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Center for Integrative and Experiential Learning

About the Center for Integrative and Experiential Learning

The Center for Integrative and Experiential Learning (CIEL), formerly USC Connect, leads the University of South Carolina’s comprehensive initiative to enhance undergraduate education and build a culture of integrative learning. Integrative learning at USC is about making connections across within and beyond the classroom experiences and includes student engagement in community service, research, peer leadership, internships, and study abroad. Integrative learning is more than just having the experience though and also includes learning from the experience and connecting learning to academic study. The final step is applying learning to solve problems and make decisions . . . applying learning to lead. USC students’ educational experiences are enriched by engagement within and beyond the classroom and their ability to connect these experiences is the heart of a truly meaningful education.

CIEL promotes student opportunities to engage beyond the classroom and synthesize and apply learning across experiences. Graduation with Leadership Distinction is the Center’s signature program and recognizes students for significant engagement and learning, including leadership through solution-oriented thinking. Experiential Learning is also encouraged for all undergraduate students.


To advance integrative and experiential learning across within and beyond the classroom experiences at the University of South Carolina Columbia and Palmetto College campuses for students, faculty, and staff by providing programs, developing resources, conducting outreach, and facilitating assessment.


To foster an enriched educational environment through purposeful within and beyond the classroom experiences that deepen the impact on student learning and enhance their preparation for the future.


National Presence

CIEL, formerly USC Connect, was highlighted in The Undergraduate Experience: Focusing Institutions on What Matters Most in 2016 as an example of intentional alignment in higher education across educational purpose, student needs, resources, policies, and practices. Details on aspects of our programs published in 2018 include:

View a more complete list [pdf] of recent publications and presentations by CIEL and our faculty and staff partners.


Our Administration

CIEL is housed in the Office of the Provost and overseen by the vice provost and dean of undergraduate studies. Office staff includes a faculty executive director, an associate director for assessment and director of the quality enhancement plan, an assistant director for student services, and student advisors/consultants. Faculty fellows serve as advocates for integrative learning and provide faculty perspectives to the Center. The CIEL Council, composed of administrators, faculty, and student representatives, provides global direction and oversight. The Student Advisory Council provides ongoing feedback. CIEL partners with all colleges/schools and many offices throughout the university.




Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.