Denise King, Ph.D.
Dr. King has nearly 25 years of higher education experience as a faculty member and administrator in California, Washington, Missouri and Tennessee. She earned a Ph.D. in Drama and Humanities from Stanford University and a B.A. in both Music and Theater Studies from Emory University.
Currently, she serves as the Vice President for Academic Affairs at Cleveland State Community College in Cleveland, Tennessee. There she has led a number of institutional reforms, most notably the successful adoption of the guided pathways model. Because of dramatic improvement in student success, retention and completion, as well increased enrollment and overcoming significant obstacles, Cleveland State was named the first College of the Year by the Tennessee Board of Regents, recognized as the top performer of 40 community and technical colleges in the state for 2019.
Dr. King began her career in the classroom as a part-time instructor at Foothill DeAnza College in California while in graduate school. She was tenured as faculty in Theater at Olympic College in Washington where she grew the program to a fully transferable degree. Dr. King launched her administrative career serving in roles of increasing responsibility at Skagit Valley College as Campus Director, (where she supported the development of its Elderhostel/RoadScholar program to one of the top 10 in the nation), and St. Charles Community College in Missouri as Dean of Arts and Humanities, before joining Cleveland State as Vice President.
Dr. King is passionate about student success, regularly presents on aspects of the Guided Pathways model and serves as peer support to other community colleges engaging in this work. At Cleveland State she supported the development of early college programs in collaboration with area high schools, the first community college honors program accepted in transfer to state universities, and a paid cooperative program in Mechatronics partnering with six different local industries. Seeking strong partnerships with business, government, K-12 and universities, she has supported targeted programming for dual enrollment, veterans, traditional and adult students to ensure that all students experience success.
To support program development and expansion, Dr. King has worked closely with others at Cleveland State, the college foundation, government and private/public partners to secure significant grants and gifts, supporting the addition of a new campus Center in Vonore, Tn, a multi-partner shared facility in Athens, Tn, and an new Health and Science building for the Cleveland campus, its first new building in 40 years.
She currently serves her community in Bradley County on the Chamber of Commerce Allied Arts Council, United Way, Lonza/Olin Community Advisory, and the boards of The Cleveland Orchestra and Chorus of Tennessee as well as the Chattanooga Girls’ Choir. Dr. King is an active member and officer of the Rotary Club of Cleveland, serving on the board as Youth Services Chair.
An active musician, Dr. King and her husband, Patrick enjoy participating in and supporting the arts as do their children, one of whom is completing a doctoral program, another who is just beginning her college career, and the third who is in restaurant management.