With 200-plus years of history, high-achieving students, nationally respected faculty, and an innovative new research district, the University of South Carolina is a rising star.
In fact, incoming freshman classes have never been larger or more competitive. The freshmen from fall 2007 set records for their size (more than 3,600) and SAT scores (1183 average, an 80-point increase in seven years). Freshmen enrolling in the Honors College had average SAT scores of 1403. Members of the University's prestigious scholarship programs, Carolina Scholars for in-state students and McNair Scholars for out-of-state students, had average scores of 1449 and 1477, respectively. Total enrollment at Carolina for undergraduates and graduates is more than 27,300, with some 350 degree programs to choose from. Since 1994, South Carolina students have earned more than $9 million in prestigious national scholarships such as the Goldwater, Truman, Rhodes, and NSF scholarships and the Fulbright Fellowships.
South Carolina's student body is diverse. In fact, the University has been recognized as the state flagship university with the highest percentage of African-American student enrollment in the nation. Research by the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education showed African-American students made up 14.7 percent of enrollment in 2004, the latest year available for the study. The JBHE also ranked South Carolina eighth in the nation in percentage of African-American faculty at a state flagship university with 4.3 percent.
The University's faculty garnered a record $185.2 million in federal, state, and private funding for research, outreach, and training programs in 2006-07, and several key hiring plans will introduce more talent and expertise to the faculty ranks. An aggressive campus building master plan and the faculty recruiting initiatives will change the collective face of the University and the faces of many of its key teachers and researchers.
South Carolina is recruiting world-class faculty to be endowed chairs—and change agents—for a series of Research Centers of Economic Excellence in areas such as nanoelectronics, polymer nanocomposites, brain imaging, regenerative medicine, cancer therapeutics, drug discovery, vision research, hydrogen fuel cells, and travel and tourism technology. These centers, some in collaboration with other state research universities and health and hospital systems, are funded with $200 million in state lottery money, as well as private matching money. Already the University has recruited top researchers such as Kenneth Reifsnider from the University of Connecticut to lead South Carolina's Solid Oxide Fuel Cell program and Brian Benicewicz from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute as endowed chair of the Center of Economic Excellence for Polymer Nanocomposite Research.
South Carolina is in the midst of a faculty recruitment plan to hire 600 new members. The Faculty Excellence Initiative is recruiting 150 faculty, many in interdisciplinary clusters of emphasis, while the Centenary Plan recently completed a program to recruit 100 elite research faculty to lead the University's core initiatives. Additionally, 350 faculty will be recruited across disciplines to replace retirees over the next few years.
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