The Center for Educational Partnerships (CEP) at the University of South Carolina’s College of Education is a consortium of five core education programs and initiatives that, together with additional affiliate organizations, encourage, facilitate and participate in partnerships that support and sustain quality K-12 education in South Carolina. CEP’s three main areas of concentration are professional development, engagement and educational research and policy, particularly as it applies to low-performing schools.

CEP Mission and Goals

The CEP’s mission is to provide educational extension services to schools, families and communities in South Carolina that facilitate collaboration among diverse education stakeholders, leverage existing resources and build local capacity to improve student achievement in South Carolina’s K-12 schools. The CEP’s activities are aligned with the goals set for the CEP by the South Carolina Education Oversight Committee:

  • To make the best possible ideas and resources available to educators, families and communities to ensure every child has the opportunity to succeed in school and beyond;
  • To provide timely training and professional development to educators, families and communities;
  • To establish collaborative educational enterprises with schools and school divisions that support dissemination of proven practices, rigorous field trials of promising models, and development and testing of innovative research based models in collaboration with other state primary educational partners; and
  • To develop broad-based partnerships with schools, communities, agencies and businesses for educational impact.

CEP Core Partners

The CEP was created pursuant to a proviso to the SC General Appropriations Bill of 2013-2014 (H.3710, Proviso 1A.52). The five core founding partners are:

SC School Improvement Council

SC Geographic Alliance

SC Educational Policy Center

The SC Middle Grades Initiative

The Writing Improvement Network

CEP Affiliates

In addition to facilitating access to services and resources offered directly by its core partners, CEP also serves as a gateway to even more high quality education-related programs and initiatives available through CEP affiliates. CEP’s network of affiliates is composed of a diverse group of organizations from the higher education, non-profit, business and governmental sectors who are committed to working toward the shared goal of ensuring that all of South Carolina’s children have access to a quality K-12 education.

The following organizations are currently participating in CEP’s network of affiliates. For more information about an affiliate’s area(s) of expertise and the specific services and resources they provide, simply click on the organization name to link directly to its website.

Yvonne & Schuyler Moore Child Development Research Center at the University of South Carolina

Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention & Advancement (CERRA) at Winthrop University

Center of Excellence to Prepare Teachers of Children of Poverty at Francis Marion University

Charles H. Houston Center for the Study of the Black Experience in Education at Clemson University

Children’s Law Center at the University of South Carolina

SC Education Oversight Committee


Midlands Education and Business Alliance

National Dropout Prevention Center at Clemson University

Olde English Consortium

Palmetto State Teachers Association

RETAIN Center of Excellence

SC Department of Education/School Effectiveness

New Carolina

South Carolina Middle School Association

South Carolina Parent Teachers Association

The Pee Dee Educational Center

The South Carolina Education Association

United Way Association of South Carolina


In addition to regular leadership meetings to review data and propose operational changes, the CEP is formally reviewed by the USC College of Education’s Quality Assurance Committee (QCom).  The committee, made up of faculty and administrative representatives from the College of Education and the College of Arts and Sciences, principals and teachers from the public school system, alumni, and the SC Department of Education, is responsible for managing, monitoring, and reviewing assessment plans and data within the College of Education.  Core CEP partners were reviewed by QCom in 2014.  Review findings for each core partner were compiled and shared with the Dean’s Executive Council, program directors, and the CEP’s Co-directors.

2014 QCom Review Findings for SC School Improvement Council and SC Educational Policy Center

2014 QCom Review Findings for SC Middle Schools Initiative, Writing Improvement Network, and SC Geographic Alliance

CEP Leadership

VanBuren_CEP_webCindy Van Buren, Ph.D., Director, Center for Educational Partnerships