynesville, N.C., native, Dr. Kitts earned Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees at Appalachian State University. He earned a Ph.D. in political science from the University of South Carolina. He also received certificates from Harvard University’s Institute for Educational Management and South Carolina’s Executive Institute. In his current position, he serves as the associate provost for Academic Affairs and Enrollment Management at Francis Marion University (FMU) in Florence, S.C.
Chancellor Kyle R. Carter said he is pleased that Dr. Kitts has accepted the offer to become UNCP’s next provost.
“The search committee and the administration spent over seven months looking for the right person to help UNCP transition to greater expectations and successes,” Chancellor Carter said. “I am confident that he shares the values, experiences and qualities that will help UNCP accomplish its goals.
“First, Dr. Kitts is a teacher/scholar who understands the faculty role and can serve as a role model for our faculty,” he continued. “He will be a strong leader for faculty. Second, students will learn that Dr. Kitts has high expectations for them, but that he will work with them to assure their success. Finally, he has gained tremendous experience in his eight years as Associate Provost at Francis Marion.
“He will work effectively on faculty governance issues, enrollment management challenges and external engagement,” Chancellor Carter said. “We are fortunate to have attracted Dr. Kitts to UNCP. I look forward to his arrival in April and welcoming him to our team.”
Dr. Kitts said he is pleased to join “a great University with many exciting programs.”
“Chancellor Carter is a terrific leader, and the University is poised for great things under his guidance,” he said. “At Pembroke, I see a faculty and staff who are deeply committed to the success of the University.”
Dr. Kitts has worked for nearly his entire professional career at Francis Marion University beginning as an instructor in 1987. He earned tenure in 1999 and became a full professor in 2005. After serving as chair of the Department of Political Science, History and Geography, Dr. Kitts took the position of associate provost and director of graduate programs in 2002.
As leader of FMU’s Graduate Programs, Dr. Kitts designed the Graduate Council as a permanent standing committee in their governance structure and worked closely on accreditation issues. He re-wrote policies and procedures for graduate programs and helped launch the university’s new Bachelor of Science in Nursing program.
In 2007, Dr. Kitts took the post as associate provost for Enrollment Management, including the offices of Admissions, Financial Aid, Orientation, Continuing Education and Registrar. He developed policies for recruitment and retention and assisted in the oversight of academic and professional programs, both undergraduate and graduate.
Francis Marion is an institution that is very much like UNCP. With a diverse enrollment of 4,000, FMU is also a regional comprehensive university.
“Pembroke’s mission as a regional university is a big part of what attracted me,” Dr. Kitts said. “This is a mission I understand and celebrate.
“The role of regional universities is an important one,” he said. “They are extremely valuable to their local communities and the students they serve.
“I am moving from the most diverse university in South Carolina to the most diverse university in North Carolina,” he said. “UNCP is a university that embraces its mission and understands that diversity is a strength. In the future, reaching out to all groups will be far more important, and UNCP is ahead of the curve in meeting the needs of the people of its region,” Dr. Kitts said.
Dr. Kitts, whose academic interests include the American presidency and national security, is an active scholar. His book, “Presidential Commissions and National Security: The Politics of Damage Control,” was published in 2006 by Lynne Reinner Publishers and was a Choice Magazine Outstanding Academic Title for 2006.
He is currently teaching a course titled “CIA and the Politics of Intelligence.” Dr. Kitts said he would continue teaching. He has taught courses on the American Presidency, U.S. Foreign Policy, National Security Policy, Latin American Politics and several graduate seminars on public police and world affairs.
“I hope to teach while I’m at UNCP because I believe it is important for administrators to stay in touch with students,” Dr. Kitts said. “They are the reason we are here.”
Dr. Kitts was also active in university and community work. He served on many committees, including Faculty Life, accreditation, faculty recruitment, public safety, retention, nursing, accountability and was a member of the Faculty Senate. As a member of the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) Development Team, he helped Francis Marion implement Service-Learning programs. Service-Learning incorporates community engagement into the academic curriculum.
“Service-Learning was a big part of our QEP,” Dr. Kitts said. “Service-Learning expands the students’ horizons and provides real world connections for experiential learning.”
Dr. Kitts’ community outreach includes being an appointed member of the Board of Trustees for Dillon County School District 3.
“I was appointed to serve in the Latta District where I live,” he said. “This is a small school system but a very good one.”
Dr. Kitts also helped plan the South Carolina Humanities Festival, several candidate debates and the ScienceSouth Think Tank. He is a member of the American Political Science Association, the American Academy of Professors and the Centre for the Study of Intelligence.
In 2003, Dr. Kitts was named recipient of FMU’s Distinguished Professor Award, and in 2000, he won the Citizen Diplomat Award from the World Affairs Council. He is a member of Pi Sigma Alpha National Political Science Honor Society, Alpha Chi Honor Society and Gamma Beta Phi Honor Society.
Approximately 60 miles separate Francis Marion and UNC Pembroke. The schools compete in the same athletic conference although FMU does not have a football team.
“I enjoy attending all collegiate sporting events, especially football,” Dr. Kitts said. “I look forward to Saturdays at UNCP.”
For more information, please contact the Office of the Chancellor at 910.521.6201.