Faculty & Staff

August 17, 2018 

Dear Colleagues,

Can you believe it's time to usher in another academic year? I hope during the summer you enjoyed time with family and friends, and that you are rested, recharged and ready to welcome our students who began arriving this morning. The first few weeks of the semester are very busy, so I wanted to update you on a few items of interest below:

Faculty and Staff Welcome Reception
Thanks to those of you who attended Monday's President's Welcome. It was good to talk with so many of you and to spend time catching up, as well as welcome new members of the Winthrop community. If you weren't able to attend, I encourage you to watch the video that was shown that highlighted all of the good work that happened on campus over the summer. Your work over the summer, and every day, is much appreciated.

Convocation and Welcome Week
We will officially kick off Winthrop's 133rd academic year with our Aug. 20 Convocation ceremony. This 3 p.m. event in Byrnes Auditorium serves as the official welcome into the Winthrop family of learners to our freshman class. Melissa Gladden '99, the founder and owner of Carolina Recruitment, will deliver the Convocation keynote speech. I encourage you to attend as a show of support for our newest students. After Convocation, Laura and I will lead the freshman class out of Byrnes and toward the campus front lawn in the traditional Blue Line procession. The community picnic will follow on the lawn in front of Margaret Nance Hall, and will be catered by our new dining partner, Sodexo. Offices will be close at 2:45 so that everyone can attend.

As always, the DiGiorgio Student Union has lined up a variety of fun activities during Welcome Week. Take a look at the schedule and plan to attend an event or two.

Center for Professional Excellence
Last October in my State of the University presentation, I mentioned the importance of creating a space focused on the professional development of Winthrop employees. We have identified the former office of the president emeritus for this purpose. To be known as the Center for Professional Excellence (CPE), its mission will be to coordinate, promote, and provide professional development and training for Winthrop's faculty, staff, and administrators in order to enable the institution to meet and exceed the goals of the Winthrop Plan. Dr. Meg Webber will serve as the Executive Director for the CPE while continuing her work as Vice Provost for Academic Quality and Innovation.

With a doctorate in educational leadership, Meg has been planning, developing, facilitating, and evaluating educational programs since the late 1990s across varied settings and for diverse audiences. Meg's broad experience includes having a leadership role with UnitedHealth Group during its Medicare Part D rollout and successfully directing SACSCOC Quality Enhancement Plans (QEPs) at both Centenary College of Louisiana and Winthrop University. Within higher education, she also has served as faculty for both education and history departments at community colleges, private liberal arts, and public comprehensives.

New Advancement Team Member
Vice President for University Advancement Evan Bohnen has added to Winthrop's fundraising team R.J. Gimbl, who will serve as associate vice president. R.J., who comes to Winthrop from Fairmont State University in West Virginia where he was vice president for advancement, brings to Winthrop extensive fundraising, volunteer management and advancement leadership experience, including work at Penn State University

Along with serving as a major gift officer, R.J. will work with the development team to grow the Winthrop Fund and expand membership in the Winthrop Leadership Society.

New Duties for Academic Leaders
Dr. Takita F. Sumter will assume the new position of Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs. As a member of the Provost's Office, Takita will coordinate recruitment, appointment, tenure and promotion, retention, and sabbaticals, while continuing to teach in the Department of Chemistry, Physics, Geology and the Environment and serve as a member Winthrop's INBRE leadership team. Dr. Sumter's work in this new role will facilitate initiatives to support faculty and administrators within the Division of Academic Affairs.

Continuing as Dean of the Graduate School, Dr. Jack DeRochi also will serve as Associate Vice President for Academic Outreach. His new responsibilities will include working as the Academic Affairs liaison to University Advancement, providing support to college deans in their work to establish and maintain relationships with organizations and donors that directly impact programs and student success. Jack also will work with local business and organizations to build continuing education opportunities to advance the career aspirations of adult students in our community.

Faculty and Staff Conferences
The first Faculty Conference meeting of the academic year on Friday, Aug. 17, at 2 p.m. in Plowden Auditorium. The first Staff Conference of the academic year will take place on Tuesday, Aug. 28, at 2 p.m. in Dina's Place.

Newest Trustees
The Winthrop Board of Trustees welcomed two new members on July 1. The South Carolina General Assembly appointed Robby Sisco '80 to the Congressional District 7 seat that was filled by Karl Folkens '76. Winthrop alumni earlier this year chose Isaiah "Reggie" Venning '95, '00, to fill one of the alumni representative seats on the board.

Robby, who resides in Florence and will serve a six-year term, was the senior vice president of human resources for the Cabot Corporation, a global specialty chemicals and performance materials company. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from Francis Marion University in 1978 and a Master of Science degree in personnel and industrial relations from Winthrop in 1980.

Isaiah lives in Rock Hill and will serve a six-year term. A self-employed stock trader, he has served on the Graduate School Advisory Board as a member of the Community Relations Sub-Committee. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in business administration and his Master of Business Administration degree from Winthrop.

Please join me in welcoming Robby and Isaiah to the board when you see them on campus.

Scholars Walk Swings
You may have noticed the Scholars Walk swings are missing.

Recently, our facilities management staff identified significant wear and structural damage to the swings and their supporting wooden structures.

On Monday I'll send a message to our students explaining that, because their safety, and that of all who use the swings, is our highest priority, we've temporarily replaced the swings with rocking chairs and benches.

I appreciate how popular the swings are, and I'll let the students know that replacing them is a priority.

For their continued safety, I'll also ask that, during the repairs, they refrain from hanging anything from the wooden structures, including hammocks.

As always, thank you for all that you do for Winthrop. I appreciate your support as we work together on Winthrop's behalf.

Dan Mahony