Winthrop University: Winthrop Launches Emeriti College
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Winthrop Launches Emeriti College

September 15, 2022

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Emeriti College is a membership organization open to all retired faculty with various membership options, including a special charter membership. 
  • The Emeriti College will be self-supporting through its members’ dues and donations. It is connected to the Office of the Provost which will provide designated office space for the organization.

ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA - Winthrop University has created an Emeriti College to give retired faculty members an official pathway to support the university’s teaching, research and outreach missions, and its faculty and students.

Emeriti College is a membership organization open to all retired faculty with various membership options, including a special charter membership. The Emeriti College will be self-supporting through its members’ dues and donations. It is connected to the Office of the Provost which will provide designated office space for the organization.

Joe Prus, emeritus professor of psychology, is one of several organizing members. “Emeriti College members will have the opportunity to participate in a wide range of programs and activities, volunteer for leadership roles, and advocate for emeriti faculty, Winthrop students and our university colleagues,” he said.

The organization will help facilitate the transition from active faculty to retired status, according to Janice Chism, emerita professor of biology. It also will identify institutional roles for retired faculty who wish to remain active at some level in the institution whether it be personal scholarship or activities involving students and faculty. 

Emeriti faculty also have expressed interest in developing educational programs in the community and are already delivering programs for the campus, such as the panel session “Considering Retirement: What We Wish We Had Known,” organized by Marilyn Sarow, professor emerita of mass communication, in spring 2021.

A Decade in the Making 

Interest in starting such an organization began 10 years ago when Meg Webber, vice provost for academic affairs and executive director of the Center for Professional Development, attended an information meeting with Diane Smathers, the former associate provost at Clemson University and the founding director of its Emeritus College. 

In 2019 a small group of emeriti faculty, present faculty and administrators were invited by Webber and History Professor Ginger Williams to attend an interest session on exploring such an organization for Winthrop. Through good fortune, Tiffany Smathers, then administrative assistant for the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies and now administrative assistant for the Department of Social Work, invited her mother, Diane Smathers, to talk about Clemson’s model. Renewed interest in starting such an organization at Winthrop was born. 

For three years, a small sub-committee, composed of Prus, Chism, Sarow and Gale Teaster, professor emerita of Dacus Library, has been navigating the development of the college. A proposal was shared with university administrators and faculty leaders in 2020 and a needs assessment was conducted by Padmini Patwardhan, now professor emerita of mass communication, and her senior students.  

In spring 2021, another group of emeriti faculty, led by Roger Weikle, emeritus professor of business, developed by-laws for the proposed organization.  

The organization, approved by former Interim President George Hynd in spring 2022, begins its first academic year under President Edward Serna and emeriti faculty member Interim Provost Peter Judge. The organization will elect leaders and further develop its programming later this year.

The new organization will celebrate its beginnings at a kick-off reception from 4-6 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 22, at Slow Play Brewing, 274 Columbia Ave., Rock Hill. Retired faculty and their spouses are invited to attend. 

For more information, contact Webber at webberm@winthrop.edu.

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Last Updated: 9/15/22