USC recognized for campus diversity

Posted on: 10/24/2013; Updated on: 2/7/2014
By Jeff Stensland, 803-777-3686

For the second year in a row, the University of South Carolina is recognized by INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine as one of the nation’s top universities for diversity and inclusivity.

The Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) award is given to schools that demonstrate a commitment to a diverse campus experience. This year’s award was given to 55 other schools, and USC is the only school in South Carolina to win the award. USC and the other award honorees are featured in the magazine’s November 2013 issue.

USC Chief Diversity Officer John Dozier said the award is a testament to the university’s commitment to create a welcoming and inclusive environment for all. “Receiving this award is about the efforts of our students, faculty and staff. Yet, I also know that while we are being recognized for doing well, we can and will strive to be better,” Dozier said.

Through its undergraduate recruiting and enrollment efforts, USC has one of the most racially and ethnically diverse student populations among universities in South Carolina. Of its 23,000 undergraduate students, 11 percent are African-American, 4 percent are Hispanic, 3 percent are Asian and/or Pacific islanders and 3 percent of students have identified themselves as having multiple racial/ethnic identities. International students comprise 2 percent of undergraduate students and 15 percent of graduate students.

USC students also come from economically diverse backgrounds, with 23 percent of students representing low-income families. Programs like the Gamecock Guarantee, which allows academically eligible, low-income, first-generation South Carolina students to attend USC and pay no tuition or technology fees, has helped make USC accessible to more families.

The university also offers a rich calendar of multicultural and diversity events for the campus and greater community that includes an annual Martin Luther King Jr. commemoration, a civil rights tour of Southern states for students, as well as observances for international education week and Hispanic heritage, Native American, LGBTQ and women’s history months.

In August, USC was named to the 2014 Military Friendly Schools list for providing financial, academic and social support for members of the military and veterans. The award honors the top 20 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools that excel in embracing military students and ensuring their success in the classroom and after graduation.

“It’s important that we have an expansive definition of what diversity and inclusion mean,” Dozier said. “The University of South Carolina has committed to create and sustain a living, learning and working environment that prepares all of our students to lead in our global, information-based marketplace and society.” 

USC also works to maintain a diverse faculty and staff, with advisory committees addressing issues like health and disability services, salary and gender equality and religious affairs.

Guiding the school’s commitment is the Carolinian Creed, established in 1990 as a complement to the university’s conduct code and as a way to underscore the university’s values of tolerance, civility and the respect for the dignity of others.


Further reading

The community of scholars at USC is dedicated to personal and academic excellence. Choosing to join the community obligates each member to a code of civilized behavior. Learn more about the Carolinian Creed


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