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USC Beaufort Announces Biology Honors Residential Learning Community for Fall '18 on Beaufort Campus

BEAUFORT, S.C. – The University of South Carolina Beaufort announces that a select group of honors students intending to major in Biology will begin study on the Beaufort campus in the fall of 2018. With the planned addition of dedicated student housing in Beaufort and the Nursing Residential cohort announced earlier this month, USCB is defining a new academic role for the Beaufort campus. 

Students will live and learn together in a select biology cohort that elevates active learning and student interactions in and outside of the classroom. Students will be admitted to the cohort via a competitive entry process.

This cohort model has proven successful at universities across the country. Residential learning communities improve student engagement, develop a sense of community, improve retention rates, result in higher GPAs and help students complete degrees in a timely manner.

USCB is currently seeking proposals from private owners of housing facilities in the local Beaufort community for student housing to accommodate the new Biology and Nursing residential learning cohorts. The students will be within walking distance of the campus as well as shops, restaurants, the waterfront, parks, etc. Students' first two years are spent on the Beaufort campus in preparation for completion of the Biology honors program, the last two years of which are delivered on the Bluffton campus.

Local enrichment experiences are planned to enhance learning for these Beaufort College Scholars. The natural surroundings and partnerships with local organizations provide students opportunities for hands-on learning in the Coastal Ecology and Conservation track. Local hospitals are close by for shadowing health professionals for those in the Biomedical Sciences concentration.

"Experiential learning is a crucial component of success for a student and leads to higher retention rates and more opportunities after graduation," said Eric Skipper, executive vice chancellor for academic affairs at USCB.

"Providing enhanced learning opportunities will be an exciting part of this new Biology honors program," said Joe Staton, dean of the school of science and mathematics. "The Beaufort Campus offers so many extras including that special feel of a small liberal arts campus. We hope that this unique experience of living withinwalking or cyling distance of the waterfront, shops, galleries, restaurants, etc. will be appealing to students."

With the construction of the Bluffton campus, many of the university classes, activities and offices moved there from the Beaufort campus. "We are thrilled that we will once again see a thriving campus of students living and learning where so many have done so before," said Skipper. "This renvisioning of the campus means that students will have the opportunity for a specialized experience that emphasizes community and peer accountability.

About the Beaufort College Scholars:
The Beaufort College Scholars admits talented freshmen seeking a residential learning cohort model. This lively, innovative educational option for students will be located on the Beaufort campus where Beaufort College was chartered in 1795. Based on national models and best practices, the residential learning cohort has been demonstrated to accelerate student engagement in campus life, academic progress and persistence to degree completion. See citation below.

For the Beaufort College Scholars, the idyllic college town is Beaufort, SC. With its charming downtown, historic homes, waterfront access, and active arts, business and community life, it will serve as an extended living and experiential learning campus. The Beaufort College Scholars will take advantage of USCB collaborations with local businesses and nonprofits, including the Beaufort Digital Corridor, SCETV, as well as art organizations and participating artists.

Additional details about the Beaufort College Biology Scholars program can be found at 
www.uscb.edu/biology.

Reference: 
Zhao, Chun-Mei and George D. Kuh, "Adding Value: Learning Communities and Student Engagement" 
http://www.nsse.indiana.edu/pdf/research_papers/Zhao_Kuh_Learning_Communities.pdf

This article was previously published by USC Beaufort.

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