Focus Carolina 2023

Excellence Rising

The University of South Carolina is well-positioned to serve our students in a changing world. We are one of only 26 public institutions that experienced "exceptional improvements in graduation rates" between 2003 and 2013. In addition, of America's 4,700 degree-granting institutions, only about 680 are public institutions offering at least bachelor's degrees, and U of SC is part of a special subset within this category as one of only 81 public research universities that conduct the highest level of research.

We are melding exceptional academic, research and experiential learning strengths to bolster every aspect of a student's potential. We are matching a vital core curriculum with institutional flexibility that empowers students to take their learning in new directions. We are investing in innovations and initiatives that establish students as lifelong learners, preparing them for a lifetime of professional growth and entrepreneurship. As a school that educates more South Carolinians than ever before and awards nearly half of all bachelor's and graduate degrees granted at public institutions across South Carolina, we are delivering tremendous economic and social impact to the state and beyond.

We are building a public university model that blends disruption with excellence, and innovation with relevance, equipping 21st-century graduates with a deep understanding of a changing world and the ability and confidence to change it. Capitalizing on the foundational success of the Focus Carolina strategic plan, the implementation of the Focus Carolina 2023 strategic initiatives below will take these aspirations, and our impact, higher.





Strategic Priority

Educate the thinkers and leaders of tomorrow

Three students working on a computer outside

Objectives

Strategic Priority 1 Targets

  • 6,000 first-time, full-time freshmen by 2021
  • Higher average SAT/ACT scores than peers by 2023
  • 90 percent freshman-to-sophomore retention rate by 2023
  • 80 percent six-year graduation rate by 2023
  • 100 percent of graduates meet Carolina Core student learning objectives by 2023
  • Two Arenas of Distinction by 2023
  • Increase percentage of GLD graduates to 5 percent by 2023
  • 100 percent undergraduate participation in at least one experiential learning opportunity by 2023
  • Increase community-engagement projects each year
  • 10 percent undergraduate participation in study abroad by 2023
  • 90 percent postgraduate employment/graduate school placement rate by 2023
  • 3 percent increase in graduate student enrollment by 2023
  • 3 percent increase in doctoral degrees conferred by 2023

Strategic Priority

ASSEMBLE AND SUPPORT A WORLD CLASS FACULTY

A University of South Carolina faculty member writes on a chalkboard in a classroom

Objectives

Strategic Priority 2 Targets

  • Maintain 18:1 aggregate student-to-faculty ratio
  • Improve scholarly productivity to .15 differential (Z-Score) by 2023
  • Increase research expenditures to $225 million by 2023
  • Increase faculty participation in Center for Teaching Excellence programs each year

Strategic Priority

SPUR INNOVATION, CREATIVE EXPRESSION AND COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

A student works on a creative art project while listening to music with headphones

Objectives

  • Accelerate entrepreneurship and innovation

    Our Commitments

    • Increase the number of new businesses, commercial ventures, corporate partnerships, technology commercializations and startups
    • Increase number of student participants in McNair Institute (or harmonized) programs
  • Expand creativity and engagement with the arts

    Our Commitments

    • Launch U of SC Celebrates Creativity initiative
    • Expand integrated arts engagement in curricular and experiential-learning offerings
  • Grow community partnerships

    Our Commitments

    • Increase the number of students graduating in fields with high workforce demand
    • Develop new community-engagement opportunities

Strategic Priority 3 Targets

  • Increase the number of new business partnerships or commercializations each year
  • Increase the number of community engagements that involve arts organizations each year
  • 90 percent postgraduate employment/graduate school placement rate by 2023
  • Increase the number of service-learning sections offered each year

Strategic Priority

BUILD INCLUSIVE AND INSPIRING COMMUNITIES

Two students collaborte on a project in a computer lab

Objectives

  • Foster a welcoming and inclusive university community

    Our Commitments

    • Develop programs that promote inclusion
    • Create partnerships and programs that support the success of under-resourced students and underrepresented faculty and staff members
    • Improve communication about diversity and inclusion efforts
    • Deliver biennial assessment and reporting of campus climate
  • Improve diversity of students and faculty and staff members

    Our Commitments

    • Focus strategies for recruiting underresourced and underrepresented students
    • Institutionalize strategies for recruiting and retaining underrepresented faculty and staff members
    • Improve faculty and staff mentorship opportunities

Strategic Priority 4 Targets

  • Increase underrepresented students in the freshman class each year
  • Increase average freshman-to-sophomore retention rate for underrepresented students to 87 percent by 2023
  • Increase average six-year graduation rate for underrepresented students to 75 percent by 2023
  • Increase number of underrepresented faculty each year
  • Improve key results of the campus climate survey

Strategic Priority

ACHIEVE RECOGNIZED INSTITUTIONAL EXCELLENCE

Capstone dormitory lit up at night

Objectives

Strategic Priority 5 Targets

  • U.S. News & World Report top 100 by 2023
  • Improve brand perception results in 2020 and 2023 surveys
  • Increase number of alumni donors to 20,000 by 2023
  • Launch new capital campaign by 2023
  • Budget model operational by 2020