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USC Upstate Is No. 1…Again


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Dean Mo Djerdjouri, George Dean Johnson, Jr.
College of Business and Economics

BEst Colleges Badge imageFor a second consecutive year, USC Upstate is No. 1 among Southern Regional Public Colleges in annual rankings published by U.S. News & World Report. Additionally, in its list of Best Regional Colleges, USC Upstate is 12th among all Southern Regional Colleges, which includes private institutions as well as public.

“I am proud that USC Upstate continues to build on its reputation as a university that provides a high-quality, affordable, career-relevant education to citizens of the Upstate and beyond,” says USC Upstate Interim Chancellor Derham Cole. “These rankings are significant recognition of our collective efforts to fulfill our mission by providing transformative opportunities for students and families, and positively impacting the social, cultural and economic fabric of the communities we serve.”

USC Upstate ranks No. 3 among the South’s Best Colleges for Veterans, moving up from No. 4 last year. In the social mobility category, USC Upstate is No. 13 among Southern Regional Colleges, private and public.

U.S. News and World Report rankings are calculated based on 17 measures of academic quality, such as graduation and retention rates, social mobility, faculty resources, alumni giving, admissions data and academic reputation determined by a peer assessment from top collegiate academics. Regionally accredited schools are categorized by criteria developed by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Business, Nursing Uphold Reaccreditation Standards

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Dean Shirleatha Lee, Mary Black School of Nursing

The George Dean Johnson, Jr. College of Business and Economics (JCBE) recently earned reaccreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) International. Founded in 1916, AACSB is recognized worldwide for its standards of excellence.

Every five years, AACSB-accredited schools must undergo a rigorous peer review to demonstrate they have the resources, credentials and commitment needed to provide students with first-rate, future-focused business education. Accreditation recognizes that an institution has demonstrated a focus on excellence in teaching, research, curricula development, student learning and community engagement. Only about 5% of business schools worldwide hold this distinction. JCBE has been accredited by AACSB International since 2000.

“We are delighted and proud to receive a full extension of accreditation by the leading global accreditor of business schools,” says Mo Djerdjouri, dean of JCBE. “It’s a great honor, and, for our college, one that highlights the exceptional quality of our faculty, staff, students and program.”

This fall, Dean Shirleatha Lee and her team at the Mary Black School of Nursing (MBSON) hosted a virtual site visit for evaluators with the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Lee joined USC Upstate in July 2019, just in time to take the school through the end of its own rigorous preparation for reaccreditation.

“The Mary Black School of Nursing has long embraced the idea of continuous improvement, always working to provide a high-quality program for our students,” says Lee. “Over the last few years, faculty committees collaborated to ensure alignment with Commission standards.”

Lee says exit reports by 2020 evaluators indicate that all standards and key elements were met. A recommendation for reaccreditation will go before the CCNE Board of Commissioners during its spring meeting.

“I have been involved with a number of accredited programs across the country, but none have been stronger than the programs here at USC Upstate,” says USC Upstate Provost David Schecter. “These incredible faculty and hardworking staff are a model for schools around the country.”

Nursing track opens to biology majors

It was about a year ago that the Mary Black School of Nursing (MBSON) was sewing up a new opportunity for biology students at the College of Charleston. Recognizing a critical need for nurses in the state, administrators from both institutions developed a program that enables biology students at the College of Charleston to take their first three years of coursework and transition to USC Upstate to finish up. Graduates of the accelerated, five-year program earn degrees in both biology and nursing.

Not long after the dual-degree program was announced, Jeannie Chapman, dean of USC Upstate’s College of Science and Technology, met with MBSON Dean Shirleatha Lee to develop a plan for offering the same opportunity to biology students at Upstate.

“A strong science foundation is essential for students who wish to move successfully through the nursing program,” says Lee. “This dual-degree program allows us to support talented students who discover an interest in nursing while minimizing a delay in our ability to move them into the workforce.”

In building a curriculum for the dual degree, Chapman, Lee and members of their faculty identified common courses that count as credit for both, decreasing the time required to complete two programs. And while rigorous, the compressed course load saves students the expense a second degree would ordinarily bring.

"Good scientists and good health practitioners always ask why."

Profile image“We’re excited about the new dual-degree program in biology and nursing. Learning about systems in living organisms provides an excellent foundation to better understand what can go wrong in a living person and how we can help to address problems when they occur,” said Ben Montgomery, associate professor of Biology and chair of Natural Sciences and Engineering. “Good scientists and good health practitioners always ask why. A biology degree provides a nurse with a deeper understanding of why diseases occur and why particular treatments are appropriate.

Wild About Upstate

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USC Upstate joined the ranks of Disney’s Epcot Theme Park and the Denver Zoo when it was recognized this fall by the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) as a Certified Wildlife Habitat Site. Bruce Suddeth, the university’s director of Building and Landscape Services, applied for the certification and was delighted when he learned Upstate had met all criteria. “We have many types of wildlife on the campus grounds at varying times of the year,” says Suddeth. “This is significant recognition that the University is doing its part for wildlife conservation in an urban environment.”NWF’s certification website states that “rapid and large-scale changes to our lands and waters mean wildlife are losing the habitats they once knew. Every habitat garden is a step toward replenishing resources for wildlife such as bees, butterflies, birds, and amphibians — both locally and along migratory corridors.”

USC Upstate has long been recognized for its dedication to preserving the beauty of its 330 acres. As a designated Tree Campus USA for more than a decade, the university is recognized by the national Arbor Day Foundation for its promotion of healthy trees and student involvement.