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USC Upstate realigns in response to changing world

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USC Upstate made it clear at a ribbon-cutting ceremony that it doesn’t intend to be just another college in the region’s line-up of higher education alternatives.

With heavy emphasis on the word “the,” Provost Clifton P. Flynn said the Spartanburg school had a great deal of responsibility as “the public regional comprehensive university of the Upstate” to serve the students, the residents and the business economy of the area.

Realigning programs into the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and the College of Science and Technology serves all of those constituents, he said.

“We are committed to being the leader in producing graduates that not only are prepared for careers, but to be informed, productive and involved citizens,” he said. “To do that we needed a structure that allows us to more readily plan and deliver innovative career-relevant academic programs; manage our resources more efficiently and effectively so that we maximize our efforts to ensure student success; leverage our strength as a university to build greater capacity in teaching, scholarship and service; encourage greater synergy and collaborative work among our faculty; and serve our community as productive and innovative thought partners, knowledge brokers and talent producers.”

Flynn said the new alignment of colleges puts USC Upstate in a better position to react to changing realities, including South Carolina’s shift into a more technical-based manufacturing economy.

The interim dean of the College of Science and Technology said the new structure will enable the departments in her college to respond to shifting needs in any related field, but specifically cited the manufacturing economy.

“Because of their important role in advancing mankind’s knowledge, universities must not only keep up in the STEM fields but they must also be forward looking, thus the need for the formation of colleges such as the College of Science and Technology,” Dean Jeannie Chapman said. “The programming offered in our college includes foundational disciplines such as mathematics and chemistry — essential science.”

Chapman said her college intends to become a premier STEM institution through engaging and rigorous training for students.

“We will continue to provide rigorous programming, rich research experiences, access to cutting edge equipment, so that students walk into a job or graduate school with the training they need to make a near seamless transition from consumer of knowledge to producer of it,” she said. “We are now more streamlined and agile so that we can respond to changing and emerging fields with new and innovative academic programs that build on the synchronicity of the units within this college and more easily establish partnerships with the numerous STEM-related organizations and industries located right here in the Upstate region, significantly enhancing the research experiences and internship opportunities available to our students.”

Interim Dean Rob McCormick rattled off a long list of activities designed by the College Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences to educate students and give a bump to the cultural life of the community.

“All of these endeavors are designed to improve the lives of our students as well as the lives of the citizens here in the Upstate of South Carolina,” he said. “The new college, centered on creativity and innovation, is focused on building upon the strong foundation by dedicating itself to promoting the importance of the liberal and fine arts as well as the social and behavioral sciences, disciplines that have never been more vital than in the complex world of today.”

The new colleges join USC Upstate’s other schools: the George Dean Johnson Jr. College of Business and Economics, the Mary Black School of Nursing and the School of Education.

“When you open a college, you’re not just opening a building; you’re opening intellectual capital and opportunity for students,” Chancellor Brendan Kelly said. “I don’t believe that we are sitting still in any way, and introducing these two new colleges today is an example of that.”

Reach Ross Norton at 864-720-1222.

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