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Leadership Distinction

At USC Lancaster, the world in our classroom

What is GLD?  

Graduation with Leadership Distinction (GLD) is a process that students engage in to better understand how their learning within the classroom connects with their achievements beyond the classroom in experiences such as community service, research, social advocacy projects, study travel, and peer leadership opportunities. Students who earn GLD are recognized with graduation cords and the distinction appears on graduates’ transcripts and diplomas as “With Leadership Distinction in (Pathway Name).”

*This is a formal distinction granted through the Center for Integrative and Experiential Learning (CIEL) at USC Columbia. However, you work with USC Lancaster faculty and staff throughout the process.


Who can pursue GLD?  

Students can earn Graduation with Leadership Distinction if they meet their pathway requirements, have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or greater, and graduate with an associate or baccalaureate degree in any major from USC Columbia, Lancaster, Salkehatchie, Sumter or Union. Failure to complete requirements (including submitting appropriate documentation for verification), forgery, or misrepresentation of experiences or documentation will result in the student being ineligible for GLD.


How do I get involved?

The first step in pursuing Graduation with Leadership Distinction is completing the GLD Orientation. You will watch a 5-minute video and then start your GLD application. You are not obligated to pursue GLD if you start an application. This just lets us know that you are interested!

What do I have to do to earn GLD?

 An enhancement experience is a beyond the classroom engagement that increases your understanding of topics or issues related to your pathway. Enhancement experiences can be one-time or ongoing events that require passive attendance or active participation and discussion. These experiences may take place on or off campus. Examples include, but are not limited to: workshops, lectures, conferences/presentations, official meetings, job shadowing, and out-of-class events/trips. Enhancement experiences may not be double counted toward the fulfillment of the publication/presentation requirement. 

  1. Community Service approved course list
  2. Diversity and Social Advocacy approved course list
  3. Global Learning approved course list
  4. Professional and Civic Engagement approve course list
  5. Research approved course list

Don’t see a course? Don’t worry! If you have not taken courses from the approved list, you may list and describe a course (3 credit hours) that was particularly meaningful for your pathway. You should have earned a B or better in this course.

  1. The presentation must be of a professional nature. You are strongly encouraged to present your work at Discover USC.  If you wish to fulfill this requirement in a way otherthan presenting at Discovery USC, you can find the information about Alternative Presentations on the Presentation page
  1. You must complete a GLD ePortfoliodemonstrating the significance of your within-and-beyond the classroom experiences. There are 2 ways to  complete the ePortfolio: take UNIV 401 (offered every spring) or work independently with a GLD advisor.
  2. To learn more about each option, please make an appointment with a GLD advisor (see below).

Not sure and have questions? Let’s talk! You can make an appointment to meet with one of the GLD advisor at USCL. Email either contact below to set up a time: