Mahony Unveils Winthrop's New Strategic Plan at First State of the University Address

September 22, 2016

Quick Facts

bullet point The plan is titled "The Winthrop Plan: A Strategy to Become a National Model for a Student-Centered University Experience."


ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA -- Winthrop University President Dan Mahony laid out how the university will become a student-centered national model in his first State of the University address on Thursday, Sept. 22, in Byrnes Auditorium.

Mahony called for a team effort that builds on Winthrop's past successes, including its strong reputation, focus on students, and its willingness to adapt to the changing realities of public higher education. "The Winthrop Plan: A Strategy to Become a National Model for a Student-Centered University Experience" will guide the university through 2025. The plan includes initiatives to drive enrollment, retention, student success, diversity, and fundraising.

The strategic planning process began in fall 2015. Mahony met with members of each department and office to gather feedback that would start to shape the planning process. The plan development was led by a strategic planning committee comprising faculty, staff and students, with the support of seven working groups which focused on key areas of priority. Their work provided the basis for the new strategic plan that Mahony debuted.

Mahony stressed the importance in understanding Winthrop's approach to presenting the plan and for implementing it.

"[The Winthrop Plan] will be transparent. Our goals and how we are measuring them will be public for everyone to see," Mahony said. "Every year, people will know not only what our goals are for the long term, but also for the short term. Every year, we will evaluate our success in meeting our targets."

Mahony added that the plan and the process of reviewing it will drive Winthrop's allocation of funds. "We must ensure that we dedicate our resources to our most critical needs and not spend them on things that would simply be nice to do. Every discussion related to resource allocation will come back to this plan and whether each proposed expenditure furthers our ability to reach our goal," he emphasized.

He went on to say: "In other words, this is not a plan that will sit on a shelf collecting dust. We will live and breathe it every day, and everyone will know who we are and what we are trying to achieve."

Mahony then outlined each of the following five goals and initiatives that make up the Winthrop Plan:

Goal 1: Support inclusive excellence by expanding our impact on students and our communities through enrollment growth and increases in retention and graduation rates.

Initiatives for this goal include:
a) improve student success with new and refined co-curricular programs and services that emphasize measurable impacts on retention and graduation rates;
b) enrich our academic program mix by developing new and innovative programs (degree programs, certificate programs, continuing education programs) and by refining existing academic programs to meet the emerging needs and interests of diverse student populations and the community.
c) develop and implement a clear marketing strategy that refines and highlights the university's competitive advantages; and
d) refine and implement a long-term student recruitment plan with an emphasis on expanding our reach domestically, both inside and outside South Carolina, and internationally while increasing diversity.

Metrics will include:

A. Total headcount enrollment
B. One-year retention rate — First Time/Full-Time Freshmen
C. Six-year graduation rate — First-Time/Full-Time Freshmen
D. Undergraduate student placement rate
E. Percentage of undergraduate students who are AALANA/Asian/International

Goal 2: Continually enhance the quality of the Winthrop experience for all students by promoting a culture of innovation, with an emphasis on global and community engagement.

Initiatives for this goal include:
a) develop new programs and enhance current ones that have the potential to be national models;
b) increase opportunities for students, faculty, and staff to interact with organizations in the community, with an emphasis on enhancing our impact on the surrounding community; and
c) maintain and enhance the university's commitment to global learning.

Metrics will include:

A. Percentage of undergraduate students who graduate with at least two high impact practices
B. NSSE Diversity Indicator
C. NSSE Student-Faculty Interaction Engagement Indicator
D. Number of new and substantially redesigned programs

Goal 3: Attract and retain high quality and diverse faculty, staff, and administrators.

Initiatives for this goal include:
a) develop innovative approaches for increasing the diversity of the candidate pools for all faculty and staff positions and for increasing our success in attracting, hiring and retaining diverse employees;
b) develop and implement a long-term competitive compensation plan; and
c) enhance professional development and training opportunities for faculty, staff, and administrators that increase the potential of the university to reach the various goals in the strategic plan.

Metrics will include:
A. Percentage of faculty/managerial staff who are AALANA/Asian/International
B. Percentage of full-time employees with salaries at or above the median
C. Satisfaction of faculty, staff, and administrators based on one or more rating systems

Goal 4: Provide facilities, technology, and programs that support Winthrop students and the overall Winthrop experience.

Initiatives for this goal include:
a) increase the use of technology in order to provide more programs and enhance access through alternative delivery methods while maintaining the quality of the Winthrop experience;
b) develop and initiate a campus master plan that focuses both on maintenance and new construction; and
c) identify critical facility renovations with a high impact on the student experience and raise money to support those renovations.

Metrics will include:
A. Number of classrooms with upgraded technology
B. Student satisfaction with support services
C. Number of online/hybrid programs
D. Expenditures on facilities

Goal 5: Ensure financial stability and sustainability.

Initiatives for this goal include:
a) develop and implement innovative approaches to fundraising;
b) emphasize raising scholarship dollars to support the needs of our students;
c) increase fundraising efforts related to facilities and technology/equipment that will enhance the student experience;
d) build a network of alumni who will be donors, volunteers, and leaders, advancing the Winthrop experience and its impact on the world;
e) increase fundraising capacity by expanding the number of people actively engaged in advancement efforts including students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends;
f) develop a new budget model for the university that is more transparent and more clearly aligns with institutional goals; and
g) maintain and enhance fiscal integrity by decreasing institutional debt as a portion of total assets.

Metrics will include:
A. Total endowment assets
B. Unrestricted gift revenues
C. Alumni giving rates
D. Scholarship/grant dollars provided to students from University and Foundation
E. Debt ratio

Mahony concluded his State of the University address by acknowledging, "If we do our jobs, we will reach our endpoint: Winthrop will be a national model for providing a supportive, high-quality and affordable educational experience that has a positive impact on students and the community.

"We all have a role to play in the implementation of the Winthrop Plan and I ask each of you to find the many ways that you can contribute. If we all do that, I am confident that we will be able to stand together in 2025 with pride in the success we will have achieved."

Visit President Mahony's website and look for the strategic goals and planning link for slides from the Winthrop Plan presentation. A video of the full State of the University presentation will be available at the same site within a few days of the event.

For more information, contact Monica Bennett, director of communications, at 803/323-2236 or

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