UofSC recognized for community engagement efforts

The University of South Carolina was again recognized by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching for its commitment to community engagement activities, making it one of only 40 public universities to earn both the top-tier research classification and the community engagement classification from Carnegie.

Since 2006, the Carnegie Foundation has recognized colleges and universities nationwide that have demonstrated success in improving the lives of residents in their communities and beyond. This year’s list of 361 schools earning the designation was announced Wednesday (Jan. 7).

UofSC has a long tradition of providing students, faculty and staff with opportunities to give back, and community engagement is one of the major tenants of the university’s strategic plan, Focus Carolina.

“We are honored to hold the prestigious community engagement designation from the Carnegie Foundation,” President Harris Pastides said. “Coupled with the Carnegie classification for highest research, these ongoing recognitions speak volumes about the importance the University of South Carolina places on service-leadership, internationally-recognized research and degree programs that launch engaged, service-minded state, national and world leaders.”

Community engagement activities at UofSC span 16 areas — all considered critical community concerns. These range from social entrepreneurship, children and youth and civic engagement to diversity, health disparities, poverty and sustainable change.  Last year alone, more than 32,000 UofSC volunteers contributed 266,000 service hours to projects large and small. The combined economic impact of that service is estimated at $6.5 million. 

UofSC’s service highlights include the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, alternative spring breaks where students participate in hands-on service projects, Cocky’s Reading Express children’s literacy program, and the Give it Up for Good yard sales for Habitat for Humanity.

"We are pleased that our fine university has again achieved the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification, renewed in 2015. This distinction recognizes our institution's significant commitment to the lives of the people and civic organizations of Columbia, the Midlands, and of South Carolina, evident in most of the work of our faculty, staff and students at Carolina,” said Tayloe Harding, associate provost for community engagement and dean of UofSC’s School of Music.

“Every one of our colleges and virtually all of our academic departments, as well as most campus student affairs programs, have developed engagement partnerships that contribute to this recognized effort. We look forward to renewing and advancing this commitment during the next period of classification," Harding said.

In addition to the Carnegie classification, which UofSC first earned in 2008, the university also has been recognized by the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for eight consecutive years.

For more information on the Carnegie Foundation’s community engagement classification, visit

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