Like every great sports team, there needs to be a game plan. And, the University of South Carolina’s biggest fan is also its best coach. University president Harris Pastides recently announced his dream of raising a whopping $1 billion by 2015 as part of his “Carolina’s Promise” campaign. And, now there is more information as to how he plans to get donors to fork over the cash.
“Focus Carolina” is the overall vision that USC officials hope will make the university a worthy investment for donors and a critical part of moving the state forward.
That vision has seven key points:
1. Quality: USC wants to hire 200 tenure-track faculty by 2014. It wants to develop “an aggressive and proactive” student retention program. The university plans to enhance graduate education and strengthen its health science, law and business programs. USC also wants to increase its compensation and benefits packages for faculty and staff.
2. Leadership: Already recognized for leadership during “the first year experience,” USC plans to introduce the Student Leadership Initiative and USC Connect programs for students and the Visiting Executive Leadership program for professors, faculty, chairs and directors.
3. Innovation: USC wants to focus on aerospace science and engineering, alternative fuels, materials science, composite technology, nanotechnology, sustainability and the environment. The university plans to promote scholarship in the social sciences, the humanities and the creative arts. USC would continue recruiting and hiring experts through the endowed chairs program, and it would get more involved in early childhood and K-12 education. Research funding will continue to be pursued, and university experts would look to make USC an international player in helping developing nations establish the rule of law. The university would stick to its plans to establish Innovista as a research hub.
4. Diversity: USC would increase the number of minority faculty, staff and students to more closely reflect South Carolina’s cultural landscape. The university also would boost the number of international faculty and students by focusing on an academic environment that welcomes a diversity of concepts, ideas and approaches.
5. Access: The university would establish a program to allow students at its two-year, regional campuses to get a bachelor’s degree online and another — cleverly called “Back to Carolina” — to encourage students who stopped attending college to resume work toward their degree. USC plans to increase opportunities for students to go into job-rich fields such as education, criminal justice and nursing.
6. Global competitiveness: USC wants to double the number of students studying abroad by 2015 by expanding the number of partnerships with international universities, attract more international students through the long-established English Programs for Internationals program, develop more faculty relationships with international institutions to broaden research and scholarship opportunities.
7. Community engagement: USC plans to expand service-learning opportunities for students and develop life-long commitment of students in the community. It plans educational outreach programs that engage communities throughout the state. The university wants to use its resources to broaden access to creative performances, films and lectures.