The Daily Gamecock

Medical school partnership clears hurdle

Board committee also approves ending three programs, creating new dual degree

The USC Board of Trustees’ Health Affairs Committee approved the operating agreement between the university and the Greenville Hospital System during Friday’s meeting, bringing the plan to allow USC medical students to study all four years in the GHS closer to reality.

The agreement will go before the full board in April for final approval, said USC Provost Michael Amiridis. The review of the operating agreement was done in executive session. It also faces a statewide approval process from the Commission of Higher Education. That hearing isn’t set yet.
Amiridis said that medical students will apply separately to and receive separate degrees from USC Columbia and the USC School of Medicine Greenville.

“We are applying for accreditation to get permission to start granting additional medical degrees,” Amiridis said. “This is one of the steps in a process that has by now taken a couple of years and it’s going to take a couple of more years.”

The Academic Affairs and Faculty Liaison Committee also approved the termination of three degrees: the Master of Public Health in Environmental Health Sciences, the Doctor of Philosophy in Elementary Education and the Doctor of Philosophy in Secondary Education.

“Current students in these programs are given the opportunity to finish under the old program if they wish or alternatively to transfer to the new program,” Amiridis said.

The provost said the degree terminations, which he described as consolidations, were based on student demand, number of graduates, relevance to the State of South Carolina, cost savings and national trends in higher learning. In the case of the education degrees, Amiridis said the new doctoral degree in teaching and learning will replace the elementary and secondary education specialties.

“It appears that the division in education anymore is not along the lines of elementary, middle, high school — it’s more along the lines of science or English throughout the curriculum,” Amiridis said.

The committee also approved a new dual-degree program. The Master of International Business program, which is already offered at the Darla Moore School of Business, will be partnered with the Master of Management program at Mannheim University in Germany. Students will spend two semesters in Columbia and two in Germany. International business undergraduates at the Moore School are already partnered with the University of Hong Kong in China.

Friday’s board meeting was also noteworthy in that it was first for Tommy Cofield, the Lexington lawyer and donor to Nikki Haley’s gubernatorial campaign to whom Haley gave Darla Moore’s seat. When asked about the student uproar over Moore’s replacement, Cofield said it disappointed him, but he understood.

“I have only the highest regard for Mrs. Moore and the things that she has accomplished. Specifically, her generosity with all her gifts and talents and time,” Cofield said. “I think nothing but great things about her. It’s disappointing that it has been perceived that I have replaced her, because that’s not the way I look at it.”

Cofield, who graduated from USC in 1979 and the School of Law in 1982 and whose daughter attends the university, said he has a vested interest in seeing the best things for students and parents. When asked if there was political motivation in Moore’s replacement, Cofield said the idea was unfounded and silly.

“You know there are many, many, many donors who gave much more money,” Cofield said.