Winthrop Trustees Approve Strategic Plan Concepts, Tuition Realignment

December 05, 2023


  • The Winthrop University Board of Trustees unanimously voted to accept the key outcomes and priorities of the strategic planning process at its Dec. 1 meeting.
  • Trustees also approved a tuition realignment model.

ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA – The Winthrop University Board of Trustees unanimously voted to accept the key outcomes and priorities of the strategic planning process at its Dec. 1 meeting.

The approval came after a presentation by Gary Simrill, who is special assistant to the president for community engagement and who served as chair of the strategic planning committee. Work on the strategic plan started in February and involved town halls, focus groups and surveys of faculty, staff, students, donors and community members to help chart the university’s future direction.

The Berkeley Research Group partnered with Winthrop to help devise the plan.

Board member Ed Driggers, who chaired the trustees’ Strategic Planning and Facilities Committee, said fellow board members appreciate the work of the strategic planning committee and support the objectives and tactics already being formulated. The university will have a strategic plan roll out in early 2024.  

In other unanimous board action, trustees:

  1. Approved President Edward Serna’s selection of a new provost.
  2. Gave Vice President for Business Affairs and CFO Justin Oates the green light to renegotiate the institution’s contract with Sodexo to move to a fixed fee contract for the university’s food services. This change was at the recommendation of the state procurement office to restructure the contract to match current enrollments and will impact the contract years through 2027. As the university’s enrollment increases, this fee structure will be more beneficial to the institution than the current contract. It also will allow Sodexo to return a profit which they have been unable to do in the current inflationary environment.
  3. Considered options for tuition realignment after Vice President for Enrollment Management and Marketing Joseph Miller’s presentation on the institution’s tuition transparency initiative. With additional financial information and a recommendation from President Serna, board members voted on a model which will include a modest tuition reduction to all students in the first year and then the option for another reduction in year two if freshman/transfer yield increases, as expected, and retention stays strong. This strategy will help Winthrop serve more students and families who are particularly price sensitive and do not consider attending Winthrop given the current cost as compared with other public institutions in the state.
  4. Took a detailed look at enrollment, athletics and retention strategies and received a report on academic programs. They also engaged with a variety of education students, including Macfeat children in the kindergarten program, scholarship students and WinthropLIFE participants, in a deep dive into the Richard W. Riley College of Education, Sport and Human Sciences programs.  

Resolutions on the board’s action items will be available at this link.

For more information, contact Judy Longshaw, news and media services manager, at or at 803/323-2404.

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