Sunday, Aug. 27, 2006
S.C. State deserves
SC Statehouse Report
27, 2006 - - It's not everyday you learn your school is ranked
one of the top in the nation. But that's just what happened
recently for Dr.
Andrew Hugine, president of S.C. State University in Orangeburg.
"To be among the top institutions in the country is
just phenomenal," he said in a phone interview. "We're
just jumping all over the place."
What he's happy about is a new guide to the nation's universities
Monthly magazine that rates S.C. State as its ninth
best university, an accolade that puts it in the same league
as M.I.T., Stanford and Cornell.
its 9th position makes it compare better than Yale (12th),
Duke (23rd), Harvard (28th), Princeton (43rd), the University
of South Carolina (128th) and Clemson (131st).
In its September
issue, Washington Monthly includes its second annual
college guide, a ranking system based on more than academics,
as is done in a popular annual college ranking by US News
and World Report.
"The main thrust of the Monthly ratings has to
do with a full range of services - - the way the university
helps prepare students for careers in public service,"
said Rebecca Siderbrand, a Monthly editor.
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Editors developed the new rating system because they thought
a better picture needed to be developed to show how well colleges
prepared students to benefit society. In the end, it came
up with three major indicators:
- Social mobility - how the college serves as an
engine to help poorer people prosper and move up in the
- Research - how the college fosters scientific and
humanistic research; and
- Public service - how the school promotes an ethic
of public service among students.
After it picked these indicators, it compiled a bunch of
raw data, aggregated it, developed a rating formula and plugged
it into a computer.
"The algorithm takes into account not what your university
does for you, but what it does for the country," Siderbrand
When the final numbers were crunched, only eight other national
universities rated higher than S.C. State and its 4,500 students.
Hugine says his historically black college has a long tradition
of working hard to change people's lives. More than 70 percent
of the college's students receive Pell grants, which go to
the neediest students. Despite their backgrounds, the school
has a 53 percent graduation - - twice what is predicted by
"On social mobility, we do extremely well," the
president said. "At S.C. State University, we are transforming
minds and transforming lives."
Additionally, it creates an environment that fosters public
service. The school, for example, has trained more minority
military officers than any other college in the country since
it started a ROTC program more than 50 years ago. The program
has generated more than 1,900 commissioned officers and counts
a dozen generals among its graduates.
In the past year, students and faculty members raised more
than $40,000 to fund a Habitat for Humanity home. Then they
Other evidence of a dynamic institution that is preparing
students to give back to the country:
- S.C. State is among the top in the country in granting
minority degrees - - 4th in mathematics (out of 2,443 higher
education institutions); 5th in biology; 18th in education;
and 29th in computer and information services. It is 31st
in the country in granting master's degrees to minorities.
- It offers the only doctorate in education in the state.
- It serves as a regional hub for science and math education.
Bottom line: Washington Monthly got S.C. State's story
right. It is a South Carolina gem. Recognition for what it
has been doing to prepare students to make significant societal
contributions is long overdue.
Send your ideas to Andy Brack, publisher
of S.C. Statehouse Report, at: email@example.com.
Brack's book of commentary, Bugging
the Palmettos, is available for
here for more.
8/27: What happens
at the hospital
Another great cartoon from Bill McLemore:
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Keep partisanship out of races
To the editor:
I really enjoyed your piece on partisan politics in nonpartisan
8/20]. I thought you would like to know that I have
mentioned the article in my blog. See http://schoolmovement.org/?p=93.
-- Natalie Renew, Editor, SchoolMovement.org, Charleston,
PUBLISHER'S NOTE: We also got a very negative
piece of mail from someone on last week's commentary. However
because the person wouldn't sign their letter (we asked)
or provide us with contact information to verify its authenticity,
we did not publish. We'll publish any and all criticisms
(positive and negative), but you need to provide your contact
information. If you need for your letter to be "anonymous,"
we'll keep your contact information private -- but we still
need to know who you are to ensure it is your opinion -
- and not submitted in someone else's name.
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