USC Aiken Earns National Recognition as College of Distinction

National guide for colleges highlights innovative learning opportunities at top schools

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AIKEN, SC (03/08/2018) By demonstrating continued dedication to high-impact educational practices that influence both student learning and student success, the University of South Carolina Aiken has been named as one of the nation's Colleges of Distinction.

USC Aiken has created a unique learning environment where students not only earn college credit and valuable life experience but also participate in character-building first-year seminars, community-based learning programs, service learning programs, alternative spring breaks, diversity and global learning programs, intensive language programs, intensive writing courses, interdisciplinary programs, collaborative assignments and projects, undergraduate research, living-learning communities, common intellectual experiences, capstone projects, study abroad programs, and internships.

"As you can see, the award recognizes the student's experiences in the classroom, especially high-impact pedagogical practices; the student's co-curricular and extra-curricular opportunities, especially developing leadership and citizenship; and the institution's overall student-first environment, especially a strategic plan focused on student success," said Dr. Sandra Jordan, chancellor.

"While USC Aiken has a longstanding tradition of being committed to our students' success, it is exciting to know that others also recognize it.

"I credit the entire campus community, faculty, staff, and leadership with this accolade."

Tyson Schritter, chief operating officer for Colleges of Distinction, applauds the university and says USC Aiken was honored because of its "continued commitment to student success."

Developing cutting-edge curricula, enriching students' college experience with high-impact educational practices, and providing an education that stretches far beyond what's typically required from an academic major earned USC Aiken this honor.

The selection process at Colleges of Distinction requires that institutions adhere to the four distinctions: engaged students, great teaching, vibrant community, and successful outcomes. This process also includes a review of each institution's freshman experience as well as its general education program, strategic plan, alumni success, satisfaction measures, and more.

"Colleges of Distinction is much more than an annual ranking of colleges and universities. Our goal is to select schools that are 100% focused on the student experience, driven to produce well-rounded graduates who are prepared for a global society and economy," said Schritter.

"Becoming a College of Distinction, like USC Aiken, is proof that the institutions we select are fully invested in their students' success, beginning on day one and continuing through the rest of their lives."

Since 2000, the Colleges of Distinction website and guidebook have recognized and honored schools throughout the United States for excellence in undergraduate-focused higher education. The member schools in the Colleges of Distinction consortium distinguish themselves through their focus on the undergraduate experience. The website and annual guidebooks provide dynamic college profiles, customized tools, and resources for students, parents, and high school counselors.