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College of Information and Communications

  • Claflin college partnership signing event

A pipeline and pathway to success

Posted November 3, 2020
By Samantha Douglas, junior public relations major

Last week, the University of South Carolina formally signed an agreement establishing a new 4+1 pathway partnership with Claflin University. The collaboration between South Carolina’s flagship university and one of the nation’s premier historically black colleges and universities in Orangeburg, South Carolina, will offer students the opportunity to earn an undergraduate degree from Claflin and a graduate degree from the College of Information and Communications in just five years. 

“The goals are twofold,” said Shirley Staples Carter, the associate dean for diversity, equity and inclusion at the CIC. “It is a pathway program as well as a pipeline program. A pathway program exposes underrepresented students to a degree opportunity that they might not otherwise have, and students who enroll in this program will pursue the master’s and contribute to a pipeline of talented underrepresented students in the profession.”

Beginning fall 2021, the program will enroll the first two students seeking a Master of Mass Communication. Carter hopes to expand the opportunity to more Claflin students in the future, including students interested in the Master of Library and Information Science degree.

“It is the only program of its kind in the country that is a partnership between a flagship university and an HBCU where students can earn a master’s degree in journalism and mass communications or in library and information science,” Carter said.

This program will also reduce the amount of debt that students have after graduation by condensing the time it takes to earn two degrees. “You are talking about a three-to-four-year program where they’re coming out with two degrees,” said Isaiah McGee, dean of Claflin’s School of Humanities and Social Sciences. “Now the students have a reduced debt load and really are able to launch their careers a little bit more quickly.”

It was at an open house for prospective graduate students from several HBCUs where Carter’s confidence in the program reached its height. “Hearing the questions and seeing the faces of those students, they’re engaging and they’re interested, and at that moment I thought, ‘yes, this is the right program,’” Carter said.

Throughout her studies on diversity issues in higher education and the journalism and mass communications industry, Carter has found that Black students are largely underrepresented. This pathway will enhance diversity in the CIC’s graduate programs by expanding access and opportunity.

“This is a perfect partnership, and it is something that, in spite of all of the social unrest and racial justice issues still unresolved, is a beacon of hope,” Carter said.


Samantha Douglas

Samantha Douglas

Samantha Douglas is a junior public relations major and computer science minor. She is also a news writer for The Daily Gamecock and the assistant student editor for the CIC alumni magazine, InterCom.


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