RCHSS Dean Shawn Long remembered for commitment to students, scholarship

Shawn Long

KENNESAW, Ga. (Jan 15, 2021) — Shawn Long, whose ambitious goal as dean was for Kennesaw State University to have “the most impactful college of humanities and social sciences in the country by 2025,” passed away on Jan. 14, following a serious illness.

Long arrived at Kennesaw State as dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences in July 2019. He outlined a vision for the College, focused on equipping students with real-world knowledge and experience through an innovative curriculum, cross-disciplinary scholarship, experiential learning opportunities, international study, and project-based, collaborative learning.

Long called it “an honor” to serve as dean “during this exciting time in Kennesaw State’s history.” Reflecting his leadership and commitment, KSU supporters Norman and Lindy Radow made one of the largest contributions in the University’s history last year, a $9 million gift toward scholarships and other student services in the renamed Norman J. Radow College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

“Shawn Long’s time with us at Kennesaw State was far too short, but he made an indelible impression on students, faculty and staff throughout the University,” said KSU President Pamela Whitten. “Shawn’s dedication to the success of students, and his commitment to the mission of our institution, was unwavering. His leadership and engagement were critical to the historic support the College of the Humanities received from Norman and Lindy Radow and will serve as a part of his legacy to the College and to KSU.”

Long came to Kennesaw State from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where he was senior associate dean for academic personnel and budgeting as well as associate dean of academic affairs for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Long spent two decades at UNC Charlotte in multiple roles, including as a communications professor and chair of the Department of Communication Studies.

Long was drawn to Kennesaw State’s student-centered focus, as he was dedicated to advancing the humanities and social sciences in the lives of students and in the broader community. In a message to students, faculty and staff at the start of his tenure, Long pledged that “we will create the next generation of change agents and world leaders.”

“RCHSS will be known not only as the thinking college, but also as the doing college,” Long stated. “RCHSS will prepare students to do more than think about issues. We will provide students with the essential and critical skills they need to contribute to society in a way that is not only effective, but transformative.”

An accomplished author, Long wrote numerous peer-reviewed articles and published three books on communication and human interaction. His research interests included organizational communication, virtual work, virtual teams and health communication, and he received more than $1.3 million in project funding as a principal investigator or co-principal investigator.

Long received his doctorate in communication from the University of Kentucky and his master’s degree in public administration and bachelor’s degree in hotel and restaurant administration from Tennessee State University.

Funeral arrangements are to be determined.