Faculty and Staff - July 23, 2021

Dear Colleagues,

It’s hard to believe that we are quickly approaching the start of the academic year. The signs are pointing to August being around the corner: Orientation sessions are wrapping up (thanks to all of those involved!), Convocation plans are in the works (more on that below), and fall courses and events preparation is underway. Let’s continue to soak up the remaining days of summer as we turn our attention to welcoming back our students in a few shorts weeks.

Please take a few moments to read the following updates I’d like to share:

Convocation on Aug. 23
The Convocation Committee is working hard behind the scenes on this annual ceremony, which will kick off our 136th academic year. Convocation will be held on Monday, Aug. 23 at 11 a.m. at the Coliseum. Be on the lookout for more information via email from Tim Drueke. I hope to see you all there as we welcome last year’s and this year’s new students into the Winthrop community of learners.


As has been the case the last couple of years, departments will have a partially loaded budget until the Board of Trustees approves the 2021-22 institutional budget. As you may know, enrollment is likely to be down as much as 8 percent which makes for another difficult year financially for Winthrop. However, vice presidents have been working all summer on a three-year plan to build a successful budget model that addresses issues that pre-date most all of our current leadership. This is an opportunity to right size the institution as we make sound fiscal decisions that will have a positive impact over time. Our workforce will continue to change as we will fill some positions but hold or eliminate a far greater number. Make no mistake that the current budget year will be tough, but with the help of federal funds, we will make it through and be better prepared for the 2022-23 fiscal year.

Sexual Assault Concerns

Since concerns were voiced earlier this year, our leadership has actively listened to students to gain a better understanding of their perspectives, and we are making progress on initiatives outlined in response to those. For example, a position description has been finalized and is now posted (closes Aug. 12) for a Title IX coordinator, and students will be represented on the search committee for the coordinator. In addition, our new sexual misconduct policy is undergoing final review and reflects recent changes to the guidance for investigating complaints. It will be in place by the beginning of the fall semester.

Presidential Search Advisory Group

I would like to extend my thanks to those of you who have volunteered to serve on the 20-member Presidential Search Advisory Group (PSAG). While there is a limit to the number who will be chosen and a desire for representation of all stakeholder groups, it is encouraging to see so many of you eager to serve. Presidential Search Committee Chair Julie Fowler will introduce the PSAG members and the presidential search website in her communication to the campus next month.

Campus Master Plan Moving Forward

You will recall that in my November 2020 State of the University Address I introduced the Campus Master Plan as an initiative that will help set the vision and direction the campus will undertake over the next 10+ years. I’m happy to report that a cross-campus committee, co-chaired by Chris Johnson and Kimberly Faust, has completed the RFP process and thatQuakenbush Architects and Ayers Saint Gross have been selected to complete the Campus Master Plan. Currently the firms are in the initial information gathering stages, but the planners will visit the campus and be meeting with a diverse group of campus stakeholders through interviews and focus groups as they work. The master planning process will likely take the whole academic year. As we prepare for the way the campus may evolve over the next decade, I would like to extend a special thanks to our facilities management team for its hard work over the summer getting the campus ready for the fall, especially all of the hard work that the grounds team has put into improving the look of campus.

Wofford Hall

Based on a just-completed structural inspection of both high-rise residence halls that we undertook out of an abundance of caution after the Miami tragedy, we have opted to close Wofford ahead of its May 2022 schedule to go offline. Given the age of both Wofford and Richardson and our need for more desirable student housing options, we are exploring the future of both halls as it relates to the campus master planning process.

Winthrop Plan Survey Update
In May, I requested your feedback via survey to help our leadership team take stock of the university’s strategic plan. After having the strategic plan in place for five years, it was time to determine what worked with the plan, how we can improve or revise key metrics and what changes are needed for the next five years and beyond. The survey received a 25% response rate, and the results are currently being analyzed by the Accountability, Accreditation, and Academic Support office. I will receive a preliminary report next month, and a committee will be formed to address next steps in the process.

Finally, I hope you are watching one of our very own, Ray Singleton ’11, ’14, make quite the impression on the judges and audience during America’s Got Talent’s current season. Ray’s voice, along with he and wife Roslyn’s love story, her brain cancer battle and more, have endeared them to many.  Your next chance to watch Ray in the popular competition will be when the show returns on Aug. 10 at 8 p.m. on NBC. 

As always, thank you for all that you do for Winthrop. I look forward to starting this new academic year alongside you.



George W. Hynd
Interim President