Carolina Day highlights UofSC’s role in building a stronger state
Advocacy day asks lawmakers to support affordable, accessible higher education
By Communications and Public Affairs staff
Each January, University of South Carolina alumni and advocates come together in person and online in a show of support for UofSC’s efforts to build a stronger state — and to ask state legislators to join the cause.
From increasing opportunities for higher education to developing the state’s workforce, improving access to health care and forging key partnerships with industry, the university is committed to fostering the well-being of our state and its residents. Below, we look at some of the ways in which the University of South Carolina is advancing our state.
Access, diversity and student experience
The university is committed to making a college education accessible and attainable, and to providing a world-class student experience.
- Last fall’s freshman class demonstrated that commitment, with nearly 18 percent of the class identifying themselves as first-generation students.
- The freshman class also included the highest number of African American freshmen ever, an increase of 7 percent over the previous year and up nearly 50 percent since 2016.
- Nearly a quarter of incoming freshmen, 24 percent, came from underrepresented minorities. Hispanic enrollment in particular has risen 77 percent since 2016.
- South Carolina’s six-year graduation rate far exceeds the national average, and its graduation rate for African American students ranks in the Top 3 percent nationally.
- In 2017, UofSC was recognized by the Brookings Institution as one of the best universities in the U.S. (No. 24) for providing upward mobility for its students and for generating knowledge.
- Two-thirds of the system’s 52,000+ students are South Carolina residents .
- Every student who sets foot on campus is welcomed warmly into the Gamecock family, as recognized by the university’s No. 1 ranking nationwide among public universities for first-year student experience.
Educating tomorrow’s workforce
The University of South Carolina plays a pivotal role in advancing the state’s economy, forging partnerships with leading industries and helping to develop leaders who are filling the state’s growing needs in health care, information technology, advanced manufacturing and many other areas.
- System-wide, the university awards more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees a year, helping to meet the state’s need for 70,000 additional baccalaureate degree holders — beyond current graduation rates — by 2030.
- The university is helping to retain the state’s most promising students with the nation’s best Honors College.
- UofSC is developing the state’s future knowledge workers: 55 percent of all research-sector degrees in the state are awarded by the University of South Carolina.
- As the population ages and more retirees move to South Carolina, the state’s demand for nurses continues to rise. The university system is helping to meet the state’s need by graduating 700 nurses per year. In addition, the College of Nursing is achieving new academic heights, with a 100 percent first-time pass rate on the national licensure exam and the No. 1 public online graduate nursing program.
- The University of South Carolina is also dedicated to the economic well-being of its residents. By building partnerships with companies such as IBM, Nephron, Fluor Corp., Siemens, Samsung, SIOS, and Boeing, the university is creating jobs, accelerating innovation and driving economic prosperity. At the university’s Center for Applied Innovation, for example, the university, IBM and private-sector researchers use technology for a host of real-world applications. These partnerships are a win-win for students and the state, as students gain invaluable experience working with major companies and the state gains well-educated critical thinkers to help drive future growth.
- Altogether, the University of South Carolina supports 1 of every 35 jobs in the state and has more than a $5.5 billion economic impact on the state.
Building stronger communities
Throughout the state, UofSC is working to build stronger communities by improving individual access to health care, addressing the state’s teacher shortage and researching ways to solve complex public health challenges.
- University faculty are active in many efforts to improve health outcomes for South Carolinians. From increasing the number of nurse practitioners in rural areas to a wide range of public health outreach efforts throughout the state — with initiatives ranging from telehealth to nutrition, communications disorders and aging issues — UofSC is working to improve the health of South Carolina residents.
- In addition to public outreach efforts, university researchers are working to find long-term solutions to vexing health challenges — from PTSD to Alzheimer’s to autism.
- The university’s College of Education has launched several innovative programs aimed at addressing the state’s teacher shortage and its achievement gap. The Carolina TIP program provides mentoring and support to first-year teachers, helping them navigate the transition from college to teaching. In addition, faculty throughout the university system are working with business and community leaders to improve education outcomes through the Accelerator for Learning and Leadership for South Carolina.
This year, Carolina Day is Jan. 29. Visit the Carolina Day website to learn more.
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