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Clemson BOT gives Clemson Elevate updates

Clemson News // Courtesy
Clemson Elevate was first launched in April 2023.

In April 2023, Clemson announced the launch of Clemson Elevate, and at its most recent meeting, the University Board of Trustees received a progress update regarding the third pillar: transforming lives statewide and beyond.

Within this emphasis area are three initiatives for success. The first is enhancing educational and economic opportunities for South Carolinians. The second is promoting agricultural and natural resources excellence and leading animal health issues for the state. And the third is improving the health outcomes of South Carolinians, according to the Clemson Elevate website.

In terms of strengthened education, the College of Education has allocated more funding toward developing STEM teachers in rural schools and training more educators to teach English as a second language, both of which are critical needs in the state, Bob Jones, the executive vice president for academic affairs and provost, said in a presentation to the board of trustees.

“Educational South Carolina is really struggling with retention of teachers,” Jones said. “These are all ways to increase the number of teachers that are getting into our primary and secondary schools. When (our students) go into the classroom, they are going to stay in the classroom.”

Additionally, the College of Education has received several grants dedicated to expanding teacher residency and retention.

The vice president for public services and agriculture, George Askew, explained that alongside the launch of the College of Veterinary Medicine, Clemson is working toward fulfilling the agricultural initiatives with new developments in climate-friendly agriculture, fertilizer research and identification of animal diseases.

The overarching goals of these programs are to “improve natural resource sustainability and quality, improve quality of natural resources and food and ensure productive, safe, healthy livestock and poultry industry,” the presentation states.

Regarding the final initiative, the University plans to grow its own health degree programs by adding a master’s in public health and increasing enrollment for nursing. Clemson has also received funding for its rural health clinics across South Carolina, allowing it to implement measures to reduce obesity, improve outbreak detection and improve rural health as a whole.

“The differentiation and utilization of our land-grant mission has just been an incredible way for Clemson to distinguish what we’re doing with rural health from others in the state,” Angie Leidinger, the senior vice president for external affairs and senior advisor to the board of trustees when presenting to the board of trustees.

Clemson Elevate is a 12-year strategic plan to build on three key pillars of the University’s preexisting strengths.

Currently, these three initiatives are in phase one of development and are expected to shift into phase two by May 2024.

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