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Center for Integrative and Experiential Learning

USC Connect

USC Connect, the original name for the Center for Integrative and Experiential Learning until January 2020, is the title of the 2011 Quality Enhancement Plan which was grounded in the University’s mission to educate citizens through teaching, research, creative activity, and community engagement. The initiative flowed from the university’s strategic planning process Focus Carolina and built on the Carolina Core (i.e., general education). Faculty, staff, and students developed the initial plan for USC Connect over a 2-year period. The plan was then approved by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC) as the University of South Carolina’s Quality Enhancement Plan [pdf] on December 6, 2011. Faculty, staff, and students throughout the USC Columbia, Lancaster, Salkehatchie, Sumter and Union campuses have been developing and implementing USC Connect, the QEP, since 2011.

A five-year report [pdf], on the impact of USC Connect from 2012-2016, was filed with SACSCOC March 2017. The University of South Carolina continues to be dedicated to providing structures and opportunities that support all students in integrative and experiential learning. See highlights of the first five years of USC Connect through our e-publication USC Connect: A Story of Success [pdf].

The USC Connect QEP Learning Outcomes

The four learning outcomes of the USC Connect QEP were created in consideration of the AAC&U rubric on integrative learning. We still encourage faculty and staff to consider incorporating one or more of the learning outcomes into their syllabus or program goals.
Students will:

  • Provide examples of beyond the classroom experiences in which they have engaged and describe how one or more beyond the classroom experiences has contributed to their learning.
  • Articulate examples of beyond the classroom experiences that illuminate concepts/theories/frameworks presented in their coursework including a clear description of elements of the beyond the classroom experience that are consistent with or contradictory to the identified concept.
  • Thoughtfully connect examples, facts, and/or theories from more than one experience, field of study, and/or perspective such as describing the similarities and differences across experiences, fields of study, or perspectives.
  • Pose solutions to problems (i.e., make recommendations) that incorporate learning from both beyond the classroom and within the classroom experiences, articulate how their decisions are supported by what they have learned through their experiences and content preparation, and implement those solutions (if appropriate).

The CIEL/USC Connect Integrative Learning Rubric for Graduation with Leadership Distinction (GLD) ePortfolios [pdf]

The GLD e-portfolio rubric is based on the USC Connect QEP learning outcomes and has been refined over time. Reviewers are trained in applying the rubric and an annual assessment is conducted to monitor reliability.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.