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With more than 200 years of history and tradition, the University of South Carolina is redefining itself for decades to come. There's never been a better time to be at South Carolina, the state's flagship university and one of only 62 public universities to receive the Carnegie Foundation's highest designation for research.
The University is located in the heart of South Carolina in the capital city of Columbia, which is the nexus of government, a thriving arts and culture center, a venue for big-time Southeastern Conference intercollegiate athletics, and a community that is reinventing itself with redevelopment projects citywide. Much of the development is tied to land along the scenic, slow-moving Congaree River. Working with government, business, and community leaders, Carolina has developed a unified plan that will allow the University to expand from its origins on the historic Horseshoe to its future-Innovista, a research and innovation district that will stretch to the banks of the Congaree.
Innovista represents a new vision for research by creating a vibrant, urban community where students and researchers, including those from private firms, will live, work, learn, and play. Innovista will represent the University's four core research areas-hydrogen fuel cells, nanoscience and technology, biomedical and public health, and the environment-but will include other initiatives and business partners that serve the knowledge economy. Innovista's first private tenant, for example, is a leader in software applications for the insurance industry and will create several hundred high-paying jobs.
By attracting similar companies and jobs-and by capitalizing on an attractive location for restaurants and residential and retail space-Innovista will help drive the economy and increase per-capita income in the city and state. Recreational space will include a world-class waterfront park along the Congaree River and a new stadium for the Gamecocks' nationally rank
ed baseball program. Greenway paths for biking, walking, and running already line much of the river area. Innovista's 8 million square feet will blend seamlessly with the Vista, the city's nearby entertainment district of restaurants, bars, shops, and art galleries.
Chartered in 1801, Carolina began classes in 1805 with nine students and a single building, Rutledge College. As the campus grew and buildings were added during the next 50 years, a horseshoe layout was adopted. Today, the Horseshoe is on the National Register of Historic Places, with 10 of its 11 buildings dating to the 19th century. Those renovated buildings house, among other areas, the South Carolina Honors College and Undergraduate Admissions, representing much of the University's current and future lifeblood.
In fact, incoming freshman classes have never been larger or more competitive. The freshmen from fall 2006 set records for their size (more than 3,700) and SAT scores (1171 average). Freshmen enrolling in the Honors College had average SAT scores of 1398. Members of the University's prestigious scholarship programs, Carolina Scholars for in-state students and McNair Scholars for out-of-state students, had average scores of 1449 and 1477, respectively. Total enrollment at Carolina for undergraduates and graduates is more than 27,300, with some 350 degree programs to choose from. Since 1994, Carolina students have earned more than $9.9 million in prestigious national scholarships such as the Goldwater, Truman, Rhodes, and NSF scholarships and the Fulbright Fellowships.
South Carolina's student body is diverse. In fact, Carolina was recently recognized as the state flagship university with the highest percentage of African-American student enrollment in the nation. Research by the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education shows African-American students made up 14.7 percent of enrollment in 2004, the latest year available. The JBHE also ranks Carolina eighth in the nation in percentage of African-American faculty at a state flagship university with 4.3 percent.
The University's faculty garnered a record $173.3 million in federal, state, and private funding for research, outreach, and training programs in 2005-06
, and several key hiring plans will introduce more talent and expertise to the faculty ranks. An aggressive campus building master plan and the faculty recruiting initiatives will change the collective face of the University and the faces of many of its key teachers and researchers.
South Carolina is recruiting world-class faculty to be endowed chairs-and change agents-for a series of "research centers of economic excellence" in areas such as nanoelectronics, polymer nanocomposites, brain imaging, regenerative medicine, cancer therapeutics, drug discovery, vision research, hydrogen fuel cells, and travel and tourism technology. These centers, some in collaboration with other state research universities and health and hospital systems, are funded with $30 million annually in state lottery money, as well as private matching money. Carolina is in the midst of a faculty recruitment plan to hire 600 new members. The Faculty Excellence Initiative is recruiting 150 faculty, many in interdisciplinary clusters of emphasis, while the Centenary Plan will recruit 100 elite research faculty to lead the University's core initiatives. Additionally, 350 faculty will be hired across disciplines to replace retirees over the next few years.
The University has forged a number of international collaborations in research, and the University's global connections are also strong in academics, particularly in international business. U.S. News & World Report has consistently ranked the Moore School of Business best in the nation for its undergraduate and graduate programs in international business; the undergraduate program is No. 1 for the 10th consecutive time, while the graduate program is No. 1 among public universities for the 18th consecutive year and No. 2 overall, continuing a streak of 18 years with a top-two overall ranking.
The Department of Exercise Science's doctoral program is ranked No. 1 in the nation in kinesiology and exercise science, according to the 2005 Faculty Scholarly Productivity Index by Academic Analytics. The index of doctoral programs at research universities considers journals and publications, citations of journal articles, research funding, and other awards and honors. South Carolina is also strong in the humanities and has created an interdisciplinary Arts Institute that develops projects bringing together students and faculty in art, music, theater, dance, and literature.
Undergraduate education is still a cornerstone of the University, and South Carolina's support system for freshmen includes the acclaimed University 101 program-listed in U.S. News & World Report's latest "Programs to Look For" and previously No. 1 among the magazine's "Programs That Work." University 101 helps students make the transition to University life. The course introduces students to academic resources and campus facilities while addressing areas such as time management, communication, research skills, and critical thinking.
The First Year Reading Experience, begun in 1994, provides the freshman class with a common point of reference through reading and small-group discussion of a selected literary work. The Capstone Scholars program creates living-learning environments by housing students from similar academic disciplines together for their first two years and providing numerous extracurricular opportunities.
Additional academic resources include the Student Success Center, housed in the main campus library, and a Supplemental Instruction program in which students master difficult core classes and return to tutor their peers. The Magellan Scholars program provides stipends of up to $3,000 to approximately 100 undergraduates a year to foster and fund research opportunities.
In research, the University is a national leader in public health, particularly in the fields of health disparities, obesity prevention, bioterrorism preparedness, and biomedical sciences. Through its research, scholarship, outreach, and service initiatives, the University of South Carolina contributes to the greater good of its community, state, and beyond.