Board wants CofC to become research institution

By Ashley Barker
abarker@scbiznews.com
Published July 28, 2014

When Glenn McConnell visited the College of Charleston as a candidate for president in the spring, one of the suggestions he made over and over was changing the status of the University of Charleston, South Carolina.

In 1992, state legislators created the university as a component of CofC that was designed to offer doctoral degrees, if necessary.

The College of Charleston’s board of trustees approved a new mission statement and resolution last week on the status of the University of Charleston, South Carolina. (Photo Ashley Barker)
The College of Charleston’s board of trustees approved a new mission statement and resolution last week on the status of the University of Charleston, South Carolina. (Photo Ashley Barker)

Previous coverage:

Less than a month into his presidency, McConnell has now made his suggestion a reality and has essentially ended talks of a merger with the Medical University of South Carolina.

The college’s board of trustees approved a new mission statement (.pdf) and resolution (.pdf) last week on the status of the University of Charleston, South Carolina. The statement must still be approved by the S.C. Commission on Higher Education.

Legislators introduced a bill in February to merge CofC and MUSC into Charleston University. The bill was not adopted, but McConnell said “a similar bill likely will be proposed in the upcoming legislative session.”

“I oppose any merger between the College of Charleston and any other university,” McConnell wrote in a letter to the CofC community. “This new mission statement will simply remove any impediment to the college being able to shape its future, rather than being shaped by it.”

With the update, CofC’s status will change from a comprehensive university to a research institution, according to McConnell. Funding, faculty teaching loads and research requirements for faculty tenure are not expected to change, he said.

“By law, if the college becomes the fourth public research university in the state, the only change for the college is that we would be allowed to offer doctoral degrees — if and only if those degree programs are approved by the faculty, the board of trustees, CHE and our regional accreditor,” McConnell wrote.

Doctoral degrees won’t be offered in the near future and would be approved only if new funds became available for them, he added.

“I pledge to you that I will never support a doctoral program unless I am entirely confident that the program will not take money away from our undergraduate mission,” McConnell wrote.

Undergraduate degree programs, diplomas, administrative offices and athletic teams will continue to operate under the College of Charleston name.

Reach staff writer Ashley Barker at 843-849-3144 or @AshleyNBarker on Twitter.

Email Print

Do you give this article a thumbs up? Thumbs_upYes