University of South Carolina Sumter
|University of South Carolina
|Dean||Dr. C. Leslie Carpenter|
|Location||Sumter, SC, USA|
|Campus||Urban, 50 acres (20.2 ha)|
|Colors||Garnet and White|
The University of South Carolina Sumter is a public university located in Sumter, South Carolina. One of the 7 regional USC campuses and is currently an accredited two-year school in the University of South Carolina System, it is home to approximately 1,500 students. It is fully accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Colleges and Schools 
- College of Arts and Sciences
- School of Nursing
- School of Business Administration
- School of Education
- School of Interdisciplinary Studies
In 1965 the Sumter County Commission on Higher Education, desiring to fulfill its purpose of starting or bringing a public college to Sumter, entered into an agreement with Clemson University to establish an academic branch of Clemson in Sumter at the old Sumter Airport site on Miller Road. This was Clemson's first such branch. The original campus consisted or four buildings and was designed to accommodate 550 students. The initial enrollment of 97 had grown to only 245 by 1973. in 1973. Upset by this poor growth rate, the Commission successfully negotiated with Clemson and USC to terminate the Sumter branch's relationship with Clemson and to become a branch of the USC System.
USC Sumter now has an enrollment of over 1,000 per academic year. USC Sumter confers two-year associate's degrees and also offers baccalaureate degree programs in business administration, elementary education, nursing, early childhood education, and interdisciplinary studies .
The University of South Carolina Sumter announced Monday, October 30, 2006 the return of intercollegiate athletics to the campus. Competitive sports have not been on campus since the 1970s, when the mascot was The Partisans and the school colors were purple and white.
University of South Carolina Sumter now sponsors four collegiate teams known as the Fire Ants. The athletic department colors are garnet and white, while the university's colors are garnet, black, and white. The teams compete in Region X of Division I in the NJCAA. These sports are men's baseball and soccer, and women's soccer and softball. The USC Sumter Fire Ants began playing in the 2007-2008 academic year with baseball and softball. Men's and women's soccer began play in the Fall of 2008. The University plans to add more sports as the support grows for its teams.
The baseball team plays at Riley Park, three miles east of campus. The softball team plays at Palmetto Park, a half mile northwest of campus. The soccer field is on campus.
The baseball team in its 2nd season won the 2009 NJCAA Region X regular season title. The Fire Ants would finish third in the Eastern District with a record of 52-11.
Recent Proposal to Convert From Two-Year to Four-Year College 
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The city of Sumter, South Carolina and the area surrounding it (the county of Sumter itself, Lee, Clarendon, Kershaw, and Williamsburg counties) are in a state of economic transition. That transition amounts to a movement away from the region’s traditional industries that require low-cost, low-skill labor and toward knowledge-intensive industries that require the kind of highly skilled workers who are typically the product of higher education. According to one administrator at the University of South Carolina Sumter, the Sumter area has lost about one-third of its manufacturing jobs since the year 2000, and the Dean of the Sumter campus expects this trend to continue, as more manufacturing firms move their operations offshore in search of cheaper labor.1 The transition appears to be in its earliest stages, however. The area’s major employers continue to be manufacturing firms, though local officials believe that the recent decision to relocate the Third Army to Shaw Air Force Base will significantly change the area’s population and employment bases over the next five years or so. Though the local desire pre-dates recent job losses, it is primarily in this context that representatives of the community of Sumter (the Dean of the Sumter campus, the local Chamber of Commerce and other economic development officials, and several members of the Sumter delegation to the state legislature) have petitioned the president of the University of South Carolina to support changing the University of South Carolina Sumter from a two-year institution to a four-year institution. Among community representatives, this is seen not only as an economic development imperative to attract new business and industry to the region but as a quality of life issue and a matter of civic pride. Initially, the President’s response to the petition was that the political and economic climate in the state precluded the addition of another full-service institution to the USC system, but the community has persisted in its request, even to the point of introducing an act in the legislature to mandate the change of status. The act initially passed without funding, but has since been unattached from another bill and is now subject to a new process of introduction and debate. In response to this persistence, President Sorensen strengthened his expression of five conditions to be met before he would consider supporting the change of status for USC Sumter. The first of these conditions relates to enrollment—which, on both a headcount and an FTE basis, has been steadily declining at USC Sumter since about the mid-1990s, despite increases in both faculty size and budget. The second condition calls for increases in faculty scholarly productivity, since total faculty publications are at this time less than the output of a single professor at a typical research university. Related to scholarly productivity, the President calls for dramatic increases in external research support, since USC Sumter’s current research earnings are the lowest of any regional campus in the system.5 The fourth Dean Carpenter has noted for example, that recent changes in the textile industry indicate that in the near future, there will be no textile-related jobs in the state of South Carolina. Students located in Sumter currently can pursue four-year degree options in Business and Teacher Education, but these degrees are technically offered by other regional campuses within the University of South Carolina system; and though students enrolled in these programs remain, for the most part, at Sumter and are taught by Sumter faculty, they are technically students of the other campuses and ultimately receive their degrees from those campuses.More recently, under a new director of admission, enrollment has begun to stabilize.Faculty at Sumter typically teach a 4-4 load, though this is standard among the regional campuses. The Dean has also said, "We have a particular concern about research in the sciences. USC Sumter is in desperate need of a new science building, since its current facility is not adequate even for lower division teaching." Research space for all faculty is confined to a single bench in teaching condition calls for Sumter to lower substantially its FTE expenditures per student; and the final condition—beyond Sumter’s control—is the development of an economic climate in the state of South Carolina that would make feasible Sumter’s growth in mission. In response to these conditions USC Sumter officials revised a campus transition plan that includes hiring over time new research-oriented faculty and assumes that the costs of transition can be funded out of enrollment increases, for which tactical actions and goals are provided. These actions include counting as USC Sumter students those students currently enrolled in programs conducted in partnership with other regional campuses, attracting greater numbers of new first-time students, and retaining greater numbers of students who transfer out, stop out, or drop out. In order to help USC system administrators evaluate the long-term prospects for USC Sumter as a four-year institution, University officials from the office of the Provost contacted Yardley Research Group in August 2006, to conduct assessments of both market demand for four-year degrees at USC Sumter and the marketability and feasibility of USC Sumter as a four-year institution. The work on the project commenced on September 20, 2006, with a background meeting with Provost’s staff in Columbia and has continued with in almost the last four years through several visits to the campus in Sumter and the collection and analysis of various data sets to help reach conclusions about expansion of labs, with the possibility of increased space in the Summer could be credible scientific research taking place in the present facilities. Funding for a new science building is currently high on the state’s priority list, though it is not clear if the building being planned will be appropriate for a four-year campus or for faculty research.