Karen Pedersen

staff photo  of Karen Pedersen

Karen Pedersen

    The dean serves as the chief administrative officer of K-State Global Campus, responsible for providing strategic vision, oversight, leadership and management in all aspects of Global Campus operations including academic programs, enrollment management, workforce and noncredit professional development programming, collaborative partnerships, finance, marketing, outreach, diversity and inclusion, and faculty and staff development.


Following a national search, Karen L. Pedersen joined Kansas State University as the dean of K-State Global Campus in February 2018.

Before joining K-State, Pedersen was the chief knowledge officer for the Online Learning Consortium, leading thought leader initiatives related to learning innovation, quality enhancement, community engagement, leadership development, institutional transformation and policy advocacy.

Throughout her career in senior leadership positions at both public and private higher education institutions, Pedersen has led award-winning off-campus and online learning units focused on engaging cross-institutional academic operations while pursuing enrollment growth and learner success outcomes.

Highlights from her career include launching more than 100 innovative online degree programs and certificates, building a comprehensive university-wide microcredential infrastructure, serving on the launch team for a competency-based education initiative, securing a $2.5 million Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant for supporting underserved students, leading a systemwide enrollment management transformation, and expanding academic partnerships with military branches and small businesses, corporations, community and technical colleges, as well as with international universities in Brazil, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.

Pedersen is a frequent speaker on the topics of online learning, quality and excellence, military education programs, enrollment management and adult learner success. She has presented at many education conferences, including 1edtech, Council for College and Military Educators, Department of Defense Education Symposium, Educause, National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development, Online Learning Consortium, the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, UPCEA and WCET. She has served as an invited international speaker, met with congressional leaders advocating on behalf of adult learners, and has published practitioner and research-based articles and books.

Before starting her administrative career, Pedersen was a full-time university faculty member. She currently serves as a graduate faculty member at K-State and as a faculty member for the Online Learning Consortium's Institute for Emerging Leadership in Online Learning.

Pedersen's husband, Mark James, is an alumnus of Kansas State University and recently retired from a 32-year career as a physics professor, teaching at Northern Arizona University and the University of Wisconsin-Parkside.

Contact Karen

Title: Dean
Section: Dean's Office
Address: 1117 Mid-Campus Drive North, Manhattan, KS 66506-1200
Office: 337 Hale Library
Email: karenpedersen@k-state.edu

Degree, Field of Study, University:

Ph.D., Clothing, Textiles and Merchandising, Oklahoma State University, 1991

M.S., Textiles, Clothing and Design – Textile Science, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 1986

B.S., Consumer Textiles, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 1984